Welcome to episode 23 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss John’s 3 Year Check-in at VMware, Part 1.
Original Recording Date: 2019-1-26
Topics – John’s 3 Year Check-in at VMware, John’s Observations
1:30 Topics Begin
- How did John fare at Michael Jordan trivia since this is episode 23?
- John and Nick have hire dates that are roughly 2 years apart.
4:31 What Has John Learned?
- 4:31 Core job functions
- Reached competence in year 1
- Explaining the portfolio
- Virtual desktop was a blind spot
- Portfolio much larger than it once was
- Understanding where these products have relevance to customer business problems
- Coming up with a good company elevator pitch was important. John gives the example of having to do this at a career fair.
- Understanding customer business issues was new to John.
- Building relationships within customer organizations and being relevant
- How close does John see the role of the SE to the account representative?
- We have to know where our solutions will definitely and when to rule them out based on the situation (first level technical qualification).
- John supports two account reps.
- An account rep will be focused on higher level relationships within the organization that a SE may not have.
- 14:20 Extended job functions
- Built up to competence in year two
- Extending relationships with the VMware business units to product team members, technical support team members, etc.
- Using large events like VMworld / others to build better relationships with customers
- 18:16 Building an internal network / determining career trajectory
- Competency in year three
- Build stronger relationships with the partner ecosystem
- John had to learn the value to the company from going through a partner / reseller.
- Sometimes deals are better taken directly than through a reseller.
- Partners may need to help with implementation or help customers manage support contracts. John gives a nice example of when he leaned on a partner for help as a customer.
- John cites participation in communities such as Spiceworks as a way to get some information on how the ecosystem works.
- Other organizations within the company like OCTO (Office of the CTO)
- Relationships with tech marketing folks
25:02 – What is the Job?
- 25:02 Customer focus
- It’s very important to understand what the customer does on a very basic level (their product, how they sell, what their value is in the market, who their competition is, how they view themselves, etc.).
- Customers need to know you’re willing to help before sharing certain information with you. It comes down to the types of relationships one has within the organization.
- Understanding customer organizational structure and how they measure success is important before proposing any solutions.
- Overcoming internal challenges like politics and personnel takes time.
- John didn’t see the big picture of making the organization / department successful as a customer and had to learn it after leaving the customer side.
- John had to learn who in the organization has purchased from us, the level of success they have experienced, and how the expanding portfolio is addressing the expanding organizational challenges.
- There’s an education element to this job as well. If customers don’t know our capabilities, we cannot help them.
- Listen to what John shares about multiple IT groups existing within organizations and the variance he’s seen across the board.
- 43:59 Customer business problem focus
- Executive Initiatives
- Business Initiatives
- Technology Initiatives
- VMware Solutions
- This required John to train his mind in a new way of thinking.
- Check out Episode 16 and Episode 4 for our discussions of how managers may / may not understand the big picture and where your work / project fits into the goals an organization.
- John feels like this problem is more common in smaller organizations.
- Putting structure into an IT organization may not be prioritized.
- 50:56 Product focus
- The portfolio continues to advance and expand (acquisitions, etc.).
- Be aware of new operating models such as cloud, edge, and managed.
- We must keep up to date to stay relevant to customers.
- 53:21 Personal development
- Expanded knowledge of the marketplace
- John must maintain relevance in areas that are relevant to customers (AWS / GCP / Azure, storage, networking, security, compute).
- Check out Episode 6 and Episode 7 on areas of training and training adjacencies.
- Relevance to other employers may just be a side effect of what we do. Organizations must focus on being employees engaged.
- Expanded knowledge of the marketplace
- The next episode will be Nick grilling John. It’s coming….
- Contact us if you need help on the journey.
- purpose-2393845_1280: lbragg1 @ Pixabay