Human Resources

CMO Files: Jim McNiel, VP of Worldwide Marketing, NetScout Systems

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'.

Name: Jim McNiel

Organisation: NetScout Systems, Inc.

Job Title: Vice President Worldwide Marketing

Location: Boston, MA


(1) Where were you born and raised?

I’m from Southern California, born and raised in Pasadena, home of the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade.

(2) What was your first job?  

My first work experience was laying irrigation pipe and chopping wood in Orange County.  My first paid professional job was a programmer developing A/B roll video-editing.

(3) What was the first product you got really excited about?   

The first product that comes to mind is EditDroid, a non-linear editing system, developed by Lucasfilm.

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

Influencers have been George Lucas, Steve Jobs, and family.

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?

My most amazing life achievement has been travelling around the world with my family for 20 months; visited 27 countries and took 75 flights.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?

Leaving private equity to take 20 months to travel around the world.

(7) What is your greatest strength?

Listening is a key strength for me and something I think would benefit all individuals if they developed this skill.

(8) What is your biggest weakness?

Something I work on is my level of impatience and impulsiveness – I just like to get things done.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   

Communication, constant and effective communication, is most neglected by peers and should be a key priority, in 99.9% of the time.

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

‘Whatever it takes’ is my go-to-phrase, but ‘think before you act’, is always on my mind.

(11) What makes you stressed?

I’m frustrated when individuals don’t plan or think through the entire scope of the plan.  I say, set a goal and follow through end-to-end.

(12) What do you do to relax?

I go outside to relax.  Cycling and golf get me in the zone.

(13) What is your favorite song?

Vincent, by Don McClean.

(14) Which book taught you most?

Don Quixote, but a close runner up is The Count of the Monte Cristo.

(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

Football – Patriots – can’t lose with their spirit and team work.

(16) Which country would you like to work in?

Anywhere in EMEA – the countries are rich with history and keep us thinking about our future and ways to innovate.

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

Apple is an obvious choice, but best marketing goes to Tom’s, and even Zappos for their innovation and layers of creative marketing outreach to a multitude of audiences.

(18) What do you love most about your job?

Winning with smart people and visibly intelligent products.

(19) What is your favorite book?

Favorite read is the 1996 novel, Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace.

(20) What keeps you awake at night?

Nothing at all.

Note:  Today’s marketers have to find ways to motivate its customers and empower them to be collaborative and successful. One way to help them succeed is by driving them to network with other key influencers; the Guardians Guild is a step in that direction


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