What interested you in joining SmartBear?
A combination of things. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but software is eating the world. APIs are eating software. And, it’s all got to work!Entirely new business models are being enabled by software in general and APIs in particular. SmartBear is building tools and technologies like SwaggerHub and ReadyAPI that make that software more extensible and reliable. Further, our target audience is growing in both size and in their contributions to the business. Developers make purchase decisions and exercise significant influence. SmartBear has access to thousands of developers via existing commercial relationships as well as the open source community.
On a more selfish and personal level, I had the good fortune of experiencing an IPO earlier in my career, since then I have been acquired multiple times but haven’t had an opportunity to be a part of another IPO. I think SmartBear could become a public company, and we can get there by bringing even more value to the development community.
What do you see as the opportunity ahead for the product team?
I think the movement from individual products to product groups with complementary opportunities is important. There’s also an opportunity to leverage the entire creative process from ideation to production to better inform our product offerings. Although we have done some of that to date, I think there is a real opportunity to be more deliberate with both organic development and acquisition. Additionally, our product portfolio is very broad. We need to make it easier for developers and testers to quickly qualify the right product(s)—and continue to make our products even easier to try and buy.Lastly, I’d like to see us leverage the expertise of our own developers to help inform our product offerings. I have always believed in “dogfooding” but particularly when our target audience is the development and testing community.
Coming from the security industry, how will that affect your perspective you are bringing to this global development and testing tools organization?
The infosec experience will affect my perspective in two ways. First, in the context of influencing my thinking about our entire product portfolio. The combination of secure product development and DevSecOps is a genuine movement in the development community. While SmartBear products today enable security best practices for APIs and testing, I believe we need to consider building and/or buying additional tools and technologies that our customers can use to secure their code and to facilitate their DevSecOps initiatives.
Second, being a part of the security community since the late nineties has made me sufficiently paranoid. I’ll be a strong advocate for SmartBear’s corporate security and product security initiatives. The good news is we already have good momentum and support withing both our IT organization and R&D for infosec; I’ll just be another strong voice at the executive level.
What are a few unusual and/or interesting first impressions about the company that you can tell us from your first few weeks’ here?
Well, my first day in the office turned out to be my last day in the office of 2020 because of COVID-19! Our headquarters in Somerville, MA has been open on a limited and voluntary basis since the pandemic began for those who need to go into the office. I literally started on Monday, December 14th in the office and got a text from our chief HR Officer that night saying the office was closed until after the holidays. Honestly, it’s hard to get the full SmartBear “vibe” being remote. That said, I have yet to meet a person via Zoom that wasn’t helpful and supportive. I have a lot to learn and everyone seems more than willing to help—that’s a nice cultural attribute.
Learn more about about this news from our latest press release: SmartBear Strengthens Leadership Team with New EVP/GM of Products and Technology