VMware employees contribute their best work to imagine, define, and deliver the future of IT through transformative products and solutions that enable customer agility, efficiency, security, and fault tolerance in the Cloud era. Because of this, we’re honored to highlight Ramiro Salas, Global Technology Specialist, Software Defined Networking & Security.
Name: Ramiro Salas
Job title: Global Technology Specialist, Software Defined Networking & Security
Years at VMware: I joined in April 2004, left in June 2012 and re-joined in November 2012. You can say 8 ½ years.
Office location: Home Office – Mill Valley, CA
Favorite Tech Gadget: Pwn Plug Elite
Finish this hashtag statement: #ilovevmware because… we set the goal to fundamentally change the way people do computing, and we actually DID.
In three words or phrases, how would you describe your experience at VMware thus far?
Being at VMware for over eight years is like having bought a good case of Chilean Cabernet in 2004, and opening one bottle every year, just to discover that it just keeps getting better and better, every time.
What is your favorite VMware memory?
Seeing our founders and our company logo at the opening bell for VMware’s IPO in the New York Stock Exchange. It’s my favorite memory because I had the realization that we weren’t a small company anymore and that the sky was the limit.
Do you have a favorite group, hobby or interest that you are active in at VMware?
I do several things at VMware, but I’m probably more known in recent years as the founder of the “Foodies” group on VMware Link, our internal social network powered by Socialcast. I love to dine and cook gourmet, and I also maintain a blog with recipes, experiments and opinions, which you can visit here: ObsessedCook.com.
What attracted you to VMware? Is it the same thing that motivates you today?
I always admired VMware. I was part of the beta program back in 1998-99 for Workstation 1.0, so when my previous company closed its doors after the dot COM crash and I had the chance to come here, I didn’t think twice. What attracted me to VMware was the technology. Back then VMware was a place where the geeks were accepted, welcome, and respected, and I can gladly say that is still true!
Among other values, Teamwork is a core part of VMware culture. Share an example of how you, a coworker, or group of employees looked beyond the individual and worked together to benefit the greater good.
Back in early 2004 when I was just three days in the company, my former manager and I headed over to Mexico City to deliver a large public lecture on virtualization. The night before, we ate at the hotel restaurant and managed to get a bad case of food poisoning. The morning after, with almost no sleep, we literally took 10-minute turns to deliver part of the presentation each while the other rested facing up on the floor of an adjacent empty conference room. I had not yet been fully trained in the products, but we managed to pull it through and the conference was a success. Except for the organizers, no one knew anything was wrong.
If you could walk in one of your co-workers “shoes” for one day at work, who would it be and why?
Anyone from the Office of the CTO. Having the opportunity to attend meetings at the highest levels with some of the most important companies in the world, and being able to openly discuss our technology vision while finding new potential ways to improve our products to solve real customer issues is just priceless.
What fuels you to do your best work at VMware?
Customers. I believe there is nothing more important than listening to our customers, understanding their pains, challenges and doing everything in our power to help them. My drive is to advocate for them internally at VMware, as well as help them with the solutions that will help them move their goals forward.
Do you have a thought leader or person you admire in your field or industry? Who and why?
Carl Eschenbach. I’ve never met someone with a higher drive, focus and dedication. He empowers his team to be the best they can be, and makes everybody BELIEVE that nothing is impossible. I saw that myself a few years ago when he presented Sir Richard Branson as the guest speaker for our Sales kick-off. If he managed to get one of the brightest minds in the business world to speak to us, he proved that nothing is impossible.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career at VMware?
Regardless of the stage you are in your career, VMware will keep you young. But you have to bring your A-game here. This is not a place to cruise. This is the real thing. You will be working among some of the best professionals in the industry and that demands dedication, speed of execution and focus. This is also a place for ideas. If you really believe in something, people will listen, but you have to be able to defend it and win their minds. Working at VMware may very well be the best professional experience in your life, but in the end, it will be up to you.
With the tech job market heating up and competition as fierce as ever, what would you say to those who may be weighing careers at start-ups to VMware?
Many people see start-ups with a romantic view of the archetypical garage in Palo Alto, but reality is much more complex than that. If you crave the “feel” of a start-up, there are many areas within VMware that literally operate like that. Fast pace of innovation, high impact in the final outcome with any decisions you make, and dynamic team debates, all without many of the drawbacks like uncertainty or extremely limited resources. I’d say take a pragmatic look at what are you really looking for and make a decision accordingly, but don’t discount VMware due to its sheer size. Talk to people and find out yourself.
What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead for yourself, your team or VMware?
I look at companies like IBM or McKesson that started over 100 years ago to show that if you constantly innovate and reinvent yourself, you will not only survive, but also thrive. It’s impossible to imagine what VMware would look like in 100 years from now if we follow that path. The only thing that is certain is that if we keep an open mind, keep listening and keep innovating, we will get there. I look to my year ahead as a small grain of sand that will help build that vision.
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