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Rackspace Startup Program Insider: Dan Di Spaltro On Getting Your Startup To Market Faster With The Cloud

Dan Di Spaltro is the General Manager in Rackspace’s San Francisco office. He graduated from Oregon State University in 2007 with a degree in Computer Science.  After graduation, he moved to Silicon Valley and worked for IBM doing consulting work. At the end of 2008, Dan co-founded and held the CTO duties of Cloudkick with two fellow OSU alums, Alex Polvi and Logan Welliver. Cloudkick focused on changing how the IT world managed and monitored servers in the cloud. By late 2010, Cloudkick had grown to 12 employees and the three founders sold Cloudkick to Rackspace Hosting. Dan remains fanatical about solving real problems using technology and building a strong company culture. We are about to get inside the mind of this startup evangelist and find out why getting to market is the most important part of a startup and how leveraging the cloud can get you there faster.

What is your job at Rackspace?
I run the Rackspace San Francisco office and focus on building the next generation of products by empowering awesome engineers.

What do startups mean to Rackspace?
Startups are everything to Rackspace, from customer to partner to the “next-big-company.” Rackspace feels like a big startup, so there is an extra special connection there.

Explain the entrepreneurial spirit within Rackspace?
Rackspace was founded by people seeing an opportunity and seizing it. It took time and was a grind but ultimately ended up successful, which reflects in everything we do. And just like the Rackspace story, entrepreneurs iterate, iterate, iterate. This is so core to the thinking at Rackspace, particularly the sheer ability to take an extremely challenging situation that has a bunch of risk and make a successful outcome. That is an incredible energy that is shared amongst Rackers.

What is your favorite startup story within Rackspace?
I love the Mailgun story; these guys are so passionate about email it gets everyone else super excited. It’s exciting to be in the same room with them, they give off lots of positive energy.

Why was the Rackspace Startup Program conceived?
The Rackspace Startup Program gives all the entrepreneurs out there a chance to see how Fanatical Support™ really works. Getting to market is the most important part of a startup, no matter how great the technology or product is, and people have to make a connection. Leveraging the cloud is a great way to get you there faster, and having a team help you run your app is the best way to get you there. Focus on your business, focus on making a great product that people will love, and let us help run your servers.

What does Fanatical Support mean to a startup?
It means doing less with more.  Focusing on building the important parts of your business and outsource the rest.  It also means having a partner watch your back. Just like a founding team, you look for complementing skills and personalities, you should treat your infrastructure the same.

What advantages does Rackspace open cloud computing give a startup?
As an entrepreneur, time to market is the number one reason to be on the cloud. Focusing on building a product and getting a head start is what makes the Rackspace Startup Program awesome.

What is the best advice that you could give to a startup?
Focus on important bits for the stage you are in. Measure everything and make sure you can handle load when it comes. Be an optimist, business is hard.

And there you have it. An Insider view from Dan Di Spaltro, one of the co-founders of Cloudkick and General Manager of the Rackspace San Francisco office. The Rackspace Startup Program thanks Dan for all he does as a driving force in growing the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem. Get all of the Insider information for your startup by contacting the Space Cowboys today.

Dan Di Spaltro

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by John McKenna.

John McKenna loves startups and is a Space Cowboy with the Rackspace Startup Program. He also crafts customer stories and produces really cool videos for the Customer Reference Program. John enjoys telling stories through his writings…and loves the beach, the ranch, his dog Blue and most of all his three beautiful daughters.


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