From operating system development to middleware product development and more, Dan Goerdt had no lack of experience heading into the formation of Flexagon five years ago. As we get ready for Kscope19 (where Dan will be presenting!) we wanted to pick the brains of the president and co-founder of Flexagon with a short interview.
Can you please tell us about your history in programming/development?
Dan Goerdt: Well, I’ve been around the block a few times… I started my career as an operating system developer on the IBM AS/400. I then moved into middleware product development in the days of CORBA which we based on C++ and multiple products such as WebSphere in the early days of Java. Let’s say that was back in the day. (laughs)
After that, I spent quite a few years wearing a customer hat, leveraging technology from IBM, Oracle, open source, etc. to support the needs of a business that was in the Transportation and Logistics industry.
And then came Flexagon about five years ago; wow, how the time flies! Over the years, I was in programming, architecture, management, and other leadership roles which has provided a well-rounded view of the end to end software development, delivery, and support life cycle.
What motivated you to start Flexagon?
Dan: Now that’s tough to sum up in a few minutes. I’ve always enjoyed product development and solving problems that help make software development and delivery more effective. Since my days as a low-level developer pounding out operating system code, there have always been gaps with processes and tools that needed to be solved more effectively. We created many custom tools for automation over the years, trying to fill the gaps wherever possible. There were open source and commercial tools on the market that were helping to some degree, and we saw an opportunity to provide a solution that would more effectively help customers across all industries and technologies.
Another key motivator was the spirit of Marc Andreessen’s statements back in 2011 about “software eating the world”. We could see that happening, including the focus on enabling processes such as agile and tooling such as Continuous Integration. Although things like Continuous Delivery, DevOps, and Release Automation weren’t even coined at that time, you could see things picking up speed quickly and we felt the timing was right to start Flexagon and bring a product to market which could help customers compete more effectively. Fast forward and Andreessen’s comments were spot on, and it’s been a joy over the past five years helping customers.
What is your favorite part about your career?
Dan: Oh boy, I have a lot of favorite parts! It has been an absolute blast being part of Flexagon from the early days, bringing the concept of an automation platform to life with FlexDeploy and helping customers reap the benefits which they so need and appreciate. I’m fortunate to work with a very talented team at Flexagon and get to spend my time with many customers, partners, and others to evolve FlexDeploy and make a positive impact with customers around the globe. It’s truly an honor.
What will you be doing at Kscope19?
Dan: If I had any hair, you’d see me at Kscope running around with it on fire. Picture that. Seriously, I will spend a lot of time talking with prospective customers at the Flexagon booth, talking with them about their challenges and providing a view into how Flexagon and FlexDeploy could help improve their processes.
Kscope is also a great opportunity to talk with existing customers and partners and engage other potential partners. Oracle will have a lot of people at Kscope and it’s always nice to meet with them since FlexDeploy provides so much out of the box support for Oracle technologies.
I also have a session called “DevOps for You!” where I’ll talk about the challenges many customers face and how processes and tools such as agile, CI/CD, and release automation can help.
What are you most excited about for the future of software?
Dan: It’s incredible having a view of changes in software and technology in general over the past 25 years. To a large extent, we are just starting to realize the benefits of DevOps, CI/CD, and Release Automation and Orchestration. I wake up every day knowing we are at the forefront of what many would call a digital transformation, and I’m so excited to be part of the critical enablement of enterprises as they define and execute their digital transformation strategies.
Who is your favorite Marvel superhero?
Dan: Hmmm… I’ll go with The Thing. I loved the Fantastic Four as a kid, and the Thing had incredible power and just never quit. Maybe his people skills were a bit weak, but he had a big heart!