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Jared Wray of Tier 3

Jared Wray, founder and CTO of cloud computing startup Tier 3, is helping to build the future of enterprise business.

A serial entrepreneur, Wray is most excited about how cloud technologies help customers move faster and cheaper, allowing for efficient iteration and innovation. His company scored $10 million last year from Madrona, Ignition and Intel Capital, an it continues to grow fast with addition of experienced tech leader Matthew Schiltz as CEO earlier this year.

In this edition of Nextcast, Wray discusses his thoughts about cloud computing, as well as his own entrepreneurial background which he said started from being broke.

  • “I love the look on people’s face when they get the a-ha moment that cloud computing is about eliminating the human cost effort,” Wray says. Enterprise business has run technical operations in nearly the same ways for the last 30 years, he added, explaining the many manual tasks older tech systems require. Using the cloud, though, enterprise teams are now able to “eliminate 70 percent of the mundane tasks” that IT staff are normally tasked with. (1:00)

  • How did Wray become an entrepreneur? He says: “It came from being broke.” Growing up in a family that struggled to make ends meet, Wray got used to the idea that you have to work hard to make something happen. And that lesson stuck, he says. “Innovation and the will to make something happen.” (6:25)

  • “You can’t run a company anymore without analytics,” Wray says, though he is quick to acknowledge the importance of following your gut as an entrepreneur. “A lot of entrepreneurs, they have a great gut for what they need to do, they just don’t know how to use it. You really have to figure out what guidance your gut is giving you and go after that.” Wray added that the best thing you can do is bring in smart people to help you solve a problem you don’t understand. (11:45)

  • When hiring, Wray prefers to think of his company as a bus. No matter how smart or famous or friendly a candidate is, he says, he has to be sure that there will be a spot for that person when they get on the bus. Are they someone who will sit by themselves and not talk to anyone? Will they be a great collaborator who talks to everyone, but can’t focus? If they’ll make the bus more chaotic, you shouldn’t bring them onboard. (16:15)

  • Wray’s policy on leadership is simple: “Leaders lead,” he says. Too many leaders suffer from “middle management syndrome,”  which Wray describes as taking a poll of everyone in the room and just choosing the majority vote. “If you are not the person that feels like you want to make the decision, you shouldn’t be a leader.” He says of startup founders in particular, “If they’re not going to be a leader, then they need to hire someone to lead the company.” (21:45)

  • “We have enabled the next generation of startups,” Wray says. As a serial entrepreneur, he’s excited that any founder today can bootstrap and test an idea without needing to get millions in funding first. Meanwhile he and his team at Tier 3 are continuing to make their systems faster and more user-friendly than ever. ”When your customer is delighted, your technology is going to flourish.” (24:25)

Nextcast founder Jeff Dickey is passionate about technology, business and philosophy. He works as the chief cloud architect at Redapt, a Redmond-based cloud and big data infrastructure company. [Editor’s note: GeekWire is proud to partner with Jeff Dickey who produces the Nextcast entrepreneur interview series]. Past interviews here.

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