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Why I Joined Yugabyte

Gavin Johnson
June 8th, 2021 · 5 min read

This post was originally published on Yugabyte’s blog.


Hi. I’m Gavin. I joined Yugabyte on May 24, 2021, as the product marketer for Yugabyte Cloud.

On April 20, 2021, I found myself in a new situation for the first time in my working life: I unexpectedly had no job. I’ve been constantly working since 2 weeks after my 16th birthday. I’ve spent my career trying my best to do good work and follow Wheaton’s Law. I’ve been fortunate enough to build a network of people that I know, trust, and like across consulting, media & entertainment, and tech. When I shared that I was unexpectedly looking for work, the response was big. I spoke with a ton of companies, founders, and friends. I had a lot of options. I ended up choosing to come to Yugabyte. Here’s why.

MY BACKGROUND

Previously, I led product marketing for RudderStack, the open source alternative to Segment. I launched new products and features, wrote thought leadership and produced content – blog posts, technical walkthroughs, videos, whatever we needed – and sponsored several podcasts and a few newsletters.

I came to RudderStack from New Relic, where I was the solutions marketer for their Digital Customer Experience solution and then, more notably, the product marketer for everything open source at New Relic – launching their open source website and their open source agents.

Before that, I was a product marketer at AT&T for their video product portfolio – primarily DirecTV Now and AT&T TV. I was a senior consultant and then manager at Deloitte Consulting – leading the functional and architectural design, build, and delivery of custom IT systems. Going back to before business school, I was an IT system administrator and developer for a couple of medium-sized businesses.

I have a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Oregon State University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

At this point in my career, I’m an experienced marketer who is very technical. I don’t code every day, but I still code. Instead, I spend my time writing and working on developer-focused marketing. I like building technical content, and I like sponsoring people that make content that the developer-side of me loves.

HOW I JOINED YUGABYTE

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When I posted on LinkedIn that I was looking for work, the response was big. There must be a lot of demand for tech product marketers right now. I received over 50 messages for different product marketing roles within a week, a minority of those from recruiters. I had a ton of direct emails too. It was overwhelming. I didn’t end up applying for a single job. By the end of my first day of unemployment, a Tuesday, I had 8 interviews booked through the next 3 days.

I ended up having 41 Zoom meetings or phone calls about potential jobs between April 21 and May 14. I spoke with 11 different companies and had advanced conversations – e.g. did a project for and/or met with the extended team – with 4 of them. I received 2 job offers at very comparable role levels and compensation, one from Yugabyte and one from Twilio-Segment. I chose Yugabyte.

I’d never heard of Yugabyte before I started looking for work. I didn’t even speak with Yugabyte until a full 2 weeks into my job search. Why would I choose to go to Yugabyte over a name-brand titan like Twilio?

THE REASONS I JOINED YUGABYTE

YUGABYTE’S PRODUCT IS REALLY GOOD

I am very familiar with databases. I was the database administrator for the systems I managed when I worked in IT. I’ve built resilient systems (well, at least old-school resilient) with Microsoft SQL Server. I’ve personally built applications with MSSQL, PostgreSQL, and MySQL as the application databases.

I’m also very familiar with cloud native architectures and microservices, and IMO the most difficult part of building a resilient cloud native application is the datastore. YugabyteDB solves that problem better than any database I’ve come across. It isn’t just me thinking this either. Several large companies, like Kroger, have chosen YugabyteDB for major applications.

YUGABYTE’S OPPORTUNITY IS HUGE

The cloud database and DBaaS market is already big, and it’s expected to get bigger. Depending on which analyst projection you believe, it is expected to be between $28B and $39B by 2026, with a CAGR between 15% and 31%. The market size and growth look very similar to the cloud data warehouse market but trailing it a few years. If we can execute well, Yugabyte – having the best offering on the market IMO – could conceivably follow a similar path to Snowflake. That is a massive opportunity.

YUGABYTE’S EXECUTIVE TEAM IS STELLAR

The co-founders built a lot of the data architecture at Facebook, building Cassandra and HBase. They have experience building massively scalable, open source databases at one of the most innovative companies on the planet when it comes to data. They also have years of experience building databases at Oracle. You couldn’t have come up with better co-founders.

Our CEO, Bill Cook, is the former President of Pivotal and CEO of Greenplum. I respect the work Bill has done, especially his work at Pivotal. He is an impressive CEO for a startup. And he’s a nice person, easily the most normal tech CEO I’ve ever met.

I trust that these people will do a good job leading a company with an opportunity as big as Yugabyte’s.

THE FRIENDLY, COLLEGIAL, CHALLENGING INTERVIEWS

Everyone I talked to during the interview process with Yugabyte was intelligent. Not a single time during the whole interview process did I ever feel like the smartest person in the room. That’s awesome. I want to work with smart people. Everyone was super cool too, though. The interviews weren’t easy but they were enjoyable. Also, my manager, Suda, is great. We clicked pretty much immediately.

I work better in organizations with this type of personality – friendly, collegial, and challenging.

YUGABYTE WANTS ME TO DO THE TYPE OF MARKETING I LIKE TO DO

I’m helping launch Yugabyte Cloud later this year. We want every developer on the planet to use it. How do we get there? Expand awareness and build content that makes it easy to use Yugabyte. That means we need to sponsor podcasts, newsletters, websites, etc., and that we need to build technical content. That’s exactly the type of work I like doing.

YUGABYTEDB IS OPEN SOURCE

This doesn’t matter to a lot of people, even less so in marketing, but I care about open source software. It’s been a part of my life since I was in my early teens. If I have the choice, I prefer working for companies that build open source software. At a time when other open source companies are choosing to move away from true open source licensing, YugabyteDB has actually gotten more open source. It is 100% open source under the Apache 2.0 license. This commitment to open source makes YugabyteDB more accessible and transparent.

THE REAL REASON I JOINED YUGABYTE

I’m very much a person who tries to look at things holistically and build logical arguments to support or oppose my decisions. I did that, and Yugabyte looked like a good career choice. So did Twilio-Segment.

Have you ever had that feeling in your gut that if you chose not to do something that you’d be making a mistake? That you’d be losing a rare opportunity? I had that. That’s the real reason I joined Yugabyte.

Seeing as I am the product marketer for Yugabyte Cloud, the only appropriate way to close this post out is to have a call to action.

Whether you’re building an MVP or operating at massive scale, Yugabyte Cloud can make sure your application databases are always available and fast. Yugabyte Cloud scales with your product. You can add and remove nodes at will. So you’re never over-provisioned. Best of all, Yugabyte Cloud is easy to build with. It’s a drop-in replacement for Postgres.

Sign up for the Yugabyte Cloud Beta. It’s PostgreSQL reimagined for a cloud-native world.

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