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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Portworx CEO Murli Mohan Thirumale (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 15th 2020

Sramana Mitra: Timing-wise, how fast can that revenue mix change? How fast does the consequent profitability impact going to reflect based on how many Pure Storage customers you can immediately sell the Portworx stuff to? 

Murli Thirumale: Pure Storage has about 8,000 customers. A good majority of those is what I would call classic enterprise customers compared to the mid market. There is a high amount of leverage based on their customer base. Their customer base is consuming what Portworx has.

This is my third acquisition and the trick has always been about how effectively you can leverage the strong go-to-market footprint and the strong customer presence that Pure Storage has. It’s been a month or so that we’ve got in, but I’ll tell you that I’m extremely impressed by three things.

One of them is the warmth they showed us. People are genuinely happy to have us in the Pure family. The second thing that I’ve been impressed by is how open they are in leveraging whatever they are doing to help the Portworx business. 95% is in front of us, but at least you know that folks really want to do it.

The third thing I’m really impressed by is with Charlie and his executive staff. They have a strong strategic intent. This is something that is high on the agenda of the executive and something where I’m just seeing them coming together and bonding over it.

That strategic intent and the willingness to change and adapt is the hallmark of what makes a successful change to a company whether it’s an acquisition or an organic change. 

Sramana Mitra: I think you said you have 150 customers. These guys have 8,000 customers. You have an incredible amount of headroom. You have a tremendous upside. 

Murli Thirumale: Yes, you put your finger on the opportunity and the problem.

Sramana Mitra: This is a really enjoyable conversation. I learned a lot. That’s what I love about these interviews. I learn a lot from talking to people who are experts in their domain.

Murli Thirumale: I think that’s why you have a strong set of followers and presence in the tech social ecosystem.

Sramana Mitra: There is one last question that I want to ask you. If you are starting a company today, what problem would you solve?

Murli Thirumale: The next ten years of IT are really about data being the new oil. Infrastructure is old and done. Everyone also knows the concepts of apps and people are going to continue with that. What is different is that enterprises and organizations are going to win their data – not just their data but also mining data from the outside and mixing data.

What’s in the news is that our data is part of it. It’s a very controversial topic, but data is oil. The ability for enterprises to take this available ubiquitous instant infrastructure and instant data to turn into real-time services, I would encourage entrepreneurs to start something there.

You know how people were shifting towards SaaS a few years ago, what I would say now is, “Go provide real-time services in different verticals.” What is Uber? It’s just a mash-up of a bunch of real-time data. You go to a corner of a street and they know about you and they know about where you are headed.

They have real-time pricing and you know everything about the driver’s rating. In real time, they are mashing all of this stuff and it’s transformed the car hire market. Think about that happening now – real-time data transforming different industries.

Taking these vertical industries and using data mining to transform that industry and create a new type of product is what is going to change these industries. I think that’s a huge area.

It’s going to require people to understand the domain of these different verticals. They have to ask themselves, “How can I transform this particular game by using technology and data?”

Sramana Mitra: I think the word that you used that I really like is mashup. Technology is moving so fast. So much is available and becoming available constantly. There’s the Twilio of the world that made Uber possible. This includes AI, storage layers, and data layers to name a few.

A lot of the infrastructure is there. It is the domain knowledge and the ability to understand how to mash up and create these composite apps and experiences that are transformational. Great pointer.

It’s a fabulous interview. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Portworx CEO Murli Mohan Thirumale
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