SM: What would you like to conclude with? It seems like you are at a place in your life where you are building this company to a significant size and this is your life’s effort a built to last company versus built to flip. What are your departing thoughts?
ZR: A couple of things come to mind. First, I have never built a company specifically to flip. I am very proud of what we have created at NetDynamics because it created the whole market for application servers. I am a big believer that companies are not sold, they are bought. I think entrepreneurs need to focus on creating a company for the long run; if you do a good job you will have more than a single opportunity to either go public or be acquired. I have a fundamental philosophical belief about how you build companies.
I am very disappointed with the culture in the Valley over the past couple of years. In my opinion, if you build to sell then you are going to take too many shortcuts along the way. I think you miss opportunities in terms of building something great.
SM: What is your response to the whole phenomena of “no business model” “huge valuation” dynamic that is going on in the valley right now?
ZR: I have to say that the consumer internet is an interesting space. I am Chairman of a company in this space. It is called Conduit. It is enormously successful and an amazing business model. We have a partnership with Google. I am a big believer in the consumer space. It is a little bit of the Wild West right now, and people need to make some big bets. That is OK. One of the things you need to do as an entrepreneur is to seize the moment.
SM: There is a lot of gold digging going on right now.
ZR: Absolutely. For me, it was never about the financial outcome. If it were about financial outcomes, I would be on a remote beach in Thailand enjoying life. However, I am here in a conference room in Silicon Valley because of my passions. One of the most important things is to know what is important to you. If people are driven by money, then they will pursue money. For me, it was about the journey versus the outcome. It was about creating healthy companies, about really working with exceptional people and creating great teams. All combined it should create great companies.