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Network AF  |  Season 1 - Episode 10  |  February 1, 2022

Navigating venture capital and networking with Alan Cohen

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Alan Cohen, partner at venture capital firm DCVC, sits down with Avi to talk about his experience working in networking and security. During the conversation the two discuss Alan's history starting out as an accidental tourist in tech, following the internet's growth to Cisco, then networking and security startups in the Valley. They also cover the advent of virtualization and multi-cloud, and strategies Alan has learned through his venture capital days to reach and grow entrepreneurs' businesses.


Welcome to network AI. This week, I have on Alan Cohen. A networker who has led marketing at, Cisco at, multiple innovative networking ups. In fact, he likes to sort of kneecap and and poke fun at the mainstream and and drive innovation. We're gonna talk about, some of his experiences, both in networking field, marketing, business, and life. Please join us, and, I think you'll love the episode.

Hello, and welcome to network a f. I'm here with my a good friend, Ellen Cohen, a a rebel and recovering networker. Alan, if you could give us a little intro, what are you up to, nowadays?

Morning, Avi. Great to see you and, beyond AF.

This is definitely a kind of AF.

You know, the usual stuff, I mean, continue to make investments and kind of companies that are completely changing the future.

Well, I'll be talking about it a little bit soon, but I just may invest in a networking company of a different type. Okay. But I can't I can't go into it a lot, and it's, and it's not a network of packets. So but I will talk more about that sometime soon.

Come back after I understand you mean carrier? It's a bird breeding? It's a bird. It's, yeah, rear.

Does the parrot not dead. It's just sleeping. Okay. Yeah.

And talk with him, and, gearing up for the holidays, whatever that means, we're gearing down. Okay. Some travel, whatever. Yeah.

Beautiful. Okay. So, you had a diverse career. We won't say long career. We'll say diverse career, in and out and around of networking from, you know, from the death star of networking to, people, you know, shaking things up and kicking things around.

How did you get into tech in the first place?

I was an accidental tourist. In tech.

I, actually started my first career, actually, in government, and then gone in NBA. And when I got out of school, I got a job as many MBAs do in consulting.

And actually, my training is actually as an economist.

Obviously, not engineering, which you figured out in our first meeting.

So, the partner that hired me to the consulting firm, about three weeks before I got there accepting an assignment to work on the mining industry between singing Singapore and, and Australia. And he said, hey, you ready to come move there? And I said, you know, I just got married. And, like, I'm trying to hold it together, in the first year, So he actually passed me on to the partner that ran the telecom practice, and I got thrown in the early nineties got thrown headlong into the growth of cellular and then broadband networks back when we called it interactive TV Oh, I remember that. Yeah. So I came up through that, and I went out to US West and worked on its cellular and paging business. And also the trials that we did in Omaha with Time Warner and learn that the, how how do I say this politely?

I won't be applied. It's four billion dollars to find out you don't want your phone company picking your movies.

But we we had some of the first, ATM network and, you know, saw that and then kinda moved into the, the internet business, actually, at IBM. I'm a good friend of, Kantex.

And built, e commerce. And I think I mentioned to you that I joined, IBM on June fifth nineteen ninety five, which was the day that IBM acquired Lotus in a last gasp of client server application, and I'm paying some rents on some mortgages in Boston and, you know, so the, you know, ran the first Windows ninety five flat at IBM. I did use OS two with a Netscape browser and steadily, the, came out to the Valley work for Cisco.

Yes, Avi, I have your father.

And proceeded through, you know, great early career. Cisco in the nineties, and then for networking security startups later and eventually do what every washed up technologist does is make your way to deventure. I mean, you take all your experience and bring it to venture?

To, to mentor the next generations. Although, some of them aren't that next generation. Some of them are just next generation of ideas.

So to try to hold their beer, give them money, and not get in the way. Yeah. You're exactly right. Yeah. Yes.

Or Diet Pepsi as the case may be. So That's right. That Diet Pepsi. That's right.

CAS of Diet Pepsi as the case may be. So And I I I think you know, I've had the great pleasure of causing several wars in the networking industry. One in the wireless war, between an air company called Airspace, which was a startup that, kinda roiled the incumbency got taken out by Cisco, and then later, spent some time at Cisco again, and then, joined, an enterprising network virtualization startup called Nisera, which was acquired by VMware and started the shooting war between Cisco and VMware. This kind of fanning the planes.

Yeah. Which we'll talk about NICEera, but, you know, it's it's it's interesting because, the way that the way that SDN was originally pitched, you know, truth in advertising would have been, people hate opening tickets to make VLANs, can we just automate the network people? You know, that's where we are versus the flow controllers and magic lands and, you know, all that stuff. So Yeah.

Well, I mean, you know, like, Nysera clearly, and by the way, it's a great antithesis for any discussion, I can't take, right, because It was the first realization that increasingly organizations were not gonna be completely owned every network. They were running over and that they would need software control layers to be able to provide the capabilities you would expect in an enterprise network, like security performance, control visibility that you weren't gonna have when you were using somebody else's network. As you've said, the networks you own are the ones you don't. So That's right.

Yeah. And so, you know, what I would say is, like, a lot of these capabilities have effectively created passports and, health kits, right, for traveling into the great unknown of the internet and the You know, the internet is infrastructure. Infrastructure is a service players and all those folks. So, so I, you know, I've kind of got washed sure in my little robot across all of these battles and, you know, quite cognizant of, you know, look, I mean, when I was just going to nineties, it was really two things really drove the business.

The first one was email, which drove enterprise network and then second one was the browser. Right. Yeah. No.

You definitely need the applications to drive. I mean, it was I mean, even originally, in fact, net access originally meant email and usenet for those that remember usenet, not live internet access because, you know, yeah, it was neat for assistance and whatever, but, you know, it was it was not what originally, you know, was all connected. So were you at Cisco before joining networking before startup, before wireless? I was.

I was. I worked this. I came there in the nineties during the great push to replace service providers with over the top kinds of companies and actually worked on management as well as call managers remember, the for we worked with group Videoron in Canada to build an over the top phone network. It was it was all clunky.

At the time, the software, Well, this is before the Cisco VoIP phone took over the world. No. Yeah. I was there for for the early VoIP the acquisition of Celsius, which was this little white phone that, and the demos would be you would take the phone and plug it into the different ethernet ports.

Like, oh, look, it still works. Right? Somebody calls. And because it got and what was interesting is that architecture was very client server.

It wasn't very internet ish, which is why it had to be you know, rebuilt.

But, you know, clearly organizations were as the applications became increasingly networked were deploying as fast as we can, and, you know, we were hiring as fast as we can, and we had to create things. I was there with Tony Lee, you know, came up with BGP. It's like, somehow you had to make the routing thing work. And, you know, the death of, you know, we acquired StraticOM, and we had kind of the slow burnout of, a ATM, as basically IP and Ethernet just kind of rolled everything.

It was the Bitcoin of networking protocols. It got rolled over everything. It actually still is. Right?

You know, it's still kinda rolled over. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's it's it's definitely, funny.

I remember the, oh my god, we've got an ATM pipe full of, frames but no packets coming out the other end because congestion control is not synchronized and PGP fighting EIGRPs, the Cisco, yes. I mean, yeah, the IVRP for whatever.

I just saw a funny funny cartoon. Well, and then we realized like, oh my god. We've now shipped x millions of devices, and we don't have to have any, like, anything that actually manages them all either. Right.

Well, that's a separate thing as vendors and software, but, We were selling too busy to work too too quick to worry about management. Well, people that was somebody else's problem. Right? Yeah.

People used to think I was religious.

And, you know, they're like, what what IGP should I use? And I'd be like, well, look at the cards you need to use, look at the release notes, find the IGP with the fewest bugs because, you know, in the nineties, it was, like, stick a fiddie card in and sparks spit spit out the hissing port. And every other bike gets dropped and you're like, I I don't even know how that could happen, but, you know, they weren't cooperating systems. What what was it like, you know, And that was back when, you know, the giants, you said, Tony Lee, you know, the giants walked I mean, Joel was like assistant then. The Joel Vine, I mean, like, these and the people who worked in the lab, like, with my Sandy at Stanford. Right?

It was growing so quickly.

You know, there was kinda two things going on. At a pure geeky level, There was still an enormous amount of, building and creation of protocols and capabilities because the little router, printer network they set up at Stanford was not exactly the ideal architecture for you know, the the something that would manage something that scale to Amazon web services. Right? If you think about the, you know, I I always think about things in terms of lands. Right? Like, you had your land and, like, there's a little land in the Cohen household and, you know, it's getting and then there's the your your office and the campus architecture And then there was wide area and data center architectures and then overlay where, you know, you a lot of your experiences on the internet edge, And they were all kinda separate. And so we were doing, I think, very rapid, incremental innovations.

On one hand. And then, like, some of my colleagues, not I, we're building these b, you know, the can I say it B ARs?

BFGs. Yeah. BFRs.

Right? Because, you know, as applications like voice, but more importantly, video started to get layered on in the late nineties. It was, The freaking routers needed to pass the packets. Yep. We had a lot of routers and line card updates were just not enough.

So there's this this massive explosion and hiring everywhere and You know, we were doing, I don't know, an acquisition a month. The week couldn't tell. Yeah. I hired someone who had when I was at Akamai, who had worked at Cisco in Australia, and he told the story about literally the fax machine was out of paper, you know, and they just, you know, just kept, you know, the fax people kept dialing the fax machine to make orders they couldn't, you know, be bothered to answer the phones unless it was, you know, like a three million dollar order Yeah. I was there for the e commerce era where we covered the fax machines and, you, you know, we just watched the money rolling in on the server. What was what was interesting also was, you know, I can remember a management meeting probably ninety, eight, ninety nine, where chambers got up on immediate chance that you're not hiring fast enough. We need to scale.

So, you know, I mean, obviously probably Del saw this Intel saw the sun soar or this. You saw this at Akabai there was such an explosion, of of infrastructure to just the support effectively back office applications and a little on a little communications. Right? If you think of the profusion of applications that the network has the support today, It's nothing.

And we did not have remotely in the amount of developers, like, Hashi Korman went public yesterday. Right. You know, you're looking, you know, gitlab went public, you know, two months ago. And which, by the way, I think, is fabulous for for us, Kenton.

Right? Because what are all those developers are going to do? They're gonna they're gonna build stuff that's gotta move around on those network And Right. No.

It's awesome. People think, oh, well, the network it's just APIs. Right? There's no people. There's no it's like, well, automation doesn't mean simplicity.

Ultimately, something needs to make it go. And Well, it's gotta work. I had a license plate holder that said the network works, no excuses. That was my first license plate holder.

From Cisco because it didn't always work. Right? And, you know, so I think, it was it's like every form of communications, when I worked in the telecommunications at US West, we got out of the cellular business because we had a very small footprint and people don't remember this. It was other Booz Allen or McKinsey put out a report in the early nineties.

They'd be lucky to be a million cell phones in America.

Right. Right. High computers, one million cell phones, you know. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so it's, you know, the the avalanche of well, I mean, I guess, at some point, somebody's gotta be the network providers in the metaverse, man.

Yeah. It's it's it's interesting next week.

Reviewing a Dave Shaffer, cogent, an iconic last. Mhmm.

Partnered with Cisco.

You know, did I remember him as a cup. I remember COVID as a customer from twenty years ago. Yeah. Yes.

No. It's it's amazing what they've done. And speaking of, you know, I remember being I think the first time I met him was at, Gil George Gilder had a telecosm conference, which was largely promoting things that I wasn't that there was this concept called store with, stuff. I wasn't Ah, Abby, this is so bad.

Before I joined Cisco, I was forced to speak at a conference called, vortex. That was put on by Bob Metcalfe and, dang from Network World. This is, like, this is, like, o g story time in network. Yeah.

Most people have probably, like, clicked off in there. Probably training, you know, Shibu coin right now. But, I IBM bought a slot to do a speaking slot, and nobody would go. Because we had obviously lost in networking.

And I was the lowest level executive that couldn't say no. Mhmm. And I was supposed to speak after John Chambers and before George Gilder. And I said that's like going on after the stones and before the Beatles, you're putting a gun at the retailer, but even so, ever I said they're gonna go to the bathrooms.

They're gonna go get a hotdog. Like, I mean, so I called up Medcalf and said, send us a quarter million dollars back. And he goes, what do you wanna do? And I go, well, like, put me in with my peers.

So, actually, it was Charlie Jincarlo, who's the CEO of Pure, who's the head of business development, and Cisco heard from Ali who ran three Com's networking business and, Tom Reynolds who ran Siemens, and we did a panel on internet quality of service. Mhmm. And, you know, things like that, and I ambush them. That's how Chambers watched it.

That would help me get acquired. Oh, yeah. I remember at that conference, Gell and I was at the, it was on knob hill at the ritz.

No, the fairmont. And, there was a a vintage Mercedes and the license plate said Diana. And I was like, yeah, that's pretty cool. It is enough.

So there's some people there that were happy. I was telling people at Kentic my Bob Metcalf story, and I I have a great deal of respect for him. But Gilder sort of took my quote out of context, because I don't know if you remember Metcalf wrote an article saying the internet was gonna explode and die and routing schedule. Remember that.

Yes. Yeah. So we were I said, you know, I said something that was much more in context, but Gilder took it as, you know, Friedman says he's an elder Statesman doing more harm than good. I think I said that statement was not constructive, basically.

And so then he called me a brash young ISP brat wet behind my packets. So he can be alliterate, illustrative and, you know, literate as well. Yeah. You know, like, I mean, like, co inventing ether that didn't completely suck.

At so I think I need to take a look at again. Someone on on the Kintek random channel posted, like, the thesis response about how crappy Ethernet was.

You know, which will live forever and and for me. I mean, I I can do this ever. I I actually, my first day at IBM, first week at IBM, I had a flight of Boston to meet the lotus guys. And I got online, and the executive around IBM network hardware division was online in front of me, was being pushed out of IBM at the time.

And ask me who I was and this They they give you a bag of uppercase letters and and backslashes, and underscores. For for using notes. No. But I have, but I kinda had it.

Oh, no. No. They were they were too busy being happy about not having to fight with Microsoft any longer.

I guess. Yeah. That was that was true at a time. I bet it was a lot of trouble. I actually may have coined the phrase notice, Lotus.

Okay. Okay.

I mean, the lotus bit, like, lotus people were terrific. Right? I mean, it was yeah. I mean, one, two, three was the program for very such a long time.

Yeah. I have, actually, this is, I believe, the better lit fake background on my actual background. I now have Visic calc as well as as one two three on my shelf. So having used, having used pretty much everything on the spreadsheet side that there was.

So how did you go from you know, mainstream networking, how did you, find get into a nice era and what they were up to? Well, that was my second startup. So I was very clear.

I was the head of enterprise marketing and solutions. So, like, all those people delivering those wonderful marketing messages across twenty four billion dollars of Cisco revenue were on my team. And I was absolutely paranoid about the cloud because what I think we've seen in the networking industry and the computing industry overall is whenever there is an easier to use implementation of applications or infrastructure And if it works pretty well, people are massively You're lazy.

They're gonna move to it. Right? I mean Yeah. Ask, but Smark Benny off what it was like to build a better CRM system than C Bol and Oracle.

Right? And so, oh, by the way, you don't have to run it. We'll run it for you. Well, there was ASP, but this was multi tenant.

So this is better. Yeah. And so I, you know, I wanted very much push more into cloud, and I was running into the usual resistance. That's for non essential workloads and It's not enterprise secure.

The things that you tell yourself right before the foundations of your house, Rod. This is before the great automation self driving, you know, closed loop automation, you know. We're we're we're really talking about s three bit buckets. Right?

Mhmm. But you could soak see it and was not able to really make a lot of progress. And my Sarah really was the first networking software abstraction layer that would allow I mean, effectively, it was network virtualization, just what we called it. And, which is always, like, one in VM or have more play in the cloud.

You always ask yourself. I mean, they're a great company, but they're, you know, for the most part, an enterprise company that I think had done a pretty good job in the last couple of years kind of making Well, and there, you know, you look at it and what's AWS and IBM, you know, first hybrid partnerships were around VMware because that's what people have. So That's what people had. So it was someone I met Martinez Casato and Steve Melania.

It was so clear.

Right. I mean, I went from having, I don't know, three hundred and fifty people on my team to me and Rod Stahlmeyer, like, pumping out marketing stuff. And I started, like, like, there was there was, like, forty eight people, forty five people, thirty eight people. There was tiny company.

We were not that big when we got acquired. But it was so evident. And I think, you know, kind of, I think the rule of networking go to market strategies is to use your technology in your message to, allow the market to select you. So you you effectively segment your market by people who so care about what you're doing and your goals try to get to them.

Right. Quickly the most cost effective way as possible. Because when you show up, one or two things have happened, they're they've already built a mini version internally of what you're doing, especially if they're a larger company, or they say thank you. Right.

I love that. You're thinking about this. Right? I love that. People salespeople hate it when they're like, oh, they have their own solution.

I'm like, no. No. That's that's good. They might not buy this month, but they're going to be a customer.

Anyone who cares enough to have started trying to solve the problem, whatever the problem is, that's a great sign. So there are there are so I did a little bit of surveying of a lot of I mean, I was in touch with both that time. A lot of very large enterprise organizations that were evaluating.

Virtualization and cloud architectures. And I'm like, well, what do you think about this? And it's like, when is it gonna be ready? Right?

Because we're ready. And, you know, interestingly enough, the kind of a lot of a lot of the core tenant that people thought virtualization was about was I can get more processing power deployed. Right? Most enterprise networks are traditionally we're traditionally at about fifteen to twenty percent don't waste all this, you know, extra CPU on these machines and Yeah.

It wasn't a stateless resolution. It wasn't it wasn't production network saying oh my god, we can be stateless and get more efficient that way. It was packing. It was, you know, yeah.

Yeah. Load it up. Right? I mean, you know, hey, Carpool. Right? Don't drive by yourself.

And but but it really that wasn't the real issue. It was really the ease of automation.

They got people and networking didn't have that network automation, though. We never used the term at NICEira we we we built a network hypervisor.

Mhmm. And it established tunnels instead of spinning up virtual servers. Yeah. It's very, a very similar kind of construct. So it was very easy for, like, VMware's, like, and, a very famous the, where executive told us when we got acquired and he, came in to they came to talk to the team. The acquisition was announced as they looked at me in the eye, and I remember it says said, now, Alan, be aware of that.

Yes. That that's a that's a that that shows you did well with, category definition. Now you don't ever build a company to be bought by a company.

You Yeah. It'd be great. Sustainable independent company that is strategically interesting.

But Actually, I never we never said, and I never said we were the VMware networking. We just said we were the inventors of network virtualization, which was true. So, I mean, there's a I mean, there are people at IBM that would say they may have invented forms of virtualization too, but the main I I have it's been a interesting journey for me as a technologist to seize things. And, you know, when I go to trade shows, I need to decloat the marketing website because I can't reason about something unless I know what it does. Like, value value like, what value it provides and, you know, benefits and positioning? Like, that's nice, but you could make anything sound like anything if you're sufficiently talented compare storage to security to whatever, you know, to to to Uber.

You know, if if if it's generic enough, but, you know, If you and I were if you and I were fused together, we'd be like mister Jackal and Doctor died. We'd be brindle. Yeah. We'd be, I mean, the brindle fly of of of Yeah. Supreme power in networking because I spent eight years desperately trying to, you know, sell the cloud vision before it's time.

And, you know, that was, a lesson in hindsight, about, needing to focus more on product marketing, when I saw NICEira, and I'm like, oh, it's VLANs because people don't wanna open tickets with network people and wait. I'm like, well, something also happened. It shifted a lot of the and I think it's very relevant for Kinti. What was happening in the You mean, ultimately, you you have to kind of go into any industry and particularly networking industry with a sense of realpolitik, like who's controlling things. Right. And by building, I caught one of the catch races that we didn't market, but I I trademark was the network above the network above the hardware.

Right? Because it was a virtual network. Right? And, basically, say, you, Cisco, and other hardware vendors, you Sounds almost biblical.

The things that's warm upon the network and the thing and the things beneath. The things that live in the deep, the the protocols that live in the deep and the packets that's warm upon the face of the network, Oh my god. We were like that we're like that old Hebrew national commercial. We answer to a higher power.

We're just not hardware. Matt Madocco, who who's, like, you know, So we we usually say, you know, one one platform to roll them all and in the DNS bind them. I think he was, like, so that no packet shall be left behind and and no lessons there for, you know, loss. So And so so I think, you know, the but but clearly the thing that was important there is we shifted the control of the control plane into the hands of the server administrator Right?

Who was running them, not the network and, you know, and it it turns out that was really interesting and obviously very attractive to VMware, right, of course. And what's interesting now is as we move, you know, well beyond virtualized infrastructure into multi cloud, multi everything It's it's actually not as simple. It's actually kinda come back that networking people are kind of darn important again. Well, because there was this thing called COVID Yeah.

You know, which, was not there in there before times and people like, you know, Steakernet, you know, if if you don't have connectivity, then you can't learn, you can't work, you can't participate in society.

You know, it's it's become real. So You can and, has to work well for you to be effective. Hence, you know, you get market leaders like zoom and major players like Equinix and security players like Netscope while working with, you know, Kentic because the performance and visibility. I was just gonna say those sound familiar.

Yeah. Those are the I, you know, those guys. I mean, I, you know, I, whether I work with Eric at, and Cisco. At at Cisco and, you know, I worked with Equinix in the nineties and all of the all of these players.

And So as the world is more dynamic and more distributed, you need a couple of key capabilities that are going to transcend this very noisy so you know, how I like to think about it is, like, in the old days, you would like buy a stack the old the original days from IBM that you got the whole thing. Right. Client server came and blew that all up in the air. Hundreds of companies got spun up, and then it consolidated downplay ten to twenty major companies.

Now in this, you know, now the cloudier it comes, it blows up again. You don't get hundreds of companies, you get thousands of infrastructure and application companies.

Yeah. And you get changes and roles with developers and code repositories like GitHub and GitLab. You've obviously, you have and so it's much more dynamic and distributed So the roles of, company is like, you know, Kentech, which is why I was so excited when we met, is, like, that world doesn't work. Without things Well, the magic is awesome when the magic is magicing. Yeah. If something needs debugging and you're flying a plane with no console, or with a, you know, I mean, I guess it's actually Boeing does better at building consoles for their planes than most in the networking space do for their own, you know, products.

But You know, it's improving. I would say for all the vendors, it's it's it's been steadily improving, but, you know, most networks I mean, cogent does run on a single, you know, that they're committed to a single vendor, most, most, most, no. No. I'm not worried about one company and it's either.

I'm thinking about No. All the hybrid. Yeah. I mean, if you look at the little screen on the bottom of your browser, and it tells you all the places the packets are running around and Google ads touching you and, like, There's a lot of people in the mix.

And, you know, it's a little like, you know, think about it, like, if you wanted to be on Twitter all day, your head would explode, because the random algorithm drag drivel of stuff assaulting you, it's exhausting.

And to increasingly, you know, if you think about if I was an e commerce provider, you know, ten years ago or god forbid twenty years ago, how many vendors I would be involved with. I could count them on my hands, and now it's probably ten x.

Yeah. There's there's dozens of SaaS tracking vendors now. I mean, it's even something we do with Kentech people. Like, hey, can you track all the SaaS that I that I that I get to?

And, yeah, you know, even we're a hundred and forty people, and we probably have at least at least, half the number of SaaS probably more than half more than seventy SaaS things that we use. Mhmm. So you got SaaS. You got the internet to connect.

We use cloud because we take telemetry from cloud, and we use our own infrastructure.

And, you know, we have some tunnel stuff over. And, I mean, just to run just about anything. I mean, I think the debate is it hybrid or multi is dead? I mean, you're always depending on something. I mean, you're gonna use an API to Twilio to send SMS.

Sorry. Sorry. Text. SMS is old.

So, you know, how do you put that digital supply chain together and and run that? By the way that by the way that that that message is authenticated by another company called Peloton. It's run by Joe Burton, a friend of mine, run, like, even using Twilio, to make Twilio secure. There's somebody else kinda looking it over the shoulder.

Yes. So it's this multiplication effect and it, like, you don't put the genie under you you really can't put the genie back in the bottle, so to speak, again, so it's on one hand, the amount of stuff you can use is fairly exciting, right, and there's kind of an answer to everything. On the other hand, If your business depends on it, look, what was there was an outage. It was yesterday the day before, an AWS for a period of time.

I know we were cited in some of the coverage on that. But the the entire business world kind of took a collective, migraine headache.

For many hours. Right. Well, that was happening, and it's popping up on CNBC, and it's changing Christmas. The white chain is already at the brink.

You know? Yeah. I mean, it was like, you know, it's like running out of the greatest toy that all the kids are waiting for. So And the other thing, and, obviously, we know this is we learn this heavily during COVID.

Everybody, the entire world's economy communications, the social structures are all connected, through, global communications networks.

And and applications in a way that, you know, I mean, from from to your point to the supply chain to the other, like, we really can't stop viruses from popping up because there's no way to stop global travel. I I still I guess it's not network politically correct to say this, but I still can't believe how well it does work remembering how it how best effort worked in the nineties. Mhmm. And knowing what's actually underneath, the web of complexity, that makes Those darker those darker guys were pretty smart. The thing that's amazing about the internet is not that it does break sometimes, but that it works, you know, in the first place.

And, well said. You know, we have. But you know what? I mean, now we've got QOS as quantity of service easier and easier despite the growth when all of a sudden you can do thirty two by four hundred gig. I mean, you know, it's it's pretty. I I turned on my first Hundred gig link, two months ago, and I'm going to hook the servers in Ashburn and upgrade a bunch of stuff. And I'm actually gonna take this Soup seven twenty three B XL Catalyst offline from the CEO, Kevin.

And, how old is that? The seventy two hundred is a it's an old box. No. Not the VXR, not the seventy two zero six VXR.

That was, that was ninety five ish. Yeah. No. This is a, just a catalyst dog's Doug's product line for a bit.

Doug and Chase for a bit back at, So you're gonna give Doug and Chase for an upgrade with their new stuff. Yes. We're I was rolling in to do stuff. In fact, I have a picture of Doug pointing to a a seventy five thirteen or something at the UNIC surplus, you know, it's like you can find go to the warehouse and find all the things that used to be product manager for.

So, so VMware bought the a virtualization company bought the virtualization.

How long were you at VMware? I didn't go. Did you walk in the building? Oh, yeah.

No. I saw it. It's a beautiful And, This is great. Great cafeteria is really terrific.

I had just spent a six year run at Cisco.

And, like, trading one, like, I mean, I I had such a great time at Nysera in literally a year.

You know, I'm a little like, Benjamin Button or Merlin. I'm going backwards time. Where I mean, I started my career. I'm actually worked for the US government, the energy department.

I have worked for a phone company. I have worked for IBM. I worked at Cisco and everything, Alan. A startup guy, you know, you're a VC.

And it's like, yeah. Do you think working with three hundred thousand people? You know, I was like, I'm working backwards. Me and the dog, you heard barking a second ago.

Right? So, you know, for me, I increasingly just prefer to be early in things. And work with, smaller teams, and which is, so I took the so after, I actually went up joining Alumio, when they're You know, I was looking at my paperwork, like, you know, a certificate number of five.

So and, you know, it was a small team or in a tiny little dorm room, and to me that's always the fun part where a lot of So I believe it was starting to start. Was micro segmentation, but actually was programming acls for network people.

Right. Yeah.

A achles, you know, a IP tables, Yeah. Mhmm. You know, other people's, you know, it's it's a, you know, it's it's network security. Right?

It's a it's a networking company. It, you know, I always push Andrew a little like that. You know, it could control the flow of traffic just the same way. Right?


So it could be done. And Focus. Is important at startups? Well, you know, the same kind of expansive growth that I we were talking about a little while ago So if you think about it, like, one of Illumio's well known public customers and Salesforce that's on everything Salesforce does. And if you think about everything Salesforce has, talking to everything Salesforce has, you need a really good, degree in graph theory. Actually build a control plane for that, which is what what they're really where they're really good at. So I'm always very excited about the ability to master massive problems.

Through through computing because the infiltration, exfiltration security risk, like, you know, Hey, like, Salesforce knows when, you know, Catholic Salesforce is about to take an account away from company X. Right? Right. And we will not even used to work And so, you don't want anybody knowing that information. So and given the kind of hypercharged, or in turbocharged, cybersecurity market wherein it is a yet another clear element. We know this right. It can take, like, we're frequently used in support of people's security mission in addition to how how stuff works and how it performs.

Yeah. Especially, it's interesting even more on the cloud because the telemetry is familiar to security people. Not just that it's Netflow, but you know, VPC flow logs are, firewall logs on Mhmm. On Microsoft and Amazon, not on Google, they have permit deny.

And so they look like firewall logs, and so people think about that. In the EVPF world, it's a little bit more foreign, although I think that EVPF is gonna be huge in security for, before too long. Yeah. No.

I look at Nate Sense as the Linux operating systems get upgraded. Around the world.

You know, companies like Cylium and folks doing PBF are gonna be really, really important. So, by the way, Silliam started by Dan Wetland, a loan by Sierra product manager.

And, you know, like, so then, you know, I think the thing that you find out in network industries, we're all basic family.

We might fight now and then, but we all basically been working the with each other. Yeah. You know, for decades, However, what's different is that the architectures that we have to support are dramatically different because when I could run everything through a box, meaning a switch or a router or a firewall, or a load balancer or pick whatever flavor device that you have, I can do something about it. But when there are no more boxes and everything is spread, out there, you know, you have to really rethink the architecture of the network.

It's interesting because I think I am more my view is more agnostic. So as opposed to, Cylium, my view is EBPF on everything. That's why we've we've open sourced it, but to run not needing a particular CNI as opposed to Aviatrix. Our view is people do wanna do their own, and so you need a place to see all of everything that's going on with your infrastructure.

And if you don't wanna you know, we don't have a, you know, we don't have a bet on a way to configure. That's, someone else's business. So Well tend to be where Well, the thing I've said is a is a vendor marketing strategy. Right?

This is the only way it's going to happen. Yeah. And, you know, it turns out the world's not blue or red. It's purple.

Mhmm. Right? And you have to design for purple. Yeah. But the good thing is it's really fascinating to see today that you can build a big enough ecosystem with the with the with the piece of cloud growth.

That if you there are people that want to be that are happy to be in there, in in that one ecosystem, if you can build a good enough thing. Right? And so Lumio, you know, did that, and I Sarah did that. And, you know, it looks like EVADrex is doing pretty well, you know, in there.

Yeah. I will. I think and and tentech. I think you there's a class of I mean, honestly, it's what you did at Akamai when there was just the Internet edge.

Right? I mean, there are class of market leaders that are emerging that people are building their applications and their business around. And the great thing about being a strong early mover is, you know, get a chance to, you know, create a sustainable franchise.

I mean, there there's a there's a lot of stuff running over today. Right? Yeah. And a lot of directions we can go. We started making networks go, but, you know, what we actually do is internet scale data processing and observability is not just network.

So we partner around that, and there are things that we do directly around that.

Why we're tracking, you know, again, EVPF, whether it's, yes, there's still SNMP, and I know you know what that stands. We still remember what that stands for. And, and, Netflow and Sflow and, and VPC flow logs and BBF and really up to You don't think your manager you don't your listeners know what simple network management protocol. No.

But you were telling me about someone who had forgotten. Yes. They didn't couldn't got it. Well, you know, it's, I don't remember what I ate.

The cafeteria in nineteen ninety eight. I was just looking at a Twitter thread again for there's a Twitter thread of best names for the IP over Avian carrier one. I think my favorite was token Wing, Okay.

Yeah. There's a good one.

Spanning three. Yeah. So before we had met, I I You know, I don't I go to trade shows as I mentioned to we call it vendor torture. Like, try to figure out what everyone's doing. I have to say, I I think I would give Illumia one of the best awards or or or at least for a few years in a row best a word for best demo.

Oh, well, yes. I mean, I'm very proud of that because of the visualization. Right? Yeah.

Well, I'm just the script and taking questions and, We, if I know, we rehearsed the heck out of that. And, that that that, back Glenn, who's that had a product there, and I put a lot of time into it. I'm of the school since I am not an engineer that I have to be able to do the demo and explain it, which means anybody in the company can and to do that, you well, one, you actually have to know what you're talking about and be scripted. And number two, you have to visualize it in a way, also known as eye candy.

Right? Right. At these events to because people see the bid they they see the illumination map, and they see the global view of billions of servers and packet flows, and then you can drill down. I always call that.

That's the universe view. The galaxy view. It's it's aggregates. It's it could have been traffic.

It's it's in the state. You don't actually know. There was traffic. There was traffic at one time.

At one time. The line. Right. Gotta get these traffic. We have the line. And and and people do that.

They they look at it. We did that in WiFi, by the way, too. That's where we came up with that paradigm at airspace which is that the traditional management protocols, management systems were like, okay. I've got an access point here.

Minus eighty five minus DBM. Is that good or bad? And, you know, I didn't know anything. So we said, oh, here's your here's a heat map.

And, oh, by the way, instead of having to interpret, signal to noise ratio, we'll just make it green, yellow, and red for you. It's You don't know. Yeah. Yeah.

It's interesting because we started the the original insight that led to Kentic was really the people needed the didn't know what questions they needed to ask in advance and needed to keep all the limetry and be able to analyze it and make it as fast as you were doing roll ups, but halfway through, you know, the three years ago, we actually saw, if you can't make it approachable and simple, you know, product led growth is is the way that people think about it in the in the startup industry now, you vastly limit your adoption. So I think that's really the interesting trick is solve the hard problems, make it look easy.

Well, I mean, the best example of that in the last year, so we, obviously, we have you know, we have, somebody at Kentic, who's up for an academy award, right, and and god. Right? So we have Yeah. I mean, Doug is basically explaining the internet to the entire world, including the New York Times of the Wall Street Journal on CNN on a weekly basis because he could actually see the macro political implications, of traffic It's like, all No one cares what the exact BGP cycle times are.

They don't cancel. Hey, they're giving exams in Cuba. They don't wanna be any geez. So they shut down the internet for an hour.

I mean, or there is, hey, burma, burma. Yeah, a minimum, I guess it's burma again. Right? Burmama's about to have a coup because they just earned the traffic count.

But if you think about that, like, you know, enough about ordering toys over the internet, you know, just think about how people, governments, and I come down on the sidelines.

I'm definitely for the free market in many ways, but I come down on the side of human right also. Generally, I'd prefer that the private economy run it with the right incentives than the government, you know, all be one government program. But, yeah, I mean, it's it's we saw that with, you know, with COVID too. If you can't, you can't participate.

You know, you really are are on the outside unless you have enough connectivity unless it works well. And, definitely FCC is thinking about that and the internet researchers we work with are are thinking about that.

So Well, I mean, what's what's interesting is that the internet is effectively, you know, people always say data, as oil data as water, to me, I the, you know, it's it's interesting. Actually, it gets water, like, it's oil. But, to me, networking is electricity.

Right? So if you think about it, like, what do you need to live? You need food, water, you know, shelter. Right? Those are the basic things try living without electricity. Right? Well On, like, number five, short circuit, I need input.

Yeah. But right? So Yeah. So so you say, imagine living with electricity. Really, really hard to do that.

And increasingly, the internet's starting, you know, has really become that kind of fifth absolute essential ingredient of life. I mean, you I suppose you could live without the internet. That'd be pretty difficult and or certainly a lot less convenient. Yeah.

And so I me. That's why I'm so excited about Kentic. I know we're not here to, like, do a great rah rah, but but, you know, it's is because it is touching everything and you were just seeing an explosion. I just looked at a whole bunch of IoT stuff in the last couple of months. And everything's gonna be connected to that one. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

No. It's it's definitely, not slowing down. But that gets to, I guess, maybe next chapter, as you said, and you're going backwards, Benjamin button style. When I met Matt, Ako of data collection. My partner, by the way, for folks, I I work at a VC firm called VC VC where I work with Matt Ako, who is the founder of my firm. Matt, Matt's superpower is explaining a founder's vision to them in the maximalist sense.

So connecting with someone. Most amount of words?

No. The the most expansive world dominating maximum universe of their ideas. And usually founders are a struggle to help people explain like, why this is interesting, especially if it's technology.

And, you know, like, I I I said to Matt when we first met, like, she would go through the pitch deck. He's like, no, I understand it. I'm like, you are so full of shit. And then, you know, you know, a few words he explained to me. And, yes, You know, definitely things don't always go as you suspect. So I I guess I was not surprised when he introduced me to you and and, you know, you have some of that skill, too, but I I am curious, you know, at a point in your life where you could do many things. What what drew you to, you know, to the the VC side.

You know, this is not very networking oriented or even, you know, you know, what drew me, well, VCBC really was a large part of it. Having spent several decades in enterprise technology, and having, you know, just work with so many amazing people, so many amazing experiences. I was kind of looking for the think different side of things. And what I recognized is that, you know, the technology world is about four trillion dollars of the economy worldwide.

That's about added eighty to a hundred depending on how you count. So in our world, like, it's, hey, this is huge giant industry, but in the scheme of things, it's, it's kinda small.

And most of the world has not had its digital transformation into that moment. Agriculture had very little of it.

Health care, which is certainly very interesting as and certainly we've seen this with the mRNA and vaccines. It's just beginning to have. Right. It's kind of a computing moment. Right? You know, I always say that god's a programmer and, you know, the human body is ten trillion lines of code.

Supply chain, food, energy are all industries that have to transform one because one, we're gonna bring the planet down. If we do two, we're gonna start revolutions because, you know, the equanimity and distribution of goods and services has to be like, you know, you can't add a couple hundred million people to the middle class every year unless they're gonna be able to have an iPhone.

Where it's equivalent.

And, you know, the ability to actually put some fingerprints on the future of, other parts of the economy and the other parts of the world and and do some things that would have some other legacy that would make the world safer, cleaner, and maybe more equitable for my kids.

Was a big driver.

DCBC were seed investors in aluminum. They the original name of DCBC was data collected. That's what they DC, VCBC is.

Having made a lot of bets and a lot of big data infrastructure companies, folks like Databricks and Alaska.

And and so on and so forth.

But in the last five years or plus, they've really shifted it to deep tech. Space here. We had we yeah. Two days ago, we had an IPO and a company putting up a rocket in the same day. Planet labs went public on Wednesday. And the same day, our other company rocket lab had set up on a send them send up a bunch of satellites on Electron.

Which by the way uses, additive manufacturing three d printing to print its rocket engines. Right? Print me a rocket engine. Okay. Right. Click And maybe it takes more than a minute, but the prince and, so that was important. And I think just for everybody, for their brain, the ability to learn a whole bunch of stuff, particularly a whole bunch of technical stuff and how other industries work was, like, couldn't believe somebody would give me a job to do that.

So that's it was highly, highly, you know, appealing to have a different chapter in the, in the, in the technology industry, as I, you know, you can give myself my feet in the, you know, third version of the internet.

And now some of these these other these other industries and just amazing companies and people working on really hard problems. And, you know, I think we, you know, it's true It was true in the last fifty years of tech, and it'll be true in the next fifty years of tech, or new tech. They're really hard problems.

Make for the most interesting companies and outcomes.

Yeah. And what is interesting as someone whose led companies is how hard it can be on the inside to, explain.

And how critical to the success of companies it is to, you know, frame and explain, which I was thinking about in hindsight. You know, again, it's a superpower of maths and It's something you're pretty good at, as well.

And, that is from marketing perspective, right, how do you get deal flow?

Being able to connect with with technologist entrepreneurs and and help them understand, play back their vision in a way that can be played to others. Yeah. You know, I I like I like to tell people I'm only a VC on Zoom Monday to Friday nine to five because I I still see myself as an operating provider. Only VCs would come up to term operator.

I mean, we're we're people who build and run Right? You know what I mean? The operator term is some some kind of tweaky term. But some sense work came up with Sounds work.

Yeah. Operator.

And, you know, you know, I mean, I, my initial job at BCBC was an operating partner.

And, And, you know, people don't operate businesses. They run businesses. They build products. They take care of customers. And so for me, it's also I I I haven't I'm extremely fortunate. I get just to work on great stuff of pretty much my own choosing.

And I get to spend as much time as I want to as long as it's useful to entrepreneurs like yourself.

And as opposed to running around, and I don't have to chase deals and things like that. But there are you do have to do that, right, to be successful or in the straight. Yeah. You need you need Chase or market and make aware.

There's different strategies for that network in some way. You know, ultimately, And then and there's also been a big change that increasingly people are looking for investors who don't just have, but interesting as capital is not as scarce as it was. Ten years ago, they were looking for some, you know, folks with, you know, relevant experience or at least a mindset, and and not like some code found you were friendly. Saying like, well, what can you do for me other than give me money and critique my power point?

Right. Yeah. In twenty fourteen, when I started Kintech, it was sufficient.

That I that I viewed that you would not add stress and stressful times that you would be supportive, but not prescriptive.

Right? And and we've had that certainly, we've chosen well. So, generally, the answer is, well, we can give you advice, but, we're not running the company. Yeah.

Best week, the best week would be is a really good sounding board. To help shape your view. By the way, that's a great networking term. Joe Pinto, who was the guy who ran customer support for the long run, and twenty five years of him.

He was in the first couple hundred and two hundred employees of the company. But we said the cardinal rule of networking is when you add something to the network, do no harm.


That is the cardinal rule. I don't know that that is followed. I mean, I have given a lot of shit privately to people pointing out that if what you ask vendors for is a new protocol every month you will not get stability. What you ask vendors for is stability, you might get stability.

And, know, you have to be careful about the pace of innovation on the core of the network. And I think that the world has come a long way from the nineties when people viewed it as Cisco gave me an iOS image with my initials in it. How cool am I to oh my god. That would be the worst thing ever. If you had a vendor, you know, that needed to do that and look at rest of led the way to single train. And I think Juniper is there too now and Cisco is not.

But, you know, and and and Iris is still ahead on regression testing and and things that frankly many SaaS companies, you know, could do. So I'm thrilled, you know, about that. So so normally at this point, I ask people about how to get into networking, but you are only an honorary, you are an honorary, and spiritual networker, but you are now off on the on the on the dark side on the VC side. So Any interesting ways if people are interested in in in having this intellectual collecticism?

Well, look, I mean, I I think there's multiple ways do. In fact, there's more ways to get into networking now than there ever has been, you know, all kidding aside. Right? I mean, yes, you can join a networking company. You can provide. You can join somebody who joins networks, or you can be a developer.

Yeah. Right? And Right. Your own layers. Yeah. You're right. And, you know, you're you can be you could be building an application and inevitably you're going to have to learn how the network works.

Right? This, I used to have this triangle. If you may have if folks on maybe it's not easy to visualize. At the top of it, I I I called it the cyber security triangle.

The networking trail depending on who I was pitching at the day. And at the top, it was no. Like, you can't do that. You can't touch my network.

And then when you go in from the networking people to the, application people, it was, like, slow. Like, don't break what I'm doing. Right.

And but then when you got to the, you know, to the absolute person writing the application itself, this is like, go. Like, let's get our stuff out there. And so you're always somewhere on that triangle up slow now and go, to to do that. And so you know, we were just talking, you know, a little bit earlier about Cileum or you talk about cloud stacks or building something in Amazon or Azure or you know, you you have to attach network or make sure things work in the network and the speed of which applications get pushed and revved means you have to be much more cognizant.

So I think there's just a lot more ways to get into it and you know, five years ago, I think a lot of people thought networking was just some commodity. It was like electricity. Like, if the electrons floated the socket, they floated socket that's all I care about, and I think, you know, maybe it was wrong. And so I think it's extremely relevant again and, actually kind of exciting.

It has some really good energy.

Yeah. It's it's very interesting to see. There's also some challenges because There are still some concepts of networking, which you do need to understand to debug, because there are enough bugs that you get into the physics homework of, like, what are the first principles. I think this is a vendor bug.

But for networkers, it's not sufficient to understand, you know, distance vector algorithms and you need to know up to service mesh and understand into application. So I think it's fun, but can be hard for people to get into. And, sort of as you were saying, I think that is a great way for people to get in is to actually just sit down and and write things that live on the biggest decentralized infrastructure that we have, which is not Bitcoin, but is the internet.

So It's not the blockchain?

Blockchains are good and and and semi decentralized. Although we'll see what way different things go in different Well, what I mean is the is the, you know, maybe maybe should bring in, some some of the, the web three point zero infrastructure people. Right? Because you're gonna kinda wanna know if your employees are actually using their machines to do their job for their for their mining.

I think there's still a lot of those still a lot of the, I'm gonna build a computer on the internet things that are built by people. There's no applications. I mean, fun. Yeah. But Now that's not to say I'm negative on it. I'm just saying, you know, multi billion dollar companies where there's actually no traffic or no nothing being stored or nothing being computed, versus billion dollar CDNs, which actually deliver life, there's I'll just say there's a way to go.

On bullish on what will be done there. But yeah, that'll be a a a different topic and we can get your your update from the field of of looking out there. So Yeah. Awesome question.

I'm sure that early Ellen was, had opinions and was stubborn, but if you could go back, you know, Bill and Ted style, you know, and play George Carlin and and give some advice to, early Ellen. Any any any things you would, any experiences you would have shortcutted or any any any Oh, well, that's, you know, but yahoo with the IPO. Hold on. Googled.

No. I mean, like, you know, I think Doge bought doge, you know?

Accepted a whole bunch of roles. I think there's kinda two things that, I always think about. And, I'm I'm gonna very much this is not, like, hyper relevant discoveries. I'm gonna use Shakespeare kicked right now. I've been thinking a lot about it.

Because it's an incredible treatise on human nature. Mhmm. And maybe I get to a more reflective period.

Is never boring. Characters are so much better than what's on Netflix.

And, and, you know, there was, you know, there was a tragedy of McBeth with the McBeth of, a fellow. Right? And and Fellow was a a soldier in a, you know, one of the city states in in Italy, and you got to have extremely jealous of his beautiful spout, younger spouse, and he he winds up getting killed at the end then because there's always blood on the floor at the end of a Shakespeare tragedy. And his final lines is that I wish I had, I wish I had loved wisely and not too well. Mhmm. And, you know, for a lot of you know, a lot of people who are building careers in tech, what you really and I think you said this a little bit, is there an application for it. My first startup was a colossal fireball.

It was a company called Tahoe Networks.

The product was absolutely insanely good. It would load balance two thousand sessions on a single router. It was built for the Internet edge to allow, traffic to come on to the network for mobile internet.

And, you know, we got one thing wrong. We got the call set up right wrong. So we're Okay. It turned out in Japan and Korea where the first mobile, Dokomo, the first mobile internet really showed up.

At ten o'clock at night, the rates came down. So everybody with all the kids would, like, in their bed, have their phones, and they'd get online, right, because it's expensive during the day. And what we had a problem that we didn't set up fast enough, and technically, but the real issue is that there was no mobile internet. There was no iPhone.

So we were all all dressed up in no place to go.

And it all ultimately, the company got sold in Okea, but it's not the two. And I mean, I didn't mean there was anything wrong with people, clause o fileable, but we were so ready at the wrong time. Mhmm. And the hardest thing to work through is to kinda get your timing. And I always, like, you always have to ask yourself the question if we didn't exist, what would happen And if there's a good answer, you're working on the wrong thing. Well, I think that I think that if I look back, and this became clear even in the nineties of the internet bubble.

Having a great idea and executing it well, still requires luck. Like, most good outcomes still require luck, but you can absolutely You can absolutely put yourself in a position to take maximum advantage of it, and you can definitely see, you know, great returns.

And the other thing is, as is true with all business. Right? Sometimes, you know, statistically, if you pick good ideas and good people and and execute well, you will do well. But, you know, you can But you have the time right.

I mean, I draw a conclusion from one thing because there's macro and sometimes, you know, you're allowed to get lucky. It's allowed to get it happens to get unlucky. So I mean, the entire front end of my career, what are things that didn't happen. I went to a phone company, and as it got out of cellular, People did great on cellular.

We got out. We put our money into interactive TV. That wasn't so good.

I went to IBM, I built an e commerce business. It was right, but I should have been at Netscape.

Not at IBM because it was not material enough what we were building for company of that size. Yeah. And, I mean, they built a lot. Actually, I, my team built something called Net dot commerce, which is a well known e commerce.

I really got my service never worked, but that my my application lived for a really long time. And, you know, then I came to Cisco for the service provider binge in the nineties and all the over the top service providers the most part. And all that fiber that flew around the world just splashed out. And then my first startup was a company building the mobile era, which was really smart.

Just two, three years before Steve Jobs made that really useful for Americans.

And so, you know, I wouldn't trade the I can't trade the experiences unless time machines are really in the back of the future really works.

But what I missed was what was the market demand.

And the matching of the technology or the solution right. And it's something that you mentioned, when VCs asked me to talk to a company or when I talked to Ken Take about some of our coming forays on on more general data plan I say, look, when we started the company, ninety percent of the hundred meetings were, like, asked two questions. How much does it cost was usually actually first, and then when will you have it?

And we've had some things that we've looked at where people didn't ask those questions.

And, we didn't have as much pull, or at least at the time, you know, maybe we were a little early. And then, you know, those those are really good questions someone to be asked. Yeah, man. And and and if it's that sounds interesting, I might play with it.

That's not they're being polite. That's not that's not right. Mark and then that's the less Large companies will always play with their technology. They have large teams to do it.

And, you know, you inevitably say, oh, well, look, x y z companies using it. Everybody wants it. It's like, have a huge team, and all of them have a lot of spare time on their hand, and they're paid to look at at new stuff. But, you know, look, you know, it's hard to get the timing right.

You know, and the model. Right? Like, Web Van burned a billion dollars, but it's been pretty good to be into instacart Seems for DoorDash. Right?


Right now to only Yeah. Well, they only burned a billion dollars. I mean, what what's wrong with them? Yeah.

No. That's that's true too. Thanks. You never could tell us if you see, like, your heart pallet type he lost a billion dollars.

You know? Well, you know, that's not my, you know, that's not my style. So, yeah. And we we answer to a higher authority.

They're called limited partners. I know. But it's funny because people, like, you know, people in the family are like, oh, so you're profitable yet? Almost like, oh my god.

I'd get fired. Like, no. Don't say that, like, not in the next two years. Oh, yeah.

No. No. I see I see business plans all the time. We're gonna be profitable in eighteen months.

I gotta run out of market that fast.

I want I mean, you know, it's it it We'll do another show and break that down for people because it is it is a little counterintuitive, but Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, that's the that's basically you're investing in growth. Right? I mean, Amazon built the largest one of the largest companies in the world. By having an investor base that wanted growth over profitability. Right.

Dominance, dominance, yes. It did really really work. Yeah. At Akamai, again, another show, but Akamai actually had to stop saying dominate crush compete whatever. We were we were trained in that in some of my large company experiences.

Yeah, you're not there. There were this little group of watching called the antitrust and you really don't wanna invite them in. Cool. Well, Alan, thank you.

I can see we have some future future shows we can do, and maybe we'll have the cryptover you know, in a bit. Awesome. It's been great, working with you, and thank you for sharing your wisdom and, being on network ahead. Thank you.

Great to be here.

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About Network AF

Network AF is a journey of super-nerd proportions into the world of networking, cloud, and the internet. Avi Freedman, self-described internet plumber and podcast namesake, hosts top network engineering experts from around the world for in-depth, honest, and freewheeling banter on all-things-network — how-tos, best practices, biggest mistakes, war stories, hot takes, rants, and more.
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