Friday, May 26, 2006

What do you do with an Advisory Board?

As many of you may have seen, we've been steadily adding to our advisory board over the past few weeks. Our latest edition is Tony Li who is well-known in the networking market given his past experiences at Cisco, Juniper and Procket. We're glad to have Tony on board!

Now that we're approaching a quorum of advisors, we've started fielding questions from folks about how we plan on using the advisory board to further our progress. I've run a few advisory boards in my past and been on many more, sometimes with good results and sometimes with not so good results. I think that one of the keys in making a good advisory board is to use the board as real advisors. In other words, don't sign up advisors solely for marquee name or market presence, but sign them up because they have deep subject matter expertise and a healthy dose of reality and skepticism toward the company they are advising.

Given that philosophy, we plan on using our advisors as sounding boards for product direction, community building and as open source advocates. We expect them to be a bit cynical and skeptical about our plans on all of these issues. We don't need advisors that are PollyAnna types (we can make ourselves believe we are doing well anytime we want :). We want them to push and challenge us in ways that we have not thought of to date.

I expect that we'll meet with our advisors on a regular basis either one-on-one or as a group. I expect that each of these meetings may leave us feeling a bit challenged and overwhelmed about some aspect of our business. I hope we'll be a stronger business in the process.

What do you do with an Advisory Board? Ask them to push us to make Vyatta a better company. And then ask them to push a bit harder. :)


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