How to win friends and influence people

Sometimes I’m in a position to influence decisions. I normally base my opinion on the technical detail of a solution, and how it fits current and future business needs. But recently, I’ve realised how much the approach of the sales team comes in to play.

For example, Pure Storage are a joy to work with. They have a very strong product set which very much fits the needs of the business I currently work at. They’re easy to engage with as a company and an account team. We have approached them previously to ask for a solution to a problem, and they have been honest in excluding themselves from the running as the products they have weren’t a good fit. Wonderful. I believe in credit where it’s due, and am receiving nothing for saying this.

Then comes Rubrik. I have never contacted them. In the past 9 months, they have e-mailed me 18 times. 9 times in the last month alone. They have offered to pay me just to talk to them. That feels shady – Your product should speak for itself. How good is your product if you have to pay people to listen to you?

Sometimes I’m in a position to influence a decision, someimes I’m not If I’m ever in a position to influence vendor selection for any product Rubrik sell, I’ll try my hardest to ensure they’re not in the running. You’re never the only vendor available.

KPIs and SLAs – More important than outcomes?

Some time ago I was working in a vSphere role and I got an escalation through about an unexepcted reboot of a host. Sure, we all encounter a PSOD if we’re unlucky. They’re certainly not a normal occurace, and it’s a stop screen where the default config doesn’t result in a reboot. I started looking at the logs, vpxd.log, hostd.log, vpa.log, and so on. There was no indication of any failure. The logs just stopped, then re-started when the host was booting up.

That’s neither normal nor expected. No problem though, keep looking and something will show up. I had a look at the host SEL to see if anything showed up. The host had been rebooted by a user in a different team. Problem solved.

Continue reading KPIs and SLAs – More important than outcomes?

Why are we slowly heading back to inaccessibility?

When the pandemic hit businesses, understandably, panicked. Suddenly the majority of the workforce was remote, and that was a new thing to a lot of companies. How do you manage staff when they’re not sat at a desk you own? How do you know people are working if you can’t see them?

Zoom, WebEx, Teams enter stage left. For me, Teams has been a revolution – You can have a text chat with someone, turn it in to a phone call, a video call, a screen share with no real effort. Wonderful. Collaboration should be this easy, and in 2020 it was.

Industry events that used to be in-person only were suddenly, and hastily, thrown online. Yes, thrown. It’s different to put on an event that is online than one that is held in-person, and a lot of the first events I attended didn’t have time to re-assess how to deliver their content. Those events were painful to be honest, but it was new so nobody is really at fault.

There were a lot of clunky handovers from speaker to speaker, all waiting for the another to give the signal they had finished speaking / it was your turn to speak. There was a surprisingly large number of backgrounds that featured guitars, too.

Continue reading Why are we slowly heading back to inaccessibility?

Do we want to solve problems, or say we’ve solved problems?

I saw the above tweet the other day. It’s fairly amusing, and later I saw a few imply it was the process solution implemented as a result of the Facebook outage on 4th October 2021.

It resonated – How often do we implement solutions without solving problems? How often is a process introduced (‘Do not unplug’) that makes no attempt to solve the underlying problem (Whatever cannot be unplugged).

All too often we focus on implementing a solution without taking a step back to ensure it actually solves the problem. If we ignore all the bad stuff we can only talk about the good stuff, right? A report that’s all green is better than a report that has red on it, right? All that matters is the report, right?

Ostrich management never ends well.