From wedding photography to server management: How this entrepreneur became a CPO

Michael Hines

Only in startupland can the founder of a wedding photography company land their next gig as chief product officer at a cloud server management startup.

Dan Creviston, CPO at CloudRanger, initially balked when he was asked to join the company — and you can’t really blame him.

Creviston co-founded George Street Photography, a Chicago-based wedding photography company. He launched the business back in 2004 with two childhood friends, and by 2013 George Street was in nearly 40 markets.

In late 2013, the company began looking for a way to create a cloud-based portal to streamline its photo upload and download processes. That endeavor led Creviston to AWS consultant (and CloudRanger founder) Dave Gildea.

After months of working with George Street, Gildea, who lives in Ireland, approached Creviston and his partners about helping him launch CloudRanger.

“So this random Irish guy that we’ve never met wants us to invest in his company and help him build something,” Creviston said. “And we just said no way, it’s not something we’re really interested in at all.”

A year later, the founders of George Street were in Las Vegas for an AWS conference. Gildea was there, too, and he pitched his idea to the trio again.

“We again said: We’ve been dealing with brides, and grooms and couples and solving those problems,” Creviston said. “We don’t know much about the cloud. We don’t know much about AWS or anything other than using it. And he said: That’s exactly what I want for my company.”

Gildea’s desire for partners with non-technical backgrounds and his new take on server management swayed George Street’s founders, and Creviston was the one chosen to work with him on CloudRanger.

The first version of CloudRanger's software was tech-heavy, and the company’s new CPO had difficulty understanding it. So he began sketching out his own idea of how things should work.

From there, the two decided to build a more visual user experience to make server management tangible and easy for anyone to understand.

CloudRanger officially launched its visual server management software in July 2017. The company has a development team in Ireland, led by Gildea, and a sales team in Chicago. The Chicago team is lean, so Creviston helps close deals on top of his product duties.

Despite being initially nervous about working and selling in the startup world, CloudRanger’s CPO soon discovered similarities between his new and old clients.

“I love working with brides and grooms because they’re excited about what they’re doing and they’re creative. But working with people who are passionate about their products in Amazon is kind of the same thing,” Creviston said.

 

Photo via Dan Creviston.

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