Thoroughbred race horses tend to have names ranging from poetic to outright bizarre, but the winner of yesterday’s Preakness Stakes had a more utilitarian moniker–Cloud Computing.
The victory is a well-timed landmark for the technology the horse is named for, which over the last decade or so has gone from a promising idea to an everyday reality. Remotely-hosted services in everything from file storage to tax preparation to publishing now drive serious profits for major firms, particularly Amazon. And while naming a horse after a tech innovation may seem odd, there’s a good explanation.
Cloud Computing, a 13-1 longshot to beat a field including Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, is co-owned by hedge fund overachiever Seth Klarman. Klarman grew up near the Pimlico Race Course where the Preakness is held, and followed horseracing closely before building an investing career focused on underdog assets overlooked by other money managers.
That notably included buying heavily into depressed assets after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and Klarman’s Baupost Group is diversified across finance, energy, and health sectors. But its investments have also included tech stocks like Dell, which owns the cloud service VMWare, and Microsoft, whose Azure cloud service is trying to steal market share from Amazon. Klarman reportedly owns several other horses with names related to technology.
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Techies, business leaders, and cloud computing fans, not surprisingly, seized on the occasion to celebrate. Here are some of their tweets:
Werner Vogels, chief technology officer at Amazon since 2005, and one of the primary architects of Amazon Web Services, Amazon's cloud business:
Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, a cloud services company focused on business customers:
Cisco's cloud computing business chimes in about the victory:
Angela Nadeau, CEO of CompuData Inc.:
A Twitter handle focused on cryptocurrency bitcoin that referenced the serendipity of Cloud Computing's win and bitcoin reaching a $2,000 exchange rate:
Chris Urban, a project manager at Acquia:
Curtis Chin, former ambassador, public relations executive, and advisor: