#68 – Farhan Hussain, Axcelinno, Open Source Architects

Farhan is the founder and general manager at Axcelinno, a software consulting shop based in Dallas and Charlotte. In this episode he and John discuss the growth of open source, the disruption of public and hybrid clouds, OpenShift, and the Red Hat/IBM acquisition.

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John E: Hello folks. Today’s guest is Farhan Hussein of Axcelinno. Now, uh, you’ll see, from the interview, I’ve known Farhan a long time. Um, collaborated with him, been a business partner, uh, been through a lot together, and I really admire him as a business person, but also as a, as a friend. And, uh, I think we covered a lot of good ground in here, really focused on enterprise software and kind of how it’s evolved during his, uh, illustrious career, uh, spanning, uh, red hat and many other very big companies like Erickson that you’ve certainly heard of.

Uh, he was also part of the level family until they spun off his subsidiary, which he, he now runs and I’m pretty, pretty involved with it’s one that’s near and dear to my heart because of the nature of the work and how involved I was and along the way with Farhan. And I just think that he’s a, a really, uh, Really fun guy to talk to.

So I hope you enjoy this one. It was done remotely, but the internet connection hung in pretty well. So I think you’ll enjoy it. Little tiny bit of delay, but overall it was, I’m very happy with the recording. Thank you.

Hello folks. And welcome to the show I have with me via zoom today. Farhan Hussein, uh, Farhan has been around enterprise software for over two decades now and is a lot of fun to be around. I met him when, uh, Metro was acquired by red hat back in 2008. Uh, he was on an existing red hat team and he was the first member of that team to join our mantra team.

I eventually left red hat and started a company called open-source architects. He sold that business and then joined me at level to start a subsidiary called level software, which he acquired from level back in 2018 and rebranded to Excel enough. So we should have a lot to talk about today. Farhan.

Thanks for joining me on a Friday evening. 

Farhan H: Hey John. Thanks for having me, buddy. Always a 

pleasure. 

John E: Yeah. Great. So first off, can you tell the listeners what accelerando does? 

Farhan H: Yeah, absolutely. So I like to think of us as, um, you know, an enabler for, for our customers bride, whenever our customers have something that they want to deploy quickly and see results quickly on, we help, we help enable that.

Right? So whether if it’s a, they’re trying to, uh, buy a new piece of software that they want to be successful with quickly, we can help them do that. Um, and that’s really our goal, right. Is to help our customers not only acquire new software, but also be successful with it as fast as possible. 

John E: That that’s great.

And was that, is that similar to what open source architects did as well? Or I think you guys probably had a little bit more of a training component to it as well. 

Farhan H: No, that’s a great question. So, you know, prior to my life here at Accella no. Uh, actually right when I left red hat, I stepped my first company that I started was open-sourced architect.

Um, and that started more of a as a training business. And then it grew into the reseller business and that’d be grew the consulting capabilities, uh, around that as well. So we had more of a focus on classroom training. Um, and then we took that classroom training into our projects as we started consulting with our customers and, you know, hopefully solving bigger problems for them as well.

Usually our customers are very impressed with what we could do from a training perspective. And, uh, and then, you know, it was, uh, a good Avenue for them to then, uh, use us to help them on other, other in-house projects as well. And this 

John E: is a really interesting point because a lot of listeners may not realize that a big vendor, like a, like a red hat or IBM or Microsoft, uh, you might assume that you just go buy the software from them and then get the training from them and maybe get consulting from them.

And, and as, as you and I both know, uh, although those are huge organizations with, with very, very deep benches of resources, they just can’t possibly touch all of the customers in a, in a, in a meaningful way. So they build out a network of partners, uh, value added resellers in particular, um, to, to, to, to really be able to sell to those smaller clients and give them a level of service that they probably can’t can’t command.

If you’re not a bank of America or a general electric, you don’t necessarily get the red hat 18. 

Farhan H: No. And our goal right. Is to provide that level of service and even more right, John. So you kind of nailed it on the head. Uh, you know, a bank of America might get a really awesome team from red hat and they’re great folks.

Right. But then when you’re a smaller organization, that’s just getting started with your relationship with red hat or IBM with some of our other partners. Um, you know, our goal is to not only give them the same experience that they would get with red hat, but even better. And, and it’s, it’s almost like, you know, building a custom tailored suit for them, right.

That’s going to fit better than anything else that they’ve ever worn before. 

John E: It’s great for the vendors because they’re, their customers get a better level of support and they get a level of reach that would be expensive and difficult for them to manage. Uh, so how about how many value added resellers does a red hat have, would you think.

I used to know the answer, but they’re obviously so much bigger. 

Farhan H: Last time I checked right off the top of my head, I think it was like almost 5,000 and I’m pretty sure that was like a few years ago. So I’m sure that number’s probably doubled at this point. 

John E: Uh, and, and some of these businesses are pretty big businesses.

I mean, um, what is it? Worldwide technology is what hundreds of thousands of employees that’s operating all over the globe, 

Farhan H: worldwide technologies. You read the CDW Friday St. Jive. It was some, some really big established organizations. 

John E: Very cool. And so, so as, as you mentioned in, in Excel now, you’ve got two primary streams of revenue subscriptions that you sell and consulting that you sell and deliver.

How do you think about the two of those? Do they compliment each other? Do you want one to be bigger than the other or is it just go sell as much shit as you can, whether it’s subscriptions or consulting. 

Farhan H: That’s a good point. Right? And for us, it’s not about what we sell it’s about how we are able to help our customers.

Right. So for me, it’s the, you know, it’s a very common question, right? In a lot of our partners ask this question is, Hey Farhan, how big do you want, like consulting to be? How much of your revenue do you want the reseller business to be? And for me, I think, you know, it’s not about, it’d be 50, 50 or 60, 40 it’s about where do we add the most value for our customers, right?

Meaning that we’ve met some great, uh, prospects and customers, because we were able to help them navigate red hat software. Right. What would be the rights to offer would be the right skew, but not just that, what would fit their needs the best. And this is before we even got engaged with them from a consulting perspective, And when our customers see that depth and our ability to help them and mentor them, even before we start an engagement that goes a long way.

And then we’re able to go in and help them from a professional services perspective and take that software that they’ve purchased and their internal systems to the next level, whether it’s their digital transformation strategy or whether it’s modernization moving to the cloud or microservices, et cetera, that’s really where the value from Excel and that comes into play.

So I don’t really look at it as, Hey, I got to hit like if 50% target on revenue for, you know, software versus services, it’s about, you know, how do we number one, sell as much shit as possible, but also make sure right where we’re, where will our customers see the most bang for their buck? Some of our customers might already be working with established services companies that they’re happy with.

Some of our customers might be looking at us from services and then realize, Hey, look, you guys have a reseller as well. And you know, we would love to work with you guys and navigating our IBM portfolio or our red hat portfolio or, or, you know, some of the other technologies. Sure. Now 

John E: you’d normally see more of subscriptions leading to consulting, or do you see consulting leading to subs or what, which do you see more frequently?

Farhan H: That’s a great question. That’s one of the reasons why our partnership with red hat is so important. They’ve been such an amazing partner for us in helping us not only get it off the ground, uh, but you know, driving that continued success with our customers, right? So, um, if you asked me this question, probably four years ago, I would’ve said, Hey, a hundred percent of our opportunities were driven through subscription sales and software sales.

When it came to services. Now we’re starting to see a trend where some of our customers that we worked with in the past and, and, and, and, you know, they’re coming back for services, or there are other customers where we’re leading with services and now dragging those subscriptions along as we become a more mature sort of organization or more mature partners as well.

John E: Very cool. Uh, so why would, I mean, we touched on this a little bit, but why, why does the software company sign up a reseller, especially as it’s one as small as Excel now, 

Farhan H: No, I think our size is that our strength, right? And sometimes I’m really proud of the fact that we’re so small because we can do a lot of things that some of the bigger companies can’t where frankly, hungrier for our, for our, for our customers.

And frankly, we’re willing to do things for our customers that just other people can’t. Um, and that is, that is just, just so important. And one of the big reasons why we started India, Uh, in our offices in Poona, this is a more recent thing. And a lot of companies, you know, when they think about an offshore capability, they’re like, Oh, you guys must be like a dozen people.

You know, that you’re expanding in India. You know, we’re less than 50 and we’re expanding in India because we know that we can provide that additional value, add out of India for our customers, and also provide a follow the sun model for both services, as well as managed services out of India. So I think I’m really proud of the fact that we’re so small and so nimble and really proud of the fact that we’ve got such a close tight-knit culture, right?

Everyone talks about culture in an organization, transparency, but really what sets Delano apart, uh, as long as we believe this, as I know every single employee personally, but not just that, um, you know, every single employee. Boy kind of believes in the vision of the company and, and puts our customers first.

And that’s really something that’s apparent from the first call when our, uh, when our prospects, you know, talk to Excel and Oh, they can actually see that excitement. Yeah, 

John E: absolutely. So I know from, I didn’t necessarily realize this until working with you at level software, but these software vendors will actually fund joint marketing campaigns.

Can you talk a little bit about how that works? 

Farhan H: No, it’s a, yeah, that’s an awesome question as well. Right? So as a, as a partner, we bottle up and we bring a lot of unique use cases into the picture, right? You brought me, we bring a lot of external ideas that, you know, uh, that some of these software vendors are able to see and are able to use those ideas to then propel their product.

Right. And that’s really, our goal is to go back with that feedback. For our partners. And when we do that, we’re also able to run some really unique marketing campaigns. Uh, we can take a product, we can layer a solution on top of it, or we can discuss a problem that we’ve seen out in the field that other customers are facing.

And so that, and show them really how to solve that problem with a product. So, uh, really, there’s a huge advantage for vendors to then fund these events because then we can work on kind of, you know, some of that joint knowledge share with our customers, but then also take that joint value, uh, into the market with some of our prospects and some of our customers.

John E: I’ve even seen it where it’s multiple vendors. Um, because as, as a, as an integrator, as a consulting and consultant and integrator, you you’re bringing together solutions. And, and oftentimes it’s that bigger view of the solution that, that the vendors don’t necessarily have themselves because they, they, they’re busy making sure their product is doing what it’s supposed to do and evolving the way their, their customers need it too.

And they’ve got tens of thousands of customers, but individual solutions can become very unique and integrators often have a viewpoint on that, that the vendors just frankly, can’t. 

Farhan H: No, no. You’re spot on John. Like we often do a lot of like network automation workshops where for example, we would have red hat products side-by-side with Cisco and F five.

Right. Um, uh, in some cases we might do a workshop that’s IBM, you know, red hat and someone like get lab or, you know, engine X or F five, et cetera. So, yeah, that’s a that, you know, and that’s really the value that we bring in as a partner, because we can really drive some of those joint conversations, uh, with multiple vendors and, and really talk about that solutioning, uh, you know, I’m a very sort of visual person.

And, uh, and I think when, when customers are able to visualize what they can do with multiple technologies, that’s just a whole different ball game. 

John E: Absolutely. Now walk me through the economics of selling subscriptions. How do you make money on these. 

Farhan H: That’s a very good question. Sometimes we make a, you know, we, we make money on the initial sale and, uh, you know, in consulting with our clients, Uh, and then, you know, there’s a upfront margins.

Sometimes there are margins that we get through backend rebates as we grow accounts and be, bring more value to the table with our customers. Um, and then third, uh, and the most important one is through professional services, right? Our goal when we work with a customer is to not only sell the software, but then make sure that they’re successful with it.

And this really where the revenue for us comes, uh, comes into play and really the value for some of our partners come into, uh, and our customers, uh, especially comes into play as well, because now not only do they have a reseller who sold a product that may, that may or may not make a lot of money on, but now that, that, that, uh, um, vendor is committed to their success and in driving that success with the partner, and that’s really where the channel program comes into play and can be very valuable for, um, you know, companies that are not a bank of America or Wells Fargo, or have a direct relationship 

John E: with a member.

So, so you sell the, on the subscription, you’re selling a one to three year, maybe five year contract, and then the services are just sow based. I take it where it, Hey, I need you for three months or six months. And maybe I sign a couple of contracts. 

Farhan H: Yeah, absolutely. And it could be specific to that particular product or could, they could be part of a larger solution that we’re trying to solve for the customer.

Right. So for example, we might have a customer that comes in and says, well, I need help deploying OpenShift, right? Mike, go in and deploy that in a few weeks or a few days or a few months, depending on the scope of the project. But then our goal is to, you know, really mentor the customer, train them to not only use that technology better, but then hopefully open their eyes to more use cases where they can take that technology further and then consult with them on how to do well.

John E: That’s interesting. So to really do feed off of one another, if they buy more consulting, they’re probably going to buy more subscriptions and buying subscriptions means they need more consultant consulting. And how do you think differently about the margins on the two? It’s that? It sounds like the professional services are better margins for you, right?

Yeah. I was saying, it sounds like the professional services are better margins than the subscriptions for you, or is it just that those are bigger contracts?

Farhan H: Yeah, the instance can definitely, definitely be higher margins. Uh,

John E: so it looks like it looked like we had a little zoom delay there. Sorry about that. 

Farhan H: Well, we did, we did. No, no, absolutely. I think that the, you know, the professional services can definitely be a lot bigger than, uh, then, then the software and that’s what we’re really, the consultative sale comes into play because we want to add value.

Everywhere in the sales cycle with our customers. So that they’re really see the true value in the vision of the solution we hardly ever want to go in and just transact with our customers, sell a skew and walk away, right? That’s not our goal. Our goal is to help them realize that larger vision. 

John E: So it’s no secret that IBM acquired red hat and the biggest transaction in the history of technology, 34 billion, somewhere in that neighborhood.

And it’s no secret that largely, that was because of red hats getting to the market first with that OpenShift as a Kubernetes solution, and Kubernetes obviously took off. Is OpenShift still the big push there? Or is there some, is there some next big thing for red hat and IBM yet? 

Farhan H: No, that’s a really good question.

And I think the next big thing for red hat and IBM is kind of bringing those solutions together and then helping custom my customers modernize faster, right? There’s a lot of IBM customers that are running on, you know, standalone technology that haven’t containerized yet, and they need a path to modernization.

And this really allows and unlocks that path to modernization with red hat. So I think that was a really great acquisition from that perspective. It really brings two worlds together, right? You’ve got the open source world and the enterprise software world, and now your customers have even more options than never to now accelerate that, accelerate that success and accelerate that transition to a more modern 

John E: platform.

I could talk about this stuff for hours, but I’d like to shift gears a bit. I mentioned it’s a Friday evening and I don’t want to keep you here all night talking about catching me up on all the latest and greatest with red hat, but I would like to go into your history a little bit. Just kind of walk me through your early career and how you ended up at J boss.

Farhan H: Oh, that’s a great question. Yeah. So I started my career and kind of the, the, the late nineties. And at that time, uh, I actually chose a path of, uh, you know, going down the Java path goes a lot of my, um, you know, uh, folks who graduated, uh, from, from high school, from college with me, uh, you know, they ended up going down the seed development path.

Right. And Java back then was just cutting edge. I mean, not even cutting edge was probably bleeding edge. So, you know, in the late nineties I got into, you know, app servers and, you know, job, you know, basically Java one and, you know, J two EE. Um, and that’s really where my concern, my, my career started. It was I planted son one, WebSphere WebLogic, and then I started following the J boss project because I thought it was very interesting that here’s this, you know, open source software that’s available in the beginning.

It was. You know, little buggy, you know, a little bit of an experiment is how it started for me. If we’re 

John E: being honest, WebSphere was very good. 

Farhan H: Someone argued exactly. But what was really cool about this was to see this experiment almost evolve in a matter of weeks and months. Right. And that’s really what got me excited because you could see all the specifications that I would read about.

I, you know, I was a nerd and I got into all of these Java specs and you know, why a spec was written, what the spec was all about. And then you would see that spec all of a sudden get implemented in J boss. And now you’ve seen some of the committers in J boss driving the spec. And to me, that was like very, very interesting.

And that’s really what got me following J boss back in 2000, 2001. And then I eventually, you know, I was working with a lot of financial companies at night. I was at Canada life and at night and G and at ING, we were building a framework. It was called IAQ. It was like your early version. And, uh, you know, J boss seen, uh, uh, right.

Um, and, uh, and spraying. And, and basically this internal version of the goal was to build a framework where you could literally click a few options and deploy application, and that crutch are run on WebLogic and WebSphere. We were evaluating J boss at that time. I really gotten, you know, deep into J boss, J boss didn’t make the cut because it was still version three.

There were some features that were missing. But then when I joined Ericsson, it was really my first opportunity to really take J boss and deploy a solution on it. And I was very excited. J boss four came out. Jay ball started offering professional support. Um, and then the rest is history. Shortly after that, I got an offer from J boss that I was super excited about and joined the team.

So, you know, that’s how really I got involved kind of in the whole been 

John E: acquired by red hat. By the time you started working at J 

Farhan H: boss. Yeah. So it was very early on. The acquisition was just about to happen when I joined it. I might’ve been one of the last few, uh, you know, J boss employee. So it was really right around that time when I, uh, when I joined it was right around that acquisition.

John E: So, um, what kind of things, w while you’re on the J boss team, uh, in the early days, what type of things were you guys doing with, with J Boston red hat on that consulting team? 

Farhan H: That’s a really good question. We were a very small team. We were very meaningly, which was awesome and kind of gave me exposure to a lot of.

Interesting use cases and a lot of interesting challenges that I’d never thought. I never thought I’d seen before. I mean, that was one of the, some of the smartest people that I’ve ever worked with waking up every day, I got an opportunity to learn something new and really saw the product evolve, right.

And, and go out and do new things with the customers. But I was doing everything from consulting. To training. We were actually writing the training and then going out there and delivering that training to our customers with the formal training courses that would be offered on, you know, J boss.com. Um, and then also even helped out on some support tickets.

And, uh, and yeah, so it was to me and I say mean, and lean, we were like about what six or seven people, uh, doing, you know, pretty much everything, which is what made it such an awesome role. And so exciting, you know, did everything from architecture to consulting, to training, uh, to then going, going back and, you know, working on support tickets.

John E: That’s great. Uh, pretty big, but still a startup type of company at J Boston even continued in the, into the red hat time. So how, how did those projects that you were doing change with the iMentor acquisition? 

Farhan H: Yeah, that’s a, that’s a great question. And I mean, the whole consulting approach kind of changed and what was really exciting about that?

A mentor acquisition and what really excited me when I heard about it. Was that a mentor was more than just a J boss or red hat shop. A mantra was one of the top like J boss partners and delivered a lot of the J boss consulting. But at a mantra, they did a lot more than just J boss, right? It was a WebSphere project, WebLogic project.net.

Geico was one of our customers, you know, for that reason. And that was just an awesome to me, that was super exciting because my background was in building solutions. Um, and one of the key, you know, I think points to my success at J boss was the fact that I knew so many other technology and so many other stacks, um, you know, that I kind of, I had some of that knowledge to help my customers build bigger solutions.

It wasn’t just about coming in, installing J boss and walking away. It was more about, Hey, what are you going to run on J boss? And why. And once I knew that I could do things on J boss and their applications that we hadn’t even thought of. Right. And that was just really cool for me. But now with the iMentor acquisition, it was like, Oh my God, I, don’t not just only have J boss now, like in help customers do bigger things.

If they’re a WebLogic customer, a Webster, your customer, look, they’re not going to go away. Right. Those products are going to today, but how can we build a solution? That’s going to work better together for our customers and Brit build, you know, bring a better value and better ROI for them. And that really, to me, was amazing when I joined a mantra and a, and that a Metro approach about mentoring, right?

That’s the name of Metro? That to me was just, just, just, just awesome. Cause that combined a lot of my training skills as well. And, uh, and that to me was just a really awesome, uh, awesome acquisition for red hat. 

John E: So, so you leave red hat and start open-source architects or OSA. Uh, talk to me about what OSA was and why you felt like, why you knew you had to start that business.

Farhan H: Yeah. So, you know, around 2011, when, uh, uh, you know, J boss, well, the Metro team was actually rebranded to red hat consulting. I felt like there was still an opportunity to bring that excitement back where you could have a company that you could go to that didn’t just focus on Jay boss. They were deep in J Boston or even red hat technology and kind of knew their shit, but also at the same time, They could bring, you know, other spins on that technology and really figure out innovative ways to, to, to take that technology for the right and push it to it, to its limits.

And that was really what was super exciting for me about OSA. And one of the reasons why I wanted to start it was because I really saw a need for a company that could not only understand products really well, but could understand how to take these great products and really push them to their limit.

Right. It’s like almost like tuning a car, right? You go out there, you buy a car, that’s making 600 horsepower. First thing I’m always thinking about is how do we extract as much horsepower as I can out of this car. Right. And that was my goal is what if I can sell cars? Right to these customers and extract as much horsepower as I can out of that car.

And that’s really what I saw all with OSA was how do I enable my customers to do that? How do I train them, give them that knowledge, but also at the same time, how do I bring consulting, uh, services into play, where they can do that quickly in a matter of weeks versus like months or years, right. To get there.

So, 

John E: so you may have answered this question there, but I might be asking a slightly different question. When I asked this, you clearly learned a lot. When you joined the iMentor team within red hat consulting consulting, you went into more solution selling and thinking about solution solving, solving problems.

Um, what did you learn in the experience with OSA? Did it, did it, did it bill, I’m assuming that it, that the learning built off of what you learned at a mantra and that learning built off of what you learned at J boss consulting before that, but can you maybe talk to what, what new things you saw and figured out.

Farhan H: Oh man. Like some of the challenges that I saw at OSA, we’re just, uh, we’re just amazing. Right? So starting off as a, as like a, basically a two man show it’s, it’s a whole different ball game. Right. And when you’ve got the whole J boss team behind you in that brand, and you’ve got, you know, mentoring on the mantra 

John E: team was 150, by the time it was acquired.

So I mean, not a huge team, but it was still a big team 

Farhan H: and it was bigger than J boss, right? So I’m like, Oh my God, I’m 120 to 150 people. Super exciting. And you know, working with some, some of the most brilliant people that have a remit, you know, I met him at J boss and a Metro, uh, really, but then going back to just two people and just me and my business partner and then growing, that was just a, an immense learning experience.

Right. Not only does no one know you. You know, you have to figure out your major, you have to figure out your brand and you have to go out there and, and, and make some noise. Uh, but we also had to kind of almost start from scratch with all of our relationship. And that was just such a learning curve for me early on.

I mean, I remember I went on for weeks. Where I didn’t sleep. Uh, and right around that time, you know, it was really crazy about the whole thing. And, and, you know, OSA would have never been successful without my, without my wife and her support, my family support, uh, you know, w we were pregnant with my first daughter and, uh, you know, she was just super supportive of me leaving red hat and starting this company.

And Sophia was born when we, when we literally signed her first contract and our first piece of revenue, which was $10,000. And that was like the happiest hour. Uh, I was to like set aside, you know, $10,000 Dean. Like I was just jumping up and down. We’re about to go into the operating room. And, uh, and you know, we signed our, signed our first agreement.

So, you know, you learn a lot when you go through that process, this is definitely a humbling experience experience, because you take so much for granted when you’re in a company where, you know, you’re surrounded by all, some people when you’re trying to build that on your own. It’s, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s a very unique sort of experience and, uh, and, uh, it can be very challenging.

John E: Oh, for sure. For sure. It’s it. I always tell people, um, When something looks easy, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Michael Jordan used to make, look, Dunkin, look easy, but I’m not going to be able to dunk no matter, you know, I’m just not going to be able to. And it’s the same thing with, with well-run companies. It’s very hard and it just because it looks easy, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get it.

Right. That’s 

Farhan H: a great question. Right? I’ve got the same question for you. Like what was it like to stop level? 

John E: So we, what level we had the w lucky in the sense that we were able to build off of and really parlay what we had done at a mentor. Cause we had a lot of the, uh, early iMentor employees, uh, involved in level.

And so, so that helped it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still hard and you still never have enough resources, you start to figure out, okay, where are the resources that, that I don’t know that I need now. Um, but, but I think it was very helpful. And now with defiance, we’re seeing the same thing. We can, we can go sell a big project that I remember at, at level the first time we got a $20,000 single check.

So we had one invoice that was $20,000 because we had been doing a lot of fractional work or like week long engagements with red hat and pivotal at the time. And Chris was so excited when he showed me the $20,000 check for, for good reason. I mean, it was, it was the biggest check we’d ever gotten. Uh, But, but I knew what was to come cause I’d seen the large engagements with, with the mantra.

And I think that was the hardest part was it’s good that you know what it can be, but it’s humbling when you’re like, okay, I’m not, I’m not, I don’t have 30 people billing at Geico right now. And the supply of $600,000, a monthly revenue coming from one, one client, which was built over years of hard work and a mantra and, and red hat.

Um, it’s, it’s really humbling. And so it, it was a similar experience, but I’ll say the selling. Look, the grayer you get the easier selling is because you know, more things, you’ve seen more things, you know, more people, you do your homework. You’re probably a little more humble at that point. Ask better questions.

Uh, so, so it was easier from that perspective, but you’re still building from you. You’re still building from a small base. And that first time you sell a 10 person project, it’s like, Oh shit. How do we staff this? 

Farhan H: So the most important thing that I think I learned at OSA, and you nailed it as well. John is your current customer is always your only customer, right?

You might have a hundred current customers, but you treat every customer like your own. Like they’re your only customer. And to this day, you know, I make sure that I treat every customer, whether it’s a $5,000 check or a $5 million check, I, I treat them like, they’re my only, only customer doesn’t matter how much revenue they bring in.

Uh, every customer is very 

John E: important. Absolutely. And with that mindset, that’s how you turn a 500,000 or $5,000 customer into a $50,000 customer. 

Farhan H: Oh, absolutely. As they grow right. You grow and customers appreciate that. I mean, I know a lot of our partners ask us and say, well, farmland, you know, what’s your size or, or, you know, what’s your focus?

Is it customers who should I bring you into deals that are like only, you know, a certain amount, like 50,000 and up I’m like, no, give me just a $2,000 deal. Shoot. Even if it’s a $200 deal, I don’t want to be involved in it because you know what I’m curious about what the customer’s going to do with that $200, they might be trying to solve a problem that no one else has solved.

And I just want to be a part of it. Right. I just want to be a part of their day-to-day problem solving. And for me, it’s not even about the money that the knowledge is worth more than the, than the money and how we can apply that knowledge because that’s the business we’re in, right. It’s all about what knowledge we can share with everyone else and what knowledge we can gain.

Um, and that’s the biggest thing that I learned from OSA’s like they never, you know, turned down a customer of any size number one, and number two, every customer brings value to the table for me. Hmm. 

John E: They do. I do think there is a point where, where a customer is not worth keeping as a customer, but you don’t know that until you’ve spent.

Uh, so you, um, you’ve worked inside red hat, um, and with two very influential red hat partners in OSA and then level software later Excel, I know, um, I mean, I, funny story. You remember level software? We were, we, we had a March madness trip to Vegas funded as a sales kickoff meeting there, red hat paid for, uh, and, and what we have about 25 level employees there and a whole group of executives from, from red.

Hat’s a very, very important partnership clearly on, on both sides of the equation, but you’ve seen it through the years and you worked inside of red hat. Talk to me about how red hat has changed since you joined to OSA to level software. And now Accella no. And now post IBM merger and you don’t have to give me the whole history, obviously the high level.

Farhan H: That’s a tough question, but it’s a really good question. I mean, shoot, when I joined red hat, if you remember, and you know, when we got acquired, I think we were like 1900 people and that was like huge. And then we acquire a mentor and we were like pushing 2000 something. So, and then, you know, when I was at OSA, it grew to 10,000 people and then red hat became the first $1 billion open source company, you know, which was just a 

John E: significant, what was it a year and a half later they were a $2 billion open source company.

I mean, it was amazing how quickly that just exploded. Yeah. 

Farhan H: And then the IBM acquisition happened. And then to be honest with you, this is just smile on his feedback on over IBM and red hat partner. But I, in my wildest dream didn’t think that we would get acquired by. And I’m still saying we like I’m part of a red hat.

Uh, but, um, you know, uh, you know, that I, that red hat would get acquired by IBM. You know, 

John E: I’ll talk about that a little bit. Cause I remember red hat had some days where the stock was really beaten up in Oh nine and in 2010, every stock was beaten up and they weren’t, they were, they were hitting their numbers, but they weren’t, I don’t think that they’ve really hit their stride until that announcement that for VR, I think it was version three of open shifts.

They’re going all in on Kubernetes. I just, nobody else in the market mentally was there and it took years and, and that’s when I feel like. Red hat took off, but there was a point where red hat stock was at $9 a share. And I remember thinking IBM could just come in and buy this thing and just make red hat a feature and, or even just kill all the products and the open source problem goes away for them.

But that isn’t what ended up happening. What ended up happening is what was the share price, 190, 200 something by the time the deal was done, that IBM pays $34 billion in Jim Whitehurst is now the number two person at, at IBM. And the biggest bright spot on IBM’s earnings. Every quarter is red hat. It’s just amazing what it became.

Farhan H: Uh, Jim is the number one person at IBM now, right? So it’s, uh, it’s kind of really amazing what red has accomplished and all of that happened through all the strategic acquisitions, right, John, that we were a part of. So they didn’t just stop with J boss. They continue to invest and move towards containers.

Right. And, and, and, and, and kind of go into the hybrid cloud space, which kind of landed red hat. Where they are today. So it’s just amazing to see that transaction and where they made some really, you know, not only important investments, but bets, right? These are all bets that they made. They bet on Coobernetti’s before anyone else did.

And OpenShift was the first platform, right. To do that OpenShift too was kind of like windows Vista, right. It was like cartridges. And just like, you know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t great. Right. It was just, it was, it was, it wasn’t a great platform, but when OpenShift three came out of the complete rearchitecture of that pass idea, right.

And they took a pass and they build, and they build a container platform with orchestration, with Kubernetes and the, the number two committer due to Kubernetes. Right. So just amazing where red hat has come and how much the portfolio has grown. It went from what, three or four products though. Now, 40 something products that it’s crazy.

John E: It’s really amazing when you think about it. Because when I think at the top, when Kubernetes first really started gaining mainstream adoption, There were, I mean, Kubernetes was a lot about Docker. I know that there are other containers that just support it, but it was largely about Docker and Docker never really figured out how to monetize that, the way that people, that certainly their investors hope and Google created Kubernetes and gave it away for free.

And they never figured out how to make money off of it. And yet red hat comes in and is able to take it. I mean, it, to me, 10 years from now, that’s going to be a Harvard business school case study of, of, to me, that’s one of the most consequential decisions in technology. Um, certainly from a, from a enterprise value creation and valuation of the company, uh, just completely changing the game that that’s gotta be one of those that ranks up there with, and it’s 

Farhan H: a model right there, right.

Have built John it’s amazing. Well, in the late nineties, you know, bill Gates coined open source a joke, and now Microsoft’s all in on open source. 20 years later, right. Who would have thought? And it’s just amazing. All thanks, red hat and their amazing model that they built, right? With best customer service in the world.

That’s how red hat gained that momentum and that, and, and, and, and if there’s anything that I learned from red hat, it’s that right? You’ve got to provide the best customer service to your customers to keep those customers and keep them coming because red hat grew every single customer. Now we have red hat deployed in every single fortune 500 client.

When I started at J boss, where red hat was, we used to have, we used to get laughed out of meetings because open-source was a joke. Wow, what does this J Boston, right? This is, this is a joke. Or you’re going to charge money for it. Ha ha. Right there. Those are some of the conversations. It’s amazing how far we’ve come.

And that’s the J boss that I joined. Uh, when we first started, it was a very tough conversation to sell someone, a support agreement for free software. 

John E: I like to tell, I think that’s, that’s a great point and it is hard to explain it. Although I think when you get into the indemnification, the support and really this model, this model where we’re going to slow down the innovate, we want you to take advantage of the innovation that’s happening in the.org, but then we stabilize it on a schedule that fits your deployment schedule if you’re bank of America and Oh, by the way, we indemnify.

Now you’re talking about something that people will pay for. And now the open source, the free part is on your costs, not on your revenue, right? 

Farhan H: Exactly. But that’s what red hat did. The J boss was that J boss, we supported every single community version that was out there. You could go to Jay bossel.org, download the version, right.

That was a, a stable version and red hat. And J boss would support that stable version. When we got acquired by red hat, right? Red hat productized. That version. And now they’re only red hat supported J boss versions available, which is amazing. Right. It pisses a lot of people off when they’re like, Oh, you’re not going to support the community.

Well, the community version is very different. You’re talking about bleeding edge. That’s not stable. So red hat asks to, you know, create a version that’s more stable that, that a bank of American keep up with. Right. Or your enterprise can keep up with, um, uh, as well in a, in a very stable and secure fashion.

Yep. 

John E: Absolutely. So how, how did COVID COVID impact your business in 2020? 

Farhan H: Yeah, it was a pretty scary situation when COVID first hit. Right. And my business partner, Josh just had a sport’s daughter at that time. Right. He’s out on PTO and he’s, he’s on paternity leave. And then COVID hits and everything shuts down.

Right. And it was a very tough situation. We had some, some consultants actually in Mongolia at that time that we had to fly back to the U S right, immediately on emergency flights to get them out of Mongolia because we knew something was coming. I remember, you know, my wife knew that she had a, she had a spring break, uh, a trip planned with the kids to Spain, uh, that we had to cancel.

And, and as soon as she found out, end of February, she’s like Farhan, you gotta bring the guys back. Yeah. You gotta bring them back from Mongolia now. And I remember getting those last second tickets and get them, we’re getting them out of Mongolia. So no, it had a huge impact on us. On our business. There was a lot of uncertainty.

We had a lot of bigger projects that were going to close that ended up getting delayed. Now, luckily those projects are closing now in 2021, but it had a major impact on some of the bigger projects. Some of the smaller projects continued, but we saw maybe a three to four months there where it was a pretty, pretty scary situation.

As far as you know, what’s next. Do we have to kind of pause our growth? We were hiring, we had slowed hiring down. Um, so yeah, I would say it had a pretty big impact, but now a of that’s picking back up. 

John E: That’s good. It changed so many businesses. And in so many ways, one of the big things for, for your business is, is, um, travel expenses.

And I see your, your P and L occasionally and your travel expenses are way down. Um, how different has it been for you and, and your company with so much less travel? 

Farhan H: Yeah, it’s been, you know, again, very interesting and an interesting adjustment for us and our, in our consultants and our customers as well.

Right. And especially our sales team. I mean, we were such a collaborative group in the office where I was really proud of the fact that the way our office was laid out and even today, the way our new office is laid out, I’m kind of in the middle of the office because I want to make sure that everyone has access to me.

Everyone can hear my conversation. And so it’s not about just like transparency for the sake of transparency. I am having open conversations in the office so that anyone knows what projects are going on. You know, what is Farhana talking to rag now, who’s that next new partner that’s going to be exciting.

Hey, what’s that, what’s that problem that we have with this customer and far haunted, can I jump in and help out? Right. Our team is very awesome and they’re always ready to help and jump in. But when you’re in a remote environment and your Slack’s going off and you got 200 emails to read, That interaction is very difficult.

You know, I don’t care what anyone says right. About remote being awesome. I know you got Slack, you’ve got all these tools. I can’t sit on a zoom all day with all of my team members. Right. And that’s what I miss with, you know, COVID and everything kind of shutting down, everyone being remote. I didn’t have that interaction with my sales team anymore.

And I felt like we weren’t as smooth anymore because of, you know, all the extra meetings that we had to have to prepare for the meeting that we were about to have, you know, cause half the team sitting in Charlotte, Um, and, and everyone’s working remotely. So yeah, it ended up being a pretty, pretty difficult situation from that collaboration perspective.

I think a lot of our folks felt disconnected, right. Including myself. 

John E: So do you see this changing your longterm view on travel? Or do you think you obviously working together in the same office? It sounds like isn’t that that’s coming back the minute it’s safe for everybody, but, uh, but, but the, the travel to go to client sites or partner sites or client events, does it, 

Farhan H: I think it’s been a game changer from that perspective.

A lot of customers who would have never thought about a remote engagement, including our, one of our clients in Mongolia or now, you know, we are working very effectively with them in a remote kind of a scenario. And a lot of our engagements have actually grown when we’ve been remote, because there’s not that.

You know, stigma of, Hey, I got to have a local partner or I’ve got to have a local company that’s across the street from me. We were always there. The customer just thought that, Hey, they’re sitting in Texas now that barrier’s gone with COVID because everyone’s remote. And it’s almost like we’re sitting in Mongolia right next to them, or we’re sitting in Pennsylvania or wherever our next big project is.

So, you know, that’s been, the biggest impact is now our customers are not only more open to remote, but remote is the only option. 

John E: Great. So, so you hit on, um, you, you hit on what, what excites you about the IBM and red hat technology, especially around open shift and large customers adopting it and being able to deploy things faster, more reliably, more repeatedly.

What in the technology world excites you the most? Is it just that, is it the. The containers and this kind of platform as a service and hybrid cloud, or is there something else coming around the corner that you see that, that has some real potential 

Farhan H: there’s going to be a new trend tomorrow? Right. So I think what excites me about technology, to be honest with you is that technology changes every day.

And for me, the next big trend is going to be, you know, as you know, around AIML, we’re already looking at some really, really cool solutions that folks are putting out there. Uh, we’re building some cool solutions in house with our, with our customers. So that’s super exciting, but, you know, period, what excites me about technology the most is we’re solving some of the hardest problems in the world with technology, right?

And that’s what really excites me to wake up, you know, in the morning is what is that new problem that I’m going to stumble across? That my customer is going to throw at me. And it’s going to leave me kind of scratching my head and saying, Hey, you know what, let me get back to you, but I will get back to them with a solution.

Right. And that’s what really excites me is how do we build a team that’s able to tackle any problem in the world. And that to me is, is amazing. And that’s why I’m in, I’m in technology. 

John E: I think there’s no better example. I just got my first shot yesterday, um, uh, for, for the, the vaccine and that MNR MRN vaccine was developed from my understanding three or four days after the first case was confirmed in the United States.

It had to go through a regulatory approval process for good reason. And so obviously there’s amazing science behind this messenger RNA technology, but I think the bigger point, maybe not bigger, but equally as big a point is the amount of data processing that has to be done to calculate the protein folding involved in using messenger RNA, to convince your body, to fold its own proteins, to create the protein structures that can then fight off the Corona virus.

So that’s a very visible example of, it’s hard to imagine how expensive that process would have been 20 years ago without some of the cloud on big 

Farhan H: data tag along. Yeah. You know, that would have taken it, you know, what is an awesome example? Right? Our phones are probably, you know, what, like a hundred times more powerful than, uh, the, the, some of the big, huge systems that were, that were present 30, 40 years ago.

And we’ll put the man on the moon. Right. So, yeah.

John E: Yeah. And that’s why I like the, the. A lot of times technology leads to, you know, shit posting on Facebook or Twitter. So things that are so silly or, or things that are fun, like Tik, TOK, dancing and everything. But now we’re talking about something that’s literally saving millions of lives. Uh, w you know, when a polio vaccine took five, 10 years, 20 years to develop, and we’re talking three or four days, now that that’s a really visible benefit of, of information technology and it, and to your point, it just gets 

Farhan H: better.

Yeah. And how amazing is it to roll out the vaccine this, this fast, but at the same time, like, imagine what’s possible with AI and ML. And now if you look at it from a solution perspective, right. If you’re someone who’s got, you know, medical records, and now if something you go out there and look at your medical records and kind of.

Predict, you know, what check ups you should have. Right. And in addition to that, analyze some of that data and, you know, predict what treatments you should take and also predict when you can get the next backseat and just scheduled her vaccine. Like, it’s almost like an Uber kind of a concept where you get a text message saying, Hey, we’ve got a vaccine appointment available.

Yes or no. I mean, you know, that’s the future where the AI and ML ride, which is super, super exciting. 

John E: Yeah. I, I, um, interviewed recently, uh, uh, the naturopathic doctor named Dr. Joseph Pizzorno and he gave me access to an AI that his team has developed. And you upload your 23 and me data, which I already had, had used the service before and literally in a minute and a half.

And then it asks you some questions. You, you, you, you tell it a few things about your lifestyle. You tell it where you live, how far you drive. And then it, it just highlights. These are all the things you need to worry about and here’s all the tests you need to take. And, uh, and when, when you think about that, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s pretty interesting.

And my guess is on the technology front, he didn’t spend a whole, whole lot of money, whereas to develop a solution like that 15 years ago would have been hundreds of millions of dollars easily. 

Farhan H: Exactly. Right. Just amazing what we can do today and all started with, you know, you kind of asked a good question about how my career started.

What are the coolest things that attracted me to Java was the ability to build a library and shared that library. Right. And that’s kind of where everything started was like with these jar files, right. With Java, it was so amazing that you could build this jar file that could run anywhere, you know? Yeah, absolutely.

See where we are with containers. Right. It’s kind of a similar concept. Yep. 

John E: Well, and you could argue the predecessor to that though. Not on the same level as, as, as jar files, but CQL was that, that’s what they were trying to achieve with CQL. I think all of them have some limitations, but you see the limitation shrinking and shrinking and shrinking.

Yeah. With, with each iteration of this idea of write once, run, run anywhere. For sure. So I’m going to give you two or three concepts that are relevant to consulting or application development. And you’d give me your thoughts. You don’t necessarily have to compare them. Just tell me, tell me what comes to your mind, a fixed fee versus time and materials versus retainer.

Farhan H: Oh man. Yeah. So what comes to my mind? Uh, high value, uh, time and materials. Okay. Um, a retainer model, really low value in my opinion. Uh, because you know, for us at Excel, I know we like to prove our value and show our value or Lea and what better way to do that than a time and materials engagement, where our customer, um, you know, he’s only paying for the time that they use number one, but, but knowing that they can cancel that engagement any time really makes you work harder.

And for us, that’s very important whenever we’re working with our customers is to, is to, you know, show that value. Um, and, you know, fixed bid engagements are great when they’re bigger projects. You know, a lot of times when, uh, the scope is a year long or, you know, year and a half long, we can get into, you know, fixed bid sort of, uh, you know, agreements that are win-win for both us and the customer as well.

Um, but, but I would say, you know, the highest value that both the customer and the vendor, or such as us, or, you know, services company can get out of is from a time and materials engagement for that reason. 

John E: Public versus hybrid cloud 

Farhan H: public hybrid cloud. Yeah. So great question. Um, hybrid is absolutely the future.

We have a lot of customers who started out in the public cloud and at the surface, it looked great until they saw their bill or saw that they were only 20% there with the cloud. And there was another 80% ago, meaning they could take some of their easy applications. Right. And the cloud was cool. It’s like, Oh yeah, I can go and spin up an instance, whatever it is.

What about, yeah. What about tennis racing? Right? What about, what about integration? And then when you start throwing those use cases added a lot of those services just don’t scale or simply, uh, you know, they just can’t take it. Take, take, take into the a hundred percent that they, that they thought they could in a short amount of time.

So I think hybrid opens up a lot of opportunities for not just. Um, you know, the cloud providers were also the customers to take those solutions right. And get to a hundred percent cloud model, uh, because now you can pick and choose the best of each cloud, but then also going back to the IBM and red hat conversation, I think of hybrid.

The first thing I think of is IBM and red hat, because they’ve really built a truly hybrid ad phone where you can take anything out of the IBM red hat solution and pretty much solve every, any problem in the world, uh, with that technology, which is why I think the IBM red hat acquisition was so awesome because there isn’t anything in the stack that can’t solve a business problem.

Uh, you know, in my opinion, apart from maybe some really crazy edge cases, right. Uh, that are, that are out there. 

John E: Yep. Lift and shift versus cloud native.

Farhan H: Yeah, they kind of going back, going back to their previous comment, right. Uh, lifted and shifts. I’m thinking of, you know, legacy old school technology, uh, ride, just trying to get, get off of your, you know, on-prem technical debt to the cloud. But, uh, you know, when you, when you look at, uh, sort of, you know, from a modernization perspective, right.

That’s where you have an opportunity to then modernize the, the workload itself or the piece of software itself. Right. So you’re just taking technical debt and you’re lifting and shifting it from one data center to another. Yeah. And 

John E: often a more expensive one, because the only time I’ve just, I’ve seen 

Farhan H: yeah.

Bells and whistles when you’re in that cloud environment. But again, you know, your technical debt is still there. You still have an old. Kind of piece of software, right? It’s like taking a model T that is built to go, you know, 50 miles an hour and trying to make it go 150 miles per hour by just moving it on a different, different road.

It’s not going to happen. It’s still a model. Yeah. Yeah, 

John E: exactly. So on that, on that, on that note, I’ve seen, I’ve seen a couple of instances where lift and shift made sense and it’s usually because there’s a time deadline, right? We’ve got this contract with a data center. It’s running up. We know that we need to rearm we need, we know that we need to be thinking about microservices and we know that we need to be breaking apart the individual components and leveraging AWS or Azure or GCP components that are more modern.

But the, the reality is we’re gonna, we’re gonna, we have, we’ll have to sign a new contract because that’s just going to take 

Farhan H: longer. Or, you know, sometimes automation becomes easier when you do a lift and shift into the cloud. Right. And deployment becomes faster, but the piece of software is still that old piece of software.

Yeah. 

John E: Well, and that’s just, it, it’s going to end up in general, you’re moving from CapEx to OPEX. So you, you’ve got a data center that you’re depreciating. Maybe you’re paying an OPEX to the data center, but it’s still generally going to be more expensive and a pure lift and shift it’s once you start to rearchitect the systems and start using serverless technology and Lambdas, uh, you start to take advantage of some of these, some of these AWS services where.

Th th it’s a pure black magic to me, how they do some of their database as a service components, um, or serverless database, which some someone showed me recently, which was interesting to me. Um, that’s where you start to really drive the value. But I could see if I’ve got a contract that I’m going to have to renew for five years.

I might, I might be better served to just it. You can certainly see the argument that let’s lift and shift, and then let’s rearchitect it later. 

Farhan H: A cloud for the price of cost, I think has been an argument that, um, has been gone in the, in the best interest of customers, right? Cloud costs have always consistently gone up from what we’ve seen with our, with a lot of our customers, especially some of the early adopters in the cloud, right.

They, uh, you know, we were talking to a customer maybe two, three years ago, big company, you know, one of the first SAS companies in the world. And when they moved to, you know, um, a cloud provider, which you guys shall not name, um, their costs ended up doubling within the first 12 months from what they had projected.

Now, maybe the projections were off and the way they calculated, but still, you know, we’ve come across a lot of customers where they’re like, Hey, cloud isn’t as you know, isn’t as cost-effective as we thought it was. Exactly. 

John E: And sometimes it’s even worse because you double pay because we both know you don’t cut off on March 31st, your, your data center and turn everything live on April 1st.

There’s some overlap between the two and you end up double paying for quite a while. So what, so you mentioned the model T um, you’re a car collector in particular. I think you have a focus on, uh, on, on muscle cars, American muscle cars. Give me a quick Roundup of what you’ve bought restored. 

Farhan H: Yeah, I think it was important to understand the background of why I got into muscle cars.

Right. So when I was, you know, true story, right when I was three years old, I think I watched the movie Christine and that got me obsessed. With Christine, right. And, you know, awesome red car comes alive. The kid’s obsessed and, you know, always collected hot wheels and, you know, different, different cars. And, uh, my favorite hot wheels were always the fast cars, the American muscle cars, you know, I remember my first 65 core bet, you know, hot wheel and some of the Camaro’s I had.

Um, and, um, you know, so, so as I got older, I was like, but this nerdy kid with glasses in high school, you know, my first car, uh, I remember going out there and trying to get a Muslim. My mom’s like, not reliable. Does it have four doors? You know, it’s gotta be like a Nissan or Toyota Asian, Asian parents.

Right? Like Pakistani parent, I don’t know. You gotta have like a Honda or whatever. So I can get my first Nissan Altima. I couldn’t even get a Maxima back. Then, then the nineties, the maximum was ever faster than the Ford Mustang. So, you know, you, you’re the coolest agent kid, if you have like, uh, you know, he had a Nissan Maxima, right.

So that was like, Oh like, Whoa, man, I made it so no, I get this Nissan Altima. And, uh, I remember a few years after that I was, I used to deliver Chinese food when I was in high school, you know, go up to this, uh, you know, uh, um, lady who you should order Chinese food from your order, Chinese food from the restaurant.

I go out there and I see this yellow car sitting in her front yard and I’m like, Hey, what is that? And she’s like, Oh, that’s my son, 68 Camaro as well. And I got obsessed with the Camaro’s. I was like, Oh my God, I gotta have that car. And I’m trying to like, save up money, whatever. And of course my Asian mom’s like, no, you’re not going to get a Camaro.

So I got into my, I got into the muscle cars back then. And, uh, when we got married, uh, I had a pretty cool, you know, new Mercedes at that time. And I’m like, you know, I talked to my wife. I’m like, look, I want to get rid of the Mercedes and go and get a 69 Camaro. And, you know, he had another car. And she’s like living, if you can drive it, you can buy it.

And that was the challenge, right? So I went out there, I drove one home and she couldn’t say no, and the rest is history and that was a 69 Camaro. So I had a 2002 Camaro before never a classic Camaro, always wanted a 69. And that’s how I got into muscle cars and, you know, got my first 69 from Merrill and that started it all.

Then I bought my next Trans-Am and then I bought a bunch of Firebirds. So now I have a collection of, you know, Camaro’s trans AMS and Firebirds. Do you have any favorites? I do. My favorite out of all of them is probably the most underrated Trans-Am have burger. It’s a 20th anniversary trans am. And that was the first Trans-Am that came with a Buick engine.

And the engine was out of a G annex, only made 1500 of ’em. I remember the G I 

John E: remember the GM at gen X. I worked at a stereo shop and we had a guy that, I mean, th the grand national was a cool car too, in its own. Right. But we had a guy who had had a Genex, and that was, that was something special. 

Farhan H: Oh, the gen X was a beast, but then you take that and, but the gen X was so boxy, right.

It wasn’t as aerodynamic. When you, when you take that engine and you put it in a more aerodynamic package at 89, transcend was the fastest Trans-Am ever made it to that point. It was the fastest American made production car. This was right before the ZR one came out. So when, you know, obviously you’ve been, the Corvette guy saw that.

You know, GM’s like, okay, we got to build something faster than the Trans-Am because Corvette is always the top performing car, right before a short period of time before this one went into production, the R one was a prototype, the fastest American made car. That point was the 20th anniversary. Trans-Am so that’s my, that’s one of my favorite cars.

Oh, wow. 

John E: I don’t think I’ve seen that one. Was that a recent purchase 

Farhan H: or? No, I think I’ve had it for a long time. I think you might’ve seen it maybe on one of the trips to Dallas, but yeah, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll take it for a ride. 

John E: Uh, that, that that’s awesome. Um, well look, Farhan. This has been great. I look forward to hearing your next big announcement and all the future success.

I really appreciate you joining go, go enjoy your weekend. Enjoy your family. And I will talk soon. 

Farhan H: Absolutely. Hey, cheers, John, have a good one and okay. Appreciate it. Take care. Thank you.