Ken Krupa | MarkLogic | TechWeek18

Avatar Ben Fower | 27/12/2018

Ken Krupa from MarkLogic joined us at TechWeek18 to talk about what drives innovation in the world and how this is affecting the industry. Hosted by Will Spalding.

Will: I’m delighted to be joined by Ken Krupa from MarkLogic now Ken you’re the CTO of Enterprise and BP solution Engineers? That’s quite a large title there. So, you’ve got a lot on your plate.

Ken: I have large business cards.

Will: Well, I’m so obviously there’s a little bit about what you’re doing here at Frankfurt at TechWeek with MarkLogic. What are you guys doing?

Ken: Yeah, so everybody seems to be talking about data these days. I look around and everybody’s either doing data integration, IoT or Cloud but regardless of technology regardless of where the tools fall in the tech landscape, whether its BI tools, databases, search engines, infrastructure, data is at the center of it. So, we’re a data-centered company and our greatest strength is that we have uniquely impressive ability to integrate data locked up in silos and it seems like there’s so much data locked up in silos. It was such a high volume of data and enterprises need to get value out of it unless they are being disrupted by some upstart that sort of skirting around their flank of doing something completely different.

Will: Yeah. Well this is the most important thing nowadays isn’t it and I mean people talk about the infrastructure and you know certain other aspects about the cloud and whatever, but the most important thing is data to smaller businesses, but also to other partners. So, you’ve got a few different products as well. One of them being ACID tell us a little bit more about that acronym and I mean, what is it? What does it stand for to start off with?

Ken: Well it’s not a drug, I know it is to some folk and I know I’m in Europe now things are a little bit different. So, ACID compliance or ACID as a feature of a database. So, we have a what we call an enterprise NoSQL database and ACID is a computer science term. It stands for a number of things, atomicity consistency, isolation and durability and they all mean specific things. But what they are collectively is our guarantee that data doesn’t get lost. Which sounds like it should be table stakes for a database but in the last few years new database entrances were saying things like well ACID compliances isn’t needed but in reality, it is. If you are a database trusted with processing and saving data, you shouldn’t lose it, it shouldn’t get corrupted and so that’s one of the features of MarkLogic that in this NoSQL world people typically did not associate ACID transaction capability with the kind of database that we are but we’ve had since our first version of our product which goes back almost 15 years ago.

Will: Yeah. I mean you guys are based primarily in the US as is that right.

Ken: We do have I believed the total number of offices are 14 worldwide but you’re right we started in the US. We’re a US-based, Silicon Valley company. We have a number of offices in the US. We also have a number of offices here in Europe and we are on four different continents but you’re correct in that we started in the US and between the United States and Europe that’s where the bulk of our business comes from.

Will: Are you looking at exploring into different markets at all? I mean, obviously, you’re here at the European Expo for one but are you looking elsewhere? Is MarkLogic always expanding?

Ken: From a territory perspective, we don’t think of things territory first. We think of business problems first and what those do is they coalesce into industries and the interesting thing about how we got into certain industries is we ended up getting into certain businesses on the back of existential crises, which is kind of a weird way to do it. So, if you go back to our first customer in publishing and now in the broader media space. They had the digitizer disappear problem.

Will: How far are we going back for that?

Ken: We’re going back to the early 2000s. So very early 2000s and so they had the digitize or disappear problem and they needed a different way to look at their content. It wasn’t just about publications and books and magazines, it was about their contents holistically. So, if they were to survive in the digital world, they need to do things differently from a data perspective. The existential crisis for the public sector actually comes back even before that and it’s a true existential crisis, 911, which said that all of the intelligence organizations and policing organizations in the US had all the information they needed but it wasn’t quite connected, it was locked up in silos. So that existential crisis got us into the intelligence community and all the agencies in the US and in policing but largely in the Intel community and so you can probably guess how we got into financial services. Circa 2008 Global financial crisis happens. The Lehman Brothers question as they say, you know, what’s our exposure to Lehman Brothers. They couldn’t answer it.

Will: It kind of felt like dooms day back then didn’t it.

Ken: It did I know 10 years ago. It seems like it seems like just yesterday and it’s the same thing. Data was locked up in silos and these individual business units these OTC derivatives that were responsible for the economic meltdown. They couldn’t answer the basic question of what are they valued? And what’s a Banks exposure to these other banks with whom they do business? And so that’s when we got its financial services and then in health care in the U.S. It was an existential crisis, although some people of a political bent would say but Obamacare, you know, the Affordable Care Act was passed in the U.S was a drastic change to all of the healthcare payers in the U.S so they had to think differently about data and how it come and so we got a toehold in there and now today we’re in insurance, in Pharma, in manufacturing because all of those Industries are trying to get ahead of what their existential crisis might be and so they’re kind of taking a cue from folks in other Industries. ‘Hey, think differently about the data, we hear a lot of good things about these MarkLogic guys’ and so that’s how we grow. We grow from those shifts in industries where large incumbent vendors want to have the agility of the upstarts, but they also want to leverage the mountains of data that they have to their advantage.

Will: So, breaking it down into layman’s terms really what would you describe the MarkLogic approach as? Would you say it’s capitalizing as you as you rightly described on unfortunate events or is that changing now is your model changing?

Ken: So, like to have a more positive message? Yeah, wait until disaster strikes and then come to us. Sometimes that’s what that’s what forces innovation. So now large incumbents are worried about disappearing, you know retail is face that with Amazon and in a lot of those industries I mention people think ‘is Google going to get into our business is Amazon could get into our business are we going to be Uber’d or Airbnb’d out of existence’ whatever it is. So the large incumbents are getting smarter about being agile. Our baseline messages is that we’re the world’s best database for integrating data from silos, but below that is we will allow the incumbent to have the same pace and agility and ability to bring things to market as the upstarts but leveraging their strengths not copying the same playbook as the upstarts because they have a green field, they don’t have a lot of data or a lot of customers. They do things differently so it’s a mistake to say let’s just do that, no what you have to do is say well, what are our strengths and invariably its data and customers for these for these larger companies they go okay. So, how can we turn things around as quickly as those guys do but leveraging what we have and that’s squarely were MarkLogic fits we go into these large organizations, all of our customers are enterprise-grade customers and we get value out of their data in weeks or month’s time.

Will: That’s a really interesting avenue your talking about with MarkLogic and I think for us anyway, it’s an interesting approach to understand those events that happened in the past and as you rightly said that’s how Innovation happens. So, moving on to less things about MarkLogic. What are you looking forward to seeing here at Tech Week?

Ken: Yeah. So, it’s usually a mirror of what the collective technology organizations think their customers want to hear. So, from that perspective, it’s good to see not just who comes to our booth but what they’re gravitating to in other place. Not necessarily from a competitive perspective, but you can glean from where people go, what their business problems are because ultimately, we’re all here to solve business problems. Except for the robot people, I think they just want to sell.

Will: Yeah or you can pick up some freebies, this is my favorite so far.

Ken: I do like that one.

Will: We have a Rubik’s Cube. I don’t know if they’re a direct competitor of yours.

Ken: No they’re not but we are watching them. Yeah, it’s more around up how the customers are communicating their problems to technologists and hearing things in their language. So that that’s primarily it. We’re interested in connecting with customers or potential customers.

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