Parallels Summit 2012: Q&A, Birger Steen

We spoke to the CEO of Parallels about how his vision for the company is panning out and what he still wants to achieve.

When you became CEO in 2011 you set out your vision to achieve $1 billion revenue annually and focus on infrastructure and developing the talent you have in the organisation. Have you set out what you wanted to achieve thus far?

We're not quite a billion yet but I think the important thing when you articulate where you want to take the company is it sets a benchmark for what kind of company you want to be and what kind of company you need to be.

In terms of growing the ecosystem to one that can carry a $1 billion business, I think we've made more than a year's progress in a year.

I think we have made about a year's progress in getting ready to be that company. It's a bit like competing in a sport and deciding whether you want to be a good company team player or you want to be Olympian. The choice between the two has a lot of implications for how you prepare and what equipment you get and so on.

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We've made some real progress in getting ready to be that kind of company. Examples would be if you look back at the people we've hired over the last few months we have Michael Toutonghi who came out of Microsoft, one of 22, now 21, technical fellows there who was the kernel development lead for Windows 95 and was the architect behind .net. He's someone who's really built large scale and ubiquitous platforms in the past. He's exactly the type of person we need to drive the architecture of our platform. By architecture I mean not only that of each individual product but also how the whole platform lines up and how it extends out to the ecosystem.

Until about a year ago we had a fantastic idea, a potentially liberating idea on the application packaging standard that allows an open-ended ecosystem as opposed to a walled garden approach for SaaS apps for SMBs. The problem was we hadn't really invested a lot in it. We had a good idea but we had more or less just leaned back a little bit and said "Those who want can come in."

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