Choosing a company to work for
Why did I interview with Arista?
What's the deal with Arista's people?
Andy is truly passionate about that stuff, and he seems to have a special interest for optical technologies (e.g. 100Gbps transceivers and such). He's putting the German touch to our hardware engineering: efficiency. :)
Then there is David Cheriton, professor at Stanford, who isn't on his first stint with Andy. The two had founded Granite Systems in '95, which got acquired in just about a year by Cisco, for over $200M. This apparently made David a bit of a celebrity at Stanford, and in '98 two students called Larry & Sergey sought his advice to start their company, a search engine for the web. David invited them over to talk about their project, and also invited Andy. They liked the idea so much that they each gave them a $100k check to start Google. This 2x$100k investment alone yielded a 10000x return, so now you know why Arista didn't need to raise any money :)
David is passionate about software engineering & distributed systems, and it should be no surprise that virtually all of Arista's software is built upon a framework that came out of David's work.
Not only Ken is one of those extraordinary software engineers, but also he's one of the best leaders I've met, and I'm glad he's our CTO as he's pushing things in the right direction.
Of course, it's not all about those three guys. What's even more amazing about Arista, is that our VPs of engineering are like that too. The "management layer" is fairly thin, with only a handful of VPs in engineering and handful of managers who got promoted based on meritocracy, and that "management layer", if I dare to call it this way, is one the most technically competent and apt to drive a tech company that I've ever seen.
I would also like to point out that our CEO is a woman, which is also unusual, unfortunately, for a tech company. It's a coincidence that today is International Women's Day, but let me just say that there is a reason why Jayshree Ullal frequently ranks high in lists such as "Top X most influential executives", "Top X most powerful people in technology", etc. Like everybody else at Arista, she has a very deep understanding of the industry, our technology, what we're building, how we're building it, and where we should be going next.
Heck, even our VP of marketing, Doug Gourlay, could be VP of engineering or CTO at other tech companies. I remember the first time I saw him at the first Arista Customer Exchange, I couldn't help but think "here comes the marketing guy". But his talk not only made a lot of sense, he was also explaining why our approach to configuring networks today sucks and how it could be done better, and he was spot on. For a moment I just thought he was really good at talking about something he didn't genuinely understand, a common trait of alluring VPs of marketing, but as he kept talking and correctly answering questions, no matter how technical, it was obvious that he knew exactly what he was talking about. Mind=blown.
So all in all, I'm very happy I joined Arista, although I'm sure it would have been a lot of fun too with my friends over at Twitter or CloudFlare. There are a lot of very exciting things happening right now, and a lot of cool challenges to be tackled ahead of us.
Additional disclaimer for this post: the views expressed in this blog are my own, and Arista didn't review/approve/endorse anything I wrote here.