How I Got Here: 11 Questions With VMTurbo CTO Charles Crouchman
VMTurbo CTO Charles Crouchman sits down with Techopedia to discuss his company and his role in it.
Over the last few years, virtualization has become a major buzzword in enterprise computing. As companies seek out ways to become more efficient and cut costs, virtualization often rises to the forefront of those discussions. After all, virtualization technologies are already helping many businesses increase efficiency, cut costs and make room for greater growth with their infrastructure.
As the demand for virtualized environments grows, so does the number of companies offering virtualization services. VMTurbo is just one of those companies, but it's one that's made a big impact since entering the market in 2008. The company's Workload Management solution for cloud and virtualized environments works to dynamically adjust resource allocation to help businesses meet their goals. Forbes voted VMTurbo as one of America's Most Promising Companies in 2014. So, what's it like to work there? We talked to VMTurbo's CTO, Charles Crouchman about the company, his typical workday and how he got his job.
Techopedia: Tell us a bit about your job and the company you work for.
Charles Crouchman: VMTurbo is a venture-backed startup in the virtualization and cloud computing space. Forbes listed it as one of America's Most Promising Companies. It's backed by Bain Capital, and it's a hypergrowth startup with 19 consecutive quarters of record revenue growth.
Techopedia: What does a typical day look like for you?
Charles Crouchman: I'm the CTO. I'm basically a professional communicator. My superpower is communicating very complex ideas in a simple way. I spend my time taking the VMTurbo message out to various stakeholders. I work with our marketing team to take the technology we produce and take that out to the market in a way that's consumable. When I have time, I spend it doing research and understanding where the technology's going and the market's going.
Techopedia: What does a great (or really rewarding) day look like?
Charles Crouchman: One is when you put out a new release of the product. That's very satisfying, but what's more satisfying is when a customer takes that release and provides feedback and tells us about the value that they got.
Techopedia: OK. And what makes for a terrible day?
Charles Crouchman: I hate self-inflicted wounds. Bad things happen, that's unavoidable. You need to identify those things, fix them and move on. Avoidable issues drive me crazy.
Techopedia: What's the coolest or most gratifying thing you've ever done in your career?
Charles Crouchman: Well, I hope the best is yet to come, but looking backwards, being part of teams that help to create some software products that provide great value to our customers. I was previously the CTO of a software company called Opalis Software, an early innovator in IT process automation. We built some fantastic technology and had great customers. Microsoft acquired that product in 2006 and it's now called Microsoft System Center Orchestrator, and it's a key component in Microsoft's virtual and cloud infrastructure. That is very gratifying, having your technology become ubiquitous.
Techopedia: If you could choose one thing that you think might have helped you land the job you have now, what would it be?
Charles Crouchman: A CTO is half technologist, half marketer. You have to have a deep background in technology, but you have to be good at communicating that technology to stakeholders. In addition to a tech grounding, you have to have a background that helps you learn to communicate. I studied math and philosophy in school, so I always had this split brain and that's served me well.
Techopedia: What are the biggest challenges that you face day to day?
Charles Crouchman: Creating a market is a very difficult thing — particularly in the early stages of a company. That's a challenging thing but a rewarding challenge. The beautiful thing is that at VMTurbo we are getting past the point of educating the market. The market understands it better now.
Techopedia: What are some of your tricks for productivity?
Charles Crouchman: I really just have one: Surround yourself with the best people. Their ability to amplify my efforts will far exceed what I can achieve as an individual. Multiply your efforts with the efforts of others.
Techopedia: What technology do you rely on the most?
Charles Crouchman: iPad mini. I travel a lot and I'd be lost without it on the road.
Techopedia: What is your workplace pet peeve?
Charles Crouchman: Software companies have moved to open-concept designs around floor planning. They're fantastic for collaborating, but people have to respect that environment. Software development relies on being able to concentrate intensely. They have to be in flow, in a state of intense concentration. You don't want to break that flow. It's expensive to come out of that. In a knowledge industry, you have to respect that flow and avoid disruption so my pet peeve is when people don't respect that, particularly in open-concept environments.
Techopedia: If you could create your dream job, what would it look like?
Charles Crouchman: I've been lucky to have my dream job three times. My dream job is to be the CTO of a successful software company. I have had the good fortune to do this three times already. VMTurbo is the most impactful of my career so far. We now have over 1,000 customers.
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