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Veeam's plan: Ignore MBA marketers, don't covet magazine covers

And don't panic about the cloud, because every platform has gaps that need tools says CEO Ratmir Timashev

Most CEOs give little away in interviews: they stick to the script and deliver information in easily-digestible chunks.

Veeam's Ratmir Timashev does it differently: the founder, president and CEO of Veeam likes to tell stories. So when your correspondent asked him why Veeam is going well, Commvault is doing okay but Veritas, EMC and IBM are finding the going tough, despite a data proliferation climate in which there should be plenty growth for all, he provided a long and rambling answer.

The start of the story concerns the discipline of “Pragmatic Marketing” that Timashev described with what initially sounded like considerable enthusiasm because if offers a methodology for innovation.

The methodology suggests product managers should consult widely, communicate customer desires to those who build products and then wait for the magic to happen.

Timashev felt an innovation methodology was important to Veeam, because his partner Andrei Baronov has to date been instrumental in its success. Indeed, the CEO thinks Baronov is a genius whose extraordinary rapport with IT folk means he can develop useful products where others would insist on bloatware or a camel – a horse built by committee. But there's only so much Baronov to go around and so a couple of years ago Timashev decided that to scale the company he had to hire some product managers schooled in Pragmatic Marketing.

Baronov pushed back. Timashev says none of the new the new product managers could convince him that what they wanted was right for users.

Timashev falls back into Valley-talk by drawing a comparison between Baronov and Steve Jobs. Both, he reckons, were more concerned with a vision that delivering what the market wants. Unlike plenty of other thought scavengers claiming a piece of the Jobs legacy, Veeam can point to the scoreboard for validation of its approach: Timashev said the company's on track to crack US$400m of GAAP-ified revenue this year.

The company is profitable and has the cash it needs to grow organically or through acquisition. The CEO's nonetheless often asked about an IPO but says the company's strong cash position makes it unnecessary. The only other reasons he sees for an IPO are to boost the company's profile or see his face on the cover of Forbes at float time. Timashev said he thinks Veeam has just the profile it needs and he has no particular interest in appearing on magazine covers. So private it is for now, thank you very much.


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