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Gururaj Desphande And Daniel E. Smith, Sycamore Networks

The Top 25 Managers -- The Top Entrepreneurs

Gururaj Desphande and Daniel E. Smith, Sycamore Networks

You might call them the tech world's dynamic duo. Gururaj Desphande and Daniel E. Smith built Cascade Communications into an early rival of Cisco Systems Inc.--then sold the data-switch company for $3.7 billion in 1997. A year later, they teamed up to build Sycamore Networks Inc. (SCMR), an optical networking pioneer. The two are an odd couple. Desphande, 50 and the chairman, is a visionary from India. Smith, 51 and the CEO, is a Harvard MBA who served on a Navy destroyer. "People are surprised at how well we work together," says Desphande. And how. Sycamore earned $20 million on revenues of $198 million in the year ended July 31. And despite the tech stock rout, which trimmed Sycamore's shares some 85%, the company is still worth a cool $10 billion.

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