Let me introduce myself. My name is Craig McDonald, and I come from the land of video games and stock trading, sprinkled with identity management, and, by the way, I like to write. Checkered past, you say? How did you end up in network management, you ask? Perfectly valid questions; I will connect the dots for you and it will all make sense shortly.
I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin where I had the opportunity to write for The Daily Texan and Texas Monthly. Upon graduation I was faced with two options: move to a small town and start my career at an even smaller newspaper, or make a home in Austin and see where this crazy tech town would take me. I chose the latter, and ended up working in support and managing QA for a popular MMORPG called Ultima Online (this was before WoW was a sparkle in Blizzard's eye).
After a few years of policing the haXXorZ, overseeing a few in-game weddings, and shipping several expansion skus, I decided it was time for a change. I remember the advice from one of my journalism professors when I asked about pursuing a graduate degree; his suggestion, "Go to business school!" I heeded his advice, got accepted to the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and started working on my MBA.
While finishing my MBA at McCombs, I was presented with an opportunity to work for a company that developed online trading software (Charles Schwab, formerly CyberTrader). This may seem a stretch from video games, but the client/server infrastructure and the uptime requirements for an MMORPG and a securities trading engine are quite similar. Although the content and use cases are obviously very different, both require fast connections and the ability to allow users to log into the service at any time. My next career move was into the enterprise software arena where I worked as a product manager for Sun Microsystems in the Identity Management space.
Fast forward to today, I'm your newest product manager at SolarWinds. I will be managing Toolset, VoiP, and eventually the Kiwi products. Outside of the SolarWinds 'Borg' (assimilation is swift and definitive), I keep busy with my lovely wife, two beautiful kiddos, and a pug named Marley. When they go to bed, I'm either watching a movie, reading a book (working on Atlas Shrugged, and it is work, indeed), or staring at the red circle of death on my XBOX 360.