We may not be right, but we are not confused.
Chicago, IL & Dallas, TX
- Larry Warnock is the President and CEO of Gazzang, responsible for the company's leadership, operations, and strategic direction. He brings more than 27 years of operational expertise working with both startups and established technology companies, particularly in the enterprise software and data center tools markets, to his role at Gazzang.
- Larry is the former president and CEO of Phurnace Software, which was acquired by BMC Software in 2009. Before joining Phurnace, Larry was the chief marketing officer at Vignette. He was also a venture partner at AV Labs (the company incubator for Austin Ventures).
- Before joining AV Labs, Larry served as vice president of marketing at OnLink Technologies (acquired by Siebel Systems). He also served as vice president at Documentum throughout the company's lifecycle, from launch to IPO to market sector leader to acquisition by EMC.
- Larry earned a bachelor of business administration in marketing from Texas A&M University.
- [Photo by René Lego Photography]
- HOW DID YOU GET TO AUSTIN?
- So, I actually moved to Austin about ten years ago. I was in Silicon Valley for about eight years before that. I had spent some time in Boulder, Colorado, in the tech scene there I'm originally from the Dallas area, I grew up in Dallas, um... Always wanted to get back to Texas but never really found coming back to Dallas or Houston being all that compelling.
- But had a great opportunity to join a startup and leave Silicon Valley and come to Austin and it's one of the best career decisions that I've made.
- TALK ABOUT THE COMPANY THAT BROUGHT YOU HERE…
- Phurnace is a software company that uh... I was part of the start-up team, was the CEO and it was ultimately acquired by BMC Software -- that was couple years ago.
- We addressed a need that had been handled basically manually inside IT data centers to deploy web servers over and over again. And as the web continued to grow this became a big problem because organizations would have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of applications running on web servers.
- So the architects of the product built this ability to do that in an automated fashion and we grew very very quickly. From the day we got funded to our exit was only three years and we created a great return not only for the investors but also for all the employees.
- WHAT NEXT?
- So after the exit of Phurnace, I had some time on my hands and after the NBA said no, I wasn't gonna make the draft -- I'm only five foot seven you probably can't tell that on the film, but -- I actually took some time off, did some yard work, and I started to do some advising for young companies and ultimately found one that I liked.
- They hired me as the CEO, they had a great idea, they had already identified a great market and I was brought in to really wrap a company around it, take it to market, get it funded, and make it successful. And that's Gazzang.
- So after my time off, I jumped right back in.
- WHAT IS GAZZANG ALL ABOUT?
- So Gazzang is addressing a real need to secure data in the cloud. The cloud now has created an environment for data to be outside of your data center -- private clouds public clouds or hybrid -- and that data is not always secure so what our software does is encrypt it -- it protects the data, and then provides a key, a magic token if you will, that can unlock that data only for authorized use.
- So what it does, it helps people feel comfortable that their privacy and their data's secured.
- TALK ABOUT THE AUSTIN TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL…
- So the Austin Technology Counsel is a nonprofit group here in town that really helps network executives and entrepreneurs to really share lessons learned, exchange ideas, and to find and avenue for, especially for CEOs and top executives, to have an open dialogue in a private environment.
- You've heard it: it's lonely at the top. The reality is that they're oftentimes things that as a CEO, you want to understand and you want to discuss. It's hard to find someone to turn to to have that open dialogue. And the Austin Technology Council provides that.
- I volunteer and provide time and I most recently have been on their board of directors, because I just think it's the right thing to do. Austin's been a great town for me in the entrepreneurial endeavors that I've had and it's a way of giving back.
- But also i don't want to make it sound like it's just all altruistic. I get a lot out of it. I get to network, I get to get new ideas. So I got a lot of benefit out of it.
- ANY ADVICE FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS?
- So if I think about advice that I would give early stage entrepreneurs, there's a ton of advice I could give. However, three things I would say that you should keep on top of your mind.
- Number one is stay customer-focused. With all the pressures and getting pulled in all directions, if you stay focused on what the customers need and want and providing them value, a lot of the other things tend to take care of themselves.
- Number two is trust each other. Trust the management team a trust the other employees. Doing an early stage company is hard and there has to be a level of trust amongst everyone. When that trust breaks down, you start to see the politics that are typical of a bigger company. So number two is find a way and reinforce trust.
- Number three: have fun! It's hard, but it's a great experience and you should enjoy it. So it's okay to laugh at the office, it's okay to laugh at yourself, it's okay to laugh at each other. So make sure that the company also has some objective of enjoying themselves and having fun! Don't take yourself too seriously.
- WHAT ABOUT WHERE TO LAUNCH?
- Right, so if you're an entrepreneur and you're looking for a place to call home, I'd say pick Austin because of the supportive nature of the town. I've been in start-ups in Silicon Valley, I've been in a startup in Boulder, Colorado, and I've seen the different environments.
- Those are great markets and Silicon Valley is huge, there's a tremendous amount of capital but that also works against it. It's really hard to get to know a large network intimately of people that can coach you.
- In Austin you can very quickly get to know all the venture capital firms, the lawyers that make a difference, the accounting firms that understand early stage the banks that understand early stage, and the successful entrepreneurs that are willing to help you.
- So I'd say if you think you can do it all by yourself, you don't need help, you don't need any advice, stay in Silicon Valley.
- If you want to leverage people that truly want to see you be successful, Austin's a great move.