Team Spotlight - John Rueter

By: Katana Graph

February 04, 2022

Team Spotlight - John Rueter

John Rueter joined Katana Graph as head of Marketing in early 2021, bringing deep experience in strategic marketing, business analytics, graph technologies, and in building out high-performance marketing teams at several high-profile software companies. Throughout his career, John’s peers have applauded his leadership style, and his “roll up the sleeves” approach to building a successful business.

What is your role at Katana Graph?

John Rueter: I head up marketing. My role is to help put Katana Graph on the map while building up and scaling out the team and the processes in anticipation of very rapid growth. I love all things to do with software marketing: business and brand positioning, product marketing, corporate marketing, press, analysts, content, website, and much more.

What initially drew you to Katana Graph?

JR: I was initially introduced to the company by Thomas Cook, whom I used to work with at Cambridge Semantics. I really respected him personally and professionally. So when he suggested that I speak with the company, I said sure, you bet!

I've also always been interested in finding the Holy Grail for making information more easily understood, analyzed, and actionable. On the technology spectrum, I've developed industry expertise ranging from enterprise search to database marketing to business intelligence, analytics, and data management. Graph technology is the next step.

In fact, prior to Katana Graph, I spent the last six years in the graph technology space. And I was convinced that graphs had a tremendous opportunity to change the dynamic of how we look at data.

Katana Graph has a fascinating distributed graph computing approach that lends itself really well to artificial intelligence and machine learning, so I was very fascinated by the technology.

Also, as I met people at the company, it just felt like a great fit. I like working at companies where you're challenged and invigorated by intelligent, passionate people who really want to make a difference.

You mentioned your background in various related verticals. What are some of the challenges associated with defining a new category?

JR: I've worked at several startups and emerging growth companies, and I've helped companies build categories where they didn't exist before. Doing that at Katana Graph is another opportunity. It's an evolving space, and the possibilities for graph technologies are becoming more recognized. There is still much education, evangelizing, and thought leadership that needs to be shared and I really look forward to building and communicating our Graph Intelligence story.

What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?

JR: The internet.

Many people think about electricity being probably one of humankind's greatest inventions of the last several hundred years. To me, the internet is a form of digital electricity.

The advancements we are creating in society by making data and information available to more people is a noble endeavor. Many people who historically did not have access to education were at an extreme disadvantage; with the internet, the field becomes more level.

Favorite vacation spot?

JR: Iceland. It's absolutely incredible! The first time I visited was for a company offsite meeting when I was on the management team for the Norwegian company Fast Search & Transfer, and we were, at that time, competing head-to-head with Google in developing Internet search. It was actually in Iceland when we decided to go into the area of enterprise search—which, at the time, did not yet exist. Iceland was an incredible place to visit. I just fell in love with the country when I was there.

In some ways, to me, Iceland is a microcosm of what's available to us in the 50 United States. Within that one small country, you have glaciers, volcanoes, beaches, the Northern Lights, and more. Iceland is just an incredible country!

And the people are just wonderful, they're lovely. The environment is awe-inspiring. And the fact that they are a self-sustaining country, with their geothermal heating, it's just a remarkable thing. I love it.

It's sometimes said that people who love the beach tend to drive action, while people who love the mountains are visionaries. Iceland has both. Which are you?

JR: You do meet people who are beach people, and you also meet people who are mountain people. I love both, and the fact that beaches and mountains coexist in this compressed environment and ecosystem is what really makes it so much fun for me.

Favorite quote?

JR: "Criticism is easy, achievement is difficult." - Winston Churchill

I wrote my college thesis on Winston Churchill and the origin of the Cold War. So, I have an extensive library of his writings, speeches, and books and I’ve drawn much inspiration from his witticisms and his quotes that are frequently used in everyday language.

Some people can become paralyzed by criticism, even second-guessing themselves. For me, the trick is taking that criticism, gathering inspiration, and then scaling new heights. Tell me it can’t be done and that just makes me want to prove it can be done.

As the data becomes very big, doing AI and learning insights from that is more challenging. But our solutions are geared towards solving such things.

Reminds me of a similar quote that Benjamin Disraeli is famous for: "It is much easier to be critical than to be correct." Churchill was talking about effort, and Disraeli was talking about knowledge. At Katana Graph, you're aiming at more knowledge with less effort. What's that look like in five years?

JR: I see a tremendous opportunity for Katana Graph. If it's true that we're judged by the company we keep, the fact that we have such top-tier investors involved with Katana Graph is a huge testament to what we can accomplish.

In a few years, this company should be substantially bigger by all measures. This whole concept of high-performance computing meets graph technology is a fascinating one to me. And its application is unlimited.


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