Name: Kit Colbert
Kit Colbert is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the Cloud Platform Business Unit at VMware.
In this role, Kit is responsible for driving technical strategy and innovation for the vSphere, VMware Cloud on AWS, and VMware Cloud on DellEMC product lines.
Previously, Kit was GM of Cloud-Native Apps, CTO for End-User Computing, the Chief Architect and Principal Engineer for Workspace Portal, and the lead Management Architect for the vRealize Operations Suite. At the start of his career, he was the technical lead behind the creation, development, and delivery of the vMotion and Storage vMotion features in vSphere.
Kit holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Brown University and is a recognized thought leader on Cloud-Native, End-User Computing, and Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure trends. He speaks regularly at industry conferences, on the main stage at VMworld, and is the Hybrid Cloud voice for the VMware Office of the CTO.
I got to know Kit while at VMware. Kit has always been someone that I had an easy time connecting with. He is technically very deep but is able to simplify concepts in order for others to understand. For me, this proved to be incredibly valuable when Kit and I talked about challenges that we were facing or working on opportunities to work together. Many of these brief conversations happened in the VMware gym while we were stretching and cooling down from a workout!
The reason I wanted to have Kit on the show, other than that he is incredibly smart and very articulate, is that he has moved in and out of management. His experiences in doing this have been both energizing and exhausting. The lessons that have come from these experiences will be valuable to any technologist struggling with whether to go into management.
I really hope you enjoy!
I asked Kit three questions that were specific to him.
- You have been at VMware for a long time. You have been involved in building amazing products and working with some of the latest technologies. I am sure you have had lots of opportunities to leave VMware and work elsewhere.
- With that as a backdrop, what advice do you have for others who are trying to decide whether to stay at their current company or move on…?
- You have moved in and out of management over your career. As a technologist, what do you see as the pros and cons of being a manager?
- When you talk to high school or early college students, what advice do you have for them in terms of field of study, advanced degrees, etc.?
I then asked Kit 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?
It is hard to pick a few quotes from the interview – there are so many that resonate with me. But here goes anyway!
In talking about why Kit has decided to stay at VMware so long – it is because of the opportunities that he has had and his confidence in the future of the company.
“I always believed in our future and where we could go…”
Many of these opportunities have come through his own initiative, going after the problems that he sees.
“I have always internalized VMware’s problems as my problems. Irrespective of the role that I am in – lets go fix these things.”
As Kit’s impact and influence has grown, he has developed a perspective on what makes a great engineer.
“A strong programmer will have both a fundamental understanding of how a computer works at its very basic level as well as a high level model of AI / ML programming.”
These quotes just touch the surface. I am sure you will enjoy the full interview!
Kit is a long-time VMware employee. He had his internship there and joined after graduating from college. Hear about his journey and how VMware has provided him with the opportunities that have made it easy to stay.