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.
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.
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.
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.
I finally submitted my thesis and received my Ph.D. My thesis is on the publications page. The main lesson learned : Only fools try to do a start-up and write a thesis at the same time. And it seems the smartest students drop out of the program to and start Yahoo! or Google anyways.