Assembly Line (Big Company) vs Organized Chaos (Startup)

Assembly line vs Organized Chaos

When you have a great job, making a decision to leave feels uncomfortable and it is hard decision to make. I spent over 12 years in Product Management at Veritas (now Symantec), working on both core (very large and stable) and emerging products across storage and clustering. I had many roles in PM over the years which kept the job exciting and constantly changing.

What makes one look around?

Since it had been many years since I had looked for a new job I decided take a pretty structured approach (not that different from creating an MRD 🙂 ). The first step for me was to create a list of priorities on what is important in “my” world and after several iterations I decided to keep it simple

Top Priorities

#1 priority is to spend time with the family and kids

#2 have fun

I am lucky in that I love what I do for a living, storage is exciting! Yes, I said it. Geek.

My first decision was to look for a smaller company (preferably startup), the second was to stay within the storage market. I met several companies and after that I determined what was most important to me in evaluating a company (after all, you are interviewing them, not being interviewed!): employees, company leadership and technology. These three priorities helped me determine what I felt would be the best fit.

I always felt it would take the perfect opportunity for me to leave and I strongly believe Coho Data has provided it.

How Coho got my attention

I first got to know Coho quite a while ago, well before they were out of stealth. One of those typical silicon valley geek conversations where we try to figure out the next interesting thing and snooping around in the startup landscape may yield some answers.

Months pass and then Coho comes out of stealth – wow – exciting indeed!

The first difference I noticed right away is that Coho opened up the kimono a lot more than the typical startup. A pretty technical white paper, explaining more details than most other startups, blogs, webcasts, it seemed the details all came out and to me that helped make the decision later on.

The second, and the most important to me by far, was the personality of the people involved. Friendly, open, dedicated, experts in their field, fun, thinking different, the right glint in their eyes – it actually felt like “home” when interacting with the team.

Storage is hot, is Coho?

I have been building and supporting storage products since 1996, I felt I had been around the block a few times and wasn’t expecting many surprises but as I learned more about their approach, the more intrigued I became.

It is my belief that storage needs innovation now more than ever. Server, Application, Network – they have all had great innovation happen to them over the last decade. One could argue that Flash is a great storage innovation but I feel it is more of an enabler of new solutions rather than the great storage innovation.

As I learned more about Coho technology there were several things I liked (not in any particular order) – software, not hardware, creative approach with software-defined networking, scale-out architecture with object storage, virtual and non-virtual technologies, tight integration of flash with tiering. All great things by themselves, in fact, some startups only really focus on one of them but what really got my attention was the big thinking and the opportunity of having a significant impact on the storage landscape by putting them all together.

My Role at Coho

Product Manager reality

In my role in leading Product Management at Coho, I will continue to do so many things I love about building products and many new and exciting areas, especially as Coho is a startup. I will continue to be closely involved with customers, driving product strategy, partner engagement and last but certainly not least, a deep and close involvement with engineering.

I believe this is going to be a fantastic and fun ride and I am super excited to be a part of the Coho family!

Doug Fallstrom (@dfsweden)

Interested in learning more about Coho’s products? Check out ESG’s report on our initial product offering, or our slightly gorier technical white paper that describes the system in a bit more detail.

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