Why I Joined StarTree

Jess Iandiorio
ByWritten byJess Iandiorio
March 4, 20245 minutes read

Jess Iandiorio is StarTree’s new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). She joins StarTree at a critical time in our corporate growth and also at a turning point in her own career. We are certain that under her leadership she will help propel us into the next stage of our corporate development and success. Now, in her own words, here’s why Jess decided to join StarTree.

My Journey

Twenty years ago I started my first job at Forrester Research working as a research associate focused on enterprise applications. These technologies are now dated — but think of your classic ERPs, Supply Chain Management solutions, HRMs, and CRM software. One company stood out above the rest: Salesforce.com. It was the dawn of SaaS and they were upending the “old way” of on-prem licensing software. It was exciting. 

I left Forrester to join my first startup Endeca, originally a website & intranet search solution which morphed into serving business intelligence use cases. That was my first foray into the world of data and it was also exciting — combining structured & unstructured data to solve big company problems. Endeca was acquired for $1B+ by Oracle and it is one woman’s opinion that those business intelligence use cases were a huge part of the exit.

When I left Endeca I joined Acquia, an open source commercialization solution for Drupal — at the time an emerging content management system. That was my first foray into open source commercialization… and you guessed it, it was exciting! We experienced exponential growth in my time there and I came to intimately understand the power of open source software & communities.

These three trends have shaped my career significantly: Open Source Software, Data Analytics, and SaaS. In my last role at Starburst I spent four years building an incredible brand & growth engine supporting open source Trino (which makes for a great complement to Apache Pinot, by the way), alongside an exceptional executive team and overall team including my beloved marketing organization. It was the first time I intersected all of these passions together.

Why StarTree

This all brings me to why I joined StarTree. I’m doing it again:

  1. If you think about exciting areas of tech to work in, nothing is hotter than data. But, it can be a real challenge to find technology that’s truly differentiated since everyone sees that data is water. We need it. Our lives revolve around it. So what makes StarTree unique in a sea of data + analytics tech competition? It’s the real-time analytics use cases, and the combination of Apache Pinot + StarTree.

  2. The future of analytics & experiences is real-time. We have evolved to heightened expectations on the pace of everything; a phenomenon dubbed as the impatience economy. We want everything faster. We want to receive information & data RIGHT NOW — either because we just want it, or our business depends on it. Without this tech, consumers wouldn’t know how long it would take for their food to be delivered by their UberEats or DoorDash driver is, financial businesses would be unable to detect and prevent fraud in real-time, retailers would struggle to deliver personalized experiences based on clickstream, cybersecurity threats would be much greater without real-time observability and anomaly detection, and the list goes on.

  3. I believe in the power of open source software to do well while doing good. I believe in communities of talented developers that work better together instead of siloed into exclusively supporting proprietary tech. OSS, and open source centric business models, are better for customers. The pace and quality of innovation is faster, and there are typically cloud & consumption-based models via commercial backers that work better for the flexibility businesses need. Apache Pinot is a wonderful example of an OSS project & community that only just reached its 1.0 release milestone last year, yet is already showing tremendous adoption and value as companies realize the value of real-time analytics for user-facing applications.

  4. I was impressed by Apache Pinot’s place in emerging data architectures and ecosystems. While Pinot by itself is awesome, per Metcalf’s law, the power of a network is in the square of its elements. Pinot is just one vital element within evolving data architectures spanning across enterprises. If you look at the growing list of streaming and batch data sources supported by StarTree Data Manager, you can see that we take integration partnerships seriously.

  5. Speaking of which, a huge additional differentiator is the strength of StarTree’s early partnerships with AWS and Confluent, and how Kafka + Flink + Pinot creates an amazing trifecta.

  6. Software is only as valuable as its adoption by a vibrant community. Apache Pinot has reached critical mass with users like LinkedIn, Uber, Walmart, and so on. On top of that, StarTree has 50+ commercial customers in production, including industry leaders including Stripe, Rippling, Razorpay, Wix, Sovrn, Dialpad, Guitar Center, and more.

  7. We’ve come a long way since the dawn of SaaS. While we have Benioff to thank for thinking differently, SaaS is now the de facto delivery model for software and consumption-based pricing models have rounded out the value. It’s not just a matter of lifting and shifting workloads to the cloud. StarTree Cloud is an entire suite of cloud-native services built around Apache Pinot, with significant advantages over running self-hosted open source, such as advanced tiered storage capabilities and SOC 2 certification.

I’m here to shine a light on the opportunity at hand for every company to do more & better with real-time analytics. This is a small piece of data that shows the magnitude of the opportunity at hand:

That showcases how quickly StarTree has grown to serving 1B queries/week - in four short years, with just over 50 customers. To the right you can see Snowflake’s journey who now serves 1B queries/day. The pace of growth for real-time analytics workloads is astounding. So rest assured, I’m here to MAKE SOME NOISE!

I’d be remiss not to mention that I met a very long list of StarTree leaders & team members and all of the above would be meaningless if the team wasn’t incredibly strong. This is a great team that I’m so excited to join. Thank you Kishore Gopalakrishna for the opportunity. Now let’s go!