When I met Brian Madden for the first time...
I remember that day way back in 2007 like it was yesterday. I was under the harsh convention lights in Las Vegas at the Citrix Summit event (remember when there 2 events, one for the west coast and one for the east coast??). At the time, I was working on a product intended to optimize the ICA protocol over the network and many people were wondering, "why on earth did Citrix buy this startup company?" and "can you really optimize ICA??".
Who's the guy shouting "The Emperor has no clothes"?
For a year, people had talked to me about this guy named Brian Madden. Sometimes with fear in their voice; sometimes with puzzlement; and other times with bemusement. Either way, I was certain he had 8 arms, 3 chins, and carried around 6 Windows laptops . His reputation for being intelligent, irreverent, and occasionally belligerent was well-established by then. No one else declared that the Citrix, VMware or Microsoft emperor had no clothes quite like he did. As a product owner, you should feel fear because you were going to get an opinion from this guy, right or wrong, and everyone in the industry was paying attention. Even Wes Wasson, who was CMO at the time, took a moment to acknowledge Brian during his keynote in 2008.
Back to Summit... As I got a small moment to breathe on the show floor, the crowd cleared, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said "that's him". A young man with a carrier bag over one shoulder, a camera and mic, spiky hair and tribal earrings appeared. The mic was looped around his neck with a string and a matching one around the interviewee, who happened to be Jimmy Chang, giving him the ability to operate a camera and notebook at the same time.
I said "who?" - thinking obviously that is the AV guy come to fix one of our displays.
They whispered "Brian Madden."
When he was finished, he turned around, walked past me, said "hi" and I said "hi" back. That afternoon solidified for me an image that I could never reconcile with all the emotions people had about his reviews and writings.
9 Years and a dozen major VDI product launches later
I helmed the product strategy at Citrix and led a team building game changing products during the infancy of VDI. Although he wasn't on my team, his influence, as a super technical and staunchly independent voice of the customer, was always present.
In the past few years, the industry has evolved and the two of us have evolved with it. Brian's written highly acclaimed series chronicling the industry and VDI technology. I'm continuing to build the best products to solve customer problems.
Brian still the irreverent and piercing intellect
On March 22, 2016 I joined Brian and Gabe Knuth on a podcast with my colleague, Workspot CTO Puneet Chawla, and you know what, we didn't have a script! No safety net! No *Bleep* button! We got to meet each other across a microphone and talk about all the guts and glory and why now, so many years later, VDI is finally finally worth it.
Update: March 23
It was definitely entertaining and hey, we all learned something! (and may now have to invent "The Mom Test....") In case you missed it live, download the Podcast here!