John Gilmartin

Name: John Gilmartin

John Gilmartin is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Hyperconverged Infrastructure Business Unit at VMware.

WOW is that a mouthful.  What it means is that John and his team combine together the VMware virtualization products to create the cloud platform on which almost customers run their applications on-premise or in the cloud. His team also works with companies such as Dell to create hyper-converged hardware and software products (abbreviated HCI).

John has been in high tech for all of his career. He started as a consultant at Marakon Associates, moved to Dell as a brand manager, then to VMware in product management. He left VMware to try working at a small company. He joined Coraid to run product marketing. He then returned to VMware and has quickly grown his responsibility to the role that he has today.

John has a computer science degree from Princeton and took some time out during his career to go back and get his MBA from Harvard.

I got to know John at VMware and worked for him for a couple of years. John is an incredibly well-rounded leader and manager that does a great job of balancing the urgent with the important, all while remaining incredibly calm.

I know you will get a lot out of my conversation with John!

Questions Interview

I asked John three questions that were specific to him.

  1. I have been focusing on topics in my podcasts this year. I would like to cover some of those topics with you. Let’s start with office politics.
    • How do you deal with office politics?
    • Do you have any guidance for managers?
  2. High Tech companies live or die based on their ability to innovate. How do you balance running the business with innovating?
  3. You have broad responsibility. How do you leverage goals to help drive your team to achieve what you and the rest of leadership see as most important?

I then asked John the same six questions that I ask all interviewees – in a lightning-round format.

  1. What’s the most important factor you consider when hiring someone?
  2. Who was your most effective boss, and what made him or her stand out?
  3. What was the most difficult transition that you made in your career?
  4. How do you approach helping someone with their career development or path?
  5. What tools and tricks do you use to find work-life balance?
  6. How do you go about building relationships with your peers and other leaders in the company?

I really enjoyed the interview with John. One area that was amazing was the discussion about office politics.

“When you become a manager, you have to think about relationships.”

“A big part of that is not just managing down, but managing up. Building relationships.”

“If you have a good understanding of what motivates and drives the people around you. Then you can start to think about what you are trying to accomplish fits into that. And maybe help them.”

Another area that John had some great insight into was innovation.

“Strategy happens. It is not what you put on your PowerPoint. It is not what you say in your speeches. It is what everybody does every day. And innovation happens the same way.”

I hope this gives you a sense of what you will hear in the interview.

Career Path

I talk to John about his career journey. It was fun to hear how he moved roles and companies as he learned and gained experience on the way to the role that he has today.

I think you will enjoy hearing from John!

See Also

Pat Gelsinger – Incredibly Successful Executive with the Right Priorities

Goals – Why Do Them?

Office Politics – How You Can Be Successful!