April 15, 2015 proved to have quite a trifecta effect on me
1. Tax day – As always, IRS have taken their annual pound of flesh from my checking account
2. Vishu – a traditional festival of my home state of Kerala, marking the start of zodiac calendar
3. Announcement that I will be leaving MongoDB by the end of April
MongoDB is an amazing technology – and it is of course a successful company with a lot of money in the bank and a lot of customers and users. But none of that is its secret sauce – it is the people in this company that makes it a very special place. We have an extraordinary high quality of talent in the employee base. That is also the part that makes leaving MongoDB quite painful for me.
Max Schireson, who was the CEO at the time, hired me into MongoDB on April fool’s day last year – and it has been quite the ride since then.
I started here as the VP of Global Channels (even played a prank on last April 1st that I am joining as VP of social media, and some folks believed it too ). A couple of months later, I also took over business development function as well and then Global services got added to my portfolio when Dev Ittycheria took over as CEO . Each one was a unique challenge, but I was fortunate to have a team that considered no mountain high enough for us to take. Long story short – we had a blast and the results speak for themselves . I am proud of what the channels and services teams have accomplished and I will be cheering for them as they meet and exceed even bigger goals in future.
I have no doubts that MongoDB will be a hugely successful product and company. There are many possible routes to that success – and Dev and I have two rather different approaches we feel are best for the company to get there. We discussed this at length, and eventually we mutually agreed that it makes sense for me to leave by end of this month after finishing our first quarter. I wish Dev, the leadership team and the board the very best, and look forward to celebrating their success .
The biggest thanks I owe today is to my executive assistant , Kaila Hecht. Without Kaila’s skills managing my schedule (and travel, expenses and a hundred other things) – I would honestly not have done very much productively in my time at MongoDB. I don’t know how she does it given my insane schedule – but she is a wizard (and its her first time being an EA ) and she is the most pleasant person one could meet. Thanks for everything Kaila. I will be blessed to find another assistant like you . You will go places. I should also say a big thanks to Eimear McVeigh who has always found me time with Dev any time I asked.
One of the things that make me super thrilled on my way out is that the person taking over the leadership of Global Services is my dear friend Richard Kreuter. He is a consultant’s consultant and is one of the most fun people in MongoDB. If anyone can beat me in competitive sarcasm, that would be him too. Services at MongoDB is just getting started – Richard will take it to much greater heights. Not only does he have an amazing team of consultants ( it will be a challenge to keep recruiting A+ players like we have been doing – but I am sure that is how it will happen going forward too) , he has a world class ops team with Ozge, Andrea, Jackie and Chuen. The only way for services team is upward !
One of the things that I have not done very well in past jobs is having strong women leaders in my team – and I am incredibly lucky to have two amazing women leaders in my team now as my direct reports. Ozge Tuncel is our director of business operations, and Sheena Badani is our director of tech alliances. Ozge is a Wharton MBA and Sheena is a Harvard MBA – and both schools should be incredibly proud of these two young ladies as their alumni. Now I am firmly convinced that I will recruit and develop more women leaders in my team in future.
When I think about our channel leaders, the word that comes to mind is “variety”. There is nothing in common at first glance between Ravi, Robert, Gullaume and Rajiv. Each is a unique character with high level of skills – and yet magically they all work together to consistently nurture the vast ecosystem of partners. I would be remiss if I did not thank the colleagues who left the team – Luca, Koby, JP, Adam, Brendan, Heather and many others who all played a part in getting the team to where it is today.
Then there are our technology magicians – the partner tech services engineers who made things actually happen on the system and explained concepts clearly to our partners. Edouard, Joe, Buzz, Tug , Aveek – you guys are awesome and I owe you a lot of beer still !
There are way too many teams and individuals to thank by taking names – so I am not going to try doing that. You know who you are – and please know that its been my honor and such a privilege knowing you. I will gladly go to battle any day with you on my side .
Last but not certainly not the least – a special thanks to all the partners and customers that make MongoDB successful. Many of them are folks I have done business with in past – and I hope to continue the relationship in future too.
So what is next for me ?
I honestly do not know. Once Dev and I took the decision, I reached out to a handful of my friends and mentors to let them know . And that has resulted in a few good conversations with potential employers these past few days. I must admit that the thought of starting something on my own – within IT, or may be something more fun like my dream Indian Restaurant – has also crossed my mind. Only time will tell how all this will play out and where I will end up with my next adventure.
But first I have a couple of weeks left at MongoDB to wrap things up. And then hopefully I can get a bit of a time out before starting the next chapter of my career. There is a lot of sleep, family time, reading and music to catchup – and hopefully I can personally show my young dog in person at a dog show finally. I will keep you posted . Wish me luck !