Today is the first day of unemployment for many ex-Akamites. Getting fired is one of life’s most difficult experiences. However, eventually something good always comes out of it. For those that are engineers by trade, there is an excellent opportunity knocking at your door. One in which you could possibly make more money than you did at Akamai, and combine it with having more control over your career and well-being.
Once upon a time, machine learning, big data, edge compute and edge security were supposed to be the great disruptors of our industry. They might be someday in the future, but not in 2018. There is something far greater happening presently that is not only challenging the traditional CDN business model, but the entire cloud infrastructure industry. The great disruptor of 2018 is blockchain. Blockchain is the technology infrastructure that powers the world’s cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In fact, blockchain poses a direct threat to the AWS and GAFAM business model. Simply put, blockchain takes the opposite approach of the AWS and Akamai business model in that its architecture and infrastructure is truly decentralized. After much debate, I’m also drinking the blockchain cool-aid and decided to start coincompute.com.
What is Blockchain?
Many believe that blockchain is a technology infrastructure. It is to some degree, but moreover, it is an unstoppable movement and uprising that is challenging the established institutions of the world that control its resources and wealth. A young generation of entrepreneurs such as Vitalik Buterin are using their passion, creativity and genius to create a society in which wealth is more evenly distributed and privacy is protected. For some like myself, we’re still trying to get our head around what blockchain is, and its impact to the infrastructure industry. One thing for certain: DDoS protection, video streaming, encoding and storage are ideal candidates for blockchain.
What is more impressive? Cloudflare and Fastly generating $100M in annual revenue, StackPath’s $200M annual run rate, Cloudflare’s multi-billion dollar valuation or Akamai’s $500M security solutions revenue run rate? They’re all very impressive, but the story of Gladius Networks is the most impressive event in recent memory for our industry. The story goes like this: three entrepreneurs straight out of college raised $14.6M with ease. The most fascinating part is that the team has little CDN experience and all they did was write a white paper that wasn’t that good. The one skill they did bring to the table: they had some experience with blockchain.
$14.6M is more money than Fastly, CloudFlare and all other startup CDNs raised in seed or Series A. That is the world we live in today. Now just imagine if someone with hardcore CDN experience does a Gladius Network 2.0.
However, the window for ICO’s in the US is closing real fast as regulators are taking more notice. Therefore, if I was an ex-Akamite with engineering skills, I would build a team on the fly, pull some funds together to pay for legal fees associated with filing an ICO, write a killer white paper and go to work as quickly as I could.
The good news: a lot of the hard work is already being done, thanks to Vitalik Buterin and the global community of technologists who are building the underlying infrastructure. Ethereum is to blockchain what AWS is to the cloud. Even the blockchain contract programming language such as Solidity and Truffle are free to use to help one get started. And blockchain uses different protocols compared to a standard CDN, therefore, a new caching platform that is non-HTTP will have to be developed.