I came to join Rackspace in what is a pretty usual way – another Racker saw something in me that they thought was interesting and that I would be a fit for the culture. They worked on me for a couple months until I finally applied.
I was hired as the Director of Software Development for the Rackspace Cloud (then known as Mosso). I had a fairly small team of very young and bright developers. I quickly became close friends with many of them, as I am apt to do with most employees. This boss/friend relationship at Rackspace is not unusual, and wasn’t the cause of me quickly changing roles.
I love customers. I always have. And it is very difficult to give up any passion.
I was hired to manage developers and projects – people and things.
I would rather focus on people. The “things” part quickly became a problem for me.
The truth – looking back at it now – is that I just sucked at it. My heart was in “who” we were writing software for, and not the software. I loved my team – people are easy to love, but I did not love my role. I was unhappy building software – I wanted to build something I could get feedback on NOW – like customer satisfaction.
So as the Director of Software Development I found myself doing things like talking to customers on Twitter, in our forums and on the phone. I spent a lot more time on our blog than on our road map. Almost anything but developing software.
I think most companies would have asked me to go find another job – but Rackspace recognized what I was good at – even though it was not what they thought I was good at when I was hired. I was a customer guy. I still am.
Today I manage our Social Media efforts – making sure we stay centered on being helpful. I manage a number of ways we reach out to current and future customers. I manage building43.com and Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica – two Rackers that I was involved in hiring. I manage relationships with a ton of high profile customers and friends of Rackspace.
But mostly I make sure customers are happy. I love talking to them. I give my home phone number out on Twitter at least weekly (210-370-3861) – and my cell number is easy to find (210-845-4440). I’m always working. If I am awake, I want to talk to a customer. I love being helpful.
Rackspace recognized this in me before I did. They suggested a dramatically different role.
Today, I am close to approaching my second year as a Racker. I am also nearly a 7-year customer. Rackspace recognized a strength I didn’t realize I had – and they let me run with it and see where it took me.
I can’t go into details in this post on where this shift has taken me (but you can find me in a city near you!). I’m extremely pleased to get paid to help people. I get paid to do what I love to do.
Find that, and you find more than a career.Category: Rackers Tags: Building43, Rob LaGesse, Social Media, Software Development, Why Im a Racker