Name: Alex Bewley
Alex Bewley is a Director of Engineering at VMware, where he has been for the last 5 years.
Prior to VMware, Alex started and ran two small companies. The first was focused on Professional Services for Sun Microsystems customers. And the second was a software company, delivering performance, availability, capacity management, and costing tools.
Before this, Alex was a systems engineer at Sun Microsystems.
I got to know Alex while I was at VMware. He joined my team when I moved into Global Services. Alex was part of a team doing research into tools that could dramatically improve customer support. I joined the organization to reinvent support. What a perfect fit!
I worked with Alex and the other researchers to build a team to take their prototype and turn it into the core of VMware Skyline, a proactive support product.
I wanted to interview Alex due to the breadth of his experience, and because he has worked and managed his team while being remote from headquarters.
I hope you enjoy the interview.
I asked Alex three questions that were specific to him.
- This year I am focusing on topics in my podcasts. I am mixing in interviews with great managers, but I am tying it all together by asking questions related to the topics. Let me start with the topic – working remotely.
- You have worked remotely from headquarters for much of your career, a good part of this time from your home. What are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages that you have seen?
- You have been incredibly successful in this model. What are some tips or tricks that you would like to share with my listeners to help them to be more successful?
- The next area that I would like to talk about is innovation. You have been deep in technology for most of your career, even while managing and running your own company.
- How do you ensure that your team finds the right balance between delivering on the projects and products that they are responsible for AND innovating?
- When you look at small companies and large companies, anything to add about how the challenges that each faces in remaining innovative?
- I am a fan of both personal and team / organizational goals. What is your perspective on how important they are? (If they are, a follow-on about how to make them challenging while not impossible to achieve).
I then asked Alex the same six questions that I ask all interviewees – in a lightning-round format.
- What’s the most important factor you consider when hiring someone?
- Who was your most effective boss, and what made him or her stand out?
- What was the most difficult transition that you made in your career?
- How do you approach helping someone with their career development or path?
- What tools and tricks do you use to find work-life balance?
- How do you go about building relationships with your peers and other leaders in the company?
I really enjoyed the interview with Alex. Here are a few quotes that jumped out for me.
“By getting people to actually turn on video during remote converences – opens a whole new world of interacton.”
“Strong opinions – loosely held.” – attributed to Ryan Shondell
“No screens at dinner.”
I hope this gives you a sense of what you will hear in the interview.
I talk to Alex about his career journey. Alex graduated with a degree in computer science. He then worked at both large companies and started and ran two of his own. Quite a journey. Such great insights.
I hope that you learn something from Alex!