A Tale of Two Entrepreneurs
Date: Friday , December 07, 2007
When we profiled Aruba Networks on the cover of the November 2003 issue of siliconindia the company hadn't gone public yet. Back then we said the young startup has certainly managed to come out of the shadows. That's now truer than ever before. Having gone public a year ago, founder Keerti Melkote said to us, "We feel we have arrived. But we don't just stop here. We will keep doing what we have been doing all these years."
One lesson that ought to be learnt from the Aruba story is understanding what areas will get commoditized and focusing only on core areas where one could build differentiation. For instance, mobility and wireless are different. Quite often entrepreneurs make a mistake of assuming the two to be one and the same. What Aruba did was to look at the two separately, resulting in products that were media agnostic. In a sense, if you deployed Aruba products in your enterprise today, you need not worry about the current wireless technologies. Today it may be WiFi, tomorrow it may be WiMax, but you need not throw away the Aruba box just because the wireless technology changed. What essentially Aruba did was extracting all the value from the edge boxes into a central place
(controller) which people could retain for years to come. The company cracked the enterprise network market by understanding the basic tenet: Managing mobile users does not really change with change of technology.
It is this tenet that led to Aruba's phenomenal success on its debut on Nasdaq. Melkote was quite candid when he told us that he had three great opportunities to be acquired. But he and his team chose to stay independent. Patience, he says is a great virtue and is fundamental to create value.
Pankaj Shah's Gambit Communications stands testimony to Melkote's words. In existence for over 12 years, Gambit has been providing solutions to companies to simulate their networks thereby helping them effectively manage networks. Quite interestingly the company hasn't raised any capital and consciously stays private.
Both the entrepreneurs have focused on value-creation by fine tuning their products based on the evolving market opportunity.
In this edition, we bring you the story of these two entrepreneurs, wherein we understand that functionalities are driven by customers. However the essence of success lies in building up functionalities that are quite unique from the rest of the crowd.
Let us know what you think.