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OCS 2020 Breakout: Kazuki Ohta

jj profile image Joseph (JJ) Jacks ・3 min read

Kazuki Ohta is the co-founder and former CTO of Treasure Data, recently acquired by Arm. TD also created Fluentd, the most popular log shipping tech.

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Kaz Ohta is the co-founder and former CTO of Treasure Data, recently acquired by Arm. TD also created Fluentd, the most popular log shipping tech.

Before you started your career in the technology world, you studied computer science (BS and MS degrees) at the University of Tokyo. Parallel with this, you worked in supercomputer parallel systems, HPC research at the Argon national laboratory. You also started the Hadoop user community in Japan. What lessons and observations did you incorporate into starting Treasure Data in 2011? What built up into forming the company, and what was the vision for that? - 0:22

As part of Treasure Data, you created an incredible open-source project that now has a community of its own, called Fluentd. This is a really large ecosystem. Can you explain Fluentd, give an intro to the project, and why it was created? - 5:14

What were the learnings in building the prototypes? What was the iteration to the right design that finally captured a lot of attention? - 7:18

(JJ responds). Integration and plugins around some core datasystem is something where you have a lot of developer activity. What did you notice when you started building Treasure Data the company that Fluentd provided in terms of product development, insight, go-to-market benefits, and overall business? How did Fluentd contribute to growing Treasure Data? - 9:03

When you talk about 40 customers, early, as a startup, that’s a lot of customers to work with. Maybe we could talk about product-market fit. How did you navigate the product-market fit journey? How did you recognize when you found it? - 11:19

Today, Treasure Data is viewed as a Customer Data Platform (CDP) company. Segment is a common example of a company in this category. What were the use cases and value propositions early on when you were building Treasure Data? Was this before “Customer Data Platform” was described as a category, and did you help create it? - 13:01

So you had to discover the early signs of growth in this CDP category, than attach your identity to this category, then actually shape and influence how people understood the category based on what Treasure Data was providing as solutions in that category. People say you’re creating a category or disrupting a category, but for you, it’s somewhere in-between. (Kazuki responds) - 18:28

Before your acquisition, I want to go into how you grew the company from the first 10 or so people to 30, 40, 50, even more. What was that journey like, from the first few engineers to building a business? What were the lessons you learned took from that in terms of critical hires, critical mistakes, and general scaling lessons? - 20:48

Ultimately, all these learnings led to a very successful outcome, being acquired by ARM. Can you talk about the details of the acquisition, and why you think ARM acquired Treasure Data? - 25:01

What are you working on now? Where are you spending time these days? What’s exciting for you, where’s Kaz at these days? - 30:30


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