[quote style=”boxed”]Opportunity is driven by education and fair trade practices, and the more the west can provide opportunity for the world’s poor and underdeveloped geographies, the more peaceful and prosperous the world will be.[/quote]
Ian Miller is CEO of FatCloud, an enterprise software company delivering accelerated development capabilities for .NET customers, and a scalable and highly available platform for cloud, mobile and web applications. Ian has over 30 years experience in enterprise IT and in the last 15 years has been focused on companies delivering technologies that scale out through leveraging commodity compute components. Those companies are Sequent Computer (acquired by IBM), PolyServe (acquired by HP), Cray, Platform Computing (acquired by IBM) and now FatCloud.
What are you working on right now?
I am CEO of FatCloud which offers FatDB, a NOSQL database which tightly integrates with Microsoft SQL Server to provide better performance and enhanced functionality. We believe this hybrid database model provides great value to Microsoft customers and I am working on spreading the news about this capability!!
Where did the idea for FatDB come from?
It came from our own need – the team at FatCloud had worked on large .NET based scalable applications and built FatDB to provide performance, fault tolerance and to accelerate application development times. Having built it for ourselves we then decided to make it available to the world at large.
How do you make money?
We sell subscription licenses for FatDB and provide professional services to assist customers. However we also provide a free developer edition and three node “fast start” edition so that customers can trial FatDB at no cost.
What does your typical day look like?
I travel a lot to meet customers or business partners and so am often at an airport, on the phone, or working with my team on developing FatDB to meet customer requirements.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I really enjoy brainstorming with my team and customers to come up with ideas to enhance the product or make it easier to use. We then define our roadmap of the best ideas and our great development team make it come alive.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The Big Data idea of leveraging multiple data sources to provide companies with the best intelligence to drive their business decisions is impacting almost every sector, from Government to Corporations, and can really provide great insight into market needs and what is trending.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was a dishwasher at a post office in London when I was a student and it made graduating and getting a good job seem like a great idea!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would be looking to simplify and focus the market and the value proposition as quickly as possible, and to resist the temptation to pursue the “big vision”. Being really good at one thing and repeating it time and again is the way to build a successful business, instead of being average at several things.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen to your customers and make them happy – there is no better basis for building a business than showing your customers that their business and their ideas are vital.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Recruiting good sales people used to be difficult as their role is to “sell”, including themselves. Sometimes a great interview (when the candidate is selling), is followed by a different and disappointing day to day reality when they join. I now look for multiple interviews, asking for presentations, and really solid probing reference calls, to separate the good from the bad.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Applications are going to change massively in the next few years as cloud and big data become more pervasive. A well established, dominant software vendor can be beaten with a more nimble and cost effective cloud infrastructure – don’t be afraid to challenge and build your great app!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Opportunity is driven by education and fair trade practices, and the more the west can provide opportunity for the world’s poor and underdeveloped geographies, the more peaceful and prosperous the world will be.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
My three favorite moves are Blade Runner, Apocalypse now and Blazing Saddles.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I like LinkedIn a lot as a networking tool and as a means of staying current with what others are thinking. I love the way the cloud is developing as a means of keeping devices in synch so that notes entered on one device can be found and maintained on another. Finally, for fun, I like Hulu+ as a great way of watching what I want when I want, as I miss most scheduled television!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love Douglas Adams books for their creativity and irreverence (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) but would recommend one of his least known books, which is Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, for a great (if at times baffling) read.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Aneel Bushri always impressed me as an investor and leader of great application software companies and he has things to say, Richard Branson is full of ideas, and Elon Musk is doing unbelievable things in space, cars and advanced transport.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
My kids are the funniest people I know!
Who is your hero, and why?
Jimmy Page, because he’s Jimmy Page.
What motivates you most?
Building successful teams and that energy that comes when you know you are onto something great!
What do you enjoy most about the IT business?
Perpetual change and the need to continually learn and reinvent yourself.