I try to keep away from the corporate stuff as much as I can on this blog and keep it focused on the technical side of the house. But – I have to say that my Joe’s open letter, and the response from colleagues inspired me a bit here. Polly has been cataloging them as they pop up.
There’s some stuff in there that is downright awesome. The posts started to self-generate, and created a bit of a feedback loop.
While they are all great - this one is my favorite: http://natalie.corridan-gregg.com/?p=43
For me – it’s easy. I talked about it in my very first post here.
EMC is a place for me. My love of technology, my passion for talking with customer, colleagues, partners – basically evangelism – they are a great fit here at EMC.
I literally feel like I’m a part of moving a large org – and one that is far, far more nimble than it has any right to be at it’s size, as the 800lb gorilla of our industry. I think that nimbleness is a part of, and derives from the culture.
I’m given what I need – and am held accountable. That combination, coupled with rewards for success – well, it’s a big part of why I spring out of bed every morning.
But - the best story that nets it out for me isn’t actually my story – as fun and fascinating as it’s been It’s the story of one of the people I brought on board a little more than 1 year ago.
When Joe asked me to head up the VMware efforts here at EMC – making sure we were doing what we needed to be to be the “best choice in the VMware context for customers, for partners, and for VMware on our own merits”, he asked me what I would need.
The answer was short and sweet: “It starts with a simple idea. Customer-facing technical folks are the tip of the spear. They design the solutions, they are the ones customers listen to, and they act as the feedback loop into engineering. We need to build and ‘elite delta death commando squad’ of those people.” (I actually said that to the Joe, then called him “dude” :-) These people would be people that live and breathe VMware, develop deep expertise on all EMC’s stuff – and embrace and partner like mad with customers, VMware SEs, partners, everyone. While there was a lot more (engineering, field sales, alliance structure, capital equipment, and much much more) – this was IMO the most important ingredient.
So – a few months later – we hired our first. At the point where this next part happens - he’s been on board for 3 days, and is shadowing me in the field, and at corporate.
I’ve got a meeting in the exec boardroom with the exec team as we’re looking at a potential acquisition, and the engineering teams and I will be batting around the upside/downside, technical value, and where/how we could integrate. Joe started his career as an SE himself, and gets surprisingly engaged in these things, so is heading up the meeting.
As I walk up to the boardroom the new hire is with me, and asks “should I come in there??!?” I shrug my shoulders and say “I guess so - I don’t think it will be a problem….?”
Like all boardrooms, there’s a big long table, and it’s surrounded by chairs around the wall – there are about 6 of us grouped at one end of the table, and the new hire is against the wall in one of the “sycophant chairs”.
The meeting starts, and everyone’s doing quick intros, and you can tell everyone is thinking “who’s that guy in the corner?”. I introduce him and everyone says a friendly hello in turn. It gets to Joe – and I’ll never forget this – with a big smile on his face he says to the guy: “Welcome to EMC! What are you doing in the cheap seats?! Come on over!” - and pulls up a chair right beside him.
ok, so remember – this is a guy, 3 days on the job, in a 6 person meeting with the CEO in the boardroom :-)
So, as we’re talking back and forth (and I was just amazed at the level of technical dialog at senior levels, including Joe on obscure topics) – eventually Joe turns to the new guy and says “what do you think?”
I look at the guy, he looks at me – and I’m nodding - "go for it!” He goes on to say why, in his opinion, we shouldn’t do the deal.
Now – the input was great. I don’t think that it was the only reason we didn’t do the deal, but I do think it was important input and was part of the decision.
If that sounds crazy – you don’t get it. The feedback was bang on. Beyond understanding the fellow’s history to give his comments context, where it came from didn’t really matter. It was technically right. The business rationale was right.
That story nets it out for me…
To me, EMC is a place where the top listens – including to someone who is 3 days on the job.
To me, EMC is a place where pragmatism rules the day – basing decisions on practical rationale.
To me, EMC is a place where everyone is empowered – including someone who is 3 days on the job.
To me, EMC is a place where hierarchy is there only as a “support structure”.
These make it possible for everyone to have the opportunity to do great things.
Is EMC perfect? Goodness no! But perfection is a mirage. I’ve loved every year at EMC, and can’t wait to see what the mysteries and puzzles the future brings.