K o t t e r v a

crossroads critical decisions • turning points

* inspired by the French concept, "Quatervois"

My name is Dustin Kirkland.  I provide advice, coaching, consultation, and support to entrepreneurs, executives, and investors.
I am an experienced software engineer, engineering manager, startup chief technology officer, as well as product manager, and chief product officer.
My passion is helping startup founders productize innovations, adopt best practices, and avoid anti-patterns.
Please reach out through LinkedIn if I can be of assistance...


As a full time software engineer, product manager, and executive leader,
I've designed, built, launched, sold, supported, and operated technology products at:

IBM, Software Architect

Software Architect,

Google Cloud, Product Manager

Product Manager,
Kubernetes On-Prem

Goldman Sachs, Managing Director, Head of Consumer Product Platform

Managing Director,
Head of Consumer Product Platform

Gazzang (acquired by Cloudera), Chief Technology Officer

Chief Technology Officer
(Acquired by Cloudera)

Canonical / Ubuntu, VP Product

VP, Product

Apex Fintech Solutions, Chief Product Officer

Chief Product Officer

VP, Engineering


As an advisor, consultant, and/or investor, I've supported the founders of:

(acquired by Verizon)

(acquired by Coinbase)

(acquired by Redwood Logistics)

About Me

Short Bio

Spanning 25 years as a software engineer, product manager, and executive leader in both CTO and CPO roles, Dustin has spent more than a decade building hardware, software, and services products at some of the world's largest companies (IBM, Google, and Goldman Sachs), plus another decade leading growth-mode startups (Canonical/Ubuntu, Gazzang, and Apex Fintech).  Open source software, cloud security, IoT devices, and financial services technology are among his passions and expertise, as he has launched successful products in each of those markets.  Dustin enjoys advising startups and corporations on strategy, and especially helping great people "systematize success" with well-tuned product and engineering methodologies.

Longer Bio...

Dustin Kirkland is an engineer at heart, with a penchant for reducing complexity and solving problems at the cross-sections of technology, business, and people.

With a degree in computer engineering from Texas A&M University (2001), his full-time career began as a software engineer at IBM in the Linux Technology Center working on the kernel and security certifications, including a one-year stint as an dedicated engineer-in-residence at Red Hat in Boston (2005).   Dustin was awarded the title "Master Inventor" at IBM, in recognition of his prolific patent work as an inventor and reviewer with IBM's intellectual property attorneys.

Dustin then first joined first Canonical (2008) as an engineer (eventually, engineering manager), helping create the Ubuntu Server distribution and establishing Ubuntu as the overwhelming favorite Linux distribution in Amazon, Google, and Microsoft's cloud platforms, as well as authoring and maintaining dozens of new open source packages. 

Dustin joined Gazzang (2011), a venture-backed start-up built around an open source project that he co-authored (eCryptFS), as Chief Technology Officer, and helped dozens of enterprise customers encrypt their data at rest and securely manage their keys, (Gazzang was acquired by Cloudera).

Having effectively monetized eCryptFS as an open source project at Gazzang, Dustin returned to Canonical (2013) as the VP of Product for Ubuntu and spent the next several years launching a portfolio of products and services (Ubuntu Advantage, Extended Security Maintenance, Canonical Livepatch, MAAS, OpenStack, Kubernetes) that continues to deliver over a hundred million dollars in annual recurring revenue.  With Canonical based in London, an 800+ work-from-home employee roster and customers spread across 40+ countries, Dustin has traveled the world over, connecting with clients and colleagues steeped in rich cultural experiences.

Google Cloud (2018) recruited Dustin from Canonical to product manage Google's entrance into on premises data centers with its GKE On-Prem (renamed 'Anthos', and then 'GKE Enterprise') offering, with a specific focus on the underlying operating system, hypervisor, and container security.  This work afforded Dustin a view deep into the back end data center of many financial services companies, where he still sees tremendous opportunities for improvements in security, efficiencies, cost-reduction, and disruptive new technology adoption.

Seeking a growth-mode opportunity in the fintech sector, Dustin joined Apex Clearing (now, Apex Fintech Solutions) as their first Chief Product Officer (2019), where he led several organizations including product management, field engineering, data science, and partnerships.  He drastically revamped Apex's product portfolio and product management processes, retooling away from a legacy "clearing house and custodian", and into a "software-as-a-service fintech" offering instant brokerage account opening, real-time fractional stock trading, a secure closed-network crypto solution, and led the acquisition and integration of Silver's tax and cost basis solution.

Drawn back into a large cap where he could have greater impact, Dustin joined Goldman Sachs (2021) as a Managing Director and Head of Platform Product Management, within the Consumer banking division, which included Marcus, and the Apple and GM credit cards.  He built a cross-functional product management community and established numerous documented product management best practices, processes, and anti-patterns.  Although the products won numerous industry awards, macroeconomic headwinds led to downsizing the consumer business, and provided Dustin the impetus to establish his own startup advisory practice -- Kotterva.

He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Kim and their two daughters.


I thoroughly enjoy public speaking, and have extensive experience speaking at conferences,
appearances on podcasts, as well as leading conversations as an interview host and analyst...

SiliconAngle / theCUBE Analyst Coverage

Open Source

Most of my career has been dedicated to the creation, maintenance,
proliferation of open source software, and ensuring its long term success with commercial viability.

Open source code projects that I've authored and maintained...

Ubuntu features that I'm responsible for:

Projects that I've contributed to:

Intellectual Property

Early in my career at IBM, I spent considerable time, effort, and creativity
creating a portfolio of intellectual property, yielding some 75+ patents, and I was named an IBM Master Inventor in 2004.
I also contributed to IBM's defense of Linux and Open Source, during a tumultuous period for free software.