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Snowflake CEO: Once You Get To The Cloud The Lid Is Off

Once you get to the cloud all of a sudden the lid is off says Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman. People can just pursue their backlogs and whatever they can imagine....
Snowflake CEO: Once You Get To The Cloud The Lid Is Off
Written by Rich Ord
  • “Once you get to the cloud all of a sudden the lid is off,” says Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman. “People can just pursue their backlogs and whatever they can imagine. We’re now in a situation where technology is ahead of what people are capable of and imagining what they could actually do with it. That’s really a big part of what you see in Snowflake’s growth profile, a completely variable paradigm.”

    Frank Slootman, CEO of Snowflake, says that on-premise data centers can only accommodate a tiny fraction of what their real demand for data analytics really is:

    Once You Get To The Cloud The Lid Is Off

    The important thing to understand is that there’s a couple of long-term secular trends that are coinciding and driving the development of the market overall. One is, as everybody knows, the movement towards cloud. It’s really a modernization play. We’re moving from on-premise data centers and we’re taking workloads to the cloud because we get to take advantage of better economics and utility models. Then we no longer have to manage capacity, we pay by the drink and all that sort of thing.

    The other aspect that’s really important for our business is that we’ve had an extraordinary amount of pent up demand. The on-premise data centers could only accommodate a very tiny fraction of what their real demand for data analytics really is. Once you get to the cloud all of a sudden the lid is off. People can just pursue their backlogs and whatever they can imagine. We’re now in a situation where technology is ahead of what people are capable of and imagining what they could actually do with it. That’s really a big part of what you see in Snowflake’s growth profile, a completely variable paradigm.

    Notion Of Headquarters Is Evaporating

    We don’t have a yearning to go back to where we were. I can see why people would have that because of lockdowns and things of that sort. From a business standpoint, there’s a lot of positives to the shock to the system that we received. It’s almost like a wake-up call that is just opening our eyes to the opportunity. This whole notion that the office is your workday home we just realized that it’s nonsense. In other words, offices need to be there for specific purposes, for events, for training, for meetings specifically, but not a place to hang out nine to five. That’s definitely changing. It’s going to really reduce the real estate footprint that companies have.

    The other trend and you’ve seen it with companies leaving California, the likes of Oracle and HP and Tesla, and so on is that the whole notion of headquarters is pretty much evaporating in front of our eyes. We’re no longer operating with a physical center of the universe. We’re completely virtual. We’re connecting as needed. We’ve been operating for the better part of a whole year without a headquarters and it’s just fine. All of a sudden everybody’s staring at each other and saying like what is the headquarters anyway. You’ve seen companies like Pinterest and you’re writing up massive leeches in San Francisco and saying we’re going to be headquarter-less. It’s just a concept whose time has gone away… and that’s very profound.

    We Are Buying Talent And Technology, No M&A

    Usually, big M&A is a function of people running out of market and running out of a lot of opportunity. They’re trying to invade adjacent territories to give themselves new runway. That is obviously not the case for Snowflake. We’re in a tremendous marketplace and we are buying talent and technology. We sometimes refer to it as stem cells that we can use that we don’t have ourselves that we can build very specific technologies around that are very much built snowflake way. We can really enable our platform mission or footer. That’s really been our mode. If you looked at our history we don’t have a history of doing big acquisitions.

    Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman: Once You Get To The Cloud The Lid Is Off

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