An internship amongst sharks
Written by Nikos Theodorou (Stanford MS '14, Delphix Intern, Summer 2014)
"So, what's your department called at Delphix?"
"Business Technology Consulting, or BTC"
"And... what exactly do you do there?"
This is how a typical conversation with friends would go during my Summer with Delphix. I am entering my last quarter as a master's student at Stanford and all my friends have been very interested in learning about my startup-gone-well experience with Delphix. Explaining what the company does is a task I can accomplish with ease at this point, however I always expect a follow-up question when I mention BTC.
BTC is a team that cannot be easily found in other tech companies and is what intrigued me to join the company. The way I describe it to my friends is as combination of consulting, product marketing, value engineering and finance. The main role is to support sales operations by equipping the sales representatives with the business case decks, the ROI models and research that they need throughout a sales cycle.
More than that, the team is responsible for mapping the value proposition of Delphix to complex use cases and the needs of different industries. One of my fellow BTC intern colleagues, Andrew, has already talked about the weekly meetings with the CEO, the role of the BTC team within the company, as well as the daily push-ups, so I'll try to go beyond that and explain what made this summer special for me. It all comes down to two factors - the culture, and the success-oriented management of the company. Clarity, creativity and sharpen fast: the three defining traits of Delphix's culture.
The BTC department was established in early 2014, thus making it a startup within a startup. BTC abides these principles and expands on them. I found that there is a very empowering mix of teamwork and individual work. Typically, each member is solely responsible for specific accounts/projects but collaboration is necessary for some.
Despite my technical background (Electrical Engineering), I found it - and still do - very challenging to fully grasp what Delphix does. What made the understanding of the concepts easier is, of course, the team. I would research and educate myself as much as possible and then go to my peers for help and confirmation that I understand concepts correctly.
Delphix truly values meritocracy, and the best ideas were instantly put to use. In this type of environment we progressed both individually and as a team. Like sharks, team members usually tackle work alone, but are even "deadlier" as a whole group. The help, the peer concern and the teamwork here is genuine and meaningful. Without doubt, I had the chance to meet and work with people that made me eager to come to work every day.
The BTC team Delphix is working towards an IPO and the BTC is helping to make this happen sooner rather than later. The lean startup principles apply here and since day one I could see that here, brilliant people are trying to solve hard problems. Omer (Manager, BTC), Jed (CEO) and the rest of the management team are always available for consultation and advice despite their tight schedules. A few hours with each one every week made for an unparalleled learning experience, as their comments were always concise and to the point.
The vision and goals for the company are clear and foster an environment that I felt motivated to contribute as much as I could. More than that, the environment allows for flexibility and collaboration with different teams within Delphix. Apart from the BTC work, I collaborated with the finance team, whereas other interns worked with product management or product marketing.
During the summer I got a good glimpse in how all the pieces of the puzzle work together to produce the final product. "Work hard, play harder" is what Omer told me on my first day at work. For me, it was work hard to add value to the team and then play harder in the daily Ping-Pong games that occurred in the company's game room. The plethora of responsibilities, the impactful work, the empowering culture and the chance to be part of a success oriented company make Delphix the right place to be.