As the head of marketing for an enterprise IT company, the most frequent question I get is ‘What’s up with the dog?’ That story starts with the origin of the company.
Our original product was a consumer device that enabled video streaming over WiFi in the home. This was back in 2004 when that was a novel idea. We had invented a new way to deploy radios, now called BeamFlex™ technology, which could (and still can) support unheard-of bandwidth over-the-air. At the time, the founders were enamored with a famous nightclub in New York City called Studio 54. The club, housed in a former CBS studio, was known for being politically incorrect on multiple dimensions. Thus, the new WiFi company was named Video54. Fourteen years later, the primary WiFi network used by employees at the (now) Ruckus Networks headquarters still bears the Video54 name. Fittingly, we are now owned by ARRIS, which provides the cable and broadband infrastructure to companies that deliver video to the home.
It turned out that Video54 was too early for the home WiFi business, although communications service providers needed our help. Their mobile networks couldn’t handle the explosive growth in data traffic and were interested in using WiFi to ease the strain. We quickly shifted to selling enterprise solutions to these service providers, leading to rapid growth and an initial public offering (IPO).
As the company continued to drive toward success, the team realized that they needed a name that better reflected the enterprise WiFi solutions being offered. It turned out to be quite a challenge. The usual route of hiring a branding consultant to do research and present names turned up flat. As the marketing leaders were commiserating over their situation in a local bar, they discussed the fact that our engineering teams excel at taking unconventional yet elegant paths to solving problems. Much to the satisfaction of the engineers, and the entire team, that approach is very annoying to our competitors. That’s when the marketing team hit on the name Ruckus Wireless. We are creating a ruckus by being a pain in the –s to our giant competitors. We don’t care how everybody else does it – we are going to do it the right way.
But, what’s up with the dog? Aside from the disruptive technology, the other factor contributing to the company success is a business model built on deep relationships with our channel partners and an obsessive dedication to our end-customers – regardless of the challenges. There are countless stories of our engineers travelling to the most remote corners of the planet, in harsh conditions, to make sure a deployment is a success. Likewise, when we face situations where we have to choose between short-term business gains or damaging a partner relationship, we will always do the right thing for our partners. Thus, a dog logo is a natural fit. Dogs are fiercely loyal and known to go to extremes for the benefit of the pack. Of course, the dog logo couldn’t be the cuddly creature seen in pet food ads. The Ruckus dog logo represents the troublemaker in the industry with the scars inflicted by our competition to prove it.
The story doesn’t end there. The CEO at the time, Selina Lo, presented the Ruckus Wireless name and logo to the company investors. Their reaction was shock. They pointed out that with one letter change in the name you have a profane phrase. Selina’s response was her trademark smirk and a response to the effect of ‘I know – that’s what we want’. She got her way and we are now Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS company.