As I sit here on a flight to San Jose, CA where I will be attending a week-long training course with Palo Alto Networks, I find myself with exactly five hours and 31 minutes to reflect on my journey over the past seven months. In January, I left the comforts of my position as a senior sales representative with a well-known print marketing company to pursue the new challenge of a career in technology. It’s felt like drinking from a fire-hose.
My first few months were a real test. We got right into it. Disruptive, scalable, redundant, cloud-based, hyper-converged, single sign on, big data, IoT, analytics, Flash, dev-ops, software defined data centers, next gen. everything, and cloud (did I mention cloud?) technologies. I heard more acronyms in my first week than I heard growing up with a father in the ARMY – that’s hard to top. After leaving the office each night, I would return home and regurgitate my newly acquired knowledge to my wife, bless her heart. Lots of nods and smiles. It was almost as if it was an effort to convince myself that I understood. Somewhere between ten certifications and a ton of executive presentations and partner meetings, things began to come into focus. I became able to understand how technology affects businesses, how it helps organizations drive their competitive advantage, and hopefully distances them from the legacy break-fix IT model.
About a month back, I landed an appointment with a large engineering firm. During our initial conversation with their CIO and SVP, something clicked; about halfway through the call, I found myself completely comfortable. Suddenly we were speaking the same language. People talk about ‘ah-ha’ moments a lot. This was one of them. The conversation spanned about 45 minutes, and we touched on points across their technology stack including critical applications, their virtual environment, endpoint protection, and firewalls to data backup and recovery. We spoke in detail about their need for secure mobility in their efforts to support engineers reporting data in the field and how they retrieve and backup this data. We are now putting together a proposal with our partner VEEAM to help simplify and improve their backup strategy. Pretty cool.
Here comes the philosophical, “put it on a bumper-sticker” part. I notice that I have not only gained invaluable knowledge about business and technology, but somewhere between challenging myself and stepping out of my comfort zone, I have become a better husband and father in the process. Funny how that works. I wake up with a motor driving me to learn more, try something new, and push myself just a little bit harder. It’s pretty clear to me that the more you embrace change and the less you allow fear to drive you, the more opportunity you uncover to grow. Be careful, it’s addicting.