<< Originally posted at: vmware.com/go/mikeroy-journey >>
A wise man once told me that success is part opportunity, part timing, part preparation, and finally, part luck. I add to that list risk and willingness to embrace change.
Coming from a unique and diverse background, I often struggled with a career path that didn’t quite fit who I was. I was very happy as the SysAdmin (Systems Administrator) at a small data center in Toronto, when a unique opportunity came across my lap. That opportunity quickly fell through: the company presented me a false view of their own stability and went belly-up two months after I relocated from Toronto, about 20 days from Christmas. So, I went work for a local Apple support center.
But in 2009, opportunity happened. A teammate of mine got an interview at VMware for a new Fusion support team, and they needed Apple experts. A thorough interview later, they offered me a position, and we moved to create what I consider the best support team with which I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
We not only had a strong technical group (most of whom by now have moved on to more technical roles in and outside of VMware), but we also had a synergy that I’ve not seen outside of VMware Global Support. We helped each other out to balance our workloads, we shared each other’s knowledge so that we all became experts in our own right, and we knew just how to satisfy the thousands of Fusion customers with from the simplest of things to the complex. It was more than just understanding their problems; it was understanding their situation, what they were really trying to do, and how we were able to help them get there. This meant helping people do things as simple as running QuickBooks on the Mac, to things as crazy as getting sewing machines to work in Windows 95. We worked directly with our Engineering and Product Management team to better the product with direct customer feedback, and they worked with us to help figure out the root causes of the most complex of bugs, all in the name of a superior customer experience.
At one point, I even went on-site to a nearby customer to see what they were experiencing in person, which lead to some fantastic graphics performance improvements that we were able to make in the product. The customer was impressed, and we got valuable input that helped us make better decisions in the end. It felt like a closed loop, and it was fantastically empowering and satisfying.
So, that’s how I started at VMware, but the journey didn’t stop there. I dug in deep. I made goals to visit headquarters in Palo Alto, California and to attend VMworld. I grew into the role as the technical team leader, engaging with product management and the developers behind Fusion.
But everyone was talking cloud, so when an opening came up on the vCloud Support team, with much deliberation I made the switch. I fast-tracked through VCP and vCloud training, cramming more in my mind than ever. Before I knew it, I was taking tickets and helping the biggest enterprises realize the benefit of what VMware had promised through vCloud.
As the months went by, I started to hit my stride, and I loved it. Then, out of the blue, I got an email from a colleague in Marketing: ‘Hey, I’m looking for someone who knows vCloud and Marketing, know anyone?’ Opportunity looked me in the eye… Was I prepared? I suggested that perhaps I would be a good fit, and went through a very lengthy vetting and interview process to finally secure the position of “Product Marketing Manager – Cloud Services”. My managers were more than happy to help me make the move to this new department.
In this role I was able to guide development and marketing efforts for vCloud Connector, vcloud.vmware.com, and the vCloud Service Evaluation. But things didn’t stop there… You see, we were quietly building this thing called a “Hybrid Cloud”. Now, no one knew what a Hybrid Cloud was, but my team was building it, and vCloud Connector was a centerpiece in its design.
So, a year and a bit in, another opportunity came… we needed a Technical Marketing Manager in the San Francisco Bay area to work out of VMware’s headquarters. At the same time I raised my hand, my colleagues also unanimously agreed, “He’s the right person for the job.” There it was… the right person, the right luck, the right opportunity.
I needed to know everything about how a data center works. I needed to know vCloud. I needed to know what drove people crazy about software, and what the next steps in the cloud game were going to be. I needed to manage projects, and speak in front of hundreds of customers without skipping a beat. Turns out, I was prepared.
And so, that’s where I am today. Writing this from my cube at VMware headquarters in Palo Alto, the sun setting on this October day, ready to take on all the opportunities this new and amazing business will present. Mobility is tough in many organizations, and I am unbelievably grateful for the opportunities that VMware has presented me. Ultimately, we can choose to stay content, or we can choose to jump in the deep end with something new, something risky, but something exciting.
To that end, I say that success is a journey, not a destination. Don’t be afraid to take on something that has never been done before, you never know where it may lead you, and you just might have fun along the way.