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The World of Cloud Services with Jonathan LaCour

By March 20, 2019 No Comments

Audio Version

There’s a lot happening in the world of cloud services today and Jonathan LaCour of Mission is here to tell us all about it. Jonathan is CTO of Mission, a managed cloud consulting service based in Los Angeles.

On today’s episode of CTO Studio, Jonathan and I talk about all the issues related to cloud and cloud migration and owning your own data. Be sure to listen in to this fascinating conversation on today’s CTO Studio.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Why doesn’t it work to just throw people at a problem?
  • Why the CTO and the product team ultimately have the same goal.
  • What is the most difficult thing for most technologists?
  • What is the #1 most important value a CTO can hold?
  • What do people ultimately value?
  • And so much more!

Mission helped sponsor our first CTO conference, the same conference at which Jonathan gave a talk. So it’s fitting to actually we recorded this show from Mission’s headquarters with Jonathan. We start off by talking about Jonathan’s journey, how he became the CTO at Mission and what they do there.

Jonathan got into computing young, his dad was a Presybterian minister and also an engineer who went to Georgia Tech. His dad even worked on the space program, and has always been a technical kind of guy.

In fact, Jonathan’s dad would bring home his portable computer when Jonathan was little. This computer was a Mac Plus with a handle on it! And that’s where Jonathan started to code: on that little Mac Plus. He started with HyperCard and Pascal and eventually C, etc.

In high school he began writing code professionally and started working at an enterprise healthcare business. He went through a few acquisitions with them, including when they were bought by an enterprise document management business so he was heavily into enterprise in its early days.

From there he did a hard right into startups and went into business with his sister and brother-in-law. They created a type of SaaS application in the photography space called ShootQ.

They built out a cloud native app (back in the very early days of cloud) and grew ShootQ to become an industry standard, after which they sold it to a company in LA.

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Which is how Jonathan met Simon Anderson (the CEO of Mission). Simon was the CMO of the company who bought ShootQ before he became the CEO of DreamHost. Jonathan and his family moved from Atlanta to LA so he could take a role with DreamHost. He had 5 different titles in 7 years with them. In those 7 years he did a lot of different things including building out cloud infrastructure, engineering management, etc.

When Simon became an entrepreneur-in-residence at a private equity firm out of Boston they worked together on a thesis for the managed cloud space, which is how they both ended up at Mission.

Also on today’s CTO Studio, he tells us why the firm chose Mission (formerly Reliam), how they expanded to a company of 100 people today over the course of a year and what they do at Mission presently.

Honing in on that kind of growth in such a short period of time, I asked Jonathan to talk more about how his team has changed and evolved as it has grown. He explains that because they are a business that does a lot of professional services and consulting a lot of Mission’s technical resources work on a team other than his team. His team represents the glue that holds things together. When he started it was just him so over time he has been pulling in people who are the best fit for what they are doing.

I also asked him how to decide which cloud (or clouds) to be in and he says it is about picking the best tool for the job. It’s like any other exploration a CTO will undertake so the way he helps people understand the hyperscale cloud providers is simple: ultimately you are looking for someone who is going to provide you with as many shortcuts as possible to get to market.

He goes on to explain the phases of evaluating each of these providers, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as why he encourages CTOs to align themselves with their product teams. We finish up with a chat about why he recommends learning Amazon’s API Gateway and Amazon’s Athena API.

Join us for this deep dive into the world of cloud services on today’s episode of CTO Studio!

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