Startup Check-in week 4

So I’m 4 weeks in to the new gig, and it just keeps getting better.

I’ve had a few colleagues ask me about my experience offline, so I thought I would share my thoughts and opinions on what I look for when it comes to startups.  In case anyone had similar thoughts or questions about the many opportunities that are presenting themselves these days. 

The answer to my last post for me was easy. Yes, I was ready for a startup.  Even more than I knew.  Coming from VMware to an OpenStack shop had me a little nervous but I have had no regrets.  In fact, I was hired here to build a sandbox, an ecosystem around Enterprise OpenStack, working with partners and vendors we see as enabling technologies to build enterprise solutions for the new Datacenter and offer a seemless transition from their current stack, to a hybrid approach to a complete transformation.  

I had no concerns to leave a large company and take the risk of joining a smaller company, a startup, because what drives me is the technology. I want to spend my time with folks that are building tools for the Datacenter that I would use myself.  That’s where my passion is and that’s why I feel in can make a difference in every aspect of product lifecycle. Which became difficult to do at a larger company.  It became difficult to get anything done.  

I’m the kind of person who likes to move fast, and be flexible enough to change directions as needed. I hate to fail, but understand its necessary to succeeded.  I’m wrong about more than I am used to, but as the understanding of OpenStack and Piston’s Enterprise OpenStack grows, and I unlearn some of the traditional enterprise thought processes, the solutions become more exciting to dig into.  Luckily I get to keep some of what I know, and apply that to a new thought process.

I get asked about salary.  Yes they pay me, although if they knew I  would do it for free, they may stop.  With a startup as many know, you become party of the company. Part of it is yours and everyone’s counting on you to own up to that and carry your weight.  Your visible from all angles, succeed or fail, but everyone is rooting for you to succeed, and welcome what you bring to the table. Even if some of what you bring has to be unlearned.  For me, I’ve always feel I know what my “worth” is.  And if I’m in that range, I’m happy.  I think it’s important that you know your value and what you bring to the team.

You have to take into account I decided to enter a world that was somewhat foreign, from VMware to OpenStack, so my unlearning and relearning process was expected.  And IMHO, brings a more wholistic understanding and overall broader view of the industry and where its headed.  

Sometimes it takes a complete 180 to gain the right perspective and I would encourage anyone to do the same. If you enjoy making an impact, and are looking to have your voice heard, roll up your sleeves, eat a little humble pie and jump in.

It goes without saying, research, research the company, the founders, the investors, and the current staff. Where did they come from, what have they done, because they will be doing the same about you.  Any company that is slow to hire is looking for the right talent rather than hiring for warm bodies.  A luxury most larger companies don’t have and will end up re calibrating at some point in the vein of workforce reductions and moving functions to lower cost geographical locations.  Which, btw, they should think about before mass hiring folks to then run the risk of moving thier positions, usually somewhere you won’t want to go.

Was it discouraging to be part of a re calibration RIF?  A little, but before I came to VMware they outsourced our IT Dept. and I ended up at VMware.  Without the nudge, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity and possibly the one I have now.  

So I look at change as an exciting opportunity to try something new, and figure out how to make that valuable to the team.

I’m attending my first OpenStack Summit this week, being an 8 year VMworld veteran, and am looking forward to the relationships and sharing of ideas.

I will let’s you know how it goes. 

More on the Piston Enterprise OpenStack v2.0 Open Beta to come as well.





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