What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was as an account manager at TNT Express Worldwide and I got into IT when I was approached by a headhunter to join the start-up Mobistar, the number-two mobile provider in Belgium.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Planes, they enable me to catch up on my sleep from time to time.
In my dreams…
…I would like to have a nine-to-five job. Or maybe that sounds more like a nightmare?
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever been on?
Flying United back from San Francisco on a 30-year-old aeroplane, with no entertainment system, a broken chair, and finally waiting for that lovely chicken curry. “Sorry, sir; we have a shortage of meals, we can only offer you some crackers.” (Ed – No, we said “best”!)
Oranges or bananas?
Oranges. They do not have those banana flies.
What never fails to make you laugh?
Our dog, Billy. He’s always begging for a massage.
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve the situation?
In the end, letting people go is still a tough one. You have to be clear, straightforward and to the point – getting emotional can make you look like a fool.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
Seychelles with the family, without my laptop or phone, and this time I am going to mean what I say! Yeah, sure.
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
As a child I used to help my mother a lot in the kitchen preparing the great meals she was making. My youngest daughter is taking over those duties now.
If someone shrank you to the size of a pencil and put you in a blender, how would you get out?
Bigger than when I got in there! I like tilting at windmills, they will never get me down.
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
Yes. You can steal them in hotel lobbies, aeroplanes and so on. I just like the paper.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
Draw up the plans. You realise over and over again that you will be challenged and it gives you that additional learning experience.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
Focus, expertise, and being proactive. Also, partners that understand the game of give and take.
If you were made king, what would you do first?
Two things: one, I would give a large portion of my belongings to charity, as there are still loads of people out there in need of financial and material support.
Two, I still cannot believe that unemployment levels in Europe are so high. I think I would look into finding a clear reason. Are people abusing the social system? I would force them to spend time in charity work, cleaning and contributing to society.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
Communication, openness, leading by example, empowerment and trust. Wow, it sounds like Superman!
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down?
I look at what I have, make a realisation, and keep on going. Oh yes – and from time to time I have these “wailing” sessions with colleagues or ex-colleagues.
Dirk Marichal is EMEA vice president of Nutanix
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