When someone joins a new company, they’re often asked: Why? Why that company? Why now? Since joining Gigamon, it’s been no different for me. People want to know what drew me in. The short answer: innovation + exceptional leadership = a winner.
When I seek out new positions, one of my requirements is to work for the No. 1 or No. 2 company in its segment. I’ve been lucky to do that, particularly with Citrix, Imperva and now, Gigamon – recently named the number one visibility vendor by IHS Markit.
Our products just work that well. In fact, during a visit with a large bank in Australia, I heard the security team say, “This is the first product in our security stack that actually does all it promised to do.” I took that as quite a compliment coming from a company who has all the usual suspects in their environment, including next-generation firewalls, breach detection, incident response, endpoint security, security information and event management systems, Keyser Sosa. Okay, just making sure you were paying attention.
I’ll admit, winning feels great. I mean, who doesn’t like to win? It’s empowering. It’s fun. But … it can also be fleeting. Just ask Charlie Sheen – #notwinningsomuchanymore.
Innovation, on the other hand, has legs because it’s less an “event” than it is a mindset – something in a company’s DNA. At Gigamon, innovation never stops. It doesn’t have a finish line to cross, a patch of dirt to conquer. It’s the basis of our culture and strategy – prodding us all to think and act and do differently – and it starts at the top.
Forbes published an article on the traits of great innovators. It said innovators are committed to diversity, empower their employees to be creative and are authentic and unafraid to break from the norm. This month, I was pleased to see CRN recognize our CEO Paul Hooper as One of the Top 25 Innovators of 2017. I can attest to the fact that he is a true and rare innovator. He thinks differently. He asks great questions. He encourages – even pushes – us all to think outside our comfort zones to help move the business forward.
When I met Paul during my job search, I knew I wanted to be a part of his company. He listens. He’s open. He respects others’ opinions and is incredibly inclusive. On top of that, he also knows the product inside out and probably does the best whiteboard discussion in the company on the Gigamon Visibility Platform. Thoughtful, passionate, direct, always wanting to learn. The list of his positive attributes, as you can see, goes on and on. Also, as I said before, he’s not afraid to mix things up.
For example, Paul empowered our CTO Shehzad Merchant to determine the best way to add system integrators (SIs) to our go-to-market mix – a task typically given to sales or marketing – and nowhere was his cutting-edge spirit more evident than at our recent Innovation Fair. We challenged participants from across our engineering, product, training, documentation and marketing teams in Santa Clara and Chennai to submit proposals on how we could improve our product line. From the numerous submissions, we chose six winners whose ideas will be incorporated into our roadmap.
Right now, it’s been just over 90 days in the seat at Gigamon and I can see the flywheel starting to turn even faster. We’ve added new talent to the great foundation that greeted me when I arrived. We’ve formed a true alliance with sales. The teams are aligned and motivated. Website visits are up. Response to new marketing programs has been phenomenal.
From here, the plan is to aggressively battle for mindshare and wallet share with our customers, earning it each and every day when we help them better secure their businesses and derive greater value from their investments.