From Internet Plumbing to Tweeting With Zappos: The Dyn Story

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do things like manage remote access to PCs. “There was a lot of skepticism about the people on the Internet who were doing stuff,” he says. “We found it a really interesting training ground to think about value, and about being cash-flow positive from day one.”

Around 2003, the company switched from being a mostly free service to having a subscription-based revenue model. And Dyn started to gain some traction with a new wave of Internet companies. “We woke up and realized it’s a technology space—you either grow or you die,” Hitchcock says. At the same time, the founding team decided to locate the company in Manchester, which was home, rather than move it to San Francisco, New York, or Boston, say. It’s a choice that seems to reflect the team’s commitment to having a work-life balance—and an impact on the local ecosystem.

One management lesson Hitchcock has learned over the years is the importance of having non-engineers in the leadership team. “As a group of technologists, we were fairly skeptical about traditional sales and marketing,” he says. “We were kind of late to the game in rounding out our management team.” In fact, Dyn didn’t hire a head of sales until 2008.

Hitchcock calls his company’s culture “work hard, play hard”—which is not exactly surprising for a tech startup. “We think of ourselves as the Zappos of the Northeast,” he says. That’s a little more interesting, because Zappos, the e-retailer of shoes, is known for its customer-centric approach, as well as its 10 cultural tenets (among them: create fun and a little weirdness; and be adventurous, creative, and open-minded). “We think a lot about the people we have at Dyn. We lease talent, we don’t own it,” Hitchcock says. He adds that it’s a priority to create a “good environment where people can learn and develop.”

Zappos is also an important customer of Dyn’s. That selling process started rather unconventionally—no traditional sales and marketing … Next Page »

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