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10 Things You Didn't Know About Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman

Frank Slootman

Cloud-data warehouse Snowflake has been the talk of the town since it announced its intention of going public. Snowflake’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange on September 16 under the ticker “SNOW” delivered the much anticipated blockbuster opening. The scramble isn’t over, and many who missed the opening also missed on the double growth just off the gate. It’s an impressive feat for the 8-year old software company, but everything’s going fast these days anyway. While everything about Snowflake is hot in the market, we’re left asking who is at the helm of it all. It’s none other than CEO Frank Slootman, and here are 10 things about the guy behind the current Snowflake craze.

1. He’s got a track record

There are many questions left unanswered about the months leading up to Snowflake going public. Perhaps the biggest one is the one that deals with the CEO replacement just months before the public offering happened. The biggest guess is that Frank Slootman simply had the track record for having previously taken data storage companies successfully out of trouble and into the future. Slootman previously served as CEO for Data Domain and for ServiceNow, which he both took public. Snowflake is Slootman’s third IPO.

2. He gets paid a ton of money

It pays a lot to be in the business of knowing what you do, and Slootman knows more than the rest of us when it comes to money, the market, and the software industry. Because of his much sought-after expertise, Slootman gets paid a decent sum of money. This sum is more than what the CEOs of Salesforce, Oracle, and even Microsoft was making. Today, Slootman’s net worth shot up to $1.8 billion because of the Snowflake IPO.

3. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy

Slootman’s style of leadership is not gentle at all. Some may describe him as direct. Others might say that he’s completely brash. Perhaps that’s exactly the kind of leadership that gets a million-dollar business into the realm of billions. It has certainly worked well for himself, for the companies he’s worked under, the many investors that have poured money in his name, and so forth. In short, money talks, and Slootman’s got it in his hands and in his mouth.

4. He’s 61 years old

Not much is known about Slootman’s personal life, but we do know that he’s fairly young for the success he’s achieved in his lifetime. At 61 years old, Slootman has created quite the reputation for himself. While most CEO’s would be described as the person who would take their company to the moon, Slootman has been referred to as the person who would take his company to Mars.

5. He’s a Dutchman

Slootman moved to Silicon Valley in 1997. Before that, he spent his life in Netherlands, where he was also born. Slootman received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Erasmus University Rotterdam School of Economics. Whatever he learned from school is probably what we should all learn. But then again, there really is only one Frank Slootman, IPO master in the world.

6. He’s got an invisible hand

As cool as it may sound, Slootman doesn’t actually have a literal invisible hand. Instead, he’s got something equally as cool—a sailing boat named The Invisible Hand. This boat actually won Slootman the 2017 Transpac Honolulu Race in 2017. So not only is this CEO a winner on land; he also dominates the sea with his sailboat—pretty impressive on any measure.

7. He’s thrifty

This is probably the biggest understatement of the year. But you don’t achieve a $1.8 billion net worth by being a spendthrift. Slootman applies this philosophy in the workplace as well. He cuts back where he sees fit. For example, he made a few changes at Snowflake when he became CEO. He cancelled the luxurious annual employee ski trip to Tahoe. He also scaled the workplace back tremendously from stunning spaces in San Francisco to headquarters in San Mateo. An in-house cafeteria replaced the usual catered lunch offerings, and sales representatives no longer had free reins on unexplained spending.

8. He’s a published author

If there were one person you could sit and learn from today, who would it be? Many in the emerging tech sector would name Frank Slootman easily because of the kind of substance he gives when he speaks. The good thing is you don’t have to actually sit in with Slootman to get his lessons. He published a book in 2011 called Tape Sucks. The book accounts his time in Data Domain and so much more. If you want to know more about this CEO, this might be the book to read.

9. He’s a celebrated speaker

There’s no surprise here. Given his accolades, Slootman gets invited to speak at many events. Much like how he runs his companies, Slootman is always direct in his speeches. He’s quite knowledgeable in the market industry, and he doesn’t confuse with unnecessary jargon. He knows what problems exist in his field today, and he knows how to address them as well. Slootman may be someone you wouldn’t be comfortable sitting face-to-face with, but he’s definitely someone you can listen to in a room full of people.

10. He owns 5.9% of Snowflake

Slootman knows exactly what he’s doing. 5.9% of any company is a huge deal. Steve Jobs didn’t even own 1% of Apple—even though he had millions worth in shares. It’s a positive outlook for Snowflake, and it’s a bright signal for investors to really pay attention to this company now before it’s too late. After all, he has experience on his side. Slootman is going to take Snowflake for quite the ride, and you have to decide whether you’re getting in his car or not.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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