Last weekend, I saw my neighbor, Kim, and realized that I hadn’t seen her in a while. When I asked what she’d been up to lately, she excitedly reached into her purse and pulled out a postcard: “Oh, I’ve been learning to sail this!” On the postcard was the image of a historic sailboat that she stepped onto on her 74th birthday and spent the next two weeks learning to maneuver in the Atlantic Ocean. Kim never ceases to surprise me with her adventures and I responded the only way I could: “Kim, when I grow up I want to be you.” Kim winked and said, “You know, you get so many second chances. You just have to remember to take them.”
Well, NetApp isn’t 74 yet, but the story made me think about NetApp’s wild two decade ride so far. Many of the people I run into are surprised we’ve been around so long because we seem like a younger company—always trying new things, never happy to rest on our laurels and never forgetting that it’s important to have fun and take care of our people. That’s the culture of innovation and teamwork that we celebrated this week at our 20th anniversary party—on the top floor of the American Pharmacists Association building on Constitution Avenue in Washington—with more than 500 employees, customers and partners (even in the face of a torrential rainstorm).
I was struck by the recollections that team members gave of how USPS has grown—as a business and as a family—over the past two decades (you can see some of those captured on video here). One recalled when an all-hands meeting could be held in one conference room, another when four pizzas would cover the team’s lunch.
But perhaps the most striking memory came from my boss, Mark Weber (and NetApp’s President of USPS). Mark remembered when you could call the founders directly on the phone, and then he said, “Guess what? You still can!!” He pointed out that the founders of NetApp, despite their success, are still deeply involved in the company—continuing to find and take those chances to do something new with technology and push the company further.
That’s the passion that keeps you young and exciting—whether you’re an innovative 20 year old company or a new sailor at 74. Here’s to another 20 years of seeing and taking those chances!
Tricia Davis- Muffett
Director, Public Sector Marketing