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OCS 2020 Breakout: Shannon Williams

Shannon Williams is the COO of the Global Customer Organization at SUSE. Shannon joined SUSE after the acquisition of Rancher Labs, where he was President and co-founder. Shannon is on the Governing board of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, and has spent his career at technology start-ups, working with visionary organizations to embrace next generation technologies like containers, cloud computing, identity management, and information security. Prior to starting Rancher, Shannon was a founder and VP of Sales at, a pioneer in Cloud Computing. In 2011 was acquired by Citrix Systems, after which he spent three years as Vice President of Market Development for Citrix's cloud platforms business unit. Over six years working in Cloud Computing, Shannon lead teams that built hundreds of computing clouds, including many of the world's largest at companies such as BT, AutoDesk, Disney, Apple, Zynga, and Samsung. Shannon is a frequent speaker, and has spoken around the world about the impact of open source software, cloud computing, information security and entrepreneurship.

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Shannon Williams, co-founder of (acquired by Citrix) and Rancher Labs (acquired by SUSE) on his lessons building pure-FOSS-based COSS businesses.

What got you into cloud, the cloud computing ecosystem, and open-source in general? - 0:19

From the start of, CloudStack, and getting acquired by Citrix, what was the timeframe? - 3:58

As a founder, and on the go-to-market side, how have you approached evolution and continuous evolution at the strategy level? - 7:50

You have a deep understanding of markets. The enterprise selling, go-to-market, but also this rare ability to create a successful widely-adopted open-source technology. How have you seen the adoption and changes in the market in the context of all these different tools and different management systems? How have you seen the market evolution over the last 5 years in terms of developer platforms, computing, and joining one of the top Linux platform vendors? How have you been able to get a sense of where things are and where they’re going? - 15:24

What advice would you give as a two-time successful founder to someone building infrastructure-level software, and building a company? Someone just getting started in this world. What advice would you give them taking your learnings from the last 10+ years? - 20:35

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