Santa Barbara, California–based Citrix Online is a division of Citrix Systems with branch offices all over the world. Citrix Online’s cloud service offerings – GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToMyPC, GoToTraining, GoToAssist, and GoToAssist Corporate – are accessed and used by approximately 17,000 new users each month. In May 2012, the company announced that it had won the Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) 2012 CODiE Award for its GoToMeeting apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Bernardo. Hi, Tommy. Why don’t we start with each of you giving a bit of background to set the context and directional perspective on where Citrix is going from your point of view?
Tommy Ahlers: I recently joined the Citrix family as part of Podio. I was the CEO of Podio, as the early investor who came in shortly after three guys in a basement founded the company in 2009. I thought of Podio as building on a social trend in companies, seeing that social has to be about productivity in order to have value to companies. It cannot just be about social. It has to be something with which you’re actually getting your work done, not just talking about your work. That was the reason I fell in love with Podio and why I have put all of my passionate energy into that over the past couple of years. I will continue to do that as a part of Citrix.
At Citrix now I’m VP of Social Collaboration. Prior to this, my third company was Podio and my second company, ZYB, [which] I sold to Vodafone. That’s why I spent a couple of years at Vodafone. I sold that back in 2008. It was about mobile social networking. Prior to that, I did another online SMS service that didn’t go anywhere, so within a year, we started and stopped again. I’m kind of the serial entrepreneur here as well.
SM: What does Podio do?
TA: Podio is a collaborative work platform. It has all the [features] of social, and that’s what people want now in their companies. People want to work in the same way at the office as they do when they’re [entertaining themselves] on Facebook and YouTube and all of that. That’s the core of Podio. What we do to enable people to work is allow them to build their own apps on Podio to get their work done. This could be an app that deals with the recruiting process, an app that deals with sales leads, an app that deals with marketing, or an app that deals with projects. They can build those themselves just as they build Excel sheets today. That’s the core of Podio.
SM: Interesting. Bernardo, would you introduce yourself and tell us what you’ve been up to?
BdA: I have been with Citrix for close to 13 years. I was with a startup called Expert City. I joined very early. I was employee number 17 in 1999. It eventually got bought by Citrix in 2004. We continued as the online services division of Citrix, so I continued in the same company, in the same group that’s now part of the Citrix family. I do not have the entrepreneur resume that Tommy has, apart from that one stint as an early employee in a startup. I saw a lot of change from a lot of change from a 17-person company to now a 1,400-person division of a larger company. I have always had marketing roles until recently. For the past year and a half I’ve been responsible for the collaboration line of business for Citrix Online, which includes the products you might be familiar with, such as GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining, all your conferencing and, of course, now Podio.