Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again

Router guru Tony Li has packed his bags, again leaving (Nasdaq: CSCO) and again joining a startup.

Li has reunited with Procket Networks COO Vito Palermo at Portola, an embryonic startup looking to improve content delivery on the Internet. Li will head up Portola's engineering team and will be responsible for its technology.

A veteran of Cisco and (Nasdaq: JNPR), Li was hired by core-router startup Procket in 2000. Procket didn't fly, however, and Cisco eventually bought the intellectual property and some engineers. Li did some consulting before getting rehired by Cisco in December 2004. (See Procket Processes a Dream Team, Li Finally Quits Procket, and Tony Li Returns to Cisco.)

"Cisco the second time was a lot like Cisco the first time, only both of us were older and wiser," Li tells Light Reading in an email. He won't be building a router at Portola, but it appears he'll be tackling some problems associated with IP routing. Portola aims to provide a service to content providers and content aggregators, allowing them to offer the automatic downloading of content to arbitrary devices including cell phones.

The plan will likely involve Portola buying network capacity from carriers, but the company's delivery mechanism won't shun the wider Internet. "There's an amount of routing and route selection that goes into how you use the system. You still use the Internet, but you can intelligently use the Internet," Palermo says.

The idea is to make life easier for Internet consumers, but without counting on the finicky consumer market for revenues. The service might require some client software, but that software would be bundled into the consumer devices, Palermo expects.

"I originally wanted to build a box that sat in the home to make all this easier. The conclusion that I came to was that there are enough boxes in the home, and they have enough horsepower, in CPUs and software, to make this possible," Palermo says. "This was an opportunity for us to shift our thinking from the development of hardware for the Internet to the development of services."

Palermo hasn't yet sought venture funding for the six-person startup, saying he preferred to fund the company himself, then seek venture partners once enough milestones had been reached. "I would expect to be doing that sometime soon," he says.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 2:57:55 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again for going for it again and not sitting about at Cisco. I think he is on to something. I believe that the time will come when any and all content will be delivered to the device of our choice on demand over the Internet and the big three networks and cable companies and scheduling will become obsolete.
Honestly 12/5/2012 | 2:59:31 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Banana man, or boy. Browser has little to do with the content that you can, or cannot get today. What delivers content.? Du.
Lastly, try sitting on your multiple bananas. I guess you are a multiple banana penetration kinda guy.
Got to split.
optical_man 12/5/2012 | 2:59:38 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again startup_shutup,
to answer your question:

How do you recognize crappy startups (they may hire a few big names)? What are the signs on the wall that one can read by interviewing....."

One obvious sign is when you hear:

"well, we just hired Bernie Ebbers as our "aw shucks" Television spokesman, you know, to land as a customer the Mobile home resident who relates to Corporate Malfeasance; or maybe just to date his daughter, we're not sure yet; and Donald Trump as our Director of Calmness, and have also managed to land startup_shutup and Chief Normalacy and Morale Officer".

who loves ya babe.
startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 2:59:40 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again flush_meat,

You said that you joined a crappy startup and then you understood that it is better to work for CISCO. How do you recognize crappy startups (they may hire a few big names)? What are the signs on the wall that one can read by interviewing.....
flush_meat 12/5/2012 | 2:59:44 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Tony, when is the portola website going to be ready?
o-man 12/5/2012 | 2:59:45 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again seriously - good luck
startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 2:59:52 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Please contain euphoria ... See Alan Greenspan's comment:


GǣBy the late 1990s, it appeared to us that very aggressive action would have been required to counteract the euphoria that developed in the wake of extraordinary gains in productivity growth spawned by technological change. In short, we would have needed to risk precipitating a significant recession, with unknown consequences. The alternative was to wait for the eventual exhaustion of the forces of boom. We concluded that the latter course was by far the safer. Whether that judgment continues to hold up through time has yet to be determined.Gǥ
voyce_overipee 12/5/2012 | 2:59:56 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again No not a browser. More like automatic FTP, with intelligent discovery of the least-cost cache/ftp server. Just kidding really, not much can be figured out from a couple paragraphs of marketing speach, and i would guess they want it that way for now.
gotman 12/5/2012 | 2:59:57 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Honestly,

He's building whatever he is, but its not going to get you anymore than what you can get with your browser today. I'm glad you only have one banana.. Please sit on it.
Honestly 12/5/2012 | 2:59:57 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again gotman, your three bananas are slightly overated.

FYI, I Don't think Dr Li is building a browser. Re-read the article.
Wecome back indeed Tony
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