Top 19 Third-party Execs To Keep an Eye On
It's tough to narrow down influential third-party execs to just 19. After all, these are the folks with the bold ideas who often take personal risks to see them through. But these are executives who have made an impact on the IT industry this year.
Nick Cavalancia, ScriptLogic
Cavalancia wasn't always a vendor exec. Prior to joining ScriptLogic Corp., where he's now VP of Windows Management, Cavalancia was a VAR selling ScriptLogic wares. When not writing about technology, presenting or working with product teams, Cavalancia loves to indoor skydive.
Andrew Blencow, Argent
Often we lament that there just aren't as many characters in today's computing world as there used to be. Argent boss Andrew Blencow is one big exception.
Blencow started Argent, a systems management concern, nearly two decades ago. The main focus, besides technology, was intimate and aggressive customer support.
As the years went on, Microsoft became more and more of a competitor, something that Blencow, who used to be called Psycho when playing Australian Rules football, delights in. Working at Argent is either a dream or a nightmare depending on one's personality. Employees consist of "the usual mixture of defrocked preachers, boat sinkers who claim insurance, psychopaths, toothless ex-junkies and others normally found in technology companies," Blencow told us in an interview in 2007.
Walter Scott, GFI Software
Scott used to run Acronis, and is now CEO of GFI Software, which just expanded its footprint with the acquisition of Sunbelt. Scott is a character, known for monster trucks, huge choppers and a gutsy approach to business. Living now in Malta, Scott somehow maintains a close understanding of U.S. IT market security and management needs.
Brent Skadsen, TNT Software
As general manager of TNT Software, Skadsen hooked up with the company 12 years ago when it was a mere two-years old. He worked directly for the founder, Steve Taylor, who as a systems administrator saw all the hassles of managing myriad devices and thought he had a better way. TNT remains true to its roots, and now produces server reporting, monitoring and alerting tools.
Nicolaas Vlok, Double-Take
Double-Take, formerly NSI Software, used to be one of my favorite companies. And being just a few miles from our offices in Massachusetts made it easy to visit. In fact, a staple at Tech-Ed has always been the Double-Take party (which, for some reason, always conflicts with our Redmond
party) where Double-Take CEO Dean Goodermote's band headlines.
Now Double-Take is owned by Vision Solutions, run by an entrepreneur who started at an even younger age than Bill Gates or Michael Dell. When most of us were reading comics, Nicolaas Vlok, at the tender age of 14, sold computer hardware in Pretoria, SA. Later as a college student, Vlok co-founded a network integration and hardware company TST.
Vision now focuses on systems management and availability.
Jason Judge, SpectorSoft
Judge was a longtime CEO at Scriptlogic and built a company so attractive that Quest Software just had to buy it. The brand and organization, it turns out, was so strong that Quest has kept it largely independent as a third-party advocate. We thank them.
Judge left Script a couple years after the acquisition (typical for entrepreneurs trying to give their progeny a comfortable, new home) and recently took over SpectorSoft.
SpectorSoft is in the business of helping IT enforce HR and other corporate policies concerning what is appropriate surfing and what corporate data can or cannot be disclosed.
Mark Shavlik, Shavlik Technologies
Shavlik is president and CEO of Shavlik Technologies, the company named after him. One of the original developers of Windows NT, Mark Shavlik has made his eponymous company one of the most trusted and respected names in IT security. Redmond
magazine named Shavlik a Windows Guru in 2007. He shared with us his "aha" moment when he realized that he could build a firm around patch management. "My biggest inspiration came when I heard Bill Gates speak years ago about software security patching as a side comment during a presentation he was giving. This was well before anyone did patching as a product, and I thought -- hey, let's fix this problem," he said. Shavlik has been successfully fixing the problem since 1993.
Gil Rapaport, Viewfinitity
Rapaport, president of Viewfinitity, is a bit of a renaissance man. Raised and educated in Israel, Rapoport not only helps drive Viewfinitity's privilege management technology, he also manages the company's marketing. When not busy at his company, Gil lectures on marketing automation at MIT's Sloan School of business.
Phil Lieberman, Lieberman Software
Phil is a true software character. The president of Lieberman Software, Phil is known for working directly with his customers, at all hours of the day and night, to solve their problems.
Based in Hollywood, Lieberman doesn't just lead his eponymously named privilege management and security concern, but is an outspoke advocate for more secure software and hardware.
A former professor, Phil has also penned numerous computer books.
Rick Pleczko, BBS Technologies
Pleczko is president and CEO of BBS Technologies. The head of the company that owns Idera and R1Soft has a long background as a software engineer, DBA and top-executive experience. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Pleczko was formerly executive vice president of worldwide marketing for NetIQ. Educated in England, Pleczko now lives in Houston but remains a fan of all things British.
Frank Huerta, Translattice
Huerta is co-founder and CEO of cloud infrastructure startup Translattice. While many startups pick out a niche they hope to one day own, Huerta hopes to become the next VMware, creating a foundation that changes the way we all compute.
Translattice, at least how I interpret it, implies that there is a grid that data moves across freely.
The upcoming Translattice tool is an application provisioning platform that distributes processing and storage across the cloud and on-premises. Processing can be based in policies, location, level of use or priority.
The distributed apps also have built-in redundancy so uptime and data are both protected.
Huerta certainly has the chops to pull this all off. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in physics and then gained an MBA from Stanford. His last startup, network intrusion protection company Recourse Technologies, sold to Symantec for a cool $135 mil in cash. Cha-ching.
Scott Gode, Azeleos
Gode is vice president of product management and marketing at Azeleos. A 15-year Microsoft employee, Scott Gode's experience with Windows, Office, Exchange and Windows Mobile make him a major asset to the executive roster at Microsoft-focused managed-services vendor Azaleos. In October, Gode's company released the results of a survey it commissioned with Osterman Research Inc. The survey noted that 30 percent of respondents plan to deploy Microsoft's Lync Server 2010 in the first year after the server's release.
Simon Crosby, Citrix
We purposely tried to choose smaller (at least not huge) third parties to honor. Citrix is one of the exceptions, as it has a real character in house. Simon Crosby was CTO of XenSource, which Citrix then bought. Most often the entrepreneurs and leaders selling out leave after the non-compete runs out. Either Crosbv is different or he has one heckuva non-compete as he's been with Citrix since 2007 when Citrix bought XenSource.
Crosby is one of the biggest brains and nicest guys in the virtualization world. And at times he can be amazing inflammatory, calling others out on their virtual failings.
Peter Parker, NeverFail
NeverFail seemingly came out of nowhere to become one of the top continuous application availability companies. However, the company started in 1993 -- we just took notice of its enormous rise in the last half decade. Serving as top boss since 2007 is CEO Peter Parker. Parker, who entered high tech with HP in 1979, has worked for seemingly everyone, having served at Oracle, Sun, Veritas, Symantec and Ingres.
Vincent (Vinny) Smith, Quest Software
Quest Software, in which Smith is executive chairman at, is an appropriate name for the software company he joined in 1995. The former Oracle sales, marketing executive and co-founder of Patrol Software has overseen the growth of Quest from a $4 million operation to the nearly $700 million company it is today. Over the years, the adventurous Smith has had restaurateur on his résumé, and his hobbies have included surfing and mountain biking.
Michael Fimin, NetWrix Corp.
Fimin runs NetWrix Corp. as president and CEO. His third-party pedigree is outstanding, having gained many of his chops at Aelita Software, a management software company named after a famous Russian sci-fi movie. Aelita got bought by Quest Software, and Fimin went along for the ride. Four years ago he took over NetWrix as an up and comer focused on compliance and systems management.
Lanham Napier, Rackspace
President since 2000 and CEO since 2006 at Rackspace, Lanham Napier's name is synonymous with the company that he helped survive the technology downturn to become one of the hottest players in cloud computing. Napier's fiscal discipline and fanatical focus on customer service have helped earn Rackspace a spot among the leading hosting providers. The Rice graduate and long-time San Antonio resident showed his Texan roots by riding a mechanical bull at a recent company Christmas party
Werner Vogels, Amazon
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Dr. Werner Vogels was a research scientist at Cornell University before joining Amazon.com in 2004. He moved into the role of CTO in 2005 and is the primary driver of Amazon's cloud-computing product strategy. Vogels blogs about distributed systems, Amazon's cloud efforts and other topics at his All Things Distributed blog
, which he has maintained for nearly a decade.
Michael Simon, LogMeIn
Simon helped found LogMeIn, a pioneer in remote control computing and Internet-based backup. Its tools go from consumer level to true IT pro products that help remotely manage and repair machines.
Simon wasn't always in the IT space. His previous startup, Uproar, did interactive games and build Web-based game shows.