The Founding of NetApp

Wow, pick up this book if you get a chance: How to Castrate a Bull by one of NetApp founder Dave Hitz.

This book share in depth the process of how a startup is form, and what it goes through when it become a billion dollar public company. Below are my notes I scribbled down, let me know if I need to clarify anything. Be warn: I didn’t know proofread this. ^_^


Chapter 5: Values and Culture

-Creating values and cultures for the company, one employee shots out how will the company use it on the employees

-NET-created fake sales order, which led to firing CEO, CFO, and head of sales. Layoff ⅓ of the company workforce, SEC investigation, and a lawsuit from shareholders. All becuase there was not value or culture place.  

-What kind of company that he hoped NetApp will become? Not jsut feelings but what will we get done (enron had a list of values but it doens’t mean anything if they don’t believe in it).

-company culture should change as the company grow similar to a baby who drools, stumble trying to walk; adorable. However, imagine a 17 years old doing it; as with growth things have to adapt but as long as you follow your core values

-values protect employees from their leaders (management) NetApp lost a big to Auspex becuase they were honest about delivery a feature that will take more than 1 year to complete while Auspex said they can do it less than a year; which was a lie

-Trust but verify- employees traveling on business trips “use common sense” micro managing this could slow down productivity, have minor fraud for higher productivity catch it early.

If you are the presentor for a meeting, it is highly recommended you use your conclusion on the first slide; get your point straight across. This will immediately engage in conversations, instead of showing your team a whole presentation while their minds are disagreeing with you already.

11/28/2016  Food for Thoughts

Management philosophy: After a meeting ask people how candid people were on a scale of 1- 5, with 1 being bad and 5 being good.

-Let the team know it is important to me (don’t ask for details).

Public Speaking:

-Feeling – what kind of feeling do you want to have after your presentation?

-Action – What kind of action should they have after my presentation?

-Content – Which data will make them act or feel?

Addressing Bad News:

-Pain – laid off

– Acceptance- facts leading to the decision

Parallel Structure:

Connect senior engineers to senior managers (help them sync and understand technology and management).

Quote: “Features that matter most to customers aren’t the most exciting to develop nor design”.

“Focus on customers, not technology”

“Never underestimate the power of a clearly written proposal”, it gies confident and  


“Got a class assignment and rushed home to finish it” equal Passion. Got a C in psyic, no


Identify a problem that people are willing to spend money to solve.

Comparison:  Getting a law or MBA is the same risk and reward as doing a startup. There are no guarantee in job or success, just an increase in probability.

Product Development: ship early, listen carefully, and react quickly.

-Eat your own dog food, use your own products/services in your organization to get customer perspective of your products/services

-Coffee makers in hotel, client doesn’t want to check every coffee maker in the hotel, they want a system to inform them when the coffee maker is broker and needs a replacement.

Growth: During growth phase, there are no time to build process. You are growing so fast teh process you build today will be outdate the next day. I.E) 500 employees process to 1000 employees, we cannot use the 500 employees process.

-Hypergrowth- eveything is always broken, fix major issues, and let the small one go

-system for 10 million revenue, cannot work for 100 million revenue

Oracle vs Ingres

-Oracle double it salesforce no matter what and came out the winner

-Ingress went in only 50% so they achieve 50% result; 50% increase in salesforce only.

-5% investment in IT to save money, however that 5% could hinder the company ability to grow by 10% more. Therefore, invest the 10% in IT to achieve 10+ in growth.

Risk Assessment:

-Don’t listen to the news before doing business planning. Media portray bad risk assessment. IE) shark attack accounts for less than 130 deaths per 13 million (.01%), compared to auto accident which is 40,000/year. Shark makes headline while auto accident doesn’t, it is all about sellign newspaper.

-Don’t go to the grocery store when you are hungry, you will buy everything. Similar to risk, don’t do if after reading something related to your topic.

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