I think I was 14 or 15 years old, when I saw a documentary about Silicon Valley and its startup culture on German television back then. Being a young computer addict myself at the time already, hacking along on a Commodore VC64, I was completely fascinated by the innovation culture shown and the entrepreneurs and startup founders they interviewed. One of them was Andreas von Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of SUN Microsystems, an early investor into Google and now working on his new company, Arista Networks.
I can still remember how Andy was interviewed in the documentary: an enthusiastic guy with shining, smart eyes explaining that SUN was an acronym for Stanford University Network and that they had set out to build a powerful, networked workstation based on the UNIX operating system that would soon outpace the existing computers architectures both by computing power and by low price! For years this documentary has been the basis for my romantic dreams about once working in the Silicon Valley myself, which actually came true in 1996.
Well, what I hadn’t ever dreamed of was actually meeting Andy Bechtolsheim personally! How should I? But believe it or not, I met him yesterday for one and a half hours face to face. A Silicon Valley icon. Energetic as ever, his eyes alert and witty, and being so fast when talking about any topic we happened to get to, that I could barely follow… We discussed how cloud changes HW design, how the cloud is now becoming good enough for everyone/everything if even United States’ agencies use it, how the PaaS and IaaS market might grow to roughly 24B$ by 2020 getting 10 times it’s current size and how this will thus disrupt the markets of a number of big traditional IT companies, and how enterprise software is making its way into the Cloud as well. It was unbelievable to see how fast Andy could elaborate on all those topics, hard to keep pace with him as he went along the flow of ideas and facts… For sure Andy is one of the most impressive people I have met.
These are some of the surreal moments in life, I’d say… 😉