Welcome to the Life of an SE. The world of the SE, a.k.a. Sales Engineer, Systems Engineer and more recently Solutions Engineer is for me and I’m sure many aspiring and current SEs an interesting one.
No day is the same, demands are constant, travel a given and listening and talking at the same time required. No one really knows how on earth they ended up doing the job, I’m sure that is changing but for my generation we are a band of high functioning misfits who just know how to explain stuff.
There are some good resources out there that can help you on your path. The best for me is Mastering Technical Sales the website is full of interesting information and resources and the accompanying book Mastering Technical Sales by
Here I don’t intend to repeat their good work but to give you a blow by blow account of my working life. Through that I aim to draw on what is working and what is not. I will drift into the past I’m sure but there has been a lot of that and experience in this role can be a good thing. I’m starting this 8 years in and in Q4 (I must be mad) but hopefully you’ll discover why I consider myself very lucky indeed and many describe being an SE as the highlight of their career.
Wherever you are good luck!
I’ve just come back from the Gartner Symposium ITXPO on the Gold Coast #GartnerSYM. This was my trifecta having been to the 2012 and 2013 events.
Gartner opened the event with the keynote on Tuesday morning by hammering in hard their new definition of the market. With a brief introduction touching on constant change and the Internet of Things (IoT) we were introduced to the “Digital Business.”
According to Gartner “Digital Business” represents this current age of technology and its impact on all companies.
Attendees were told to embrace risk, to focus on building a new talent pool with experts in mobile, user experience and data science and to understand that disruption will accelerate the decline of markets.
The message made a point but I don’t think went far enough, time was still dedicated to telling everyone to keep the foundations secure and solid. Like a rock everyone was told. Almost as if Gartner wanted to keep their feet secured to what they know and trust and not be too innovative themselves. This was a shame but like all vendors Gartner have a product to sell and as much as we try and swim in the new oceans we always like to look back at what made us successful and pays the bills. Jumping from the boat isn’t easy, especially when it looks like the party is still in full swing.
Gartner made a good job of selecting other keynotes that focused on the impact of change and innovation.
Andrew McAfee of MIT challenged us with information on change and automation, he touched on topics of his research and in his book The Second Machine Age http://www.secondmachineage.com/. Anyone listening to this either left thinking well it’s still will not happen to me or probably rushed to lock themselves in a bunker and wait for Arnold Schwarzenegger looking machines to take over the planet. All should have been left with the impression that the rate of change is exponential and we have a fantastic opportunity as well as responsibility to capitalise on this.
Guy Kawasaki http://www.guykawasaki.com/ took us through his rules on innovation. Not surprisingly it was very well delivered. It didn’t take Guy long to win everyone over. If you could take a bit of that sparkle, energy and experience into a role in your organisation just imagine what the results would be. Although would you because he’d probably be running the joint in a couple of weeks. Just how many of the audience will cut their presentations down to 10 slides and 20 minutes I’d love to know. I’m certain no one will invest in dog food dot com but I’m sure there will still be mission statements made at expensive hotels in and around the golf course.
These two in particular helped support and promote the main theme Gartner were delivering, it’s just a shame that the real innovators appear to still be on the outside.