Sometimes life gives you an opportunity that you can't pass up, and I've been fortunate to have a few of those occasions in my career. The first was a random encounter with Brian Madden when we both worked at a reseller in Cleveland, OH, who said he was off to do a proof of concept for this thing called "MetaFrame" and asked if I wanted to come along. I'd been a desktop support engineer for a year or so, but had just been promoted to "server guy" after getting my CNA (it was the 90's!). I'd only been in the new role for a week or two when I learned about MetaFrame, but that one proof of concept shaped my entire career, and I was immediately pulled back towards desktops.
The second was years later, as I oversaw all things Microsoft for a trucking company in Omaha, NE. Brian called, explaining that he needed some help to expand his blog, BrianMadden.com, and he wondered if I was available to become a part of his newfound team. On January 1, 2007, I officially joined The Brian Madden Company, as an independent industry analyst and blogger. Together, we built an industry event called BriForum, and we built a community-oriented website that united people around the world with a focus on desktop virtualization.
In 2008, BrianMadden.com was acquired by TechTarget, which gave us the freedom to continue doing exactly what we loved to do–talk to companies and share what we felt was important in the world of desktop virtualization–without having to run a business. Since then, I've covered the highs and lows of desktop virtualization, and I've talked to many, many (many!) companies along the way that could solve one of the problems that exist in IT.
The only downside to being in a position overseeing an entire industry is that as more products are released, I wasn’t able to dig as deeply into any single one as much as I would have liked. When I started, the world revolved around RDSH (though we didn't call it that), and over time it grew so large that I rarely got to scratch beyond the surface of anything new or exciting.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed being the first line of information, telling people about what's new so they could track down more information if they wanted. It was a role I enjoyed for eleven years, and, as it turns out, it gave me a unique opportunity that, once again, I couldn't pass up.
Today, I've joined FSLogix as a Product Marketing Manager, a position that will let me continue to engage with the community that I love while communicating information about a group of products that I believe are changing the way IT admins work.
In my twenty-some years in IT, there are certain truths that have become evident, and in the world of desktop virtualization, there are really only two that matter:
- As long as Windows applications provide a better user experience than their non-Windows counterparts, we will have Windows applications.
- As long as we have Windows applications, we will need Windows.
If we have Windows, we're going to have to provide access to it, and we're going to have to deal with all the challenges that introduces (and that we're all too familiar with). FSLogix understands that while the flash and pizzazz in IT today is being directed at cloud-this and AI-that, IT departments are still struggling with the same things they have been for years, like application and user environment management. Plus, as companies begin to leverage the cloud for certain services, even for desktops in some cases, that means IT departments have fewer resources to dedicate to these "classic" issues, despite the fact that they still exist. All the while, new problems appear, as is the case with Microsoft OneDrive and Office 365, both of which create headaches for desktop virtualization admins. FSLogix helps with these problems by creating products that are easy to understand and deploy, and that have real value from the moment you start using them.
Products that provide immediate value to admins is the main reason I chose to come to FSLogix, but it's far from the only reason. Looking around the industry, you'd have a hard time finding a higher concentration of people that I have the utmost respect for. This starts at the top with founders Kevin Goodman and Randy Cook. Kevin has assumed the role of mentor to a lot of people over the years (myself included), and it's a privilege to work with him. Plus, I couldn't pass up the chance to work directly with people like Jim Moyle and Benny Tritsch, guys that made the transition from "business acquaintance" to "good friend" ten years ago. In Jim's "Why I became a Technical Evangelist for FSLogix" article, he talks about "playing up" and working with people smarter than you are as a route to personal growth, and I'm very much looking forward to doing just that!
On a personal level, I'm excited to learn more about life inside a vendor. I want to talk to customers and learn what their challenges are, then communicate that back to product management. As a former admin and consultant myself, I want to be able to explain new features and products with the kind of detail and candor that IT admins deserve. Basically, I will approach this job the same way I've approached every other job–I'll be the product marketing guy that I'd want to work with.
Though I might miss my old role from time to time, I'm thrilled to begin this new chapter of my career. I'm happy to stay within the desktop virtualization world, and I couldn't be more excited to be joining FSLogix as they continue to make the lives of admins easier.