The CEO of DigitalOcean explains how its ‘cult following’ helped it develop a $225 million enterprise even beneath the shadow of Amazon Internet Companies (AMZN, MSFT, GOOG)

Mark Templeton turned CEO of cloud computing startup DigitalOcean final June, changing co-founder Ben Uretsky within the function.  DigitalOcean is a comparatively small, venture-backed different to mega-clouds like Amazon Internet Companies and Microsoft Azure. The corporate tells us it is on an annualized run charge (ARR) of $225 million. Earlier than DigitalOcean, Templeton spent over 20 years at Citrix, the place he helped scale it to an organization with over $three billion in income. Templeton shares 4 secrets and techniques that draw customers to DigitalOcean, even beneath the shadow of Amazon Internet Companies.  Go to Enterprise Insider's homepage for extra tales. DigitalOcean CEO Mark Templeton first taught himself to code at a small hardwood enterprise. He needed to determine how you can use the lumber within the manufacturing facility most effectively, and spreadsheets solely acquired him to this point. "I taught myself to put in writing code to put in writing a store ground management and optimization system," Templeton instructed Enterprise Insider. "That allowed us to develop, to run the manufacturing facility 24 hours a day, all these items that develop in small enterprise is new. As a self-taught developer, that is what launched me into the software program trade." And now, Templeton is studying to embrace these developer roots once more at DigitalOcean, a New York-based cloud computing startup. It is a smaller, venture-backed different to mega-clouds like Amazon Internet Companies, however has discovered its area of interest with particular person programmers and smaller groups.  Templeton simply began as CEO final June, after spending over 14 years because the CEO of Citrix — a interval over which its annual revenues grew from $15 million to $three billion. Now, it is his job to carry that very same type of progress to DigitalOcean as it really works to additional set up its area of interest in a market dominated by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.  As CEO, his aim is to assist the corporate scale up and attain extra builders, supporting them whether or not they code as a passion, work as skilled programmers, or are launching a tech startup. That is the technique that led DigitalOcean to progress: The corporate tells us that it is on a $225 million annualized run charge (ARR) — up from $175 million in 2017, and much greater than the $48 million ARR it posted in 2015)  — and has raised about $123 million from buyers together with Andreessen Horowitz. The corporate additionally says it’s been worthwhile on an EBITDA foundation (earnings earlier than curiosity, tax, depreciation and amortization) since 2015. "One of many issues that was actually enticing about DigitalOcean was, we had this superb enterprise that was constructed very organically," Templeton mentioned. "A cult following" Templeton factors out 4 issues that made DigitalOcean develop so rapidly, even with such highly effective opponents. The primary is, the corporate is targeted on making its merchandise easy for builders to make use of — and, as Templeton says, "you do not need to mess with builders." Templeton says DigitalOcean has "a bit of little bit of a cult following." "Persons are captivated with what the corporate does," Templeton mentioned. "They need to be a part of it." Learn extra: DigitalOcean, an upstart rival to Amazon Internet Companies, simply employed a former VMware exec as its new CTO The second is the neighborhood, as DigitalOcean tries to foster the rising neighborhood round its merchandise by offering tutorials and content material and instantly partaking with builders. The third, says Templeton, is the assist that DigitalOcean gives, and the fourth is its dedication to open supply software program.  To that final level: The massive cloud distributors, particularly Amazon Internet Companies, have come beneath scrutiny for taking free open supply software program initiatives and constructing proprietary code on high of them to make industrial providers. In doing so, some argue, these main clouds take what's presupposed to be a technological commonplace, and put their very own twist on them such that it is that a lot tougher for purchasers to modify away. DigitalOcean, in contrast, is dedicated to providing the usual variations of open supply software program to its prospects. "That differentiates us as a result of, as we see, the opposite cloud providers — they have a tendency to leverage open supply, however they work to make it extra proprietary to make it sticky," Templeton mentioned. 'It isn't as a result of we had a gross sales machine' Earlier than turning into CEO, Templeton had already been working with co-founder and then-CEO Ben Uretsky. "Ben and I labored collectively for round six months or so when he mentioned, 'I've an ideal concept in regards to the future. Let's commerce locations. You run the corporate and I will advise you,'" Templeton mentioned. "After we talked about that for a short while, I mentioned, 'Let's do that.'" Now that he is in his new place, he says that life at DigitalOcean has nonetheless been one thing of an adjustment for him: Reasonably than cope with companies, DigitalOcean's major prospects are builders. "That is been a problem, and I have been having fun with that as a result of I've spent life in tech as a developer myself," Templeton mentioned. As a part of its outreach to builders, Templeton says, he needs to make it simpler for DigitalOcean's customers to search out the precise instruments to construct their very own initiatives. For instance, in March, DigitalOcean launched Market, which connects builders with partner-built options for growing and releasing apps. "It isn't as a result of we had a gross sales machine," Templeton mentioned. "It grew quick due to this core perception and imaginative and prescient to assist the notion of a subsequent era developer. The technique of the corporate had been to super-serve them, to decide on a buyer and obsess about satisfying and delighting them." A 'sustainable lasting enterprise' As the brand new chief of DigitalOcean, Templeton has been working to grasp the corporate's tradition, in addition to its progress technique. He says the corporate wants to determine what it is best at and double down on it, in addition to perceive what's missing in order that DigitalOcean can rent the mandatory horsepower. Not solely does this assist the enterprise develop, however it will possibly domesticate profession mentorship and steering amongst new and present workers, he says.  "The DigitalOcean tradition has  loads of the points round respect, round integrity, round humility, and all of the love that comes by round serving a buyer," Templeton mentioned. Proper now, Templeton says, DigitalOcean would not have particular plans to go public, however he hopes to construct a "sustainable lasting enterprise." He says firms "with goal" can obtain greatness. He noticed that at Citrix, he says, and he foresees the identical sample at DigitalOcean.   "DigitalOcean has nice goal in its tradition and prospects particularly in relation to builders," Templeton mentioned. "They wish to observe others which have goal. That is one factor I've discovered once more." Be a part of the dialog about this story » NOW WATCH: Watch Google's Stadia video-game-platform occasion in 5 minutes