Making the Leap to SimpliVity

My latest story starts with a simple DM to Matt Vogt about a month and a half ago, who at that time had recently moved over to SimpliVity:

SimpliVity Tweet

This message came from two movements in my life:

  1. Lamenting the good old days of Vital Support Systems when the company had less than 100 people and more of a startup feel. There were all-company Christmas parties, no politics and a “whatever it takes” attitude.  The acquisition by a Fortune 500 company and formation of the 650+ employee OneNeck obviously changed that.
  2. Getting really interested in SimpliVity’s technology offering.  I started investigating the hyper-converged market at VMworld 2013 and became very intrigued with the possibilities. Since then, I’ve found lots of customers that fit the concept perfectly, particularly the backup and replication features built into the OmniCube architecture.

That one message led to a series of phone conversations that never really felt like interviews. In fact, one of them started with “I’ll be honest with you, it’s my job to convince you to come work for us.”  Those phone conversations led to a job description titled Technical Marketing Manager and an offer letter. And believe me, those dominoes fell FAST.

The job description was based around three things that excite me immensely:

  • Technical writing (blogs, whitepapers, reference architectures, videos, pre-sales enablement, etc.)
  • Remote/online demos of the product to support pre-sales activities
  • Community building and social media activities (including attending VMUGs)

Along the way, I honestly tried to find the dark clouds inside of all the silver lining, but then items like this would pop-up (which is a pretty big deal for such a young company):

SimpliVity MQ

And then this came out:

SimpliVity Employer Profile

As I realized how serious this series of events was becoming, I confided in a few people I trusted locally and in the industry and received nothing but positive feedback, both about the company and how well I’d do in the role.  It was almost universally a message of “that company has been looking for you for quite awhile.”

How could I say no?

Two weeks ago, I gave my current employer (OneNeck IT Solutions) notice that I had accepted a job with SimpliVity.  Internal reactions (the internal announcement email is a story all its own, but I’ll a save that for a bar story at VMworld) ranged from “NOOOOOO!!!!!” to “Who is this Brian Knudtson guy? We need to apply the ‘Blood in, Blood out’ rule!” (yes, that was a joke) Overall, it has been overwhelmingly positive.  When you’re offered such a perfectly fitted job, people definitely get it.  I’ve been blessed to have spent the last 6 years with people who can see that and be happy for me.  The positivity I’ve gotten from them has made the last two weeks much easier than I expected.

I think it goes without saying that this was a very difficult decision.  The team at Vital Support Systems (and now OneNeck) have become family over the last 6 years, moving away from family is always hard.  I have to give up the many non-manufacturer partner benefits, the biggest of which is being a member of VMware’s Partner Technical Advisory Board.  Since Simplivity more or less competes with just about every other hardware manufacturer out there, it means having to step away from so many business (but hopefully not personal) relationships I’ve built up over the years: HP, EMC and Cisco being at the top of that list.  Writing for TechTarget is also going to have to end.

In the end, I think the scales were clearly in favor of this next step.  I’m super excited about this opportunity and I think the company is going to be phenomenal.  I want to be a part of their success and hopefully have a direct impact on it.

So what happens now?  On Sunday I jump on a plane to Boston to jump directly into the fray: 3 days of global sales kick-off and HR on-boarding, followed by a day at the Indy VMUG.  Then I expect to be neck deep in VMworld planning along with all the other craziness that happens the first month with a new company.  I will be based out of my house, so the Omaha area will still be considered home.

I’ve experienced VMworld as a customer and as a VAR.  This will be my first time as a manufacturer/sponsor of VMworld.  *gasp* BOOTH DUTY!

Wish me luck!