I’m wandering through the cavernous fifth floor hallway at the Venetian, trying to figure out where the VMware Partner Network Awards ceremony is taking place. There’s not a soul around, nor is there any tell-tale noise that might point me in the right direction.
It’s a bit creepy, and walking further down the hallway, it occurs to me that this looks like the set of ‘The Shining’, and I half-expect a kid in a Big Wheel to go zooming by, with creepy twins ready to confront me around the next corner.
Suddenly I sense someone walking behind me — it’s Paul Maritz, VMware’s CEO. He’s lost too, but then he sets off in the other direction, which turns out to be the right one, and I follow him into the ceremony room.
Seeing Maritz confused is an uncommon sight: He leads a company that continues to do a tap dance on the backs of virtualization rivals, and whose revenue grew 32 percent last year. Maritz runs an engineering driven company with an R&D team of 4,000 employees, and he often talks of the implications of the Post-PC era, and how companies will need to be nimble in order to continue attracting younger talent.
“I am a father to three millennials. They expect things to work in a certain way, and they want to receive information in context where they are and when they need it,” Paul Maritz said in his Partner Exchange keynote.
Maritz is easily the least pretentious CEO in the IT industry, and he’s not wearing a tie at the Partner Network Awards ceremony. Neither are the members of his executive team who join him onstage to present the awards to the winners and pose for photos. The way I see it, this is a sign of VMware’s relaxed and confident culture, and how a company that is still riding high on its first mover advantage in virtualization has managed to retain the feel of a startup.
And I think it all starts with Maritz, who’s like a cagy chess player who hasn’t even begun making his most strategic moves.