Tom Mendoza is highlighted in the Wall Street Journal today in a very good piece. I met Tom twice at two succeeding NetApp Reseller conferences, the first time was in the Hayes conference center in San Jose and the second time was at a hotel in San Francisco. In those days NetApp liked that Zerowait was a service oriented company that had many high availability clients to whom we could offer their products.
As a highly regarded, trusted NetApp team member Zerowait received one of the first of the registered Service Provider (RSP) agreements from them. NetApp’s RSP agreement allowed Zerowait to provide first level service to some of our customers including Computer Science Corporation (CSC). What happened next was interesting. In the succeeding years, as Tom built his sales force, he saw that as Zerowait’s sales increased throughout our high availability market sector, we came into conflict with his internal sales teams. A common theme began to play out. Having done the missionary sales work to get NetApp into the bigger High Availability accounts, NetApp began to take those accounts direct from Zerowait.
By then, CSC and Zerowait had developed a long-term relationship and we placed filers with them here in Newark, Delaware right down the road from us. We were deep into a huge project, that would involve a sale of several of the latest model filers, when suddenly we learned that NetApp had made CSC a Global Partner (with discounts greater than ours). We voiced our displeasure because, we pointed out, as a result of this we lost not only CSC, but also our long-time customer DuPont, who was closely aligned with CSC for storage. NetApp just said, Business is business, sorry. Within only a short time after that, a NetApp functionary named Bruno Pakey took the lead on cancelling our reseller agreements with NetApp.
Ironically perhaps, this is the proximate cause of how Zerowait became the leader in independent support for NetApp equipment. Our customers were used to our high availability focus and our concentration on customer service. They came back to Zerowait and asked us to take over their hardware support after their contracts with NetApp support had expired. And each year since then our service and support business has grown because we provide excellent service and support for NetApp equipment at an affordable price point.
As the founder and president of Zerowait I agree with what Tom has to say about being passionate about your choices.
Q: What advice do you like to give to students about choosing a career?
A: Find something that you are passionate about, find a company that you respect and is growing in that area, and focus on making a contribution to them.
I can assure you that everyone within our company really loves NetApp products and their reliability, and that is why we help our customers maintain their NetApp Filers for many many years at affordable prices, so they can invest their precious budgetary resources in other parts of their companies.
NetApp builds great products and for almost ten years Zerowait has provided honest and affordable service and support for our customers with filers.
As an interesting side note, I never realized that Thomas Mendoza was from Commack, Long Island. I wonder if he attended any of the schools my father built while he was business manager of the Commack school district.