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Saturday, June 15, 2019

History and Current State of Teradata

Have encountered Teradata a number of times as it related to retail analyics.  They turn 40 and encounter yet more competition.   A considerable piece on their state and future.

Teradata Turns 40, Takes Off Gloves, Readies for a Fight    By Alex Woodie in DataNami

The past, present, and future of Teradata collided yesterday at the company’s headquarters in San Diego, California, where 1,500 employees and guests – including four of the company’s original founders — gathered to celebrate the company’s improbable 40-year run. And facing tough competition in the analytics ring, Teradata’s CEO vows to go on the offensive.

The odds were stacked against Teradata from the very beginning, when a group of computer scientists gathered in Jack Shemer’s garage in Brentwood, California. It was the summer of 1979, and the future was not what you would call bright.

“All I remember is interest rates were astronomically high,” said Jerry Modes, one of Teradata’s co-founders, in a video that played on a large outdoor screen. “Carter was president….We decided to start a company right in the worst time there was.”

“Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, the price of gold went from $350 to $850 dollars an ounce,” said Phillip Naches, another co-founder, in the video (which you can view here). “The prime rate went from 8% to 22%, and we knew that there was a big recession was coming on.”

“It was not an environment conducive to being a startup,” Shemer said in the video. “Being a startup, you know you’re going to live or you’re going to die.  You don’t want to fall on your sword or fall on your six shooter. You want to make sure you take a rifle shot and succeed.”

The founders were all technically adept, but they relied on Shemer, Teradata’s original CEO, to shake some money loose from the venture capitalists, which was not an easy task given the economy at the time.

“He could charm the birds out of the trees,” Teradata co-founder David Hartke said in the video. “He went around to many investors and talked them into investing with Teradata.”  .... "

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