C-suite career advice: Chris Brandon, StorageOS

What tips would the c-suite give to the next generation?

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Name: Chris Brandon    

Company: StorgaeOS

Job Title: CEO

Location: London, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
Over-communicate -  don’t assume that your team, your customers or your peers know what you are thinking or understand what you expect, unless you have told them directly. Try different ways to communicate with different people, figure out what works best for each individual and leverage that.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
The only well to sell is top down. This is especially false in the new world of DevOps where much of the technical decision making is being done by the smart people doing the work.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Learn as much as you can about your customers, their business, and how they make decisions. When you become an enabler for your customers’ success, rather than driving your own sales agenda, you are a trusted advisor and they will help you in return.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Titles do not make executives, experience does. Volunteer for roles and tasks that give you as broad an experience base as possible. Seek feedback on your work, focus on constant improvement, and drive the company’s goals – doing this will ensure management take notice and promote you. All senior managers would prefer to grow strong talent and advance them because these individuals know the business and have relationships they can leverage for success. Get to know everyone you can and understand what they do, and then you be a driver for communications within the business and people will notice your work more quickly. People who are valuable don’t need to tell management, their peers will do that for them.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
I mentored two MBA student interns about 12 years ago. They were very talented, extremely smart, but did not have the self-confidence they needed to achieve their potential. I gave them a series of challenging deliverables where they were able to prove to themselves and start to see themselves as they should. They are now both very senior, successful, and have been very kind in their appreciation for believing in them and pushing them to believe in themselves.