This post is part of a series where Dyn CMO, Kyle York, who has led go-to-market, brand, and growth strategy since 2008, delves into the most influential prospect, customer, and partner meetings that shaped Dyn’s Internet Performance vision.
It was my first business trip at Dyn. It was March of 2009 and, then Sales guy, Brian Brady (now Director of Business Development) and I were hopping from meeting to meeting in the tech capital of the world, San Francisco—a seemingly different world from our off-the-grid headquarters in New Hampshire.
I remember it like it was yesterday. We met with Wikia, Adroll, Revision3, Digg and Change.org. But our our biggest meeting, and inspiration for this post, was with France-founded Truveo, which had been acquired by AOL and would become the search platform for AOL.video.com.
Back in 2009, cloud-based Managed DNS was relatively new in deployment and market adoption. Notably, the anycast method for answering queries was straight up innovation of the protocol. Our tagline was ‘Uptime is the Bottom Line’ so availability was critical for DNS, but lowest DNS latency was becoming the battleground.
Important Present Day Sidenote: We’re still somewhat stuck in a time warp and the industry is getting this wrong. Availability and speed in DNS alone are table stakes—of course it should be available, fast, and consistent—BUT, the entire online infrastructure performance of your site or app is what matters. With complementary monitoring, data, and Internet Intelligence coupled with Traffic Management via Managed DNS, there is now a viable and robust control plane for web properties to scale on top of. Dyn is in the leading position. My point: a bigger value proposition is at play in holistic Internet Performance and the buyer needs a solution, not a point or niche product implemented.
Now on to my story. We walk into the office off Market Street and meet our contact and first engineer, Arnaud Mauvais, at the door. He was obsessed (and still is!) with performance, especially internationally. As we walked by the first row of cubes and offices he says, “You see those four guys? They are PHDs in data science. Their job is to remove 5-10ms of latency off our application performance each year.”
I turned to Brian and smiled. We had our pitch. Truveo was leveraging our basic Unicast DNS network (think of it as old reliable—basic, but not transformative, robust, or feature complete). With an upgrade to our global anycast Managed DNS platform and leveraging our advanced features, they would shave off about 20-300ms depending upon location of the end user globally (and coupled with our planned additions of global data centers).
Imagine walking into that slam dunk. He just tossed a lob that became the hallmark of our customer value proposition and sales pitch for the next year.
“You see those four PHDs you just pointed out? You can save $1M in salaries, put them on some more complex new challenges, or figure out how to improve algorithms with the found time. Upgrade from our basic offering and we’ll speed up your app, ensure uptime, and protect your reputation, plan for disaster (Active Failover), help with server load balancing (Traffic Director), save you money (do you need those guys?!), and prepare Truveo for scale. What do you think? We’re talking thousands per month to make this happen and a relatively painless implementation.”
Blank stare. Thinking. “Sounds great. Tell me more.” He upgraded into a solid annualized contract the next week and was a happy client until the AOL buyout.
The lesson we learned that day was the need for the timely, relevant hook in every prospect or customer meeting. The moment you can tie your solution to the challenges and needs of the customer, in real time, your value proposition becomes undeniable. Oh, and don’t let a customer acquisition by an Internet titan stall a relationship, double down.
Kyle York is Dyn’s Chief Strategy Officer and has been a long-time executive, having joined in 2008. Over the years, he has held go-to-market leadership roles in worldwide sales, marketing, and services. In his role as CSO, Kyle focuses on overall corporate strategy, including: positioning and evangelism, new market entry, strategic alliances and partnerships, M&A, and business development. Outside of Dyn, Kyle is an angel investor, entrepreneur, and advisor in several startups. Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kyork20 and @Dyn.