EvoStore – 2009

I had happily settled into working at Coverity, which I got this email:

I helped on the Director search for VMware’s Core Engineering a few years ago and remembered we tried to get you interested and that you were very well thought of.  I’d like let you know of a new VP Engineering position I’m working on for EvoStor.
EvoStor is conducting a worldwide search for an engineering leader.
This position is in Melbourne, Australia.
Must have hands on experience with Virtualization technology along with low level software such as distributed systems, storage, networking, etc.
Looking for a leader vs. a driver.
Must have experience or be ready to rise to senior management.

I talked about the interview at VMWare here; this same recruiter gave me feedback that they thought I was “too arrogant”. I was puzzled about the comment “very well thought of”. If that had been true, where was the offer?

As I was reading this, I texted my wife (who grew up overseas):

Me: Hey, you want to live in Melbourne?

Her: Australia or Florida?

Me: Oz

Her: When do you want me to call the movers?

By the time I had typed out a reply, my wife had found the neighborhoods and schools to look at online.

I wrote back to the recruiter:

I do remember interviewing at VMWare years ago, and I was disappointed not to be interviewed further.

I would be interested in discussing this with you.

She called. Basically, EvoStor was a startup that grew out of a local university in Melbourne. The investors were getting itchy, because they had been working for several years and still had no shipping product. The board was looking for a senior manager who could take over the team and get the product out the door, and then grow the team to position it for future growth.

The technology had something to do with virtualization, and server optimization. I admitted freely that this was not my area of expertise, but I was good at getting products out the door.

She then told me that I needed to talk to her more technical partner before we proceeded further. So he called.

He asked me one question about scheduling and triaging and meeting requirements. He then asked me, “Do you have any questions for me?”

We had only been on the phone 5 minutes; I could not imagine that he was interested after such a short period of time. So I gambled.

“Yes, I do. Why are you talking to me? The fact that you only asked me one question leads to me to believe that you are not actually interested, and that you are letting me ask questions to be nice and not to poison our relationship for future positions.”

He paused.

“Here’s the deal,” he said. “We have two other candidates that we are pursuing. Both of them work at VMWare currently. Both of them are Australian ex-pats who are homesick. Both of them have relevant technical experience. Neither one has much management experience at all.”

He continued, “I am talking to you because you do have management experience, and you come across as a no-nonsense kind of guy who could get the team into shape, while at the same time, you don’t seem like an a##hole who would poison the company. I am talking with you to have you as an option in case the other two don’t work out.”

“Oh.”

“If we decide to go forward, we would first fly you out to San Jose to talk to our American engineering manager. If that worked out, we would fly you down to Australia for a full round of interviews.”

I said, “That’s fine; I don’t anticipate that you will pursue me at this point. Do me a favor, though.”

“What?”

“If you do decide not to pursue me, would you let me know? A lot of companies and recruiters leave candidates hanging, afraid to tell them bad news.”

“Will do.”

And he did, 3 weeks later. Man of his word.

But my wife and I were really looking forward to living in Australia. Sigh.

Don’t know what happened to EvoStor; there domain name is for sale now.

 

 

 

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