EIR at Morgenthaler Ventures

A few people mentioned that they were suprised about my move to Stanford after leaving Voltage. This post should be a lot less suprising: I am joining Morgenthaler Ventures as a part-time Entrepreneur in Residence. Spending a day a week at Morgenthaler Ventures is a very synergistic combination. The exposure to bleeding edge technology in Stanford helps understanding entrepreneurial opportunities. Vice versa seeing the hard technical problems that portfolio companies face helps define meaningful new research areas. And while some of you may not have heard of them before, Morgenthaler is a great firm to work with.

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Joining Stanford

Hector Garcia-Monial and myself at Graduation.I am happy to announce that this week I have joined Stanford University as a Consulting Assistant Professor. This may come as a suprise to some people, as I am not exactly your typical academic. Those people would be correct, my job here is not primarily about teaching. The main reason I am joining Stanford is OpenFlow, and it is one of the most exciting technologies I have seen in networking for a long time.

OpenFlow is exciting in two ways. First, it allows you to run new protocols and algorithms on production networks. Before OpenFlow this was very hard, as modern routers have no API that gives access to this low level functionality. Second, it allows you to make centralized yet fine grain routing decisions. This has huge advantages in some areas such as security, data centers or mobility.

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Moving on…

Friday last week was officially my last day as an employee at Voltage. The company has been doing great, both in terms of the organization as well as market traction. However after working there for 6 years it felt like it was the right time to move on. Since we founded it in 2002, Voltage has developed from being an early stage technology venture, to a stable, self-sufficient leader in enterprise software. And this means I can move on to do something new.

Early Voltage Team

Building a company is primarily about finding the right people and building the organization. Conversely, the in my count most common cause of death for an early stage start-up is dysfunctional team. At Voltage, we started with a founding team that shared a common vision and terrific investors that were an incredible help whenever we needed them (picture of the early days on the right). On these foundations we together built the great organization that Voltage is today. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with everyone in the company, from the executive team, to the board to each and every employee. In retrospect there are only few hires that I would not make again. Going forward I am confident we have the team in place that has what it takes to guide Voltage into the future.

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Server Back up Again

As you might have notices, this blog as well as all appenzeller.net email was down for the past few days. The reason was an explosion in The Planet‘s Houston H1 data center, that took out power for our server and about 9,000 other servers as well. More information here. About 700,000 web sites were reported off-line, amongst them b3ta. Assuming the back-up generators hold up, things should be stable for now.

All of this seems to be another good argument for virtualization. While I am not sure how well something like EC2 is set up for an equipment failure like this, at least in theory having multiple data canters and a distributed S3 would allow you to migrate the virtual machines to another center.

Traveling Light with Children

Traveling with Baby and Hand Luggage OnlyAs any frequent flyer knows, there are two types of luggage in air travel: cabin luggage and lost luggage. Sometimes lost luggage is found, and delivered to you eventually. Sometimes all you get is an apologetic letter and a check in the mail three months later. That happened to me last year with British Airways, but then again I was asking for it by flying through Heathrow Airport.

Today I almost always travel without checking bags. I traveled to my wedding and honeymoon only with hand luggage, and managed to get our Kilimanjaro trekking gear into the cabin as well.

Recently someone claimed this would have to change once we go traveling with our first kid. Well, so far I still think hand luggage is the way to go. As you can see in the photo from our two and a half week trip to Europe, we didn’t even have to resort to oversized “personal items”. Just two bags (which also held our two laptops) plus a small one for Daniel were sufficient. We did order formula and diapers in advance, and did laundry locally (for the US, check out Babies Travel Lite). The hardest part was to organize an infant car seats for the taxi to the airport and the rental car in Europe, but even for that services are emerging.

Site Under Construction

As you can see I am putting together a new web site. And as you can also see, it is not even close to done yet.

There is no new content yet. The main change is that the new site uses WordPress for updates (and in the future possibly for the occasional blog entry). I also changed the style. The old one was great in 1996, but the web has changed since.

In the mean time, have a look around and if you find anything broken it would be great if you let me know.