Friday, October 7, 2016

9-year Anniversary of Mozy Acquisition

I love October for several different reasons, namely . . .
  • It is my birth month
  • I love the changing of the seasons, including the cooler temperatures and Fall colors in the mountains
  • It is the anniversary of EMC's acquisition of Mozy
Dave Robinson
It was 2007 and we had a deal on the table to raise a serious round of financing from a top-shelf VC firm on Sand Hill Road. I was excited about the prospect of growing the business and my own personal share in it. We had already turned down several potential acquisition offers and had all but signed the term sheet from our almost-investors. Then the offer arrived from EMC and our plans changed. And I'm so glad they did!

I'm proud of the Mozy business and the team that built it. More than a handful of them are still Dell EMC, Virtustream and VMware today and this is a shout out to them. You know who you are. I caught up with Dave Robinson, the most tenured Mozy person who is still in the family, and here's what he had to say . . .
iJustine & "the shirt"
Q: What is your favorite promotional marketing item? 
A: My favorite Mozy item would have to be the "Back the F:\ Up" shirts. This was an idea that we had been kicking around the office in the early days, but were too chicken to actually pull the trigger on it. One day we just decided "what the heck" and it became a huge hit. I'd guess we've given out over 20,000 of those over the years. Admittedly, it's something I don’t wear around the house and my kids, but people love it. I remember doing press and analyst interviews a few years back and that’s all they wanted to talk about." 

Q: What is your fondest memory of the Mozy culture pre-acquisition?
A: I have many fond memories from the early days. There were only a few of us, so everyone was really close and we all wore many hats. I still remember my first day on the job when I was directed to an empty desk. I asked where my computer was and Jared Wilks (finance/operations) told me to go find something at Best Buy and he'd reimburse me. I was hired as the marketing guy, but was also the first sales and product leader until we could hire someone full time. In the early days we used to take every new hire to China Isle in American Fork. As we got bigger, it became harder to do that and my arteries are probably the biggest beneficiary of that! I also remember the first meeting with GE out in Fairfield Connecticut. Josh Coates (Mozy founder) absolutely hated flying and was pale and uneasy the entire flight. I recall him having his head down on the tray table for most of the flight. 
Q: What was the most pivotal moment for the business in the last 9 years? 
A: There were a few "trajectory altering" moments in Mozy history, but the Walt Mossberg write-up on Mozy and Carbonite in the Wall Street Journal was one of the biggest. We were all sitting around the office at like 11pm waiting for the article to appear. Someone yelled "It's up!" and there was complete silence for about 2 minutes as we all read it. Suddenly the office erupted in simultaneous cheering as we all reached the end of the article where Mossberg wrote the infamous line... "I prefer Mozy." Still get goose bumps thinking about that night. 
Q: What are you personally most proud of in terms of your many contributions to Mozy? 
A: First and foremost, I'm most proud of the people I hired and worked with at Mozy. Josh's mantra was to only hire the best and brightest or "A players," no longer how long it took to find them. If you look at the Mozy marketing family tree, this was certainly the case. While it is always difficult to part with great coworkers and friends over the years, I could not be prouder of all the people who worked for me and are now off doing awesome things at other companies! In addition to the people, growing the company from essentially $0 in revenue to where we are today has been extremely rewarding. I still remember those early board meetings where the revenue line was below the cost line and there was intense pressure to get to profitability because we didn’t want to raise any more money. We did it!
I'm also grateful for the EMC team that gave us the opportunity to continue to grow the business, just in a very different way than what we would have done with a round of venture capital. I could never have dreamed up the amazing things that happened along the way. Here are just a few keywords and pictures to highlight the journey that will only be meaningful to those who were close to Mozy during different parts of the journey.
Not a failed product, just a little fun dating back to 2007
  • BDS
  • DRS
  • Happy Fun Ball
  • TDN & TDS
  • CMRR
  • US Airways 1549
  • iJustine
  • Skeletor
  • Demeter
  • Hellcat
  • Fortress
  • Pi Corp
  • Decho
  • VMware
  • Rubicon

Okay, here's the failed product . . . A retail box
People cheering for Mozy . . . or RSL's Kyle Beckerman

Dave Robinson at the 2010 launch for Mozy in France 

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