Q & A with Derek Langone, New CEO of XebiaLabs
We are excited to announce that Derek Langone is joining XebiaLabs as our Chief Executive Officer and as a member of our Board of Directors. Derek is a veteran of the software industry who has held senior leadership positions at a number of high growth software companies over an impressive 20-year career.
Most recently serving as the Co-founder of Shuttersong Inc., Derek has previously served as EVP of Global Sales for Telerik, as CEO for 5nine Software and as CEO and COO of SmartBear Software. Last week, we sat down for a conversation with Derek so you can learn a bit more about his background and his vision for XebiaLabs.
Q: What attracted you to XebiaLabs?
Derek: Two things, with the first being the company itself. XebiaLabs has tremendous growth, a big market opportunity, a fantastic team and great investment partners. The second piece of the equation is that I like the DevOps space and have a lot of experience in it. We’re in an emerging space that is experiencing huge growth with the DevOps discipline. The macro market is moving very positively and I wanted to be a part of that.
Q: What kind of opportunities do you see for XebiaLabs in the market?
Derek: It’s a very broad market. At one end you have developer centric organizations that are trying to solve the problem of automating some of their build and release schedules – that is generally where you see a lot of open source investment and low cost, very pointed technologies. Then on the other end, you have the very comprehensive, complex, expensive enterprise solutions. I think we fit in the middle. While we certainly align with the complex IT environments and aggressive release schedules needed by large enterprises, I feel that there is a much underserved market segment of companies slightly smaller than the Fortune 1000, but that are still of a very substantial size. The good news with these companies is that they are large, their environments are complex and they have the energy and resources to make investments in smart products. These are the companies for which the XebiaLabs product suite is perfectly suited to accelerate progress.
Q: Do you see any challenges for this young and broad industry?
Derek: That’s an important question for us to be asking ourselves. What generally happens with an emerging phenomenon is that there are not a lot of blueprints. For example, three years ago, Cloud computing was confusing for a lot of people, but today it’s understood to a much greater degree. The Continuous Delivery market that we serve is going through similar growth pains. There is an undeniable agreement in the market, however, that we need to automate some of the manual, tedious tasks. We need to get a better blueprint to deliver software, and we have to do it with machines versus people because we cannot have every new release be a laborious exercise.
Q: What separates XebiaLabs from the rest of the competitors in the industry?
Derek: If you look at the landscape of the players in the Continuous Delivery industry – if you put us under that label – we are the one that has enterprise class features and functionality that can scale with any organization to whatever heights they need. At the same time, we are nimble and agile enough to be able to deliver quickly on requirements. We are positioned very well. We are towards the top of the market, but are still flexible enough to customize for companies to address the uniqueness of their business.
Q: From your previous experience as a CEO, what kind of corporate culture will you foster?
Derek: In a small company, culture is very critical, and that has to come from the top down. The one approach that has been most successful for me is creating an environment of mutual respect where, regardless of your role in the organization, everybody contributes. What this means is, you empower people to bring up ideas. So if you are a marketing person but you see something we can be doing better on the R&D side, I want you to be empowered to share that. Everybody in an organization has a unique vantage point; some people are close to customers, some people are close to the market and some people are close to the technology. When it comes time to make decisions, being able to leverage all of these different vantage points is an enormous help and critical to the success of our company. And the only way that this happens is by welcoming input both good and bad. I have also learned over the years that the strongest executives are the ones who aren’t afraid to ask for help. If you don’t know the answer to something but you should, who cares? You don’t get any points for losing alone, so let’s all collaborate and win together.
Q: What do you see as the greatest advantage of being headquartered in Boston?
Derek: Well I don’t have the accent, but I am a native Bostonian. The talent pool and experience that we have at our disposal in Boston is second to none. What makes Boston a particularly great city to expand as a tech company is that the types of go-to-market strategies that we will implement have been used here for many years by software companies in and around Boston. So there is a tremendous amount of experience and talent that can execute against the requirements that we are going to have as an organization. # # #