How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?
Summarized By: David Roth on Sat Oct 17 2020
There's a lot to cover with that question, so I'll try to hit the main points and anything else you want to know feel free to ask. I've been in this industry for over 30 years and that doesn't include the work I did as an intern while I was in college which was where my journey started. I grew up in the beginning of the PC era. When the very first apple computer was invented and the original PC. I had some pretty great engineering minds in school with me. A fraternity brother of mine is Marc Benioff who is now the CEO of salesforce.com. He was writing code for Apple out of the fraternity house, and this sparked my interest. I actually never owned a computer before and and it motivated me. Especially also back then, the school discounts were insanely good from Apple to make it so affordable for college kids to get their hands on those early computers. So that's why I started working with computers and then I started looking for internship work I could do to learn more in this space. I should make it clear that I went to college on a music scholarship as a musician that performed jazz trombone. It turned out there's a crossover between science, technology and music skills. Everything that I was picking up with technology early onI was learning on my own when it came to computer. Back to my search for an internship, I landed a part time role with IBM while I was in school, and I use that internship to get my hands on more information and access to new technology. I would offer the help to the field engineers and wouild ask what could I help with tomorrow and whatever tomorrow's installation was, I would bring back binders of material (this is before the internet) to the fraternity to read up on everything that I'd need to know to do installs on a system I had never worked with before such as an IBM System 36 Installation. I adopted a philosophy of learning by doing. I think a combination of interest, passion and just being willing to put the work in. This wasn't painful because I thought it was fun. It was interesting. IBM ended up hiring me out of college and the division I worked for was sold to New York New England exchange the phone company in New York (NYNEX). I still worked with all the people from IBM as we all came over on the acquisition. I got very, very fortunate that there was some large companies that were unassigned that I was able to get assigned to me. They were assigned to me basically because nobody thought they were winnable. I was cold calling on some huge companies, including the Walt Disney Company. Unisys was their main vendor and there was strong centralized purchasing relationship that they didn't. The procurement department liked them, but the business groups actually did not get their requirements adderessed. I spent my time addressing anything that they needed to learn about regarding new technology to help innovate at Disney or give them new technical advances. I made my living on medium business deals, then I would spend all of my extra time paying attention on Disney to get them access to new technologies that they were interested in. I earned the trust and confidence of the business groups and within a year of this effort they went through a massive decentralization which opened things up for the first line of businesses put out RFP's to select their own providers. The first one I won was a new dvision called Disney Consumer Products. It was the fastest growing division. I actually met Microsoft and a number of other companies because of this Disne relationship. All vendors had to go through my IBM team to demonstrate their new technology. As IBM was expereiencing tough times at the end of the 80's, I had offers from HP, Microsoft and Apple. I decided to accept an offer to go to Microsoft in late 1989. I remember taking a pay cut and having dinner with my father where he told me what a horrible decision. At Microsoft over five years I did a range of work including building out go to market channel programs for third partys including consulting firms from small regional players to global SI's, ISV's to enable them to standardize and build service offerings on top of Microsoft Windows.My last role there was on the Financial Services team where I focused on the insurance industry for a few years, taking companies off of IBM OS/2 moving them to Microsoft Windows NT which was nw. And so that basically meant we worked really closely with Windows Team in Redmond, Washington, along with SVS that built vertical industry software just for insurance companies. Because we need to make sure that if if I'm gonna move all these systems to a new environment, I need to make sure all my applications that run, you know, that that that business will work. My time at Microsoft was probably my biggest motivator to shape my future to not only being a technologist but also my path to the entrepreneur world. I went on to help build five software companies over 20 years before doing what I'm doing now at Trend Micro a global leader in the security space where I've done global alliances, business development and went on to lead the Northeast US team. To be in the tech industry it's a great fit for people with curious minds and people that love to learn as change is constant so there are always opportuntities to learn. So anyway, that's a long answer to your questions, but hopefully that helped.
What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? What are the top three priorities? What are weekly work hours like?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
So So this was kind of There's a good perfect leading from where I left off is this is my today, um e kind of mentioned the size of the team, but what I basically am responsible for is customer success with security products. So Trend mic and specifically when I say customers, success trend has a lot of products. It's a multibillion dollar company that's a 30 years old and so so really, what happened with you know, there's a lot of different groups that conserve a number of areas. So our area is enterprise, Um, basically meaning sizeable businesses up and down the east coast of the United States. Um and what? What we you know, the family of products that are specific to enterprise from our company, um, are really broken into three areas, all wrapped around a kind of, ah research threat defense interconnection that we don't really charge a fee for. But it's the benefit of like how often it kind of feeds into one big data lake of visible. And so we, uh, we break these three areas into network and user end user protection and cloud hybrid out, and so probably the highest growth area for us has been the cloud space, Um, and and the notion about trends philosophy is make, you know, our missions to make it safe for the sharing of digital information. That's been like a 30 year old mission statement and a za guy who built companies before. I have a lot of respect, By the way, are co founders still run the company? A woman named Chan is the CEO, and, you know, I think it's awesome that the company created such a timeless message. And it's timeless because the bad guys are always looking for a new entry point toe. Hack and Thio take control to get access to data to get access to system. And so no matter what you think you've done a good job at tomorrow. There's always a new entry point to protect and figure out, Um, so So, basically, if that's kind of the mission, if the responsibilities the customer success, then I have team members. Basically, my life is consumed with how do I ensure that I make a team of people a successful if it's possible, But during that mission of making our clients safe and doing so in a way that delight thumb. So that means that there's pre sales people. There's post sales people there, So it's a pre presales engineering post sales engineering service. There's a whole operational team that supports the client relationship, But behind the scenes, um, there's inside sales. Besides outside sales, there's, uh, you know, there's marketing. There's channels so not doing everything completely by ourselves, but also knowing how to enable organizations that are in the market of servicing and supporting customers with security products. How do we have that in our relationship happening? A swell as, um and what I meant on that front includes bars, resellers, various types of service providers, MSP, SMS, SPS. You know, there's a C s peace cloud service providers, all these different service provider models. And then there's actually even the platform players and partnerships that we have technology technology, like integrating to Amazon AWS integrate with Google Loud and Microsoft Azure. So having specialists that all support these areas of expertise so that the clients can get an accelerated speed to benefit and awareness eso that describes my current day in the life the top three priorities would be ensuring that you know we are, you know, actually, probably best way toe to think about how I always measured, and this is for what I do now. But it's also how I ran. Being a CEO of startups is I would measure my top three things in a triangle, and it's all centered with the word value being centered in the middle of the triangle. On on one arm of the triangle. It says customers and partners on the other side as employees. On the bottom side, it says investors. And so that's my my obsession or my focus. And my time is out of everything I'm doing within a day. How am I delivering value and the value being measured by each one of these groups? So not me saying that I believe I've ever value to them. But there's ways to have round trip feedback that they truly gained value. Um, you know, from those three areas, I'll say in my time and trend, I probably have not zero amount of interaction on that third one when it comes to the shareholders. When you're the CEO that I've been in the past as a startup CEO, then you're It's definitely a top three that you have to put a lot of attention into? Um, yeah, I'd say I'd say each one of those Others are ones that, um I kind of consider my top three priorities. My my weekly work hours. Um, it's a it's a full week. I mean, I basically say that, you know, I always start my day when it's dark. Um, because I think the earlier you start, the fresher you are and you're usually getting our two and ahead of the competition or ahead of other people. Um, also, I'm dealing with many of us are many of us will, um, um deal with a very global and flat world. And that basically means while you're sleeping, somebody else was up doing something, and so so, you know, that's kind of what my hours tend to be like as I start when it's dark, because I'm trying to catch up with somebody's end of days might be today. And then, um you know, I definitely find that the especially during co vid my answer to the question about how those hours are spent. He's got way more, um, maximized and and it's it's actually a challenge for not only myself but for teams, and put it from a leadership perspective to ensure people taking time off or knowing how are one step away from screens like the one we're on together with this communication right now, because I think when working from home and we're on screens, we almost forget when to stop working. And it almost been. And people also confined ways. Toe book your time way faster versus when I'm driving places or getting on airplanes going places. So anyway, that's what I would describe the hours and so forth, I'd say, Um, even though I put a lot in for four terms and what I do in a big company, Um, for anyone who does have the ambitions that they spend in a startup, they should expect very often. When you're part of a much smaller team, you end up having to just do whatever it takes. So it was very normal during a lot of my startups, where it's a 67 day week type thing, and not just a five day. What time does it start? What time does it end? You just you're doing what it takes to make the startup successful
What are major challenges and pain points in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in overcoming them? Discussing examples will help students learn better.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
being in the tech industry, it's always important. Remember that tech by itself isn't a magic bullet and doesn't just instantaneously. Um, you know, change the world and it's a fundamentally, um it's important to respect that people process as well as technology all need to come together. Sometimes that process side is is cultural. It's not even just and of what have I trained somebody technically on something, conclude a soft skill it could include, like if you think about Dev ops, movement on do things that they came before it like the whole notion of agile development. Um, these were beyond tools and products. They were change of thinking and how folks would build, collaborate, communicate. Um, it's so forth. So I think that, to me is a good example about the challenges and pain. Points is it's like a good news bad news thing. It's a lot of it's good that there's pain I wanted, because if it always just perfect or easy, I guess we wouldn't be needed. But it does. I find that we spend a lot of time identifying problems and challenges as it related to the flow I just described and identify am I dealing with a a specific person problem where either they still issue or like, what's the disconnect? Or maybe there's a process issue. We actually aren't working as a team the way we thought we were supposed to, or how, maybe even as it relates to a partner or an end customer, what's the status of, you know? Is it more about communication expectations and so forth? Then there's pure product challenges around. You know, maybe we build something amazing. Maybe it's scaled for quite some time to what we expected. But for every innovation, there's kind of value curve, and there's even an ability for it to live up to its promise where it will go linear, especially again, if you architect right. And if you can keep up with the tweaks the architectural right, you're gonna manage that linear shift. Really, that linear growth really well, but it won't stay on top of it. You have a few risks. One is the need value alignment starts the plateau, and if you let it hit plateau before you've reinvented, it's too late. So it's kind of hearing out that's a problem or challenge statement around. How are you working with the client, the clients the market aligned with product people about being up with that. And then the other part is like I mentioned, sometimes you're on that value hypergrowth rocket ship, and it turns out you thought you had enough architectural bandwidth and flexibility to the scale you wanted, but you didn't and feel those air those air on one hand. You could say these air good problems, but these were also potential problems that can knock you out of business if you have. If you got a hot online gaming company and you built the coolest online game and suddenly in the midst of its launch and growth, it just goes, it goes down, it's out like the gamers were kicked out of the experience there. There are online gaming companies that have been knocked out of business for for that dead air time for that time of, of losing the gamers when they had them on the right up. And so you know, I'm always a big fan when it comes to some of those challenges. Discussions to try Thio almost over architect er, almost over engineer to beyond what like let's say you have a business goal, I would almost hedge 30 40% beyond that business goal to your technical architecture, er so that you don't get something that you don't have the time to save yourself from that that you might not recover from. So So that that kind of some ideas around what the challenge is, what are the approaches to address? Addressing them? Um, you know, you know, if if I were to give you one of my favorite, you know, startup examples also, um, we had Ah, crazy great growth going on with a combination of a freemium SAS model for a like a born in the cloud Any and all applications performance products. So anything you were doing in the cloud it could actually think of it is like an emery of knowing inside and out the behavior of any application stack you could be delivering in any cloud. You could be delivering it in. Um and so it was popular quickly. It went into thousands of customers in the first year. Um, it was according 50 countries within about a year. Um and we did. And especially when it came to the Freemium side, it was much bigger number than that. Um and so but one day we had a push that took place that accidentally shut down by us. We accidentally ourselves took down the entire Freemium client base, World War Worldwide. And so I basically in one of my systems, received an alert from home that we were down to a number of zero of active freedom customers. Now somebody might hear the story and go. This doesn't sound like that big of a problem, because at least you didn't lose to do this to your paying customers. Um, the problem is, the notion of freemium is your building and earning trust by what you're doing. And not only do we shut them down, but the developer push that accidentally created this break also created an alert to the client that made it look like they were not going to be turned on again unless they gave their credit card For the paid version, it looked like manipulation. It looked like we were strong, strong arming the market to say we've out of nowhere decided to shut down Freemium and instantaneously. If you want help, you gotta pay us and again to be clear that was not The notion of this mistake's being such a mistake. That was never even a thought or discussion anywhere. It just was a true, honest issue when one and frankly, the dude that that pushed this code was one of our best developers. Really awesome guy. Remember hiring him out of college out of a PhD program at Columbia University, And he he felt horrible, and it was just It just was simply he had no idea, no idea. He was doing what he said. What? He ended up triggering. But he also didn't even realize what he was tricking. Ended up doing it to that entire crew. Um, final part of this was it was the only way for that. For any of these clients to come back is they actually had to restart the agents on their side to then reopen up communication to the SAS solution. So not only, you know, even to get them back for free, they actually do something versus us being able to centrally just turn it off. So the answer How he did it is I contacted every single one of these companies personally worn by one of the CEO of the company and in a couple of days, completely end to end to reach every customer. And I did it with a combination of emails and phone calls. But even from an email, I called every single location as well. Yeah, and my notion of this was I really believe that social media could have killed us that day, that meaning that we would that we would have deserved it. We would have deserved it. But the note that now that we live in the Twitter age and all the other, even more modern tools than Twitter now that exist, that didn't exist from when the story went on, Twitter alone could have just blown up that look how company is they did. This is a switch. So my point is of sharing the story. Problems will happen. Sometimes they even happen with really good people, some of your best people involved, and not about always completely preventing every problem from ever taking place. It's about the culture of how to deal with those problems as they happen and ensure that under the folks understand that mistakes will take place. But you re want more heartburn than yeah, by the way,
What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Sat Oct 17 2020
the world beyond Beyond getting his flat as I described how global the Internets made everything, um, the generational. I mean, I think I might have been part of an earlier. Maybe even you go back to Bill Gates leaving Harvard to start Microsoft. And there's other example, right, Steve Jobs, obviously in his path. So But by the time, by my third startup, I did five by my third start up, and I was like seven a CEO get together in, you know, with with Venture Capital people. I started myself abnormally old and my favorite example of that was I at one dinner. This is probably my last year. That last start up before I joined trend was that a that two seats away from me with somebody who is still living in a dorm room and so so So my my point for bringing up that story is the world has learned that there's amazing people, amazing brains out there and capabilities and ideas, and I think anybody hearing this should know they could be anything they want to be. And I'm not telling you to say that everyone should become a text CEO or startup person themselves or whichever what they is. The speed of accessing opportunity in the world is moving faster and greater. Um, and as long as you aren't afraid of learning new things, trying new things and and being a part of again, it's it's that notion of your passion and ability and interest toe learn. Um, obviously, things that you could bring to the table sooner than later helps on what you can land. Um, and I also think about, you know, getting exposure to people that are doing things every day. That looks like it's what you like to do building. I'm a big fan of advisory relationships, mentorships. So I think finding mentors in your life, you know, and, uh, taking in as much Aziz you can from from these things, I think. But I think don't underestimate the opportunities people will give you, um, to be a part of things or to contribute one of the one of my greatest opportunity, one of my greatest hiring, um, strategies. What played out so well in the startup world from some amazing young talent was, um, how much they were excited to move the needle to not just work on hard things or interesting things and so forth. But they wanted to know what they were gonna work on was gonna really matter. And and that's something that people hearing that should know is that there's so many opportunities for that toe happen in companies of all sizes. Um, but I know right now and and trend, we've actually done more and more things around internship programs that actually is a pipeline to roles and in various forms. We've done this on the technical on the business side, and we've done it globally. We've done it in Cairo, Brazil, Canada, us and and so I think doing. And by the way, one of things that's great about finding programs like this is you do it right or you joined some of these things that are really well done. It's not just a pipeline or a place just feeding into one place. It feeds into an ecosystem, right? We find people that graduate, thes internships and go into readiness for full rolls, going two partner firms and customers, and not just into ourselves as a vendor manufacturer, you know, and so forth. So I think that's my recommendation on this and my parting advice the do's and don't I do think, um, I'm translating. What? Not to dio. I do think finding ways, Thio, stay humble, because the harder you do a number of these things or more, you hustle. The more you still have to find ways, toe, listen more than talk. Ask good questions. Um, and and and and basically, uh, you know, I don't know. I guess the I think at times, and this is more of a peppy for myself and I'm not sure this is gets people into trouble everywhere. But sometimes people get do a great job on passing tests, becoming certified at things, and therefore they're really good answer people. Um, and a number of places I grew up from from my Microsoft upbringing to what we did in a number of my startups is you find that could be a lot of cultures they're gonna look for Look beyond the answer of the question. But the thought process Show me you're a problem solver. Show me what happen. It's like she, like, be comfortable showing your code. Be comfortable showing even if it's if it's got pros or cons. Don't be defensive or worry about it. So I think the more people are E. I guess that's my feeling about the don't as I would try to be as open minded as possible and not so religiously aligned on Ley to saying I'm just gonna be a specialist. That's one thing I have so many great answers that people are just gonna always respect me and hire me because of my certifications and my quick answers, I would say your your contributions, they're gonna be way better. And you're gonna have much more longevity if you can show what kind of learner you are and participate in problem solving not just by yourself, but in a team fashion. Um, So anyway, those are probably my key takeaways for now, Yeah.