Author Archive: Amanda Jordan

March 29, 2010

Motivation by Lance

SoftLayer has now been around for over four years, which is just crazy! I remember when there were less than twenty employees with just a hope and a dream. NOW LOOK AT US! There are many reasons why SoftLayer has become so extremely successful. The people who work here really care, they are extremely intelligent, and we work in a great, fun, and committed environment. I thought it would be funny to go back and look at some of Lance’s old emails, sent out to our teensy-tiny sales team back in the day. I got a kick out of this, because it was extremely entertaining. Lance never hesitated to shoot us an email reminding us how hard we needed to continue to work for our goal. Some of the things we were excited about back then boggle my mind. Here are a few highlights!
Example # 1 --
Sent:Fri 2/17/2006 9:57PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:It’s Official
“We just sold our 100th server……well actually we are at 102!!”

***This is hilarious and adorable looking back, considering we now have 24,000 servers in production and 1,000+ in inventory.

Example # 2 --
Sent:Thurs 3/30/2006 5:35PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Changes
“Lots of changes to keep up with in the portal……
Check out graphing from the customer side – now has daily/weekly/monthly/billing and table data!
Automated OS reloads are live for customer control!
Click around a bit and see what the dev team has put together over the past few weeks.
Good stuff!!”

***We were excited about bandwidth graphs and automated OS reloads, which is a regular staple now! This is not to mention all of the amazing features our development team has added to the portal since then. These features include, but are not limited to, purchasing servers, hardware control, monitoring configuration, DNS management, public and private port control, firewall setup and management, CDN management, IPMI Management & Stats, etc. etc. etc. THE LIST GOES ON AND ON!

Example # 3 --
Sent:Fri 9/8/2006 2:59PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Ding!!!
“We just crossed the $6M recurring revenue mark!!”

***Sure, it takes baby steps, but now we have reached $110 million in recurring revenues, which is absolutely nothing to sneeze at.

Example # 4 --
Sent:Sat 10/14/2006 1:39PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Job Well Done
“Hats off to all the folks that worked last night to build the 33 Pentium D’s. Not only are we server building experts now, our build team cleared the build queue within two hours of arrival at the Infomart last night.
It’s a good thing…..because Sales is on fire today………13 Servers by 1:00 on a SATURDAY!!”

***Our build team has done nothing but improve even from near perfection back then. They have been known to build out 100+ servers in the recent past within a few hours. The same definitely goes for our Sales team, who do you think sold all of those servers to be built out after all?

Example # 5 --
Sent:Tue 9/25/2007 9:10PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Big 4-0
“Hit 40 tonight and I will buy the Steak Finger Baskets and Blizzards for lunch/dinner tomorrow!!
Yip – that’s DQ Country Style”

***This is classic Lance, who knows true motivation is through the belly. For those of you who are not familiar with Dairy Queen, their big red sign is the true “Texas stop sign.”

It is great to be a part of a fast-growing company such as SoftLayer. Keep up the motivation, Lance!

March 11, 2009

Social Networking and Customer Relationships

Social networking websites are all the rage today. You are able to keep up with old friends, collegues, and now even business contacts. I believe this is truly the coolest part about these types of sites. While it is fun to constantly know what your first boyfriend's sister's cousin is up to at any given time, it is also nice to be able to make a business relationship a little more personal.

I started working in the web hosting industry back in 2003. While there were social networking websites out there, they weren't a huge thing. I certainly was not a member of one at the time. Therfore, my only way of communicating with my customers was via the regular methods: phone, chat, and email. I think I was successful at my job and did a good job of keeping up with customers. But now, I am friends with clients through everything from FaceBook to Linkedin to Twitter. Linkedin is great, because you are able to add referrals and comments on service, and really help to expand one another's business. It is also hilarious to get to know the more personal side of my clients by looking at silly pictures of them and seeing their comments on FaceBook. It definitely lightens the atmosphere and makes it even more enjoyable to work with one another when conducting business.

As you can see on SoftLayer's website, you can network with us as a company through FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, drop.io, and GitHub. So please come and check us out for all of the latest updates on product offerings, improvements, and advancements that SoftLayer has to offer you! Oh, and I would be happy to be your personal friend too!

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November 20, 2008

SLadies' Night

There are many ways to turn regular, every day lingo into "SLingo" (or SoftLayer lingo). SLance Crosby and Steven Canale constantly encourage their SLales team to keep the momentum going and SLell, SLell, SLell! Shawna Furr is constantly encouraging the SLayers and SLackers to write a blog and keep our InnerLayer interesting! In the employee side of our customer portal, we don't have your regular Wiki, we have a SLiki.

But my personal favorite SL word would be "SLadies!" Us SLadies on the SLales team work very hard and try our best to make SoftLayer the best in the industry. I have been extremely proud of the newest SLadies to join the group. Arielle Eaton, Laura Gardner, and Giselle Manning sure hold their own in closing the big deals and thoroughly taking care of customers. Hopefully Mary Hall and I are teaching them well, and sharing our experience with them during the learning process. They have really shown true SLoyalty since each of their tenures have begun. Now, I cannot leave out Brad Swick, another new member on my team. Although he is not a SLady, he sure does have the SLove for his job (and his proving himself quite well indeed) - that goes for all of our hardworking men out there!

Not only do we work hard, but we like to have fun! Every two weeks to a month, we have a "SLadies’ Night" and get together for drinks, food, and fun to get away from the trials and tribulations of our very exciting, rewarding, but sometimes stressful job. So here is an open invitation to all the SLadies for a big, combined SLadies’ night (that's you Accounting, HR, technical support, Marketing, etc.).

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August 20, 2008

Tell Me a Little About Yourself...

Everyone knows that the Sales team is a serious team of professionals who work well with one another, strive to break sales records, continue to help SoftLayer grow, and stand out in the industry among competition for a consistent job well done. But what lies beneath these driven individuals? There is definitely a great deal of personality and depth to our characters. There are many ways to find out about my peers (as if I didn't know each and every one of them pretty well already). But I thought a good way for you guys to get to know us, would be to find out what websites we frequent outside of work - that can say a LOT! Therefore, I have collected from each member of the sales team, their top 3 favorite websites. I think one or two of the websites each person submitted really does open a window into their personality.

Steven Canale (VP Sales): http://www.cnbc.com/, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ and http://www.webhostingtalk.com/ - Steven is always well informed and up to date with the hosting industry, as well as the outside world and latest news. This gives you an idea of Steven's serious demeanor. Someone has to be serious, with all of the shenannigans (ahem, Douglas...) that go on around here.

Michael Miller: http://online.wsj.com/public/us and http://espn.go.com/ - These were a bit surprising, even though I know that he is obsessed with sports and money. Michael, Wall Street Journal, really? Impressive, but I cannot believe you did not include something that has to do with testosterone-fueled fighting, such as http://www.ufc.com/. Which leads me to Daniel...

Daniel Kracht: http://sherdog.com/ - Daniel loves Mixed Martial Arts, and there is never a Pay Per View fight that this guy does not order. If there is a good fight on, Party at Danny's!

Miz Mary Hall: http://www.somethingawful.com, http://icanhascheezburger.com, and http://geekologie.com – I had to include all three of Mary's because they really do say a lot about her. (Site #1) She LOVES the Fashion SWAT, and I agree you can get stuck on it for HOURS. (Site #2) Not much to say here, hilarious LOLcats all the way through. (Site #3) Geekologie used to be hedonistica.com. It’s a rolling blog of awesome toys, robots, and other techie stuff. The writers for Geekologie and The Superficial are absolutely hilarious. That brings me to mine...

Amanda Jordan: http://www.thesuperficial.com/ - I am addicted to celebrity gossip, and this is the ultimate place to go for just that, and it doesn't hurt that it is extremely funny and entertaining.

Laura Gardner: http://youtube.com/ - Also highly entertaining, you can get stuck on this site forever!

Arielle Eaton: http://www.drudgereport.com/ - A world of information at your fingertips.

Michael Laude: http://www.howstuffworks.com/ - Our "Laude" is always looking for ways to expand his mind. And where else can you find out if you will die if you consume polar bear liver?

Patrick McElmurray, Chris McCallan, Doug Jackson: http://www.softlayer.com/ - I am going to end with the most spirited three on the team. They have chosen the one and only SoftLayer website. A few reasons behind this choice include "This is my whole world," "Contains all of the information I need to provide an effective service to our clients," and "Because it makes me money."

-Amanda

January 10, 2008

SL "Spa"

SoftLayer Sales Office = SoftLayer Med Spa & Wellness Center

It takes a lot to be a SoftLayer sales representative. We sit long hours at our desks staring at the computer screen. I should probably attribute this to the reason I cannot stand more than 4 feet away from the microwave at home, if I want to be able to tell what time it is by its digital clock. Sitting at a computer for a miminum of 10 hours per day, and a minimum of 5 days per week can really create stress and tension on your shoulders and back. Well, thank goodness Lance, Steven, and Mike are here to help. Around September 21st, a sales incentive came our way that would change our sales office forever. If we reached a certain goal, we would all receive comfy, cushiony, vibrating massage chairs for each of our desks. And being the *excellent* little sales team that we are, of course we received the prize. The funny thing about it is, they are quite loud. So you know when one of us is "getting our massage on," as Doug Jackson likes to put it. Respectively, we have to turn them off when answering the phones. No customer wants to hear, "H-h-h-h-h-e-e-e-l-l-l-oooo, S-o-f-t-L-a-y-e-r S-s-s-a-a-l-e-ssss...."

The SoftLayer Med Spa comes with other services as well. We all sit in a very close range to one another. This leads to all sorts of possible problems, in regard to spreading colds, etc. On any given day you might find myself or Michael Miller stealing Daniel's Airborn or Mary Hall bringing in cough drops for everyone "just because." Basically, you can always find the cure and remedy you need in one cubicle or another. It has always been a huge mystery as to why Daniel has Febreeze and Lysol at his desk. I like to think he is spreading the love, and expanding our wellness center. "THANKS, DANNY!"

As you can see, we are very well taken care of. The healthier we are, the more time is spent helping our beloved customers!

-Amanda

December 18, 2007

Relationships Are Key

Relationships are, well, key. This is true in all walks of life. It is especially true in a business environment. At SoftLayer, we understand this. There are two very important types of relationships that we continually try to maintain.

1. Customer Relationships - This is an obvious one. We constantly want to know what our customers have to say. We try to set aside time to call our customers, get to know them, gather feedback, and find out what makes them tick. If there is a way to improve, we want to know about it. Some customers prefer to deal with a specific person, whether it is a Salesperson, Support Technician, or Accounting Representative. While all departments work as a team and we do not specifically assign customers to certain employees, we do enjoy working with you if you specifically enjoy working with one of us! If there is not a little bit of personal communication, we would be your typical, cold corporation. We do not want to be labeled with this stigma. There is no denying that SoftLayer is rapidly growing into a major corporation. But we want to be the major corporation with a small company feel. Each of you is our favorite customer - keep dishing it, we can take it!

2. Employee to Employee Relationships - We would not be where we are if we did not get along well with one another. In fact, we work extremely hard at keeping the utmost respect for one another. Our technicians are some of the best in the industry, our Accounting Representatives some of the most personable, and our Sales team is quite the group of go-getters. So it is easy to keep a good lasting relationship with each and every employee. I can speak for myself, by saying that sometimes I am not the most technical person. It is great to have someone to go to at the drop of a hat to find out about a specific application or hardware question for a customer. The Sales Team is here for anyone to ask about pricing, or to help a customer with an upgrade. And Accounting is always there for any sort of billing need.

In a nutshell we are one big, happy family - that goes for customers and the entire SoftLayer team.

-Amanda

July 13, 2007

Movin' on Up!

SoftLayer really is movin' on up! We can prove this fact in many different ways (growth in customer base, growth in server numbers, growth in annual revenue, growth in datacenter space/facilities, and more...). However, one other way to look at growth is by taking into account our business offices: previous working conditions, current working conditions, and future working conditions.

Office # 1:

Our first business office was quite interesting. It was basically one, medium-sized room, with a kitchenette and a conference room smack-dab in the middle. Mary Hall and I pulled double-duty as Sales Account Executive & Receptionists. Everyone sat back to back with their boss (within arm reach). There were no offices, no partitions, no privacy - for anyone. It is a bit intimidating to have the weight of the world on your shoulders (the pressure of making our startup company a complete success) and have your managers right beside you watching your every move. Then, there were the creative ring tones on some desk telephones. A few of the "higher-ups" decided to torture the rest of us. Here were a few:

Lance Crosby: "Respect my authority!!!" (Southpark's Cartman repeating this phrase over and over)
Steven Canale: "Quack Quack!" (The sound a ducky makes, obviously)
Mike Jones: Mike had a risqué, swanky music ring tone. I still wonder about that one!
Sean Charnock: "RRRRRRRRRRRING! RRRRRRRRRRRING!" (And kid you not, the yelling human voice recording sounded exactly like Sean)
Sam Fleitman: Sam's ring tone sounded exactly like our sales chat ring, so if we even thought about day dreaming - which of course we NEVER did - that one sure brought us back to reality quickly!

Office #2 (current office):

We have never even thought we would be as excited as we were when we received our own cubicles. The privacy! The extra space! No longer did we have to hear silly ring tones. No longer did everyone in the office have to listen to others' phone conversations. Most normal people sit in their cubicles wishing they were anywhere but there, however we sure do appreciate them. There are still a few employees who must endure sitting close to the microwave, which can be distracting. However, we are about to make the big move upstairs...

Office #3:

I have not been up there, but I have seen the layout. I have also heard the construction going on upstairs for the past month, and I know something good is in store. Some more of our VPs and directors will get their own offices. Everyone else will have their own cubicle, comfortably placed away from the annoyances of a microwave or ice maker. We will have more than one conference room, more space for new employees to join, and an all-around nicer facility. All will be peaceful and good with the world, and we can focus even more on making our customers happy.

-Amanda

June 21, 2007

What the Heck is a Server?

I had no idea what I was getting myself into the first time I met Lance Crosby. It was a late winter afternoon, quite some time ago. I walked into a job interview, happy-go-lucky, for a sales position at a web hosting company. I thought, “I would love a sales job!" (or any real job for that matter). We sat and had a normal interview, and everything seemed to be going very well. I was unusually relaxed which was far cry from my normal interviewing skills. Relaxed, that is until it was time for the datacenter tour.

We walked through the dark NOC, past the twenty five to thirty television screens showing everything from The Weather Channel, to CNN, also displaying what appeared to be a bunch of meaningless graphs and digits. As we ventured into the badge-access-only datacenter, my head started to spin. I was shown diesel generators, rows of UPS’, HVAC units, switches, routers, and more servers than I had ever seen in my life (I had seen zero). I remember "playing it cool" and acting like it made some sense to me. I am sure this was very entertaining for Lance.

I was offered the job and that is when the terror set in. I began to realize this was much more than a sales job. I was going to be selling servers, at the same time wondering "what the heck IS a server?" Over the course of the following months I was able to learn about the internal components of a server and all they entail – RAM (makes/models), different HDDs (makes/models/sizes/speeds), port speeds, bandwidth usage, operating systems, control panels, backup solutions, etc. Over the phone, chat, and via email I met with and became familiar with our extremely broad customer base, the different businesses they ran, and their likes and dislikes. I dealt with the good, the bad, and the ugly situations. I even learned to take care of issues myself without badgering Steven to death. I finally knew what I was talking about! Now I absolutely love what I do and cannot imagine being in any other field. This is not to mention the wonderful opportunity of working at a young, successful, and innovative company. Not many server sales representatives have the honor of this experience.

I think this story probably sounds familiar to the majority of the sales team. The web hosting industry is an amazing one. When presented with all of the details and information that are vital in selling servers and keeping customers happy, it can be down right scary. However, once you open yourself up to the information that is being handed to you, it all falls into place. It is especially challenging to take in everything you need to know as a SoftLayer sales representative. We are required to be as technical as we possibly can so that there is as little correspondence with our Support technicians as possible during the initial sales process. It is an ever-changing industry, and we do need to be on our toes. Lance likes to kid and say that I did not even know what a computer was when I first started out. While that might not be entirely true, it is not very far fetched. I would like to think that we have all come a long way.

-Amanda

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