Who: Ned Lilly
Company: Great Bridge LLC
Has held title for: 7 months
Previous title: Vice president of CarScene.com
Even in the free-for-all world of open-source software, you've got to have some order — and some orderlies, people who serve as intermediaries between the programmers (otherwise known as hackers) and the companies that use their software. Ned Lilly is that guy at Great Bridge, a startup that sells and services a commercial version of PostgreSQL an open-source database.
So, what the hack do you do?
I tell the hackers what features our customers say that they'd like to see in the product. But I'm also a bit of a PR flack. When Great Bridge has some news to share, I'm usually the person answering the questions.
What's it like to represent people who have such a bad rep?
"Hacker" is not a bad word. It's used by this elite group of developers to identify themselves. It's a term of pride.
Can you hack it?
Absolutely. I've always had one foot in the management camp and one foot in product development. And it's probably to my benefit that I've seen every episode of Star Trek many times.
A version of this article appeared in the December 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.