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Rackspace Startup Program Insider: Lew Moorman Talks Startups

Entrepreneurs are an essential fabric within the Rackspace Startup Program. To help facilitate the dreams of startups from ideation to implementation is truly fulfilling for the Space Cowboys. Startups are leading the way into the future of computing. Within Rackspace Hosting, we have leaders who embrace the startup movement and understand that we must engage, add more value to and enhance our relationships with startups. Lew Moorman, newly appointed President of Rackspace Hosting, is one of those leaders. Moorman joined Rackspace in April of 2000 and has served in a variety of strategy and marketing roles throughout the company’s growth. Now it’s time to go inside and find out Lew’s views on how Rackspace and the Startup Program are supporting startups.

What is your job at Rackspace?

Help great people come together to build something great.

What do Startups mean to Rackspace?  

We believe the future of computing is radically bigger than its past. And, it will be startups that lead the way. They are pioneering the new path that all of business will adopt. So, we believe it is critical to have a good army of startups working with us and pushing us to take things to the next level. And of course, some of these startups will be the giants of the future – so it is good business too!

Explain the Entrepreneurial Spirit within Rackspace?  

Entrepreneurs see, attack and realize opportunity. Inside a high growth company like Rackspace there is tons of opportunity, some small like an insight that can help many customers going forward, some large like a new business idea to take the company in a new direction. We want these ideas to flow freely inside our company and for our leaders to let our employees pursue them. The answers to our business challenges are just as likely to come from a front line Racker as me or Lanham Napier (Chief Executive Officer at Rackspace Hosting) – in many cases more likely – our goal is for the ideas to flow freely and for the empowerment to exist to let Rackers pursue them.

What is your favorite Startup story within Rackspace?  

There really are so many. A recent one I just love is our pursuit of the complex SharePoint market. One of our leaders saw this as an opportunity and sought out to hire a few resources around it. He found Jeff Deverter who joined us and just put his head down and got to work. A few years later, we have a leadership position in this market, could see much larger opportunity and made the SharePoint911 acquisition to help accelerate it. This was a truly entrepreneurial endeavor powered by a Racker who saw the opportunity and just chased it with an iron will and made it happen.

Why was the Rackspace Startup Program conceived?  

Well, we had so many cool companies approaching us about partnering and we wanted to engage with them and help them get going, we saw the chance to turn it into a scalable and repeatable program. The startup community is growing so fast and so many exciting things are happening, we needed to be able to engage at a much more rapid pace, to add more value and enhance our relationships and learnings from these entrepreneurs.

What does Fanatical Support™ mean to a Startup?  

Many startups today are founded by engineers. They can technically handle the management of the infrastructure. The question is: do they want to? Is this the best use of their time? Founders need to be building their business, selling their product or service, building their team – not responding to monitoring alerts, patching things, backing up services, etc. It is a question of priority. We think our managed services offer real options to offload some critical but not strategic functions of a growing business.

What advantages does Rackspace Cloud Computing give to a Startup?  

The cloud has truly changed the economics of starting companies. That much is obvious. No longer are millions needed to procure and setup huge networks of infrastructure. So, the volume of startups has just exploded.  I think the Rackspace cloud in particular offers a great path for startups. You can get going with basic services for free, scale up, and over the long term, with great success you have the flexibility to evolve in many directions as you need to customize things a bit more. It is hard for startups to think about their needs down the road – but the best ones do. Having flexibility to add dedicated gear or even move to your own cloud setup is a great advantage of our model given our commitment to the OpenStack project.

What is the best advice that you could give to a Startup?

Work really hard to find real and meaningful differentiation.  When you have it – work even harder to own that differentiation. Make it clear. Market it. Sell it. Own it.

If you could launch a Startup right now, what would it be and why?  

I think the world of healthcare is ripe for disruption. The model is broken in so many ways that interest me. From insurance models to data availability to consumer driven pricing, there will be tons of opportunities for disruption. I have several ideas in this space – of course I am a little busy at the moment – but would love to talk to and help any entrepreneurs pushing the envelope in this space.

An Insider view of how important engaging startups are to Rackspace with our President, Lew Moorman. The Rackspace Startup Program thanks Lew for all he does in embracing the startup movement and understanding that we must engage, add more value to and enhance our relationships with startups inside Rackspace!  Contact the Space Cowboys today and get all of the Insider information for your startup.

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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