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Making the Impossible Possible Using Data with Amr Awadallah, Global CTO of Cloudera

Episode 358
How is data changing the way we do business? Amr shares the impact of data, AI and more.

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“You are building features that your customers need right here, right now. You educate them on what can be done and the art of the possible. Then, you execute way better than your competitors. That’s it.” — Amr Awadallah

Today, Stephanie is joined by Amr Awadallah, co-founder and Global Chief Technology Officer of Cloudera, a platform for managing of data, data engineering, machine learning and more for cloud based enterprises. Amr is fondly called the “geek from Egypt” as he migrated from Egypt and has a passion for computer science. Living in Egypt, Amr never aspired to become an entrepreneur; it wasn’t until he moved to the United States and graduated from college that his mindset changed. After taking a leave of absence from Stanford, Amr started his first successful company, Viva Smart, which he later sold to Yahoo. 

Amr joined Yahoo to learn the ropes of a corporate setting and eventually was running one of the very first organizations to use Apache Hadoop for data analysis and business intelligence. Once Amr had experienced the difference Hadoop had made when testing it out with his team, he knew this was a great opportunity to start another company, thus creating, Cloudera.

On this episode of Mission Daily, Stephanie and Amr sit down to discuss the problems AI is solving on a daily basis, his journey from Egypt to the US, and launching his two companies. 

Quotes from Amr:

“We believe data will make the impossible, possible. “With the hardest problems in the world, collecting and leveraging data in the right way, we’ll be able to solve these problems”

“My advice is in the early years when you have 10, 20, even up to a hundred people, be very careful with the hiring and be very fast with the firing.”

“These algorithms are learning from us so our hunch, our expertise, is the input. If we don’t have enough inputs then we won’t be able to create this automation. If the algorithm encounters a  new exceptional condition that it has never seen before, it will still require an expert human to come in and make a judgement call. The right approach is the balance of both [human and algorithm].”

“The statistics say that only two out of 10 startups do okay and one out of 1,000 does amazing and only one out of 100,000 becomes an Apple or a Google. The chances are you’re going to fail when doing a startup and that’s one of the key advice I give to people. You need to be ready for that. That is why Silicon Valley is special. It knows that the chance of failure is high and that’s ok.”

“Our culture at Cloudera is a very collaborative culture. We really believe that we are all in it together. We are all super smart together but none of us is the smartest gift to creation that everyone should listen to. We always look for that [collaboration] when hiring.”

“You have to have passion for the problem you are trying to solve. You have to be very passionate that that’s the problem you want to focus on and really believe in it and believe it is going to change the world in the right way. That passion is what is going to make you preserve and sustain everything else. The thing that is just going to keep you going is your love for what you are working on. So test yourself a hundred times, ‘how much am I committed to this?’”




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