As told to Andrew Park
Talk about timing. Shri Dodani joined telecom equipment maker StrataLight just as demand for its fiber-optic gear took off. Now, after two years of sizzling growth, thanks in large part to the popularity of video over the Internet, Dodani recently brokered a deal to sell the company for $172 million.
Mother's occupation: Homemaker
Father's occupation: Jeans wholesaler
Hometown: Ahmedabad, India
Education: B.S., Physics, Gujarat University, India; M.S., Computer Science, and M.B.A., University of Texas at Dallas
Previous jobs: General manager, Intel (NASDAQ:Intel); president & CEO, VxTel; vice president of engineering and operations, Carrier Access
What it does: Our equipment is used to increase the capacity of fiber-optic cables. We sell to telephone companies, cable companies, and Internet service providers. Toward the end of 2006, AT&T (NYSE:T) and other carriers started running out of bandwidth. Internet traffic was almost doubling every six months. I personally thank YouTube. We had the only product that could upgrade their bandwidth without them having to throw out their existing infrastructure and make an expensive capital investment. In 2007, demand grew on top of that, and it will continue to grow at least through 2010.
Where I get my inspiration: People around me. In Silicon Valley, we tend to be highly motivated. Plus, our success. You don't want to let the team down.
What I lose sleep over: Competitive pressures facing the company
The best part of my job: Working with a bunch of smart guys. And I enjoy the diversity of my job -- engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance.
The worst part of my job: Probably doing interviews
My last vacation: About three years ago, I went to India.
The industry's going through a transformation. There are way too many players. You need scale -- the sooner, the better. That's why we've agreed to be acquired. We were on a path to a merger or IPO, but we felt like this was a good way to get scale. The two companies complement each other in technology, products, and customers. I'll become president of a new division at Opnext, reporting to the CEO.