Tuesday, August 21, 2007

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The success of Juniper: Combination of a good technology, timing... and luck...

Observation of the founder: Pradeep Sindhu

1) Networking was something done by machines of 5 o 6 feet high and did a tiny fraction of the work of a pc could do.

2) Routing was something fundamentally different from the past... Routing is a technology that was born on the 80's... the strategy of the computer manufacturers (e.g. DEC) was to create propietary communications protocols (to lock up the customer)... Apple / DEC / IBM... so the router was a converter to let all these machines to talk to each other... it was really a useful thing, people use computers not for computers, people use computers for the applications... that created Cisco...

When the 90's arrives... it's all about IP Protocol... and there at least two fundamental things that have to be really different... now the problem is not thousands of students trying to do protocol conversion... the problem was billions of computer or devices / users who only use one format (IP) but still need to communicate to each other at the same time.

The two things to be changed was:

a) A new Operating System - Industrial Strength
b) You couldn't use a general purpose computer engine

When you got volumes... the problem is: you can't move the 1's and 0's fast enough with a central processor... so you need a dedicated new gate design.

When these two ideas turned into a Company - Juniper... they debated if they still call it routing... they decided to call it router insted of other ideas like: traffic processing engines...

The timing... and the luck of Juniper

In 1998...

Almost any communications technology: telegraph, telephone, television, radio... in turns out that in anyone of those examples, the technology it's not very interesting until it reaches an amazing similar number: 15% penetration... before that number: you don't need a phone because nobody else has one... after that... if you don't have a phone, you're the only person who can't talk to everybody because seems like everybody has one.

And email did a lot of the same thing in about the same time... it created this massive change in the problem and in the urgency of solving it... and in happen to came along at exactly the time Juniper finished building the machine which was capable of doing 100x the throughput and processing than the other companies...

The point is: Juniper start to work in a very different problem... in the right time... the market has a huge amount to do with success. Market power is a critical thing...

The Next Step of Juniper

Get the company from $2 Billion to $5 Billion.


1. Be more a teacher than an executor.

2. In the planet, there is only one market: Integrate the conditions that are unique, and understand the cultural differences... and figure out how to leverage your strengths to avoid a marketing redesign for every country.

3. Entrepreneurship story:

  • Day one: I was nobody
  • Year 3: the company went public. Market capital: $70 Billion: I was rock star... Limos, rooms full of people.
  • Then the company went from $250/share to $4. Then I became an idiot, because only an idiot would let that happen.
  • Sometime after, the investigations... stock options backdating... I'm a criminal...
  • In the same job, doing basically the same things... from nobody to rockstar to idiot to criminal...
  • Point is this : Don't get to cut up in anything, either the praise or the criticism... BE REALLY FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT. IN WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE FIRST PLACE.
4. The single most valuable thing to grasp is rely on your own common sense. No matter what somebody tells you, if it makes sense to you, then that's a good thing, you should act on it. If it turns out to be wrong, you will probably be the first to figure out and fix it.... The Cuba invasion did not make sense to JFK... but he accepted the "judgement" of the "more experienced" generals... and after the failure, he said: I'll never ever again do anything that doesn't make sense to me.... Your common sense is a very powerful tool. USE IT.

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