Working for a Vendor – Part 3

I found this gem in my notes – it must have been written in a delirium or after a few wines at the pointy end of the plane. It happened to in the past

I am currently sitting 40,000ft above sea level over the Pacific Ocean as a write this. I am returning from the inaugural NSBU Tech Summit. This week-long event was a chock-a-block pack week of technical sessions, team building events, and a whole variety of opportunities. We got to see the direction of the business unit, company, and our next minor release (that really is a major release) slated for release soon.


This opportunity allowed VMware NSBU SE’s from all the geographies to get together in the one room and one timezone to co-mingle. There are massive benefits to forming relationships with people from other geographies. Customer requirements vary from Geo to Geo. What I do in Australia is very different to those in EMEA, NASA and SEMEA. Having talks about what works and doesn’t work expands an individual’s mind about how to approach different situations, both technical and business oriented.

Business Dynamics

You have an opportunity to learn how the business works. You seen the conduits from the Technical product marketing team to Product Management. You start to understand how people interact. We had an NSBU all-hands that saw Martin Casado and others talk about the current state of affairs. We had engineering in the room with Solution Architects, Systems Engineers and more. What was great was the engineering team jumping over the SE’s asking about work they’ve developed and how it is received by the field. Pretty cool. As an engineer you want to see that what you’re working on makes a different. It also allows SE’s to give critical feedback to the engineers. A feedback loop. What also happens is that relationships are formed. It means the next time you email someone they have a mental image of conversations.

Some call this brain-washing

Many may argue that this is Kool-Aid slurping. I, like many within all vendors, have strived to maintain a technical independence whilst working at a vendor. I am not shoving anything down anyone’s throat just because it’s there. I am also noted deluded to know I am not solving ALL THE THINGS with NSX. I openly tell my customers that – many who may read this could attest. How you use your learning is very important. How you apply knowledge correctly is very important too. Whilst training and education sessions are extremely welcomed, a career driven individual will learn what they must to succeed. Vendors that put these internal events on for their staff yield benefits of their coal face employees – those that work with customers daily. System Engineers sharing war stories, Product Managers getting direct feedback in person, or Technical Product Managers getting into heated chats about the best way to do Ingress optimisation – what ever it is you get out what you put in.

What does this have to do with vendor life?

I am of the belief that you make your own luck and that you anything that happens is part of hard work. Life inside a vendor gives you plenty of opportunities. Not everyone is cut from the same cloth. We all have strengths and weaknesses. A team needs to be a rounded, multi-faceted tool that delivers value to customers. Working at a vendor lets you learn what you want to learn along with what you need to learn. You are given access from high level right through to engineering. Just bring your floaties – it is going to be a deep dive!

Shout out to our VP Dom Delfino for investing in our team. These events don’t happen without many pieces of the puzzle coming together. APJ is a long way from the mothership and we definitely felt right at home at Mountain View. Thanks!

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