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June 29, 2020

MongoDB Appoints AWS, Grab Veteran as New CTO

"For some reason, I've always been intrigued by databases."

By CBR Staff Writer

Database upstart MongoDB has appointed AWS veteran Mark Porter as its new CTO, three months after co-founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz announced that he would be standing down from the hands-on role — briefly sending the company’s share price tumbling 9%. Porter starts July 20.

(Horowitz wrote the core code base for MongoDB, a non-relational DB platform provider. He’s stayed on as a technical advisor. Porter also joined MongoDB’s board in February this year. The company’s share price, meanwhile has soared from $134 at the start of this calendar year to $217).

Porter, who spent 2013 to 2018 at AWS in a range of roles, including as General Manager for Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora, joins the New York-based company from Singapore’s ride hailing, food delivery and digital payments firm Grab, where he served as CTO. He also spent 11 years with Oracle, heading up a server development team, among other positions.

In a blog post today announcing the new job, he said, tongue perhaps only partly in cheek: “I was searching for closure (and maybe redemption) for the deep personal guilt I have because I’ve put so much of my career energy into building data engines that don’t make people’s lives as easy as they could.

He added, more seriously: “If you don’t know the guilt I’m talking about, look at the SQL generated by any of the popular ORMs [Object-Relational-Mapper] out there – it’s clear that there is a disconnect between what developers are trying to accomplish and what their datastores allow them to do.”

MongoDB touts a significantly more flexible data model than that provided by SQL, allowing developers to iterate on applications much faster.

As Porter notes: “Just ask any CIO how often they ‘roll new schema’ to their application fleet, and they typically put their head in their hands and mumble ‘Once a quarter..if we’re lucky.’ The speed of your schema changes is directly related to how fast your teams innovate and thus to the innovation speed of your business. Once a quarter isn’t fast enough anymore, if it ever was.”

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MongoDB reported total revenues of $421.7 million for fiscal year 2020 in earnings filed in late May. It made a net loss of $175 million and grew its customer base to 17,000, from 13,400 customers in 2019.

See also: MongoDB CEO on Taking on Oracle, Open Source, and Scaling Up

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