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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Fortune Favours The Brave

Vimali Swamy
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Vimali Swamy
To his competitors, Sujal Patel is now a name to reckon with. His company Isilon Systems, in the clustered storage space, has not only earned its position as the fastest growing technology company in North America, but in the five years of selling its products, Patel has transformed the company from zero sales, into a company with a $100 million run rate, $80 million in cash, and no debt.

“Slightly better is not a good term,” says Patel, the CEO of Isilon Systems and a pioneer in the clustered storage space. “For a technology to be adopted in an existing market, you really need to have a technology that is substantially better — 10 (times) better than what is in the marketplace today,” adds Patel. “It has to be so much better that it is overwhelming for people who buy that product and service.” When Patel says so, he is not being merely theoretical. The unsatiated desire to bring out the best led this 35 year old entrepreneur to steer his company successfully, in a market space, which was crowded by biggies like EMC and NetApp; not to mention the 250 odd startups in the storage space.

Patel founded Isilon at the age of 26. Prior to this, Patel spent his initial career days at Real Networks. As an engineer, Patel used to solve some of Real Networks’ most complex back-end operational challenges. That experience gave him the insight for a new type of solution, a type of virtualized storage optimized for media. His experience gave him the insight to a real customer need, and his deep technical knowledge gave him the ability to spot a solution.

“I saw that customers couldn’t keep up with the storage demand,” explains Patel. “I realized that initially it would be mostly media, post production and special effects companies that would buy into unstructured data, but knew that in 10 years time, it was going to spread to most of the enterprise. This year has been the crossover year for unstructured data.” Isilon began by selling into the digital content, media, film, entertainment, and then web industries, and then expanded from there into life sciences, engineering, and to the enterprise space in general.

But wasn’t 26 too early an age? Not for Patel. His enthusiasm, passion and determination covered his lack of experience. “I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and do things on my own; create things that could have a wide impact. And I did not want to wait 10-15 years, treading cautiously at every step before taking the plunge. So when I got the chance to found Isilon, I jumped at the opportunity,” beams Patel.

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Reader's comments(2)
1:sir with due respect ,i am keen interested in knowing that ,what is the scope if one take marketing as a major & operation as a minor or international business which will best suited,reg my background i have done bba.
plz suggest me the right way.
Posted by: bashir hasan - 20th Jan 2010
2:Sujal brings out the best in folks!
Posted by: Dave Feldman - 31st Dec 2009
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