VMWare’s orator: Tod Nielsen

May 20, 2010

Tod Nielsen certainly has the gift of the gab. VMWare’s chief operating officer, who was once videotaped by a reporter in the hope that he would turn out someday to be “famous” (and a royalty generator), waxed lyrical at the Reuters Global Technology Summit about everything from British CIOs and magic crystals to PCs .

Here’s a sampling of his colorfully phrased — though occasionally puzzling — views.

On VMWare’s Q1 performance:

“We should walk down Wall Street and get the tickertape parade.”

On how the company has to keep up relationships with every hardware vendor out there:

“Part of my job is to be Switzerland and be great friends with everybody.”

On how VMWare triggers spending on storage, networking, servers and so on when they win contracts:

“For every dollar of license revenue we sell, we drag 11 dollars of ecosystem revenue with us. We’re sort of these magic crystals that everyone is trying to glom onto.”

On competition between hardware vendors:

“As Cisco and HP declare war on each other, it makes my life hard. But neither can I say, ‘I won’t work with you if you won’t talk to them, because our elixir is magic enough’…. They both need us.”

On praise for EMC’s rival NetApp:

“NetApp has a great solution today that they’re offering 1,000 users or more for as low as $40 per user for storage. Tucci I’m sure has a heart attack every time I say that. Instead of coming to me, he goes back to his own guys to say, ‘you have to get act together’”.

On how CIOs go through stages in investments:

“Phase two: the virtualization pacman is ready to keep on cranking.”

“They’re still in the kicking-of-the-tires stage in public cloud. But they are kicking the tires.”

“I was hosting a CIO dinner… One of the CIOs was from a bank and he was an elderly gentleman, your stereotypical kind of cynical U.K. guy. And he looks to me and says: ‘Son, I’ll tell you. I run a monopoly in IT, everything IT is about my world. If anyone in my line of business tries to build a server or do something, I shoot it. I’m governance, I’m compliance. I’m the master of my domain’. And then he goes: ‘But this cloud computing thing has actually empowered the business to slide underneath my radar and do things that I can’t control or stop. It’s like the 80s, when those damn PCs came into existence and undermined my power.’”

On former employer Microsoft’s deceptive size:

“It wasn’t until the Christmas party that you went, ‘oh crap, there’re a lot of people in this place.”

On how Fusion for Macs is potentially VMWare’s best-known consumer product:

“It’s amazing to me when I talk to people at cocktail parties and they say, ‘what do you do’? And I say I work for VMWare and they’re like ‘pfft, whatever’. I say do you have a Mac, and yeah, and Fusion, and ‘oh, the fusion guys’! Our sales guys actually use fusion as CIO bait.”

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