It’s still sinking in that I spent the past week at new hire training for one of the hottest and fastest growing tech startups. I’m joining their federal sales team as a systems engineer. I am humbled by the opportunity to work with so many great people.
Part of the training comprised meeting all of the senior leadership of the company, each giving a 30-60 minute overview of their role at the company and how to interface with them. They definitely have the vision and drive to be disruptive to the tech industry. And passion. It’s not often that you become part of something where everyone you work with has the same passion for the product.
At the end of sales training I went down to a empty conference room on the first floor of Nutanix HQ. As I sat there getting caught up on email that had filled my new mailbox and messaging my wife about the day I was surprised by the CEO of Nutanix, Dheeraj Pandey. He popped in and asked me what I had thought of the training. I told him that it was like drinking kool-aid from a firehose. I realized by his facial expression that what I had said probably didn’t come out right. What I would have said if I could get a do over would be something like that coming from a service delivery role I was a little overloaded with information on sales-y type stuff, but felt challenged to practice and hone my messaging so I could share my passion for the product and company… yeah that sounded sales-y.
Obviously I need some practice. Why would I want to challenge myself by going from service delivery to pre sales? Because I want to share my passion for the technology and be a part of building the future.
As a kid I was fascinated by tech. I was always collecting computer parts and getting old hand me down 486s to connect to the internet. In high school I ran my own web/gaming server in my bedroom. I was passionate about learning technology. More than anything else I wanted to work at the local ISP. I thought if I could get a job there I would be able to get my hands on the latest technology and be part of building the future. I tried to apply for a job there every year. Finally when I was 18 I was able to convince them that I was passionate about the technology they had and they relented / gave me a chance and hired me as a help desk tech.
The helpdesk techs were also given the task of taking all of the new sales calls. We were often asked the question why should we buy your local service for $X when I can get the same service for less somewhere else? I would have rather been asked how to configure Trumpet Winsock to connect using SLIP on Windows 3.11.
After a couple weeks of fumbling for answers I asked my boss for help. He asked me a couple of questions.
- When you call a company, do you like to wait on hold before you are able to speak to someone?
- When your car needs maintenance, do you take it somewhere far away for the work to be performed?
- Do you like being able to know the name of the mechanic that performs the maintenance on your car?
My boss explained to me that the difference between us and our competitors was SERVICE! Our customers preferred our service to our competitors even though we weren’t the least expensive service in town. It was our responsibility to make sure that we delivered that premium level of service or our customers would leave. No matter what we should answer the phone before the call queued. No matter what we should solve our customer’s issue before they got off the phone. We would even let our customers bring their computer into the shop and we would fix their issue for free if we could.
As a Nutanix customer I experienced the same level of customer service and commitment. Just one example of this is when HR hired 1000 additional people and told us they were starting in a week. We panicked. I’m sure Nutanix panicked when we told them we needed to double our order and needed it before Monday. Somehow they pulled through and our hardware arrived in less time then I could have even submitted a PO with other vendors. We met our crazy deadline. Nutanix even sent someone on-site to help install it… at no additional charge! And that is the difference between other infrastructure vendors and Nutanix… the difference is SERVICE!
New hire training confirmed to me, like my first boss so many years ago, the message that customer service is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING extends from the senior leadership at Nutanix. They get it.
That day when I added all of the additional hardware for 1000 unexpected VDI users I recognized I had just seen something that I had never seen before. I powered on the hardware, and a few minutes later I had 1000 additional desktops, without having to configure any LUNs, switches, or cable anything other than power and ethernet. I had seen the future of infrastructure. It was the power of the software defined datacenter. It was webscale. It was the same feeling that I had when I saw vMotion for the first time and thought holy shit! This changes everything! This is amazing! I need to learn all that I can about this technology! This is the future and I need to be a part of building the future!
Two years later Nutanix is giving me a chance to be part of building the future. I will try my hardest to keep up with these amazing people and continue to share my passion and enthusiasm with all of you.