How do you build a world class telecom product? Here is episode seven in our podcast series hosted by the 2023 Awards Advisory Board. In this episode, Macy’s Product Leader Alisher Rakhimov speaks with Calix CPO Shane Eleniak. They discuss build versus buy, and the poetry of high performing teams. But the conversation kicks off with Shane’s explanation of the value in delivering managed services.

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On the value in delivering managed services

“We build world class hardware. But on top of that, we recognize that, really, the value was delivering these managed services. And how do you do that? Service providers are unique in that there are wholesalers and retailers. They build world class networks, lowest cost per bit to operate them. And then they basically monetize them by delivering services to their end subscribers. That’s kind of a unique business model. But it also drives their needs. You have to have the service delivery. 

“Then our belief was, you really needed the telemetry, the automations, the analytics on top of that, to understand the unmet needs. Who’s having a world class experience? Who’s having a less than optimum experience? And then how do you make that data actionable?” 

On build vs buy

“We’re a big believer in what we call DV. Differentiated value is something that’s going to bring tremendous value to our customers, and is their sustainable differentiation. So we’re looking for things that are high highs there to begin with. That drives our whole approach to all of our roadmap planning and our multi quarter planning. 

“Is that something that we’re going to bring value or regenerating intellectual property? Is it something we’re world class at? Or am I better off partnering with someone else who is world class? The good news is, we don’t really we have no invented here, kind of barrier to you know, there’s no price level, it’s got to be a calyx built module or tool. 

“We believe that part of what makes us different is we want to be world class partners. It’s in our DNA. It’s a big part of what we do. Whether that’s technology partners, whether that’s managed services on top of our platform. Whether that’s engineering services. We’ve got a very rich partner stack, on all steps of the way. They’re recognizing we need to really be good at where we bring the value in that value chain. And then partner with world class people who bring the value.”

On the poetry of a high performing team

“The longer I do this, the more I’m convinced it’s all about people and people skills. It’s about hiring the right talent, developing the right talent. Can we develop, you know, collaboration, communication, feedback, coaching, all of those skills? And that’s a lot of what where I spend my time with my organization. Can we formalize and structure a lot more of that? Because I think that’s the hardest part. 

“Finding smart people with technical knowledge? Sure, always a challenge now, never enough. But that’s not the hard part. As you know, it’s working together as a high performing team. That, I think, is the magic. We’ve all seen teams of superstars, where they put these all star teams together that just can’t play together, right? Because the egos and it just doesn’t work. Whereas you watch a team that works effortlessly together, it’s poetry, right?”

About the speaker
Shane Eleniak Calix, CPO Member
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