We’re going to see a sharp uptick in Big Data and Hadoop companies. This is all starting with Hortonworks’ recent IPO. The coverage of Hortonworks’ IPO always mentions my former company, Cloudera, as being notably absent in the IPO chase.

I want to tell you about my experience at Cloudera. I was employee ~200 and I worked on the training team. My experiences were mostly positive. It’s the first company that I’ve ever left and would return to.

By far Cloudera’s biggest asset are their people. I characterize Clouderans, as Cloudera employees are called, as incredibly smart, humble and dedicated. Your interactions are with the people who wrote the books on Hadoop or were the founder/committer on the project. This level of people should have brought about massive egos, but they didn’t. I dare most people to pick out the technical lead out of the group; you can’t do it based on sheer ego and attitude.

There was a funny thing that happened with new Cloudera employees. They were used to companies that had a wider strata of competence (usually on the low side) of employees. They would begin their descriptions or conversations assuming the very low end of knowledge. You quickly learn that you should assume a high level of technical competence when dealing with any Clouderan. Otherwise, you’d be interrupted to take it higher. That manifests itself in that a former Clouderan is a hot commodity these days and some even take to saying it on their LinkedIn profile headlines.

While at Cloudera, I learned how a great business should be run. I had worked at other companies and seen how a poorly managed and undirected company is run. Cloudera, by and large, communicates well internally. There are twice monthly meetings for the entire company. These meetings cover any new projects or company news. This isn’t just the CEO talking. It’s often the engineer, manager or program manager telling the company about their project. You do feel that you know the company’s goals and team’s goals.

That isn’t to say Cloudera’s phenomenal growth isn’t without its problems. I’ve heard the comparison that Cloudera is like a teenager that’s hit a growth spurt. There will be those times when they’ll smack themselves in the face with their gangly arms. It just happens sometimes.

If you’re looking at joining Cloudera, I say great and prepare well. If you’re an investor reading up on Big Data or Hortonworks’ competitors, the future looks very bright for the technology, success stories and uses cases.

Full disclosure: I am a Cloudera shareholder.

Share This