Advocating for Engineers and Customers Alike with William Lam – Ep 107

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william-lam-vmworldWe’re pleased to bring you a conversation with William Lam, Staff Engineer II working within the VMware R&D organization and creator of the ever-popular VirtuallyGhetto.com. The Whisperers spoke with William back at VMworld, and due to a number of lost files and a miraculous backup copy, we now deliver it to you.

We discuss:

  • Joining R&D from the customer side of the story
  • The transition from TME to R&D Engineering
  • Filtering content and serving it up to the customer
  • Feeling closer to the customer by playing with the software
  • His role is diverse: “today could be VSAN, tomorrow could be NSX”
  • Starting early in blogging
  • Doubting the value of his blog (he didn’t believe people would read his blog)
  • The naming of Virtually Ghetto and its humble beginnings
  • Advocating for the customer within the company
  • Not worrying about politics or swim lanes, but doing the best work for the customer
  • Having engineers who wrote the code troubleshoot using your blog
  • Answering the questions: what are the use cases, how is it getting used, how do you fix it?
  • Providing feedback from customer back into engineering as well
  • Working for the enterprise versus playing in the startup lands
  • How’d you get here? Honestly no clue
  • Safe is a relative idea that doesn’t always make good or bad
  • We all have non-linear paths to the roles we get to
  • Do the work and share it publicly
  • Career planning is not his favorite thing – keep up with the passion
  • One takeaway: persevere. It will show
  • Gut versus metrics? He’s a gut guy
  • Fulfill the commitment and keep going forward
  • Don’t run away from the fear – there’s good from it

You can follow William on Twitter @lamw and on his incredible blog, Virtually Ghetto. Thanks for this episode and thanks for the backup copy Mark!


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