SM: Let me make sure I have the facts right. How long did you work for him in his networking management consulting company?
DD: I worked for him for four and half years.
SM: Then you decided to start your company?
DD: No, I went to work for a subsidiary of Dow Jones for about a year and a half. Then I was able to start AIM.
SM: What was the value proposition of AIM?
DD: It was very simple, but there is a long story behind it. The simple version is that in e-business downtime costs money. Our goal was to help minimize the downtime.
SM: What year was it?
SM: The Internet was in full swing by then.
DD: Exactly. Those were the happy years, with lots of VC money going around. We decided to take very little money and we structured it as a debt, which we repaid from product revenues. When we sold the company to CA in 2001, we owned the entire thing ourselves. That worked out well.
At the company I was working for, we were putting one system into production. The gentleman who ran IT operations walked into my office and took me to his operations room. He showed me that he had two operators looking at a wall full of monitors with log files. I told him he was right and we would build him some sort of dashboard so his operators would have a clear view of what was going on. At the same time we were evaluating a number of different e-commerce systems.
We spent more than $1 million on one of these e-commerce systems. We got the CDs and they were blank. This was 1997 and you could get away with that sort of stuff. The software was extremely difficult to install. I figured if it was that difficult to get up and running, I could only imagine how difficult a time the operations people were going to have using it. That is the problem I set out to solve. We did this for about four and half years. There were complex technical solutions that really did not have good operator interfaces, and we developed the interfaces that simplified their tasks. It was all based on what we saw and experienced ourselves.
SM: Computer Associates acquired your company? What kind of revenue ramp did you have to get acquired?
DD: Yes, it was CA. We started in 1997 and went through 2001. Some of this information is private. We sold the company at just south of $10 million.