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Behind the Scenes - Our First Year as a Private Company (again)

by Bret Piatt / Behind the Scenes, Business Strategy, Leadership / Jan 6, 2017 / Comments

Overall Grade on Year One: B+

TLDR: We spun Jungle Disk out of then public Rackspace to operate it as a private company one year ago today and “didn’t break anything”, got a lot done, and didn’t get some things done we wanted.

Bret Piatt and Huw Edwards for the 1 year Jungle Disk Anniversary

Bret (CEO) and Huw (CFO/CSO) on the 1 year Jungle Disk anniversary

One year ago today, we moved into the basement of the Rand Building on Houston Street in downtown San Antonio. The San Antonio Business Journal came to visit us during the first week and took a great photo.

Our Goals for Year One -

  • Get the development and operations machine cranking. Grade: B

    We did a ton of behind the scenes security enhancements and performance improvements to our platform and we blogged about a few - enhanced authentication security, cleaner pull requests and improved development process, improved DevOps process with Ansible, and a major update to our server backup gateway.

    We also did a number of direct customer facing updates including improvements to our administration portal, Linux server backup software and Windows server backup software including 50+ percent backup search speed increase and a Windows backup software plus mobile app update.

    I give us a B as we didn’t get our macOS and Linux laptop/desktop users a new version of the software yet (if you’re reading this check back next week!).

  • Build a new product machine. Grade: C+

    In talking with a number of our customers, we heard the pain of ransomware in 2016. Restoring data from backup is one way to handle ransomware but it isn’t ideal. You’re much better off preventing it to begin with. This led us to building and launching our network security service in the middle of the year. For our first new product release in years, we had a few bumps and I’ve personally spent time ensuring those early customers who experienced the bumps were treated as I would want to be treated. If you’re wondering if this service would help your network security, we have a free online security test that takes only 2 minutes to check your network against the top seven threats.

  • Build out our team with great people. Grade: A

    Yeah, yeah, every CEO is going to say they have an A grade team. We really do. I’ve had the opportunity to work in many high performing organizations throughout my career including being a part of the initial tiny team that started OpenStack and the team that built a global managed firewall service rated in the Leaders of the Gartner Magic Quadrant with the highest ability to execute (PDF) while at AT&T. Over the year, I’m proud to say we have doubled our team with talented people adding to both our customer experience team (who receive 95+ percent positive ratings from our customers) and DevOps team (who maintain 99.99+ percent uptime on our platform while releasing lots of new stuff). We also built from scratch a sales and marketing organization since Jungle Disk didn’t have one while a part of Rackspace.

Closing

Overall grade of a B+ feels good for the first year. If you’re a customer and disagree with our goals or the grade I’d like to hear from you. Email me: bret@jungledisk.com (Yes, that’s my real email. Yes, I actually read it – not an assistant.) Here’s to a great 2017, where we can get our grade up to an A to deliver the best value to 2-250 employee businesses who need data security and appreciate a quality experience.