Hows the food on the vendor side, time for a change
I was unsure on whether I would even write one of these posts, but in the end landed on yes. Much like I did about 5 years ago I have decided to make a career change and shake things up. I felt like I needed to try something new and challenge myself. I had spent the last 4.5 years working for a great partner based out of Chicago called Ahead. During my time at Ahead I have grown tremendously both personally and technically. In this stop of my career path I was able to polish my presentation and architecture skills and work with some great customers and coworkers. The time was excellent and I would have changed very little about it, but in the end I was too comfortable and felt a new challenge was needed.
Having never worked for a vendor on the product side I felt this was something that I really wanted to try. During my time at Ahead I was able to work closely with the team at CloudPhysics on adding functionality to their product that allowed me to get a feel on what working for a startup vendor might be like. To say the least, I was hooked and this only help to escalate my time frame for finding the right vendor. As I talked to different people that I know and prospective vendors I set a question that I needed to be able to answer yes to without any hesitation to really consider a prospective vendor.
Can I wake up every morning and be truly happy and excited to talk about and support the product that I would be supporting?
I found that this question was harder to answer yes to than I expected. This question had to be answered first before any talk about the role, benefits and salary. Without answering yes to this the other questions would all be meaningless. In the end the list of vendors that I would be able to answer yes to was very short.
Enough with my ramblings, I have accepted the role of Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and will be starting on the 12th. This choice has mostly been met with positive feedback from those that I was able to discuss with in advance. They saw that this would be a good move for me and left politics out of it, there were a few jokes about geez isn’t another VCDX going to Nutanix a cliche.
There were a number of things that drew me to Nutanix and the process was a very long one that I only gained more respect for the company as the process had its ups and downs. First as a product I was very interested about two years ago when I got my first chance to get some hands on with the product. This allowed me to get the full experience, before this I was exposed to some of my customers that had already deployed Nutanix and spoke highly about the product. Secondly I was very impressed at the rate that Nutanix was innovating and moving their product forward. There was a constant and face pace of new features and performance improvements and this kept my attention.
The senior and mid-level leadership that I was exposed to during the process and through other avenues was very impressive. They communicated their vision and always handled themselves professionally even when things looked like they would not work out. Some of these same people have been labeled incorrectly due to their interaction publicly when battling with competitors, but how they handled our interactions and more importantly how they have worked with other employees that have been there for years is what really mattered.
The fact that Nutanix already has a large number of other VCDX’s employed already had no positive effect, in reality it probably caused me to look at them more closely. While I highly respect the VCDX certification, I tend to look at the quality of the people and talent over a certification label. Also the fact that me having my VCDX never came up in our discussions along the way was also a positive, I never felt like Nutanix was trying to collect numbers for some artificial reason.
Beyond all of this it was some sage advice that my loving wife offered me that really got the ball moving. She had heard discussion over the past year and had noticed that when I worked on projects or assisted with sales campaigns that involved Nutanix that my excitement was elevated. This along with paying close attention to the recruitment and interview phase she knew it was the right place for me to go new. Also leaving one day to pick the kids up from school she noticed that she was wearing a Nutanix hoodie, carrying a travel mug and phone charger all with the Nutanix brand made the statement that hell I already advertise enough for them you should just work for them.
I can say that I’m very excited to take on the new challenge of tech marketing and learning everything that I can about the inner workings of the Nutanix platform and helping the team reach its full potential. I don’t expect the content that I write about to change much here, but the product reviews that I’ve done on DataCenterZombie.com will be affected by this move to a vendor. I will probably be looking for other types of content to write about there that does not conflict with my day job.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design