I'm hiring right now. I'm looking for a very special tech. I'm looking for a tech who craves knowledge and skills, gets satisfaction from the expert application of their knowledge and skills, and bleeds professionalism in their manners, their dress, their positive attitude and irresistable personality. I want to give the techs reading this a clear picture of a day in their career at TechRoom. If you're not a techie, that's OK, I think you'll still like this.
Let me start by confessing: I'm a tech at heart. A big reason I became a tech was hunger: I needed more skills. More than just Mac. More than Windows. I needed to learn everything. How the whole system works. I needed to understand how networks work, how to do advanced network analysis. I wanted to understand everything there is to know about technology; I wanted to become the expert.
What I didn't realize then that the learning curve is exponential. Two things happened: As I learned more I discovered there was more to learn. Every time I moved a step forward I discovered the path is two times longer than I thought. I also picked up momentum with practice: I started moving down the path of knowledge faster. It's like going from a bicycle to a 1000cc sport bike... and there's no reverse gear. I loved it. What's a typical day like for a Customer Solutions Engineer (TechRoom field tech)?
- Yesterday I started my day with a Logmein Pro screen sharing session with a controller of a medical device company, to set up a VPN connection on a Meraki by Cisco network. I had to apply my learnings about DNS to ensure my customer could access the server, a recently virtualized 2003 Windows server with a domain, now living disembodied on a Mac.
- After that call, I went on site to an architect's office, an awesome customer who is equally brilliant and impressive and kind and appreciative, a sheer pleasure to work with and for. In a five minute discussion we avoided major, unnecessary work and realized the source of a problem between employee and server via SMB versus AFP. The problem was solved and we focused on a few other key items- upgrading the postscript drivers and reconnecting him to a Toshiba imageRunner color copier. His bookkeeper used to think all prior techs had some secret knowledge if they could get this printer working on a new computer an hour or two of work. I kept judgment to myself: There are technicians that are competent and understand networking and the layers. Then there are those who are incompetent and think they can just "wing it" given a problem. Anyone who wings it will eventually get to the answer, maybe in an hour or two.
- At 11AM I had a remote call with an executive in Florida, one of our TR Care customers who are to receive white-glove service above all else. The call was coordinated by his assistant who texted me the night before. A conference call with their ISP and an hour of troubleshooting revealed a major device failed in the home network. After getting basic functionality in place, I proposed a plan to not just replace, but to seriously improve his home with a new Meraki MX60W, which is being deployed next week and that I'll configure via remote access on a call with him, taking care to capture every detail: The Apple TV, the wireless HP printer, their iPhones, their iPads, their Macs, all passwords, security, MAC address logging and even traffic shaping to improve the performance of the Apple TV (I have a Meraki MX60W at home... NFRs are one of the perks at TechRoom).
- I stopped in to our Newport Beach TechRoom office and checked in with my colleagues, who showed me how they can help customers with 2009-2012 iMacs, previously not upgradeable because of a proprietary hard drive designed by Apple, can now be upgraded with new 480GB SSD drives that replace the optical drive. Our repair technicians are simply amazing- they're like artists and surgeons and scientists, all at the same time.
- My favorite call that day was the setup of a MacBook Air and iMac located in San Francisco, for a newly hired executive manager to a company who hired TechRoom as their IT department. The call lasted nearly three hours, during which every aspect of email, calendaring, contact management, sharing and collaboration, harmonious co-existence of iCloud and Google Apps for Business, iPhone and iPad configuration, seamless sync, training on email productivity and even multiple gigabytes of productivity applications were addressed. Even Box.com enterprise with desktop sync was configured. The executive can hit the ground running.
- It was a full day. My documentation was done along the way in our advanced service management system TReX, and I processed emails and tried to coordinate my calendar for next week.
When I founded TechRoom I decided to indulge myself and my employees. I personally committed to training like no company had or has in the IT industry. In fact, today I still budget an average 4 hours per week for training. That's 200 hours in a typical work year, or five weeks of time learning, growing, developing. To be a technology expert that sets the standard means your skills align to the needs of the customer who is leading the industry. Think of the focus customer Apple is targeting. Think of the customer Google and Sony and Box.com and Cisco and Meraki are targeting. Think of all the technologies that customer is going to consume. Now list out the skills, knowledge and certifications you need to be the perfect IT resource for that customer. That's TechRoom.
I also didn't realize back then that there's something nearly every tech I've met is missing in their training. It's like a sixth sense, waiting to be manifest. It's the realization that when you're walking around a customer office and you hear people talking, or when you're in conversation with a customer, or even out of the office overhearing someone at a cafe, there are cries for help happening all around you. People have problems in their lives and businesses that don't just manifest with a clicking drive or a disconnected share. When you learn to see and read between the lines, you realize that your greatest problem solving skill is the one that detects customer problems that can be solved through the purposeful and creative application of technical skills and knowledge.