Cloud Unfiltered Podcast, Episode 26: A Venture Capitalist’s POV on What is Coming in Tech
Venture capitalists terrify me.
I know I’m painting a large and probably diverse population with an awfully broad brush stroke, but really, can you think of a more intimidating group? Brilliant, competitive, comfortable with extraordinary levels of risk, and capable of surviving in what has regularly been reported to be a cutthroat work environment?
I respect that kind of person. I love any opportunities I get to learn from that kind of person. I may even wish I had the fortitude to be that kind of person. But I definitely don’t think of them as people I’d like to hang out with. I imagine them always on and off their phones while in your presence. Always mentally calculating the ROI of the time they’re spending with you. Polite, of course, but also impossibly stressed because at any given time they’ve got millions of dollars invested in a bunch of small companies and they’ve got to make sure it all works out. These companies need to either IPO or get acquired, and their investors need to get paid.
It just doesn’t seem like it’s a lifestyle that lends itself to friendly, chatty downtime or outstanding non-work relationships.
One big exception to that whole “VCs-aren’t-fun-or-friendly” scenario though is Mr. Ryan Floyd. A founding partner of Storm Ventures, Ryan has found fabulous success over the past 17 years by investing early and often in promising young tech companies like Appcelerator, Metacloud, Sandforce, Crowdfactory, Kidaro, and XDN. And those are just companies where he’s had successful exits. He’s currently invested in a number of other promising tech startups like SwiftStack, Workato, AtScale, Honeycomb, and Gather Technologies among others.
And yet, he IS in fact the kind of person that is totally pleasant to hang out with. He’s passionate about tech, thoughtful about life, and seemingly unburdened by the enormous responsibilities that come with his line of work.
On this week’s episode of Cloud Unfiltered, Ryan was kind enough to sit down with us to talk about what the technology industry in general and cloud in particular look like from an investor’s point of view. Specifically he touched on:
- How he transitioned from an Earth Systems major with a future as a park ranger to a career in venture capital
- What he and his firm look for in an investment opportunity
- Which established tech companies have transitioned well and are ready to compete for the next decade
- Why great code doesn’t stand on its own anymore when you’re trying to launch a startup
- Where he sees AI taking hold over the next few years
- What he does when he needs a little “digital detox” time
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