Meeting in person for the first time
I have to imagine that many people have experienced this. You meet someone. You talk to them. You exchange emails. You wonder what it will be like if you ever meet in person. Will things click like they did on the phone and over email? Will you be able to be yourself?
When that day comes
The idea gets tossed around several times and the day finally comes. You try to dress nice. You wash your face, clean behind your ears; all the things you mom tried to force you to do when you were growing up. You pick out, what you think is your nicest shirt and find a pants/shorts/shoes combination that compliments that shirt. One final check in the mirror and you're off. Once you get to the building, the reality and gravity of the situation starts to set in. You turn the corner and like a kid hitting the Lego isle at Toys-R-Us for the first time (I swear that isle seemed to go on forever!!), you see your client. As soon as you shake hands, you realize; this is great!
The experience laid out
This was my experience leading up to meeting thegreateebzies. You see, I am the Technical Account Manager for Solarwinds at Lithium Technologies. This was the first time I had ever gone onsite to meet a client. We had talked about having an onsite a couple times, but I kept thinking that it would never happen. I was 'OK' with that never happening but thought, it would be really cool to check out Solarwinds from the inside out. It's like being privy to some super secret top security clearance type information. At least in my head that's how I approached it. Tom Cruise would be proud. After a quick tour, a stop at one of several break type areas to grab a drink, we settled into the room we would be in for the day. We quickly launched into the history of Solarwinds, where the name came from, what Solarwinds is really all about, the list of software they maintain, and where Solarwinds wants to go in the future. If my head wasn't spinning by this time, I felt perhaps that time might be coming soon.
Now reading that title, you may think, oh thegreateebzies, what did you do to the people you were sharing this information with? Did they slowly mutate into gelatinous balls of ooze from all the information you threw at them? I am happy to report, this did not happen at all. In fact, my brain was awoken. Learning about the different things that Solarwinds has done to make the LithiumJX experience that much more was an enlightening experience. With every new customization/implementation/integration that was presented to me, the more I realized just how much the THWACK community meant to Solarwinds and their ability to communicate with their customers as well as offer a way for their customers to engage with each other. It is clear that THWACK is a labor of love. A passion project if you will. Without the level of reach Solarwinds has through their THWACK community, I honestly do not know how they would be able to offer the level of support and wealth of information held here.
The big take away
Solarwinds is clearly one of those once in a lifetime companies. People should feel privileged if they have this kind of experience with a company only once in their lives. Now I am sure you are thinking, thelavender, you have to say these things. You are their TAM for goodness sake. There may be a slight level of bias in my writing, but that does not take away from the fact that Solarwinds IS one of those one in a lifetime companies. What they have built here is truly amazing and should easily set the bar for other companies using the same type of community. What Solarwinds has also done here has given even more cause for us at Lithium to take stock and look at where we are with our own Lithium Community platform. How we approach allowing customers to integrate with the platform. How easily these integrations come through the frameworks that we build. In holding hands across the world and sharing a Coca Cola fashion, Lithium is standing side by side with Solarwinds and doing everything we can to ensure that this level of passion continues. This is a text book case of where two companies have the unique ability to come together and offer each other something more than just your typical business/client relationship.
My only worry is whether or not he will send flowers!!