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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