Greetings Earthlings (well, most of you at least) After a great engagement in November, the Backup Exec team went back to Reddit for more last week. We lived through our first AMA and came out better people for it. The transcript from that event has been a topic of conversation in Engineering, Product Management and even in some executive leadership meetings. We wanted to hear more, only this time, we were focusing on virtualization. Since we wanted to narrow the focus a little bit, this is an AM(Almost)A because we had assembled some key creators of the Backup Exec virtualization strategy.
The event was again a success. We garnered roughly a 70% approval rating on over 200 votes. All told, there were over 140 comments including questions, answers and the odd troll.
Our setup for these AMAs is a bit like the South Park writers room. We gather key players from Engineering, Quality Assurance, Product Management and Marketing. Our main goal is to provide technical answers to questions and provide best practices advice for folks looking to optimize their environments. Reddit is not a place to go if you are planning on spouting ad slogans or spin. Redditors are there for unfiltered exchanges and direct conversation so we have to provide real answers that solve problems.
When a question comes in, it goes up to the room. Depending on the subject, it can be debated as to what is the best answer, or claimed by someone from the appropriate department. The meat of the answer is devised, then we crowdsource the language to make sure that we are directly addressing the issue and providing a straightforward answer. Sometimes the best course of action is to direct the questioner to a tech note or a link, other times, we have to dig deeper into the question. While it may be frustrating for the questioner, oftentimes, we do need to ask for more information. Once we know enough about what the user is looking for, we work to give them the best information to solve their issue.
The most important thing for us, as a company is to be truly accessible. Trolls will come into the AMA and drop clever quips, but sometimes there is a grain of truth in a jab. When this happens, we have to admit it if there is a weakness. It is far better to be truthful about something and move on to the next issue rather than try to spin something and ending up sounding like a politician. We are doing events like AMAs and Google+ Hangouts in order to be straight with our users. Symantec is made up of creative people who work hard to create solutions that solve problems. If we weren’t working here, we’d be out there with you facing what you face. We need to have these kinds of conversations with users who don’t go to VMworld or Vision so we can truly understand how you are using our products. Just because we build Backup Exec to work a specific way doesn’t mean that a user won’t install it in a way that works differently. What we learn from you in these events is important and goes into crafting the next version of Backup Exec.
So, with all of that being said, keep an eye out for us here as well as on other platforms like Twitter. You can find me at @PackMatt73. Other good sources to follow include @BE_Elias, @BackupExec & @SYMCPartners. We are making every effort to meet you where you prefer to go. Hit us up. If we aren’t spending time in an area where there are a lot of you, let us know! I love a good party. Invite me to yours!