When your company is identified by Gartner as a leader in its Magic Quadrant four years in a row, you’re bound to be the target of your competitors’ disdain for your success. You may be reading this and pondering, “why did Gartner choose Qumulo as a leader, again?” I’m glad you asked, and I’m sure our competitors want to know as well. First, let me start by saying that our vision when the company was started was to create a file data management platform that customers wanted, needed, and could not find in the market.
So, we started with the customer and worked backward. Our founders interviewed a multitude of customers before the first line of code was written. Based on that foundation, the customer, our vision and strategy was born. Qumulo created a radically simplified enterprise file data management solution that is now completely independent of any hardware allowing us to support this same experience across hybrid cloud environments. Over the years, our vision and strategy has captured the hearts and minds of customers and the industry and as a result we were named a leader in 2018, 2019, 2020, and most recently 2021 in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage. Gartner positioned Qumulo in the Leaders Quadrant based on its Ability to Execute and its Completeness of Vision.
So you can see why we became a target and it looks as though it will continue in 2022 and beyond. No harm, no foul, I know it is all part of this business to be targeted competitively when you are a threat.
Leaders lead, while others follow or pursue
I am an avid reader and thoroughly enjoy reading books on leadership. One of my favorites is Extreme Ownership by retired Navy SEALs, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. In their book they hit leadership head-on by outlining several key principles. The first of which is of no surprise, it is to simply embrace extreme ownership, but without reading the book you may not know what that means.
#1 Key principle: Leaders embrace extreme ownership
It means you own everything as a leader. You don’t blame others, your product, boss, competitors, economy, or your team for lackluster performance. If you’re a leader, you own the outcome, good or bad. As a leader, you look for strategies to improve your product, performance, team, etc., not excuses.
When you refuse to embrace it or deny it is yours to own, the tendency is to point the finger at others, attempt to find faults, gaps, and in business, to discredit your competitors with disinformation in order to elevate you, your product, or your company in spite of your known limitations and flaws. In our industry this has been given a term, FUD, Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. FUD is a disinformation strategy often used by organizations to influence a customer’s perception of a competitor, its product, and/or the customer’s future state if choosing a competitive solution. This is often employed when a company’s product is inferior to a competitors.
Gene Amdahl, founder of Amdahl Corp. and former IBM employee, defined FUD by saying, FUD is the
“fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products.”
Gene certainly ruffled a lot of IBM feathers back in the 70s when he left IBM to start Amdahl Corp. and began competing, and we are seeing a similar effect here at Qumulo. As Head of Competitive Intelligence I get to hear exactly what our team uncovers or hears on the “street” about what our competitors are saying. I would say that most of the time, it is within a professional context, but some out there like to create narratives, stories, and outright untrue statements to create FUD with partners, customers and some industry influencers.
High ground of leadership
I believe you’re doing something right if one of your primary competitors is spinning cycles creating FUD against you. So, I consider it a bit of an honor knowing that we have certainly ruffled some feathers. It really is quite reminiscent of the 1970s tactics of IBM, minus the disco platform shoes and bell-bottom pants. However, while I would love to take each one of the disinformation strikes against us and address them individually, the leader in me – and the leader I know Qumulo to be – will take the high ground and simply talk about why customers are choosing Qumulo. I will remain true to our original founding principles and start with the customer and work backward.
The best way to defeat FUD is with facts, not fiction. So, over the next several weeks I will be vlogging, blogging, and potentially podcasting why our customers are finding success with Qumulo. I’ll have exclusive interviews with key team members of Qumulo answering the hard questions about why Qumulo, and I may even share some special insight into our strategic vision for our solution and why the disaggregated model of software from hardware is a very important milestone for any organization over the next five years and beyond.
Stay tuned for more as I begin this journey. I welcome any questions you may have, or any topics you would like us to discuss and cover.
Until then, this is Chapa, signing off.
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Gartner Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage, Julia Palmer, Jerry Rozeman, Chandra Mukhyala, Jeff Vogel, October 1, 2021.
A version of this story was originally published by David Chapa on LinkedIn Pulse.