Kevin has a sharp mind and I further recall that he was a great guy to bounce ideas around, especially as Cerent tried to fit into the Cisco machine and evolve its popular, yet imperfect, ‘454’ product into both the telecom and datacom spaces. Kevin co-wrote a book in 2003  outlining why some companies dominate the marketplace and others fail. I don’t know if Cerent fit into his analysis during the early drafts of his book, but Kevin’s academic treatment of the most likely threads of failure for a company were grouped into four stages most companies pass through.
Cerent clearly fell into his ‘Stage 1’ grouping, characterized as a company that was venture driven with a single product targeting a single market. Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers funded Cerent’s unique SONET multiplexer designed for the telecommunications optical transport space. The timing of Cerent (derived from Fiberlane) capitalized on the deregulation defined by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the massive demand for bandwidth spawned by the rise of the World Wide Web and Internet connectivity.
Kevin highlighted more traits of a Stage 1 company in his book, which included a relentless focus on technology used to achieve Cerent’s first product release – the Cerent 454 – in support of early customer adoption. Indeed, before Cerent was acquired, at least 100 customers adopted the cost-effective, compact optical transport solution.
A new CEO heading a startup is the final criterion for making Kevin’s Stage 1 list and Carl Russo fit the bill. His hiring to lead Cerent after its Fiberlane split mitigated the two likely threads of failure for a startup – an insufficient culture of learning and weak leadership DNA.
Unlike some startups, Cerent possessed ‘strong leadership DNA’ and culled weak contributors over time. Engineering headed by Ajaib Bhadare was top notch and its key components were ably-led by Paul Elliott (Architecture), Hui Lui (Hardware), and Gary Baldwin (Software). Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service were amped up in late 1998 under the leadership of Terry Brown with a strong supporting cast of Eric Clelland, Jeff Santos, and John Colvin (Sales), yours truly Rob Koslowsky (Marketing), and Ron Ostrowski (Customer Service). This listing is incomplete, but provides a sample of many of the diverse players brought together to make Cerent and its product a success in the marketplace . . . after all, that’s what any investor wants: a strong leadership team that de-risks the investment and amps up the value of the company in preparation for a positive exit strategy.
 Kevin Kennedy and Mary Moore wrote Going the Distance: Why Some Companies Dominate and Others Fail (2003).
P.S.: Thank you for buying my book, Kevin.