Name: Tarkan Maner
Job title: Chairman and CEO
Location: Santa Clara, California
Years’ experience: 20+
1. What time do you reach the office each day?
When I’m not travelling or in off-site meetings, I try to come into the office as early as possible, based on customer, partner, investor or team meetings and calls. I’m more of a night person than a morning one though, so you’ll often still see me working into the night!
2. Is your job varied?
Yes, absolutely! Though we’re a small team, Nexenta is growing quickly and so the team and I like to be as hands-on as possible. One day we could be re-organising the engineering teams and product strategy, the next we will be choosing the font and colour format on our website. No two days are the same.
3. Is your job creative?
My job is very creative in the sense that we, as a team, always need to think on our feet. After all, no two customers are the same so no two deployments can be either. Equally, when you’re a start-up, there’s simply no room for tunnel vision. I’m always ready to act on new information.
4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
I’m always thinking of new ways to drive the business forward and fighting the status quo. We’re always creating new ways to get Nexenta’s name out there and raise awareness of Software-Defined Storage (SDS). Practically speaking, though, I spend a lot of my time meeting with customers and partners. So much can be gained from building lasting relationships, it’s important to make the time and effort to go and visit your connections.
5. Do you personalise your desk?
I don’t have many pictures or keepsakes on my desk as I have no office and I share the desk with every one of my colleagues! One part of Nexenta’s motto is ‘all love’. We’re all in this together and I want this personality to be reflected at our workplace and in how we interact. We changed the layout of the office from cubicles and closed door offices to a FULLY open seating plan, so everyone knows that everyone is working towards the same goal without any barriers.
6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
Yes, to a certain extent. I love being creative and work with creative people. I’m quite an animated person and I enjoy moving from one thing to the next. I have a design and marketing background and that feeds my creative thinking.
7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
I read international newspapers every day online, if you want to do business on a global scale, you have to be aware of everything that’s happening around the world; especially in politics and economy. I am an avid fan of BBC, CNN and CNBC. I also used to watch the Daily Show every day; Jon Stewart has left Trevor Noah with some pretty big shoes to fill!
8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
It depends on what I’m doing! The open concept office means I’m always surrounded by people but there are times when I enjoy working alone.
9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
I would say I average around 24x7x365. I’m sure you get our style as a company – we are investors in Nexenta. I don’t take a salary at Nexenta, and am a pure investor. That means we are in this as a lifestyle – to revolutionise and change the IT world in better ways. It’s pretty relentless but I enjoy that. I was even working a bit on my honeymoon, with my wife’s awesome support, as she is also an investor in Nexenta – this is our family and we are here to make our customers and partners happy as part of our family, so we don’t see Nexenta as a job – but, rather a lifestyle!
10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
100 percent of my time – in some shape or form I am in constant communication with our teams.
11. Do you use social media much for work?
All the time! I am on Social Media 100 percent of the time with Nexenta. Social media is such a powerful tool, you can’t afford to not be using it. I often post pictures of the different meetings, meals, and work situations I find myself in. Instagram is great because it means I can post to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and onto Instagram itself all at once. People who follow me will also see that I post pictures of my private life. For me, there isn’t a division between professional and personal, I’m a transparent guy.
12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
The people, without a doubt. Whether it’s my colleagues, partners or customers, I enjoy building personal relationships.
13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
I don’t listen to music at work. However, I’m all about the Eighties!
14. What do you do for lunch?
I try and stay healthy as much as I can by eating salad and fruits. I very rarely eat lunch alone. I always try to bring a colleague, customer or partner for lunch; most of the time it’s in the office.
15. Do you socialise with work colleagues?
Yes, many of my colleagues are my personal friends; we spend a lot of time together, even our families spend time together.
16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
None. Every job I’ve held was fun and made me who I am today. From selling tourist maps while at middle school, to teaching and working on “Upward Bound” programmes in low income areas with high schoolers who wanted to have a chance to go to college, while I was at college; to selling furniture at a Walmart or Kmart to pay off tuition while teaching as a TA at graduate school; to coaching basketball at an elementary school; I have learned to love every job I’ve had and be super proud of it.
17. What is your last task of your day?
Check email and next day’s calendar. Personally, I couldn’t share or I’d have to shoot you!
18. How do you like to relax after work?
I go hiking with my wife whenever I get the chance.
19. Do you keep checking email through the evening?
on-stop; except during dinner and hikes/walks.
20. Do you take work projects home with you?
Yes, I’m very lucky to enjoy my job. When a task needs to be finished, I’ll get it done no matter where I am.
21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
I’d say a couple of things. Firstly, keep doubling down, keep working hard and you’ll be pleased with how things turn out. Secondly, as Liverpool fans sing every weekend at Anfield, ‘you’ll never walk alone’, there’s always people you can ask for guidance.
22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
Seriously – the same.
23. What device did you use to answer these questions?
24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
PREVIOUS ARTICLE«App Annie CEO charts tactics for App Economy success
NEXT ARTICLEC-suite career advice: Nader Mikhail, Elementum»
Jon Collins’ in-depth look at tech and society
Phil Muncaster reports on China and beyond