Innovators: New Relic President and COO, Chris Cook

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Chris CookInnovators. They come in many forms. They dream big but they aren’t just dreamers. They form raw ideas into cool products with disruptive business models. They shatter entire industries and leave established leviathans running scared with their tails between their legs. The Innovators interview series connects you with the most driven people on the planet. What makes them tick? What advice do they have for tech founders? What tools do they use to get the job done? Read on to find out.

Chris Cook joined New Relic as its President and Chief Operating Officer in 2011, bringing more than 25 years of experience in the software and performance management industries. Previously, Chris was corporate senior vice president and general manager of CA Technologies’ Service Assurance business, where he was responsible for all aspects of the business and P&L on a worldwide basis. Prior to that, Chris was senior vice president of worldwide field operations at Wily Technology, and held executive leadership positions at Quest Software, Peregrine Systems, BMC Software and IBM. Chris holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

What do you enjoy most about your work and why?

I’ve been in the software business for 30 years. I’ve worked for very large companies and for small start up companies, but what keeps me going every morning is the dynamic nature of our business. That goes for New Relic, but also for the technology industry as a whole. Our engineers are constantly iterating, always striving to make better software for our customers. And often, these changes are influenced by larger technology innovations. So there’s always something new to learn. There’s nothing static about this business and I love that.

Where does your passion come from? What drives you, inspires you, excites you?

Growing a successful business from the ground up certainly keeps me excited, but it’s what’s behind that—the very reason for our success that keeps me passionate—and that’s our customers. You can’t grow a business without being responsive to your most important constituency. One aspect of our business that really makes this rapid responsiveness possible is our SaaS delivery model. Because of that, we have a unique, 24×7 view into how they are responding to the features we are constantly introducing. We can build, measure, and learn (as our friend Eric Reis would say) to see what works or not. It keeps ...

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