This interview with Dwight Merriman, chairman and co-founder of MongoDB, an open-source document database, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. "It’s a myth that most C.E.O.'s are extroverts," says Dwight Merriman, chairman and co-founder of MongoDB, an open-source document database. He has overcome his own earlier shyness, he says, and relies on his enthusiasm for his work. Q. Did you have the entrepreneurial itch when you were younger?
A. Not much. I was kind of your classic nerd. The most significant thing for me was just the first time I touched a computer. It was my 14th birthday. It was immediately obvious to me that, hey, I can do this. It was intuitive. It was pretty clear then that I knew what I wanted to do. I started a business in high school doing programming for small businesses, but I was probably more focused on computers than on any notion of company-building until later.
Q. Tell me about your first experience managing people.
A. It was at DoubleClick, where I was a co-founder. There were times when the entire engineering organization, probably 300 or 400 people, worked for me. I think managing people is hard, and it’s a lot of work. I think I’m a good manager, but not a great manager. I like doing entrepreneurial things and starting companies and helping build them. I like strategy and marketing and the tech side. Managing people would not be my favorite thing, but you have to do it if you’re going to be C.E.O.