Monday, October 31, 2011

The Prize Roman Stanek Has To Pay in the Czech Republic For His Success

Roman Stanek
The published one-sided emotional article of Jiri Donat came last week as a time bomb: “The $28.5 million backed company GoodData threatens our student startup with lawsuit”. Article written in Czech and English. 

Roman Stanek, CEO and Founder of GoodData definitely deserves better publicity than that. Despite of what Donat says, this not a story of David and Goliash. This case shows that we have still a way to go as a country, or as individuals (being it seasoned managers or just students) in the area of ethics of communication as well as in respecting Terms of Usage of global company data and services. We just cannot ignore the law. 

Roman Stanek has managed something what the other Czechs just dream about – he has founded a very successful GoodData company, based in San Francisco, that is booming (+ 500% yoy growth) on the fast developing computer-clout market. He obtained investments’ back-up from famous Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, that holds stock among others also in Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga. And he has the privilege to work directly with Google’s enterprise chief, Girouard, that joined the GoodData management board this summer. Stanek’s task as legal representative of the company is to assure proper Company governance (including intellectual property rights / data protection). 

On the other hand Jiri Donat (ex Siemens, ex Deloitte, currently Associated Director in A.T.Kearney) the CEO of, that is operated by students, fights his strange battle with Roman Stanek via media. Donat has decided that he disputes publicly the GoodData Terms of Usage and provided readers and other media houses just one-sided emotional information. But this was not enough for him, Donat published even the details of e-mail correspondence written by Stanek. Donat decided to emotionally describe just half of the story, to obtain the public support for the “poor” students, who have no chance to win the legal battle (as if he knew the law is not on his side). Justifying himself that he had to do it because Roman Stanek had Saturday and Sunday to reply his e-mail which he did not manage (note: generous when Mr. Stanek lives in San Francisco, and he was not warned about the Donat' s threats). 

Czech Tech community is now divided in comments into two camps – one group believes that this is just a PR campaign of a start-up for generating awareness. Of a start-up that does not care about ethics and rules of communication, that should withdraw the questionable data first from their website and negotiate their usage with GoodData afterwards. The other group supports Donat in his pursue of own interpretation of the law and side the story of "poor students" who´s project is now in danger. They don´t judge the legal perspective, they look on human aspect of the whole thing.

Respected start-ups in the civilized world prefer personal talks and search for win-win solutions before using the power of public voice.  Respected start-ups do not build their company awareness on the principle of attacking others. Respected leaders do not publish other party correspondence, especially when hiding own steps. Successful start-ups base their audience engagement on quality of their products and services. 

I am sure that because Roman Stanek believes that “Tough times create tough Companies”, this small episode will help Good Data to strengthen their position and also they will be more ready next time to face surprising unfair attacks, especially if they come from the home country. 

I personally wish that next time, when we, the Czechs, send the messages to the world, they will have such substance, that will inspire other nations and generate respect for what we, here - in small country - are capable to invent, not the stories similar to fake David and Goliash, where the need to obey to law and ethics are disputed. 

Roman Stanek

Is one of few Czech entrepreneurs who managed to transfer his success traits to the U.S., the home of tech innovation. He is today well known among business circles and Venture Capitalist in Silicon Valley, as the Company GoodData - which he founded and which he leads as CEO – has its head-office there. 

Nowadays Good Data have back up of $28.5 million investments funds, coming mainly from famous Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, that holds stock in all four of the highest-valued privately held social-media companies: Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga

Roman could receive this backing up of such a famous VC firm, only because he never thought his Czech roots were a limit for him. He always believed that: “We live in a flat world. Building thriving start-up Companies is possible also in Europe, or even in the Czech republic.” Nationality does not matter. But for the Company scale and networking purposes it is advisable to be based close to the TECH beating-heart center – close to California. 

Community, collaboration and governance are the three focus areas of Roman. Roman also shares the Seth Godin’s wisdom, that “It takes three years to be an overnight success, sometimes more.” Roman – although still born under state controlled and planned communist regime - built up his way as self made serial entrepreneur of three global companies. His real success came during the last decade, when his booming companies were acquired by leading multinationals: NetBeans (acquired by Sun Microsystems) and Systinet (acquired by Mercury Interactive and later Hewlett Packard). 

Andreessen Horowitz’s O’Farrell on GoodData: “I see the startup becoming a billion dollar company.” 

Girouard: “GoodData has an amazing opportunity to build a huge business, and GoodData has taken a unique and promising approach to leading in this market.” 


Started back in 2007 based on the insight that cloud computing could enable businesses to operate more efficiently when linked with data analytics, simplified processes, best practices and actionable insights – in sales, customer service and other areas. Over 2,500 companies, including Software AG, Time Warner Cable, Capgemini and Pandora Media, rely on GoodData’s data intelligence products. The company has seen 500% growth in overall platform usage in 2011 alone and is currently managing over 6,500 unique customer data mark. And more than 2 million reports were executed on the GoodData cloud BI platform in July of this year.


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