Paul Doscher is the CEO of Lucid Imagination, a company that delivers enterprise-grade search development platforms based on Apache Lucene/Solr open source search. Prior to Lucid, Paul held the position of CEO for Exalead Inc, a global provider of enterprise search, where he led the company from 2008 through 2011. In 2003, Paul became CEO and one of the principal founders of JasperSoft. In 2000, Paul joined VMware as the company’s EVP of worldwide field operations, where he defined and executed the distribution strategy that formed the basis of the company’s success. Earlier in his career, Paul held positions at several companies, including general manager of the Americas for Business Objects (now SAP), vice president of worldwide marketing and business development for Entrust, and vice president of U.S. channels for Oracle.
Sramana: Paul, let’s start at the beginning of your journey. Where did you grow up, and what led you down this path?
Paul Doscher: I was raised in a lower-middle-class family in the Bronx in New York City. I went through a reasonably decent parochial school and then attended Georgia Tech on an ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps] scholarship. That is the only way I could have gone to school. I graduated with a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering, after which I went into the Marine Corps for four years.
I got out of the Marine Corps and did not know what I wanted to do, so I interviewed for sales jobs at software companies as well as engineering jobs and decided that I wanted to go into sales. I figured I would make more money and have a better career. I started with Control Data Corporation in their computer time-sharing company, SBC. I did that for eight years and then went to a four-person startup. I thought that it would be fun, interesting and that the technology was pretty cool. At the time it was a messaging system for companies to use for their oil and refined product trading desks. We sold it to British Petroleum, Exxon, and a couple of other companies. The technology allowed them to have all their oil and commodity traders on the same network, allowing them to communicate about their positions on certain commodities around the world.
The company did not do very well because it was a limited market space and the technology was complex for the time. From there I went to work for a larger company, Software HE, which was a German database company. I ran sales in the Northeast, and it went well for a while. The company was selling on IBM mainframes, so when distributed computing came in, they had missed the boat completely. From there I went to work for Oracle and worked in their channel business. I did that for four years, and the business grew dramatically from 1993 to 1996.
By that time Oracle was growing toward a billion dollars, and I got the itch to go smaller again. I went to work for Business Objects running their Americas subsidiary. At the time they were only a $100 million company. I did that for almost four years before I left to run worldwide operations at another startup in the late 1990s. The Internet bubble was going crazy, so I went to work for Resumix, which used artificial intelligence and search to break down a resume and map that resume to a job description. Monster and Hot Jobs were just starting to take off. However, the company was entrenched in legacy customers and had a hard time shifting to a new business model.
After that I went to work for another startup that did single sign on for e-commerce. A couple of months after I joined them, we were acquired by Entrust. That was a good opportunity, and I stayed there for about a year until they centralized headquarters to Dallas.