All Posts in “@Mike_Colson”

Career Ramblings and Announcements

Soccer is a game of speed and aggressiveness, especially at the youth levels. There is a great deal of strategy and mental awareness that goes into maintaining possession, playing the proper shape and moving the ball down the pitch. I coach youth soccer, two teams currently and I love every minute of it. I have also played soccer since I was a kid, and occasionally get involved in leagues as an adult.

The aggression and speed both apply to making career decisions in IT. Recently I was reading a friends blog post where they talk about their move from operations to the vendor side. With what was going on in my life it really resonated. Sometimes you need to have some inflection and look at what brought you to where you are and where you want to go. But sometimes you have to seize the opportunity in front of you and go after it like a defender attacking the ball.

I used to hire IT people and be a major part of the interview process at the past several jobs. I never asked where someone wanted to be in 5 yrs I asked, what is your career goal. Because it’s more important to understand that someone has a goal in mind. I would also look at the candidates resume and see how they had improved themselves while working at their last employer. Not just forced training but how they went out and did work on their own to gain skills.

My own move to the vendor side was a move from an Operations staff and IT reseller. It was time, but I hadn’t planed beyond that next step of moving to a vendor. I knew it was time but I had no clue what would come next. During my time at EMC I have realized that there are so many cool roles in the IT world. Some that were never exposed to me as a customer or a partner. The position of “Field CTO” was one that immediately caught my attention, and working with people like Paul Austin got me thinking that it was the path for me. I started looking at what I would need to do to obtain that goal. It came to me that experience working with product business units and taking feedback from customers to the BUs and helping to explain and shape the future of the company and product lines was going to take some work.

Ironically there was a confluence of events that led me to where I am today. But regardless of the how, I was presented with an opportunity to join SolidFire as a End User Solutions Architect and have accepted the position. The position is exciting and will challenge me, but the team I am going to work on is what I am most excited about. It reminds me of the vSpecialist team that I am leaving in a lot of ways, a bunch of type A, go getters, who work together, and understand and love community.  I couldn’t be more excited, I have to thank everyone at EMC who made my time here memorable and have taught me so much. I hope to remain in touch and to see you all at the various community events.

Veterans Day a day for Thanks

Veterans day was established after “The Great War”, WWI for those of you who don’t know it by that name. It was established to celebrate those who fought and those who gave their lives in services of their country. For the vast majority of my career I have supported the US government. I have worked with many fine young men and women in uniform and tons who have retired from service. In my family I am one of a handful that didn’t serve in the US Armed IMG_2045Services but I was raised by a Navy Chief and almost all of my uncles, my older brother and most of my male cousins were in some branch of the military.

Today is a day to celebrate the sacrifice that everyone who has ever worn a uniform has made. It is also the day to remember those that have fallen, and the families of everyone who has served.

For those that who want to support the men and women, and families that make these sacrifices, there are many organizations like Wounded Warrior, Homes for Our Troops, and the Purple Heart Foundation. For hiring managers I would recommend reaching out to the folks at Helmets to Hardhats which is a work placement organization for veterans.

Today thank a vet for their service, visit a VA center and listen to the stories of those there. Most who have put on the uniform have a pride in their country, and the simple words of “Thank you for your service” can be enough to put a smile on their face. This isn’t about tech today, today it’s about the people who give more than their share.

Thank you to all of our service people active duty and retired for all that you have done and all that you do.

Technology solutions are like rural restaurants

(Edit note: I have received some feedback that this article may be perceived as negative. That was not my intention at all. Instead I mean this as a way of explaining choice in IT and why choice is good and necessary. Budgets, use cases, opinions, and past experiences drive our decision making and that is ok. So relax and rest assured that you are making valid technical decisions based on your due diligence.)

I was on twitter the other day and someone posed that there are so many choices in storage that they don’t know where to begin to select a solution. I thought about responding duh depends on your workload but I stopped and thought you know maybe I am approaching this wrong.

What if picking a technology is like picking a place to eat? How many of us have been in the car with our family or significant other and the question of “Where do you want to eat?” gets asked? All of us I would assume unless you are a hermit. Then the response is invariably “I don’t know what are you in the mood for?” In cities choices abound, but if that same thing happens in the burbs or the country you may not be able to just yelp it. So you think about the options in your town, you have fast food, the same old chain spots you have been too a million times, the local joints that have good food but the same menu, maybe the new spot that always has a long wait and just ok food as they work out the kinks. So what drives you to the choice?

Well it’s a mix, pressure from your SO, or maybe your mood, or how hungry you are. Each part of that compels you to make a choice, but over time if you were to analyze you probably go to the same handful of places more than anywhere else, because you get consistent quality and service. That’s why those chains and local joints are able to stay in business, and why fast food hasn’t died off, it’s also why the food service industry has one of the highest rates of failures for new owners.

What does any of this have to do with tech? Well the same way you make choices for what to eat is how you make decisions on what vendor to buy with and what tech to procure. Psychology is funny don’t you think? Most vendors also know this; brand loyalty increases customer’s willingness to buy. Just check out this study on brand loyalty effectiveness.

So for all of my bellyaching about workloads and how they drive the right choice, and for everyone’s imagination running rampant about which vendors to buy and who will be around in the next 5-10 yrs. to support it. I would postulate that the old adage that no one ever got fired for buying EMC, Cisco, or VMware is still very much true. EMC has a vast portfolio, and while I openly admit that not every part of it is as sexy as competition at least you know what you are getting.

That’s the worst sales pitch ever, but if you live in the country and only have a few choices of where to eat this makes a lot more sense. Try to tell your wife date night is at a bad restaurant and tell me I am wrong. In the end picking storage with workloads in mind and data protection requirements is still a key ingredient to success, just like agreeing with your SO on where to go for dinner