Giving Back with AppD Cares

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Giving back is simple. At a minimum, all you have to do is donate a few bucks to a nonprofit and you’re golden. You can literally do this in under a minute. But at AppDynamics, we rarely choose the easy route and settle on doing just the bare minimum. We’re innately hardwired to tackle the most complex problems, then go above and beyond in solving them. It’s in our DNA. It’s this makeup that fostered our AppD Cares program – because AppDynamos decided they can do more and believed that their company can as well. So let’s talk about AppD Cares, why it’s important to give back, and how AppD employees are empowered to do so.

AppD Cares began as a grassroots movement started by several charity-minded employees throughout the company, who took it upon themselves to organize team volunteer outings. To support this, AppDynamics began offering employee donation matches up to $250 per year (we were still a startup back then, so $250 was pretty good!). For the next few years, the company witnessed teams finding fun and creative ways of giving back. A few examples — enjoying a day at the beach after a cleanup or a donation drive competition within their team. More importantly, AppD leaders began using volunteer outings as a method for team-building (pro tip: definitely do this) and championed the causes of their direct reports. As we continued to build and refine our programs, three key social impact areas arose from the efforts of our employees: children, education, and health. Identifying these three proved to be crucial, as it provided alignment and direction for our employees and AppD Cares. The “giving train” was rushing full steam ahead and there was no turning back, thanks to a boost from an eventful milestone in the company’s history.

That boost would come as part of Cisco’s acquisition of AppDynamics. It provided two specific benefits for full-time employees: 1) an expansion in matching gifts, and, 2) enablement to take time away from work to do good in local communities. First, our modest cap of $250 in matching gifts increased to $10,000 annually! Let that sink in for a moment. That’s 40 times more than what we could match than before. Not only that, but Cisco’s program allows for volunteer hours to be matched at $10/hour as well. That’s incredible! Then there’s Time2Give, a program that gives full-time employees 40 hours of volunteer time off (VTO) per year to get out of the office and give back to their favorite nonprofit or school. That’s one whole week off dedicated to helping people, animals, the planet, etc. With these added benefits, the foundations of giving back were firmly cemented into AppDynamics.

The next chapter in the growth of AppD Cares was the establishment of our AppD Cares chapters. Each chapter (and the incredible employee volunteers who lead them) is tasked with engaging their office mates to collectively give back. In return, AppD Cares provides each with a budget to help support their efforts. The first chapter started in our Bangalore office, with the group naming themselves “Kartavya” — a Hindi word that literally translates to, “that which ought to be done,” or simply, “duty.” Their profound example led to the establishment of chapters in San Francisco, Dallas, New York, and the United Kingdom.  For employees that are based outside of these areas and are looking to get involved in their communities, that’s when we would point them towards Cisco’s Global Citizen Network, a team of employee champions who drive volunteerism and giving in cities around the world where Cisco has significant employee presence.


Bangalore Office – Kartavya

I’d be remiss if I didn’t briefly mention that as a company, we’ve also decided to undertake our biggest corporate philanthropy challenge to date: serving as Executive Sponsors to the 2018 San Francisco JDRF One Walk. The JDRF is a global nonprofit seeking to end Type-1 Diabetes, and when they presented our COO, Dan Wright, and General Counsel, Elise Leung, with the opportunity to be Co-Executive Chairpersons, it was a no-brainer for the both of them. As a company, we have committed to raising $200,000 for the JDRF and, together with other companies in the SF Bay Area, we’re aiming for a total impact of $1 million to help fund T1D research. For more info on the JDRF & Type-1 Diabetes, head to the JDRF’s information page here.

So, why should we consider giving back? Well, you’ve probably heard typical answers such as, “It’s good for the company’s image,” or, “It increases employee engagement.” While those can be true, it’s not the main purpose for AppD Cares. The reason is that we have the ability to do so and so we must. As our Kartavya chapter reminds us, it is our duty to be stewards of generosity in a world that we have a tremendous hand in shaping. We are all in a position to effect positive change in our communities, strengthened by our diverse areas of expertise that allow us to influence a multitude of social impact areas. Our promise to our employees is that AppD Cares will aim to provide them with the resources necessary to create the greatest amount of social good possible.

Spotlight: Meet 5 Product Interns and Agents of Transformation

Welcome to the final installment of the 2018 Intern Spotlight Series. This summer, AppDynamics had the pleasure of bringing together an amazing group of interns and providing them with the tools to become Agents of Transformation. They excelled in building out key components within the AppD product line and also creating extraordinary relationships throughout the organization.

AppDynamics’ fall university recruiting season is coming in again at full speed, and we’re already looking forward to welcoming the next batch of interns for summer 2019. Check out our new graduate and internship openings here.

5 Interns Share Their Experiences After A Summer At AppDynamics

Before the end of summer 2018, we got a chance to interview 5 Agents of Transformation at AppDynamics. They shared their experiences, including their successes, challenges, and advice to others. Read more about these exceptional interns and their summer at AppD.

Agent of SWE Analytics: Shiva Suri

“I feel that I’ve grown as a thought leader and collaborator — it was awesome driving a large-scale, high-need project that’s going into production.” — Shiva

When did you become an Agent of Transformation?
May 29th, 2018.

Where did you learn your agent skills?
UPenn, Computer Engineering.

Fun fact:
I am a pretty big drummer! I have been drumming since kindergarten (against my parents’ will). I also started my drumline in high school, which was awesome!

What made you want to take the leap to AppDynamics?
It’s a hot software company! I am working on a really impactful team at a company that is doing a lot. I am really interested in working with data. Working on the analytics team, I am in the middle of engineering and real-time data querying. Plus, we are in the heart of San Francisco, so it has been a great summer!

What is the coolest project you’ve worked on this summer?
My project is geared on scalability – my entire internship spans one project, a query management project (Elasticsearch).

Let me practice my pitch: “Vehicles are fine, but customers don’t know how to use them. We have customers not writing the best queries, so I am monitoring them and canceling the ones that are long-running.”

What has been the most challenging part of your summer mission?
Onboarding is tough in general. There is a massive codebase and getting style conventions to match along with the nitty-gritty can be challenging. Plus, we have a very complex backend infrastructure.

What did you enjoy most about your summer internship?
Whiteboarding — the part before the code is the most fun! You and someone else are in a meeting room, markers in hand, and just strategizing. You are usually having logical arguments on which code should be used or where it should be deployed. Basically, just like arguing on a whiteboard, which is super fun. And also the free avocados!

What makes AppD special?
When you are trying to be agile and to be the industry leader, it’s easy to lose work-life balance. That being said, I feel that given our goals, I have been able to still enjoy life while also working towards my own goals. We are able to work from home as interns — which is crazy!

Also, I have people on my team reaching out to me and being actively engaged with my project. I am actually writing code that is going straight into production, which is REALLY exciting. I feel like I am an actual software engineer and not just working on a school project.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
I have learned a lot during this internship, so I guess I would say being ambitious is good, but being patient is key. I saw others already coding early on when I hadn’t even started my project. That really got me angsty and ready to start myself. That being said, you need a holistic understanding before you can jump into something. There is value in preparation.

Agent of SWE Platform, Data Ingestion: Katie Scholl

When did you become an Agent of Transformation?
Early June, 2018.

Where did you learn your agent skills?
Brown University, Computer Science.

Fun fact:
Throughout high school, I volunteered at the local aquarium, so I know a ton about LA sea life — hit me up if you want to learn more about sea stars.

What made you want to take the leap to AppDynamics?
I had a really positive interview experience, starting with a really fun phone call with my current manager. When I was doing my coding challenge, I had a blast “nerding out” with the interviewer. It was great! Plus, Michele (UR Recruiter) was great throughout the process.

What is the coolest project you’ve worked on this summer?
I have been working on a low generator on snapshots. It was awesome being able to hook it up with the UI.

What has been the most challenging part of your summer mission?
Definitely learning the codebase. I was at a startup last year that didn’t have established code, so it was a learning curve. It was tough, but cool because you got to see the work the other engineers put in.

What did you enjoy most this summer?
The feeling of satisfaction when you figure out exactly what needs to be changed in order get something done! The people are also really amazing! I got to spend a ton of time with great folks inside and out of the office.

What makes AppD special?
The complexity of the problems we get to work on. There are lots of parts that are shared with all companies. It feels like there are a lot of technical issues that you get to work on and learn from here.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people! Everyone is open and excited about what they do.

Agent of Software Engineering, Java Platform: Julian Levy-Myers

When did you become an Agent of Transformation?
June, 2018.

Where did you learn your agent skills?
Brown, Computer Science.

Fun fact:
I am an EMT at Brown!

What made you want to take the leap to AppDynamics?
AppDynamics hired me onto a team that really laid out the role during the interview. It seemed like a very thought-out program.

What is the coolest project you’ve worked on this summer?

I’ve been working on an event-based cache service for agent configuration information. It’s been a cool project because I’ve gotten the opportunity to collaborate with my team and learn new technologies and software architectures.

What has been the most challenging part of your summer mission?
I am being asked to solve open-ended problems — so, doing the investigation, collaboration, and learning. I’ve been given less guidance when trying to find my answers, but that gives me more room to grow and learn.

What did you enjoy most this summer?
The people. It’s a great team and AppD has a great environment.

What makes AppD special?
The people again and also the fact that it seems like they care. Everyone seems to be on the same page and works hard. Plus, everyone is really interested in their work.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
I would say collaborate and learn more. I have been able to learn a lot through my peers and reaching out for their insight. Also, it was a great way to make friends!

Agent of Site Reliability: Vijayalakshmi Siddappa

When did you become an Agent of Transformation?
May, 2018.

Where did you learn your agent skills?
Grad school at Northeastern, Computer Systems Networking.

Fun fact:
I love Bollywood! I organize a bunch of Bollywood dance events.

What made you want to take the leap to AppDynamics?
I did my research and it seemed like such a cool type of work. I got to play around with cloud development.

What is the coolest project you have worked on so far?
A bunch of automation projects in the pipeline. Audit automation involved doing the health check for our SaaS controllers. These were done manually before and took up to two hours. Now, it’ll only take one click and three minutes.

What has been the most challenging part of your summer mission?
I didn’t have a cloud technology background, so learning all the new cloud technology and operations material. Ramping up was tough.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Learning new modules of Python and integrating various Amazon services into our SaaS services.

What makes AppD special?
The fact that people are so passionate about the work they do! People don’t work here because it pays the rent. Everyone is passionate about what they do and that passion is infectious. It makes me excited to come back to work the next day!

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
I would advise myself to not look for a job for the job, it should also be about the people involved and the people you will be working with. If the job is really good and you love what you do, and if people are interested in their work, it will rub off on you and impact your work. It will add to your desire to do something new!

Agent of Security Engineering: Shannon Chee

When did you become an Agent of Transformation?
July, 2018.

Where did you learn your agent skills?
I’m currently studying Computer Science at the University of California, Davis.

Fun fact:
I’m a classically trained pianist and, someday, I’d love to travel the world and learn the art of astrophotography.

What made you want to take the leap to AppDynamics?
I heard about the position when Michele, an AppD recruiter, reached out to me on LinkedIn. She’s really nice and facilitated my interview process smoothly, during which I had a really positive experience with all of the AppD employees. Patrick, Gavin, and Shiv are all really intelligent, nice, and seemed to really love what they are doing. I heard very positive things about the team and the manager (Patrick) from both interviewers separately. Throughout the whole process, I felt like I could fit in with the work culture and learn a lot from the team, so I knew this was a great place for my professional growth.

What is the coolest project you have worked on so far?
I appreciate how all my projects were important and not just busy work, but my favorite was developing a system to auto-remediate misconfigured security groups. I gained experience with the AWS suite, Python/Boto3, and implemented security policies in the real world.

What’s challenging about your job?
Being okay with failure is always a hard thing. I never wanted to fail because I didn’t want my team to think I couldn’t do the job, but it’s better to screw up and learn from it — everyone makes mistakes.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with SecEng to solve problems and improve the security of AppDynamics is always fun because they’re all very intelligent, but they’re also great people.

What are great skills and traits to have as a software engineer at AppDynamics?
A willingness to learn, being okay with the fact that you’re not the smartest person in the room (and learning from the people who are!), and the ability to work both in a team and independently.

What’s your favorite unexpected perk?
Making friends with my team and other AppD employees and getting great advice about how to break into the industry and mistakes to learn from was extremely valuable.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Try harder to find a place to live in SF. The commute from Davis — 5 to 6 hours round trip — was really tiring and some days I wouldn’t be able to give 110%. Also, it meant that I couldn’t spend as much time networking with coworkers after work.

Anything else?
Thank you for this opportunity!

Learn From Other AppDynamics Interns

Check out some of our recent intern and Agent of Transformation spotlights from the summer of 2018: Connor Thompson (Partnership Marketing), Vishaka Sekar (Customer Engineering), Cheyenne Biolsi (Software Engineering), and Aditya Chidurala. Also, be sure to check out our new grad and internship opportunities here to see how you could become an Agent of Transformation.

2018 Summer Internship Recap

The intern season has been in full force this summer, and the time has flown by before our eyes. Most of our interns are now heading back to their universities, taking with them weeks full of learning, mentorship, friendships, and new experiences.

This year, we had an intern class of 24, including 18 in San Francisco, 5 in Dallas, and 1 in New York. We continue to bring on interns on the technical side, such as software engineering, security, customer success, SRE, and on the nontechnical side, like sales and legal. In addition, we brought on interns for new roles, including partnership marketing, product marketing, HR, and sales engineering. They all went through a rigorous interview process and have spent a full summer as AppDynamos, fully immersed in their respective teams.

If you’ve never heard of AppDynamics, we’re an enterprise software company based in San Francisco. Our company has almost 2,000 employees, but we’ve maintained a startup culture with great perks. Our internship program is small but mighty, and our interns are able to take ownership of their mission-critical projects. With a smaller internship class, we’re able to allow our interns to make an impact, whether that’s working on our core projects or helping to build new programs. Here’s a detailed look into this past summer.

Our SF Intern & Mentor Kickoff event at ramen making class

Becoming part of the team and the AppDynamics family

Our interns are paired with a mentor from the first day who is there to guide them through the summer. Not only do they get visibility to managers and senior leaders, they’re able to join high-impact meetings and lead presentations. We take training very seriously. Our product interns went through our Power Up Engineering training program where they learned about our codebase and our core product. Our nontechnical interns also had access to multiple resources during their first few weeks to really gain an understanding of what we do before they took on their projects.

Throughout the summer, there are both intern events and team-specific events to make sure each intern feels like part of our AppDynamics family. Our product interns had a chance to attend our 2-day Product Kickoff with the rest of our product team. They went off-site to learn about our product strategy for the upcoming year and even went on a cruise tour of San Francisco after.

Some of our product interns at PKO

The intern-specific events are planned for each week. This year we went on outings including the Exploratorium, an intern-mentor ramen making class, a pottery class, and a food tour of the Mission District. We create these intern events for them to get to know each other outside of the work environment and explore San Francisco while doing so.

Here are some photos of this summer’s intern events…

SF Food Tour of the Mission District where our interns got to try 6 different local restaurants

Our interns at a local ceramics class in downtown San Francisco

We value career development

Every week, we have our Intern Speaker Series with members of our executive team, a tradition we’ve kept every year. During these lunch sessions, our exec members meet the summer interns and share their career journeys. This year, our interns get a chance to ask 10 of our execs anything on their minds and learned some unique facts about our leaders. They’ve met everyone from our CEO to CMO to our CTO/Co-founder. To wrap up each session, our execs strike a crazy pose. Here are some of the best photos…

Intern Speaker Series with our CEO, David Wadhwani

Intern Speaker Series with our VP of Innovation Labs & Product Experience, Linda Tong

We like to have fun, and also give back

This year, our interns went to St. Anthony’s Farmers’ Market. Based in the heart of San Francisco, St. Anthony’s works in collaboration with the SF Food Bank, providing vital food security for low-income senior citizens in the neighborhood. Every Thursday afternoon, the dining room becomes a mini farmers’ market, where folks receive healthy, fresh groceries for the week. Each of our interns had a booth where they were given the opportunity to pass out fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of San Francisco.

We celebrate our interns’ accomplishments

This year, we did something a little bit different to celebrate our interns’ summer projects and the impact they’ve made over the past 12 weeks. We hosted our first-ever interactive Intern Project Fair, where our interns presented their projects in the SF office. We even flew out our sales interns from Dallas to join us for 2 full days of events.

Our CEO, David Wadhwani, kicked off the Intern Project Fair with introductions and thanking the interns for their work. AppDynamics employees filled up our Town Hall to learn about what each intern worked on by stopping by their booths and checking out poster boards, printouts, and prototypes. Then, we celebrated their success at our Intern Goodbye Party at Urban Putt, where all of our interns went to play mini golf against their mentors and each other.

Our interns with our CPO, Danny Winokur, and CEO, David Wadhwani, at the Intern Project Fair

Austin Emch, our Sales Engineering Intern, meeting our AppDynamos at the Intern Project Fair

Our Legal Intern, Melissa Vallecillo, sharing her summer project with our CPO, Danny Winokur

Dylan Huang, our Software Engineering Intern on our End User Monitoring team, showing fellow AppDynamos what he’s been working on

Our SF interns at the Intern Goodbye Party

Our Dallas sales interns at the Intern Goodbye Party in SF

We only have a few weeks left with our interns here at AppDynamics, and in our next blog post, you’ll get a chance to read about how they enjoyed their time here, as well as about the projects they’ve worked on.

Interested in an internship with AppDynamics?

At AppDynamics, you’ll quickly make an impact with great mentors by your side. We make sure you’re gaining real-life skills and working on projects that matter. We move quickly in our interview process and will connect you to employees who’ll tell the story of our product and the growth you’ll experience during your internship. We asked a few interns about why they chose to start their career here…

“I chose AppDynamics because of the positive culture and career growth opportunity.”
— Cat Ruedi, Sales Intern

Inside Look: AppDynamics Dallas Office

“From day one I could tell they were interested in me as a person and not just what I could or couldn’t do for them. They were honest with me, which encouraged me to be honest with them in the hiring process.”
— Austin Emch, Sales Engineering Intern

“The engineers at AppD showed me that the company’s product is something I want to be working on.”
— Dylan Huang, Software Engineering Intern

For more information and to apply, click here.

Spotlight: Will May’s journey from Sales Rep to Vice President of WW Inside Sales

At AppDynamics, we have leaders that have grown within the company and who have helped define our values and culture. Will May is one of those leaders. In his 6 years at AppDynamics, he has directly participated in working towards AppD’s key initiatives, cultivating a global culture of inclusivity, positivity, and entrepreneurial energy. While AppD’s culture has adapted over the years, one thing that has been consistent is its goal in making AppD a place for passionate people. We got a chance to sit with Will and delve into his career progression at AppDynamics. Will shared details of his career journey, his thoughts on managing a work-life balance, and the importance of hiring for diversity in the workplace. Read more.

How did you end up at AppDynamics after college?

I went to Baylor University, which is in Texas and has a sales-specific major. Through internships, shadowing, and networking, I narrowed down the decision to start my career in Technology Sales. My first job out of college was at McAfee doing Inside Sales. About a year and a half later, Dali Rajic and my old boss, Sean Andrew, moved to AppDynamics. I was indirectly connected to those leaders who ended up bringing me over to AppD.

What has your career progression looked like at AppD?

I joined in the Fall of 2012 as a Sales Rep, and at the time we were just building out the Dallas office — the 2nd AppD office. By Fall of 2013, I was promoted to be a people manager in both Dallas and San Francisco. Basically, I was managing an Inside Sales team in two different regions.

What is the best advice that has helped you to become successful?

The best career advice I received was not specifically for sales professionals, but really for anyone. The first piece of advice was to invest in your personal brand from day one and develop the habits of discipline that you want to build early on. So, for me, it was getting into the office early and trying to stay late for the first months of my career here. Next was the importance of not only building relationships with people in your immediate organization or team, but also building relationships and bridges across the ecosystem, and doing that by being curious.

How do you manage your work-life balance with two young kids and a family? You mentioned coming in late and staying late.

It’s tough to find balance. But for me, it’s all about putting in intentional thought into how you prioritize things. Whenever I’m at work, I try to be present and make the time there worth it. And at home, like you said, with two young kids and my wife, it’s about spending time and being present with them. I used to be a lot more social with my friends outside of work. And now, the people that I work with are my friends, so it’s easier to balance those relationships. While investing in my career at this time of my life is a priority, family remains one of the most important factors in my life. So, I intentionally maximize my time in both of those areas as efficiently as possible.

How has having a diverse team or a diverse hire helped you grow your team?

When I first moved into leadership, my instinct was to turn everyone into me, if that makes sense. I know what my sales strengths are and I wanted to get everyone to that same level. I soon realized that’s not the best way to get the best results out of people. It’s really about finding the level of what individuals are successful at and having them play to what their strengths are. So, I’m really big on identity and having people understand what they’re good at.

By hiring people with a diverse set of strengths and unique skills, our team has a broader skill set and strength base to pull from. The first intern that I hired was a woman, and the second leader that I hired externally was also a woman. As we started to build out our BDR team, we recruited people from diverse backgrounds and we looked at people who had different sets of experiences outside of just technology. Now, at our Dallas office, there are about 150 employees, and there’s such a nice balance of diversity across every front. I feel the combined collaborative product of our office is really able to outperform. The best example of this is this past year, where we delivered our best-ever financial results as an office, and I would say our office is more diverse than it’s ever been.

What keeps you here at AppD?

What originally brought me here is what has kept me here. AppD has given me the ability to grow — personally, professionally, and financially. Just by the nature of being part of a hyper-growth tech company, you have to do more than your core job. There are always new challenges and new learning opportunities. That’s first and foremost the personal interest for me.

In terms of the culture at AppD, the people make it an enjoyable place to be. If you look at Glassdoor, it’s obvious that people love working here, and if you walk around our Dallas office, I think you’ll feel that as well. People generally get along and are excited when other people succeed. It’s a very positive environment with great energy that you want to surround yourself with.

What are your thoughts on the remote and global aspects of the job, and what’s your take on making it an inclusive environment for people who don’t work out of the Dallas office?

That’s an interesting question and I’ll answer it in two parts. Being that Dallas is a satellite office, it’s remote from the HQ in San Francisco, and because of that, there are some pros and cons. The main pro being that you are able to create your own subculture, and the main con being that we have to work a little harder on communication to stay connected to the strategic company-wide initiatives.

On the global side, it’s even more challenging because there are a number of roles that roll up into inside and commercial sales, and all of which have different ways of management. So, in order to be successful, we have to create a foundation where it’s easy to be inclusive globally. To create this foundation, we aim to work towards the company’s strategic vision of fostering an inclusive and positive culture and making AppDynamics a place where passionate people work. Programs such as the Sales Kickoff, QBRs, and Sales Enablement “Boot Camp” are organized to create opportunities to bring people from all over to build these global bridges. And while building an inclusive culture globally is challenging, it’s also very rewarding to be able to see these relationships being created.

Is there anything that we haven’t mentioned that you think is an important part of your success and growth story?

Yes, of course! I want to give a plug to our book club. It’s just another example of the inclusive culture here. It’s not just top-down — it’s made of everyone. A rep (Sam Crawford) had an idea to start a book club and we’re now on our third book. We just read Lean In. This past one had our best turnout, where more than 40% of our office read the book and participated in the discussion. There were some points of the book that really facilitated great conversation, leading to a more in-depth understanding of other people’s worldviews.

Will May is VP of WW Inside Sales at AppDynamics.

We’re looking for passionate people to join our team. Want to learn more about an exciting career at AppDynamics? Check out our openings.

How I Discovered Application Performance Management and a World-Class Career Opportunity

That’s the question I found myself asking when I got a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn just over a year ago. Up until that point, I had very little exposure to “application performance management”, having spent my ten-plus years in IT working on layers 1 through 4 of the OSI stack. First, I had been a software engineer in the aerospace/defense industry, writing embedded code and drivers in C for real-time systems. From there I moved into financial services, where I sold, supported, and implemented low latency messaging architecture for high frequency stock trading systems. That was a fantastic job — I worked with incredibly smart people on the most challenging products I have ever known. I spent nearly seven years in that role, but as much as I enjoyed it, I felt like I needed a new challenge. So when I got that LinkedIn message in the spring of 2017, asking if I was interested in a new SE role, I wanted the answers to two very important questions: “What is APM?”, and, most importantly, “What is AppDynamics?”

Taking AppDynamics for a Test Drive

Having spent most of my career working with the C programming language at the hardware level, it’s no wonder I never came across an APM tool. Don’t get me wrong, I had foundational working knowledge of Java and .NET from my messaging role, but only just enough to be dangerous, and far from being an expert. I had actually spent a bit of time with PHP and MySQL for some pet projects on the side, so I wasn’t totally clueless to the technology in the space. When the time came to download the AppDynamics trial and take it out for a spin, I was honestly blown away. At that moment, I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of the company.

Not being a Java expert, I really wouldn’t have known where to look to debug a Java application outside of an application log. But with AppDynamics, I could see the Java application on the flow map, and all the calls being made to the Java application via Business Transactions. I could even dive into the code and see how long each line of code was taking, as well as the SQL statements being queried from the application. Finally, my personal favorite — when a Java application talks to another Java application via a web service call, AppDynamics will follow the transaction all the way through, allowing you to jump from the call stack of one app to the other in a single click.

Serving as an SE for AppDynamics has been an incredible experience. It’s the kind of role where you get back everything you put in. I spent a lot my time early on self-learning .NET, Java, and some containerization services like Docker and Kubernetes. I also took some time to get to know Azure and all its services. All this learning paid off immensely. Now, I can walk confidently into a room and talk to the senior leadership teams of Fortune 500 companies about their technology choices, the cloud, and about containerization/microservices. Best of all, I got to this point in less than 12 months. As an engineer, I love to solve problems — tough ones. And there’s no better platform for tackling tough problems than AppDynamics.

Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Spirit While Demonstrating Value

In addition to the technology behind the platform, AppDynamics has inspired my entrepreneurial spirit. That’s because AppDynamics isn’t just about showcasing what the product can do, but also, demonstrating the value it provides. While we’re looking for good technology fits, we’re also looking for good value fits. To do this, we work with our teammates and customers on building out business cases explicitly showing our customers and potential senior and executive management teams the ROI with AppDynamics. This part of my work has challenged me to learn more about a wide variety of business cases and uncover the answers to questions that technology executives regularly have during the consideration process. In many cases, doing this has led me to some of my favorite moments in my AppDynamics career thus far.

One of the best parts of the job is giving product demonstrations. Sometimes we demo to people who are familiar with APM and maybe even familiar with AppDynamics. However, the best demos are for people who aren’t familiar with AppD — kind of like myself a little over a year ago. This past spring, while I was doing a demo for a good-sized audience — maybe about 12 people or so — there was a VP of operations in the room, two directors, and some senior technical staff. I had started the demo and prodded the room for questions as the minutes passed by, and it was quiet. No comments, no questions — just silence.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar scenario during a demo, you know this is just about the worst thing that can happen. When it’s just you talking to a room full of people, time passes more slowly, and inside, you’re just dying for someone else to say something.

After getting about halfway through the demo of our Map iQ functionality, a director in the crowd finally interrupted and asked, “Is this real?” I hesitated for a moment to respond — not for very long, but long enough to think to myself, “Is this a real question?”

“Yes, this is very real,” I responded.

Then, the gentleman turned to his VP and said, “We need this, like, right now,” with a lot of enthusiasm. This opened a floodgate of questions from those in the room, and the use case potential became abundantly clear to the crowd. The rest of that demo was amazing. And the truth is, while he was the only person in my entire career to ask, “Is this real?”, he hasn’t been the only person I’ve spoken with that has been blown away by AppDynamics and its capabilities.

Holy moly, one year already?!

I can’t believe it’s already been one year into my journey with AppDynamics. This has been one of the best transitions in my career of more than 25 years, and I feel like it just started yesterday. For me, it all began back in January 2017, when Cisco announced their intent to acquire AppDynamics. Although the deal closed a few months later, I had already been down the path of exploring my opportunities and educating myself in the exciting world of application performance monitoring (APM) as a means to bridge my career to an increasingly app-centric world.

I was lucky enough to come across a regional sales team in the Carolinas who quickly got me in touch with a sales leader at AppDynamics. They were looking for people with experience in cloud and service providers to be part of an exciting new team. With my deep technical and customer-facing expertise in various related areas, I was keen on rolling up my sleeves to dabble in the world of APM.

As I found out, AppDynamics has a very comprehensive approach to interviews and hiring. I was tested not only on my professional experience, ability to learn, and deep technical expertise (both theory and hands-on skills), but also on my ability to handle high-pressure situations in front of customers. I was fortunate enough to pass through these gates and accepted an offer to transition from Cisco to AppDynamics. It wasn’t always a walk in the park, but I must say that at each point throughout the process I felt entirely welcomed and supported by the interview teams.

Once I joined, I realized for the first time how detailed and methodical this place is. In the first few days, I had a one-on-one call with an onboarding coordinator to help me set goals to hit for my first 30, 60, and 90 days in terms of learning, using tools like MindTickle. The IT team was always very responsive to my needs, just a Slack message away. Then there was the boot camp I needed to schedule, part of the process for my first 30 days.

Having been given some prior information via the sales engineer buddy program, I went into the boot camp with a combination of apprehension and a knot in my stomach, thinking this was going to be impossible for me to handle. The program, although very comprehensive and demanding with a lot of work to be done, was made easier by the onboarding team, who were there to welcome us and to make us feel at home from day one. Everyone was extremely knowledgeable, including the invited guests. The activities got us all involved right away, making the week go by fast. We did roleplaying, team and individual exercises, and even had time for a group outing — it was fun!

The best part of being at AppD by then was that I knew a lot of people and co-workers who I could reach out to, not only in person, but also online through a variety of means. My colleagues from across the globe were always on a Slack channel ready to help me resolve a tricky situation or question.

The online, self-service modules for my 60 and 90-day marks — plus my certification process — involved a lot of hands-on work, but it was quite enjoyable and I learned a lot. As the year progressed, I had the opportunity to meet and work with many individuals and leaders who had tons of experience in the world of APM and its related technologies. They were always eager to help a fellow co-worker. The local, regional, and company-wide events, both online as well as in-person, offered plenty of opportunities to learn and exchange ideas.

By the time I reached six months with the company, we were well on our way as a team to be a cohesive group that I feel privileged to be part of. Our team dynamics and ability to reach out to other regional groups as we support our global SP partners make me proud to be part of this great phenomenon. We’re helping our partners build world-class solutions using the best people and products. I’m thrilled to be part of this team!

As I write this, I’ve come to realize what a wonderful ride this past year has been. I’ve learned a lot, contributed a lot, and feel that being part of this exciting organization has given me the necessary boost for moving into the exciting world of applications, where things are moving fast and in a big way. By furthering my skills, I feel ready to solve even bigger challenges for the best possible business outcomes. Best of all, I love the fact that this is happening within Cisco, a place I have called home for a huge portion of my career.

Inside Look: AppDynamics Dallas Office

Howdy from the Dallas office!

Dallas is the home base for the sales side of this company. We are in the North Tower of Tollway Plaza, and we occupy the 2nd and 6th floors of the building. Located in the city of Addison, just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas, we are surrounded by some award-winning restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. A couple of our favorites include Gloria’s for authentic Tex-Mex, Soulman’s for Texas BBQ, Whataburger (24 hour service), and The Lazy Dog for drinks after work.

Back in January of 2015, we expanded our office to our current 5,000 square-foot location, but we just keep growing! Our office has nearly 110 employees broken into operations, customer support, technical account managers, commercial and territory sales, and engineers. Coming February of 2019, we will be relocating to a Cisco-owned office, but before we say our farewells, here’s an inside look at our current office.

 On a Monday morning before our group huddle, you’ll find people socializing around the kitchen, enjoying their catered breakfast and a cup of our in-house Starbucks coffee, because nothing shakes off the “Sunday Scaries” like a shot of espresso.

This hangout spot also includes perks like our snack wall (both 2nd and 6th floors) with an assortment of unlimited food and beverages (my personal favorites are the tribal juices from a local juice shop in Dallas). In addition, we have catered lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so it’s rare to find a “hangry” AppDynamo in this office!

On the perimeters of our office, we take pride in our “earthy biome”-themed meeting rooms that are equipped with the latest technology, like Cisco Spark connectivity and video chat capabilities.

 

Our main conference room is located directly next to our lobby on the 6th floor and is where most of our larger meetings take place!

 

Being located in Addison makes it easy to have office outings that are a natural fit to the Dallas culture. Whether it’s our annual summer picnic in Addison Circle, holiday parties at The Reunion Tower, AppD pickup basketball games, or just a luau party in the office, you can always find a familiar face to talk to. “Our culture here is truly one of a kind,” says Hali Mundy, Facilities Coordinator. I truly believe what differentiates this culture from most is how we have kept such a personable and tight niche feel through the Cisco acquisition.

Need a break from your desk? Head down to the 2nd floor where you can pick up a game of ping pong or miniature cup golf. You’ll also discover our second snack room with a full variety of food and beverages, plus a private massage room where we have access to a 30-minute table massage once a week!  Located on this floor is also where our operations, renewals, and sales engineers work. The floor holds additional meeting rooms that are themed “Districts of Dallas”.

If that doesn’t say enough about our culture, have you ever heard of Spin the Wheel Fridays? We wrap up our weeks with a closing huddle to discuss the weekly success of a nominated candidate. The prizes include Amazon gift cards, a choice of one of our weekly-catered lunches, and even a work from home day! The advantages around here are endless it seems, but it doesn’t stop there. Come February, our big move to the Cisco office will bring even more perks. Not only will AppD employees have access to a full gym, but we will also have weekly yoga classes that will have us saying “Namaste” in the office a little longer! Speaking of the Downward Dog, the new Cisco office is also pet friendly!

Why I Picked AppDynamics

Approximately 25 years in IT have provided me with in-depth knowledge of monitoring and APM tools, which is why a recruiter reached out to me. At the time, I was happily working as a systems engineer for an APM vendor, 12 years running and not looking for a new job. After speaking with the recruiter, they convinced me to speak with the VP of Sales Engineers at AppDynamics. My intent for this meeting was to validate that I was already exactly where I should be and there was no need to look elsewhere. Little did I know that this first meeting would shake up my comfortable tenured path, reminding me that best parts of being a Sales Engineer is getting to develop a relationship with your customers, your peers, and your community.

When the meeting finally occurred, I peppered the VP with questions about how the product was installed, what it was capable of OOTB, and the overall benefits of the product. Without missing a beat, they answered every question easily and provided me with a foundation of how AppD helps solve problems. They also provided me with a good sense of the work culture and the company. The more we spoke, the more appealing the idea of applying became. I was intrigued, and soon realized that the job sounded fun.

Who wouldn’t be impressed with application flow maps and dynamic baselining for every metric? I deeply respected the fact that a VP had spent time with me, demonstrated the product, and showcased a deep level of product knowledge. The conversation just flowed, and I was hooked. Wanting to learn more, I knew then that I should apply. I wanted to call AppDynamics home.

Joining AppDynamics had a lot to do with the power and usefulness of the technology, yet, as an SE, the sales process and workflows were equally as important to me. I wanted to be sure that I would be working with like-minded people and that AppDynamics saw their future in *me*. The three turning points that convinced me to take the job are as follows:

First of all, I discovered that the sales process is entirely about doing what’s right for the customer. I won’t go into too many details here, but AppD has a process for identifying and metrics to support sales decisions. Thus, allowing solid business decisions to be made, instead of just a gut feeling. The core of their process is about understanding what is important for the customers, understanding their challenges, and indicating how we can help solve them. In essence, we create a partnership with the customer. Such a philosophy of doing the best thing for the customer was something I could get behind.

Secondly, during the interview process, I met some of the most amazing people. Not only were they talented, they were also good, genuine people. In just a short amount of time, they had already begun to inspire me. You know the phrase, “Lift as you climb”? It was easy to see that this is the culture at AppDynamics.

Finally, would AppD invest in me and support my commitment to the community? Women Who Code is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers.  As a member of the leadership team Women Who Code Portland, running the WWCode DevOps Sessions is important to me. Knowing that this sometimes requires time off work and could impact my AppD customer schedule, I realized that this could be a deal breaker for some companies, but AppDynamics was excited to hear about the work we do at WWCode and was 100% supportive.

To sum it up, it’s been almost 2 years and I haven’t looked back. This job pushes me to keep learning and honing my craft as an SE. I’m proud of the partnerships we’ve forged with our customers and the manner in which AppD has enabled me to be a leader in the community. If you join the AppDynamics Sales Engineer team, you will not regret it. Also, when you join, look me up and say “hi”!

AppDynamics – Our Next 10 Years

Recently, the employees of AppDynamics celebrated our 10th anniversary as a company, as well as the 1st anniversary of our acquisition by Cisco. We’ve experienced so much growth and so many positive changes over this past year, it’s enough to make our heads spin! However, it’s safe to say that AppDynamics isn’t close to slowing down.  

How is it possible to keep up such momentum, you might ask? In a world of ever-changing technology, the consumer is in the driver’s seat. Companies must be able to move fast and adapt to this constant digital transformation. AppDynamics will continue to do just that.

Industry Leading Products

For six straight years AppDynamics has been named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, and as leaders, we must continue to set the precedent. But at times, it gets hard to distinguish one APM vendor from another. One of the simplest metaphors that was ever shared with me during my time here was by a Field Sales Engineer. They told me, “Anyone can hand you an umbrella when it’s raining, but AppDynamics can predict the clouds rolling in over the horizon.”

Acquisitions and Partnerships

The acquisition of Perspica was just the beginning. With Cisco at the helm, and AI on everyone’s tongue, AppDynamics will continue to invest heavily in items that will aid in compatibility and integration. Additionally, as cloud migration explodes, and Amazon achieves their goal of world domination, our strong partnership with them as the only APM vendor on the AWS Marketplace will continue to be our differentiator.

The Humans of AppD

Our biggest concern after the Cisco acquisition was how it would affect our culture. Us AppDynamos have always prided ourselves on the way we operate as a team. I’m happy to report that it’s business as usual, post-acquisition. It’s exciting to note that one of our most important initiatives moving forward is our AppD Cares volunteer organization. As we lean into Cisco’s reach, it’s clear that we align well with the Cisco Citizen program. It’s incredible to see the desire we all have as a company to help our local communities, as well as those in need across the globe.

AppDynamics Around the World

AppDynamics may only have 15 offices globally at the moment, but it would be no surprise if we began slowly integrating into the 380 offices that Cisco has to offer! Because of Cisco’s reach in 165 different countries, it gives AppDynamics the legroom to expand into new markets around the world. While North America and Europe have been our major target markets so far, the onboarding of new employees for APAC and South America is flowing!

With all this being said, I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t predict exactly where AppDynamics will be ten years from now, but I can say that it feels amazing to be part of the journey. It’s imperative that APM remains a crucial part of how companies approach their digital transformation, and it’s clear that AppDynamics will reign supreme in the APM space for years to come. Each and every day is so rewarding to have a glimpse into how our customers utilize the tools we provide — and for them to see the clouds rolling in and have no fear of the coming storms.

A look Into AppDynamics San Francisco HQ

The SF office is right in the heart of downtown San Francisco and is home to 600 employees of our 2,000-person global organization. Located in the North Tower of 303 2nd St. Plaza, it’s just a few blocks away from the SF shopping center and the Ferry Building. AppDynamics currently occupies the 7th and 8th floors of our building, where we have an amazing view of the city.

When you walk into our lobby, you’ll be greeted by our amazing AppDynamos at the front desk. You’ll also find a wall filled with all of the patents and awards that AppDynamics has received.

Once you step inside the office, you might notice balloons with numbers floating by desks. We always celebrate work anniversaries here with balloons and doughnuts! Each number represents how many years you’ve been at AppDynamics.

We have an open desk seating layout with no enclosed offices, allowing you to sit across from your manager or even VP. Our execs don’t even have offices, and they sit on the 8th floor. Each area has an open meeting space with Spark boards, our meeting tool where we can wirelessly present, whiteboard, video or audio conference, and annotate shared content, which makes it easy to connect with all of our fellow AppDynamos across the world.

Each meeting area is uniquely themed and you’ll see plenty of meetings taking place in these conference rooms. The themes range from celebrities like Marilyn Monroe to San Francisco landmarks like Dolores Park. We partnered with local artists to design the art in the conference rooms. Check out our conference room named “Graffiti” on the 8th floor, for example.

Dangerous

Once you walk onto our 7th floor, you’ll find a bike rack that’s easily accessible to all employees, as well as our Innovation Lab, where all of our think tanks happen.

Bike Racks

Innovation Lab

Our balcony is also located on the 7th floor, where employees can hang out or work outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Balcony on the 7th floor

In our Zen room, you’ll find our massage therapists giving massages to our employees. Each SF employee gets a 15-minute massage every week!

Each floor has a kitchen area that we call Town Hall. All of our company-wide all-hands and organization meetings happen here, but this is mostly where everyone hangs out during lunch. We have awesome food perks, which include snack walls, an assortment of beverages, unlimited coffee, catered breakfast on Mondays, and lunch on Wednesdays. We also have bowls filled with fresh fruits and avocados every day!

Town Hall

One of my personal favorite perks includes an iced coffee bar that comes every month from Phin Bar. Phin Bar (pictured) is an urban brew bar that serves Vietnamese-inspired coffee drinks, combined with house-made, locally sourced ingredients — all prepared cocktail-style.

Within each Town Hall, you’ll also find games like ping pong, shuffleboard, and foosball, plus arcade games like Pac-Man and Street Fighter that are rotated out monthly. The Town Hall is ultimately a place of celebration and gathering. We celebrate every holiday here thanks to our amazing workplace team. We celebrate happy hours and have done themed happy hours for events like Spirit Week, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (pictured), ice cream celebrations, Pride breakfast (pictured), and many more. You can occasionally see team celebrations here as well as meet-ups hosted by our employees!

 

Summer in the city is always filled with energy and excitement. Right now, we’re airing the World Cup on the monitors in our Town Halls with employees cheering for their favorite teams.

What I’m most excited for this summer is the opening of our new floor spaces. AppDynamics is currently in the process of building out additional office space as well as a formal Customer Experience Center. We’re building out two brand new floors on the 6th & 9th with all-new equipment. The 6th floor should be finished by August.

Here’s a sneak peek…