Startups

Pure Storage CEO: “Acquisitions Always Suck… Worse Than You Think”

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This afternoon at Disrupt SF, Pure Storage’s Scott Dietzen and Mike Speiser, his investor from Sutter Hill Ventures, discussed building enterprise-facing technology with TechCrunch’s own Ron Miller.

Pure Storage, a provider of flash-based storage products, has raised $475 million over the course of its life. Is it heading for an exit? According to Dietzen, perhaps not so soon. The company is seeing 50 percent sequential growth, or around 500 percent annual growth at the moment according to the CEO, giving it room to grow as an independent company in Dietzen’s mind.

Speiser seemed to agree that the patient approach, saying that if you speak to someone who claims that their goal is an IPO “that’s a bad sign.” Scott echoed that from a different perspective, saying that “acquisitions always suck, and suck worse than you think that they are going to suck.” Taken together, it seems that Pure Storage is going to continue going it alone for the time being.

The trio also kicked over the current shortage of developers in the Valley. Dietzen argued that the top 10 percent of developers produce 10 times as much as the rest, and the top 1 percent are 10 times more productive than the top decile. It was also said that while there is a general drought of technical talent, if you can build an effective early team of the best, they will attract others of similar talent.

Dietzen also had some interesting words on building technology for the consumer market: It’s like rolling dice in his view. Enterprise, he said, has a more systematic approach.

Perhaps most interesting to the talk was the idea that there is an alternative to software as a service (SaaS) in the enterprise at the current moment. That’s always been true, even before the start of SaaS itself, but given the dominance of SaaS in the current media narrative, it’s important to keep in mind that hardware tied to software, what Pure Storage sells, is still a viable way to approach selling into the enterprise market.

Quote of the panel? Dietzen told Miller that in the end in technology, “the missionaries make more money than the mercenaries,” the implication being that it’s the dreamers and believers and builders who end up with the larger bank accounts when the chips are finally cashed that the people looking for a quick turn around.

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