I’m an EMC’er

Now that I ripped the band aid off (yes, I’m a ripper – I find it best to just get it over with!), I guess I should explain myself.

I worked at Heritage Auctions (HA.Com) for just shy of 10 years.  I can’t say enough great things about the opportunity, the company, the people, and especially the owners there.  Over the last 3 years of my illustrious career, I primarily focused my efforts as VP of IT on converging the data center.  After much research, debate, and negotiation a vast majority of our infrastructure landed on VMware for virtualization, Cisco UCS for compute, and EMC for storage.  And thus, the love affair began.

I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it again – thanks to great partners like Presidio, and a great friend in Tommy Trogden (@vTexan) – we were able to start the transformation of our data center into an amazing tool for the business.  UCS made compute sexy.  VMware is the leader in the hypervisor market for a reason.  And, EMC storage provided drastically needed performance, scale, and availability like we’d never had before.

One of our investments was in EMC’s VMAXe – thanks to some cunning sales work by Aaron Skogsberg (@dweebiak) we ended up with the 16th one off the line after the gigantic enterprise customers grabbed theirs up.  This VMAX was supposed to bring Tier1 to a new sector of customers, making it easier to use / manage / implement / install.  Everything he promised was true, and I was in love (not just with Aaron, but with EMC).   After being asked to be a reference customer, I got sucked into a whirlwind of events that included speaking to other prospective customers, doing roundtables, videos, speaking at Brian Gallagher’s ESD all hands!!!, two Chad’s Worlds, speaking at EMCWorld with Fidelma Russo, speaking at VMworld, and the list goes on.  I even got elected to be part of EMCElect in 2013!  I was in love with the EMC product, I was infatuated with the EMC culture, and I had made hundreds of great friends at EMC.

My staff joked constantly that I was going to leave any day, and I told them they were being foolish.  I had a great job, at a great company, with no reason to leave.  Why start over?  Why take the chance?  Besides, EMC has thousands of customers who love them as much as I do – I’ve seen them all pack into a Bruno Mars concert and come out wearing blinky schwag.  I’d received plenty of calls from recruiters, etc asking me to put myself out there, and I’d always said no, until now.  One day, I got a call asking me to interview at a manufacturer and I said no.  A few days later, knowing that my (now manager) Trevor Starnes was looking for someone, I started that fateful conversation.  The ‘ol “what if I….” and that was all she wrote.  A few interviews and a resume (that I hadn’t written in 15 years) later, and I was in.

I’m excited, and scared, and excited.  I haven’t felt more overwhelmed and useless in my life and I love it.  I’ve got so much to do, and it’s just day 2.

This change isn’t a sprint, but rather one of those awesome hardcore Ultramarathons.  I’m going to document my transition from VP of IT to PreSales Engineer and all of the things I learn between.  From perfecting the art of chest-bumping, to crying at night after some VP of IT tells you that your beloved EMC sucks.  As embarrassing as it is, coming from the Ops/IT world, I’ve already had to visit the local IT support numerous times to beg forgiveness as I’ve been locked out of every system I’ve tried to get into.  I think I’m gunna have to bring him some Hypnotic Donuts tomorrow to make amends.

5 thoughts on “I’m an EMC’er

  1. Jason Battles

    Thanks for your post. I really enjoyed it. After 18+ years in enterprise IT leadership, I joined EMC this summer, and can self-identify with your sentiments “….excited, and scared, and excited….overwhelmed and useless….” I kept wondering how you were writing what was in my head. We should form a club or something. 😉

    I am intrigued by EMC’s approach and am proud to join the team. Each week, I learn something that I wish I knew when I was in my old position. I look forward to your future posts.

  2. Matt Pegues

    Congratulations to you sir and the new venture sounds like it will be an amazing journey.
    Forced growth through challenges is good and sounds like you will have plenty.
    You’ve always rose to the challenges and will again I have no doubt.
    Enjoy the journey and I look forward to the posts about your experiences.

  3. Midad Arif

    Very nice read, I do work which involves pre sales geared more towards the telecom industry. I am planning to dive deep into the world of pre sales especially into the of big data industry. This post instills some much needed confidence into my decision to make the move.

  4. Joe

    Thanks for this post!

    I am in the process of potentially joining the dark side – have 1 more hurdle to clear. I have been in enterprise IT leadership for 20yrs and can already self-identify with your comments “….excited, and scared, and excited….overwhelmed and useless….”

    I am intrigued, interested and feel uncertain about what could lie ahead and what it means for me and my career….. yet with all the homework and conversations – seems like the right thing to do?!

    Jason/Brian – would you be willing to discuss the journey offline?


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