A Day for Startups at the Rackspace San Francisco Office with Robert Scoble, Eric Ries and John Engates

On Thursday, December 1st Rackspace celebrated the grand opening of its San Francisco office and the Space Cowboys from the Rackspace Startup Program were there to witness. It was a grand affair hosted by Robert Scoble, technology evangelist, and Chief Learning Officer at Rackspace Hosting, who is building a new community of people fanatical about tech startups. Special guests at the event included GoPro, Loggly, New Relic, Foodspotting and the Honorable Ed Lee who shared his thoughts about the San Francisco tech community and proclaimed it “Rackspace Day,” honoring the company’s commitment to investing its resources in his city.

Over the last twelve months, Rackspace acquired Cloudkick, a startup known for its Cloud monitoring software, and Anso Labs, the group behind the NASA Nebula Cloud and experts on OpenStack. With the need for a space for the two companies and Bay Area Rackers to work under one roof to deliver Cloud Computing products, the new office was open in the tech startup district of SOMA, just a few blocks from the tech giants of Twitter, Adobe and Zynga.

The event kicked off with a webcast which was part of the Rackspace CloudU curriculum. Small Teams, Big Impact: Powering Revolutionary Ideas on the Cloud was hosted by Scoble with special guests Eric Ries, entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned and his book The Lean Startup and John Engates, Chief Technology Officer at Rackspace. The hour long discussion emphasized the impact that the startup community is having on fueling the modern economy, the growth of Cloud Computing, and what entrepreneurs should consider before launch.

Eric Ries frequently speaks at business events, and has advised a number of startups, large companies, and venture capital firms on business and product strategy. He had this to say about becoming an entrepreneur, “If you want to make money, entrepreneurship is really not a good choice. Statistically speaking, it’s not actually the best way. Go work with Goldman Sachs where riches are made. Entrepreneurship is a career that allows you to simultaneously create value and make a lasting impact. Build something that will live beyond you and also make customers lives better all at the same time. And it’s pretty frickin’ fun.” Ries closed the webcast with,

“Entrepreneurship is too valuable a resource for us to waste on faith based initiatives. It deserves the rigor and discipline of science.”

John Engates has worked in several areas of Rackspace including Operations, Professional Services and Customer Care prior to becoming CTO. During the discussion, John enlightened Scoble and Ries about the startup spirit that lives within Rackspace. “A lot of the ways that we build new products and new businesses at Rackspace is by splitting off people and giving them their own office space, making them feel like a real startup. We give them the folding tables, ping pong tables and couches. And give them a little bit of runway to go figure it out and test it.” Engates went on to explain how the Rackspace Cloud was developed.

“We actually started our Cloud business years ago under the name Mosso. It was a different product, a different group, people that had their own identity and it helped with the trial and error that goes on with figuring out what the product is and how it works.”

It was definitely a day for startups at the new Rackspace office in San Francisco. Startups shared their stories, entrepreneurs showed off their products and a panel of startup evangelists’ explained what it takes to launch an idea on the Cloud. When you find yourself in San Francisco, stop by 620 Folsom and see what Rackspace has built in the Bay Area. It’s a startup friendly place, filled with champions that will talk with you about the Rackspace Startup Program.

Are you ready to launch your idea now? Then drop the Space Cowboys a line and let us know how we can help. As Eric Ries proclaimed, being an entrepreneur is “pretty frickin’ fun!”

Click here to view the entire CloudU webcast with Robert Scoble, Eric Ries and John Engates.


John McKenna loves startups and is a Space Cowboy with the Rackspace Startup Program. He also crafts customer stories and produces really cool videos for the Customer Reference Program. John enjoys telling stories through his writings…and loves the beach, the ranch, his dog Blue and most of all his three beautiful daughters.


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