Career Advice From a User Conference

I had the privilege of participating in the Zenoss GalaxZ 2015 user conference. It was the first user conference put on by the company in its 10-year history, and it went off largely without a hitch. I embraced the opportunity to visit with prospects and customers, and it was wonderful to be able to learn first-hand the value that customers derive, and seek to derive from the products.

I also took away a couple of nuggets that resonated as career advice for me.

A company is nothing without its customers, so make them the center of the universe.

There’s a humorous Demotivator poster that reads “If we don’t take care of the customer, maybe they’ll stop bugging us.” The opposite is also true. This was reinforced many times over at the GalaxZ conference. The customers that attended, sponsored and participated in the conference reflected the same passion that we try to exude in each engagement. Working on the Engineering team, it’s not that often that I get to interact with customers, so this was a welcome change from the ordinary and a fresh reminder of the importance of customer service.

In IT, customers won’t call you 99.9% of the time to tell you how great things are working.

Seek out scarcity.

Futurist and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku was the keynote speaker. He described the future notion of “perfect capitalism” in which consumers and producers will know everything about each other, and which will increase the intensity of competition and put a laser edge on prices (which are driven by supply/demand curves in classic economic theory). Because knowledge gaps will be irrelevant, the key to winning customer business will increasingly be price, value and customer service. Seeking out and solving problems in domains or niches in which demand is high and supply of solutions is scarce will drive profitability.

Blue Ocean Strategy is also a good treatment on the “scarcity” subject.

I look forward to the opportunity to present at next year’s conference, and again to interact with our customer base to discover how we can continuously improve the value we provide wtih our products and services.

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