University seminar speech by CEO of Extreme Networks (2001)
[formal salutation, then hold up seminar announcement]
I was given a copy of the announcement for my talk this evening. It will remind me always of this wonderful opportunity I have to speak with you. I am very honored to be here. One of my employees here translated the announcement for me, and I learn that, apparently, some of you may be expecting to hear a
[read a phonetic line of Chinese]
My translator told me this means a “modern fairy tale.”
I have never really thought of what I have done as a fairy tale before. But if there is any industry that is largely a work of the imagination, it is the high-tech industry. And if I reflect on what Extreme Networks was like when we started, and how far we have come in such a short time, it is very much like a fairy tale.
This is what my company was like when we opened for business in 1996.
• We had more founding partners – three – than we had employees.
• Our offices were so old, you could see paths in the carpet where the people before us had walked over and over.
• We had to buy used furniture at an auction and spent two days negotiating the price.
• We worked for 6 months without pay while I tried to raise venture capital.
Today, Extreme Networks looks very different.
• We have more than 1000 employees worldwide
• We have been rated the fastest-growing company in all of Silicon Valley by our leading business publication, the San Jose Business Journal, with annual revenues reaching nearly a half-billion dollars this past fiscal year, which ended June 30th
• We have offices in 25 countries around the world and have customers in more than 50 countries
• We have 5 separate research and development facilities across the United States
• The biggest networking trade show in the United States is called Networld Plus Interop. Before 1997, no company had ever won the Best of Show award for the most...