On 6 years in business and 2100% growth
A few weeks ago, Matt Connor, the CEO of SSD Nodes, and I stumbled across a number that impressed even us: since the beginning of 2016, SSD Nodes has grown its user base by 2100%. With that number in mind, and with the 6th birthday of SSD Nodes imminent, I thought it was a good time to chat with Matt about how SSD Nodes got started, what he's learned from an already busy 2017, and what he thinks about the future of the company.
How did SSD Nodes get started?I started the business back in 2011 with just a handful of users. A few friends signed up, and they referred their friends, and so on. I was working another job at the time, but was always focused on SSD Nodes being a big part of my future. I always believed that I could make cloud hosting a better experience for users of all types, and I’ve been working toward that goal ever since. In the beginning, the company grew slowly by design. I wanted to ensure it was always a profitable enterprise, mainly because I wasn’t particularly interested in going the venture capital route—I didn’t want to create my own company only to have another boss again. The company has always been 100% bootstrapped, and I’m proud of that, despite the general trend in technology companies to pitch themselves to VC as soon as possible. Having complete autonomy allows me to focus on building the business while also providing the best possible experience. One thing that’s changed since 2011 is the type of user SSD Nodes focuses on. In the beginning, it was all about the enterprise—they were among our first users, and have been our most loyal along the way (thank you!). I also realized that SSD Nodes could focus on small businesses, startups, and even individuals who wanted to do more on the cloud. That’s been a significant shift in philosophy, and one that makes the company better for both kinds of users.
We’ve talked about that 2100% increase in users, but the company has grown in other ways, too. What are the most significant, in your eyes?The company has changed a lot since the beginning of 2016! Probably the most significant change, internally, is the new talent I’ve brought onboard to help manage our processes, keep things running smoothly, and build out new features. The administrative technology behind SSD Nodes has changed immensely. It’s hardly even comparable. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but when we started in 2011, we did all provisioning by hand. When someone signed up, or wanted a new server, someone created their server, logged into it, set up the network, and did configuration to the user’s liking. Needless to say, that’s not how it works now. We’ve come a long way with automation, and that not only helps us grow, but also creates stability through repeatable, auditable processes. Our engineering team continues to grow so that they can focus more energy on building out new platforms, like the KVM preview. Adding new features and more stability are high priorities, and the bigger team will allow us to get there much sooner. Same goes for more data centers and, soon enough, more automation tools. The marketing team is continuing to improve our redesigned website, add more tutorials and informational
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