20VC: Why Founding Your First Company Is Like Learning Through A Thousand Paper Cuts, The 3 Core Phases to Product Adoption and Why Valuation Obsession Must Change In The Valley with Armon Dadgar, Founder & CTO @ Hashicorp
Posted on 10th August 2018 by hstebbings1
Armon Dadgar is the Founder & CTO @ Hashicorp, the open-source software company that provides consistent workflows to provision, secure, connect and run any infrastructure for any application. To date, Hashicorp has raised over $74m in VC funding from many friends of the show including Scott Raney @ Redpoint, Glenn Solomon @ GGV, Semil Shah, True Ventures and Mayfield. As for Armon, today he leads the Hashicorp research group and focused on industrial research in the security and large-scale system management space. Prior to founding Hashicorp, Armon was a software engineer @ Kiip and Amazon.
1.) How Armon made his way from intern at Amazon to founding Hashicorp and creating the game-changing suite of tools in the world of DevOps?
2.) Hashicorp has enjoyed success after success with new products, so what does Armon believe is the secret to continuous product innovation? What does Armon mean when he says “there are really 3 phases to product adoption”? How does Armon determine between vision for a product and the realism when it is not working, when launching products?
3.) Hashicorp only recently started generating revenue, why was now the right time? At what point does one go from building products for the community to building products people will pay for? How does Armon assess professional services today? What does Armon believe are the 2 foundational problems with “professional services”?
4.) Many VCs suggest it’s impossible to build big infrastructure businesses today given the commoditizing forces to open source and cloud computing. How have Hashicorp navigated that and bucked that conventional wisdom? How has Armon also bucked the conventional wisdom on the importance of focus? What core tenets must remain if one wants to go against this emphasis on focus?
5.) Armon and his co-founder brought on a CEO early, what was the realisation moment for the need to bring in an external CEO? How did Armon look to get comfortable with this transition? What advice would Armon give to founders contemplating bringing in an external CEO? With the benefit of hindsight, what would Armon do differently if he had the time again?
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