On the Road the Next few Weeks…
I will be on the road a lot the next few weeks for Plexxi. Plexxi will also be engaging in a host of events as well. Here is a list of events:
- March 5: Credit Suisse Datacenter Conference in SF. I will be on an SDN panel with two friends from Big Switch.
- March 7: Plexxi presents at Network Field Day #5. I will be in NYC/NJ that day presenting to customers.
- March 13: I am on the Cloud & Software-Defined Panel at the Pacific Crest Technology Forum event in Boston.
- March 15: Plexxi and Boundary at SDN Central Demo Fridays.
Plexxi is my fifth startup. At my first startup, we did some early development outsourcing to Poland in the 1991 time frame and I was Ciena when the company began the transition to a development center in India. I have worked at companies with development teams resident on both coasts. I have worked at large corporations in which the majority of the management team had to fly to a common location for an in person meeting. Having been an early adopter of out-sourcing, then insourcing as well as telecommuting, I find the negative reaction to Yahoo’s no working from home policy to be misinformed. It is a lot of work to lead and keep productive a distributed system of employees. The most creative and productive teams I have been a part of work at the same location. There is value in hallway conversations and spontaneous interaction.
At Plexxi, we opened an SF office in January of this year and we hired people to work out of it. Some people in our SF office are on their third trip to the east coast this year. I have been to west coast twice already with another six trips planned before the end of May. I think all the modern tools of communication are nice when unexpected events in life happen such as car problems, sick children, snow days, weather disruptions, etc., but nothing takes the place of being in the same physical presence with people. Creativity, drive, effort, leadership all are derived from being in the presence of others. I think Ms. Mayer was also sending a message about the seriousness of her intentions. The most successful technology companies have a very high work ethic and that ethic comes from being in the presence of others. If you read the book Hard Drive, there is section that talks about the competitive, driven nature of company culture and how the executives would brag about an eight or six hour turnaround from office to home and back to the office. You can read the same in books about Intel. I know life is not all work and no play and people work at different paces, but I am convinced that people achieve more when they are together — rather than working from their home offices in their bunny slippers and dialing into conference calls.
A two week maternity leave right after Ms. Mayer took over as CEO kind of set the tone for work ethic at Yahoo… Get back to work Yahoo…