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How DNN Changed My Life - (part 3)

Am I Dreaming? Somebody pinch me…

While constantly searching out new clients and looking for full-time employment, I was typically receiving around 10-20 emails per day for job offers from every placement agency and headhunter within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco, and even recruiters calling me from Atlanta and beyond (India). I was used to my morning ritual of reviewing…. deleting… reviewing… deleting… reviewing… deleting… the multitude of poorly matched job offerings that were being sent regularly to fill up my inbox. One day, everything changed. I received a message, that at a glance appeared to be just another typical recruitment email from someone in the Silicon Valley… I was somewhat surprised to see the words “Career Opportunity at DotNetNuke” in the subject line. I was SURE it was just another recruiting agency soliciting their services, or asking me to submit my resume for a post I was either way underqualified for, or way overqualified for, very common at that time. After the past couple of years of disappointing work opportunities, I even considered changing industries completely and leaving the web and creative worlds behind. I was unhappy with the direction my career was going and felt unfulfilled and underappreciated for my talents and undying efforts. I left the email in my inbox for several days until going through and cleaning out extraneous emails that I missed - when I stumbled again across the email from Rebecca Lipski. I reluctantly and cautiously opened it, expecting to hit the delete button uber-fast so as to not dwell on an opportunity with a company where I’d never get hired.

It was opening that email that day that so began my journey to San Mateo and to the group of people that I now have the distinct pleasure of calling my colleagues and friends. I immediately called Rebecca to see what her spiel would be, just like I had done so many times before with companies like Salesforce and the Gap. I went in and interviewed many times with these other impressive companies, but was never chosen due to the huge amount of applicants for each position. I had become jaded being pushed aside over and over. When I could get some feedback, I was being told again and again that I interviewed well, but there was always someone either with more experience, or direct job history that matched their needs perfectly.  But with the folks at DotNetNuke, something was “different” right away, and it was clearly palpable. From the very first “Hello…?!” that came across the telephone, I knew something new and exciting was afoot. Rebecca was upbeat from minute one. She was kind. She was warm and easy to talk to. During the initial phone interview she made it a point to praise and compliment my work history… she told me my life-experiences were interesting and relevant. What was going on? She was actually behaving as if she “wanted” me to be part of the team. There was no prodding to discover why I wouldn’t be a fit in the team. There were no trick questions to see where I fell short – only the impression that she really wanted to talk to me, in order to get to know me – FOR ME. It was as if we had been friends for years – and we were reconnecting. Where was the attitude? Where was that apathy and disdain that I had gotten so used to fro other interviewers? She didn’t have any of that – the exact opposite as a matter of fact.

After Rebecca’s calls, I was put on the phone with some person named Will Strohl. Why was Will also being so kind. So funny. So upbeat. I was sure there was something these two were not filling me in on. Boy was I right. After several great phone calls with Will I was invited to come into the DNN Corp offices in San Mateo for several face-to-face interviews with other members of their team. First off, I didn’t even realize the open-source project’s founders had incorporated, or that they actually had a real office!? I showed up for my interview wide-eyed and in a state of disbelief walking through those doors and seeing cubicles… smiling welcoming DNN employees… and then there was the huge three-dimensional DNN logo hanging on the wall! It was real! It wasn’t on my PC’s screen! I stared at that logo for a good 4 minutes before Rebecca walks up and says candidly… “I know…! I know…”. I told her, "I can’t believe its real. I can’t believe you guys are real." My entire understanding and opinion of the product only existed on my computer screen and it my head – NOT in the real world. It was like going to Disney for the first time as a child – and seeing your favorite characters! I was enthralled to say the least.

After going through interview after interview, each person I met was kinder and more welcoming than the last! It was as if all my hopes and dreams were coming true! From the receptionist’s welcome… to the final interview with the President of DNN, Navin Nagiah, I never felt any resistance… no animosity or apathy. I only felt that anything is possible, and that if I wanted to be part of the team I would have to be able to openly share my adoration of the product and teach others about it. No one had ever allowed me to talk to customers about what makes our products so great – and then how I felt about it! What a dream! I feel that this optimism, this passion, and this forward-thinking mindset is something that is not only present in each employee that comes to work each day at DNN Corp, but it is something that exists heavily in our products and services themselves. It’s a mantra that continues to be cultivated and enhanced each day on every team in the company. This aspect of excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the products and the employees is palpable in the office and can be seen in the software we produce... Its passion. Its caring. Its optimism. It has movement and energy... something I will never lose, no matter where I work. The “company culture” I had been searching for was present in me from the beginning – I just needed to be reminded of how incredibly powerful and possible it was to have and cultivate that culture daily. Company culture needs to be developed and cared for. It doesn’t just happen. You need to give it direct attention and intention to make it grow and spread. At DNN Corp. they do that every day, and that loving, caring attention can be seen in the dedication to making our products the best they can be. I love my job. I love being able to share that affinity with others. I can’t wait to see what’s next for DNN’s team and their products/solutions. From what I’ve seen so far, and from what I have seen is coming in DNN’s foreseeable future, the coming years are going to be very very exciting for us and more importantly, for our growing number of clients. 


Mark Baldwin
I wish someone would send me an email like that one... I'd love to work with people like that... but, I'm not to sure that letter will ever get me out of my little hole in Arizona???
Mark Baldwin Sunday, September 1, 2013 6:10 PM (link)
Aric Roy
Don't feel like a lone ranger Mark. I think MANY of us are overworked, under-appreciated and worst yet, have no REAL opportunity on the table. In this world economy it is like a knife to the heart. Keep your head up though and don't give in just yet. DNN has a tendency to see how much you can put up with before they talk to you. Better things are on the horizon for all of us living the dream that this will one day happen in our lives too.
Aric Roy Saturday, September 7, 2013 2:04 PM (link)

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