"I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all..." (Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan).
I was accidentally born as a Cajun from a small town in south Louisiana. Really far south. In fact, if you live south of where I grew up, then we are probably blood relatives. That it was an accident is indisputable because I grew up to be a geek reading science fiction and fantasy novels in a place where most people considered those genres only marginally more acceptable than the Communist Manifesto or the Satanic Bible (no offense to communists or Satanists).
I went to college to be an English major and accidentally stumbled across a psychology text among my girlfriend’s books and immediately fell in love with the cognitive psychology chapter. I loved it so much that I stuck with it until I got a Ph.D. from Rice University studying human memory. Note that this is cognitive psychology, not therapy or abnormal psychology. This is not an invitation to tell your non-SolarWinds troubles to me on Thwack.
Although I applied to many, many different universities in the U.S. and Canada, I ended up at LSU in Baton Rouge, which was more of a cosmic joke than an accident given that I’d been trying to escape the state all my life. I taught there as a professor for about 5 years before I realized that I was deeply bored and couldn’t imagine doing the same thing for 30+ years, which is what professors do. I realized that I wanted to get into the tech world because that’s where the other geeks were. Cognitive psychologists are fine folks, but you can’t count on them to take Battlestar Galactica or Buffy the Vampire Slayer seriously or to know an MMORPG from an RTS.
So I left LSU to work as a usability engineer for Compaq, which was possible only through the accident of a former colleague for Rice already working at Compaq. From there, I bopped through a series of jobs in the tech industry (IBM, BMC Software, NetIQ). I ended up at SolarWinds because I took a job at Winternals Software in Austin, only to have it bought by Microsoft a few months later. That our CEO was looking for product managers in Austin at just the moment that Microsoft was eliminating Winternals was just the latest happy accident.
And that, my friends, was how I've ended up as the SVP of Product Strategy at SolarWinds. After 7 great years, I've moved on to other pursuits, but participation on thwack was a highlight of my time with SolarWinds.