Shashi: Hey folks, welcome to this new edition of the Dreamers and Doers podcast from Aryaka Networks, where we invite thought leaders from all over the world for some candid and insightful conversations. For the first time in this series, we have a Chief Technology Officer. He is a serial entrepreneur with experience in companies, large and small. I did not have to look far to find this person because he's no stranger to Aryaka. He's someone who I have the pleasure of working with on a day-to-day basis. I'm very pleased to welcome Ashwath Nagaraj, the co-founder and CTO of the company.
In today's episode, we'll discuss the role of a CTO, how a technology vision develops, how to navigate a company through its ups and downs? Then the choice of being a pilot and soaring into the sky. Ashwath, welcome.
Ashwath Nagaraj: Thanks Shashi, how are you doing?
Shashi: Always good my friend. So we're going to have some candid conversations, prepare to be uncomfortable.
Ashwath Nagaraj: Absolutely, let's go.
Ashwath Nagaraj: Throw it back a little bit. We're talking about something 12 years ago, right? I left a large company, very interesting work, but sort of needed to do something a little bit more dynamic, let's say. I met a couple of really interesting people. So when I say I started the company, really, it was three of us.
One was Ajit Gupta, who was the founder of Speedera, which was acquired by Akamai, and he came from a background where he said, "We need to do things as a service." Rajeev Bharadhwaj, who came from an application background, and I came from a networking and security background. And so when we met, we were really looking at some major transformations occurring at the time, and how we could really use an opportunity to convert a major transformation which could be enabled by delivering a product as a service instead of selling it as a box to customers.
And really, there were two major trends that we saw at the time, which were really driving business. Globalization, obviously, people moving manufacturing to various countries in the world, technology development moving to India and other places, that was expanding fast and really driving the world economy. And the second is a trend for people of large companies and small companies alike say they needed to get to be more agile. They needed to focus less on non-core technologies and outsource non-core work. And for example, a cigarette manufacturer did not need to have a huge IT staff and run its own MPLS network with dual redundancy and so on and so forth.
So they were all starting to say, "Look, let me focus on my business. Can somebody take over and run my network and provide me a high quality network as a service?" And we also looked at, in the global context, it also meant latencies and so on and so forth. So how do my applications behave? They used Riverbed and other good WAN optimization solutions to mitigate the issues of latency.
And so we just took that problem and said, "Okay, let's build the next generation optimized networks as a service for these global companies. Keep in mind, this was... When we raised our money, it was March 2009, that was really the bottom of the stock market. So unless you had a pretty good idea which had some serious legs, you were not getting money.
And of course, we had to have the background. Ajit had done well at startups, so had Rajeev, so had I. So I think all of that came together in a lot of ways, that journey has been a... We haven't, let's say done our 180 anyway.
Shashi: You kind of bring about something very interesting. Even imagine that Cloud wasn't a big word back then in 2009, when the economy was in the toilet, so to speak. But when you look at this original vision that you guys came and defined, and I don't know if you did it on the back of a napkin, you still have that napkin, to now, fast forward more than a decade later, how do you see this vision evolving? Is it still the same vision or is it a different company altogether?
Ashwath Nagaraj: Absolutely. One of the key things was in this as a service and globalization and so on and so forth, the big factor that was driving change was the availability of Cloud resources and applications in the Cloud, SAS and so on. So the original vision was really to transform the network to make users inside corporate networks really have access, democratize access to both on-premise as well as off-prem applications with equal quality and so on, so that the productivity could go up, and the overall operating costs and access to new applications allowed them to really modernize their business. That hasn't changed, that continues to evolve.
So the overall vision, the direction of transformation from a rigid network to a very agile network which includes the Cloud and data centers, and uses at home has evolved but conceptually, it has not changed very much. Conceptually, it is simply the migration towards the Cloud.
There've been a couple of points of inflection. One is security became a bigger part of this transformed network that started probably about four or five years ago. And the next big one was with COVID, home users became as mission critical to a company as people sitting in offices. So minor transformation is a concept of who is included in this global network, but vision's generally the same, the trend is the same.
Shashi: Yeah. It looks like there was a well thought out vision, which has really had the staying power and the long legs in an industry that is really moving very fast. If you look at it 10, 12 years, as you mentioned, is a very long time for a, "Startup," as well. Many companies either get acquired or even more, go bust.
How have you kind of preserved this vision in a way that the company gets its longevity? In fact, a former employee I spoke with recently said, and I quote, "Aryaka is incredibly resilient," and that's a huge compliment. What do you attribute this to Ashwath?
Ashwath Nagaraj: A whole bunch of things in that area, right? It is a long time. You look at the Silicon Valley, four years to six years is a long time, right? And we're talking about a lot longer than that. I think a couple of key things I would attribute it to, one is a customer engagement, right? If your team members are engaged with the customers, and the customer is happy with what you're delivering, that's what drives them next day to add more functionality and features, and so on.
The motivation comes both from revenue success as well as a customer engagement, and I think the difference in Aryaka has been that as a small team, we've been able to retain that team because a lot of these people in the engineering and support organization, and other organizations have been able to retain and keep customers at a very high satisfaction level. And that sort of goes back to them as a success for what they have done, they see the results of their work.
Resilience of course, is if we had got the direction wrong and so on and so forth, and we were just walking into a wall, that would have been a different problem. But even if you have a pretty good idea and a product sort of fits the market and the trends, and the long-term trends, people need to still be feel engaged with the long term vision.
Shashi: I think the observation I have is the team gets on a high with that customer endorsement. It's almost like instant gratification and it wants you to get this new high all over again, and that's a different culture by itself. We talked about the longevity of the company and the endurance, and the resiliency of the company, but I also want to touch upon your personal endurance.
Startups are roller coasters and I'd imagine it takes a toll for you to carry the torch for an extended period of time. You've been a constant fixture in the company, even as people around you have changed, and you have to keep your chin up, motivate those around you, especially when the going is tough.
So what's your formula to do that, and any advice to other founders that may be going through the grind, so to speak?
Ashwath Nagaraj: I think different founders and executives at different levels and different functions obviously, have very different philosophies of what it takes to keep that company going, and the people motivated, right? For me, I think the most important parameter is the transparency and inclusion. Every company is going to challenges all the time. The leaders in the company need to have... Be included in an honest discussion about some of the challenges and why they're instrumental or they need to be instrumental in the corrective and improvements that would solve these issues, and get us to the next level.
So transparency is not just, "Rah-rah, everything's going fine, pat people on the back." Sometimes it's the opposite. It is saying, "Hey, here are the problems. We have to face it, but we're fixing it together." And I go back to a few times when we took on a customer which was much larger than our capacity at the time. We had product, we had the people, we backed ourselves. We said that we have the right people to be able to solve issues we will encounter.
Small companies cannot afford to invest millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars in building huge test setups. So you have to innovate on how you get that coverage on testing, but you have to back yourself. And sometimes when things look down, that's when having the right people with the right mindset helps you solve and jump that barrier. When you do that, on the other side, people look back and say, "I did that. All of us did it, but I was also part of it. My contribution was a mission critical in it."
So at that point, the company goes a little beyond financial success. Financial success is very important and obviously everybody wants it, but at the end leaders want to feel that they are making a difference in the journey, not just making a lot of money. I feel that, so that to me, inclusion of them in the problems as well as in the successes, is really important.
Shashi: And I would imagine some new leaders get made during this process because you're actually allowing them to participate in the problem, and stretch way beyond their comfort zones.
Ashwath Nagaraj: That is true. I think the companies, generally speaking, go through many, many phases. I guess you start off with a bunch of commandos and then you start converting towards an army. I think if you really look at it, those commandos have to become leaders of individual divisions, if you will, or whatever. And I think it really speaks to the people in this company who've taken up the mantle and being those commandos transformed into leaders of larger groups, to create more leaders.
And it happened because we were lucky. Our bottom line is in a sense, 2009 might've been a really bad time to raise money, but was really, really a good time to get great people, because that was the time when you didn't have a lot of unicorns jumping up and say, "Hey, come here and you can make a lot of money."
So people were looking for jobs that made them feel satisfied with what they did because the money wasn't the only motivation [inaudible 00:11:42].
Shashi: And I think the people that came in and joined forces with you at that time, they also saw a mission, a cause, because I do see a lot of the people still there with the company, so they have made this cause their own. And it is this culture that you talked about with transparent leadership, which should also be extending to customers as well, because they then believe in you and bet on you.
Ashwath Nagaraj: Absolutely. And I think we really have to be thankful for one thing, that our customers, we tend to have very high customer loyalty, satisfaction, leading to customer loyalty or leading to very long retention of customers. And we're talking not of small customers, sometimes it's very large brand name customers who obviously have a 100 different problems to deal with, and Aryaka is just one of them.
And to be able to keep them engaged and say, "Hello, don't worry. I've got this piece covered," is really important for them to feel that they can fight other battles while somebody else is taking care of this one. And I think we're lucky that it's happened to us. We're also lucky, as you said, a lot of these leaders who we hired at the time, they stayed on because as you exactly... you hit the nail on the head, they feel a part of a journey, of making that difference, that mission and so on.
So when people take up the mission on themselves, everybody's a leader, and that's really a great system to be in because I don't know whether you really need 200 people to do every problem. There are two ways of solving it. With the right leadership and right motivation, you can be pretty efficient in what you deliver because everybody's focused on the same set of goals.
Shashi: That's well put Ashwath. Now looking back, you've done your share of startups. What are some of the ones that you would like to talk about as successes, and where has an idea not gone where you wanted it to go? And as a continuation of that, have you experienced any near death scenarios for any of the companies that you are at, including Aryaka?
Ashwath Nagaraj: I think I near death is a fact of life in any startup. We always tend to look at some symptoms of being successful, but I remember the first year we had to manage, Ajit Gupta was one of the founders. He had a very good view of life in a lot of ways. So look, you should not get lost in what's happening on a day-to-day basis because there's a big picture.
Yes, we had many near death experiences, both Aryaka and elsewhere. I think the important thing is that there is another day that follows the day of near death. Some of them, for example, was when our first CEO decided to shut down and have somebody else brought in. It's just a stage of growth of the company and so on. And it was quite a shock to sort of lose that sort of what happens, it's an uncertainty, right?
But I think as long as the big picture, that is the customer, is still engaged, the team is still engaged in the... and the ship is still moving in the right direction. Captains do come and go, leaders come and go, other leaders always step up. So we've been lucky that the mission has stayed constant, focus of a lot of the leadership has stayed pretty constant.
So each of these near death experiences didn't really result in death, let me put it that way. So you look back and say, "Hey, was it a near death experience or we were just a little too afraid of what might happen afterwards, but really, we didn't have to?"
Shashi: What about some successes where everything clicked into place big time?
Ashwath Nagaraj: Yeah. I think success is one of those really, really hard... Obviously, somebody like an Elon Musk can say or point to everything and say, "This is our success." So let's look at it in our own micro day-to-day lives. I think the basic success in any startup to me, is be able to look back after that and say, "I did that and it actually worked, and it made some people happy." And the people who went along with us, the team itself did benefit from both the experience and hopefully monetarily also.
But that has been more of a guiding principle than to say, "Hey, this went to a $1,000,000,000," whatever. Well, of course we all love that. But if I look at the last three small companies that I was with, the startups and so on, I think they all met the goals we started with, which was to deliver a product which worked and changed people's enterprises, whatever, that changed the way they did business.
If you can do that, look back and say, "Hey, you know what? I'm very happy." I think a lot of us in this team can say that even more so than Aryaka because many of the other startups, you get acquired. Yeah, there's a great monitor success. The question is really, what is the continued influence you have after the acquisition?
And generally speaking, I would say that the past acquisitions that I've been a part of, the acquiring company sometimes makes a real success of the product. The acquiring company sometimes utilizes all the leadership that's in that company, and sometimes they fail to utilize it. So you lose control on continuing that mission that you started with.
Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes a bad thing. And I'd say that in my case, one of them was very good and one of them was very bad. But nevertheless, it doesn't mean that it wasn't fun as a journey to get to that point.
Shashi: And success can be multi-dimensional and you kind of need to enjoy the journey no matter where it goes, to truly absorbing the process of the startup.
Ashwath Nagaraj: Absolutely.
Shashi: So Ashwath, talk to me a bit about your role as the CTO, how do you view this role and what's a day in the life of a CTO look like?
Ashwath Nagaraj: Yeah, this is one of those very, very hard to answer question, because I think different companies have a different need in terms of the role of the CTO. For us, in my last life, if you will, I was also the CTO and VP of Engineering of Allegro Systems. It was very different, it was very much a product and engineering, and hands-on focused job.
I would say in Aryaka, it started that way, but as we reached a point where we start scaling and business becomes more important than just product. What I enjoy about my role and what I come to work every day for is being able to A, keep people motivated about the long term direction of that ship that we talked about, that mission and so on.
That's one on the inside. The second one on the inside, and going back to the first one, there's definitely always doubt. If you knew something for certain, everybody would have done it. So at the end, you've got to have conviction. Your conviction is fraught with doubt, but you just have to believe that you'll know how to get around all those issues that will magnify the doubt.
And I think that's one of the things that's my job, to be able to work with the rank file, everybody, all the leaders, at the end saying, "Hey, we're in this together. Yes, we've got some things wrong. We've got some things right, but this is where we're going and we believe in it, and why?"
You have to be able to defend it. That's one. The second is finally, the customer is looking for exactly the same assurance, and when you have a large customer, they're not customers, they don't view us as vendors. There's a partnership aspect of, because at an individual level, their careers, but really, at a corporate level, their business might not depend a whole lot on us, but we could certainly do a lot of damage if we mess it up.
So I think the second part of the CTO's role is to listen to the customers and engage them, but also provide them the confidence, obviously not by just talk, but by again, being transparent to them where we are. Yes, we are not going to be the best at everything, but do we keep their requirements and their most critical business needs in mind when we do anything? And I remember one CIO said to me when we were just about to get the first contract with them.
So look, I am one customer out of a 1,000 to you, but to me, the work you're doing is my business, it's the entire business. You could destroy it and it's my career. So we actually have a bigger impact, potentially negatively, to our customers. So as a CTO, we need to be able to not just tell the customer that we're going to cover them. We need to back that up with reality.
And what does that do? That actually means sometimes sitting there on escalation calls often enough, and actually understanding that we are participating in making sure that whatever issues came up are going to be resolved, or you're going to be very transparent to the customers on where you are and when you are going to resolve.
Shashi: And I like two things that you said there. One was, there are times when you get doubt and you do need to have the self awareness and humility to understand it and acknowledge it. The second thing you talked about is really how you take ownership in a way for outcomes with customers. They are taking a risk by betting on you, and you need to de-risk that bet in some ways as a technology leader.
I guess that there's a part of your job that requires you to define the technology vision, but there's also, I guess, another part where you need to get buy-in for that and excite people around it, rally them to the direction of this technology vision. How do you kind of go about doing that?
And in this case, you also have had change of guard with a few CEOs. Does a new CEO coming or going impact the vision as well?
Ashwath Nagaraj: Whenever you talk to somebody to come in on the executive team, they're interviewing you. We just happen to be one of the people they're actually interviewing. So when you look at it that way, you hope, and in general it's true, that they understand what you are and how you work, what's your vision, but also how do you work?
Because at the end of the day, you come to the office, you hire an executive, that person comes to the office, and if they feel that they're not part of the vision, then pretty soon, they're out of the office. So I think that the biggest part that we've been... Transitions happen for various reasons. Everybody is not going to scale to all levels, and part of my goal is when I have a candidate coming in front of me, I want to be honest about what our successes are, and our failures.
It's not something that's very sales oriented, and say, "Rah-rah, let's do this, come on board." I think people who come on board need to understand that there's good things, which is longer term, and there are some problems which are shorter term and they're part of the solution, or they should not be here. And I think we've been very lucky in that.
So getting buy-in after that is easy because they're part of the planning and making sure that we get past these hurdles. So dealing with new CEOs, it's always hard because when a CEO comes in first, they are also concerned on what they're getting into. You don't hire CEOs if you don't have some changes you want to make.
Now, but if they have to come in and make a wholesale change and say, "I've got to rip this whole company apart and restart from the beginning," it is demotivating because they took that job without that understanding. So it takes a bit of time, but you cross that chasm of doubt, of looking for issues, and when they get confidence, and the number one thing that most CEOs have said within a few months is, "I don't get onto escalation calls."
Why? The customer is happy so at least there's one major problem they don't have to deal with, that is, have to go and apologize to a 100 customers every day, which is the norm when a CEO comes in. So I think they've had it easy in some ways. So the CEO can focus on building the next level of company rather than having to deal with a very more basic customer issues of product not working, and so on and so forth.
So I think our goal, and we've been lucky on, is keep the product working and the customer happy, solve the bigger problems of how do you scale and so on, and that's what a CEO comes in. So they're not sitting and focusing on the basics that we should have fixed 10 years.
Shashi: And that's a fascinating insight. I think we've been lucky with our share of the CEOs as well, in the way that they're being able to come and affect those transitions. And I want to take this opportunity to maybe shift from the company building to you as an individual.
Obviously, being a CTO of a company or a thought leader in the industry, there are expectations of you to keep pace with technology. So what is your modus operandi to be abreast of learning so there's a fresh graduate out of college who doesn't outsmart you?
Ashwath Nagaraj: So this is, I think an area which is, to me, it's a very slippery slope for me to even talk about. Of course, these fresh graduates coming out of college are smarter and they know a lot more about newer stuff. So what technology are we in, and how important is just technology in the world?
So sometimes you're in an industry which is really in the hype phase. I think that [inaudible 00:25:13] graph is very, very nice because when you're in the hype phase, right now, it is a bunch of people putting a lot of ideas together. And some of these are actually going to make it past that phase.
But when you're in a little bit more of a mature stage, I think people coming in are great because they bring in new ideas. What really matters is how many of these ideas can actually be put seamlessly and smoothly into a customer's network or environment, without causing a lot of hiccups? Hiccups to a customer, their business depends on it.
So actually, I'm a little bit of a CTO who says you should not have too much of technology, in the sense that there's a maturation of technology, and until it reaches that point, you can't deliver it to all customers. You do want to deliver it to customers who are bleeding edge, but you don't want to take everybody to the bleeding edge because hey, it causes bleeding.
So when fresh graduates come in, you know the best part? You learn that they think out of the box. The methods for development have changed dramatically, so these are areas we need to adapt. We build a monolith software because we say, "We build it in software," and so on. How much API is API-ization and so on, that we do?
They're all newer trends. Newer for me, is 10 years. And we need to adapt and adopt some of these trends that the students bring us. We just had an intern, he came in for three months and it was amazing to work with him on one concept we had in the data digital phase. There are a lot of smart people, we need to absorb them and help them help us.
Am I behind in times? Yeah, sure. But then we should also open our eyes and say, "Hey, there's a lot of stuff that's coming in there. What can we absorb from these people who have learned this and who think differently from us?"
Shashi: I agree, Ashwath. Many of them can be so inspirational and allow us to think from different vantage points, if you will. And I think it's important to blend that with the experience that you bring to the equation. Experience plus new knowledge is always a very powerful combination.
Who else do you look for inspiration yourself? You've mentioned Elon Musk briefly, are there others that you kind of look up to?
Ashwath Nagaraj: I look up to a lot of people. Anybody who successfully pulls off something that you think is impossible from an engineering viewpoint, I look up to all of them, and there's a lot of them. Any major product in today's world originates from somebody who really believes something that others thought were impossible. I look at Musk and say, "Who would have thought you could build another automobile, a car company in this stage [inaudible 00:27:55]?"
And he built something and it's something that is changing the game. And who would even have dreamt that a private organization could send a satellite to space? And he's done that, and he said, "Now, the only people who need to be doing this are private organizations." NASA says, "I'm going to subcontract everything to these guys."
So there are people who've changed the way we think about what can be done. Musk, Steve Jobs, hundreds of people, and I look at all of them. But to me, on a day-to-day basis, how many of these people directly influence our business? A lot of them influence our way of thinking, but I think in Musk's case, one of the things that I believe is that this whole SpaceX and LEOS, I really look at that and say, "It's a great technology."
And it's a great technology, could have significant impact to our business, which is allow people to connect into their applications much more easily, because they don't need a landline, they don't need a lease line. Somebody doesn't have to build infrastructure in their neighborhood for them to get connectivity to the internet. It's there in the sky. You just connect to it and you can actually get pretty good data rates, and use more delimitation of latency, and so on. That was the technology of the past, of satellites in the past.
Shashi: Ashwath, I feel you are being a bit humble yourself, because when I look at some of the things that you have invented and you've been a fairly prolific inventor. I think if you search on your name, there are more than 20 plus patents. What is your philosophy behind that in terms of invention patterns, and which ones are your most successful so far?
Ashwath Nagaraj: I don't subscribe to patents being really indicative of anything smart. There are probably a few... one in a 100 patents that actually, it has some significance and makes a big difference to people and so on. But every one of these patents, there's a couple of them I think are pretty good, interesting patents. They've always come because of multiple people sitting together and noodling over a set of problems.
And so, it's really not one person. So yeah, my name is somewhere on that list of patentees and I've been involved with them. I think the real secret is the stuff that you don't patent. I think that there's much better work that I've been involved with and I've done myself, where we don't want to patent this idea because why do you want to tell somebody how to do it? And that's a trade secret.
I think the most important thing that really reflects what technology is doing is if you set up to solve a problem, how will the people who are benefiting from that, feeling about it? Some of those things you patent, some you don't. And so it's incidental to me that I'm on 20 patents. I'm sure there are people who spend their lives getting patents and probably have 200, but that doesn't make them any different in terms of solving problems and enjoying the work they're doing. Because I think at the end, that's never going to get disclosed. A lot of people put a lot of great ideas in, but they don't want to patent.
Shashi: And I think you put it rightly, saying it's not an indication of smartness, but the patent portfolio can be valuable to any company, I guess, a commercial reason for doing some of these things as well.
Ashwath Nagaraj: In a large company, yes. In a small company, defensive. I don't know if a small company has the money to go fight a large company, unless the patent is so fundamental, let's say the infringement is so obvious. So yes, it has value as you said, because it's almost like an asset, but it's not an asset you can easily convert. But you need it in case somebody else is coming after you, or hey, at least you have something to trade.
Shashi: Ashwath, let's shift the conversation away from technology. What do you do to unwind? I know you're a licensed pilot as well, so what made you take off to the skies there?
Ashwath Nagaraj: You know what? I think probably since I was a five or six year old child, I think I always wanted to fly or learn how to fly. Ideally, I would someday want to win a jet suit, like those wings that people wear and fly around, and maybe hang gliding or something like that. But short of getting there, somewhere around 15 years ago, maybe 20 years ago, I decided I'd just get a private pilot license so that I could just... Part of the thing is just to be out in the air and without any controls on... Well, everything is controlled, sorry, but you're sort of in a different world.
You're looking down on things, maybe that's one way of looking at it, but you're looking at everything from a different perspective. So I really love to fly, once a month or so, at least do a couple of hours flight. It also gives me an opportunity to visit places I would not normally go to, simply because they're too far away.
Two weekends ago, my wife and I, we went down to the Wallowas, place called Jewels of Oregon, we were able to fly in and spend two days doing some hiking. And it was real fun, and it's fun also because it's something that, if I had to go there, I would have to drive 15 hours. And if you ask somebody there and say, "How many people do you see from California?" They say, "Almost none."
So flying gives me that opportunity, which is one of the consequences, which I like.
Shashi: Well, every kid growing up wants to become a pilot. I'm glad you kind of fulfilled that ambition, but you also talked about it providing perspective, and different people have different ways of trying to get that perspective. You don't need to book tickets either, which is always a positive thing.
Is this the place, is there a place you go to, fly to when you want to get away and kind of think deeply?
Ashwath Nagaraj: Probably that's a little overrated. [inaudible 00:33:25] You've got to think deeply every day. But yeah, my wife and I, we travel quite often to... We have a place in Bandon, Oregon, and sometimes we just go there, spend a weekend, do some hiking, have some good beer and come back. So it's less about thinking deeply, probably it's a little bit of stopping thinking deeply.
The unwind part of it is what we do when we fly out, but you can do that in any way. It just so happens that I have a plane, and you know what? It's not something where you say, "I'm going to go to Chicago tomorrow morning," and you jump on a plane and go. These are not that kind of plane. That is a professional plane, I'm not a professional or an airline transportation or a pilot of that kind.
And then that requires a very different kind of skillset. This is almost what people call now, sports flying, which is you just go casually. You're able to spend your day, in a day of good weather, at a place which you would not normally not have gone.
Shashi: That is a great luxury to have. Now, before we wrap up Ashwath, I want to have to ask this of a CTO, what are some of the technology trends that excite you over the next decade, and which ones are you planning to sink your teeth into?
Ashwath Nagaraj: So I'll speak first in the context of Aryaka because hey, a lot of the technology trends that are happening today, they're so broadly spread, I need to pick something that is sort of very relevant to our conversation also. And as I said earlier, that one of them is a LEOS.
I think this Low Earth Orbit Satellite, if you think about it, it's going to change, I think the dynamics of the world. See, today, you can get great networks, 5G and so on and so forth, in some parts of the world. But what about all those parts of the world where there are a lot of smart people who can do a lot of smart things, but they're not yet included in this whole global economy? Parts of Africa, parts of Asia, lots of parts of the world where they don't have access.
I think this LEOS technology is going to offer them an equal opportunity to access, to be able to deliver what they can do to the rest of the world. So that's one major one. Another big thing that's happening in the world today is obviously, it's not directly something that we participate in, but it's a piece of innovation.
Once you have a large customer base, there's only some amount of technology you can push into the system. But the pace of development has changed dramatically because of the methodologies that have changed, the leveraging. Open source was [inaudible 00:35:56], something people didn't talk of 25 years, 30 years ago. And now, it's the only thing people talk off.
APIs and being able to say, "Look, I offer every piece of work that I do as a service to somebody else, and correspondingly, somebody else does that." So now we've sort of built an ecosystem that allows you to build an entirely new product or a system in very little time. That piece of development has probably accelerated by a factor of a 100 in the last 10, 15 years.
And that's an area we need to start getting a lot more... We need to participate a lot more in, even as Aryaka because it changes... It's a huge amount of leverage that you can get to scale very quickly.
Shashi: Well, Ashwith, I think we're all going to be very excited about that. And I got to tell you, this is probably the longest podcast we've recorded in this series.
Ashwath Nagaraj: You're saying I talk too much.
Shashi: But I found it very insightful, and even though I know you, I actually learned more stuff about you today, which is very interesting. And I'm sure our listeners will have some good fun with it and good learning with it.
So thank you Ashwath, for coming on board and I hope you enjoyed the conversation as well.
Ashwath Nagaraj: Yeah. Thanks Shashi.
Shashi: That was Ashwath Nagaraj, CTO and co-founder of Aryaka. And with that, this podcast is a wrap. Thank you.
Note: The transcripts of the podcasts may not be fully accurate. Please excuse any grammar and spelling issues.