Dave Hitz likes to solve fun problems. He didn’t set out to be a Silicon Valley icon, a business visionary, or even a billionaire. But he became all three. It turns out that business is a mosaic of interesting puzzles like managing risk, developing and reversing strategies, and looking into the future by deconstructing the past.
As a founder of NetApp, a data storage firm that began as an idea scribbled on a placemat and now takes in $4 billion a year, Hitz has seen his company go through every major cycle in business—from the Jack-of-All-Trades mentality of a start-up, through the tumultuous period of the IPO and the dot-com bust, and finally to a mature enterprise company. NetApp is one of the fastest-growing computer companies ever, and for six years in a row it has been on Fortune magazine’s list of Best Companies to Work For. Not bad for a high school dropout who began his business career selling his blood for money and typing the names of diseases onto index cards.
With colorful examples and anecdotes, How to Castrate a Bull is a story for everyone interested in understanding business, the reasons why companies succeed and fail, and how powerful lessons often come from strange and unexpected places.
Dave Hitz co-founded NetApp in 1992 with James Lau and Michael Malcolm. He served as a programmer, marketing evangelist, technical architect, and vice president of engineering. Presently, he is responsible for future strategy and direction for the company. Before his career in Silicon Valley, Dave worked as a cowboy, where he got valuable management experience by herding, branding, and castrating cattle.
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|Title of Business & Economics eBook: How to Castrate a Bull: Unexpected Lessons on Risk, Growth, and Success in Business|
|Release Date: 12-22-2008|
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How to Castrate a Bull: Unexpected Lessons on Risk, Growth, and Success in Business
Chapter OneBEFORE NETAPP On Computers, Colleges, Castration, and Risk
My good fortune to be involved in technology came from not listening to my mother. When I was young, a family friend taught me the rudiments of programming, and I loved it. I read early computer hobby magazines like BYTE and Dr. Dobb's Journal. At fourteen, I bought a build-it-yourself mail-order computer called an IMSAI 8080. It had binary toggle switches on the front and little flashing lights. I programmed the lights to go back and forth. A television set was the display, and an audiocassette tape recorder was my first storage system ever. This was in 1977, right at the dawn of the personal computing era.
My mother seemed to feel that working with computers was not a serious profession. Perhaps she saw a matchbook cover that read, "You, too, can learn computer repair!" with a picture of some guy fussing with vacuum tubes and his butt crack hanging out. She made her opinion clear: computers were fine as a hobby, like ham radio, but you would never make that your career.
Computers challenged me, but high school did not. Some might feel that high school boredom is normal. My mother disagreed, and she worked to make education rewarding for her children. My younger sister had learning disabilities, but somehow, whenever we moved to a new location, or my sister graduated from one school to another, a perfect program for her needs was always just starting. Years later, I commented on this lucky streak to my father, who said, "Dave, you do know the reason for that coincidence is because tha...