I tell my sales team all the time that history is important. Maybe because I was a Russian History major at Princeton. Maybe because I have enough history in tech sales to know when something is real and when it’s just vapor. Or maybe because the history of a company determines its legacy.
There are moments in history that, in hindsight, shape the course of a dynasty forever, like when Tsar Nicholas II ordered palace guards to fire on peaceful protesters in 1905 — ever after known as Bloody Sunday — which was one of the turning points that led to the fall of the Romanovs. So, too, there are moments in a company’s history that become the things you ultimately point to in the future and say, “That was a predictive moment.”
I believe this week is one of those milestone weeks for Drishti. Today, Drishti was named among the CB Insights Top 100 AI Companies, a list that highlights the 100 most promising private artificial intelligence companies in the world.
On Monday, our Founder and CEO, Prasad Akella, was named one of only 25 leaders transforming manufacturing by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Two amazing recognitions from two totally different bodies; one who sees the validity in the technology this team has built, and the other that can grasp the massive implications this technology has on the manufacturing industry.
In the 1980s, I interviewed with NeXT Computers for the senior vice president of sales role. My hiring manager, a man named Steve Jobs, brought me in to help build the business to over $100M in annual revenue before he sold the company back to Apple and became its CEO. In 1990, NeXT got a cash infusion from built operating systems and interfaces that became the forerunner of modern systems. A massive, historic milestone.
After NeXT, I went to Netscape. I was employee #30 of this totally unproven software company. When New York City investment and commercial banks, including Citi, bought large volumes of Netscape computers for internal and external use to commercialize the internet, that was historic. A major milestone on the journey to becoming a $600 million company in 30 months.
Drishti’s history is short, but already filled with meaningful moments. Some are big, like our Series B close, our first public customer announcement, our inclusion in the 2019 of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers. Others are less sweeping, but still indicative of the momentum we are seeing in the marketplace, the dedication of everyone on the team from the founders on down, the brilliance of our technology and the engineers who built it and the faith our customers place in us to solve their manufacturing challenges.
Sometimes people ask me why I took a risk on Drishti. After more than 40 years in the business, and incredible experiences with the biggest names in the history of tech, I know what to look for in a winning company. It’s about creating the moments, successes and achievements that will allow people to someday look back and say, “Wow. What an amazing history.”