“I believe it’s very important to invest in and protect our single biggest asset and sustainer of life, the earth. I think we need better education to ensure peace and a sustainable world with smart people and action to clean up the mess we’ve already created before it’s too late.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Vincent Delaroche, Chairman and CEO of CAST. A passionate entrepreneur and industry thought leader, Vincent has grown CAST from a start-up in a French basement to a market leader. In CAST, he is building a long-term venture, faithful to his team, clients, partners, and shareholders, with the mission to introduce, what he calls the “yardstick for measuring software.”
What is your “backstory”?
My personal motto is that the most important things in life are people and destiny, and the best way to control both of these aspects is to create your own company. When I founded CAST, I felt software engineering and software development were obscure and difficult for managers and business executives to “see, touch and feel.” I wanted to make the invisible visible by providing objective software measurement and making it easier to see what’s going inside software. I wanted to help IT leaders make educated decisions about technology. From a very young age, even in my teenage years I knew I wanted to create something from the bottom-up and have an impact. That’s why we are here, right? CAST is the realization of this long-held dream, and it has been a fun, challenging and rewarding journey to create a new industry category and build the software intelligence market from the ground-up.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
At the very beginning of CAST, we met with the CTO of a large global systems integrator. We were doing a demo of our very first product, but this executive, who had just had a rich lunch I guess — very likely with some wine and cognac as used to be the tradition in France 20 years ago — fell asleep after about 10 minutes and started to snore. We were still a little green then and did not know what to do with this guy, so we very quietly left the room, waited outside and had a good laugh. Fifteen years later, I’m happy to say he is one our biggest customers and is deploying CAST across more than 20,000 developers to deliver high quality software at lower cost.
What exactly does your company do?
CAST provides software intelligence to help IT leaders get a true measure of their software structural quality so they can make fact-based decisions, predict and prevent IT outages, security risk and other operational disruptions that can damage consumer confidence and rack up millions in lost profits. CAST uses system-level analysis to detect the most dangerous structural software flaws a kind of MRI for software that visualizes software applications and delivers an analytics dashboard that shows executives the risk exposure, and software imaging blueprints to show technical staff exactly where hidden software risks are. The goal is to deliver analytics on the reliability, security, performance efficiency and maintainability of business applications for greater management efficacy and real productivity measurement.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe it’s very important to invest in and protect our single biggest asset and sustainer of life, the earth. I think we need better education to ensure peace and a sustainable world with smart people and action to clean up the mess we’ve already created before it’s too late. I’m glad to personally contribute to charities like Life Project 4 Youth, the United World Colleges and a few others that help young people in tough situations to go to school, get a good education and position them to have a positive impact on the world. The scale of projects like these is amazing, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see young people grow up and make the world a better place.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why.
- Most people don’t buy disruptive change, even when it’s good for the company they work for. We’ve learned that the hard way in many cases as we grew up as a company. Most people buy products because they have to or because there has been a top-down edict regarding corporate direction. Fortunately, there are transformational leaders who helped us make our first steps.
- When you market a change agent that disrupts the industry, there are always other companies that will do their very best to fight hard against you to protect their interests today, even if they know it won’t be good for them tomorrow.
- With very few exceptions, most partners show up at the end of the battle to help celebrate the victory. Our strongest and longstanding partner, BCG, has stood by us every step of the way offering counsel and execution in closing new customer deals.
- It’s hard to find talented people willing to go the long-haul to make an impact and revolutionize an industry. We have spent lots of time and energy over the years to hire type A folks who will do well in our environment, but when you are a company creating a new market, there is not a lot of room for compromise. We have a strong vision of what we want to accomplish, and we’re not going to stop until we get there.
- You don’t get the last two weeks of the year off to enjoy the holidays with your family, because in B2B dealing with Global 2000 companies, there are always a handful of big deals at stake between Christmas and the New Year.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would most like to share a meal with Elon Musk to hear first-hand what’s in his brain and get his feedback on a couple of ideas I had when I was six. I think good leaders are those who make their industry better, move the lines and disrupt the status-quo.
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