The below is a full (unedited) transcript of a Youtube session / podcasting episode I recorded with Moisey Uretzky, co-founder of DigitalOcean in Q1 2020 shortly after the Corona pandemic hit. You can view the video/listen to the podcast on Youtube, Apple Podcast, Stitcheror wherever you get your podcasts.
Erasmus Elsner 0:08
What’s up everybody, and welcome to another episode of Sandhill road, the show where I talk to successful startup founders and their investors, about the companies that they built and invest in. And the goal, like always, is to give you a sense of what it’s like to be in their shoes, to understand how their businesses tick, how they got to where they are today and to learn from their many successes and mistakes. We are recording this in very difficult times as the COVID-19 and Corona pandemic have spread from Asia to Europe to all over the world. In an unprecedented move to combat this crisis, and to flatten the curve through social distancing, many companies over the last few weeks have moved to a “work from home policy”. And while frontend collaboration solutions such as Zoom and Slack, have received much of the public attention over the last few weeks, we shouldn’t forget that the public cloud and it’s enabling solutions are really backstopping this entire shift to remote work. In other words, cloud infrastructure providers are really an unsung hero in enabling social distancing, and allowing us to work from home and flatten the curve. And my guest today is a thought leader in exactly this vertical. I’m talking to Moisey Uretzky, the co-founder of DigitalOcean.
Moisey Uretsky 1:18
How is this possible?
Erasmus Elsner 1:19
Be clear, this is not a sponsored episode. But from my personal experience of building and launching web apps, DigitalOcean has always been my cloud provider of choice. At one point, my startup even went through the DigitalOcean match program, whereby DigitalOcean gifted us $30,000 in server credit, which is obviously hugely helpful to any early stage startup. And in fact, in competing with the larger tech giant cloud providers, such as Amazon’s AWS, and Google’s GCP, DigitalOcean has really made a name for itself in supporting early stage startups in smaller businesses. The company has so far raised $123 million from VCs, incl. Andreessen Horowitz and Access Technology Ventures. It is currently on an expected $300 million annual run rate and has done so without raising any equity since 2015. Instead, the company has scaled by using almost $300 million in venture debt. In this session, we will cover Moises entrepreneurial journey…
Moisey Uretsky 2:43
…where you have constraints, it really forces your creativity had I not taken that car out had I not had to make that payment, I probably would have said okay, it’s not meant to be Let’s move on.
Erasmus Elsner 2:53
…including his relationship to his brother and co-founder, Ben,
Moisey Uretsky 2:56
…the best lottery ticket you could ever get in life was being interested in computers in early age in the 1990s,
Erasmus Elsner 3:04
the product and funding journey. And we’ll learn something about his outlook on the cloud infrastructure space. But let’s hear it from Moisey himself. Let’s jump right in.
Erasmus Elsner 3:40
Welcome everybody to another episode of Sand Hill Road. And I’m really honored today to be joined by Moisey Uretzky, who’s the co-founder of DigitalOcean, a product that everybody in the indiehackers community and developer community loves really excited to have you here with us. Moisey, you ready to take it from the top?
Moisey Uretsky 3:48
Yeah, absolutely. Really excited to be here and look forward to it.
Erasmus Elsner 3:52
Before I want to jump into the DigitalOcean story. I want to take a bit of a walk down memory lane and talk about your your early beginnings. So you and your co-founder, Ben, who’s your brothers as well, you came to the US from Russia when you were five, I think. And so in many ways, you’re the classical first generation immigrant family success story, right? Talk to us a little bit about these early beginnings and how this prepared you for, for your later entrepreneurial journey.
Moisey Uretsky 4:23
It’s a twisted tale. That’s all interconnected. But yeah, I mean, we emigrated to America, we were five, about five years old. So we didn’t have much choice in the matter. And our family is from Russia. Our father was the one who really drove that process to get us here because, you know, he saw the America is the land of golden opportunity. It’s a cliche, but that’s what he heard. And, you know, we left actually, the Soviet Union before it had collapsed and turned into Russia today and all the other neighboring countries. And so his knowledge of America is really based on some books that he read well, that were from the 1950s. So it was a bit of a culture shock for him to get to America and realize that there was a bit of a disconnect between what he read about 1950s and 60s America versus the one that we found in the late 80s and early 90s. I think for us, what was really critical is that our family was always big on education, our grandmother had played a tremendous role in that she was the head of Pediatrics, so taking care of the most seriously ill kids. And he was also a great students her entire life. She started off being ethologists, which is a very skittish job. But he basically did it because she wanted to learn. And she felt that if she could understand why people passed away, and we all do autopsies, she would learn a tremendous amount about how to help cure people. And then when she started her career in pediatrics and had infectious diseases, all the medical journals that would arrive to her hospital, she would be the first one to take them, read them, and then give them back to everybody else. So she definitely instilled this thirst for knowledge in us as well as our dad, she was kind of the carrot, our dad was kind of the stick. So from a very early age, we just had education and reading kind of ingrained in us. And then fortunately, and unfortunately, our parents got divorced. So that was definitely a tough, tough time for us. But the benefit was that we had got our first computer. And so you know, what is it the press lonely kid do but doing the internet? So that was, that’s how it kind of all worked out. I think somebody tweeted, I don’t remember who it was that the best lottery ticket you could ever get in life. Well, was being interested in computers in early age in the 1990s. So I think definitely, that had played a tremendous role. Because this wasn’t something that I sought out. It was just something that was part of my my life growing up. So there was not really a transition there that kind of carried out further from there.
Erasmus Elsner 7:08
Yeah, that’s super interesting. I’m always interested to find out where people get their early intellectual curiosity. And then like any good Russian, you go on and study mathematics at NYU. And I think you’ve talked about this in the past that this has really taught you first principles thinking not just thinking about what’s one plus one, but really, what does a number mean? And that this has really shaped also your business mind. Talk to us a little bit about that.
Moisey Uretsky 7:34
I did study mathematics, because I liked it. I had a really bad guidance counselor, who said I was taking a lot of math courses. Why don’t I study mathematics and means that my major, that’s not great career advice. And for the first probably to the first half of mathematics was stuff that you were used to playing with numbers and doing calculus and all of them like that. And then I took this course, which was algebra. And I didn’t understand what they meant by algebra. I thought it was the old algebra, this was actually the foundation of mathematics algebra, where numbers don’t exist, you have to create numbers out of nothing. And that was a very challenging class, I think my first test I got a, I think I failed my first test. I haven’t failed a math test my entire life. And I failed. And I said, Oh, my goodness, this is, this is something different. But about halfway through that course, my mind kind of clicked into this proof and logic structure. And that definitely did help me to understand just how to ask questions, how to make proofs, and just how to kind of question everything, and kind of build it up from there. Because when you don’t have even the luxury of zero, or one or two, or plus or minus, you really are starting from nothing. And in many ways, building a company, it’s very much the same thing where there’s some ideas that you have, there’s definitely knowledge out there, but you still have to build it from the ground up. And even when you have the right idea. People say oftentimes, the idea is not as essential as building the business behind it. And I just see that a lot of just how do you create those principles, whether it’s product principles, culture, just pretty much any part of your business? How do you build a structure foundation for it? And how do you expand that so it’s not just stuck in your head, but something that other people can follow and utilize, and also benefit from?
Erasmus Elsner 9:17
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me. DigitalOcean wasn’t really your first startup, most famously, was obviously ServerStack, which you co-founded with your brother Ben and which was later merged into DigitalOcean. But before that, you also had a FinTech startup, which was catering to hedge funds and fund-of-funds. And so talk to us about these startups before DigitalOcean, and how this really shaped you as, as an entrepreneur.
Moisey Uretsky 9:41
ServerStack, that was the first one. And, you know, the company that we were working for went out of business, and we basically did the same thing and started our own business and the founding journey there was, was interesting. It was it was quite a few challenges. I think it there’s so many different lessons. That, that you can learn from it. But I think one of them is, if you can get the right team of people together, even if it’s just two people, it doesn’t matter if it’s three, four, or five. But just having more than one person in the room is critical. Because when we first started servers that we, we’ve got all of these servers, we went to a data center, we set them up, we got everything connected, they were trying to get the network online. And in those days, networking was was challenging was kind of like playing Nintendo and you had to blow on the cartridges and put them in just right, well, fiber optics and networking was kind of the same, things wouldn’t work, and you wouldn’t know why. And we actually failed to get the network online. So we actually took all the servers out and put them back in the trunk of the car, we drove all the way home back to Brooklyn. And Ben told me, I’m lazy, don’t worry about it, I got some cash saved away, we’ll go on vacation and figure out our next move. We got to the house. And I had just quit my job I had just dropped out of school. And stupidly you’re not stupid, we I had also gotten my first car that I took out on a lease and I was paying for the lease and insurance. And as we’re driving home the entire time I’m panicking thinking, I’ve been so good about making sure not to overburden my mom with any of my finances. Now I’m going to be out of a job and who is going to pay for my car and my insurance, there’s no way in hell, I could go back to my mom and tell her, Hey, I have no income, can you pay for my car? So the entire ride home, I was thinking about that. And I realized that there was one customer, when you really well that if I could just get her set up online, that one server, I could make enough money to pay for the car. So I told them said, Hey, why don’t we just take that one server and bring it to a friend’s data center because they have never been taken care of, I’ll get the server online. And then I can pay for my car and mom, and I know I don’t want my mom dad. And then dad’s looking at me. And he says, Wait a minute, if we could set up one server or a friend’s data center, why don’t we take all the other servers as well and set them up? So we had already emailed the customers so that we can get your online? We email them back and say no, nevermind that email Three hours later, we’ll have you online. So we buy them online and server stack was born. And I think that’s an important lesson in life is basically twofold. One, if it was either just me or Ben, we would have both quit for different reasons. But the two of us together with one person couldn’t see a way out the other person had, you know, was thinking through the problem. And I think also, this is something people talk about frequently. But when you have constraints, it really forces your creativity, had I not taken that car out? Had I not had to make that payment, I probably would have said okay, it’s not meant to be Let’s move on. But because I needed to take care of that financial responsibility, I had to figure a way out. And when did you know it, we found one. So I always say that. So my best decisions come from some of my worst decisions. Usually when I get financially to expose, then the creativity comes in, and then I have to figure it out. So that was definitely a big lesson, one of many that we learned there. And then the second company, it was really about getting back to engineering and writing code, because I kind of got away from that, that becoming a manager. And I kind of realized a couple of things. Number one, no matter how much I love to code, I had to be realistic, I hadn’t spent the last 10 years doing it. So I wasn’t never going to be great at it. And I just had to let that kind of go by the wayside. But it was also interesting to learn about a business that was completely different from what I had been exposed to. And I think that also taught me that I’m probably best a in a secondary role where I don’t have to have the idea, somebody else can have the idea, but I just have to absorb it, and then I can execute on it. And that’s kind of been the history throughout and same thing with DigitalOcean was really a direction that Ben wanted to question. And then when the stars align, then we can execute out of it. So I think it’s about understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as a person. And I think that’s really the key to building a great co founding team is not, it’s not really to do everything yourself, but to know where you’re weak and bring other people in. And it’s not about accepting your weakness, it’s just about playing to your strengths and realizing that no matter, no company in the world is going to be a billion dollar company with one person. So you’re always going to end up in a team structure. So understanding where your best fit is early probably gets you there faster.
Erasmus Elsner 14:15
Now that’s super interesting. And it’s a perfect segue to talk about the early days of DigitalOcean. And about the team. So you had a team of a total of five co-founders, obviously there was you and Ben. And then there was Mitch Wainer, Jeff Carr and Alec Hartman and so it’s been reported that you met Mitch Wainer through Craigslist, and he answered a Craigslist ad. And I think I read it somewhere else that Jeff also answered a Craigslist ad when you recruited him for ServerStack. And so what about Alec Hartman seems like Craigslist is the place to go to look for co-founders, which probably i’m not i’m not sure everybody would agree with us.
Moisey Uretsky 14:54
It was working for us. So I think the chronological order of meeting the co-founders, so I actually met Alec first. And this was when I was doing Core Group, the FinTech startup, I was responsible for a lot of back-end code about just cleaning up the data and managing it. And we had an intern from my old high school who had gone on to college at Cornell, who was building the front end in Rails. And no matter how hard I tried to convince him to drop out, he never, he never agreed to it. So he stayed at Cornell, and now he’s at Facebook, he’s doing well, so that’s fine. So after he decided not to drop out, I kind of inherited the entire codebase. And I just didn’t feel that I was familiar enough with rails to just really own the entire process, and now start selling this product to businesses. So I went on Google, I typed in Rails consulting, New York City, the first result that I got was this company in New York, New York City on rails, or something like that. And they call the phone number. And this gentleman, Alec picked up the phone. And I told him, this is a bit of a weird request, I don’t really have a project that I need you to code. But what I would like is for you to come into the office to help me learn rails a little bit. So that I could get more comfortable with an Alec to his credit. He said, Yes, that is a unique request. I’ve never heard that one before. And yeah, okay, I’ll come by, yeah, let’s try this, see what happens. So he came by the office, there’s been a couple of days together, we went through the code, he basically told me Look, you kind of know what you’re doing, definitely, you need more practice. But you know, feel free to reach out, if you need some help you get stuck anywhere. And we kind of left things there. And that was that kind of sat on the side for a few months, then Jeff reached out on Craigslist to an ad that we had for a system administrator. And we learned early on in our hiring, that there’s a lot of biases that you have when you hire people that you might not be exposed to. But y’all, we all have them. And what we decided is that we always want to do a homework assignment, before we really talk to the person because I don’t want my bias of that individual, whether they’re conscious or subconscious to play into how good they are their job. And so we sent him this homework assignment. And he gave it back to us and he got 100 on it. And it’s impossible to get I mean, it’s not impossible, but it’s very, very unlikely to get 100 it was it was basically you take everything from one virtual server and you move it to another one. And you can do a great job, but you always forget something, you’ll forget a contact, you’ll forget one little mistake here or there. And so he got 100. So we’re like, how is this possible? No. And then I looked at his resume and saw what he was doing. And he happened to have been a go grip before, which was another cloud back in the day. So as like, wow, this is interesting. I got to talk to this guy, what’s going on over here. So we set up a phone conversation actually serve a Skype for I don’t know if it did back then for video conferencing. And so we got on, we started chatting, we spent about 20 minutes talking about engineering and all this event, the other thing and the next probably 40 minutes, just joking around like to like brothers from another mother sitting here, just instant compatibility. And I came back to them. And I said, Hey, Ben, look, we got this guy, Jeff. He’s great. So between him, and Alec, we can now build DigitalOcean. So that’s how Jeff got hired. And unbeknownst to us at the time, Jeff actually had no interest in staying with us. He signed up because his girlfriend at the time, was doing a PhD in New York City. So he had to move from California to New York. So he figured he’d do a couple of months, and then kind of go on his way. And that he kind of fell in love with us in the company. We went over from there. And then Mitch came on board, because we were funding all of DigitalOcean from server stack. So we still had to operate that business. So we were looking for somebody to basically lead the charge and marketing and service back. And again, Craigslist was the place we went to look for a marketer. And it’s really hard to find somebody who understands marketing, and has also been a developer in any amount of code. So he came up over there. And that seems like the right person to hire for service that and then eventually integrates with DigitalOcean. So that was kind of how the founding team came together to Google Craigslist, and needed to learn how to write Ruby on Rails code.
Erasmus Elsner 19:16
That’s great. And so let’s talk a little bit about the DigitalOcean MVP. So you start out in summer 2011, working on the MVP, and I think you launched the beta in January of 2012. You didn’t charge clients until March of 2012. And by this time, you already had 50 to 60 clients. So I assume that some of these clients were previous clients from ServerStack, or how did you get to these first 50 to 60 clients?
Moisey Uretsky 19:46
Actually, none of them were from service tech. So yeah, we were we started writing code in June 2011. And then I think somewhere around December, then he comes in as the CEO, he’s the CEO. He’s my older brother, obviously. So he comes He says, You guys have been writing code for six months, are you going to ship anything? And he said, Oh, now you’re you’re he has a point, we should probably ship something and see if anybody likes this. So we launched the beta in January of 2012. And we just did everything possible to get people to use it, we were actually in the precursor to wework, which is now a bit of a controversial name in the space. But we were in their first codesharing hole, co-working space, which was called Green Desk that’s kind of…
Erasmus Elsner 20:32
I remember the one that he that Adam Neumann, founder of WeWork sold as like the first proof of concept for WeWork.
Moisey Uretsky 20:37
Yeah. So we were one of the first tenants in Green Desk. And we also help them a lot with their networking. So we would actually put up fliers in the elevator that said, Hey, we’re DigitalOcean and sign up. So we just did everything possible. We did some a das and Google AdWords, just basically everything under the sun to kind of get our name out there. And it was definitely slow going, we got a couple of customers here. And there. We’ve been a lot of things focused around meetups, anything related to any sort of tech conference that was in New York, we would do that as well. And that’s also where, you know, our interest in tech stars came from because, you know, the real thing between server stack and DigitalOcean was that the server stack, we just kind of started our business out of necessity to pay bills. And the entire time that we were building that business, our dad was telling us, if he was running the business, it’d be 10 times larger. And I always said to myself, like, under my breath in my head, obviously not to his face, you know, a few bad You don’t even know what the internet is, how would you do it? 10 times better job. I mean, he didn’t know the internet was using a lot of eBay for his own business. But the general sentiment was you don’t understand developers? How could you do a better job than us. And that worked for about five years, and then you got to be about 25 that testosterone drops and your ears open up, you stop thinking that you know everything. And I realized that I don’t think he would do a better job. But he does have a point. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. So let me read some books. So that’s when we start to read books. And that became the foundation of DigitalOcean was, you know, taking all of the mistakes that we made that now we know were mistakes, because of the books that we read, and now doing the right thing for DigitalOcean. And that was the same thing that we decided early on is that we want to do things differently. The first business was a service business, we want to make sure we have a product business. We didn’t raise any venture capital, we didn’t have a network, we didn’t have advisors, we wanted to make sure that we had a network, we had advisors, we had mentorship, that if we were going to make mistakes, we would prefer there would be new mistakes rather than rehashing the same mistakes we were made before. And that’s where our interest in tech stars came in. And yeah, it was pretty slow going like you would have a trickle of customers here and there, but nothing that you would call product market fit until January, everything else was just more effort than than the result you were getting, whether that was spending more money than getting a return or just chasing down every single person on Twitter or Hacker News or writing up a bunch of blog posts or just doing anything under the sun to kind of get your name out there and realizing that none of it is working.
Erasmus Elsner 23:13
Yeah, so I want to drill a little bit into your first major product iteration January 2013, when you decided to release the first SSD plan, and it was really quite unique at this time, you were keeping it at the same price point as before, $5 per month, and there was a TechCrunch article. And it really blew up on Hacker News. And that basically catapulted your signup rates from 2000 clients in January 250,000 clients in December.
Moisey Uretsky 23:45
When you wake up and you look at the numbers, and you’re like, wow, what the hell just happened last night? You know, it’s, it’s an out of body experience,
Erasmus Elsner 23:52
This product was a rather risky one, because you basically put all the money on one horse, which was a very uncertain horse. And I think there was some controversy also in the team of following this planet. Talk to us a little bit about this decision.
Moisey Uretsky 24:07
Yeah, so basically, we had graduated TechStars, we tried to raise a seed round and literally didn’t get too far is very tough. And the reason like $500k Seed round, and Ben kind of came in and said: “Look, we’ve spent probably a million dollars on our own money, another $500k isn’t really going to move the needle for us. So let’s just scrap that.” So we did. And then it was basically the one thing that kept us going, or at least kept me going was that when we first built DigitalOcean and I’ve got to launch the first droplet. My immediate reaction was, Oh, my God, I want to quit my job and just spin up a bunch of real servers so that I could launch more droplets. And sure, I was a founder. So maybe my impression of the product is a little bit skewed. But we had that same expression from the early customers that we had that they really loved what we were Doing so that was our, our, our method for going forward is that it’s very, very hard to get somebody to love your product, they can like it, they can certainly hate it, that’s pretty easy. But to get somebody to express that really strong assessment of love is actually very challenging. So if we achieve that, then we have something special here. And since we had that thing that was special, the next question was obviously, okay, well, we have this, we think it works well, the customers that we have, they do love what we’re doing. We just don’t have enough customers. And we can’t advertise our way into more customers, because it’s very, very expensive. And because we didn’t raise $5 million dollars, we couldn’t just blow a bunch of VC capital to raise money, which again, constraints are good. And so basically, I’m sitting on my laptop, and I was thinking about, okay, I know that Hacker News is the community that we need to be on. But Hacker News, you have an advertisement. So if you have a message that’s worthwhile, the community thinks is important. They’ll upload it, while I’m sitting on my laptop thinking of Okay, what can we do that would really create some interest from the Hacker News community. And that’s what what all of our blog posts were about, we’re trying to do cool stuff, but none of it work. So I’m sitting on this laptop, and I look at it. And I think to myself, well, my laptop has SSD drives. And in server stack, remember, we had a database server that was overloaded, because we were a management hosting provider, we would work with our customers to help them to improve their performance. And it was really tough, because oftentimes, there was like a customer and a team of developers, and they were kind of disjoint. But we really kind of had to work around those constraints. So the easiest way for us to improve a database server that was overloaded was basically to just migrated onto the same exact server that had SSD drives, because there was so much faster, he would get back, probably 80% of your performance. So you went from a server that was dying to one that was 4x on their capacity. Well, I’m sitting there on my laptop, and I’m thinking, I have SSDs. In my laptop over here, I’m trying to build the future cloud. And my future cloud is technically less powerful than my laptop and my laptop. I mean, this was still early days, laptops were not exactly yet the preferred way to view your work. So this little portable thing is better than my cloud. So I came to Jeff. And I told him, Hey, I want to put SSDs in the cloud. And Jeff got super excited. He said, Well, I could do this faster, that faster, because really give us so many things you could do with a higher performance that would actually made his job a lot easier. And then he said to me, Well, you know, we have a bunch of RAM left. And I said, Okay, well, let’s double the RAM, because these servers are going to be so expensive, that the ram becomes almost inconsequential, we’re going to spend twice as much money just on the hard drives is the entire server, who cares about this extra ramp, just do it to the customers make them happy. And then we said it’s going to be $5, because $5 footlong Subway sandwiches, is a good price point, you know, $5 is a good place to start to trial something out and see if it’s really 20 bucks, you know, it’s not expensive, but it’s a bit of a barrier. So I came to Ben and say, here’s what we’re gonna do, he looks at me, he says, You’re crazy. If this doesn’t work, you know, we have to kill this idea because it’s just too expensive. So we spent the next three months buying a bunch of SSD drives, we had to buy drive bays from eBay, because Dell would not sell us the drive bay by itself, they want us to buy a hard drive. And their hard drive prices were ridiculous. They bought all of these drive bays, we bought all these SSD drives, we sat in the office, we screwed them all together, we took three months to just put enough inventory into the cloud so that we could be an SSD on the cloud. And every customer that was signing up, basically between September till January was actually going on SSD hardware without knowing it. And then Mitch got us a TechCrunch article through his friend, john editor. And that was basically how we entered the scene that crunch with that up and Hacker News picked it up. And the community really loved it. And it just kind of snowballed from there. And we went from, you know, a no name company to, like you said, having over 100,000 customers by the end of that year, that was definitely product market fit.
Erasmus Elsner 29:07
That’s when you can tell that you have product market fit when there’s so much pull from the market. So I mean, I personally, I’ve been a huge fan of DigitalOcean ever since I spun up my first droplet. And I’ve also been lucky to go through the DigitalOcean hatch program. So I owe you like $30,000 in server credit, although I don’t think we used it all. But we used a good chunk of it. So thank you for that. So I want to segue a little bit to to the funding journey. So I think you originally applied to Techstars to the New York batch and got rejected there, because they couldn’t really wrap their head around the cloud infrastructure space and then through the introduction of Jason you went to the Boulder Colorado program. Talk to us a little bit about this time.
Moisey Uretsky 29:58
Yeah, I mean You know, we, we definitely wanted to build a network and just have other people outside of ourselves to get advice from. And we never really took Y Combinator seriously, not because we didn’t think they were great. But just because we were living in New York, our families in New York, our businesses in New York, we were running another business. So the last thing we wanted to do was move to California for even three months. So we applied to Techstars in New York City. And David Tisch was running the program. And he’s a really smart guy, we, we were rejected from being a finalist, than then email them to make us a finalist and went to the finalist selection, we still got rejected, then we sent him a really funny video about why we shouldn’t be rejected. And ultimately, he basically said to us, look, I think you guys are great, but I’m not an end user for for your product. So I don’t think I just don’t get it. It’s not that you’re bad. It’s just that it doesn’t connect with me. But let me send you over to Boulder. Then we went over to Boulder had to go through this whole process again. And then Jason seeds got involved, who was obviously the the co-founder of Slice Hosting, we love slice house. And we always joke that DigitalOcean is slice was 2.0, and maybe a slice hosted and sell to Rackspace that there will be no room for DigitalOcean. And you know, at first, he really didn’t get like, how are these guys going to do this, we know what they’re doing. And we had so many mix ups and all the meetings that were all kinds of different time zones between Nicole from TechStars, and Jason and us. So we would always have like one meeting with one person that was missing, and then another meeting with the other person. And then finally at the end, we’re all together. We’re having this final interview, we looked at each other saying Jesus Christ, this is going pretty bad. And then somewhere in the middle of adventure says no, we are running another hosting company that is doing like $5 million in revenue and has servers in three locations across the world. And all of a sudden Jason says, Oh, you guys know what you’re doing then then? Yeah, it’s fine. Okay, these these people know what they’re doing. They’re not just crazy. And so we got accepted. And that’s how we got it. So it’s just another one of those odd circumstances are just always pushing, pushing, pushing. There was no, there was never an answer of Yes, from the start. It was always you had to fight for the Yes. Every every star even tech stars, there was no one who said Yes, let’s do it.
Erasmus Elsner 32:20
Funnily enough, in my mind I actually always had you down as a YC company, because Mitch Wainer went on one of the early YC podcasts, Startup School Radio back in 2015. And I only later learned that that you were actually, in a sense, one of the poster child companies of Techstars. So let’s talk a little bit about the series A, which you raised from IA Ventures, because you had this prior relationship with the. So talk to us a little bit about this.
Moisey Uretsky 32:44
Yeah, so Brad from IA Ventures, it was actually the the Series Seed and so Brad, we met Brad actually through the other company, Core Group, which was the fintech startup that we were doing. It was a pretty simple process of meeting again, a lot of Nos a recurring theme basic and somebody says, No, try not to listen too hard. But you know, we were building this company, we wanted to raise some money. So we basically just went on Google, again, common theme, Google Craigslist. And he just typed in leases in New York again, because we don’t want to get on a plane and go somewhere that also happens to be in the FinTech space, one of the biggest names in the FinTech space in New York City was AI ventures. And again, this was 1011 or 2010. So the VC landscape in New York is much different than it is today, much, much, much smaller. So we reached out and it’s just, it’s just so funny, in hindsight, because we sent him a business plan, a business plan, not a pitch deck, but a 25 page business plan. So I think about that just, oh, my goodness, this is this is the kind of things that you do when you have no outside mentorship, or whatever else. So we sent him this 25 page. Business Plan, he went through it, he politely declined to meet with us. So of course, we didn’t take no for an answer. So I reached back out to him and I said, Hey, I know you said no, but I’d love to at least give you a demo of the product. And to Brad’s credit. He basically responded, he said, Look, I don’t think that you are a fit for us. But I’m always happy to see a demo, because that’s just the kind of person he is. But he’s definitely he’s not just a lot of VCs have different reputations, but he he’s just a good guy. So he saw a company and upstart in New York, put a lot of work in, the least you could do is see what we’re doing and give us some advice. So that’s how we actually met. I’ve been to his office, I gave him a demo. He said, hey, look, it looks like some interesting stuff. But we’re kind of a little bit challenged in the FinTech space, because the customer acquisition cost is very high, either from the consumer side or from the b2b side. So I think you’re gonna run into challenges over there, but you know, see how it goes. And ultimately, he was right. The, the adoption was challenging. So after we started to build DigitalOcean, he was obviously My first call because he was the only DC that I knew. And so we reached out and said, Hey, can I give you a demo, but something else is the key, of course, come by the office, give us a demo. So we came by, I remember the original website was just because I built it. And it says he had a piggy bank. And it was just a bunch of stock cards. And there was a big wave in the background. So we took him to the demo, he said, Look, this is pretty interesting. I don’t know how you’re going to compete with Amazon and all the big players. And at that point, we were following the age old advice. If you want money, just ask for advice. So we really were just using that as an opportunity to get our name into the TechStars network. So we said, Hey, when you think about TechStars, we knew that they were actually an investor in TechStars, that kind of gave us a foot in the door with TechStars. And then basically, from there on in, I would just follow up with him every, every week, two weeks or three weeks, just an update on the business. Here’s what we’re doing, Chris, we launched, here’s a meetup that we did, and just kind of kept them informed. And then every stage was just not the right fit, not the right fit. And then once we got product market fit, that was the email that got their attention, because I mean, the revenue was was substantial. So their revenue, climbed rather quickly. So I sent him an email and said, Hey, here’s where we’re at. And unlike the typical response, they usually happen pretty immediately or within a day, this one took a couple of weeks. And I was really surprised, I thought we were doing pretty well. And he got back to us and said, oh, wow, this sounds interesting. You guys should come by the office. Let’s dig into this a bit further. And so we came to their office in your city, and they said, Before we start, we just need to, before we start, we need to understand that, you know, it’s been three weeks, and we’ve grown 66%. By that point, you know, his eyes lit up like wow, okay. And you know, so from there, the seed round really easily. But that’s after Ben was talking to probably 40 or 50 angels for an angel round. And after two years of knowing this person, and after a year and a half of pitching him DigitalOcean every day, so then the seed round was pretty easy. Well, that’s because all of the nose and all the hard work that went into it.
Erasmus Elsner 37:12
Yeah, that’s super interesting that you built this relationship so far ahead of time that you even started with the prior startup. And then let’s talk about the next funding round, which you raised from Andreessen Horowitz. And there’s a interesting story, I think the pitch took place shortly before Thanksgiving. Peter Levine was kicking back his legs and and not really paying attention for most of the pitch, until Ben really yelled out loud “Are you getting this”? I think that was the story. Tell us a little bit about how you got to pitch Andreessen Horowitz in the first place. And and how does this meeting went?
Moisey Uretsky 37:48
I think that was definitely a power of the network. So after we raised our Series Seed, we pretty quickly within a couple of months realized that it was just not going to be enough money because we were growing so rapidly, and purchase so much more inventory of servers to really continue to provide customers with basically droplets that they needed. So we decided, hey, you know, we have a pretty good network. Now in New York. We know the players here. We have tech stars, but it’d be nice to have somebody from the west coast, right. And so basically, we sat down, and crunchfund, by the way, also invested in us during the seed round. So we had, you know, Michael Anthony, and crunch fund, and we had TechStars. And we had Brad from IAA ventures and we said, okay, let’s put a list of the Top 10 VCs on the west coast. So we had all the big names there, Sequoia, Accel and Bessemer, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock. Basically everybody there is. And we basically asked the network, hey, who can get us an intro to all of these different VCs and we got a list going together, we put together a pitch deck, we sent that out. And we basically got a meeting with each one of them. And so we scheduled for days to fly to the West Coast and pitch all of them in four days. And it was it was a little bit surreal, because you basically go to pitch one of VC in the morning and you go to some building in Silicon Valley, and you can’t go left down one corridor in the morning and then in the evening, you’re playing back and you’re going right because they’re all you know, we’re in a couple of block radius, which are sometimes in the same building, but definitely wings of it. And yeah, Andreessen Horowitz is actually our last meeting turned out later on, you’re holding inside stories, but increasing have accepted the meeting. But it was unclear which partner was going to take it and here it happened to be in the building. So they asked him to take the meeting. And he said, Okay, I’ll do it. Because I don’t want to ruin our reputation that we accepted a meeting and we have nobody here that’ll look really bad. And so yeah, we came in, we’re doing the pitch here is sitting, his legs are kicked up. He looks like he’s not paying attention. You know, he’s obviously on our board now. And then we learn. He actually does pay attention. That’s just his personality. He’s just very laid back but he’s super smart. He just he hears everything he gets Halfway through the meeting, probably mean and major probably arguing about something and Ben turns and says, Hey, guys, if you stop arguing, you see that Peters not buying this. And Peter says, Oh, it’s not that I’m not buying it. I just never thought that a little startup we’re trying to go after Amazon and be in any way successful. But you know, from there, it’s interesting, because again, it’s never it’s never a yes. So that meeting went really well. But it really wasn’t the the catalyst to get their investment. You know, we kept pitching other firms. And we had started to get some interest in different VCs. But the two partners that we really liked the most were Jerry Chan from Greylock and Peter Levine from Andreessen. And I think this goes back to that important notion of make sure you get the right people on board. Because, yeah, they happen to be great names in the space. But it really was just the partners that we spoke with, and that we really connected with Jerry Chan was from VMware, super smart guy, tremendous amount of energy. And, you know, we’ve been having invested in GitHub and even Zen stores. So he definitely understood our space and the importance of developers. And basically, Ben got a partner pleasure, some VC for him on the west coast. And he came over to me and said, Hey, boys, have you gotten this old partner pitch at some VC firm? And I asked him what name I don’t I don’t remember the name now. So obviously, I said, Hell no, I’m not getting on a plane I was I have I had big fear of flying now it’s less than hell. No, I’m not getting a plane for those guys off not knowing. So then then it goes to measures Mitch, we’ve got again a plan to go to the Westbrook’s to pitch these VCs, Mitch is always Mr. pauses that Yes. All right, let’s do it. Let’s get on the plane. So they fly out to the west coast, the pitch these guys on Monday, they’re about to get an Uber to drive back to the airport and fly back to New York. And then Ben stops and says, You know what, this is bullshit. We’re not going to fly back to New York, we’re going to get an old partner meeting. We’re increasing Horowitz, we’re going to pitch these guys and we’re going to tell them, why should they invest in us. Meanwhile, they’re only there in California on Monday, they had a flight out in the morning, a flight back in the evening, they have no clothes. But they decided to stick around the second side hotel, they buy some clothes, and they start just emailing peers saying, Hey, we’re in town, let’s get a meeting together, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, somehow Ben poses matter that he normally does, he gets an old partner meeting with Andreessen Horowitz, because we happen to be in town and does the pitch. And that’s kind of when the wheels start to fall into motion, and they get really interested. And that’s how we eventually get to having them as an investor.
Erasmus Elsner 42:30
There’s been a lot of talk about venture debt. If I look into your funding history, one thing that’s really striking and DigitalOcean hasn’t raised any money since the Series B in 2015, and has heavily relied on non-dilutive venture debt, raising almost $300 million in venture debt, I think most recently $100 million venture debt round. I think back in January, there’s been a lot of talk on VC Twitter around venture debt, and not every company can pull it off. You really need to have strong cash flows to pull that one off. And talk to us a little bit about your personal experience and understanding of venture debt and which companies should should go that venture that route?
Moisey Uretsky 43:11
Yeah, for sure. I mean, for us, that was something that we learned to operate with service that debt first initial set of servers we would buy for cash. And the problem that we would run into is that back then I still to this day, I mean, servers are expensive. And typically speaking, you know, if you buy a server for X dollars, you’re not going to pay back that server in the first month, you’ll pay back over a short period of time, if not a month. So if you wanted to grow our business, and you were getting more customers than we could afford servers, for by buying for cash, we had no choice but to go and get that at the scale that we were then it was very nice, because Dell has an entirely separate financial services on which will lease you the servers, which was a model that worked very well for us, because then we can lease the service for a monthly cost. It also worked well for us from a accounting perspective, because we were reselling those servers to customers for a monthly cost. So it allowed us to keep really clear accounting, because we can see very clearly, here’s how much revenue we get from the server. Here’s how much the server costs. And as long as the revenue is higher than the server costs, we were doing well, so why not? Let’s not turn down the customer. Let’s take out some debt and get that customer online. So when it came down to DigitalOcean, we were already using that new server stack to fund the business. But we quickly realized as DigitalOcean had product market fit that the amount of debt that we would need to take on would be more than any debt lender would be comfortable with. So Dell was okay with us as server side because our debt load was growing very slowly. We had a long payment history. Probably the first thing to do was just one server then maybe we did three servers. So it was just a very gradual process. But with DigitalOcean there was a very rapid process. That’s part of the reason why we as investors, because we needed to have other people that basically vouch for our business, so various lending parties, whether it was Dell or bank of overalls, we feel comfortable with that. And, you know, I think in the long term, if you think about if we think about the investment that we got, during the surge, the series seed round, and what we sold that equity for and what that equity is potentially worth today, I mean, a lot of money. And that’s money that you put ahead in your pocket, but now your investor hasn’t, right. So for us, that was just part of how we always operate it. So just like a natural extension, why raise equity, then to go buy servers, when there’s already a system in place to provide that facility for you and server costs would be something that we have, basically, for the entire history of our business, because as our cloud girl is our server capacity will need to grow with it. So we were just always operating in that capacity. And certainly, in hindsight, I mean, it’s pretty obvious that in certain cases it works. Well, I, the places where I wouldn’t use venture debt is something like advertising, you know, anything that if you, I would use that if it’s part of your cost structure. So if you have basically your margin structure, yours when your cost of goods sold is and you can take the cost of goods sold and put some depth behind it, then absolutely, it works well, as long as you make sure your margins are good, and your customers are happy. And certainly you have to have higher cash flows. And there’s definitely more stringent accounting that’s required. So we started doing audits from big audit firms very early in our history, because the banks just need that level of visibility to make sure that your books are good. But in many ways that’s that’s very good hygiene for a company to have. So that allowed us to grow faster than that’s forced us to be more financially responsible. I mean, we were always financially responsible, because we had come from a bootstrapping background. So we always spent money as if it was our own. And so for us, it just allowed us to build a more financially solid company pretty early on with a lot of financial controls in place, because they were just a requirement for taking out the kind of debt that we needed to run the business.
Erasmus Elsner 47:12
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense that an asset-heavy company, where you can also collateralize some of the debt with the server assets, and prefer that over equity. Makes a lot of sense to me. So in the last segment, I want to move on to scaling DigitalOcean. And so you’ve scaled is from like really early stage startup bootstrapped environment, to now a company with more than 500 employees and servers across the world. Talk to us a little bit about the challenges in scaling up: culturally, financially, etc. I mean, we don’t have to cover it all, but what’s like the top-of-the-mind challenge.
Moisey Uretsky 47:49
When we started DigitalOcean, I told the other guys, look, I can’t promise you that we’re going to be a successful business. But I can certainly promise you we’ll learn something in the process. I think this entire category of scaling your business has been a tremendous learning process, because our other business is rumored to be about 20 ish employees. 500 employees is very different. The scale and the the rapid nature of that growth is also different. And yeah, I mean, I think probably the two biggest, the three biggest lessons that are just hour long topics about themself is people process and culture. And you know, each one is very distinct, I think culture is probably emitted, it’s hard to say that one is more political in the US than the other because they really are all intertwined, they all kind of overlap is the same thing like product and marketing. The best product and marketing are when those two areas are kind of completely intertwined. So with culture, I mean, number one, you have to have consistency, you have to have consistency between your founding team, what are the values that you hold individually? And how are those values going to get integrated into the company? I think that a lot of challenges that we had in DigitalOcean, culturally, is that individually, we did not hold the same values. So when we were trying to bring those values into the company, a lot of employees, we get different messages, depending on how it is politics, and they spoke to me, they’d hear one version disposer, then they would hear different version. And that lack of consistency makes it very hard for people to know how to operate, and to know what is expected of them and to know what is a good job and also, to know what’s a bad job, right? Because the last thing that any employee wants to do is to do something and then realize, Hey, I did the wrong thing. So that was definitely a challenge. I think the second part of it is definitely process and you know, this process that arises naturally you start off. I mean, literally I sat in the middle, Jeff was was on site, Alec was on the other side, the project management was in my head because I could just hold each one and we could build stuff, but you know, national When you get 234567, engineers, you have to put some process in place. And you start off with I back in the day, we actually use Pivotal Tracker, we use Basecamp, and Trello, and everything on the sun. But the same thing also happens in your business as you go to more employees. And I think more critically, the interface of culture and process, and I don’t mean, the routine process, whether it be stand ups, or whatever else, but it process that’s in service of your culture. So if your culture is, you know, to show love to the customer, okay, that’s, that’s a nice phrase, but what does it mean? And what is the process that you have in place that encourages employees to have that conversation or to review their work, or more importantly, to call out senior leadership or anyone else at the company if we’re falling behind, on making that commitment to our customer. So I think that’s a really critical component of understanding. The third part, which is probably been the biggest lesson as well is the people side, and I think there’s, there’s numerous transitions that accompany goes through in this founding journey. And they’re all pretty much the same. But if you don’t have outside mentors to kind of guide you through it, you end up making the same mistakes that everybody else made on that journey. So usually, early on in your history, a lot of companies will have the same thing where you attract a certain type of people certain type of talent, which becomes instrumental to how you build things. We had so many individuals who join us along the journey, whether it was a telco, both that community, Edward built, that customer success, that build customer support, you just have these people that come in and take on a greater role and a greater weight, then what they look like on their resume. But at a certain point, you reach a certain scale, and you’re trying to bring in the new grownups as it were. And that’s where you start to get a bit of conflict. And you certainly get people where their main focus is not your company. That was early people, they joined you not because they needed a job, they join you because your company was an ideal version of what they wanted to work for, there was a greater mission and calling in what they did. And they got to express that through their work at your company. And then once you start to get the seasoned executives, sometimes they’re not their first choice, sometimes you’re a stepping stone in their career or whatever else. And that creates a lot of internal politicking. And again, that goes back to your culture and your process. If you have a culture that is set, and you have a process that then lays that culture out for people, once you bring in these other people into your equation, you already have stuff in place, that kind of keeps the ship points in the right direction. If you don’t have an in place, then this ship will naturally start to wander off course. And you’re obviously going to make mistakes. And it’s also going to become more challenging to recover because all of your problems become one off, do you keep dealing with the same issue over and over again, but you have to do it from scratch rather than having a process, which naturally highlights that issue. Because before it becomes critical. And, you know, I think the most challenging part is just learning how to scale individually and skill people at your company and have people hired over you and etc, and so forth. And that’s a personal journey, as well. So everybody’s going to react to it differently. And all of us are individuals. And sometimes the hardest lessons we learn are not what you want to learn. They’re probably lessons that we’re refusing to learn, but they’re probably important ones. So I think there’s a, there’s a myriad of things that happen there.
The only advice that I can give in a small snippets is if you’re going through that you’re not alone. Pretty much every other company has gone through it, maybe one or two in the history of tech startups that does all right, without screwing it up. But everybody else we’ve screwed up in our own different ways. And the simple advice is, find a mentor that has done it, that can guide you through it so that whatever mistakes you make are going to be individuals to your company rather than architectural mistakes that somebody would have just helped you avoid really early on by saying, hey, do this, do that. I can’t tell you the answer. But I can give you a process and a structure. I think just once you start hanging that phase, get get a mentor that you trust, so that you could have those conversations.
Erasmus Elsner 54:16
Yeah, that’s super interesting. If I can sum it up, these are really the internal scaling-up challenges, like people, culture and process. But one thing I want to talk about as well are the external scale-up challenges in particular competition. And so everybody knows that Netflix lives on AWS and AWS is really the Amazon cash cow. But it has gotten a lot of competition from the other tech giants, with Google’s GCP and Microsoft in particular. And so DigitalOcean has in the beginning really grown from this from this initial fanbase of developers and startups and smaller businesses. So talk to us a little bit how now that it’s at scale up now. How the competitive landscape really looks like?
Moisey Uretsky 55:02
The benefits for us is that we entered Amazon’s space and not the other way around. So AWS was already massive and billions of dollars in revenue. So we, we had no misconceptions about how big Amazon was, we thought that for what they did, they were fantastic. And we even spoke about this in various meetings or pitches or whatever else, even a tech stars like and they asked us for what our differentiation is. And I said love as because I couldn’t say What a strange base that two and a half engineers need be in the half, we’re going to beat Amazon’s 10,000 engineers, that just doesn’t make sense. So I think from a competitive landscape, we entered Amazon space. So if we could survive and thrive while they were already there, then in some ways, we were inoculated from them, because we came to where they were, rather than a lot of companies, which ended up doing something I think Netflix is a good example, because now Netflix is in competition with Amazon Prime, right. So Amazon entered their space. So I think that’s, you know, if you have to worry about Amazon, it’s best that you entered the airspace directly. Because we need to survive with all of that, and you’ll kind of have your theme rather than worrying that one day, they’re going to come after you. I think that for us, Google and Microsoft, answering the conversation is also great, because Microsoft and Google are going to give Amazon a bigger worry then little DigitalOcean of the size. So I think in many ways, that’s also good news for us. And ultimately, the really look of this space is that, you know, if you’re building this hyperscale company that’s going to grow from zero to the next Facebook in 12 months, like Look, you’re going to use AWS, you’re going to use GCP, because that’s where your infrastructure makes sense. But if you want the same building blocks, but without that complexity, then you will go to DigitalOcean. So we always saw ourselves as kind of like we build products for us. And we weren’t building this, the next Facebook, we were just building something to make it easier to get your code online. And so we really see ourselves as a small to medium sized business player. And it’s not even a thing of it is is that even the SMB definition is not accurate, because to me, it always comes down to, I almost think of it as a medium complexity of infrastructure, because you can actually have a massive business, but your infrastructure complexities small. And then DigitalOcean is actually a great use for you, you might have a really small business, but your complexity is super high. And then you have to use somebody like AWS. So I think even that definition gets a little bit challenging. But in terms of the competitive landscape, I think I said we entered their space, we survived and done well. And so for us, really our focus is on other startups, because they are where we were, you know, five, six years ago, and we were entering a competitive space, even on the lower end of not these hyperscale companies. So that’s really where my focus is looking at the other companies that are starting today where we’re seeing as the incumbent or the bigger company, and then really worrying about what trends are we missing? What workflows are we missing? Are we getting a little bit disconnected from our original mission of taking care of customers and developers? And that’s really the stuff that I worry about. That’s what keeps me up at night? I don’t really worry about Amazon? I’m not look, I think that they’re great at what they do. And I think we’re great at what we do. But what I want to make sure is that we take care of our customers and make them happy. So for me, I don’t see that as AWS, I see that as other startups that are really the ones that are keeping us up at night.
Erasmus Elsner 58:42
Absolutely. I love that. And I posted tonight that I my indie hackers group that I’m going to interview you. And I got like a resounding echo that they were all saying this is the greatest product out there. So it’s definitely still resonating with the developer community. And so the last question, I want to ask you in these current COVID-19 and Corona crisis, I think the cloud infrastructure providers are in many ways, an unsung hero in enabling this work from home and social distancing.
Moisey Uretsky 59:16
Definitely a very challenging time that we’re in. I mean, I think there’s a couple of different perspectives. I mean, there’s definitely the macro economic perspective, which is, you know, if the government does not step in across the board, we’re going to have problems because this is really a never before seen situation, it’s almost the equivalent of the the GDP of the world is going to stop for two to three months. And when I think about America, in particular, you know, there’s so many people that live here that don’t have even one month of savings, so they can’t be out of work for one month and likewise as a small and medium business, and we started our original company. There’s a lot of businesses That are fantastic businesses that can’t go through one to three months of zero or 80%. Reduce revenue. So I think number one is that the government’s will have to step in to mitigate this. And they are, which is fantastic. Because this is just, this isn’t a speculation in the market. This isn’t fraud. This is just something that is beyond all of us. And I think that the reality is, is that this has been going on for so long. You know, human beings, we’ve always been exposed to viruses. But I think it’s been such a long time until something really global has truly happened. And, you know, you can talk about like, you know, the Spanish Flu of 1918. I mean, we’ve had outbreaks, but nothing that has really created this sort of disruption. I think from the cloud perspective and their work perspective, I mean, that’s really the best area that is, I don’t want to say immune, because no one’s going to be immune if the entire world economy is affected. But certainly I think this has put a lot of focus on remote work, I think there’s a lot of focus on infrastructure providers, and just the tools that we use it allow us to do that. I mean, even you and I talking I mean, that’s, that’s part of that whole value chain that we have, I think internally, you know, at DigitalOcean, where we’ve been doing as a half of our company, over half the company is remote to begin with. So that that has definitely been a benefit. And certainly, you know, we’re headquartered in New York. So, you know, we kind of had to take pretty serious measures, because that is the largest breakout sensor in America. And for us, because our companies with Rison remote, it’s a lot easier to go fully remote, because everybody’s already used to how those meetings are structured. And we have all the tools in place, I think, companies that had a very large remote presence had an easier time transitioning, because they were already doing it. And then everybody doing it is not, you know, you kind of do it as a more personal challenge, where if you have kids, and you’re working from home, and they start knocking on your door saying, you know, dad or mom, they’ll play with me, I mean, they’re also out of school now, right? everybody’s kind of locked away at home, I think it’s more of a personal challenge. But you know, for us on the infrastructure side, as well, I mean, our biggest challenge is really about the physical presence, because, you know, we can switch the company remotely pretty easily. But we still have a physical footprint, and we still have servers. And, you know, we do still have logistics and supply chains. And we still do you have people on on staff, and also remotely that installed the servers. And that’s really, that that is something that requires a physical presence. And that’s really a worry, right, and both Not really, from a revenue perspective, or from a personal perspective, because if somebody has to go on site somewhere, they’re putting themselves in harm’s way. And that’s not really a great situation. And so, it’s been a challenge. But I think for us, because of our remote nature, by default, we’ve certainly weather that pretty well. And I think it’s also unique, because when everybody has to go remote, it also allows people who don’t normally work remote, to not only empathize, but just see what the other side looks like. And it’s interesting, because a lot of people can have certain biases that they might not realize. But on the other side of it, they they get that empathy. And they see there’s some benefits, they see me lead, there’s some negatives. But the analogy, we’re all on the same boat, so you can adjust to each other better, as opposed to there’s a part of the company that’s remote and a part of the company that’s not, and maybe we’re not having that kind of alignment with each other. And then when everybody goes remote, it becomes very different. So I think ultimately, it’s going to have a lot of companies rethink how they’re laid out and rethink kind of their office plans. Because I mean, it’s been obvious for a while that remote is fantastic if you can make it work, and it really increases your, your talent pool. And I think just, you know, there’s some businesses that might be from an operational level, having a hard time dealing with going remote only. So I think it’s almost going to become a precautionary measure. You just have to be good at it. Because, you know, we don’t know how this will play out a year from now, two years from now. I mean, I certainly hope that we get through the worst of it, and we’re going to be fine. But it would be foolish not to prepare for this in the future again, because it’s more likely to happen to know.
Erasmus Elsner 1:04:19
So Moisey, thank you so much for being with us here today. And where can people find out more about you and get in touch with you? Or follow? Follow what you’re up to?
Moisey Uretsky 1:04:29
Oh, yeah, I mean, pretty easily find me on Twitter. Moisey Uretzky just my full name on Twitter. I’m pretty easy person to get a hold of you to get a hold of me. I’m sure you’ll find that you can figure out my email address. It’s not too complicated. Yes, I still respond to everything. Yes, I still read everything. So anybody who produced it by me is it’s not that challenging.
Erasmus Elsner 1:04:47
Thank you so much, Moisey for being with us. Thank you.
Moisey Uretsky 1:04:49
Okay, thanks a lot.