Ever met one of those people that likes to keep learning long before they’ve faked interest at school and scraped through some exams?  Well recently that has been me.  While waiting for Nutanix upgrades to complete (during the day, no down time – you get the drill) I’ve found time for educational publications and none have made more of an impression than the 1984 classic “The Man With the Gold.”  Is this a self-help book perhaps?  Maybe the musing of a Harvard scholar?  No, this is the autobiography of Mr T.

Yes, that Mr T.

This Mr T.

In one particular chapter he talks about the peer pressure young kids face in his neighbourhoods and the harsh words others will use against them to force them down one particular path.  This is pretty relevant to the line of work I’m in and the customers I talk to so before we continue with this unusual parallel between the musings of a TV star and the world of software read what he wrote:

I know about peer pressure and all that, but I say, “Hey, they called me a sissy because I wouldn’t join a gang. Who was calling me a sissy? Does it make me a sissy because somebody called me a sissy?” […] I’m going to fight if you touch me or hurt me or do harm to my family. But if you call me a bad name, or whatnot, I’m too smart for that. That’s the message the kids need to hear coming from me. I tell them, “If I fought every time somebody called me a name, I would never get out of jail. But I’m disciplined. I’m smarter than that.”

So I tell them, like my mother said, “Consider the source.

When you see who called you the name, then you understand why they’re doing it. Then you don’t have to stoop that low.

In pretty much every meeting I attend stories from the competition come up about Nutanix.  For example, did you know “Nutanix doesn’t scale, has awful performance, loses data if a node or disk fails, uses 100GB of RAM for our CVM” etc etc.  All news to me.

Now, consider the source of those stories and why they’re saying such things.  The competition is out to discredit Nutanix.  Not through proof points but through FUD shaped as fact.  Many do this before we’ve even been able to ask the customer about their business requirements – you know, the real reason people want to talk to vendors – but that’s been the way in business for decades and it’s time it changed.

In the field we prefer the open and honest approach to answering critics and that’s what I’d like to touch on today.

Firstly we can and will always have hundreds of customer references to call upon.  Our customers are our biggest advocates and none of them are told to say anything nice about us, only the truth.  We can confidently say we’ve got all avenues covered from verticals to applications so finding someone “just like you, sir” isn’t going to be too hard thanks to the thousands of customers who’re already in our family.

Next, and this happens quite frequently, we can run live and unfiltered proof of concepts.  This is a great way to get customers hands-on with the product and test the systems and processes that are critical to them.  We’ve ran these on customer sites and on our extensive hosted platform where customers can do everything to a Nutanix cluster remotely from the comfort of their desk, including destructive testing, to ensure it does what it should.

Finally, and this is the one I really love, a number of our SEs in the UK have put together something very special called Tech Bootcamps.  This is a day long session (with food and beer afterwards) where 10 to 20 attendees from different companies can learn the technology together and also perform the testing required for their success.  We run these roughly twice a quarter and they’ve been a huge success so far.  We have seen them cut down the time customers spend ticking off the basics while getting first-hand experience on the finer details pertinent to their business requirements.  In 90% of cases we’re not asked for on-site or hosted POCs after this which helps their own project timelines no end.  All because we’ve addressed all of the FUD from their source quickly and efficiently.

Keep an eye out for these being advertised by the UK team and please come along whether you’re already engaged with us or have something we might be able to help with.  Don’t worry, no sales people are allowed to attend 🙂

Taking this approach has the added value of showing who is the humble, honest and hungry one to work alongside and that goes a long way to building the most important part in any relationship – trust.

So the next time you see FUD thrown in a meeting, before you’ve even met the other vendors, just ask yourself why they’re name calling and how you can get the proof points you need objectively and honestly.

…and if they do keep going on about it here’s a few things you can tell them, from Mr T himself https://youtu.be/omgzk9sQ0eM?t=9s