From The Other Side

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted content of significant substance, but it isn’t for lack of experiences. At a week out from 6 months on the vendor side and start-up life, in particular, I’ve discovered that there’s much more behind the veil than the email correspondence and meetings I saw from the customer side.

Before I started at Rubrik, I naively thought to myself, “How will a bunch of emails and customer meetings & installs fill up 40 hours each week?” Ha! Those are the easy parts, the toppings of a cake that requires a flurry of internal baking and development of all sorts.

rubrikPart of what I enjoyed as a customer was being able to influence products and hopefully encourage them to deepen in value and utility. Since customers are “unbiased” and control the revenue flow of vendors, their voice tends to carry farther than industry, competition or internals. I joined Rubrik because I believed in and had proven out the product, and I truly hoped I wouldn’t lose my impact by taking a paycheck.

Six months in, I think a few of my colleagues might secretly wish I was back on the “outside”, at a distance with my customer voice again :). We have a very open communication culture at Rubrik and I’ve had fun poking my fingers in a lot of pies, speaking into more areas of the product than I knew existed pre-January, and doing everything I can to fan the fire of excellence that first drew me in.

sw_logo198x67Every couple weeks I get an opportunity to put on my User Experience (UX) hat that I first wore as a SolarWinds customer, which is great. Everything makes sense to creators, but a second, third, and fourth set of eyes help reveal assumed mental leaps that result in customer frustration if not caught. This is a big indication to me of a quality company–humble invitations of customer (and staff) input to tell them what is and isn’t intuitive in a planned (or existing) design. It’s why I keep mentioning SolarWinds–Kellie Meachem and team model it to a ‘T’.

earlyaccessBeyond the internals, I get the pleasure of working with prospects and customers as they walk through their data center evolution. The first way I get to do that is through introductory calls/meetings–much like I had after clicking the “Early Access” button on in March 2015. Every customer is different, from size to build-out to staff, and many have inherited at least some of what they have now from a predecessor (for better & worse). Now they’re considering next steps, and I’m privileged to brainstorm with them.

The second external part of my new gig involves actual installs. This is the simplest and most straightforward part of my job, which many vendors can’t say. It’s a blessing in disguise that I sometimes fly 6+ hours round trip to spend <1 hour in an unmanned data center, deploying next-gen backup & recovery. If we could invent teleportation, I could rack & protect 8+ customers in a standard business day :). #featurerequest

Lastly, I’ve had the privilege of speaking at events like Pure//Accelerate in March and Chicago’s VMUG tomorrow. For an introvert like me, that’s not exactly second nature, but the content is mostly my own story, and we all can recount a personal experience. The big hurrah will be VMworld US next month and Europe in October, where I get the honor of sharing the stage with Chris Wahl. I’m sure he’ll find a way to sneak SpongeBob into some part of the preso…

I hope to see some of y’all at a future event or on the other side of a webex. If I can be of service, shout out–I shoot straight and will always be most at home with a problem to solve and a whiteboard.

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