SGI and NetApp

The purchase of SGI by Rackable has a lot of interesting aspects. SGI was started by Jim Clark and Kurt Akeley. Kurt and I knew each other since we were teenagers and flew Radio Control Airplanes together here in Delaware. Kurt went to the U of D and so did I. After graduation Kurt went to California and met Jim Clark at Stanford. together they started SGI which became a big company, and Kurt and I lost touch for many years. I caught up with Kurt again in 2002 after a friend of mine in Palo Alto asked me if I knew him, because the friend had worked for Kurt at SGI. Small world.

NetApp had hired a lot of folks that used to work at SGI over the years, and as in every market niche there are a lot of folks that know each other and have worked with each other. SGI was a great company, with great technology but somehow they lost their ability to respond to market conditions and myopically stuck to their view of what the market should be. Some of the great folks that SGI attracted over the years migrated across town to NetApp as SGI unwound.

I hope NetApp does not suffer the same fate as SGI over the next few years, and I hope they can adapt to the rapidly changing market landscape. Time will tell.

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