Inside Ople – Mike Azevedo
Ople's innovative technology, open workplace culture, and exciting future has drawn experienced team members, at the top of their field, from around the world. With over 20,000 applicants to date, Ople continually draws new talent. Mike Azevedo, our Chief Operating Officer, is a Bay Area native, and was drawn to those same qualities at Ople. Whether it's leading the sales team, creating a sound business plan or helping with Ople's strategic vision, Mike has proven to be an integral member of our executive team. His long history in technology, and strong leadership skills are key pieces of what will propel Ople to the next stage.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I have been in the Bay Area all my life, and all the companies I have worked for have been around Silicon Valley, so I naturally got into technology. I spent my early tech career at VERITAS beginning as a sales executive, and eventually working my way up to Director of Sales. Four years later, I began to really fall in love with small companies, and can honestly say I prefer not to work at bigger companies. I sought out small startups because I loved the environment, and felt like I was contributing a lot more to the overall business.
After leaving VERITAS, I worked as Senior Vice President for PostX that later was acquired by Cisco. The team and I worked tirelessly to turn the company around, growing the business 5X in 18 months, and this was my first taste of a successful acquisition in tech.
From there, I moved over to an analytic database company called ParAccel. Amazon AWS ended up acquiring the technology for Amazon Redshift, one of the most successful offerings from AWS.
I then worked at Platform Computing that later got acquired by IBM, before going back to a few startups that needed help with getting a solid product-market fit.
Finally, before joining Ople, I was the CEO of a scale-out database company called Clustrix. After 5 years we successfully sold the company to MariaDB at the end of last year.
What drew you to software?
I always like a challenge, and software in and of itself is harder to sell. It revolves around solution-oriented sales, and you have to understand how the software fits within the environment, how it interacts with people, hardware and infrastructure, and ultimately if it offers value to the business. It is a much more sophisticated and challenging sale.
So how did you get into data science and eventually find Ople?
Well, I have always been very technical, even without the engineering degree. My first taste of data was at VERITAS, and then when I went over to ParAccel I got involved with databases and more advanced analytics. If you think about it, AI is really the ultimate in advanced analytics, so it was a very natural progression for me.
For my next job, I was looking for an opportunity at a young startup company that had a technology founder with a really good vision that I believed in. I also wanted to be a part of a team that I could contribute to, and was really smart. We have a very open workplace culture here, and everyone is very supportive. All those things are essentially what brought me to Ople. I believe in the vision and what we’re trying to accomplish.
Could you describe your role as Chief Operating Officer.?
I wear many hats. As COO, I’m in charge of operations, which encompasses a lot of things, such as finance, facilities, IT and HR just to name a few. I am also responsible for sales, so day-to-day sales, sales operations and building the sales team.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
The biggest challenge would be the fact that I have too many things to do. However, this is also the best part of my job, and one of the reasons why I like the company. It keeps me busy and challenged. I get to work with really smart people on the latest in technology; so being able to contribute to that is really great. In addition, we have a very open company culture.
What motivates you?
Honestly, it’s my own personal drive that motivates me and keeps me going. I like to win. I’m competitive, and obviously want to be successful. Plain and simple, I like to help whatever I’m involved in succeed and be the best it can be.
In addition, everybody that I talk to wants to talk about AI. So being on the cutting edge of something people actually want to understand is thrilling and extremely rewarding.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to ski and hike, but I also enjoy just hanging out by the beach or in the mountains. I also really love to travel. I have been all over the world and can honestly not pick a favorite place.
It changes regularly, but right now it’s Indian food.
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” This applies to everything in life and business.
Wow, this is a hard one. I’m going to see Peter Frampton’s farewell show next month, and you’ll find me listening to 70’s/80’s rock most of the time, but Blues and Jazz are my favorite background music.