VMware President, Carl Eschenbach, departing VMware

When I started at VMware in 2003, Carl was heading up North American sales. The rise of his career within VMware to President and COO is a real success story in my opinion. During the span of his 14-year tenure at VMware it, and the industry at large, has morphed/evolved/changed dramatically, as has Carl’s position in the company.

What strikes a chord with me is Carl’s versatility. From the ‘humble’ beginnings of being a sales guy, he stepped into the big shoes of what was traditionally – for me anyways – Steve Herrod’s day 2 keynote at VMworld in 2013, delivering a great session, along with Kit Colbert, then a senior principal engineer now VP & CTO, Cloud-Native Apps, followed by more banter with EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley. You can read my summary post from VMworld 2013 here. I know of a few techies that might still categorize Carl in the ‘salesman’ bucket, but his understanding of technology, relating that to both customers and partners, is a huge part of having driven VMware revenues from $10M to over $6BN during his tenure.

I think his departure, along with Martin Casado’s, is a big loss for VMware. Both Carl and Martin will, apparently, remain as advisors to VMware, but their presence will be missed and, for me, particularly on the VMworld stage.

me-and-carl

Me and Carl at VMworld 2013 vExpert/VCDX party

I have very fond memories of working at VMware in the early days and Carl is a big part of those memories. He really understood the power of sales and marketing working as one team and I still have an email from him stating I’m his favorite marketing leader ever 🙂 Despite the drain on his time being president and COO at VMware, Carl always rapidly responds to my emails – whilst at VMware and ever since – not many executives do that. In fact, the only other one I know is Mark Templeton – another influential person in my virtualization career. Both great leaders and both now in new chapters of their lives. I wish them both continued success – and happiness too.

VMworld Day 2 Rimmary

With the Day 2 keynote traditionally being hosted by Steve Herrod, I think many of us were thinking who and what would replace him.  Well, it was not a disappointment!  The keynote was soooo much better than yesterday in terms of energy and the banter between Carl Eschenbach and Kit Colbert and then with our very own Joe Baguley was really enjoyable.  Although clearly rehearsed and scripted it seemed to flow and come across as reasonably natural, apart from the continuous use of each co-presenter’s name the WHOLE time, “yes Carl”, “really Kit”, “that’s right Joe” L Was great to see the presentations interspersed with funny movie clips.  Also funny to hear Carl offering 5 FREE vCenter Log Insight licenses, when I worked at VMware Carl was the VP of NA Sales and Joe joked you never hear a salesman giving anything away for free!

My fellow London VMUG member, Julian Wood, has written up a great overview of all the demos conducted during the keynote, you can read his blog here

After the keynotes I did my stint on the VMUG booth, encouraging all to join up – it’s also FREE!!   I then had a really nice lunch with Tom Howarth, it’s been a long time we’ve had a chance to catch up, so really enjoyed that Tom, thanks!

In the evening I went to the joint vExpert/VCDX party, where I met up with Carl and told him what a great job I thought he and Kit and Joe had accomplished with the keynote. I also had the chance to get my picture taken with Pat Gelsinger! Who I invited, as I did last year, to the London VMUG 🙂

Pat was so accommodating to many of us vExperts asking for a picture with him and I wondered if he felt it was odd that we all want a picture with him?  I’m sure that during his tenure at Intel and EMC he wasn’t bombarded by a bunch of geeks to have his picture taken! I personally think that because there is so much passion and enthusiasm for VMware within the user community, we all want to know the key people.  As always, I’d like to thank John Troyer and the whole VMware community team for making the vExpert community what it is, a collective of some really extraordinary people and for laying on the party for us.

Afterward, I went to the office of the CTO party where I met up with Paul Strong CTO of Global Field, who was our host, as well as bumping into Pat again.  I felt extremely privileged to be invited to this party, it was AMAZING.  It was held in the Old US Mint and each of the vaults had different things happening in them; scotch tasting, photo booth, pick and mix sweets and many other things.   We also had the chance to chat to Kit Colbert, and yet again have a vRockstar picture taken!

The food was great and then just as I was about to leave, Dr. Steve Herrod showed up!  I was with my fellow VMUG Leader, Liselotte Foverskov from Denmark and we had our picture taken with him and both invited him (also as we did last year!) to attend our UK and Danish VMUG User Conference.

Day 2 came to a close with a brief nightcap with some of my old Dutch colleagues from VMware, Jeremy van Doorn (of VMworld TV fame) and Marc Groetelaars.  Jeremy also advised me that the chat we’d had in the hangspace on day 1 was posted on VMworld TV, see it here!