10 Things You Didn’t Know about New Relic CEO Lew Cirne

Software entrepreneur Lew Cirne started his career in technical positions at Apple and Hummingbird Communications. He went on to found Wily Technology, where he worked as CEO until CA Inc. acquired the company in 2006. It was at this company that he pioneered performance management software technology. Two years later, he founded New Relic. This company, at which Lew Cirne is the CEO, is a successful software analytics company. They have partnered with some of the biggest names in the business – IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft, among others. Under the direction of Cirne, this company quickly rose to the top of the field in the software analytics sector of information technology. They will surely continue to get more investors, more funding, and make even stronger partnerships with large companies. But who is the main behind New Relic? Read on, and you will learn Ten Things You Never Knew about Lew Cirne.

New Relic is an Anagram

New Relic is a pretty cool name. It has a bit of an ironic juxtaposition of the new and ancient – it is an oxymoron, in fact. However, it is also a perfect anagram of Lew Cirne’s name. So, the CEO has a creative edge to his business strategies.

He Holds 22 Patents

Lew Cirne holds a total of 22 software-related patents, with 19 in application performance management – the same type of software that he originated during his time at Wily Technology (before it was acquired). His patent history definitely shows where he focuses his time and attention the most.

He Loves to Code

This might not come as much of a surprise, considering the nature of his business. But this guy really loves to code. In fact, he sets every Thursday and Friday as “coding days”. He even occasionally takes week-long coding retreats at his family cabin at Lake Tahoe. And we’re not complaining – the CEO continues to bring his company to higher corporate heights every year.

He Wrote His First Game at 12

When he was 12 years old, his parents bought him a 1982 Commodore Vic 20. He was, of course, psyched to use it for games. But he was even more happy to code his own computer games. His very first computer game was his own version of Space Invaders, completely hand-coded in BASIC.

He Got His First Contract in High School

Continuing on his path towards early success, the future CEO scored his first publishing contract for a game that he had co-created with a friend. The game was based around, and originally intended to be, a board game invented by his friend. It translated well to the computer – and obviously the publisher agreed – but unfortunately never made it to production.

He Sees Software as Culturally and Scientifically Significant

In an interview with New Relic itself, Lew Cirne stated that he “believes that the world changed more because of software in the last twenty years than any other technology advancement”. He talks a little bit about how it has impacted culture, and the importance of the science behind coding. And, in an increasingly software-driven world, we can’t deny that he has a great point.

He Asks All New Hires One Thing

The first thing that Cirne asks a prospect is as follows: “You’re driving home and you’re on cloud nine. What was it about the working day that made you so happy?” The New Relic CEO crafted this question to gauge the potential hire’s passion for the work, and thus if they will fit into the company culture. He doesn’t want to hire anybody who isn’t thoroughly enthusiastic about software – they simply wouldn’t fit in at his company.

He Prefers Meetings of Six

Lew Cirne doesn’t like large meetings. He tends to lose a lot of his steam while presenting to many people, and compensates for it by talking far too much. Another drawback is that people are less likely to speak up if the CEO is too active in the meeting. On the other hand, small meetings allow him to be self-aware. The six-person meeting is his preferred size, and the amount of people that he is most comfortable addressing.

He Does Outreach

The successful CEO likes to stay involved in his community. For example, he once appeared on a podcast hosted by Michael Santos called Earning Freedom. This particular podcast is geared towards those who have done time in prison. On the show, Cirne quoted from the Book of Matthew, and offered some reassuring and inspirational words to any ex-con listeners tuning in that day. He wants to improve society as much as he can, particularly from the position of power he won for himself.

He Supports Dartmouth

Before starting his first job, Lew Cirne received an A.B. in Computer Science from Dartmouth College. His education was crucial to his success today. Thus, he decided to donate $1 million to the school back in 2006, for the purpose of creating scholarship and internship dedicated funds. This private grant has helped many Dartmouth students since it was created – offering them similar opportunities that were available to Cirne himself.


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