How many times have we heard tech firms say “we are an engineering focused company”. At CloudFlare, it’s quite the opposite – for them its “we are a sales, marketing, and PR machine focused company”. It doesn’t matter what critics say about CloudFlare, whether they host Pirate Bay in one corner, and Bank of America or the DoD in another, what matters is if CloudFlare goes public, and reaches $1B valuation or $7B, it will go down as the most successful CDN story of all time, right after Akamai.
Many of us were critics of the CloudFlare business model in the early days, but guess what, their model works extremely well, and a few us have turned from critics to students of the game. If CloudFlare goes public and reaches a $7B valuation, they will be worth more than Limelight, Imperva, Aryaka, and a dozen more CDNs combined. Now that’s crazy.
In the beginning, CloudFlare entered the industry as an outsider and everything they did was questionable. They dared to be different, and tossed aside the unwritten rules of the industry. They refused and rejected criticism. This bravado crazy insane attitude propelled them to great heights. The lesson learned for the CDN industry: caching is caching, cloud security is cloud security, WAF + DDoS is WAF+DDoS, and although these are great things, sometimes daring to be different means the difference between having $100M valuation vs $1B valuation.
CDN platforms don’t have to be engineered to absolute perfection to win the hearts and minds of customers. Sometimes being crazy is the better solution. CloudFlare and Cotendo platforms were not the cream-of-the-crop in the industry, but they dared to be different, and the market has rewarded them for that.