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…

Meet the Year Up Interns of the Business Technology Team

Year Up’s motto is to “close the opportunity divide,” by teaching young adults the qualities they need to develop professionally to join the workforce. For the first six months, interns take classes to learn both technical and professional skills. Interns spend the next six months of their Year Up experience with a partner company where they apply what they learned while gaining professional experience.

Meet our three Year Up interns: Octavio, Laura, and Chris, and see what they have to say about their experiences working for AppDynamics!

 

Octavio Aguilera

Tell us a little about your role at AppDynamics.

As a Salesforce Support Specialist, I support new and existing Salesforce users with questions and issues they may have regarding the Salesforce tool. I oversee the Salesforce support queue, troubleshooting and resolving user issues. I also work closely with my team to recommend/provide solutions that support key business processes.

How did Year Up contribute to you taking on your role and succeeding at AppD?

Year Up emphasizes academic and professional rigor, setting high expectations for quality of work and professional behavior. A strong structure guided me through the steps necessary for achieving success in the workplace.

Were there any new skills that you learned at AppDynamics that you did not know/experience prior to the internship?

Prior to my internship at AppDynamics, I had very little knowledge of Salesforce, and that honestly made me nervous. However, my team was extremely supportive and encouraging the whole time and I credit that to awesome management at AppDynamics. Now I support teams from various departments!

What is your favorite thing about working here?

My favorite thing about working for AppDynamics has got to be the culture. I never see anyone not smile in this place and that goes a long way for me because it tells me that this isn’t just business as usual – you can actually talk to people and build relationships!

 

Laura Shannon

Tell us a little about your role at AppDynamics.

My role at AppDynamics is IT Support Technician. I work with employees on a daily basis, providing access to applications within Okta, fixing hardware and software issues, providing accounts for new hires, deploying IT equipment, such as monitors and other accessories, and processing terminations of accounts.

How did Year Up contribute to you taking on your role and succeeding at AppD?

Year Up provided me with the opportunity to succeed in my internship at AppDynamics and I leveraged that opportunity to turn it into full time employment after graduating. Year Up helped me see the skills that I already possessed and gave me the knowledge to build upon those skills.

Were there any new skills that you learned at AppDynamics that you did not know/experience prior to the internship?

My IT team at AppDynamics is amazing. Dani, Katherine, and Kai trained me in the specific systems that I rely on daily to resolve issues. The biggest improvement in my professional development has been my public speaking. From the start of my internship to now, I have gone from being an observer in IT orientation to leading new-hires through activating accounts. That confidence stems from my team and I am forever grateful to them for helping me along since the beginning of my internship.

What is your favorite thing about working here?

My favorite thing about working for AppDynamics is my team. They are supportive, kind, funny, and intelligent. My second favorite is the free food!

 

Chris Keller

Tell us a little about your role at AppDynamics.

I am a Jr. Systems Administrator at AppDynamics on the Enterprise Engineering team. My role is to support the infrastructure and services that all employees rely on, from Jira to Engineering Build systems. Although there is a small amount of hardware configuration and troubleshooting, my day-to-day tends to offer challenges in configuring service back ends, integrating applications into our single source of truth, and implementing Infrastructure as Code through our team developed CI/CD framework.

How did Year Up contribute to you taking on your role and succeeding at AppD?

Year Up provided me with the opportunity to challenge myself with a growth mindset by highlighting the skills I already possessed and pushing me to build upon them with expert guidance. The coursework involved mentorship from professionals working in the tech industry, highly successful guest speakers, and topical training in business communication and public speaking.

Were there any new skills that you learned at AppDynamics that you did not know/experience prior to the internship?

While I learned quite a bit during my time at AppDynamics, two key lessons stand out. The first being to always work hard, even if a task seems inconsequential or trivial. Not only does it build a solid work ethic but your participation may be going towards a larger business initiative.

My second lesson involved learning the value of working independently. While Year Up focused on building skills to allow me to communicate accomplishments and propose projects, the routines and structure of the program contrast heavily with the freedom in the workplace. Assessing business needs and planning your time accordingly is vital to being an effective player in any team or role.

The greatest gift from my internship was that AppDynamics taught me to be confident in my abilities and to take ownership in my decisions.

What is your favorite thing about working here?

My favorite thing about working for AppDynamics is how dynamic the challenges that I am tasked with solving are. There is also an incredible pool of talent in the IT Department that I am honored to leverage and learn from.

 

We’re so excited to have Octavio, Laura, and Chris join the AppD family and look forward to continuing our partnership with Year Up.

AppD Hackathon Project Shows APM Power in Digital Marketing

AppD Hackathon Project Shows APM Power in Digital Marketing

Back in the days when my AppDynamics colleague, Piyush Mathur, and I worked for a social media analytics company, we often heard digital marketers complain about their IT systems not scaling due to the additional load generated by big budget campaigns. We also saw enterprises lose a lot of money due to application performance issues, such as when users couldn’t apply a coupon code during checkout.

One particularly memorable eye-opener was when a large Indian e-commerce giant, launching its first mega-sale, invested a significant sum on advertisements and social media campaigns. While the effort brought in significant traffic, poor infrastructure management caused the retailer’s site to crash, resulting in a loss of revenue and brand image.

For AppDynamics’ January 2018 Hackathon, Piyush and I decided to take this real-life problem and solve it with the help of APM. That’s how our hackathon project was born.

The project is designed to provide real-time tracking of every dollar spent on online campaigns on digital marketing platforms—think Google, Facebook, Instagram, and so on—and the traffic each platform brings to the campaign.

Our dashboard provides a big-picture overview of every marketing campaign underway, including how well the company’s infrastructure and services are handling the traffic load. Data is pulled in from various channel APIs, such Google Adwords and Facebook Marketing. The UI displays key metrics such as dollars invested; the number of campaigns running, as well as their health and growth; overall revenue generated; and digital footfall (the number of people entering a store or shopping area in a given time). Our project is unique in that it combines social media analytics and APM on a single dashboard. In our research, we were unable to find a software tool on the market that offers this distinct combination of features.

To succeed in this effort, we needed expertise from different domains. So we reached out to AppD software engineer Siddharth Dutta who, during his tenure at Perspica, gained experience in machine learning algorithms. We also sought help from Perspica founding member Arpita Agarwal, who has a deep understanding of APM.

Where APM Fits In

You may be wondering: How can APM improve digital marketing? Global advertising spend on social media is growing 20% annually, and by 2019 will be worth $50.2 billion, according to ad agency Zenith. This is a great market to nail down, obviously, and we believe our APM-based project can provide an innovative way for marketers and DevOps to scale their campaigns and take their organizations to new heights.

In addition to helping marketers estimate the revenue generated by a particular campaign, our project delivers key metrics to DevOps teams for determining how many extra instances a service—say, apply coupon or checkout—will require to handle the additional load. And while tracking the flow, it also provides real-time insights to the campaign manager—helpful for budgeting across various marketing platforms—and to the DevOps team for optimizing infrastructure cost.

For tracking, we used a GUID (globally unique identifier), which is passed to each application service as a header. This creates a path for understanding user behavior; machine learning algorithms including an exponential model for capacity planning and a multivariate adaptive statistical filtering (MASF) model for baselining (both planned for future AppD releases) are executed to generate real-time insights, enabling marketers to optimize their budget spend strategy across myriad digital marketing platforms.

To prepare for extra traffic, we provided a nascent version of capacity planning, which can be used to plan the number of instances per service required over a particular interval of time. Our load management widget is an effective way to give the DevOps team a heads-up for infrastructure planning. For enhanced capability, the widget can be integrated with various cloud APIs to scale the system automatically in the future.

While our hackathon project is a working prototype, it implements several of AppDynamics’ core features and demonstrates the potential of APM in digital marketing. Without much effort, AppD customers will soon be able to build similar custom applications, particularly as we integrate Perspica’s machine learning technology. Over the two days of the Hackathon, we learned a lot about the market horizon, challenges, and future scope of digital campaign planning—and how a determined and talented team can showcase the power of APM across a dynamic business ecosystem.

Unstoppable: How Belief Helped Fuel the AppDynamics Journey from Start-Up to Market Leader

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

― Gail Devers

Yesterday marked the 10-year anniversary of the founding of AppDynamics on April 1, 2008. Coincidentally, it was also the five-year anniversary of my first day as a full-time employee at the company. And a couple weeks back, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of AppDynamics’ acquisition by Cisco.

Looking back on the past 10 years, I’m amazed by how far we’ve come and the milestones we’ve achieved. From the early years when our Founder Jyoti Bansal, Founding Team Member & CTO Bhaskar Sunkara, and a handful of other engineers were busy writing code while AppDynamics was in “stealth mode,” to closing our first deal in October 2009 with Yap (who purchased just 10 agents), to opening our Dallas and Bracknell offices in 2012 & 2013 respectively, to our first acquisition in 2013 – our first five years were full of fight, hope, and passion. And the last 5 years…well, there’s been a lot of excitement. We entered new markets in EMEA in 2013 and India in 2014, closed our $158 million Series F Preferred Stock financing and opened our India R&D center in 2015, launched a game-changing product with Business iQ in 2016, hopped on the road to IPO, and then, in perhaps the biggest surprise, were acquired by Cisco in 2017. There hasn’t been a dull moment.

Today, we have nearly 2,000 employees globally. Our valuation at the time of the acquisition was $3.7 billion, representing one of the largest VC-backed M&A outcomes in history, and we have continued to experience incredible growth since the closing. It’s been a remarkable journey, and I’m so thankful to all AppDynamics employees – past and present – for their dedication and constant drive for excellence, and to our customers, investors, and Cisco for their partnership.

Like any epic voyage, we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. At our Sales Kickoff a few weeks back, Jeremy Duggan, AppDynamics’ General Manager of EMEA and my longtime colleague, reminded us of one of these lessons: Belief is without a doubt one of the most significant factors that has contributed to our success. And it’s not unique to us – belief is vital to success in any field or journey. Here are a few examples to show what I mean:

Sir Roger Bannister

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During his presentation to our employees, Jeremy told the story of the recently-deceased Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run the mile in less than four minutes in 1954. At the time, many believed that it was physically impossible to break the four-minute barrier, and that it was foolish to even try. But Bannister believed, trained, and studied relentlessly to become the first to do it. Amazingly, once Bannister broke the mark, others started to break it within weeks, and more and more people would break it within the next few years. The impossible had become possible based on one thing – belief.

Gail Devers

Another great example is Gail Devers, who was training for the Summer Olympics in 1988 when she began suffering from severe health issues. She was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 100 meter hurdles that year as her condition continued to deteriorate. Two years later in 1990, Devers was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. The radiation treatment that followed caused her feet to swell and blister to the point that she could barely walk, and a doctor even considered amputating them. Through it all, Devers clung to her dream, going on to become a three-time Olympic gold medalist – the second woman ever to successfully defend an Olympic 100-meter title, and a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. On the relationship between belief and achievement, Devers said, “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

Sandy Lerner

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These stories go far beyond the world of sports. In fact, you can look at any field and find that belief is often the foundational element for achieving success. The tech industry, for instance, is filled with case studies. One of my favorites involves Sandy Lerner, who co-founded Cisco 33 years ago with her then-husband, Len Bosack, and was able to reinvent herself and repeatedly find success in the years that followed. In fact, she went on to found and later sell a cosmetics company, write a book called “Second Impressions” (a historically accurate sequel to “Pride and Prejudice”), and found the Women in Mathematical Sciences Initiative at Shenandoah University. Today, she owns an organic farm and helps run a foundation. Through a wide variety of ventures, her recipe for success has remained the same – find a vision, believe, create a plan, execute against that plan, rinse and repeat.

As for AppDynamics, there are countless examples where belief has fueled our journey. In many ways, the company was founded on belief, and it was belief that carried us successfully through every challenge and milestone along the way. Jyoti started the company as a 20-something engineer-turned-entrepreneur. He pitched AppDynamics (then called Singularity) to about 20 VCs and was rejected at every turn until our friends at Greylock Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners finally signed on to invest. Bhaskar, our early sales leaders Jeremy, Dali Rajic, and Joe Sexton, our President & CEO, David Wadhwani, Elise Leung, Amy Hansen, Danny Winokur, and countless other engineers, product managers, sales reps, sales engineers, customer success managers, marketers, accountants, lawyers, and others across the company left more secure jobs, took on major risk, and made substantial sacrifices in order to join. Why? Ask any of us, and the answer is sure to center on belief – the belief that we could build the AppDynamics vision together, shape a new market, and create something that will hopefully continue to inspire others to believe and chase their dreams for years to come.

There’s a funny thing about belief – it gets easier the more you do it. Decades of research in the field of psychology on self-efficacy (one’s confidence in executing courses of action in a wide variety of situations) has shown that belief, combined with subsequent success, creates a feedback loop that increases self-efficacy and makes it more likely that a person will attempt and achieve something in the future [1],[2]. As the novelist David Storey put it, “Self-confidence is the memory of success.”

Even better, belief isn’t purely innate. It’s a skill in the sense that it can be learned and refined through practice. Muhammad Ali famously said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” He was right.  Through affirmation, visualization [3], meditation [4], goal-setting [5], and other habits, you can build belief over time.

So dream. Believe. Create a plan, and act on it in order to make your dream a reality. Then do it again, and you’ll be truly unstoppable. Best wishes as you build your dreams. I, for one, will be rooting for you.

And to all of the AppDynamos out there, congratulations on an incredible 10 years. From the time Jyoti founded the company, you’ve changed the market and had a massive impact. Just last week, Gartner named AppDynamics a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the sixth consecutive year and placed it highest on the Ability to Execute Axis. With Business iQ, we are providing our customers with correlated visibility into application performance, user experience, and business outcomes, and bringing IT and the business together like never before.

For most startups, acquisition marks the end of their story, but for AppDynamics, it has been a new beginning. Now, with the backing of Cisco, we are in the unique position to redefine how our customers operate, giving them even greater visibility into their full IT stack, allowing them to optimize their digital businesses faster and more intelligently than ever before, and creating what we call the “Central Nervous System for the Enterprise.” That is our goal as we start our next 10-year journey. And as we do this, we have the opportunity to help Cisco make one of the most significant transformations in history as it continues to move more of its business to software and recurring revenue.

In other words, the dream is still out there, and it’s bigger than ever. Let’s go after it in our next decade. It all starts with belief.

Sources:

  • [1] Scherer, M., Maddux, J. E., Mercandante, B., Prentice-Dunn, S., Jacobs, B., & Rogers, R.W. (1982).  The self-efficacy scale: Construction and validation. Psychological Reports, 51, 670.
  • [2] Chen, G., Gully, S. M., & Eden, D. (2001).  Validation of a new general self-efficacy scale. Organizational Research Methods, 4(1), 77–79. 
  • [3] Society for Personality and Social Psychology. “Self-affirmations may calm jitters, boost performance.” ScienceDaily, 17 April 2015. 
  • [4] Walton, Alice G. “7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain”. Forbes.  Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  • [5] Bandura, Albert (1993).  Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning.  Educational Psychologist, 28(2), 117-148.