The team that developed Amplifi (use it in my house and it is great) was a total of 8 people!. That is pretty amazing.
A competitor was referenced who employs 200 in the same space.
That’s not an apples to apples comparison. The whole competitor (Eero) employs about 200 people, including people in finance, manufacturing, etc., so you’d want to add people in those roles from Ubiquiti to have a fair comparison. Unless we know big the engineering development team at Eero was we don’t have a truly valid comparison.
Apple, for instance, despite it being a big company, is also known for small, focused development teams. And Pera states clearly that he needs to improve Ubiquity’s sales and marketing efforts, which almost certainly means additional hiring.
BTW, interesting to read his take on hiring in Silicon Valley. It is in a boom cycle right now, as anyone who travels during rush hour here can tell you. And, Pera’s not wrong about people jumping from company to company. But still, interesting to hear about “weathering the storm.”
And he also said: “Now, AmpliFi wasn’t executed all that well, we could have done it a lot better, but it was a 7% or 8% team.” If anyone actually listened to the call, did he really say “it was a 7 person or 8 person team”? Because he then follows up with: “And we have eight guys and we stuck with our Ubiquiti business model blueprint and we’ve gotten incredible leverage.” So “person” makes more sense than “percent.”
So, perhaps he’s saying that the small team size limited what they could have done, but he did say “done it a lot better” which seems to imply quality of people, not quantity. Again, perhaps listening in would provide clues?
Anyway, companies that hire in Silicon Valley do so because there’s this self-feeding cycle of great jobs that attracts great talent, which then attracts companies wanting to hire great people, which then means more openings for great people, etc. It is somewhat of an arms race, though, and I can understand a small company like Ubiquity not wanting to get caught up in that.
I think what makes this work for Ubiquity is Pera himself. He architects it all, and then hires people to implement his designs. Microsoft in the early days did this too (anyone recall Microserfs?). But, as Microsoft grew, that model became unsustainable since no one person can architect a big project at the necessary level of detail, not to mention multiple projects. So you end up with a distributed model, which requires hiring people that can make decisions at all levels in the company, which means you need to hire people capable of making those decisions. Now, great people can be found everywhere, but the density of such people varies by region and hiring may be cheaper, but you can’t necessarily find enough people quickly enough. Anyway, this is my long winded way of saying that as Ubiquity grows Pera’s hiring model will probably have to change.