After almost 6 years with VMware (1 month short!), it’s with a bittersweet feeling that I’m saying goodbye to my extended family this week. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again: the connections and friends I made at VMware, will last a lifetime.
I was first drawn to VMware by NSX. When I joined, it was fairly new in the market and I’ve been lucky enough to see it being commoditized while helping organizations adopt and architect NSX into their networks. I’ve had the pleasure of working as a Solutions Engineer in the NSBU for about 3 years when ArkinNet was acquired. I had some previous experience with Arkin, so I was determined to get involved.
After spending a year in the SE role doing side projects that revolved around vRealize Network Insight, like creating a PowerShell module and writing a book, I managed to convince the product team to let me focus 100% on vRNI.
When I joined the Technical Marketing team, the wheels came off. In the last 3 years, I’ve written around 100 blogs, 6 white papers, 40 videos, trained 1000s of colleagues on 16 product releases, presented 21 VMworld sessions, countless VMUGs, customer meetings, and tons more.
This is also when my “red threads” started shifting from educating people to creating things.
The Harvard Business Review podcast (HBR IdeaCast) has been running a series called “Find Joy In Any Job” and the term “red thread” keeps coming back. Red threads are things (tasks, projects, interactions) that you love and that give you energy – as opposed to tasks that drain energy. The goal is to have about 80% of your work being red threads. Not too little, but you also can’t have 100% (unless you’re a billionaire, maybe). Here’s a quote from the podcast that summarises my situation:
People start side projects to get more red threads. Eventually, some are lucky enough to transition those side projects into full time projects
After becoming a Technical Marketer, my side projects (creating vRNI content) became my full-time job. My new side projects focused more on environmental optimizations (tweaking energy consumption, travel, and carbon footprints of the area around me), and software development, like HighlightVault, WhatPulse, or MuteDeck. I started building more and more projects to fill personal needs, and they resonated with the community around me.
Slowly but surely, “creating things” solidified as my red threads.
I think we all know that our planet has seen better days, with extreme weather becoming the norm. Heatwaves, floods, wildfires, it’s a mess. There’s hope, though. More people than ever are working on sustainable solutions everywhere and tech is a significant driver. I’ve been wanting to do my part for a long time.
And now that the pandemic is socially over (it’s not really), colleagues seem to be going back to the previous habits of flying & traveling. I don’t want to take part in that anymore (technical marketers tend to fly a lot), as it has a major impact on the environment – and a lot of the time, it’s unnecessary.
I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life and combine the two last topics. I’ll be focusing on being my own boss (freelance) and creating a new [stealth] company with two co-founders focused on green energy storage. I can’t say too much about the latter, but I’ll be assuming the CTO role to define the tech stack in hardware and software and hiring some great local talent to build with me. I’m going to learn a lot from electrical engineers and other amazing people, and hopefully share my learnings.
The startup will consume a significant amount of time in the beginning, less so once things get rolling. That’s when I’ll be spending time doing freelance content creation, speaking at events, and driving my software forward. Contact me if you’re interested in working together. 🙂
It’s a major direction shift and I’m excited for what it’ll bring!
May 24, 2022 at 15:56
Will miss u Martijn! Good luck in your next endeavor buddy! So long …do stay in touch.
May 24, 2022 at 20:56
Veel succes met deze nieuwe rode draad Martijn. Ik hoor graag meer details tijdens een bakje koffie wanneer je daar iets over kunt roepen.
May 27, 2022 at 04:53
Congratulations and Best of Luck!
May 27, 2022 at 08:16
Good luck and all the best for your new endeavour!!! It’s was great working with you…
May 27, 2022 at 11:40
Congratulations Martijn! Wish you all the best.
May 27, 2022 at 23:03
Best of luck Martijn. Agree 100%, for a better tomorrow we need to be more efficient with the world and energy today.
May 27, 2022 at 23:16
Good luck and congrats on your Red Threads!!
May 28, 2022 at 10:01
All the best Martijn