Barracuda Networks CFO Talks Entrepreneurship at Catawba College
October 16, 2015
When David Faugno, the chief financial officer of Barracuda Networks, spoke to Catawba College students in the Ketner School of Business, his message was about entrepreneurship.
Within the context of his own experience, Faugno covered some key themes which included defining what it is to be an entrepreneur, the importance of growth, and sharing success factors.
Faugno, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University, and his M.B.A. from Duke University, began his career working for AT&T, initially in Financial Sales and Corporate Development. He was in a development program for accountants, he shared, until he took a risk, left that program and took a sales job in another division of the company. That career move could have resulted in failure, but for him, it was a step toward success. The move allowed him to see the customer side of the sales equation and amplified his career focus when he later returned to the financial track with AT&T.
Leaving the world of telecom, Faugno moved to Silicon Valley and worked in startup companies funded by venture capitalists. He was there when the dot.com bubble burst and put his "world in turmoil."
"There were a lot of failures along the way," he shared, "but I learned from it."
He was part of the team that sold a tech startup, Actona, to CISCO. This led to him going to work for CISCO and leading an M & A financial team for CISCO through more than 20 acquisitions. He also led Barracuda Networks (NYSE = CUDA) through a successful IPO – a process that began in 2006 and took seven years before its successful conclusion in 2013. Barracuda, he said, provides mid-sized business solutions that simplify IT, and today is "poised to be the next great $1 billion tech company."
Faugno still works for Barracuda, and said his role with that company is beyond CFO and more that of an entrepreneurial role player. "You can’t rest on your laurels and coast," he shared. "The same thing goes for an organization."
To become an entrepreneurial role player, he explained, you have to learn these things: how to sell (yourself, your ideas and your team); what each setback can teach you; the symmetry of risk and reward; the power of simplicity; and the value of diversity of thought.
Faugno shared these tips for becoming an entrepreneurial role player: understand the higher order vision intimately; use the tools!; listen intensely to identify opportunities to improve coordination; and never stop learning.
As he concluded his presentation, he offered the students gathered this career advice: ask for help and advice; define your own path; remember the 70/30 rule as you start to see your path; [know] that the harder route is likely to have the biggest return; and pay it forward.