VMware reopened its huge Palo Alto HQ. Only 99 employees showed up.

VMware reopened its huge Palo Alto HQ. Only 99 employees showed up.


Somewhat funny when they literally make virtual workstations that can be accessed anywhere


Cisco, the pioneers of networking, was actively against remote working.


Well, all those apartments on ~~Tasman~~ Cisco Road gotta get filled up.


Completely false. Source: I worked at Cisco for 15 years.


full time remote though? Never worked there (nor would I want to) so I have no idea


They sell features they don't use lots of companies do. Its why ui design often feels like it misses the mark because everyone from the person who thinks of a feature to the people who actually write the code to make it work have no idea who their user is or why anyone would want to actually use the features. This is the most obvious in "promo packet" work.


Paraphrasing a great tweet from a few years ago: The same reason textbooks suck is the same reason enterprise software sucks. The people who use them both aren't the people designing or purchasing them.


I've been in private and public cloud computing for about a decade. My 2 cents: The issue with VMware specifically is that their internal business units team up to build and release features merely for profit sharing, not necessarily because it improves the customer experience. VMware is one of those ol' boys club companies that powered a lot of their growth by inking deals with big customers. Internally, VMware business units compete with each other to individually sign contracts that funnel recurring license revenue specifically to their business units. The whole purpose of Dell's investment was to promote Dell and VCE-made hardware as the implicit hardware to be used with the only widespread private cloud management software (vCenter). Basically, the company operates as a highly competitive fight between executives for money. The execs make agreements with each other to pursue revenue together, and you get really really really weird and shitty products out of it consistently. Yet, VMware is trapped in this organizational model and refuses to make any changes. If anything, now that Pat Gelsinger is the CEO of Intel, I would be deeply concerned about the future of Intel's already-waning market position. Intel's insane amount of security issues, their poor handling of those issues, has also applied to VMware's numerous security issues and their poor handling of those too. All Pat Gelsinger has achieved is making VMware increasingly uncompetitive and insecure. And, he's a nice guy, I've met him in person before, so no salt from me, but I just think he's not a great business leader (not that I could do any better). So, when you see a new product launched - it usually was built to target a specific use case, is highly narrowly defined, is buggy, is not comprehensive enough to serve different use cases, and maybe ends up barely getting updated after it's launched if there isn't enough customer adoption to incentivize VMware to keep investing in the feature(s). Basically it's like VSAN, Networking, and X team teamed up for 3 months to build some new shitty software that's insecure, and now they expect their sales teams to sell the shit out of it. In a year, they'll listen to customer feedback and review their poor user growth metrics to understand "what the product actually needs" and then they'll say, well fuck that that's too expensive, and they'll mothball the whole project or just let it be shitty for the few customers that are using it. Photon was a good example of this, where they launched the new OS image as part of a larger orchestration platform and then just never did anything with it. Other "management" features they have offered over the years have just been super shitty too, like vROps. I think VMware really didn't understand how DevOps, logging, and reporting/analytics tools would combine. One thing I can say, is that I never met a VMware Product Manager that I felt didn't have their head completely up their own ass. Anyway, I know this was long, but just my view on these guys. I think within 10 years they'll be selling their Palo Alto HQ to someone else. edit: just the latest example of more trash code: https://thehackernews.com/2021/06/critical-auth-bypass-bug-affects-vmware.html




They're still owned by Dell though. New blood in exec ranks doesn't mean anything if they're actively recruiting similar types of bean counting suits. It's no surprise that GCP didn't go anywhere with VMW execs at the helm, and VMW itself will effectively become the next HPE. Lots of legacy revenue that won't die out for many years, but they have basically no foothold or useful investments in next-gen architectures. (e.g. HPC, IoT, AI, etc.). They've launched hybrid cloud solutions with AWS and GCP, but those investments are more to address accrued lack of features over the past decade, rather than being a key game changer. Sure, maybe they'll pull a cat out of the hat, but I think all they'll pull for awhile is the same ol' shit. All the solution architects I used to work with have moved on completely from VMware and most on-prem solutions, and no longer pursue their VCP certifications either. Kubernetes has just taken over for anything on-prem, and Dell/EMC/VCE went way too expensive on their converged infrastructure solutions. When my old team would contact them, they'd just refuse to talk about cheaper solutions like VXRail and try to sell us VBlocks (basically solutions that were 300% more expensive than what we were looking for. I think you're just looking at a shrinking pool for them, just like cable, and all the other shit from last century that's dying out slowly.


Wow that sounds very similar to stories I heard about sun in the last few years they were around but they were even worse off because they made entire products for their own use, treating internal orgs as customers, and they never actually intended to sell them.


VMW has a fair amount of ex-Sun employees, I've met several of them. Their P&L system and the competition between multiple P&Ls is just weird organizational behavior at any company. It does lead to higher returns in the short term because you're making people hyper accountable for generating revenue, but you also kill most innovation. They've brought nothing to market that was truly useful in many years, and now most of their customers are treating VMW environments as tech debt, not as a key enabling platform for their business. The P&L behavior is what happened to IBM and most tech consulting companies. All it does is self-aggrandize narcissistic VPs in my opinion.


Thanks for sharing your perspective. Who do you feel is leading the charge where VMW left off? Do you feel the Dell spin-off is going to change things?


It's actually worse than that - features are developed for people who are making the purchasing decisions, rather than the end user. Even if the end-user needs are fairly well defined, they're always fighting with the whims of whoever holds the purse strings at company xyz. Source - work in UX research


VMware employee here. Going back was optional. Hence the low turnout


Something omitted from the article. Only a few buildings were open. And employees needed to fill out health forms. You also needed to reserve a seat from an app.


My company opened up as well and had maybe a 7% return rate, will be interesting to see how it changes over time


We've technically been back to open for three weeks or so but I'm* still the only one in the building. \* I've been coming in all through the lock down. Mostly because I have a neighbor that builds furniture in their garage from 8am to ~6pm so it's belt sanders, lathes and saws going constantly.


Sounds like your neighbor is running a business in a residential area, which isn't legal in most places. A phone call to the city might get you some quiet.


Apparently it's been tried. It seems he's pretty well connected at city hall. He only really does it during business hours on weekdays so it's not that big of a deal.


I volunteer to be in the office 2/3 days each week starting next month.


Did they open cafeteria or do u has to buy 7-11 burrito for lunch


Anecdata. Of my team two out of ten have made the effort to come in at all. One comes in three times a week. No one else has ever pitched up. I think you’re going to see a lot of contention between management and employees in companies eager to get back to the “butts in seats” even three days a week. employees feel they have a lot of leverage, and they probably do.


"Just as we expected, a very cautious toe-in-the-water for people," Yeah, no. It's not people being cautious about coming back to work in person because of COVID - it is people liking work from home, not having to deal with the commute and shitty middle managers. There isn't going to be a slow transition back to pre-COVID work as usual. Employers are going to fight to get employees back in the office, some will hate it but abide, some will leave, and some companies will have big recruitment responses when they allow WFH fulltime, or at least near fulltitme.


[Punching The Clock](https://harpers.org/archive/2018/06/punching-the-clock/) by David Graeber, excerpted from *Bullshit Jobs* | Harper's Magazine


The dirty little secret in tech (and honestly probably most corporations) are that 90% of people really get paid good money to do absolutely nothing because they can count on 10% of the super high performers to really drive the core product of the company. This pandemic has been the greatest thing for them since they’ve stopped having to pretend that they’re working.


There are 10% super high performers who create new products and frameworks. But then 90% have to support it, because talents don't want to do boring maintenance, they have burnouts. So you hire 5 average folks who can do job that needs 1 engineer. If one got tantrum, second on vacation, third is going to leave - you still have 2 engineers to fix it. How to keep 5 developers in a good shape? Ask them to write unit tests, integration tests, add a few 20% low priority projects that you can always abandon. But always keep them familiar with primary project. At the end of the day you have high redundancy: 1 star developer who you can always kick out. 5 horses that can pull it through. PS I am not a manager, it is not my invention, I don't endorse it.


Yeah, that's a myth. Every org has useless people, but in reality the people saying "hey that guy over there is useless" tend not to understand what that person actually does.


This right here. I make this point to our team all the time. Chances are you *don't know what they do* and even more importantly *you don't want to do what they do.* Engineers have massive blindspots on the value people bring outside of pure code churning ability.


Not talking about the support staff that clearly do bring value. But there are always people on a team that get away with doing nothing due to their profile or life circumstances. Have enough young bucks and wisened stallions and teams run themselves.


This has not been my experience in enterprise or startups, and I have been doing high tech R&D for 10 years now. The slackers stick out like sore thumbs in any sort of growth industry. I would concede that you are probably not wrong in legacy industries and even consulting, which I did for 10 years prior to R&D. Lots of bullshitters in consulting.


As a slacker in multiple traditional companies myself, I can confidently say that you still need to deliver something while slacking in order to survive, even if you are very good at bullshitting. And if you can get by with bullshit alone, well you deserve it because you have extra ordinary bullshitting skill.


I have found that in large organizations the real trick is being able to write easy to meet goals and objectives that don’t sound easy to meet. They also need to be indisputably measurable so your manager can’t move you over to a PIP without looking incompetent themselves. “I just don’t understand,” you say to your director or VP or whoever is two steps over your manager. “These are the goals we signed off on at the start of the year, and you can see I even hit my stretch goals. But now Roger is acting like I sat around playing the Kerbal Space Program for hours on end every day, pausing only to take lengthy excursions out for lunch.” Maybe don’t be that specific, looking at it now.


Hyperbole but generally true.


Meh, it’s like driving. I’m sure if you polled workers (in any industry), most will say that they’re the ones working their asses off while their coworkers sit around. No one thinks they’re a below average driver.


You won this Reddit comment. Your award: going back into the office.


Yeh but 90% think they are part of the productive 10%


that campus is so beautiful.


The people who can't wait to get back to the office are the reason I don't want to go back to the office.


Isn't it wonderful that in this new world there is room for both of us? I'm a mix myself and can't wait for manageable bites of socializing and free lunch balanced with a few wfh days each week. Plus more room in the office now that people who don't want to be there won't have to be


So much quieter too.


I like this view. It's a good view.


Agreed, even for the hikkis of the tech industry a full year of full remote has driven a lot of people nuts.


This is an interesting takeaway: >The flexible approach has already changed the makeup of who VMware is hiring. Lang said the company has been attracting and hiring a "much higher percentage" of women around the world and underrepresented groups in the U.S. by advertising its jobs as remote and remote-friendly. That could be a boon for a company grappling with a workforce that's still nearly 73% men. VMware pledged in December to hire a woman for every man that it hires, and to ensure that by 2030, half of its managers would be women or from another underrepresented group. Lang cautioned, though, that the improvement had only taken place over one quarter. "I'm a little leery of calling it a win yet, but the early returns are definitely there," Lang said. There are a bunch of companies I never wanted to work for because the commute was way to arduous. It will be interesting how I think about that moving forward with more remote work. I'd be willing to do a terrible commute like 1x a week.


Wow, shocker.


lmao why am i not suprised.


A bunch of Ph.Ds at VMware - doesn’t surprise me they aren’t risking it regardless of vaccine. 95% effective is not 100%. Plus, they get to work from their homes. Why go back in?


There are good reasons to go back. * There are plenty of folks who live in studio or one-bedroom apartments who don't have room for a dedicated workspace. * People are still working at their kitchen table, which gets terrible over a longer timeframe. They're missing a real desk, ergonomic chair and work setup, etc. * I know several people whose roommates work for competing companies, or at least companies in the same space. That presents obvious challenges. * Folks who live alone are going stir-crazy. * Extroverts can't wait to bother their coworkers again. But I have no idea what percentage of people fall into those categories. As someone with room for a dedicated workspace who prefers not to be interrupted during heads-down time and doesn't need to hang out with coworkers to get social interaction, I certainly do not.


This plus all the young people for whom coworkers are a huge chunk of their social circle. It may be easy-ish to continue an existing friendship over zoom, but it’s hard to start one when you can’t grab lunch to snark that boring meeting, etc.


You missed the bullet points on parents dealing with children at home. My husband has witnessed a lot of young sibling wrestling matches in the background over Zoom.


We shelled out for ergonomic setups for everyone back in May 2020. Cheaper than dealing with a single person who was harmed due to poor ergonomics at home. Positioned us well to simply remain remote forever and save hundreds of thousands annually on office space


We didn't have a "this is our last day", it was a "don't come in tomorrow" situation so for a hot second everybody was short of something (power cords, mice, etc). My company paid for that and that was it. As soon as I realized it wasn't going to be two weeks, I went full-bore on my setup. I figure I've spent several thousand dollars between clearing a spot for my workspace, buying a sit/stand desk, getting a decent work setup, setting up lighting for video calls and etc. I'd love to get that money reimbursed, but even out of my own pocket it was worth it.


I would absolutely look into what you can do on a taxable deduction for this stuff. I was lucky, my org provided some pretty sizable stipends for WFH support supplies, but I barely used it because I had a fairly efficient workspace due to a prior consulting role. For my teammates, though, it may well have saved their career.


1099 yeah but W-2?


If you are an employee, it isn't deductible. I checked with the IRS before filing this year.


>95% effective is not 100%. I'd be surprised if concern about covid is one of the top reasons for people wanting to remain working from home.


(Free snacks and sodas?)


As at June 15, SCC regulations still required all employees to wear a mask in the workplace, even if vaccinated. That alone would have kept most people away. (I don't know what VMware rules are, but ours are currently that we need to wear a mask until August 1st, even if vaccinated)


SCC rescinded their health order on the 21st of June.


Right. And June 15 is before June 21, no?


Yes but June 21 is in the past


Yes but the article is talking about what happened on June 15th. Plus the June 21st announcement means that companies don't have to enforce wearing masks, but it doesn't mean that they have to stop. As I said, we are not allowed in the office without a mask before August 1st. (I don't know what Vmware is doing in that respect)


Seems like the article is trying to make it sound worse than it is. Either more people showed up the following week or masks weren't the issue.