Built on Data

From true market disruption on the horizon in the form of data to escaping reality with Coehlo's 'The Alchemist,' Chris Cook, CEO of Delphix, takes on DCNN's 'Meet the Room.'

This article originally appeared on the January 2019 Issue 4 of Data Center & Network News on You can find the original post here.

What were you doing before you joined Delphix and how did you first get involved in the industry?

Having worked in the technology industry for more than 30 years, I’ve always believed in its power to make a positive impact on society. I love building and scaling companies around technologies that make a profound impact on the way we live and the people I’m working with.

Prior to joining Delphix, I served as president and chief operating officer of New Relic, a hypergrowth software analytics company credited with building the ‘Data Nerd’ culture. During my tenure, I worked closely with our founder, Lew Cirne, to scale operations, product development and sales, ultimately leading New Relic to a successful IPO in 2014. Before New Relic, I spent four years as corporate senior vice president and general manager of CA Technologies’ application performance management division and held sales leadership positions at IBM, Quest Software and BMC Software.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in the data/comms industry?

Today, it’s no secret that every company is a data company. Whether you are a car manufacturer or a restaurant owner, data has become the foundation upon which every business is built, no matter the industry. Used properly, data has the power to transform us and everything around us. The rise of companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and other internet tech giants have changed the game. They use data to deliver hundreds of new features to users each day. And, as market-leading enterprises learn to harness the power of data and move at this accelerated pace, we’ll start to see what true ‘market disruption’ looks like.

What is the main motivation in the work that you do?

I look forward to my Mondays! I get to work with 400 of the brightest minds in tech, each of whom enjoy the challenge of building and growing the burgeoning DataOps category. Building a category like DataOps requires a lot of creativity and curiosity, and I relish seeing those qualities in play, every day. This team supports over 300 of the largest and most valuable brands in the world, helping them to use data to move fast and delight customers in new ways. It’s very exciting to see what they can do when the friction around data is eliminated.

Are there any changes in laws or regulations that you would like to see that you think would make your job easier?

Data is very powerful, and like all powerful things, there can be great benefit; but there’s always a flip side of the coin. It seems like a company is hacked, exposing sensitive and personal data almost every week. As data continues to grow in size and complexity, this situation is only going to get worse. Recent governmental regulations – such as GDPRCCPA and new bills in Australia – that force companies to take data privacy more seriously are a welcome move. Hopefully, through more widespread education by lawmakers and society at large, will we start to see less of our personal information stolen and fewer headlines detailing data breaches.

Which major issues do you see dominating the data/comms industry over the next 12 months?

As a result of today’s ‘threat landscape’, we’re starting to see an increasing lack of trust from consumers who will be increasingly hesitant to freely provide personal data to companies. In hopes of gaining greater control over user data, established brands will implement policies that restrict access to data, inhibiting its flow across the organisation. As a result, these companies will be unable to innovate at the pace required to win in today’s digital economy. This unintended consequence is truly unfortunate, and also unnecessary. Rapid innovation, open access to data and security of that data can all coexist.

“Data is very powerful and like all powerful things, there can be great benefit; but there’s always a flip side of the coin.”

Can you tell us about any projects you are currently working on?

We are always looking to extend the capabilities of our platform in new ways, building in more robust data security features that will help companies move fast at much less risk. We recently announced an exciting new integration with Splunk and the launch of with some of our partners in the DataOps ecosystem. This ecosystem is rapidly maturing, and we continue to extend our platform to embrace other members of that ecosystem.

What are your company’s aims for the next 12 months?

We support hybrid cloud environments for our customers and will be working more closely with AWS, Microsoft and other key players in this space to help companies move and migrate data to the cloud and innovate faster, cheaper and at a higher quality. As companies gain agility through the cloud, the need for fast, secure and agile data intensifies, highlighting the need for Delphix. We’ll be making a splash at this year’s AWS re:Invent, where we’ll showcase our long-standing relationship with AWS with exciting new solutions.

If you could possess one super-human power, what would it be and why?

The ability to fly. I love looking out the window of an airplane, and would love to have that ability.

Favourite: Book? Film? TV show? Singer/band?

The Alchemist and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

If you could invite three guests, dead or alive, from history to dinner, who would they be and why?

Galileo, Edison and Elon Musk – the greatest innovative minds in history.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Never stop learning…