The Decision on Transparency

By | November 14th, 2017

“Are you crazy?” “Why would you do that?!” “You shouldn’t share that!” were just a few of the common questions and comments we heard over the years when Backblaze shared information about our business that most other companies do not. What was the thought process behind opening up? I’d like to explore the positives and negatives of being so transparent as a company.

How to Compete with Giants

By | October 17th, 2017

Perhaps your business is competing in a brand new space free from established competitors. Most of us, though, start companies that compete with existing offerings from large, established companies. Your job is to come up with a better mousetrap — not the first mousetrap. That’s the challenge Backblaze faced. In this post, I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned from that experience.

Surviving Your First Year

By | September 21st, 2017

In my previous posts, I talked about coming up with an idea, determining the solution, and getting your first customers. But you’re building a company, not a product. Let’s talk about what the first year should look like.

Managing a Remote Workforce

By | May 25th, 2017

While Backblaze has customers all around the globe, the company itself is a pretty small enterprise with just over 50 employees. Many of those employees are actually remote. 75% of Backblaze employees work from the main Backblaze office (San Mateo), 15% are datacenter employees, and 10% working remotely full-time. Many companies that were the pioneers….

Building a Competitive Moat: Turning Challenges Into Advantages

By | May 18th, 2017

In my previous post on how Backblaze got started, I mentioned that “just because we knew the right solution, didn’t mean that it was possible.” I’ll dig into that here. The right solution was to offer unlimited backup for $5 per month. The price of storage at the time, however, would have likely forced us to price our unlimited backup service at 2x – 5x that.

We were faced with a difficult challenge – compromise a fundamental feature of our product by removing the unlimited storage element, increase our price point in order to cover our costs but likely limit our potential customer base, seek funding in order to run at a loss while we built market share with a hope/prayer we could make a profit in the future, or find another way (huge unknown that might not have a solution). Below I’ll dig into the options that were available, the paths we tried, and how this challenge completely transformed our company and ended up being our greatest technological advantage.

Steel To Tin: The First 10 Years of Backblaze

By | April 20th, 2017

Today Backblaze celebrates turning 10 years old. Tin is the traditional gift for a ten year wedding anniversary: a sign of strength and flexibility. Getting to this point took not only the steel to make the servers, but tin as well. How things have changed: 2007 2017 Team Five Founders in a Palo Alto apartment….