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May 12, 2023

Meet George Fraser, a 2023 Datanami Person to Watch

Death, taxes, and ETL: Some things are just inevitable. But give credit to Fivetran co-founder and CEO George Fraser with creating a product and company that is trying to make the process of building pipelines that move data from source systems into cloud data warehouses a little more bearable.

We recently caught up with Fraser, who we named a Datanami Person to Watch for 2023 for his work in making Fivetran a market success. Here is what he shared:

Datanami: Fivetran has emerged as a key element of the modern data stack. What do you attribute this success to?

George Fraser: The commitment to our mission to make access to data as simple and reliable as electricity. Few businesses can survive without data – we need it in good times and in bad. In today’s environment, fast, reliable access to data is especially critical for businesses across industries.  When Taylor [Brown, Fivetran’s co-founder and COO] and I were first starting out, we didn’t intend to build a data integration tool. In fact, our original idea was a vertically integrated tool that would allow users to connect, capture and analyze data. This went through multiple iterations but throughout this process and by talking to our early prospects, we actually uncovered an entirely different unsolved problem. Folks didn’t have the ability to get all their data in one place in a quick, efficient way. We took on data integration headfirst and haven’t looked back. Our mission from the start has been to make access to data as simple and reliable as electricity and we haven’t wavered from that.

Datanami: You famously co-founded Fivetran with your childhood buddy, Taylor Brown in 2013. Can you share any tips for our readers on how to maintain personal connections while growing a company?

Fraser: Trust and playing to each other’s strengths has been key for us. We are very different and we’ve gravitated toward different things over the years. My background and expertise is rooted in the technical side of things while Taylor leads on operations. Instead of trying to be co-CEOs, we played to our individual strengths. Trust is an important component to this. We have built a foundation of trust and mutual respect that transcends the company. There’s no need to micromanage. We know we can count on each other to deliver no matter what.

Datanami: Will we ever be able to stop doing ETL? Or can we just hope that it becomes less painful in the future?

Fraser: ETL is not painful at all if you do it with Fivetran! ETL will always exist because businesses will always prefer to run operational and analytical workloads on different systems.

Datanami: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you share about yourself that your colleagues might be surprised to learn – any unique hobbies or stories?

Fraser: I play a lot of tennis, and I take my dog on a lot of walks, though not enough if you ask him.

To read more interviews with more 2023 People to Watch, click here.