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Get to Know: Gary Ogasawara, CTO, Cloudian

Get to Know: Gary Ogasawara, CTO, Cloudian

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On the lighter side of things we ask, Gary Ogasawara, CTO at Cloudian, what makes him tick.

Gary Ogasawara, CTO, Cloudian

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

When we officially released version 1.0 of our object storage software at Cloudian, it culminated a lot of effort and organization. There’s never a finish line as there are always bugs and new things to build, but it’s important to recognize milestones as they happen. At the time, I recall thinking and saying that we should all remember this because it’ll be a key moment for our company.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

It crystallized in my first year of university where I studied a wide variety of subjects. It became clear that computer science was the best way to build impactful, new things. With software, the key advantages are the modularity to build upon other software pieces and the ability to iterate design-build-test cycles quickly.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

First create purpose and ownership, then create clarity. Once the clear goals are set, then the manager’s role is to help the team by clearing obstacles and maintaining high standards.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?

How can decision-making software take advantage of all the data being generated at the edge?

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

I like to spend time outside daily, whether that be going for a run around the neighborhood or weeding in the garden.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

With software, it’s all about the people who design, build, and test. The raw material is the brainpower and willpower of the engineers. A star software engineer is 10x more valuable than a mediocre one. I wish I would have made a more compelling case to retain some of those stars.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

How can we apply the cloud services model with easy-to-use APIs and elastic resources to the edge where the data is generated? This key technology question on what the “post-cloud” platform will look like will likely be resolved in the next few years.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in North America?

We have to be careful that we are not being locked into an ecosystem controlled by one or a few companies. For North America cloud services, this means the 3 dominant hyperscalers: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. We must be able to easily move our data and workloads across ecosystems, otherwise we lose flexibility and the ability to innovate new products and services.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

For our industry, it’s clear that remote work is here to stay, and even hybrid office/remote arrangements will eventually cede to a fully remote workforce. The successful teams will be the ones that have the right collaboration tools and culture/attitude for such work.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?

Take a look at Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept. It’s a simple way to analyze how you and your organization can go from “good to great” by finding the intersection of 1) what you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives your economic or resource engine.

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