Two years after taking my current job Forbes.com wrote:
Twitter? For job-seeking? Consider Kyle Flaherty’s story.
He left a marketing agency position in Boston determined to find an in-house job. He tweeted about his decision and included a link to his professional blog, where he described the kind of work he was looking for. Within days his tweet was retweeted. That is, an acquaintance forwarded it–to his current boss.
“I don’t think I would have gotten this if not for Twitter,” says Flaherty, who moved from Boston to Austin, Texas, for the new job with a pregnant wife and 2-year-old son.
The story glosses over many details, but in the end and for many reasons, I started working at BreakingPoint Systems.
The opportunity was HUGE. Get to work with a ton of really bright people in the network security testing space AND be super creative AND hone my marketing chops after years strictly in the communications side of the house. Not to mention, I was about to develop relationships with some of the smartest and most admired talent in Austin technology, giving me an opportunity to establish a true career in the city and learn what it takes to grow a successful company. No brainer, let’s move to Austin!
Nearly five years later I’m making another move, and this time there is no cutesie social media story, nor a new city. It is a story built on the foundations of startup success, hard work by a LOT of people, mentors that I will now have for a lifetime, colleagues that have become my friends, and the leadership that is needed to drive it all forward.
On Monday I take the reins as Vice President of Marketing at another Austin technology startup (I’ll write more about that in the coming weeks), 21CT. But today, with only 48 hours left in my current role, forgive me while I reminisce and share some thoughts from the past five years.
Growth Is The Adventure
Change is always a mixed blessing, but when you enjoy walking into your office each day as much as I do, change is hard to make. We built an awesome team here at BreakingPoint, a team that created amazing and breakthrough products, and a team that established award-winning marketing campaigns, created a globally recognized brand, and proved that the new era of marketing is upon us all. Our success was recognized not only by our customers, but another company, who wanted to make sure they had this talented team to help them grow, and hence our acquisition by Ixia in July of last year.
Working at a startup technology company is a blast. Of course it’s hard work…really hard work, but you always have a goal: growth. You grow your employee base. You grow to revenue goals. You grow to profitability. You grow into new markets. You grow product functionality. You grow your employees development. You grow into new regions. You grow so much that you get acquired or go public.
And then you grow into a new adventure, one that I truly enjoyed the past six months with Ixia. In that short amount of time a global team of people came together to integrate not just one acquisition, but two! During this time I was fortunate to head up the global corporate communications team (branding, PR, web, digital, content, and social)…and put together a large team of intelligent folks working towards new growth goals. It was an amazing experience and one I’m truly blessed to have gone through. Ixia is going to be a thoroughly successful company and I’ll be watching all of my friends as they dominate, elevate, and accelerate the market!
Prior to making the BreakingPoint decision I sat in a bar with my good friend Michael in Charlestown (“The Town” for Trish and Martha) and I weighed the pros and cons of making a significant professional and personal move. At the time I sketched out how, if all went well, I could work at a great startup, learn a ton about marketing, business, and technology, see it through a fantastic exit, and try and do it again at another startup, but this time as the Vice President of Marketing. First-hand knowledge of what it takes to grow a business and a marketing organization was what I was seeking, and I got that in bucketfuls each day.
The role I had at BreakingPoint was never defined by a title or even a job description. Marketing may have been the ultimate role, but we were all intricate in the creation of a business and the happiness of our customers. And my sights were set on not only helping to build a successful marketing organization, but to continuously break down the barriers that have often hampered these marketing organizations by establishing a better connection with engineering, support, sales, and more. Each day was an opportunity to talk with someone who had more intricate knowledge of our technology, our product roadmap, our sales process, our revenue recognition, and it was amazing and humbling.
Marketers, we live in a world clearly driven by technology, serious and innovative technology that is changing the way we communicate, drive, relate, and adapt. Get to know the people who are creating this technology or managing it within your organization. These are the drivers, the content creators, the raw inspiration for the marketing campaigns of the future. It can be intimidating because you will no longer even be close to the smartest person in the room, but it will be your path to success in this new era.
Too many folks have helped me get to this point in my career, spanning many, many years. And I could honestly list a hundred people from BreakingPoint who helped, even if they don’t know the impact they had on me over the past five years. Pam, Dennis, Des, Evan, Mike, Scott, Steve (x2), Andrea, Phillip…the list could truly go on and on and on, but I’d always miss someone along the way. I have told you each how much you mean to me and my thanks for the help you provided and will provide.
Monday I will miss walking through that door yet again and seeing all of these faces, but I am forever thankful that they were and will always be a part of my life.
Monday it all starts again, a new adventure…but for 48 more hours I’m going to enjoy the amazing people around me one last time.