Believers, Fence-sitters, and Naysayers


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The Burden of Responsibility

As we unveil our 2nd annual user conference, .NEXT Vegas (Jun 20-22), I wanted to share the why behind the event.

The “blast radius” of what we are building — the new Enterprise Cloud — is huge, as we go on to replace servers, storage arrays, storage-area networks, hypervisors, and systems management software. When was building, every episode (circa. 2006) in the saga of SaaS-based computing was newsworthy. AWS itself had to go through a rite of passage (circa. 2012), but they dug in and built, and built… and built. Building did not come easy (circa. 2013) for Tesla either. And loyalists didn’t give Apple a free pass when it had started to become frivolous (circa. 2010) about its flaws. I could go on and on, talking about every company that dared to dream, and how they all had a burden of responsibility and proof that was much bigger than the burden of being a #2.


Building is never easy, and every company that goes on to build a long-lasting brand — in its arc of life — has a fair mix of believers, fence-sitters, and naysayers. Over time, as the plates shift, the mix of the stakeholders changes. Eventually, the mob kicks in, if the company’s products and services were truly transformational. If not, the company gets tucked in as an acquisition into a larger incumbent. “Golden handcuffs” kick in. Builders eventually move on, and technologies fade away. At Nutanix, we are in early days of our very own rite of passage. Time will reveal the strength of our company’s character to build.

.NEXT will be about Believers, Fence-Sitters, and Naysayers

For .NEXT to be truly needle-moving, we need participation from all three camps: believers, fence-sitters, and naysayers. In particular:

  • Rebels in application, virtualization, CloudOps, and server teams who value freedom no differently than developers who flock to AWS
  • Mavericks who want to move a few workloads to the public cloud, and learn what can’t be moved, for which they’d need a new enterprise cloud that has all the virtues of a public cloud plus more
  • Champions who want to apply pressure on their favorite server vendors to certify and support Nutanix software on new hardware platforms
  • Peacemakers who want to question the status quo within their organizations around disparate silos and sparring server-storage-virtualization teams
  • Tinkerers (explorers) who want to push the envelope of hyper-convergence beyond virtual machines: into containers and physical workloads
  • SAN Purists who love their SAN, and want to prove that a “software-defined camera app” is strictly inferior to their “DSLR” gadgets
  • VMware lovers who think a hypervisor still needs to be paid for, and would like to prove how AHV is too-little-too-late
  • Amazon 1-click fans who wouldn’t believe in ecommerce without that dopamine-inducing auto-complete or 1-click experience
  • Builders who help build companies, and love the “we influenced that” feeling
  • Security czars who are losing sleep on making security invisible, as Apple did with iOS devices
  • And finally, inquisitive minds who want to know why leadership chemicals are highly correlated with any movement that converges…

Personally to me, success is when we get our smallest unhappy customer to show up, because they believe in restoring trust by engaging face-to-face with our teams. That belief is what defines resilient companies and loyal customer bases. That resilience is what company-building and life are all about.