Basic Info

Kamil Bajda-Pawlikowski
Contributor Status:
Initial Contribution Date:
Primary Location:
Cambridge, MA, USA

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Personal Career Headline:
Co-Founder & CTO, Starburst Data

My AdVert

Career Snapshot:

Kamil is a technology leader in the large-scale data warehousing and analytics space. He serves as chief technology officer for Starburst Data, the enterprise Presto company. Prior to co-founding Starburst, Kamil was the chief architect at the Teradata Center for Hadoop in Boston, Massachusetts, focusing on the open-source SQL (structured query language) engine, Presto. Previously, he was the co-founder and chief software architect of Hadapt, the first SQL-on-Hadoop company, acquired by Teradata in 2014.

Kamil holds an M.S. in Computer Science from Wroclaw University of Technology as well as an M.S. and an M.Phil. in Computer Science from Yale University.

My AdVice

How did you get into the industry?:

Since I first learned DBMS (database management system) fundamentals, I was always fascinated with data processing. After working several years as a software engineer, I was fortunate to meet Professors Avi Silberschatz and Daniel Abadi at Yale University about 12 years ago. I entered the doctoral program and began my journey with Big Data and modern MPP (massively parallel processing) SQL architectures.

While at Yale, I co-invented HadoopDB, the original foundation of Hadapt’s technology. Together with MBA student, Justin Borgman, and Professor Abadi, we co-founded Hadapt, which was acquired by Teradata in 2014. After joining Teradata, we decided to put our efforts into the open-source Presto SQL engine and then spun out Starburst Data as an independent company a few years later.

Emerging industry trends?:


Separation of compute & storage

Cloud-centric data platforms

Industry opportunities and challenges?:

Challenges: data silos, proprietary data platforms, limited compute/storage resources, lots of inertia hindering analytical innovation.

Opportunities: cloud-native analytical architectures bringing separation of compute and storage, elasticity/scalability, and on-demand/usage-based pricing.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

We incubated our enterprise support offering for Presto while at Teradata. When we first got involved in early 2015, the Presto community was relatively small. No traditional enterprise adoption existed due to the lack of both security integrations and ease-of-use. Plus, not everyone wants to do-it-yourself without any support since running any software at large scale and in production is a serious responsibility.

Starburst Data built on its initial customer base and rapidly accelerated product development and adoption across a large number of companies in a variety of industries.

What's next for the Business in the near future?:

We are investing in a major way in the cloud offerings that we introduced after forming Starburst Data. While on-premises deployments are still frequent, we are seeing a lot of activity across major cloud providers, like AWS, Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform. Also, Kubernetes is gaining significant adoption in both private and public clouds.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?:

Simply put: our product just works. No issues, easy-to-use, all at a reasonable cost.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

First, get your technology background right. Data processing has been around for decades, so learn from the successes and failures of the giants before you.

Second, I cannot overemphasize the importance of listening, understanding, and valuing what others have to say, especially your customers, partners, and co-workers.

My AdVantage

What makes you the best version of yourself?:

Patience and perseverance, but also flexibility.

What are your aspirations? (Personal and Business):

Business: Make both my company and our customers successful.

Personal: Find more time to read books and spend more time outdoors.

Biggest Success?:

Still ahead of me 🙂

Favorite Places/Destinations?:

Mountains in general. More specifically, the White Mountains in New Hampshire on weekends and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado for vacation.

Favorite Products/Objects?:

Thinkpad laptops (currently enjoying X1 Carbon); outdoor clothing and gear.

Current Passions?:

Winter hiking, when you see so few people reaching mountain peaks.

What Else To Know

Tell Us More:

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Green areas in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Especially Arnold Arboretum, Mt. Auburn Cemetery, and the Charles River Reservation.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Oatmeal and rolls with butter and fruit spread at home.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM –  about to wake up

10:00 AM – busy (calls, e-mails, meetings, etc)

12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Lunch buffet at a nearby Indian restaurant

7:00 PM –  personal/family time

11:00 PM – sleeping

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

a cup of black tea in the morning, a cup of green tea after lunch, and a cup of herbal tea in the evening

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Google News, Slack, Gmail

What should everyone try at least once?

Start or join an early stage venture.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Mountains 🙂

Primary Location

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