Father’s Day: An Interview with Ziv Kedem
In honor of Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, we asked Ziv Kedem, Zerto’s CEO and co-founder, to tell us about his father’s influence on his career. Ziv’s father, Nadav Kedem, is a technologist and entrepreneur with 40 years’ experience in the storage and software industries. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree it seems.
Question: How did your father influence your love of technology?
ZK: Both of my parents had careers in high tech, but my father played an undeniable role in my love of technology, which set me on the path I’m on now. I started learning to code when I was just 11 years old with my dad’s encouragement and guidance. I came to love coding, the beauty of it and how it can be used to solve complex problems. My dad was my guide at first. He showed me what coding could accomplish and helped me solve the problems I encountered. I was hooked and — as I grew older and learned more about the power of technology — I knew that I’d pursue a career in a technical field.
Question: Do you turn to your father for advice or counsel?
ZK: Of course! I’m very close with my father, so we talk about everything, including Zerto’s successes, challenges and the road ahead. My dad’s advice is especially valuable, because he has both an outsider’s perspective, as well as an entrepreneurial mindset. He has faced many of the same challenges that I encounter, so I very much appreciate that I have a resource like him I can call on for feedback and advice.
There are times too when my dad turns to me for advice on challenges he’s facing, and I’m so grateful that he values my opinion and I’m able to return the favor. All my life, he’s supported my pursuits in high tech. I’m proud that he trusts me enough to turn the tables and ask me for advice.
Question: What fed your entrepreneurial mindset? How did your family contribute to that?
ZK: With my father’s encouragement, I developed a strong foundation in technology. I built on that foundation when I joined the military, which provided me with the opportunity to expand my experience, and demonstrate how technology has the potential to change lives. When I left the military, I saw that I was part of a large and growing network of technical professionals, and a group of us set out to identify opportunities for solving some of the deep technical problems that exist in enterprise tech.
My father of course supported my path, and he and his brothers had deep roots in data storage technology. They were all involved with various data storage companies over the years, and I’m sure that their love for the storage industry rubbed off on me and my brother Oded!
Question: If you could draw on the entrepreneurial experiences of both yourself and your father, and share advice with the next generation of entrepreneurs, what would you say?
ZK: First, vet your idea for a product or service before launching the company. We followed this prescription for Zerto and it set us up for longer term success. Next, hire a veteran sales and marketing executive with a strong pedigree early on in the life of the company. Bring this person in before building the engineering team, before writing the first line of code, before even raising funds. This person will ensure that you’re creating a product that has appeal to your target markets from an early stage and position it for success down the road. Last, think big and think long term. Don’t just focus on the next product release or the next event. Take a macro view and focus on creating an organization that’s “built to last.”