Andi Gutmans, CEO & Co-founder at Zend

Age: 43

Lives in: Menlo Park, California

Significant others: Married + 3

Company’s main offices: Cupertino, California & Ramat-Gan, Israel

Andi Gutmans, CEO & Co-founder at ZendAndi Gutmans, CEO & Co-founder at Zend

What does your company do and why is it unique?
We are the company behind PHP, the most popular Web development language. PHP runs over 50% of the Web and enjoys a huge developer base of millions of developers.

What makes us unique is the broad impact the company has on Web development and developer reach while in parallel it works with the largest Enterprises to accelerate their pace of innovation. We are also unique in the fact that we truly cover end-to-end application delivery with a focus on tooling, frameworks and runtimes, including adding-value around DevOps, Cloud & Mobile/APIs.

What are you most proud of in your company?
The very broad impact that Zend has had on the Web. Our work impacts over 50% of the Web workload.
Zend is like a family and employees stay in touch with each other (and often the company) long after they leave.

The Team at ZendThe team at Zend (click to enlarge)

What’s with the cute, colorful, plush elephants?
The ElePHPant is PHP’s mascot. The plush elephants are very desirable and some people (like me) make it a habit to try and collect as many colors as possible. I’ll tell you a funny story: This year some of the original ‘plush elephant’ folks decided to create a gold plush elephant in celebration of 20 years for PHP. They had a prototype made and ended up deciding not to do mass production, so there was only one ever made. They put it on eBay and Zend ended up buying it for about $800-$900 (it cost 500 Euro to get the prototype produced!). It now resides with our CTO & CO-founder Zeev Suraski in Ramat Gan 🙂

Zend's plush elephants


Who inspires you/who do you admire and why?
Moms for their perseverance, patience and ability to multitask. Working moms even more so.

Which other companies do you admire and why?
Amazon. I can’t imagine being without a two-day free delivery service anymore! They’ve built an amazing customer experience which is very hard to replicate in such a logistics-heavy business. And in parallel as a side project they also launched Amazon Web Services and completely disrupted the IT space!

What do you do for fun?
Spend time with my kids, bike, practice photography, cook and prepare gourmet espresso-based coffee.

iPhone or Android? iPhone. What is Android?

Favorite Food:
Seared fois gras and it’s back in California! I also have a sweet tooth and enjoy my deserts.

Favorite TV Show: House of Cards

Favorite technological gadgets/apps right now:

Bose QuietComfort 20i headphones

Favorite go-to websites/blogs for news on your industry/technology
Twitter and LinkedIn have replaced my favorite web sites as a good source of keeping up-to-date with our industry.

The best business advice you ever received:
“The more context you can give employees the better they can perform their jobs. Being open, direct and honest is key to making that happen.” And as part of that, I love the following abridged version of an Alice in Wonderland dialogue:

Alice in wonderland quote


What do you think would really surprise people to learn about you?
I’ve got four citizenships: Swiss, British, Israeli and American
I barely graduated university. It took me 4.5 years to finish a 3 year degree at the Technion.
My birth name is Andrei (not Andi), due to my grandparents’ Russian heritage.