I’ve joined the Product Management team as a PM. Being a member of a small team (Sunny and a few others), we are given the privilege to plan and drive vR Ops to the next level.
Why did I change job?
As a human being, there are 3 levels of what we do: Job, Career and Calling. Out of 7 billions people, most of us have a job. Those luckier have a career. A few have a calling. IMHO, a calling is when you have a balance among the 3M (Money, Meaning, Merry) of what you do. A calling is not perfect, as it’s a trade off the 3 corner of a triangle. Ideally, the triangle is as small as possible, so you’re close to all 3. To read more, follow this.
Some folks asked how I could get a Product Manager job out of Singapore, since there is no R&D, QA, UX, Tech Marketing, Product Marketing, and Management here.
If you want to know, here is a short story.
This job took me >5 years to vrealize. I’ve been doing vR Ops since 1.0, when it was released back in early 2011. I was one of the first to get trained in Asia Pacific. I remember when David Lavigna trained us in Sydney. I saw how I could apply super metric and custom dashboards to help customers monitor and troubleshoot. Instead of spending a lot of time with vCenter performance tabs, I could simply slice and dice the whole environment.
By 2014, I’d already spent a few years on the product. Customers taught me things they need to monitor or troubleshoot. It’s amazing how much you can learn in production environment vs lab. Real problems, real people. I compiled these lessons learned, gave it a structure, and published my first book on Dec 2014.
In 2014, VMware elected me as a member of the CTO Ambassador program. In my 1+ decade in VMware, this is the best “training” program. It opens door. It gave me trips to Palo Alto and RADIO, where I could develop the relationship with R&D.
Sunny and I brought the material to the world at VMworld 2015. We did 2 sessions, ~600 audience. The feedback told me we’re on the right path. That was the turning point to start packaging the dashboards into an integrated suite.
I continued enhancing the material, and published a second edition of my book in March 2016. Product Management team, who had been super supportive of my work, invited me to Palo Alto, VMware HQ in Silicon Valley. They paid for my first Take 2, and I spent 2 weeks in with R&D team in March 2016.
Kenon took the material and turned it into a program in June 2016. He called it Operationalize Your World. He worked with all the regions in Asia Pacific. Both of us traveled heavily and met many customers and partners. He secured the travel funding and worked with local team to get the event going. I am averaging 150 – 200 days a year since then.
VMworld 2016 was another success. I met even more customers, who convinced me that there is a big market for me to focus on. Post VMworld, Product Management team decided to bring on board part of Operationalize Your World. vRealize Operations 6.4 was the first release where we replaced bulk of existing dashboards. It was released in Nov 2016, and the feedback was very positive. Since then I had been privilege to get involved with the release, giving feedback as basically Customer.
By this time, Sunny had moved to Palo Alto. That changed a lot of things for me, and I benefited from that close partnership. In life, Sunny gave me an experience that 1+1=3. Each of us will have a solution, and after some fight, we end up with a 3rd and better solution.
In June 2017, I was given the chance to spend 2 weeks R&D. It gave the chance to meet more developers. Their eagerness to make the products better, and most importantly how they treated me like a member of the family, convinced me that this is where I wanted to focus. Since then, I’ve been back 2 more times, for a total of 4 weeks. All were kindly paid by CMBU. Yes, they really treated me like a member of the team.
In VMworld 2017, Product Marketing got me to speak in both US and Europe events. That was my first time meeting EMEA customers. Glad to know Operationalize Your World was resonating. In fact, it resonated better than US.
I got a chance to participate in 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7 releases. My main focus was on the ability to customise. If you compare 6.7 vs 6.4, you notice it’s easier to work with the widgets. They have better control, and look more pleasing too. You also have a lot less metrics, hence it’s easier to know what to pick. We also added a lot of property.
In March 2018, R&D invited me to do a Take 3. It is a 3 month secondment where I was part of the Product Management team. Upon completion of the Take 3, they helped to work with my CS management to transfer me. I’m grateful for my management, who gave their blessings and did the transfer with my interest at heart.
Throughout all these years, customers and partners feedback are clear: vR Ops and Log Insight are useful to them, and they want to use vRealize even more. At the end of the day, it is this assurance from them that made jump into the PM role. I’m blessed to have met probably a thousand customers since 1.0 in 2011. Collectively, they educate me, using their production environment as real examples. Their feedback shape my thought, and give me clear guidance on where we should take the products.