I recently met with Chris Weber and his recruiter, Jennifer, to brainstorm for the upcoming interviewing event in Silicon Valley. Chris runs the Server Platform BMO and agreed to be interviewed here. I wanted you to hear from Chris because I'm incredibly inspired by business leaders who understand that the talent you hire is the most important success factor for your organization (and one you have total control over, no less). It's cool to meet with hiring managers/business leaders that "get it". Chris is one of them. He'll be with us in Silicon Valley so don't forget to send your resume (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to consider opportunities in his organization. (If you sent your resume to this alias before 10/5, please re-send)
HH: Chris, what is your group responsible for?
CW: Our group is the Server Platform BMO (Business Marketing Organization) in the US Subsidiary. In the group we have three primary responsibilities: 1. marketing of the server platform products and solutions which is a $3B business in the US, 2. Security Mobilization Initiative to help our customers and partners manage the security risk and 3. IT Professional audience marketing to provide our customers the tools and resources around Microsoft solutions, products and technologies.
HH: Tell us a little bit about your background. What did you do before MS? What roles have you held at MS?
CW: I have been at Microsoft just over 10 years. Prior to this position I was the General Manager for our South Central District based in Dallas, TX. I was responsible for the sales, marketing and services for our enterprise customers in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Prior to that I was the Director for Small and Mid-Market business in Microsoft Canada. I started in 1994 as an Account Executive in Ohio for 3 years before taking on the role of channel management in Dallas, TX. Prior to Microsoft I worked at CompuServe for 7 years where I held a number of sales roles responsible for accounting, payroll and HR solutions.
HH: How do you work with other marketing organizations at Microsoft?
CW: We are responsible for the marketing efforts for Server Platform in the US. We are very connected to the Worldwide BMO as well as the Product Group marketing teams. Essentially we are the connection point between the Products Groups and our customers as well as the field sales and marketing teams.
HH: What kind of roles exist in your organization?
CW: Product marketing roles focused on areas such as Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange, Security and our Management products. Additionally we have a number of audience marketing roles that focus on the IT Professional community.
HH: What is causing the need for so much hiring in your organization?
CW: The server platform is a growing business so we need to continue to invest to take this business to the next level.
HH: With regard to experience, what do you generally look for in a potential candidate?
CW: Generally speaking we look for 7 – 10 years of product marketing experience. One of the specific areas we are looking for now is competitive product marketing experience to round out the talent we have on the team. We look for people focused on driving results, who are strategic thinkers, and who have great communications and overall leadership skills. We want people who want to win and know how.
HH: Think about a great performer you've had reporting to you in the past. What are the words you would use to describe them?
CW: Passionate, committed to success, great leadership, strong communicator and connects with people.
HH: What is a potential career path for someone in your organization?
CW: There a number of opportunities within the organization including individual product marketing roles all the way to leading a product team such as the Windows Server Platform. This is over a $1B business in the US alone. From there the opportunities would be running a business such as the Server Platform team.
HH: What is exciting about your group? Why is this a great place for someone to grow a marketing career?
CW: First of all this is the greatest company in the world to work for. I firmly believe that. The environment is very fast paced, entrepreneurial in nature and rewards great performance. Secondly our group is made up of super smart people who are doing very creative and inspiring work. Third the server platform business is driving growth for the company so it is very energizing to be in an area where growth is the key focus.
HH: What is the biggest challenge your group is facing right now?
CW: Hiring great talent fast enough. My belief is we can only be as successful as the people we hire so this is absolutely the #1 priority. From a business perspective it is all how about how we tell our story to the customers so they truly understand a clear value proposition.
HH: Why Microsoft right now? Why should someone join?
CW: If you want to work for a company that is a leader in the industry, provides an environment that fosters innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit Microsoft is for you. It is an incredible opportunity to make an impact!
HH: What advice would you give someone joining Microsoft right now?
CW: Enjoy the ride. It is such a great company to work for. There is no shortage of passion and energy so make sure you brings yours along.:-)
HH: What do you do to blow off steam outside of work?
CW: I love to run and play golf. Although I am a real amateur I am really getting hooked on digital photography. With my wife, 2 kids and golden retriever I have some of the best subjects to photograph in the world!
HH: Tell us something interesting about you that most people don't know.
CW: I love animals. And when I save enough money I want to open up a farm as a shelter for stray dogs. 500 dogs on a farm would be awesome!