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Introducing Dgraph’s CEO: Gary Hagmueller

Not too long ago, Manish talked about the changing of the guard at Dgraph as he transitioned from CEO to CTO. Five years into building Dgraph, it was time for our solo founder to get support with the rapidly growing business while he focused on the core technology.

Manish has known Gary for a couple of years, and as their conversations progressed, it made sense for Gary to be the one to come on board as Dgraph’s CEO. Having spent years piecing together the incredible rocket ship, Gary could add the rocket fuel to take us out of this world.

As a community-focused company, we wanted to make sure that you knew a bit more about Gary. If you’re curious about the official news, you can see the media coverage that this announcement generated in VMBlog, Datanami, and AIthority. We won’t repeat the information you’ll find in those articles, instead diving a bit more into who Gary is and what he brings to the Dgraph team.

Where Gary sees the market/industry:

The world is becoming more complex from a data perspective. Every day, we collect more data about everything we want to understand or use to derive value. And while individual data points have grown rapidly, the past 10 years have seen an equally impressive explosion in the dimensionality of the data we collect. Taken in aggregate, almost every modern organization is now dealing with exponential growth in data size and complexity. Adding to the complication is that we have come to realize that there is a lot of value locked in the various silos of data across our organizations and uniting them is its own unique challenge.

The need to tackle this problem is driven by the fact that it has been proven many times now that individuals, teams, and companies that can wrangle all of this complexity into a cohesive and coherent data framework see huge gains in the form of project success, increased customer traction, and market valuation. This sets up a major paradox that needs to be solved:

The larger and more complex your data, the greater the value it can yield - but also the harder it is to extract that value, particularly at the speed your business requires.

So while it goes without saying that there are a bunch of different and really valuable things that can be done with data, those benefits are almost completely out of reach because up until now, the only way to work with this explosion of complex data is to use antiquated databases and interfaces.

For years, companies have been putting bandaids on their existing technology choices. Each new level of complexity causes someone to build a layer on top of what existed before, add lots of needless code into applications, and worst of all, limit the amount of data that is actually consumed in order to run time-sensitive operations. It’s safe to say that we have hit a structural limit in the way that we manage data and it’s time for a new paradigm.

Rather than breaking out the duct tape, building a bunch more brittle code, or cutting back on the data used to power applications, what if there was a way to handle complexity without needing to sacrifice quality or completeness? What if there was infrastructure that was so performant that applications could deliver the most complete responses possible in real time? What if those building and maintaining this new data reality could rapidly set up an application, make changes quickly, and easily hand it off to others.

While that might sound too good to be true, it’s not. It’s what I saw the Dgraph team building and it’s what will drive the next major disruption in the infrastructure space.

Gary’s vision for Dgraph:

Dgraph is uniquely positioned in the market thanks to the powerful combination of the #1 graph database on Github paired with being the native GraphQL database. What’s striking about Dgraph is it is scalable, fast, easy to use, and an ideal solution for the exact sort of applications that depend on massive amounts of complex data being available in real time. Whether building the next generation of social media apps, or driving digital transformation of enterprises, Dgraph is designed to deliver internet-scale performance in the way that you would expect if you were Google. It does so because Manish, as one of the three core people who built Google’s graph system, realized that the same technology was integral to the problems faced by the broader market.

In joining Dgraph at this stage, it’s clear that both the open source and cloud solutions are robust and powerful. As we look at adoption, there are some incredible enterprises using Dgraph in production with more reaching out to us on a daily basis. But equally intriguing is how the community has grown exponentially - whether we watch the download numbers or the website traffic to our docs, it’s clear that people are using and enjoying Dgraph across a range of applications and scales.

The vision for the future is to expand Dgraph’s role in the market, setting the standard for what the next generation of databases and graph technologies can do. I see the combination of existing technologies that have hit hard structural limits with the emergence of a powerful new technology that is not encumbered by those constraints as an opportunity to disrupt the infrastructure market and build a new leader.

Cool things you should know about Gary:

  1. As the father of twin teenage boys, Gary is an experienced and masterful project manager and negotiator.
  2. His only uniquely pandemic-related purchase was an ergonomic chair. Although he prefers to take meetings as actual calls so that he can get his steps in - since we’re all chained to our desks with Zoom calls, an ergonomic chair has become a necessity.
  3. Given the chance to only give one piece of advice, Gary’s response was “If you’re in the proper environment, taking a risk is a good thing. Risk leads to reward or meaningful learning. If the risk doesn’t pan out, figure out how to fail fast and move on.”

We hope you all enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Gary, Dgraph’s new CEO. The team is excited about working with Gary and we’re sure you’ll see the results of that work in the near future. With the combined experience of Gary and Manish, both the company operations and technical innovation elements of Dgraph’s future are in good hands.

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