Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You're switched on!

Last year, a startup database company founded in 2004 asked me if I'd be interested in coming on board as a sales engineer as they were about to release their first product in the US market. They needed someone with solid technical experience in the enterprise software field. An engineer, who had been around the block a couple times, was totally comfortable around Visual Studio and CVS, and had a clue what “full table scan”, ROLAP, and “petabyte” meant . Someone who could whip up a technical presentation for a CEO at 9am and follow up with a deep-dive for a skeptical Chief Architect and his DBAs at 11am. A technologist who loved to engage customers (fairly rare), listen to them, stand in their shoes, and help them out.

Having followed the company's progress since inception, even writing code for it in the early days, I knew the product fairly well. I understood where it came from, what it did, and how it did it. More importantly, I knew enough about current information management challenges to realize the competitive upside was gigantic. The nature of this technology was revolutionary and nothing like it had ever been attempted since the days of E. F. Codd. I had seen early proof-of-concept versions of the software and knew its capability and potential. I knew I could help build and evangelize the product. I knew I could explain its merits, and I knew we could use it to solve major pain points in the market. And that's how, after twenty years of hands-on coding and architecture, I finally re-joined the "dark side" and became a sales and applications engineer once again.

At XSPRADA, I act as both client-facing and internal technical resource. My mandate is to work with customers and partners to see how our software can help them solve their business problems. In the process I try to flush out their needs and challenges and use our technology to address them. The most important part of my job is listening. The most rewarding part is the “ah ha!” moment. In subsequent posts, I’ll dive into what XSPRADA does a little more and explore the burgeoning analytical database business I now live in, who the players are and what they're up to.

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