Sramana: How far did you take the e-commerce business?
Ratmir Timashev: The good thing is that we decided to build our online store on the Microsoft Windows NT platform, which was a business operating system and the first stable server. It became Windows 2000 and is now known as Windows Server 2012.
My partner became a top expert on Windows NT during the process of building that store. He began posting a lot of advice on forums and news groups. He wrote a couple of tools to manage Windows NT websites and Windows NT networks. He started selling these tools on his personal website for $20 in late 1996. Immediately, those two product sales exceeded our profits from the website. That led us to focus our time and effort on the software instead of on the computer parts commerce site.
From there, we started to create more tools that Windows NT administrators might need to do their job. We ended up founding Aelita Software in 1997 to sell Windows Server systems management software. That business grew much faster than our online store so we dropped the online store. If we were in Silicon Valley we probably would have gained investors and been billionaires by now.
Over the next nine years, Aelita Software grew to $33 million. In 2004, we sold that business to one of our prime competitors Quest Software for $116 million. Two years ago, Quest was sold to Dell for $2.36 billion. Our products probably create close to $500 million in revenue for Dell.
Sramana: What did you do after you sold Aelita Software?
Ratmir Timashev: When we sold it in 2004, I became a general manager in Quest for the new Windows Enterprise Management business group for application management, database management and Windows management.
Sramana: When did you leave Quest?
Ratmir Timashev: I left at the beginning of 2005. I stayed there to make sure the transition was successful and it was very successful. Quest was a company that was built by acquiring other companies. My company was their largest and most successful acquisition. They probably acquired 40 companies over the years, but we were their most successful acquisition. We made sure that we integrated the products and people to ensure a smooth transition.