Monday, January 11, 2016

Jill Ray, the best co-founder I could ever have

Only 3 years ago, OrientDB Company was a startup at the first stage where all the efforts were on the product: no sales, no marketing, just an open source software that I created with a few contributors around the world that worked on it for free. OrientDB was only for a few nerds. The world didn’t know OrientDB and the amazing things it could do.

On January 11, 2013, exactly 3 years ago from today, I met Jill Ray in Rome, Italy. After that day, everything changed in OrientDB. Jill agreed to join my efforts to take OrientDB to the next level.  She worked with me as the best co-founder I could ever have. Days, nights and weekends were all busy on building the stairs to bring the company to where it is, today.

Jill worked on the creation of the new “OrientDB face” through the new website and an active participation on the social channels. Jill was the source of the best ideas and doggedly pursued them and eventually turning them into reality with an incredible energy.

When Gartner contacted me to be included in the Magic Quadrant 2013, I wondered why Gartner was monumentally important.  Fortunately, Jill knew them very well and she understood its impact to success. We worked together to achieve a spot in the Magic Quadrant and we succeed doing so: OrientDB was the first Graph Database to be on the Operational DBMS Magic Quadrant 2013.

Jill’s strength as a negotiator in both ideas and contracts proved essential. She was able to obtain a full working office gratis for a year, as well as being a critical element in negotiating contracts with attorneys, employees, support staff, investors and clients. Her efforts have enabled OrientDB to remain financially independent.

I remember the first time, a Fortune10 company contacted us to consider OrientDB in a challenge where they would be selecting the best Graph Database among 3 products. We were David against 2 Multi-Million Goliaths of the DBMS industry. We won that deal thanks to the Jill’s strategy and leadership. That was just the first of the many big battles to be won against our competitors. Jill was a critical piece in all of those victories.

There are many other challenges and achievements where Jill’s involvement was the key to greater success. Giving credit where credit is due, Thank You, Jill. Without you, I couldn't have taken the company to the next level, where it was possible to attract great talent to join the team.
This post is to say thank you to my co-founder and my best friend Jill for these 3 intense and wonderful years :-)

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