tl;dr = Rubrik is excellent tech with amazing people, I wanted to stretch myself, and am super excited.
So much for holding the punchline, eh? Let’s double down on that then…I am incredibly excited to be starting with Rubrik on November 14 as their first Technical Marketing Manager reporting to Chris Wahl (you might have heard of him).
Now, shall we back up a minute?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware that I took some time off to travel with family and for the last 2 months have conducted a pretty intentional job search. If not, read this blog post.
It’s been a lot of fun frankly – catching up with lots of professional contacts & friends along with meeting lots of new people. My goal was to do more than just look for a job but chat with lots of worthwhile folks and broaden my industry knowledge. In doing so, I turned up an amazing amount of opportunity – multiple opportunities across the manufacturer, partner, and customer landscape. If you’ve got a similar background and are looking for something, let me know – I might be able to put you in touch with some folks. I did very seriously consider some other opportunities and have a huge amount of respect for the folks at some other companies I pondered joining – can’t say enough to thank all the people who spent time chatting, interviewing, and considering me for a position.
As I looked across the landscape, I kept coming back to wanting to stretch myself – I guess Gallup StrengthsFinder having “Learner” as #5 is correct. I’ve been on the customer side and I’ve been on the partner side — I’ve not worked for a manufacturer nor in a Valley startup (although Varrow was a startup on the partner side).
And then I heard that Rubrik was looking for good folks…
Backup and Recovery – really? Well…
I started off my IT career running a Backup Exec environment, later Tivoli Storage Manager (admin and rebuilt from scratch), along with a lot of Avamar + Data Domain at Varrow. Let’s say that Backup and Recovery isn’t historically the most exciting field – there might be a reason the most junior person often gets stuck with backup tasks. That’s what happened to me in my first IT job actually out of college.
At the same time, I’d heard enough about Rubrik over the last year from people I respect to know they were doing something outside the norm. After digging in more (go watch all the Tech Field Day videos if you want to do the same), it became clear they’re approaching this differently.
Simply put, SLA driven data/backup policies, declarative vs. imperative, hyperconverged hardware + appliance + software, custom VSS provider, flash + hard drive + cloud for data, fully API-driven, cloud friendly, much larger long term vision (no, I don’t know all of it yet…I know enough to find it fascinating). Does that sound like “boring backup stuff” to you?
Will there be blog posts about Rubrik in the future? Most likely….I blog and tweet about what I encounter throughout my day. I’ve tried to stay authentic + credible no matter what technologies I’m working with. And…it’s not like I could convince you to buy Rubrik in a “job change” blog post nor will I try. Rubrik’s website is here and Chris Wahl linked to a lot of good community blog posts around Rubrik when he announced his position last year (plus made a fun video….sorry, no fun video for me).. I’d really recommend reading Chris’s post as well as lot of the posts he linked to. Scott Lowe’s post in particular was quite good along with multiple really good posts by Chris Gurley (first a customer of Rubrik and now a Rubrik SE).
What I will say is – we all make career bets each time we change jobs. I’ve made mine and am excited about it.
Really…marketing?!?! Have you sold your technical soul yet?
Ironically, this is part of what excites me. I love telling stories, I love communicating, I love interacting with people. Do I like doing based that around technology? You better believe it. Technical marketing as a role is a bit mushy at times but the best definition I’ve seen so far is “providing content that resonates with a technical audience”. Simply put, I can’t do that without staying technical both at an architectural as well as hands on level — hard to write and present well on things I’ve not dug into. I’ve already read through a ton of Rubrik collateral + customer blogs and have a lot of questions written up to explore with sales, presales, product management, product marketing, corporate marketing, etc.
The other way I think of it is….I’ve worked as a technical person with sales teams for almost a decade now and not lost my technical soul (or at least not all of it). I’ll now be working with marketing teams in a similar fashion – just as the best sales reps I worked with made me more aware of sales concepts, I fully expect to learn more from marketers who are masters of their craft and am excited about that. At the same time, I hope to share a bit of my technical soul with them and fully expect the skills I’ve learned as an SE/manager/director to be highly applicable in this role.
Sidenote: if looking at technical marketing, I’d recommend “Smart Marketing for Engineers: An Inbound Marketing Guide for Reaching Technical Audiences“. I read it this week – quite good.
And yes, I’m excited to learn – have been doing a ton of reading, thinking, stretching my brain in ways that feels good.
Finally, while this is a bit over the top, during the interview process I created this post – graphic design credit to my wife but I wrote the text. It came about after Chris and I were chatting about how Marketeer sounded so much cooler than Marketer – I riffed on that idea and just kept going.
If any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments or via Twitter – would love to chat as always.