x
Optical/IP

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

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:

"flush_meat,
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:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/...

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
uguess 12/5/2012 | 3:00:00 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Tony,

I guess all the procketeers appreciated that. Now it is time to move on... Good luck!

uguess

>I certainly realized that it had a low probability of success.
>However, the possibility that some good could come from it could
>not be ignored and thus I felt that I had to try.
Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:00:02 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again C'mon Tony we know the real reason you left Cisco: You wanted to post on LR again!

Welcome Back.

--Scott
gotman 12/5/2012 | 3:00:02 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again I don't think you tried hard enough. How long
did you stay there in total? 9-10month? 1 month
to get your head around what happening, 1-2 month at the end busy making the move out, how hard did you try for those 6 month?

See what you don't understand is your a good guy that everyone wants to have around, but your status/history makes it a bit harder for others to openly work with you or express opinions in front of you?

I think you would have had a better chance if you came in with the rest of the procket guys. That would have made a difference. You can back when the concrete was drying.

Ah well, you'll be back there i think when cisco buys you guys.. Your certainly going to give this new startup a place on the list of top 10 companies to watch out for. Well done, just enjoy it and we look forward to see this product.

Don't make it too expensive no one will buy it, everyone is happy enough using IE, netscape and everything else that gets us to LR or allows me to watch my favorite porn site.
Tony Li 12/5/2012 | 3:00:03 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again On the other hand, going back to Cisco was a bad decision for Tony at the first place. He should know he would not be able to help the Procketeers at Cisco.


I certainly realized that it had a low probability of success. However, the possibility that some good could come from it could not be ignored and thus I felt that I had to try.

Tony
startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 3:00:05 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again >> But, guess what? I moved to a startup which sucked big time. Then I felt that it is certainly better to work for companies like Cisco instead of crappy startups.

flush_meat,

This is words of wisdom .. completely agree with you.

In CISCO, one can earn 140K-160K doing 9/10 hours for five days a week. Compare that to crappy conditions in a crappy startup ... week after week, year after year. At the end there is broken health, soul and family.....
matahari 12/5/2012 | 3:00:06 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again fwiw, even Juniper at its current size has
reached this stage of suckups and glad-handers.

Good luck, Tony!

>The management survivors were often the suckups and >glad-handers who told the people above them the >falsehoods they wanted to hear. I wonder if Cisco >has reached that stage. There are still a lot of >good technical people there, but perhaps it's >getting harder for the top ones to get past the >phonies.
tsat 12/5/2012 | 3:00:07 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again
Anyone that is making applications that increase internet traffic is OK in my book. It helps us all.
Honestly 12/5/2012 | 3:00:08 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again cd, you are the only banana to get it wrong. Tony Li is awesome and that will not change. What will change.? The internet, it is now Tony's focus.

Go get'em Tony
flush_meat 12/5/2012 | 3:00:09 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again I completely agree with you. I felt the same during my stay at Cisco. Everyone was eying for management role. Damn it, it was such a crappy place when I left after 4 years stay there. But, guess what? I moved to a startup which sucked big time. Then I felt that it is certainly better to work for companies like Cisco instead of crappy startups.
fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 3:00:17 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again I've been in some recent email discussions with Tony, and while I don't know him personally, he's one of the clearest thinkers out there. He gets to the heart of the issue and makes straightforward technically-astute statements based on experience and common sense. This is a nice contrast from so many managers, marketeers, promoters, self-promoters, and others who know the buzzwords but don't really understand what goes on behind the curtain.

Big companies tend to be very political. I went through this at Digital/DEC, when their fast growth era ended. The management survivors were often the suckups and glad-handers who told the people above them the falsehoods they wanted to hear. I wonder if Cisco has reached that stage. There are still a lot of good technical people there, but perhaps it's getting harder for the top ones to get past the phonies.
uguess 12/5/2012 | 3:00:19 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again >>With all the icon status given to Tony, my friends in HFR had
>>high expectations for him - only to be disappointed. He was as
>>good as an average HFR tech lead (and half of cisco eng has
>>tech lead title these days). No wonder he left not wanting to be
>>one of the many.

I really don't believe Cisco has that many people who are technically as good as Tony.

On the other hand, going back to Cisco was a bad decision for Tony at the first place. He should know he would not be able to help the Procketeers at Cisco.

uguess
startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 3:00:23 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again CISCO stock should be punished heavily -- should be around 13 dollars
trzwuip 12/5/2012 | 3:00:24 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again True that.

Not just Tech. leads, Cisco also has hundreds of useless Directors. They got loads of Directors and Sr. Managers with zero reports. A good amount of VPs have so few reports under them that they don't even classify as managers.

It's becoming like working for the Fed. You get decent salary, just know how cruise in the system.
new_light 12/5/2012 | 3:00:26 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again "Plenty of brilliant people have been made average by large corporate bureaucracies. How many great-leap-forward ground breaking products have come out of Cisco in the past half decade?"

Well said,
I worked for Cisco during the bubble (5 years) and left when I saw how many idiots were walking the hall ways during my final days there.
Personally, I believe all of those acquisitions dilluted the gene pool...

wwatts 12/5/2012 | 3:00:28 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again cd says:"With all the icon status given to Tony, my friends in HFR had high expectations for him - only to be disappointed. He was as good as an average HFR tech lead (and half of cisco eng has tech lead title these days). No wonder he left not wanting to be one of the many."

That probably says more about Cisco's corporate structure than it does about Tony's abilities. Plenty of brilliant people have been made average by large corporate bureaucracies. How many great-leap-forward ground breaking products have come out of Cisco in the past half decade?
cd 12/5/2012 | 3:00:29 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again With all the icon status given to Tony, my friends in HFR had high expectations for him - only to be disappointed. He was as good as an average HFR tech lead (and half of cisco eng has tech lead title these days). No wonder he left not wanting to be one of the many.
flush_meat 12/5/2012 | 3:00:30 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Tony, when is the website going to be ready? I guess, it is www.portola.com ?
flush_meat 12/5/2012 | 3:00:32 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again In my view, Tony is really great. He has the guts to try out different things. Sure, his skill set is pretty well known. People of that sort tend to be bit aggressive and bit harsh/rude at times. It doesn't bother me too much personally. I have seen a bunch of cartoons in my previous startup attempts. The CEO moron didn't have any clues on routers and he is a CEO for a router startup. Instead of working with such idiots, it is certainly better to work with people like Tony.

Good luck Tony.

/FM
Internaut 12/5/2012 | 3:00:39 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again
Does the new company allow Tony to post to lightreading?


He says he's allowed to post now.

mr zippy 12/5/2012 | 3:00:40 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Rather here from a CTO that cares about who they work for and the products they bring to market.

I'd be pretty sure he cared about Procket quite a lot, and the router they built.

Not someone attempting to merely market themselves.

I never saw him do that on the threads he contributed to here, including the one or two occasions he directly replied to my posts.

Iipoed 12/5/2012 | 3:00:42 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Who really cares whether he posts. No company loyalty, all about him. Rather here from a CTO that cares about who they work for and the products they bring to market. Not someone attempting to merely market themselves.
768 12/5/2012 | 3:00:43 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Tony may be gone, but several ex-Procketeers are in key engineering and product management roles for the CRS, GSR and 7600. A few ended up at Juniper as well.
ironccie 12/5/2012 | 3:00:45 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again "An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness."
? - Elbert Hubbard

Good luck,

IronCCIE
fiber_r_us 12/5/2012 | 3:00:47 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again There is no widely deployed 40G transport infrastructure between cities. It is >99% 2.5G and 10G. There have been a few "press-release" trials of 40G transponders "glued" to 10G transport equipment.

All of the major (AT&T, Sprint, UUNet, Level3) Internet backbone providers are using Nx10G pipes for connectivity between cities. The largest of these that I have seen is 10x10G (i.e. 100G) today on specific routes.
fiat_lux 12/5/2012 | 3:00:47 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Does the new company allow Tony to post to lightreading? We haven't heard anything from him since he joined Cisco...

gotman 12/5/2012 | 3:00:48 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Who knows more about what they are deploying? From their site, they are doing 7-8G between cities, i'm sure they aren't deploying 10G on the crs. More like 40G? any details about the 40G transport?

Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System Chosen to Power China's CERNET

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/050921...

BTW, LR was never behind yahoo on the wire.. whats happening?
russ4br 12/5/2012 | 3:00:53 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again CRS-1 is just about the perfect core routing system for the next 20 years. No challenges left on this area. It was good that the Procket team gave it a through review, and finally their blessings.The engineering challenges are now on the application side (IMS, Content Distribution, Web-based IP Communication services, etc, etc).

Some more thoughts from Toni and others at:

http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/050...

-russ
Mezo 12/5/2012 | 3:00:57 AM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again Tony,

Glad to see your back in the game...

Only one of these could have freed you from Cisco's clutches...

http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

Or a great vision and solid business plan...I smell P2Pv2 coming...

Vito is a good one, I'm sure Portola will be an industry changer with you two together...just change the world that's all we ask of you.

Ok, now all the LR trash talkers can have at it...let's see how many love/hate posts they can generate...
steamerslane 3/16/2013 | 4:46:20 PM
re: Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again cisco will be out of business in 10 years.
HOME
Sign In
SEARCH
CLOSE
MORE
CLOSE