Shashi: Okay, welcome to another edition of the Dreamers and Doers podcast, where we invite top leaders from all over the world to have some interesting conversations. Today I have with me Zeus Kerravala, who's the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. It's the first time we're having an analyst on the program, and in his own words, Kerravala brings a mix of tactical advice to his clients in the current business climate, as well as guides them on long-term strategy.
Zeus Kerravala: Thanks. Do you consider me a dreamer or a doer here?
Shashi: That's a question, for you my friend.
Zeus Kerravala: I think probably more a doer or something, but it's fun to dream about things too.
Shashi: Zeus, we've known each other for a long time now, I think it's 15 years or so, and back when the days when you were with Yankee. Then you decided to go out and become the founder of ZK Research. What's this journey been like, and what do you do exactly at ZK Research?
Zeus Kerravala: The role isn't a whole lot different when I was at Yankee Group. At Yankee Group, I was the Chief Research Officer there for a while, and the fundamental premise of my research hasn't really changed. Actually when I was there, it was my belief that market share shifts when markets transition. Right? I always tried to look for those things that were happening in the industry that were going to create disruption. For example, when you were at Cisco, if the company had decided to go build its own PBX, I don't think it would have had any success at all, but it caught that pivot to avoid, that really gave it a lot of throw. And so, that's still the fundamental premise of my research I focus.
One of the things about being an independent though, is I'm able to cover different areas, and I can ebb and change my flow, my research coverage as the market changes. And so I focus primarily in the emerging technologies within networking security and communications. Where at traditional analyst firms, you're an analyst, and then you have this research agenda that you live and die with. I felt that that model was really archaic, and so I wanted to do something a little different. Also, it was my belief that unless your firm name is Gartner or IBC, it was very difficult to get people to pay for research that sits behind a paywall.
So I built a lot of relationships, as you know, with a lot of the media companies, No Jitter, You We, SiliconANGLE, CIO Network, World Forbes, CSO, InfoWorld. There's a whole bunch of them that I write for, and I use that as a way to get my research out. This concept of the influencer, hybrid analysts, have become very popular now. And I'd like to think I was one of the first ones to do that. And I really thought that the industry was changing, and I had to change along with it, but I didn't think I could change along with it inside the confines of traditional analysts.
Shashi: Yeah. You're a prolific writer from what I've seen so far, and more importantly, you're a very likable guy, so the title of Hybrid Analyst really suits you. In some ways, I think you invented that category. But If I were to trace it back to days when you were young, what guided you to the choice of career as an analyst? It's an interesting profession, and not a traditional one. How did you become hybrid analyst?
Zeus Kerravala: People ask me this all the time. I never really had a desire to be an industry analyst. In fact, I think, you know this, before I was an analyst, actually I had a corporate IT background, and I really didn't think much of industry analysts. I thought most of them were a bunch of clowns, and couldn't tell a data center from a WAM link. When the recruiter from Yankee group called me, I first scoffed at this. "Are you kidding me?" I said. "Most industry analysts don't know anything. Why would I be one of those?" And he goes, "Well, if you really think that's the way it is, why don't you become one, and try and do it differently?" That's a pretty good pitch.
So I decided then to go take a look at it. As a IT person, I always really liked emerging technology, but one of the things is, when you work for a financial services firm or companies like that, they tend to be a little more risk adverse. You can't always throw the latest and greatest in. So I thought being an industry analyst would allow me to look at the latest and greatest, talk to customers that deploy it, talk to channel partners that sell it, talk to the vendors, without having to actually go deploy the technology. And so I thought that would be an interesting way to pivot my career. Because I had done the IT thing now, at that time, for about 20 years, and frankly, for people that listen to this, if you're in corporate IT, I feel for you, because I think there's probably no job less thankless than that. If things work fine, nobody ever says a word to you, and as soon as something doesn't work, then of course everything is your fault. And so I was ready for a change.
Shashi: Yeah. There are certainly a lot of heroes and martyrs in corporate IT that we have to have deep respect for. It looks like you got baited by a smart Yankee recruiter who said, "Be the change you want to bring about in the world."
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah.
Shashi: So you did that gig for some time,, and then now you have ZK Research, which in some ways is almost a startup company if I were to draw a parallel. So do you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, and you had mentioned reinventing yourself. How does that go about, in terms of how you reinvent and draw an analogy with startups, if you will?
Zeus Kerravala: I've been around actually 10 years now, so it's tough to call it a startup, but you're right. Just like the vendor community is always being reinvented, I think analysts need to as well. What I watch for Shatu, is I always tell people if the value from the analyst comes down to how many widgets do they sell, then that market's mature enough that I probably shouldn't cover it anymore. Because there's some great firms up there, ECG, Synergy, Deloro, that count those things, and they can do a far better job of it than I can. But if you want to talk about disruption, and the impact of artificial intelligence, and what's new in this area, and how it's going to change jobs and things like that, that's the stuff that I'm interested in. So from a more strategic standpoint, I like to really work at that point of inflection.
At that point, the market size, in a lot of ways, doesn't really matter, right? Because it's small. Whether it's a couple of million or a hundred million, we know it's going to be big; you think of something like this be WAMed out inside; not all that big, but we know the total TAM is huge. But there's a lot of vendor destruction going on now. And so, like I said, when the market gets to a point where it's so mature, that the only value from the analyst is the numbers, then it's time for me to exit that market, and move on to the next thing.
Shashi: You mentioned a couple of these big name firms, Gartner, IDC, and others. How do you approach research in a way that you build credibility against some of these big powerhouse firms, and across the fence, what is the approach they take, as well? Can you walk us through how the mind of an analyst functions?
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah, I think, and I'm not saying anything negative about this firm, because I have great respect for the analysts. There are a lot of them who are my friends. But I do think that the problem with an analyst, especially at the bigger firms, is you tend to get siloed into one particular coverage area. And so Gardner has a networking analyst. They have a campus analyst, they have weighing analyst, right? They've got separate security analysts. And the problem today, is that all those things are coming together. And it's very difficult to be able to do research in one of those areas without stepping on somebody else's toes. And so it creates a lot of political infighting, and nobody really knows who covers what. I had a conversation with the folks at one of the publications about this, even, where with all the rise of the convergence of network and security in a company like yours, when there's an announcement made, does the security person cover it or does the networking person cover it? Right?
And so that's the problem with that, that I think industry analyst firms have, the bigger ones, is that the analysts tend to be very siloed in nature, and so they only have a very small slice of what's really going on, where I tend to look a little broader. Now, I'm certainly not going to go maybe as deep as somebody who's strictly focused on product, but again, of these emerging areas, I'm not sure that matters as much. But my mandate has always been to think more broadly about the impact that these technologies have on businesses. And that mandates a different way of looking at them. You can't really look within the silos; you've almost got to look cross sight, and that's something I think that I can bring to the table, where it's much more difficult for an analyst, and certainly at the big firms.
Shashi: I see it in you as more of a connect-the-dots kind of guy. Is that a fair assessment?
Zeus Kerravala: That is a fair assessment. In fact, I've used that analogy before that a lot of times when you see an analyst even present at an event, they give their stump speech, but it's really up to the audience to try and connect the dots from their problem to whatever that speech is. I feel the job of an analyst is to connect those dots for whoever the stakeholder is, right? If you're a reseller, I have to connect the dots on how you sell more. If you're a line of business owner, my job is to connect the dots on how that changes the way you conduct operations. If you're an IT person, I have to connect the dots on how that helps you save money or do your job more efficiently. And so, there's different ways, there's different audiences, and we have to connect the dots differently, but I think that's an appropriate way to look at it.
Shashi: Tell me something, Zeus, you talked about writing in different publications, and being this hybrid analyst. Now it may pertain to you, or to analyst communities in general, I imagine you're working with a lot of vendors, such as ourselves, who could be competing with other such vendors. You end up endorsing different positions. So how do you preserve integrity, or how do you award bias in such scenarios? I think that's an important role for an analyst, isn't it?
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah, it is. And I try and avoid using superlatives that try and position one vendor is better than the other vendor, all other vendors. I think every vendor has its strengths and weaknesses. And my job is to figure out what those are, and then, from a strategic standpoint, when I'm working with Aryaka, I have to figure out how I can help them take those strengths, and position them in a way that buyers in a certain segment would look to you first. Conversely, if I'm looking at Cisco or Juniper, most companies like that, their strengths are going to be different as well. So in fact, that's one of the issues I have with a product like the Magic Quadrant, where it, in some ways, it's definitively saying, companies that are in the top right are better than companies that are in the bottom left.
Well, that's not really the case. Right? Everything's got context. If you think back a ways, if you were to think of ThreeCom versus Cisco, somebody might say Cisco's always better, but ThreeCom made a very good low-cost product for small businesses. Right? And so, again, in that case, when I work with companies, I try to figure out what makes them unique, where their strengths are coming from, and then I help them position it along those lines. And even with things I write, it's within that context, so I never really try and position one vendor as being better than everybody in all categories, because that's not true. But I do think within certain segments, each vendor has its strength, and that's part of the connecting the dots, right? Is understanding the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. And that's why, like I said, some of those decision tools are a little flawed, because there's no content.
Shashi: That's a nice way of looking at it, because you have to compartmentalize and then you have to provide context. And it's a great way of positioning different vendors, if you do it right that way.
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah. You have no idea some of the quotes that people ask me to say. I do a lot of rewriting of those.
Shashi: Yeah. Again, I imagine a lot of your time is spent not just with vendors, but with people that are looking to deploy solutions with CIOs, CEOs. I remember we used to host you in the analyst days, I forget what they were called, back at Cisco. And then I see you giving shout outs to Chuck Robbins every time you go past Building 10. What kind of advice do they all seek from you? Are you seeing any patterns in some of their questions or problems that they're trying to solve? You have a different vantage point for that.
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah, it really depends on the company, Shashi. I think if you were the market leader, like a Cisco, what you're worrying about, is what are the destructive technologies that could unseat you, right? You think of something like software-defined networking, and the disruption that created within Cisco before they finally got their act together there, right? If you're a Chuck Robbins, you need to be thinking about who are the smaller up and coming companies that have pretty unique solutions that solve a problem that Cisco isn't solving. And then if you're a company that's relatively small, a startup or whatever, what you're looking at us chinks in the armor of those big companies, how to position yourself in a way to be able to take advantage of that market transition before the incumbent decides to come around and rule something out. And so it really depends on the type of company.
Like I said, if you're working from a position of strength, I help those business leaders look over their shoulders, and understand who's on the horizon that could disrupt you. And then for those smaller disruptive companies, I help them understand within those larger companies, where they should be focused and where they shouldn't be focused, because there's certain things certain companies do really well, that I don't care how good a product you have, it's unlikely to be able to disrupt them. But there are always ways to disrupt, and that's why working in technology is so exciting, because we always have companies that come out of nowhere and become big companies, even though maybe people didn't expect it because there was a large incumbent there. It's very common in this industry, and it's happening faster and faster now.
Shashi: And to keep up with that speed isn't necessarily always easy, right? You mentioned the pace of technology, which is always changing, and you need to be always coming across as an expert. So what do you do to keep up, and what is your source of learning that?
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah, I built a time machine, and I go ahead, and then I come back in time. But when that's not working, honestly, Shashi, it's talking to as many customers as I can. If I talk to enough CIOs and network managers and security pros, and they understand... One of the questions I always ask is, "What problem do you have that nobody's solving?" That gives you a pretty good idea of where the destruction might be. If the answer is, for example, people were, in network, engineers wanting to move away from that legacy hub and spoke. For years and years, we just never really had a solution to do it. And so that was one that was pretty easy to see that would have a lot of success, because the market had been begging for that for years. But again, there's no silver bullet here. You just talk to as many buyers as you can.
I think the other thing that I try and do, and Charlie Giancarlo, if you remember him, the former CTO at Cisco, he's now CEO of Pure. He told me, when I was really on in my analyst career, to try and figure out who the 10 smartest people are in the segment you cover, and stick close to them. And I've really tried to mine that, so there are certain go-to people that I have, that when I'm thinking of something, I'll bounce an idea off them. And for anyone who's listening to this that's an analyst, or thinking of being an analyst, I certainly encourage that. Just go find the the head of technology of a certain vendor that's market leading, maybe a certain CIO that always seems to be on the cutting edge; build a relationship with them, and make it a two-way relationship and stick with them, because that's how you're going to learn a lot. Because nobody knows everything, but we can learn an awful lot by talking to the community around us. And that's what I try and do.
Shashi: Machine learning in human form, in some ways.
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah it is.
Shashi: Yeah. There is an inside joke on this side of the fence, that analysts appear so smart because they get their inputs from people that are coming to them for advice. And are 10 people coming to you for advice, and you're able to relay nine of those conversations to others, as if it's coming from you.
Zeus Kerravala: I have said sometimes, in fact, when I used to deal with some of the big consulting firms, I used to joke with them that people will pay a lot of money to have them check your watch and tell them the time. So there is some truth to that, Sashi, it's just, I happen to be in a good position, where I sit at the junction point of investors, customers, resellers, vendors, VCs, things like that. And so I do get a lot of input. As long as you're able to synthesize that information, keep a personal bias out of it, and connect those dots, it isn't, I'm not going to say it's an easy job, but it's one that you can almost make methodological. And that's where your machine learning analogy comes true.
Shashi: So how do you bank your reputation on certain trends, because you might have conflicting people coming to you with different trends. At some point, you need to sort of say, "Hey, here is something definitive that I believe in." Right?
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah. I mean, you can be wrong. I haven't been right on every trend I've ever seen. I think the important thing is to be able to have conviction and back it up. And I'll give you a good example. There was a person who is a pretty good friend of mine, now that's a sell side analyst. The very first time I met him, I really thought he was kind of a jerk, because he argued every point I made. It's like we had an hour-long discussion where we just argued about stuff. And the next time I talked to him, he was a lot nicer. And I said, 'What was up with you last time?" And he said, "Oh," he said, "The very first time I meet somebody, I just push back on everything they say, because I want to see if they actually believe what they say."
So it doesn't matter if we agreed on something, what he was trying to do is understand whether I had the conviction of what I was saying, and I had the data points and the thought process to back it up. If it is, that was fine. I might be wrong down the road, but at least he understood the logic and the place I was coming from, and that gave him the confidence that, from talking to me, I just wasn't saying to him what I think he wants to hear. I'm not always right. But generally, the things that I write and the analysis that I give, the presentations I give, are backed up with a lot of both quantitative and qualitative data, so I can come up with my thesis or conclusion. And sometimes things change in the market, right, and then you wind up being wrong. But that's part of being able to adjust your thought process as well.
Shashi: Yeah. I do that a lot when I'm interviewing a candidate for hiring. I push them a lot to see how well they hold their ground, what's the power of their conviction. It's a very powerful thing. If you see somebody buckling down the first instance you push them, that means they really didn't believe in what they were putting forward. So I think that's a very good formula. What are your thoughts about SASE, this terminology that got brought about, and everybody's now aligning to that as a category. So any ZK Research thoughts there?
Zeus Kerravala: I'm not a big fan of the term, because it's pretty nebulous, and I think it's hard for people to understand what it means. If you saw Elon Musk on Saturday Night Live, where they kept asking them, "But what is DoSCoin?" It's a little bit like that, right? What is SASE, exactly? But I think the concept of bringing together network and security is something that I think I've talked about that trend for years. We operated things in silos, and we really didn't have technology to bring them together, because we might've tried to do it operationally, but we were still dealing with security from security vendors, and network from network vendors, and there wasn't a lot of overlap between the two. With SASE, it actually does kind of converge those technologies. And so from a single vendor, you get networking and security. And I also think, Sashi, that in some ways, that concept was a bit of a, prior to that, with the rise of cloud-based security, was a bit of a solution looking for a problem.
If you remember back in the, when you were at Cisco in the early 2000s, we had these vendors like CoSign and Shasta and companies like that, that actually allowed you to deliver Cloud-based security. But that was again, kind of a solution looking for a problem, in that the way people bought it, wasn't really aligned with that. We had people primarily in branch offices, we had hub-and-spoke networks. So the ability to buy a network-based firewall didn't really make a lot of sense back then, economically. Today, everything's changed. We have the majority of our people in branch offices. We have people working from home, and the big thing is, we're accessing data now from the Cloud. And so as soon as we do that, we change the traffic patterns, and that changes the way we deploy security and networking.
In fact, it's been my thesis for years and years and years and years, that network changes follow compute changes. Right? And so when we went from mainframes to LANs, that's when we invented things like LANtastic and stuff like that. Then we went to branch offices, and we had to create the wide area networks. Now that we're going to Cloud, we need a different type of network, which is Nestie WAN, but then we need a different type of security to be able to protect that. And that's what SASE is.
And so I think the concept of SASE has been out there for awhile. I think we had to get over that inflection point when the majority of workloads were cloud-based, in order for it to make sense. And so to me, SASE is the right network and security model for a world that's primarily Cloud-first. And to me, that last statement, being Cloud-first is the big change that's happened in the industry that's driving, proving the need for SASE. So even if we had had SASE 10 years ago, I don't think it would have taken off, because our networks were primarily hub and spoke, because all our data was centralized.
Shashi: Yeah. The timing for a lot of these needs to be just right. You brought memories with Shasta, which is where I also was there. And it was something way ahead of what the rest of the market had. It was ahead of its time. At the same time, I think a lot of what we're doing now, were capabilities that Shasta had back then. And speaking of Cloud-first as well, we brought that on the network side here with Aryaka, and now with the whole SASE trend, the acquisition that we made with Secure Cloud, the other capabilities that we have, we're going down the path of Cloud-first there as well.
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah. All these big things, Sashi, you think of them as almost mini perfect storms. If you ask me what created the internet during the rise of the personal computing era, it wasn't any one thing. We had the Windows operating system, we had Intel help make cheaper PCs. We had home broadband, we had America Online, right? The concept of the home community, things like that, all those things kind of came together and created this big driving force that kicked off that era. Just like now, nobody's going to buy SASE just to buy SASE. It's the fact that we're shifting to Cloud apps, you've got people working from home, more mobile devices, all those things have kind of come together at once, and SASE is the right, like I said, network and security model for this era. And so I do think the Shasta model, that was a great concept, but you're right. It was way ahead of its time. We just weren't ready for it.
Shashi: They had $300 million plus revenues. I would like to think it would have done even better. But Hey, you talked about the remote workers and big forcing functions. And right now, probably the biggest forcing function in our lifetime, outside of the internet, is perhaps the pandemic, right? It's a global forcing function. And what do you see as this architecture that's going to be this post-pandemic architecture, if you will, is it going to be SASE? Is it going to be something else? And could you also talk about the impact on the workforce? You've been a remote worker for quite some time. So how do you see companies adjusting? Can you share some thoughts there?
Zeus Kerravala: I do think it'll be SASE, because what it does, well, I think it'll be kind of a hybrid version of SASE. I think SASE makes sense when you've got lots and lots of distributed people. If you've got a single office with 10,000 people in it, I'm not so sure of pushing all your security to the Cloud makes some sense. I do think Cloud managed makes sense, but you would still want your infrastructure on-premise. So I think you will still see, like everything in life, actually, we should we still have on-premise applications, we still have TDM phones, right? So not everything goes to one thing overnight. And I think SASE will be the dominant architecture, although we still will have some traces of legacy to support the different types of workloads and workers that are out there. Now, what SASE brings though, is for the first time ever, we have the ability to give people that are working from home, people in small offices, things like that, corporate-grade security, right?
So if you think of, back in the day, when you were deploying your Cisco ISR, right, if you had a three-person office, that was an awfully expensive way to be able to put routing in there, and then you could load that up with all those Cisco security tools, and that was an overly expensive way to deploy security and networking. So the decision for the organization was, "Do I go with something lower cost, but would be less secure, or do I go with the more expensive product, and make sure that I am secure, and I have good connectivity?" With SASE, now we can have both, because it isn't the Cloud, and I can buy it almost on a per, on a utilization-based model. Now I can, just like I can with other Cloud resources, Cloud applications, the storage compute, things like that, I don't have to buy everything up front. I can move to that kind of peak work, and that has a service model.
And I think that's what SASE brings. And so I think, like I said, the rise of the micro-branch, if you will, if you want to think of a home worker as that, I think you will see more and more SASE. So I think an easy way to think of it, if you're, in light, a business manager or an IT leader, is the world's becoming more dynamic and more distributed, and we need to have a security model that enables that, right? And that's what SASE does, is it helps us adapt to a world where everybody can be in the office, nobody can be in the office, and every possible combination in between.
Shashi: And we still have to deal with mainframes. There are just a lot of them still around.
Zeus Kerravala: I know that's got a business doing the maintenance on mainframes, and he's never made more money, because that market's gotten smaller, he's consolidated a lot of the vendors in that space, and his margins have gone way up, because it is such a specialty now.
Shashi: Yeah. It's such a broad spectrum of deployments and enterprise. And I think these are waves that come about. And sometimes I feel they add more complexity, because you're never getting rid of what you had before. It's always stacking something on top of that. But I guess that's job security for a lot of people.
Zeus Kerravala: Well, that's certainly true, is the complexity bar of IT has gone way up. And I think one of the things SASE does, is it helps you simplify, right? Where instead of having to put Palo Alto firewalls in Fortinet IPS systems and things like that, in every branch location, I can go to a centralized model. I can manage it through a Cloud portal. And if now I can, if I want to be able to change a policy, I can do it through something like the Aryaka portal, and push it out everywhere. First time you want to, on box-by-box basis.
And so I think one of the things that, the big value that SASE brings, is it helps simplify by masking a lot of the complexity that's there, through that Cloud interface.
Shashi: But that was a smooth plug for Aryaka, Zeus, you know. That was well inserted, so thank you. Looking ahead, you're talk about being in this time machine, so you're a part-time futurist of sorts. What are the most radical changes that you see happening in the next decade?
Zeus Kerravala: I do think the shift that everything is a service. And I'm curious to see how that plays out, because if you saw from Dell Tech World, they rule that apex, right? You can buy everything Dell, as a managed service. Cisco just announced their whole portfolio as a service as well. And I think the vendors are still trying to kind of think through how exactly that works, because in some cases I still have to give you physical infrastructure. So there's a cost to me to run that, and not everything may be run as shared infrastructure, but I do think more and more customers want to buy everything as a service. And so I think this is a trend that's going to continue.
I don't think the world's got it right yet. The vendor community does, but I certainly think we're well on the way there. And that has a pretty profound impact on IT buying, because historically, if you were to have to buy whatever infrastructure you wanted, you either had to buy for today, and then you'd run out of capacity in six months, or you bought for two years from now, in which you'd have to overpay, and then hope you grow into the capacity, right? So now I can buy what I need, but then grow into it as I want to.
I think another really interesting, enabling technology, is going to 5G. You know what, when I first started covering 5G, I thought, "Well, that's just the faster version of 4G, and it wouldn't really be all that game changing." But I do think it is, because for the first time ever, we're going to have wireless speeds that are faster than wired speeds, from an access perspective. And that's kind of cool, right? So now I don't have to make that decision of, "Do I go wired or wireless?" And I've talked to a lot of companies that are looking at even bringing 5G in building, connecting critical systems and things. So it's much more, it's more expensive than wifi, but it's better predictability. So I think you'll wind up with a mix of Wi-Fi and 5G.
And then from a LAN perspective, I talked about those perfect storms, I think 5G and Edge Computing go hand-in-hand. And so now I can deliver more edges in more places using 5G. So I'm really, really excited about the possibilities of 5G, because it allows us to connect more things in more places, which allows us to do more things in more places.
And probably the third really exciting technology, is just artificial intelligence being used in everything. We generate so much data today, from networks and security tools and applications and things like that, that we simply can't make sense of what all that data means, but machines can. And so I think our reliance, it's a little bit scary, right? We're going to rely on machines to help us do our jobs more and more, but I wouldn't look at it as a big threat. There's certainly no Terminator T-series that's coming to kill us all. I look at it more as an assistive technology.
So you think even a lot of people don't like the concept of self-driving cars. Well, what we have today, are driver-assisted technologies that are artificially intelligence-driven. Things like parallel park-assist, lane change alert, even autopilot, things like that. They're tools to help the driver be safer. I do a lot of cycling, and I've got actually a computer that sits on the back of my bike now, and can sense when cars are coming from like 200 yards away. And so that's a great AI-based tool, because it helps me be safer. And I think that's the first wave of AI. It's going to let us do the things that we do faster, safer, more efficiently, without taking over what we do. And so I think that does create a lot of new jobs and things like that. And so I'm pretty excited about those.
Shashi: It's the rise of the machines. And we don't have a choice, there.
Zeus Kerravala: No, we don't have a choice, because as we talked about, the world's getting more complicated, and so we either drown in complexity, or we take advantages.
Shashi: Or we become slaves to it.
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah, yeah.
Shashi: So Zeus, we probably need to wrap now. I enjoyed talking to you. But before we wrap, I know a lot of people come to you for advice. Who does Zeus go to for advice? Any particular leaders that you admire as well, in that same breath?
Zeus Kerravala: There's a lot of them, especially in this industry. I keep a pretty broad community of people that I look to for advice. I still keep up a pretty good relationship with John Chambers, even though he's moved on to be a venture capitalist. There's a lot of industry colleagues that I talk to, Nevit Canalis, Rohit Meroff, folks like that, that I have a lot of respect for, that when I see them, Brad Bazemore's another one, it's always good to bounce ideas off them. My peers in the analyst community, a lot of my have respect for, they've become part of my community. A lot of the business leaders, John Chambers, Chuck Robbins, even, I didn't really have an appreciation for the evolution storage response run until I talked to Charlie Giancarlo, well, he took the job at Pure.
And so it really depends on what I'm looking at, the technology that I'm looking at, as to who I might go for some advice. I think one of the strengths that analysts have, is they can keep a pretty big community of people. And so it would be hard for me to pick just a couple of people out of that, that I always go to. It really depends on what it is I'm doing researching in.
Shashi: Yeah, it's about relationships and a different kinds of networking.
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah.
Shashi: Well, Zeus, thanks as always. It's been a pleasure talking to you. You bring wonderful insights, and I'm really thrilled that we could get you on the podcast today.
Zeus Kerravala: Yeah, any time, Sashi. We've been friends for a long time, so happy to do this with you.
Shashi: We'll have you again sometime soon. All right? Take care and thanks again.
Zeus Kerravala: Thanks, Sashi.
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