Taking a Tech Sabbatical – Oh what the future may hold in my Career Transition

September 21st, 2012
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)


Hey Guys! Friends, fellows, colleagues and peers, hearty analysts, random readers, dear twitter and facebook friends.. All of you!


A crazy year of shifts, changes and updates!

This has been a raucous year of adventures, updates, new technology, new transitions and directions in the industry; so many different ways in which things have gone and so many different paths in which things possibly could go.    We’ve seen shifts and changes in the way we manage our Clouds, build our clouds, LICENSE our clouds.   The terminology we use to define our Infrastructure and the underlying component has taken a new rhetoric towards Software Defined Data Centers.   You name it, there has been *much* going on, much indeed.

My emphasis this past year

My Emphasis for the last 12 months has been solely focused on the business of Virtualization, on the increased automation and driving high levels of consistency, availability, deliverability and sell-ability of Clouds, Infrastructures as a Service, IT as a Service, and general purpose Transformation; and let me tell you that was an AMAZING and extremely successful journey.    What has occurred in this time was the creation from the ground up of an entire suite of services around Cloud, IaaS and ITaaS Delivery working with an absolutely *amazing* team.   The creation of a whitepaper on the principles behind IaaS Best Practices which hits at the core the very message which we’ve all been struggling with for a decade.    The building, bridging together, and leading of my personal team of over 250 Virtualization Professionals around the world, not just peers and colleagues within the business here at EMC, but the building of a community who can lean on each other, work with each other, and most importantly grow each other.    And particular emphasis to my own senior manager and leadership team comprised of Ed Lynam, Bob Martin, Steve Nassif and Michael Gong;  These rockstars in particular helped to keep my message and vision on target with the business at large, allowing me to continue to apply that vision so resonant throughout the industry; I wouldn’t change them for the world!    Three particular rockstars I have had the pleasure to work with closely and grow individually with; Damian Karlson, Brian Ragazzi and Brian Graf – Total rockstars in their own right and if you don’t know them, you should take the time to GET to know them, you won’t be sorry!

Looking back 20 years

Let’s consider the previous 20 years for a moment.    In the beginning where I spent 6 years of my time as a kernel hacker, security researcher, and consultant I looked ahead of me, around the industry and what interested me most and took on what became the first of many adventures.    Leaving behind Linux and security in its infancy I went into the wicked realm of Year 2000 Preparation, and Microsoft Application centricity, but it was also about this time in 1996 that I started playing with and getting into VMware Virtualization.    When I wasn’t advising startups in my spare time, I did what I did best which was act as a visionary… Look ahead 10, 20 years and figure out what the trends were, what the capabilities and skills which were going to be needed and leveraged soo sooo far in advance.    I began focusing my attention and efforts in developing in those areas, growing those businesses, and growing those communities.    It was only 6 years ago I switched from full-VAR play to join the world of Vendor life, and more particularly Storage Vendor life where I took on my Hybrid and adventurous role over at NetApp.    The years I spent there were amazing and wonderful, only to be further enchanted by the launch into the next stage of my adventures with my time spent at EMC.     And then changing from my Pre-Sales, Enterprise and business focused role from 2009-2011; to my role as a Global Leader, running a successful and adventurous business with some *amazing* and smart people in in the industry with emphasis on two areas I care very much for and about; Cloud and Virtualization.    

Returning to my role as a Visionary

However, the time has come to take a step back from this role, from this opportunity, and to take a step back from the entire industry as a whole. For several years now I’ve been looking ahead, in what I do best as a visionary to ensure that people are making the right investments in their futures, that the right areas of focus are getting the attention they need so when the next wave comes along (whether pushed by me, or pulled by me), that wave WILL hit and its success will hinge upon our ability as an industry and as a community to adopt and support it. But my vision has been clouded (no pun intended :)). Clouded by various fits and starts in the industry, changes in direction, in trends. We’ve had multiple changes in a very short period of time, but also really no sheer leaps of innovation, of direction of the future, primarily speculation by analysts and short-term visionaries.

It is for that very reason I am entirely taking a step back.    Stepping out of and away from the business a moment, taking a step away from everything and looking at everything as a whole.   I need to get my visionary game back, so I can look ahead the 5, 10, 20 years and beyond and start to direct my focus and attention on what WILL be that next major change.    I heavily focus on the Macro and the Micro respectively and I’m taking several months off and away from pure-play business to clear my head and see what the future unveils.   Albeit, this won’t impact industry obligations I’ve already planned for, Presentations, Books, Live meetings, and so forth.   It is you the customers, the community, the industry which helps unveil that future through conversation and discussion, thus I’m not going to hole myself up to predict the future based upon my own crazy assumptions!

Building a Phoenix on the ashes of industry; new directions

So as I take this step back I am no longer bound by the constraints of a particular business, industry or emphasis area.   My subject matter expertise which many of you have grown quite familiar with are all on the table as I look ahead and look forward to where I want to invest my time, passion and employment.    Something you may not know about me is that I passionately *love* work.   Some people get stressed out by work, whereas I get stressed out by NOT working.    Some of you who have caught wind of my Sabbatical are already lining up interviews with your respective businesses and organizations and I respect and appreciate that.    Looking ahead past these next few months as I finalize my industry analysis I want to ensure that the next door is already open and waiting on what and where I’ll be investing my pure-play passion which you’re all QUITE familiar with.    I’ve always been one for very well defined and clear roadmaps, objectives and plans.     After spending years as an Individual Contributor, Researcher, Analyst, Consultant, Principal Architect, Engineer, Pre-Sales Sales Engineer, Advisor, Manager and and Global Leader of a prospering business my next direction is ready to be pursued.

At this point in my career, growth and capabilities my future calls for me in a Senior Director or Vice President role within an organization whom will embrace the sheer impact I make and bring to a business.   I love and adore EMC and will be looking in tandem for an opportunity which will be fitting within our fine organization to stake my next claim of Global impact influencing the industry as a whole.    Thus this open declaration is free-game for all businesses, all industries, all focus areas and more.    My skills, leadership and evangelist thrive will shift, shake and cause that next ripple which will turn into a raucous wave to set this industry off in directions many cannot even begin to perceive yet.    But where I dedicate and focus that time and attention; Well, only time will tell.    …. And yes, those of you who have been waiting for me to be free, to jump all over me and recruit me; Yes I’ll take your calls. :)

This industry is ready for an upset the likes of which we haven’t seen in a decade

So you big tech incubators out there or you smaller startups who have that next generation game changer; I’ll be looking at you.   Not only for my future and how we’re going to change this industry and hard; but also how we’re going to create that next generation major impact of tidal proportions.   A lot of people like to look at technology in terms of environmental factors, comparing the next big thing to come as a ‘wave’, well, here’s what I’ll tell you.

The next technology to make an impact will be another moon causing a tidal disruption

Welcome to the big time boys and girls.    Welcome to the big time.   The question is; which side of that tide do you want me on? :)

Those interested in being a part of the consideration process don’t hesitate to hit me up via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Phone, Txt, oh and Email! ;)

Look forward to an update on where I call home post sabbatical at the kick off to the New Year – 2013.


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