What happens to the talent that propelled a once great company to the top of the world’s most highly valued list? Can the alumni of such world-beaters succeed when they leave the nest and join a competing startup?
The answers are yes and yes if the once great company is network hardware maker Cisco Systems — which in 2000 was the world’s most valuable company — and the leader in question is Jayshree Ullal who was VP of Marketing at Cisco’s first acquisition — Crescendo Communications — in 1993 and rose to senior vice president of Cisco’s data center, switching and services group before leaving 13 years ago to take a position as CEO of a Silicon Valley startup.
The startup in question — Arista Networks — went public in 2015 and has been growing fast — at a 37 percent average annual rate since 2011. It sells hardware and software networking technology and by May 10 sported a stock market capitalization of more than $25 billion.
In a May 6 interview with Ullal I learned some compelling insights about how Arista has been able to maintain its rapid growth. Here are three tips which could help business leaders like you reach for the stars.
1. Make Your First Product Much Better For Customers Than Competitors’.
If you have the capital to do so, take as much time as you need to build a product that absolutely delights your first customers. If you do this well, those first customers will be enthusiastic advocates for your product and your company.
Arista’s cofounders were…