💾 I joined NetApp a dozen years ago. Twelve years is forty-eight quarters in corporate speak. When I started my career in the early 2000’s anything less than two years was considered job-hopping, and anything longer than ten years was suspicious.
But there’s a huge difference between having twelve years of experience versus one year of experience repeated twelve times over.
NetApp has been the best university and an MBA, a study of history, geography, psychology; a source of personal growth and development. It’s a wonderful place for a curious person like me. NetApp allows me to Stay Hungry and to Stay Foolish.
Looking back at my corporate career, I joined IBM after I read T.J. Watson’s book. —Yes, I literally phoned them up and asked for a job.
Then I went to CA because I needed more field experience as a sales account manager.
And I moved to NetApp when my former boss recruited me to join him. Best decision ever. (Our founder, Dave Hitz later also wrote a book — How to Castrate a Bull — and I’m sure it inspired people to seek job at NetApp. Or study at Deep Springs College. )
IBM, CA, and NetApp are all so different from each other, they’re worlds apart. And each offered unique learning opportunities.
IBM was my corporate and sales academy. IBM Global Sales School is the best education facility for salespeople bar none. It’s why I joined, and I’d recommend anyone who wants to learn the sales magic to start there.
CA allowed me to field-test the academic learnings from IBM. It was pure sales, no holds barred. But it was too much. Customers were targeted as prey you have to kill to make revenue. No ethics, no moral reservations, no value; it was too much for me. (CA was eventually pronounced The Enron of the IT, and the CEO was jailed for fraud.)
But at NetApp, I found a great company culture, learned about building relationships, winning — and losing — with honor. I found a breeding ground of- and for— great leaders, where creativity, innovation, and fast execution are celebrated. We break things. Success is recognized, mistakes are forgiven. We move on.
Steve Jobs spoke about the intersection of Liberal Arts and Technology, and that’s how it feels to be at NetApp.
So instead of being a job, it’s been a number of gigs, interesting projects, working with wonderful people inside the Company, at our Distributors, Resellers, and Customers.
Re-reading Dave’s book makes me feel part of his story. I worked for and with some of the people he mentions in the book. I messaged some of them while writing this piece. Everyone wrote back. We’ll always be there for each other. And for our partners and customers.
We aren’t the NetApp you used to know; it’s been a long way from that one-trick NAS appliance pony to the Cloud Data Services company we are today. I’m happy for having been on this ride so far, and am super-confident we still have an exciting journey ahead of us.
Go Further, Faster.
Stay Hungry; Stay Foolish.