The topic of this discussion is OpenSource Content Management and its evolution.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some introduction about yourself and DreamHost.
Simon Anderson: I’m the CEO of DreamHost. We are a cloud computing web hosting company that tries to be radically different in the industry and has done so for about 17 years since the company was started back in the late 90s. How we do that is, we’ve long been serving the long tail of web professionals and developers and aspiring individuals and entrepreneurs who are looking to leverage the web not only for themselves in terms of distributing content, but also ultimately for other people.
For many years going back to the early days of Linux, we’ve been big proponents of both using open source software ourselves and many other open source tools. In addition to that, we have been believers of open source, which started out as a software business model, but has evolved to be much bigger than that. It’s a way of engaging on big problems and bringing groups together to solve them in much more elegant and meaningful ways. We’ve been big proponents as well of taking open source approaches in software to our customers and helping them leverage the best open source software out there for their needs.
Sramana Mitra: You said you’ve been around for 17 years. Tell me a little bit about the company? What has been the evolution of the company?
Simon Anderson: DreamHost was founded in Southern California. As you can tell from my accent, I’m from a little further southwest from that. I’m from Australia. I came to the US about 15 years ago. I joined DreamHost about four years ago as their first outside CEO. The company had been founded by four Harvey Mudd undergraduates. They were all programmers who basically had this vision in the early days of the Internet to enable creatives and entrepreneurs to leverage the web and get the content out. Some of their early products were actually not so much about hosting and platform products. They were products like DreamBook, which was a guest book web-based service. They had a very broad vision for where DreamHost could go.
What they found was that the most significant demand was for a place where early programmers could develop sites and applications and learn everything that was coming up. That ultimately became DreamHost’s core business model. The difference I think is that DreamHost has never taken outside equity investment. We’re a very independent-minded company. We’re now at about $50 million in revenue. We have 400,000 customers worldwide of which about one third are international or outside of North America. Our primary goal is to leverage our expertise as a group and be very smart about how we deliver our platform and keep it up with the market such that we just enable this amazing evolution that’s happening around the internet and what that brings in terms of change and opportunity for entrepreneurs.