Entrepreneurs: Focus on Building, Not Hyping

Eucalyptus and Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced that they will work together to ensure API compatibility between their offerings, essentially enabling enterprises to run applications with a single API from the world’s leading cloud provider to their own data center. It’s an across-the-board win for customers of both companies, and a testament to the technical quality of Eucalyptus’ infrastructure-as-a-service offering.

We’ve seen a lot of fanfare across the cloud computing space with an array of infrastructure, platform and software contenders all jockeying for position. New entrants are hailed as the most flexible, scalable, buzz-worthy, etc. of them all. Ultimately, just a few will live up to the hype. Most won’t.

The enterprise space has long been saddled with a reality that, when it comes to offering products that are defining a new category, there is no substitute for real, paying customer deployments. Trite, yes, but in some of these emerging well-publicized markets like cloud computing or big data, lists of business partnerships and user download numbers can temporarily distort the reality of who really has the winning solution. At the end of the day when evaluating different products, every IT buyer that I’ve ever known picks the one which has the most production deployments and delivers the most value.

As an early-stage investor, I see a huge red flag when a project has an unnatural gap between buzz and paid-use of their product, in production. It’s those teams who are quietly executing to a plan, relentlessly focused on delivering an exceptional product, who are going to win the day. Diane Greene’s shirking of media interest and distaste for self-promotion in VMware’s early days ran counter to everything I had ever learned as a tech marketer, but taught me an important lesson on the importance of when to make your move.

At NEA, we know that both firms and companies live or die by their performance. Our own culture has always been focused on results – speculative hype is simply not in our DNA. And ultimately, those are the types of entrepreneurs we choose to work with.

Today more than 25,000 Eucalyptus clouds have seen the light of day, including in more than 20 percent of Fortune 100 companies. Its partnership with AWS cements their position as the open-source reference implementation of the leading public cloud API. It is a move that will empower and delight customers, bringing together the most widely adopted cloud API with the most widely-deployed on-premise IaaS platform.

That’s not hype, that’s performance.