Technical Presales Manager Eastern Europe, Symantec Poland
Work at Symantec
How long have you been working for Symantec and how did you join?
I started working in 1974 – on 15 June it will be 33 years ago. To begin with I worked as an academic for over 20 years. I came to Symantec in 1999. I was number two, after our country manager who started working there in July, while I arrived a bit later – in September.
The Polish branch of Symantec has always had its headquarters in the same building. We started out in rented Regus offices on the first floor. The whole office was about 14 square metres in size and consisted of two poorly lit rooms of 6 square metres each, with doors leading to an atrium and a small corridor. The two of us worked there for a year or more. Then Magda Sawicka joined us, followed by Ewa Korzus. The two rooms expanded into four rooms, covering 30 square metres in total. We worked liked that for three years or more, until we moved to our present location. At the beginning, our new office was about 200 square metres in size. Everyone who visited us was amazed – lots of space, a huge conference room and … only four people in the office. Having so much space we could well play hide-and-seek. It looked very funny. Visitors always said that it would take us ten years to fill up the entire space. Before a month had passed, Krzysztof Korzonkowski was recruited as the Localisation Department Manager. He immediately started hiring more people, which meant more rooms were required. In six months’ time the office had grown to about 1000 square metres – exactly the size we have now. Over those four years, our office had undergone a big change – from 14 to 1000 square metres.
What was your first experience with Symantec and its products?
When I was looking for a new job, I saw an ad in a newspaper for a “presales engineer in a software company” and then I had a meeting with the lady from the recruitment company. During that pleasant conversation, she told me that the job offer was for a post in a German company and then added: “Maybe I should tell you their name – it's Symantec”. I was dumbfounded: “But that’s an American company!” The lady replied firmly: “No, this is certainly a German company.” I was in seventh heaven when I heard that I might get the opportunity to work for the “German” company Symantec. Since 1981, when I bought the first computer for our scientific institute, I have been a great fan of Symantec and Norton products. That first computer of ours had no software whatsoever. The salespeople didn’t exactly know what DOS was, so we got a truncated version – the computer hardly worked in fact. In those days, scientists frequently studied abroad and went to conferences, so we soon had various programmes flowing in. The first delivery of software, which I still remember today, consisted of three things: Sierra’s “King’s Quest” game, Borland’s “Turbo Pascal” and Norton Computing’s “Disk Edit”. Together with these programmes we got Peter Norton's book on the PC and all its functions. At that time I did a lot of programming, so for me it was a revelation! “Disk Edit” in turn made it possible to meddle with floppy disks and swap various things around (classical floppy disk hacking) – it was awesome! This was my first contact with Norton. Six months later we received the Norton Commander software and various other tools produced by that company.
What is your most memorable experience with Symantec?
At the very beginning there were only two of us in the Polish Symantec office, so each of us had to be a one-man-band and do virtually everything. My post was in presales of corporate products, but I also dealt with retail products. I would spend most of the day on the phone, answering all kinds of questions from our customers regarding maintenance and technical issues. I am still sorry for the ladies from Regus who took the flak when the customers couldn’t get through to me. I was responsible for logistics – after all, the office needed equipment. I was the technical support and localisation department – I had to thoroughly check all products and documentation which had been localised into Polish in Ireland (I remember how the icon description “Upheld Palm” for WinFax was translated as “holidays under palm trees”). I also personally tested localised software for corporate and retail customers. Currently this is a job which keeps 70 people extremely busy.
When our branch started expanding, I could focus more on my primary function that of a presales engineer. When the offices in the Czech Republic and in Hungary were established I initially became the informal manager of all the engineers. After the merger of Symantec and Veritas I officially became the manager for all engineers in Eastern Europe which I truly enjoy.