VCs Developing In-House Tech-Expertise-as-a-Service

Ashlee Vance writes in “Netflix Loses Its Cloud Guru to a VC Firm”: “It used to be good enough for venture capitalists just to hand out money. Well, not anymore. Now they’re expected to offer up a suite of services and give their startups access to things like marketing coaches and technical advisors.” Vance mentions big data and data science experts Hilary Mason (at Accel Partners) and DJ Patil (formerly with Greylock), and Battery Ventures just hired Adrian Cockcroft as the company’s first “technology fellow.” Formerly with Sun Microsystems and eBay, Cockroft was most recently heavily involved with Netflix’s move from running its own data centers to relying on Amazon’s cloud-computing infrastructure.

Here is Cockroft’s keynote at a recent Flowcon event:

The abstract for the presentation reads: “As organizations and projects scale up, the patterns that seemed helpful at small scale start to get in the way and velocity suffers. To deliver at high velocity requires four things. First, a culture of innovation that can see and respond to opportunities. Second, the data and analytics to evaluate alternatives. Third, a culture that can make decisions and assign resources quickly. Fourth, agile development and self service deployment. A fine grain loosely coupled architecture scales as the team size grows, a freedom and responsibility culture provides autonomy for innovation and fast decision making, unstructured “big data” analytics gets answers quickly, cloud removes the latency of resource allocation, and devops removes the coordination latency that slows down deployment. Current state of the art is automated staged deployment of microservices using canary signature analysis, we will end with speculation about what comes after that…”

With or without Cockroft, “Netflix is an IT infrastructure company that happens to stream movies,” as I said here.