It is the last week of my sabbatical – and I am ready for work . Having never had a month off work since graduating from B school – I can say without a doubt that it was the best decision I could have made. No work email , no conference calls at ungodly hours , waking up in my own bed every day , spending the whole spring break with my daughter , binge watching “house of cards” – two seasons in three days , binge watching “west wing” – all Seven seasons in a week, and touring the wine country in CA with family …the list goes on and on, and I think I am as ready as I can be for my new job . I am practically a new man 🙂
I am off to NY next weekend to get an early start on my new job the following Monday . The last time I felt this kind of excitement was probably when I got my first job after MBA – in Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai . I did not know much about what I was getting into . All I knew was a bit of programming and I had the tendency to make new friends wherever I go. I am walking into the new job at MongoDB pretty much with the same “can code and will make friends” attitude . Hopefully it works ok this time too 🙂
My job is to lead the channels organization for MongoDB – making our partners successful, and via that make our customers even more successful . I did not grow up in my career on the traditional channel organization – my background is in services and consulting . But I have been heavily involved in channel activities for many years as part of my job . I firmly believe that no software company can scale successfully without a great partner ecosystem to support it . That was true in IBM and SAP and I am betting on the same being true for MongoDB as well .
MongoDB does not have many of the challenges of a traditional company – it already has seven million downloads of the software .This is an exciting new world for me . There is a vibrant open source ecosystem that pushes MongoDB forward – and it has serious momentum . I come from a world where we partied for 100th and 500th and 1000th customer – I don’t remember talking in 7 million of downloads in IBM or SAP .
If there is one thing that I admire more about MongoDB than the community aspect – it is the recruiting process . It is a much smaller company compared to my prior employers – but the quality of people will not make anyone believe they count employees in early hundreds . My own recruitment process was unlike any I have had in past. I think I talked to 15 folks at MongoDB – and it never felt like an interview at any point . It was friendly, professional and all cards were on the table . No one pressurized me a bit at any point – and every single question I had was answered honestly . I walked away thinking “wow – I would be really lucky to work with a group of people of this calibre” . Turns out I was indeed lucky and the CEO offered me a job (Thanks Max).
As my team grows – I am hoping to keep the hiring standards at the same high level as I found it when I was offered the job . I already had informal conversations with couple of the folks running channel today – an incredible team with fantastic ideas and energy to match . Which reminds me – if you know any awesome channel folks looking for an exciting and challenging job (and who can stand working with me) , please send them my way .
As an engineer, my first instinct was to check out the product itself . It took me maybe half hour to download the software and do a “hello world”. Then I spent two hours worrying maybe I did not install everything – only to be told later that it is actually as simple as it looks . Once I moved past hello world – my next surprise was the sheer number of drivers. There is a driver for every programming environment . Essentially – I don’t need to learn a new language to start serious coding . It truly is “bring your own language”. There is plenty of online training and forums to get going quickly . I am starting to get an appreciation of why seven million downloads have happened . ( I am sure some % of that is people downloading newer versions etc – but still a more impressive version than anything I have seen in prior life). Since I promised my family to not slave in front of a computer all day – I did not continue playing with the software after the initial try out . I plan to do that as soon as I start the job. I am especially keen to checkout the DBA aspects .
Then started checking around how this stuff is priced . It is quite straight forward – and dare I say inexpensive compared to the enterprise software world I know . Purchasing process is a click through as well – very easy, and you can pay with a credit card . I am not sure if there are limitations for this outside US .
What kind of shocked me was that I saw a volume discount schedule for subscription purchases in their website.
I am used to seeing 50 page pricing briefs – not a half page table on my browser that covers everything . So if I understood this correctly – the sales reps probably do not have the “let me work a deal with my boss to get you some volume discount” thingy in their bag. They have to sell on value and not price ! That is how all software
sales should be – but It is totally against the grain of my experience .
There is extensive online training – something I am sure will come in handy for me as I make friends with our partners . The first “speed dating” appointments I made for my first week in my new job is with my colleague Andrew who leads the education initiatives . On first looks – it seems like the online education is an incredible resource .
As excited as I am about all these things – there is one thing that scares me a lot . No – it is not that I didn’t grow up in the channel side of the house in my career so far . What makes me scared is that I am going to start using a Mac instead of my beloved Lenovo PC