It was 2008 Redwood City, and my startup Makara was riding the early cloud wave born of virtualization, trying to create what is now known as “containerized applications.” Early adopters for this technology were the typical early adopters: financial companies, technology companies, and the occasional retail company reinventing itself.

If your startup is doing it right, you have a website, brochures, videos, and all kinds of materials that make your company look bigger than it actually is. We were 15 people in a $1.25/sq ft office above a movie theater. During the week, our neighboring unit had karaoke blasting, making our conference room sound like we were in a bad movie. We held sales calls on my Nokia cellphone in a little room in the back near the restrooms. We tried to present ourselves as if we weren’t next to the toilets but instead in a San Francisco highrise with…

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