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Key Attributes of a Successful Company: People, Culture, and Innovation

, Former VP of People, Google

December 12, 2018

When I was asked to join the advisory board of Arrcus, Inc. last June, my first question was not about their product offering. I wanted to know the people of Arrcus and what type of culture they were building. In my 20 years of experience working in the Bay Area, where I spent more than a decade at Google, I’ve come to appreciate the critical role that people, culture, and values play in a company’s success. For a new entrant working to disrupt established markets where a small number of large players dominate, the ability to attract and retain exceptional talent and build and maintain a positive culture, makes the difference between success and failure. So, when I delved deeper into who comprised the team at Arrcus and learned more about not just what they were working on but how they were working on it, I was eager to strengthen my affiliation by joining the advisory board.

While targeting a large market opportunity with disruptive technological innovation, Arrcus possesses three key attributes that make it an exciting company that can achieve its vision.

Talent: Arrcus has attracted some of the best and brightest technical minds in the area of software-powered networking. We’re all familiar with the challenges startups face when they make hasty hiring decisions or move too slowly to add much needed experience. Arrcus has avoided these pitfalls by setting the bar high, adopting rigorous interviews (the CEO interviews every hire), gathering open round table feedback on each candidate, and relying heavily on proven, experienced executives to lay a strong leadership foundation right from the start.

Culture: Second, Arrcus is focused on building a culture that is non-hierarchical, inclusive, and empowering with an emphasis on results. There are minimum official titles to speak of at Arrcus and everyone’s opinion matters because finding new ways to do things can come from the least suspecting people. Though many on the Arrcus bench have come from big companies, they’ve readily shed the hyper-specialization that comes with size and adopted an “all hands on deck” attitude. They’ve joined Arrcus because of a fundamental belief that traditional networking can and should be done differently, developing solutions that integrate, rather than dispose of, existing technologies, and ultimately providing innovative value to customers. No one insists on age-old convention here. Their mindset harkens back to my early days at Google where bucking convention and questioning the traditional way of doing things was part of the ethos.

Innovation: Arrcus thrives on innovation; they are literally re-imagining the network infrastructure space, as foundational transformation is needed, to scale far into the future. Anyone familiar with the space in which they operate knows that other players have attempted to compete with incumbents, but most have failed to disrupt what has become an entrenched and often stagnant network infrastructure ecosystem. By empowering all of its people to create, develop, and implement the Arrcus vision, Arrcus is well-positioned to lead next wave of innovation with their ‘network different’ philosophy.

The emphasis that Arrcus places on these elements was obvious to me as I interacted with the team and got to know them better. The fact that they prioritized on adding someone with my background to their advisory board was testimony to the value placed on their team.

The combination of talent, culture, innovation, and overall market opportunity bodes well for our future; I am excited about the journey ahead with Arrcus.