Bill Karpovich is co-founder and CEO of Zenoss, a developer of open source network and systems monitoring software that claims 100,000 downloads of its product, Zenoss Core, and more than 1,000 users worldwide. The company's name and mission reflect his philosophical bent: Bringing the Zen of Open Source Software to IT management.
Photograph by David Deal Bill Karpovich
CEO of Zenoss
Interview by John Soat
Karpovich studied engineering at Duke University, where he also played varsity soccer. He went to work for Accenture (then Andersen Consulting), then joined the ill-fated USinternetworking, one of the first ISPs. "We didn't sleep much or do much except think about how to deploy Internet solutions for companies."
Karpovich burned out, so he took a yearlong sabbatical. "I read 50 books on philosophy, religion, and psychology." He traveled in the Far East and discovered meditation. He also studied brain science as a volunteer graduate student at Johns Hopkins.
"There is no inherent meaning in our lives--and that's a positive thing. It's your choice, the meaning is up to you. The only meaning is the one you create."
The Zenoss technology came from a former colleague at USi, who wrote it "in his boxer shorts in his basement." Karpovich saw a way to apply his entrepreneurial skills and the lessons he'd learned on his sabbatical. "Open source is a new way of people working together. It's not win-lose, it's about partnering together."
Zenoss has an office that serves as a meditation room; Karpovich himself uses it twice a day. It fits with the company's unofficial motto: "IT managers: Here it is, your moment of Zen."
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