Last week, Zenoss announced the appointment of Greg Stock as Zenoss’ new Chief Executive Officer (see Zenoss Appoints Enterprise Software Veteran Greg Stock as CEO for details). Shortly after the announcement, we sat down with Greg to “get the scoop on the new guy”.
1. How did you get here? Can you give us some background on your career prior to Zenoss?
I started my career at two giants, Chrysler and then IBM; but my software career was born at Manugistics, a DC-based Supply Chain Management company. Moving to a startup from a big company was a challenging career move — really a leap of faith for me. But over the next 6 years, we took the company from $20 million to $250 million in revenues and had a great IPO. Manugistics gave me the opportunity to do things I never dreamed of doing in business. It was also the strongest company culture I’ve seen to this day – something I continue to try to replicate.
Later I was VP of Marketing for Vastera, which provided software to help companies move goods across international borders. We grew from $10 to $80 million and took the company public. I was on the trading floor the day we took “VAST” public – it’s definitely a day I’ll never forget.
My next two companies were also great growth experiences. I spent 6 years at Austin-based Mirage Networks where I was fortunate enough to get my first CEO role. We grew to 600 customers in over 40 countries and were acquired by Trustwave. After Mirage I spent 4 years as CEO of Washington DC-based Vovici, a SaaS solutions provider for Voice of the Customer and Voice of Employee solutions. Vovici was a great learning experience because we helped companies build better relationships with their customers and employees – something I had always valued but really learned how to make happen during my time there. We were able to able to sign up half the F500 as customers, achieved 300% and with profitability and were acquired by Verint in 2011.
For the past 6 months I was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Austin Ventures where I have been able to gain a new perspective on the Venture Capital business and look at a wide range of opportunities. Zenoss came along and here I am.
2. Why Zenoss?
That’s easy – the opportunity to grow a company to $100M and beyond, here in Austin Texas. The foundation is in place – great technology, a mission critical app, a strong customer base, a talented team, a rapidly growing market and financial resources. We have everything we need to be one of the next great Austin-based technology companies. Zenoss is ready to take its success to the next level and I’m thrilled to be part of the team.
3. What can Zenoss customers expect to see different going forward?
I want Zenoss to be known as the most customer-centric company in our market. At Vovici we were in the “voice of customer” business, so it was an inherent part of our business model to be close to our customers and very focused on helping them succeed in the businesses they were in. I will bring that same customer-centric approach to our market where we’ll bring a variety of different approaches to increase our customer interaction including things like surveys, customer advisory boards, and user conferences to better understand what our customers need.
4. When you project into the future, what do you want to be celebrating one year from now? Three years from now?
One year from now I want us to be celebrating a superb Zenoss user conference, a higher level of customer engagement, and a heightened awareness of Zenoss in the market. Our team will be bigger and better from every perspective.
Three years from now, I want Zenoss to be the de-facto standard and market leader in the IT Operations market. I also want Zenoss to be recognized as one of the best places to work in Austin. And who knows, maybe we will even be celebrating an IPO…
5. You’ve said that “listening” and having an “open door” are very important to you. Can you tell us more about what you mean by this?
To capitalize on the opportunity in front of Zenoss, I first need to understand its history and the great foundation put in place by Bill Karpovich and team. So I am going to spend quite a bit of time listening and learning.
As anyone who’s worked with me knows, my open door policy means that I’m very open to feedback from customers, partners, and employees.
One important step in my onboarding process is to spend 1:1 time with the internal Zenoss team. It’s a great way to quickly learn all the ins and outs of how the company works and I love hearing about what my co-workers’ passions and goals are.
I’m also passionate about listening to our customers and making sure that we deliver real value for them. We want to make our customers’ daily work lives better. I’ve actually had several customers follow me from company to company because they know they’ll be taken care of and get what they need to be successful with our solutions.
6. What are some of your hobbies when you need to unplug from work?
I have a wife, two kids and two dogs and love spending time with all of them. When they get tired of me, I have a couple of other things I like to do.
This will be my 9th year guest teaching MGMT 531, the Strategy class in the Penn State MBA Program. Also, I really enjoy competing in extreme races like the Spartan Run and Tough Mudder.
7. What keeps you up at night?
Jimmy Kimmel… and trying to be the best father and husband I can be.
Thanks Greg! Welcome to Zenoss!