Giles Westie Podcast Transcript

Headshot of Founder & CEO Giles Westie

Giles Westie Podcast Transcript

Giles Westie joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian Thomas: Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Giles Westie. Giles Westie is a builder, a competitor, and is more optimistic than ever about the opportunity to solve big challenges in the data protection market. Westie founded DataPivot Technologies in 2015 after serving in multiple technology sales leadership positions.

He is fulfilling his vision for building an innovative, sustainable business for the long term where everyone on the DataPivot team sees the potential for success.

Well, good afternoon, Giles. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:43] Giles Westie: Thank you. Nice to be here today.

[00:00:45] Brian Thomas: You bet, Giles. I appreciate you making the time and hailing out of the great state of Massachusetts. I’m in Kansas City, so sometimes traversing time zones it can be a challenge to do this globally.

But again, thank you so much for your time.

[00:00:58] Giles Westie: Likewise. Thank you.

[00:00:59] Brian Thomas: Giles, let’s jump right into the questions here. Let’s get your story out there to our audience. You’ve got quite the career in sales, a senior executive. And now the founder and CEO of DataPivot Technologies. Can you start off by telling us about yourself and why you chose entrepreneurship?

[00:01:16] Giles Westie: Sure. Yeah. I will do that in reverse order. I appreciate you having me. I really appreciate the opportunity. And I really liked the mix of, skills that went into entrepreneurship, when you’re choosing a career path or entrepreneurship, I was just always attracted to, it was freedom, high risk, high reward, creativity, quick decision making without having to go through a lot of red tape, I’m pretty decent at sales and customer service versus being an accountant is not my forte and, no, being in control of your own destiny is attractive as an entrepreneur versus perhaps being a cog in the system. And a little bit about myself is I’m from Northern Vermont. I used to work for my father who was a builder and a small construction slash remodeling company. And I was his assistant and helper.

And I attended a Babson college in 1998 to 2002, which was always ranked and still is a number one in the United States for entrepreneurship. So, while there it just doubled down on my belief that entrepreneurship was a good place to be. If you could somehow figure out a way to build a profitable and sustainable company.

So that was Definitely one of my driving factors. Ended up staying in Massachusetts after graduation. And there wasn’t a lot of jobs in the dot com busts. But I noticed in the one 28 tech belt, they call it surrounding Boston. There was a lot of IT tech jobs, but I just didn’t have the experience.

So, I started at the very bottom and my goal was to work my way up and gain experience as I went, and it all worked out.

[00:02:59] Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing. And I love your story about just wanting to start at the bottom, work your way up, learn everything as you go. And the fact that you’ve got that drive, that sense, that vision for entrepreneurship, like I said, it’s not for everybody, but we’re thankful.

We have entrepreneurs like yourself. So, thank you. Giles, you’ve got a strong background in sales. You mentioned that and given your four-year collegiate basketball experience while attending Babson, I’m also seeing that competitor in you. What attracted you to the data protection space and what opportunity did you see in the market before launching data pivot?

[00:03:32] Giles Westie: Sure. So, it’s very competitive, rewarding space, the data protection space, enterprise I. T. Business to business sales. When you’re targeting some of the biggest companies in the world you get the most fierce competition. So, I didn’t really realize that going in, but I learned that very quickly.

And so data pivot was in a very adjacent space to what I had been doing, which was software sales and enterprise backup and recovery sales for a company named Commvault and a few other companies that were in the same exact space. So, it just made sense. It was low risk to figure out a way to start my own sales and service company in the enterprise IT enterprise backup and recovery space because I knew the space it certainly was like high risk, but not the biggest barrier to entry. It’s just will customers buy you will customers think you’re big enough? Will they take a risk on you early on? But it was very clear that data was growing. There is a gentleman that I think of fondly who used to say that the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and data growth.

I Was like, okay, well, data is always going to grow and data pivot being in the data space is a good place to be and now it’s, even more important than it ever has been before. It’s even more competitive than it ever has been before. I must say that similar to my basketball experience at Babson.

I started off and I wasn’t the best at it. Let’s just say when I first started, I was stack ranked in the bottom one third. But I wanted to be top 5% in both aspects and so I set my sights on that goal, and I worked my way up, worked my way up, tuned, honed, adjusted, and, eventually I got to, top 5% in both disciplines from, trial error, determination, just wanting the outcome of being good at something and the money that comes with.

Or the reward, so to speak, that comes with being top 5% in your discipline.

[00:05:46] Brian Thomas: Thank you for sharing that. And again, that just shows some of your tenacity, resilience, determination to be successful, and definitely appreciate the story and how that aligns with your entrepreneurship. Career. Giles, your company’s focused on protecting the lifeblood of every company, their business data including defense against the threat of cyberattacks.

How do you recommend customers adopt a comprehensive data protection strategy?

[00:06:13] Giles Westie: Yeah, sure. So, I would recommend the four P’s metric, which is, having a good product to execute it, having good people, having good process. And having a good partner to help steer you towards success in the space.

So, some of the pitfalls are a lot of companies out there are pitching product to large enterprise companies who need to tackle the data protection enterprise backup and recovery or disaster recovery space of, the challenges, making sure your data doesn’t get hacked. Ransomed and you can get it back if your services are ever disrupted in any way for whatever use case.

So, you definitely have to have a comprehensive insurance policy, so to speak, or disaster recovery plan and systems in place for whatever use case it might be, whether it be a day to day restore that a user might request. That’s a non-emergency to an actual emergency of a very critical system that keeps the company from being able to make revenue and disrupts their operations very dramatically.

So, another thing besides the four P’s is setting requirements and retention policies and RPOs and RTOs like yourself internally. So have someone at the company define success, have them really dig into the details of what they want in a solution, what outcomes they want, what attributes they want in a system.

And don’t let a vendor or someone who’s pushing a product set those requirements for you have whatever solution provider who’s going to win your business, you’re going to select. Adapt to your requirements, because I find, some, companies push product and the devils in the details with some of these projects, disaster recovery, data protection, enterprise backup, it’s very hard thing to do.

It’s very comprehensive. I’d like to say your backup system is the biggest application in your entire company, because it consolidates all of the data in your entire organization and moves it every night. Or even if you have a 15-minute protection, S. L. A. It protects and does incremental change backups every 15 minutes.

So, there’s a lot of pitfalls. There’s a lot of ways to succeed. I just say, stay focused on your own requirements, your own outcomes that you want to drive and don’t settle.

[00:08:48] Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I appreciate you breaking it down around business continuity, planning and disaster recovery with your four P’s most appreciated Giles. Giles, last question of the day.

Tell us about your vision for the company over the next five years. And what do you have your sights set on next?

[00:09:06] Giles Westie: Yeah, Brian. So, the vision of the company is just to keep doing exactly what we’re doing here at data pivot technologies. We want to be a long-term sustainable brand. In greater Boston, but nationwide for many, many years to come.

A lot of people have a get rich quick scheme or their vision is to go public or sell the company. I just want to be in business, enjoy the journey, keep growing year in and year out. Potentially. Just have a much bigger marketing budget and a much bigger customer base, but there’s no exit strategy.

It’s just, being an entrepreneur and a founder, I kind of feel that I’m off the hamster wheel and that I should enjoy going to work every Monday. And if I don’t, something’s wrong because I’m the founder and the CEO and I control kind of the culture. And I control what customers I do business with or choose not to do business with at this point, eight plus years into data pivot.

We just want to keep growing incrementally, keep honing and making our services better for our clients based on customer demand. We want to stay private, stay humble, stay nimble, like a startup culture. Because. A lot of our customers see value in our customer service, our speed, our flexibility, I want to avoid ever getting too big where there’s too much red tape decisions don’t get made fast enough and that’s the spirit and the culture we want to maintain.

[00:10:48] Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I love that you really engaged and obviously you can set that tone and culture at your organization and being engaged and being excited to get into work makes a huge difference as you know.

Giles, I just want to let you know it was a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:11:06] Giles Westie: Thanks so much, Brian.

[00:11:08] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Giles Westie Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.


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