Greg Johnsen is the executive vice president of marketing and co-founder of GT Nexus. GT Nexus is a great example of what I describe in my enterprise 3.0 definition (Enterprise 3.0 = (SaaS + EE) and Enterprise 3.0 = (SaaS + EE + SME+TWS). Mr. Johnsen has more than 20 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience with Silicon Valley technology companies. He has spent the past 10 years focused on supply chain and logistics, working with hundreds of leading companies to drive sustainable improvements in global sourcing, transportation management, and inventory control. Prior to GT Nexus he was with Scopus Technology, and he began his career at Ingres Corporation. Greg has a bachelor of arts in English from the University of California at Davis.
Sramana: Greg, where do you come from? What is your background?
Greg Johnsen: I grew up all over the world. My father was in health services and worked for the National Institutes of Health, the State Department and the Army for a while. I grew up in Bangkok, Thailand, California, the East Coast of the U.S., and India. I went to high school in New Delhi. The Bay Area has been my home for the past 20 years. I went to college at the University of California at Davis.
Sramana: What did you study?
Greg Johnsen: I was an English major, and I don’t think I had aspirations to be in business or technology when I left college. I am a writer. One thing led to another, and I found myself in the production operations warehouse of an early relational database company that became known as Ingres. A year into my work there, I started building some of the systems for the warehouse using their 4GL platform. I then moved into sales and business development.
Once I was in the sales role, I made my way through various technology companies. I worked for Nueron Data, which was an expert systems company. In 1992 when prepackaged business software emerged as an option and developers were building their own applications, I joined Scopus, which was a CRM company. There were only three or four major innovators in that space competing for market share, and within a year and a half the market tipped and everybody in the planet needed a CRM. That was a great education in terms of getting up the ladder and knowing how to sell into a company. We did not sell tools; we sold pre-packaged business software solutions. I left Scopus just before it was acquired by Siebel.
The founder of Scopus was Aaron Sasson. After I left I got a call from Aaron and he told me that he wanted to start another company. That is how I got involved with founding GT Nexus. This is when all the dot-com Internet-based businesses were starting. Ori and Aaron are the principle investors in this company.
Sramana: What was the idea behind GT Nexus?
Greg Johnsen: The truth is that we did not know where we were going to point the platform. We knew we were going to build an on-demand platform system for business-to-business commerce. We were initially thinking of a platform that any marketplace could use to build a marketplace. We spent three or four months targeting marketplace companies that were going public, such as energy-based companies and chemical-based companies. Three or four months into it we had a different idea of not selling tools to marketplaces but become one. We looked for a huge space that was not tapped yet, and we landed in logistics. It is a huge business in the sense that $1.3 trillion are spent on logistics every year.