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Interview with Brad Peterson, new VP of marketing at Workspot

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Why did you choose Workspot as a company, and why do you think the Workspot product is a winner?

Brad Peterson, New VP of Marketing at Workspot: I've known and respected Amitabh Sinha for years - we worked together at Citrix in the early days of VDI.  As I learned more about what Workspot has created over the last 3+ years, I came to understand the significance of their value and timing. During my time at Citrix, I had the honor and pleasure of hosting CIOs from around the world. We would get into discussions regarding their biggest challenges and opportunities, and I had a front row seat to emerging trends like VDI, BYOD, mobility, and the emergence of the cloud. What I learned in the end was that VDI is vital to the success of many enterprise and SMB companies, yet the complexity and expense of managing the infrastructure is overwhelming. The answer was to reengineer the static, datacenter-centric VDI infrastructure to a cloud-native design. If you remove this management complexity from the customer and provide them unlimited VDI control plane capacity, you can enable them to focus on managing their infrastructure to host their apps, desktops, and data in private and public clouds. Citrix wasn't able to do this as they were focused on supporting customers, adding features, and competing against VMware. This is what Workspot has built and is now offering. VDI 2.0 is an insanely simple, cloud-native control plane - infinitely scalable and up and running in 60 minutes.

You spent ten years at Citrix, in close collaboration with Citrix's former president and CEO, Mark Templeton. Please tell us about these ten years working alongside Mark.

Peterson: My time with Mark Templeton changed my life. I learned how to be gracious, sincere, empathetic, customer-focused, genuine, and so much more. I've had other mentors in my life, but Mark has been the most significant. I had learned over the years to be prepared for meetings, have all possibilities thought through, and to do my homework. And then with Mark, I had to learn how to throw everything I had prepared out the window. Mark would always make you look at a topic from a completely different perspective, and from there create action that was even more innovative. This represented amazing thought leadership to me.

You had such a successful run with Citrix, why did you decide to leave?

Peterson: To me, it was a successful run measured in career and personal growth, company growth ($500M - $3B), understanding the global market and associated customer needs, and experience in acquiring companies and technology to repackage and relaunch to the install base and new markets. It was an amazing experience!  The problem was that the datacenter-centric infrastructure architecture that got us there wasn't the cloud-native, control plane VDI 2.0 architecture required to take us into the future. So I transitioned to a completely cloud-native, infinitely scalable service offering at DocuSign. I learned the e-signature market and the speed and agility of delivering solutions at cloud scale.

How did the general move to the cloud change your approach to marketing? How different is marketing today, compared to when you first started out?

Peterson: Over the years, marketing in general has shifted from outbound "interruption-based" marketing to inbound "get found" marketing. This means demonstrating thought leadership while creating remarkable content, and sharing it through channels in which people with interest can find it. This is way more fun, and also means that marketing activities are far more measurable.  The marketing A-B testing and associated analytics integrate this art form with science - a combination that makes it more cost effective, creates more expected results, and ultimately makes it something I particularly enjoy.

Disruptive startups like Workspot are pushing hard to grab market share without the complications of legacy programs. How can a business software company keep up the innovation pace, without being replaced by the next big thing?

Peterson: That's a great question. Citrix, as an example, has built its portfolio of products over the last 25 years. These products came together from organic growth through engineering and through acquiring products and technologies. Their GoTo and Sharefile products have always been scalable, subscription-based cloud offerings. Their Xen products have always been monolithic software packages sold with perpetual licenses, installed and maintained at great expense and requiring considerable expertise, in datacenters around the world. How do they transition their Xen products from this legacy model to a cloud-native, infinity scalable, global service offering? Certainly not in the way they've attempted, which is by installing a version of the very same monolithic, overly complex, legacy software in the cloud for each customer, one at a time. How did Siebel perform this transition? They didn't. Salesforce came along with a complete rewrite of the code and the business model. The same is true when comparing legacy automotive companies with Tesla. Just like Workspot, sometimes it takes a whole new level of effort and attention to start from scratch, redesign a solution using basic principles and modern cloud-native technologies, and focus on simplicity in design and value for your customers.

Are virtualization and infinite scalability the solution to the growth and maturity conundrum?

Peterson: This seems to be the age in which we truly can do more with less, at an unprecedented scale. With the recent advancements in automation, machine learning, and big data analytics, we now know more about the actual results of our efforts and can finetune them immediately for newfound levels of efficiency. We forget about the past when datacenters around the world were massively over-provisioned - this built companies like HP, Dell, EMC, NetApp, and others, selling more than what was needed. Then, server virtualization comes along and allows IT organizations to compute more with less hardware (which hurt the server companies). Today's container technologies are creating more efficiencies, even less over-provisioning, and more pain to the CPU vendors. Now, if you add web-scale design thinking learned from Google and Amazon and hyper-converged infrastructure from a growing list of new and legacy vendors, IT organizations can now leverage the most advanced services that are equally scalable whether in their private clouds or across several choices of public clouds. With this, the smallest of companies can become significantly useful and powerful while remaining nimble and adaptive to growth, expenses, and customer needs. This is the ultimate democratization of business.

In most companies, engineering, sales, and marketing operate in their own silos, barely acknowledging each other's existence. The disconnect is strong and distinct. This misalignment is often detrimental to the entire organization. Tell me about your background and how the skills you learned as an engineer translate into marketing.

Peterson: Silos break down communication, and that is one of the biggest problems a company can face as it grows. Elon Musk sits in the middle of his engineering bullpen in the cavernous SpaceX factory to make sure he's available and active in decisions that drive the success of the company. Elon has degrees in physics and finance. His discussions will go from laminar flow to debt refinancing, representing a unique set of skills that allow him to not be surprised by issues that could cause his company serious setbacks. I can relate to this left-brain & right-brain thinking. With two engineering degrees and 20 years of marketing experience, I feel I can separate the signal from the noise. I can focus on the very few, most important issues that will be vital to delivering that which will win the hearts and minds of our customers. I enjoy going deep into technology discussions, making tough business decisions, and connecting directly with customers on their most strategic challenges. I think my background sets me up perfectly to truly understand our most strategic competitive advantages in our infinite scalability, effortlessly simple, cloud-native architecture, and then to share this life-changing solution with our customers directly using modern marketing techniques.

Anything else you would like to share?

Peterson: I couldn't be in a better place than I am right now at Workspot. I've watched the technology and business trends over the last dozen years as I've met with countless CIOs from companies of all market segments from around the world. I was a part of Citrix for ten years as the term VDI was coined and adopted by companies of all sizes. I've listened to channel partners share their challenges in delivering comprehensive IT solutions to their valued customers in every corner of the globe. As companies have invested time and money in deploying VDI solutions, then applied and maintained software updates, then integrated product add-ons over time, the resulting complexity and expense has caused them considerable frustration. I am so excited to be a part of the team at Workspot, delivering application and data delivery services from a next generation, infinitely scalable, cloud-native architecture - finally delivering on the promise of VDI.

More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel is a Tech blogger and Enterprise Media Consultant in Silicon Valley and Paris, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. She is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, media outreach and strategy. She mainly writes about Blockchain, Enterprise, B2B solutions, social media and open source software, but throws the occasional oddball into the mix. Tip her if you like her articles: http://xeniar.tip.me

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