Steve Jobs, All-in-One Appliances, and Backup

Steve Jobs Quits Apple

A short blog post that was inspired by Steve Jobs’ announcement today.  In essence, this is a tribute to a guy who is without a doubt the leading technical visionary of our time.

I actually agreed to join Unitrends because I thought that it would be interesting to help lead the company toward a more Apple-like strategy.

When I say “Apple-like strategy,” let me explain what I mean.  Obviously, Unitrends isn’t in the same space as Apple.  However, the genius of Steve Jobs is that he wasn’t constrained by the concept of “product space.”  He pursued a strategy across the company of delivering all-in-one, integrated products that focused on an incredible experience for Apple’s customers.  When I give customer and partner presentations, I actually always state clearly that Unitrends’ goals are to be the Apple of network infrastructure – to focus on an all-in-one, integrated approach to business continuity and disaster recovery.

This is the reason why I get excited about Unitrends.  There are a lot of low-end backup players for Windows.  There are fewer, but a couple, of integrated appliance-level approaches for Windows.  But appliances for enterprise-level backup, archiving, and disaster recovery?  Not much is there.  Some folks claim that they have it, but they either install on hardware some old-school piece of tape-designed software (like Tivoli) or they have some underpowered piece of software that doesn’t handle enterprise-level requirements.

One of the brilliant things about Jobs’ approach to Apple was that this idea of an integrated, simple, and elegant approach to product design didn’t just stop at product design – it has to permeate a company.  When I got to Unitrends, we had a 19-page price list.  19 pages!  And that’s small compared to a lot of backup players.  Today, we have a 1-page price list for new appliances.  We had to change not just our product direction, but the fundamental pricing strategy of the company.  In short, we had to be an easier company with whom to do business – for customers and for our partners who resell our product.

All of this was inspired – heck, it was copied – from the way that Steve Jobs ran Apple.

Finally, on a more personal basis, I get goose bumps when I listen to his commencement speech to Stanford where he talks about the three most pivotal events in his life. If you haven’t seen it, it’s highly recommended.


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