by | Dec 14, 2023

Ep. 12 | AirWatch Christmas Special: Wolf of Wall Street


Cyber Glass Ceiling Podcast Episode 12

Listen to Episode 12 Here:

In this episode, I am joined by Dave Horton and Jamie Brown as we look back at our time working together at AirWatch. We discuss how workplace culture has evolved over the years, as a result of Brexit, the rise of technology and hybrid working.

AirWatch was founded in 2003 as Wandering Wi-Fi by John Marshall, who served as president and CEO. Ian Evans was the Managing Director for EMEA employing almost 250 people between 2011 and 2014 in Milton Keynes. AirWatch UK Limited was dissolved on 24 Apr 2018 with the company’s final absorption into VMware as a business unit rather than a wholly owned entity

AirWatch UK Limited was dissolved on 24 Apr 2018 with the company’s final absorption into VMware as a business unit rather than an wholly owned entity. On 31 January 2020 the AirWatch offices in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom were closed. Over 150 ex-employees met up to say goodbye to the offices… it was one hell of a ride and probably never to be repeated.

Dave Horton currently leads the Global Solutions Engineering for Odaseva. He is an experienced professional with 15 years in enterprise data protection, security engineering and solution architecture. Dave has consulted for the most complex and scalable organisations in the world. Prior companies Dave has worked with include OneTrust, SHI, VMware, Vodafone and various UK Government positions. Dave has been designated as a Fellow of Privacy with the IAPP and holds a CISSP with the ISC2.

Jamie Brown has a strong background in the technology industry, was one of the early starters with AirWatch, focusing on new business development and was pound for pound one of the most successful sales people at AirWatch. When AirWatch was acquired by VMware he worked in their EUC (End-User Computing) sales division until 2018. Since then, he has continued to excel in EUC sales, leveraging his expertise and passion for technology to drive success.

Tune in now and be a part of the conversation.


Dave Horton | LinkedIn

Jamie Brown | LinkedIn


C-Vision International

Salt Group

Audio Transcription

Charles James: And welcome to my Christmas edition of Cyber Glass Ceiling. Today, we’re going to be talking about an old company I used to work for called AirWatch. And with me, I have Dave Horton and Jamie Brown. Welcome.

Jamie Brown: Hi everyone.

Dave Horton: Hi everyone.

Charles James: Dave?

Dave Horton: Yeah, I mean AirWatch for me was kind of a, a platform to, for growth.

Like if I look at one point in my career where I grew the most, it was actually joining AirWatch prior to AirWatch. I was I was a internal kind of application specialist for NHS and and government. So I actually used to work in the Guildhall at the road from here. I used to live on Guildhall road.

And so it was like it was very different kind of world, but coming into a fast paced software company. And I think you know, my, I was, I was really given a good opportunity. Like I you know, if you look at the profile of someone that was to join your company, that was going to be fast paced.

I was possibly a risk, right? But I think I was also quite cheap to, to get in. I was a very junior. I was much younger than I am now. And so, you know, meeting the team like like Ian, they’re obviously on a growth frenzy, you know, trying to get as many people in as possible. Dan Quintus from a technical standpoint, you’ll see he was quite a, an intense interviewer and they had some really interesting challenges.

But it was, it was definitely the whole kind of experience leading up to it was, was really key. And actually how I came to know about AirWatch was I was looking at a MDM solution for the council. And Paul Brown was my account executive calling me trying to flog me some software and obviously looked at the profile of AirWatch while looking for solutions is, “ah, okay they’re in Milton Keynes. You know, that’s that could be interesting”, you know, so interesting how things kind of turn out.

Charles James: You know what it’s so I get that. I mean, for me I. I was a Microsoft head, so I was working for various resellers. I think you were one I used to work with

Dave Horton: OSHI.

Charles James: Yeah, we don’t talk about that , but everyone forgets the T at the end of it.

But no, I, I was Microsoft MCP in software licensing and stuff like that. And that was my background as, or Microsoft. And I know I was looking for a new job and of course I was in Northampton Mm-Hmm. . And yeah, this came along. And I met with John Marshall and in Evans on a Saturday morning in the boardroom had just been done.

So literally just moved to the Milton Keynes office. And I remember saying to earlier, I got bored listening to John Marshall. He’s got a very monotone voice and it was like, yeah, you’re not, you know, you’re not excited me. But Ian, on the other hand, was you know, different catfish and you know, Ian’s, we’ll talk about Ian Nevins in a little bit, but no, I went from Microsoft into the world of MDM, not knowing what it was, but then not a lot of people knew what it was.

And we were there to disrupt. We were there to you know, flood the market. And you know, later on in this chat, you’ll, you’ll, you’ll well, you know, we’ll talk about the success of it, but now it’s, it’s good to know. So there we are. So you were in the early days, Jamie.

Jamie Brown: Yeah. So when I, so, so when I first, so I said, yeah, you look, I’ll I’ll join.

Okay. It looks, it’s kind of fun. And I always remember that I got a. I got to in my offer le letter and it goes to this office. And then I got a, I think I got a text from Adrian. He said, don’t, don’t go to that office ’cause we’re not there. So it’s like, oh my God, what have I done here? And he goes, go to the Regis office in Milton Keynes, just off the M1.

So I was like, okay. And so we was at this Regis office for about three weeks or something like that. And then we moved into Noel Hill. So he was waiting for the Noel Hill move. A lot of a lot of disruption. AM was flit in between trying to organize things. It was a proper, we didn’t have wifi. We didn’t have phones. We had to use mobile phones. So it was costing an absolute fortune.

Charles James: But did it stop you selling?

Jamie Brown: Well, no, I mean, the fantastic thing is we, we, we, we really was just like, let’s just go let’s hunt business. I always remember we looked at. We had a BlackBerry 2008 list. So it was calling those guys. And it was proper, it was a proper hunting business and making do with what we had, which was, which was kind of fun, crazy.

Charles James: And Dave, you, you were in the tech side of the business. So Jamie and I were in the sales side and we’ll touch on the sales. How were you measured on, on a technical level? Because you guys had all the gadgets and, you know, we’re, it’s unrolling enrolling the devices and new devices come on the market, looking at whether it be an iOS or an Android were you guys measured on, on any success and how you could get the things done?

Dave Horton: Well I, first things first, I think it’s great that you invited the SE to this to this call. I think it could have been a sales kind of crony kind of crowd, but. But yeah, I mean, when, when I joined, obviously, like I mentioned before, I was kind of hired on a bit of a risk, right? I didn’t necessarily have the, the skillset.

I had some skills in that area, like troubleshooting and obviously knew the market a little bit. But when anyone technical came into the company, typically what happened was you’d start in support, which is kind of, you know, if you’ve worked in a company from a technical standpoint, support is possibly the worst place.

To work because you’re just getting people that are upset, especially if you’re working with some ropey technology, which you could argue we were at one point. If anyone remembers silver lights and like that version of the platform and the migration. Pretty much my first day was that migration and everyone’s all hell’s broken loose, go and fix the products.

I’m like. What’s it, what do we do? It was a real batson vote by fire, but everyone joined it through support. And then if you if you had some promise and you’ve moved to implementation and then if you had further promise and you could kind of handle customer objections and kind of lead a sales cycle, you know, solutions engineering is kind of where people gravitate towards.

So it was really interesting. I’ve actually tried to mirror similar, similar things in companies since, but having that kind of path the way through to, you know, have progression for someone. you know, when it comes to measurement, I think initially it was like, how many tickets did you close? It was kind of the main objective, but as you started moving forward, it was like, well, can you close a deal?

Can you do a good demo? Can you speak on behalf of the company? Can you make sure that the sales team aren’t selling fairy dust, you know, to customers…

Charles James: And we were a lot of time. I remember in Evans use this mantra where he said, make hay while the sun shines. That was one of his mantras. And you know, now we looking back, you know exactly what he meant because it was never going to last forever in sales as we were of course yourselves, you’re measured on your success on how many deals you close.

And I always remember the novelty items that, you know, I’ve got a cube. You had the cubes, you, God knows what else. Yeah. And then the QBRs were these video to QBRs, I dunno where they went. I dunno who saw ’em personally. I thought it was a pile of crap.

Dave Horton: Yeah.

Charles James: I I don’t think it went anywhere.

Dave Horton: Yeah.

Charles James: But it was like when you do A QBR and again, we’re we’re 10 years was it 10 years? 11 years, yeah. Since AirWatch, well, when I was at AirWatch in 2012. Anyway. It’s a case of now I’m, I’m head of sales and in management I wouldn’t do QBRs how we did QBRs cause it’s like, we’re going to pick out your faults and why didn’t you do this and why didn’t you do that? So what’s your memory, Jamie?

Jamie Brown: I think, I think the first thing, the cubes were massive. I think it was such a simple idea, but it gave a real kudos to not just the salesperson, but. The sales team got to remember then we was very much working closely with our engineers. We was working really together to get from, well, from, from birth all the way through from a deal, which was really, really important.

So I think that some very cost effective cubes were very effective with what they produced from the team as a whole. And that just speared everybody to go on. I think from the QBIs, it was such a fast paced environment. It was important that we kept, kept going, kept selling, but also kept innovating.

And I think you’ve got a, from AirWatch, there was two things. It was a, it was a lightning paced technology and it was a, it was a real learning curve and I think all of the engineers and certainly the development team worked wonders to get that out. And, you know, from a sales perspective, we, we really disrupted the market and we were allowed to go into some big organizations and really make our, our mark.

And also, you know and I think from an AirWatch perspective, the timing was just right, BlackBerry sort of had the market there and then all of these new, you know, solutions come out like Android operating systems and obviously iPhone and and I think to have a hungry and humble team join or congeal within this Milton Keynes environment and then go with those gifts to the market and make sure our pricing was right, it works well.

So the QBI’s were very interesting. I think as we, as we sort of like grew they got probably a little bit more intense, but then I, and I think then we was just obviously on such a fast pace.

Charles James: I think me looking back, we saw people, it’s a sink or swim environment. I always look at air watch and I, I sort of smile and laugh and go, it’s a bit like Wolf of Wall Street with or without the drugs or prostitution allegedly.

And I’ll put allegedly in there. But it was that fast paced and us as sales guys you could see that people who have a sank or swam and those that sank weren’t there for very long.

Jamie Brown: Yeah. You had to be, it was, it was, you had to be of the mindset that you’re, you’re happy to go with the flow and change is inevitable.

It’s not like you’re going to change once a year because you’re just in a release of your software. It’s like change is happening every other day. And if you didn’t. Like that environment, which a lot of people don’t because they like consistency and they like to know what they’re doing this month, next month, of course, it’s not going to be the environment for you.

And rightly so people shouldn’t be working in an environment like that. But I think from an engineering perspective and from a sales perspective, those guys and girls that really enjoyed that pace and found it exciting for me personally, I found it really super exciting if it’s the same stuff for the for a year or 18 months. I get personally bored.

Charles James: Absolutely.

Dave Horton: I mean, that was a good thing about that product was it started out small. It was like, okay, we’re, I mean, John, initially it was wondering why five, you remember that term? It was basically AirWatch was the management platform for hotspots for wifi hotel in hotels in the U S.

And like when iOS came out with the first APIs to actually manage devices, overnight, he came back from, you know, an Apple conference or something, told the development team to stop what they were doing and focus on this. And that’s how it kind of started, like for what we know, like the mobile device aspect.

The interesting thing was obviously then you had the different flavors of Android, you had Windows mobile, Windows phone, you had the whole BlackBerry and Bez kind of integration and things like this. And it, we added new products, so like you had mobile content management, like yeah, all of these things.

Email, secure email. You could see it in a very short period of time becoming a point solution to a platform. And I think that was it was challenging because I think when we first came out with some of these products, they were ropey, is one way of putting it. And I think the. The skillset that you had to have as a salesperson was to kind of convince the customer, you know, look at where we’ve been, look at where we’re going, you know, this is what we’ve got today, but if you come on board, like we’ll, we’ll look after you.

And you know, when I was working internal IT, I remember I was working for the NHS. And the CEO wants email on his iPhone at the time. The only way was to install 10 servers just so he could get email on his iPhone. Right. And the MDM came along, made it incredibly simple for big enterprise to get everyone on their mobile, everyone to have, and it was such a lucrative thing that not, not everyone was doing.

And so if you look at back at when you joined, you joined at the perfect time because it was on the crest of a wave that was disruptive for. The whole market.

Jamie Brown: Yeah. I remember 2011, we was in Noel Hill and there was I don’t know, four or four, I remember we start, it was the first year and we was just like finding our feet, getting a few sales in.

And I was wondering, you know, where’s this going, you know, with this technology. And then in 2012. We just had a, a massive explosion of staff from everywhere. And then you could see the vision that was there. And I always remember on Noel Hill, it was a two up, two down, and we got that crowded that we was doing demos on the stairs, basically with people walking past you because all you had was these little cameras that was on, on your iPad or whatever it was at the time.

And everybody had to be quiet. It was, it was quite a, it was a crazy situation until we obviously moved into into the The offices at the train station, which was obviously much more, you had sound proofing and it was more professional, but you know what, that, that was it. Because in 2012, it just, it just exploded.

So it was a really, again, if you didn’t like that environment and that, and that speed, you could get very sort of like, you know, anxiety attacks, I suppose. And then, then you’ve got to move on. But for me, it was like, this is great. This is great.

Charles James: No, indeed. And I was one of those in, in, in, in the early stages of 2012 that came in.

And it was, it was it was a busy time busy hiring. They used to do the onboarding. Onboarding was a week, I think. Was it two weeks? Not sure. I think it was a week. And I remember I used to go in on a Friday afternoon after they would have their brains melted by this new technology and I used to go forget everything you ever heard, okay.

This and told him how it was, you know, from a sales perspective anyway. It’s like, you’ve got to follow the sales process. And you know, we had various sales guys coming in thinking, yeah, we’re going to do this. And again, some crashed and some just flew in it. And you can tell that. And I always remember looking at the car park, the staff car park.

Because in 2012, you had to, I mean, you were driving something ridiculous at the time, I don’t know what that was like a people carrier and

Jamie Brown: Oh, my Kia Sportage. Yeah, the Sportage, whatever. That’s very handy because when we had to move from Noel Hill into, and put stuff in storage, I think Ian had a Maserati, he loves his fast cars, or he had a Porsche by then, I think it was a Maserati.

So it’s a sportage could back down and actually put desks in. So my job was to actually move like chairs into…

Dave Horton: I said, surprise my ability

Jamie Brown: again, to save costs. You know, I don’t hire a van and put it all in there, but in Jamie’s car.

Charles James: Now, I just remember from the car park. People were starting to be successful and you could see that where people upgraded cars.

Yeah. You upgraded yours. I upgraded mine. Dave, you were coming in on a pause or something, weren’t you?

Dave Horton: No, not back then. Back then I was I was, I was getting the train. I was, I was motorcycling actually.

Charles James: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry. You were one with the, one of the motorbike. Yeah.

Dave Horton: The motorbike crew of AirWatch.

Charles James: Another thing I want to touch on is. It’s the B word, which is Brexit, and I’m only going to say this because do you think AirWatch should have been successful if Brexit had happened back in 2011, 2012? Because don’t forget we had Italians, we had the Spanish, we had the Dutch, we had Germans, we had the French all in one office, and they came from abroad to come and work at AirWatch.

Jamie Brown: I suppose now everybody’s got used to sort of like teams and unified comms and that kind of stuff, but I don’t, I think from a work ethic, from getting along with the colleagues and really truly understanding and also shouting around ideas, rights and wrongs, getting that team environment was absolutely important, I would say, I’d say people really, even the social side, You know, a lot of friendships were formed and still are so I think never take away the power of people coming together and communicating that space.

And I know we can do it all via teams, but physically I think is very important. It’s interesting now when you’ve got to have this hybrid working environment and anybody looking now to, because one of the key things that come out of AirWatch, I think was a dynamic. Was the was just the division, just the excitement.

And I think if you’ve done that on a team’s call on, on zoom call, I don’t think you’ll get that, that measure of excitement that you did physically being together. It was kind of like, we’re all in, it was proper all in and then let’s go for it. You know, you’re on the bus, let’s go and let’s go for this next two years.

We can see where we’re going to be in two years. Remotely, do you get the same? I don’t know. I would question that you wouldn’t.

Dave Horton: I think one thing to note though, at that point in time, a lot of people that we hired were people from the European Union living in the UK and it was seen as quite an attractive thing.

Like a lot of our kind of language support were actually people living in the UK that spoke Italian, French, German. And Is that the same today? I think it is. I mean, I work for a company that is global. I manage a global team and The UK is actually quite an attractive place for international companies like Time zone wise you get an extra hour with the U.S. that Europe, mainland Europe doesn’t have. If you hire in France, it’s very difficult to manage low performers and things like this. In the UK it’s kind of a nice balance between the very kind of liberal French side and the very draconian U. S. side. It’s kind of a happy medium for a lot of companies.

So I think the biggest challenge that Brexit brings is that, you know, if you’re a company and you’ve got like a legal entity in the UK You’ve also got to have one in mainland Europe if you want to transact there.

So I think there’s some kind of legal and commercial reasons why you, you can invest in the UK, but it’s been a bit more difficult now. You’ve got to also think broader and further into Europe. Oh, absolutely.

Charles James: And, and I, I, my, my personal opinion is that I don’t think it would have worked as well because I remember I was putting people up in my house before they found somewhere to live.

They, you know, they’d come over from wherever. I remember the Spanish lad goes, you know, yeah, you stay with me at a spare room until you found a place that happened a couple of times as well. And of course what’s his name? Who’s our buddy in Spain?

Dave Horton: Peter.

Charles James: Peter

Dave Horton: Schusterman.

Charles James: Yes. Scooby Doo. Yeah. Scooby used to stay at mine. When he flew in, even though he was, you know, working in the Netherlands or whatever, yeah. Or living in Spain, working in the Netherlands. Yeah. He used to stay with me and we used to sort of commute in together. So. It was interesting, but you’re right as a, as a group again, on the sales side of it, you probably miss this day, but come Fridays, it was like, you know what, we’ve worked hard all week.

It’s like four o’clock music, music on, you know, everything was put away. The golf sets came out and we were doing the putting up and down the music playing. And we were literally saying, okay, who’s DJing this week and what was the music? And then you had the French guy, I’m still working. I’m still working.

It’s five o’clock. Do you know what I mean? And so you’re right. There was this massive camaraderie that went on. Yeah. And you know, whether you’re German, French, Italians, going back to the Wolf of Wall Street times, let’s say The Christmas parties, do you remember those?

Dave Horton: Vaguely the first hour, I think the best thing about Chris, the Christmas parties was that everyone knew it was going to be absolutely brilliant.

And you just guarantee, I think the. That was the one time that the company were like, right, the budget’s not a limit. Let’s just celebrate a good year and, you know, have, have a good one. And, you know, there was a lot of money put in, into them the budget, you know, drinks on tap, basically, that you didn’t have to worry about any of that.

Charles James: I remember one story, it was one guy we, we had the party at the zoo.

Dave Horton: That’s it and we’re not naming names though.

Charles James: No, we’re not. Well, it can do. I can’t remember his name.

Dave Horton: Dave Coleman.

Charles James: Yeah.

Jamie Brown: Dave Coleman.

Charles James: Dave Coleman. Yeah. Got lost. In the zoo.

Jamie Brown: It was in, yeah.

Dave Horton: That’s the only time I think we had to anything. We had to invoke the hr next of kin policy because he just went awol .

Charles James: Yeah.

Dave Horton: And in the middle of woven safari, it’s like probably not the best place to go awol.

Charles James: We didn’t see him for like two or three days. That was the thing. It was like, has he been eaten or something? We didn’t know. Everyone was like, someone had to go around his house and yeah. Bang on his door. But super concerned, weren’t we?

Dave Horton: It was a bit crazy.

Charles James: It was like, what? And I just remember flippin heck, I just didn’t drink that much.

Dave Horton: There was always some drama though. Every single Christmas party had a drama that was, like, commented on the following week and…

Charles James: Was there a car crash in one or someone left a car in a bush?

Jamie Brown: I don’t know.

Dave Horton: We’re not surprised.

Jamie Brown: But I think you’re right. I think everybody, sort of like, everybody in, in, in the company worked so super hard all year and of course we were, we were all successful and I think it was, it was a proper let your hair down, guys. Just enjoy yourselves and and get on it.

And I think everybody was like, you know what? We’re that tired from working as we have. It was a great, it was always a great atmosphere, great. I always remember I used to do a lot of shots and then my, my dancing skills after that were fantastic. And I, I used to do my Grease stuff on the dance floor and everybody was wowed by it and said, wow.

I didn’t know you could do that, Jamie.

Charles James: Okay.

Jamie Brown: So I fell asleep really in the corner.

Charles James: Yeah. We’ve spoken about the early days the challenges we still sold. Technically it was a bit flaky, but you know what? We were still selling it and it was still being developed and still being built. And then we come onto the real success when we were flying high.

Now you don’t have to answer this, Jamie, but it’d be good if you did. What was your biggest paycheck in that month? One month.

Jamie Brown: Oh, so I think. I don’t, I will, I do know because I kept that, I think it was about 20 or 30 K. I think something like that. I’m not too sure, but I’ve kept, I’ve kept the actual, I know I’ve still kept it because it’s like a souvenir never, never been repeated by the way.

Charles James: I’m just saying that because the only reason I say is because Jamie in my opinion, I think it’s, it’s known that was probably the top performer. Sales performer in the company, without a doubt. Jamie was just smashing it month after month, quarter after quarter. And so, you know, it’s like you came here with, I think my biggest paycheck was like 20, do you know what I mean?

And then Evans took some of that away and gave it to the fricking states anyway. Bastard. But yeah, so. Jamie was one of those guys that it’s kind of funny, he got involved when he wanted to get involved in all the camaraderie, but this is a guy that his head was down, bang, bang numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers all the time.

Now, I know as an SC in the tech, it was slightly different.

Dave Horton: Well, I mean, I’ll say like it was. I was brought in very cheap, and like, it wasn’t until MobileIron started poaching our technical staff that I got called into Ian’s office one day and was given a 40 percent pay increase. It was like, it was like, they were so concerned that.

They’d been, I mean, I, I was quite at that point in my career, I was quite privileged to work there because it was, was fast, fast paced. I was getting the, the value I was getting was not monetary. It was more the experience and the exposure we’re working with big companies. And I was working with like Nokia, UBS, the Jaguar Land Rover, like I’d never be a, be I’m imagining I’ll be working with these like massive companies.

So I was very poorly paid and I, I, I reflect on that now and I’m not, I’m not bitter about it. You know, I got a small payout when they, when VMware came in, but you know, it, it was the platform I needed to get onto my, the next step in the ladder. Right.

Charles James: This is it. And I’ll touch on that in a minute, but that brings me onto the sort of the announcement, the VMware announcement.

Now, there was a lot of Chinese whispers going on where, where’s he? And now he’s gone to the States and the way the company was being built, the, the structure of the Salesforce, you know, we had to have everything on that. It had to be bomb proof for, for our, our our Salesforce leads and then what was going on and what was going to close and all the rest of it.

We knew something was going on, but I still, I personally was not aware.

Dave Horton: No.

Charles James: You know, it was gonna happen and it, the way it happened we came in one morning something, something was something an email came out, didn’t it? Mm-Hmm. And I was like, what? And next thing you know, you’ve got Zoe bringing in bottles of champagne.

Yeah. Everywhere. I’m like, oh, we’ve just been acquired. And I remember everyone’s like, what’s happening for our shares? And everyone was thinking that our share

Dave Horton: [inaudible] AirWatch shares..

Charles James: And it was like, great, how you, how much you know, can we. Dive divest is that’s the words. There was a lot of shared talk going around, but again…

Jamie Brown: Yeah, investing and all that kind of stuff was every, you know, 25 percent a year and all that kind of stuff.

But the thing was like, you know, is it AirWatch shares are they going to be converted at? And VMware were superb. It’s like, you know, it’s one for one and all that kind of stuff, but you still had to wait. It’s what people hang on because they like, you know what I’m gonna get, I’m gonna get me shares at least.

Dave Horton: So I think I was, I was quite ignorant really about what, what that meant.

Charles James: Same as me, same as me.

Dave Horton: VMware coming in and purchasing on the face of it. It’s like, wow, I’m a VMware employee. That, that can only be a good thing. And but I think, again, reflecting and having worked with some of the companies I’ve worked with since you know, that was the point where it went from startup to.

Big corporate kind of company. And it was like, that was actually the time I kind of realized, yeah, I need to get out and yeah, I need to move on.

Jamie Brown: The bubble then was burst. It was interesting.

Charles James: And then that was the change because again, from a sales perspective, it was guys that were hungry, guys that wanted to do the sale from start to finish.

And all of a sudden when VMware came in, everything had to go by the channel.

Jamie Brown: Yeah. And the other thing was that you was, you was. From selling AirWatch, you as a big fish in a small pond and then selling AirWatch with VMware, you was a very small fish to the point where, you know, you was a disruptor to the, to the VMware sales rep, the core sales rep.

So you couldn’t even get to have that conversation and really drive. And one of the key things about being part of AirWatch, you was driving that. I say with your team, it was kind of like you own it, you was accountable and it was great. So I’d work. With Dave and we’d work on a deal, we’ll go to Jaguar Land Rover, and then we’ll, we’ll work that and work that and really get bonded with those, with those CIOs, security level people, everybody.

And because obviously we, we had integrity and we had trust, but if you go there, when VMware acquired, it was kind of like, well, Jaguar Land Rover is now owned by VMware and it’s a 80 million account. So you’re 400 grand or whatever you’re selling that AirWatch, you don’t even come in there guys. So, basically stay away. And I think that was the thing.

Dave Horton: I think that, that’s why things change, right? Initially, AirWatch was so important to companies that they had to buy it. There wasn’t a Microsoft, there wasn’t really anything else that you could buy in addition to an MDM. It was a point solution and so people had to buy it.

I think by the end, it was something that you would buy as well as some of the technology. So with like Intune and Microsoft, it’s like, well, you know, you know, everything that I’ve seen from the AirWatch days is actually. A consolidation of bigger companies. So like Citrix took on, you know, whatever that, that solution.

Jamie Brown: Fiber, was it fiber, fiber link? I don’t know. I think it was fiber link got bought by one, didn’t they?

Dave Horton: Yeah. And like, you know, the…

Jamie Brown: Mobile Iron is now with Ivanti.

Dave Horton: Yeah. It all starts consolidating until you’ve got the market today where you still got my VMware, but a lot of people go for Intune because you get it free with.

Office 365 and things like this. And so going from a point solution to part of a broader topic, I think that’s why things got less fun for the sales team is that not just the acquisition, but also the market consolidated. And so it’s bound to any technology that is so disruptive is ultimately going to get acquired at some point or IPO if it’s, if it’s great, but it’s, , that’s the problem, I think, with finding something so disruptive in the market, and why it can’t last forever.

Jamie Brown: And that’s probably why Ian said at the time, you know, make Hayward a sunshines. We are there. We are super important as a technology. We are unique. You know, in 36 months, we’re just going to be a commodity. And we’re going to get soaked into that…

Charles James: A hundred percent. And I suppose when the acquisition happened, we knew that at some point the right one was on the wall because we then had to become more corporate. They brought in different people.

Jamie Brown: HR, we had to…

Charles James: Yeah, we’re not going to talk about, we can’t talk about HR, but you know, you know, Adrian, when. I went before that when they brought in some some guy…

Jamie Brown: But I think that’s really important because the atmosphere that we created up to that point, like Thirsty Thursdays, like having the music playing on a four o’clock because we’ve worked super hard on a Friday just to chill out for the weekend.

We kind of like lost that spirit and we couldn’t, we weren’t allowed to carry on that. And it was a bit of a like. Drain yourself down. Have a nice weekend because on Monday morning, you’re going to be on it again. And it was that intense atmosphere and like everybody was like accepting of that. And I think when you get to that corporate level, like you say with VMware, where you’ve got other people walking around and it’s like, Oh, can I say this? Can I say that? What am I supposed to do? It’s all people just got very, very…

Charles James: that was a downfall of some people, let’s say.

Jamie Brown: Yeah, well, also going to Dave’s point, it then becomes. a bit of a boring environment to work in because the fun would just got zapped out of it and it was kind of like i don’t know if i like this now.

Charles James: What that meant for us as individuals and the good news is, is that recruiters and employers were looking at people from AirWatch and saying, we want people like that in our organization. So overnight. You could double your basic salary and, and say, look, you want me, this is what I can do. And, you know, I even wanted to mirror in a sales organization what we did at AirWatch.

Jamie Brown: Yeah.

Charles James: Because, you know, we’re not going to do that again. Or, you know, that, that was a unicorn in our lifetime. So we’re going to come across another AirWatch where it was that much fun. We made that much money. And it was acquired for, you know, 1. 56 billion in the end, it’s rarely going to happen. And if you come across that two or three times in your life, when you’re working lifetime, good for you.

But for, for, for us, life, or for myself, life after air watch was even better. Because walked into a jobs that paid. Had structure, one of a better word, and we were respected. So for, if that, if that’s a thing, I don’t know how, how you, you came across.

Jamie Brown: I suppose. Yeah. I think the, I think unbeknown to everybody, the air watch tag was gold dust and it’s gold dust because I think the air watch legacy and, and sort of like what we created, I think everybody talking before learnt so many skills that they didn’t think they would learn.

They just learned because we was in that environment and to take them forward and to try and put them into other organizations, I think is gold dust. And we’ve all absorbed those skills and, and, and everybody else who was at AirWatch. So I think the tag has been fantastic. And I think from a maturity point of view we’ve, I don’t think obviously speaking to the broader family of AirWatch, I think everybody’s been successful, which is, which is super good.

Dave Horton: Well, I think it, I mean, going, going back to your point, like what you learn in three or four years, what other people take 20 years to learn, I think you, you’re thrown in at the deep end. If you failed, you know, it was, it was very forgiving, like from that perspective, if you failed, you failed, move on to the next one.

And I think you learn incredibly quickly when you’re given that kind of level of freedom. But going back to, you know, the, the legacy, I think when we were preparing for one of the mobile oil congresses I remember Ian saying like, this is going to be shit, like, you’re going to have a terrible week.

But, you know, this is going to be the, the highlight of your career. He, he knew it, he knew it was going to be really hard for everyone, but people that went, we’re going to be able to look back in their career and say, yeah, this is where, you know, we saw a turning point in history of that particular technology and that legacy.

And we’ll be talking about it 11 years from now. And it’s like exactly the case, you know.

Charles James: And talk about legacy. So. When I remember it’s still like it was yesterday, we, there was, we’re still in touch. I mean, you know, Jamie and I lived in the same town until I moved to the country. But one of the strangest things is that a lot of the air watch employees are still in touch with each other seeing how everyone’s doing on the rest of it.

And there was this little chat about, Oh, the office is closing. And I remember getting a message. I think it was from Sam, not, not Sam in Australia someone, someone else, and I said, Oh, yeah, we’re having a few drinks in Milton Keynes, say goodbye to the office. I’m like, yeah, okay. I can do that.

Thinking maybe, you know, 10, 15 people might rock up some of the techies would be there cause they like a beer and they craft beer. And some of the sales guys would be there. And I was absolutely blown away. By the amount of people that rocked up to this, I’m not talking 20 or 30 people. I’m talking a couple of hundred Mac, you know, total people saying goodbye and faces you hadn’t seen in a few years.

They were there and now we talked about people that, you know, we loved and lost air watch as well. Cause there’s a few of those as well. But I was just overwhelmed, even Ian was there to say goodbye. And there was a good, I don’t know, 150, 200 people, I think.

Jamie Brown: Yeah, I wasn’t, I didn’t make that one, I’m afraid. But I think it also proves the value of what everybody individually took away from AirWatch. To make the effort in their own personal time to greet friends. And I think, you know, the other key thing, and I think that’s That’s one of the key aspects of air watch. There was a lot of friendships and there continues to be.

There was a lot of marriages. There was a lot of babies. But everybody was really, you know, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all harmony. We had fights. We lost territories. We lost accounts because we was growing. We, we was all, you know, toys out and all that kind of stuff. And we never You know, one of the key things was that we all fought together.

We never wanted to lose a deal. Always remember scorched earth, do what you can do, win the deal, grow it, expand its land and expand all of the buzzwords that you hear now. And it was, it was really true. And I think when you go into the trenches and fight like that together, and when you get the results and that family’s formed and that trust and integrity is formed.

And I think that’s when you get to an event four years later, whatever. And you say, Oh, we’ll just rock up and there might be 10 people. You’ll get a hundred odd plus people. And they’ll all have stories to tell. And they’ll all have, you know, stories of going into battle, losing and winning. And, you know, at the end of it, they’ll all come out with a smile on their face.

So, you know what? It was kind of fun.

Charles James: No, absolutely, like I said, I bumped into Ian Evans. You know, years later an event and literally he was at one trust. I think it was one of the, he was the boss of one trust or whatever literally sitting in a hotel drinking whiskeys with some of his team around him or lackeys as I would call him.

And we’re having a laugh about our time at AirWatch and, you know, we mentioned HR, I’m not gonna mention it too much. Not going to get sued, but the, the ridiculousness that went on there, but that’s what happens in a growing company. Now we’ve. We’ve matured and even if we took 10 percent of what we do today from what we did at AirWatch, we’d be still be successful and still make that drive. So…

Jamie Brown: But, I think also that everybody’s still got, I think everybody’s still wanting that desire. Everybody’s saying, God, I want to go back to a, like a startup again. I want to go back to an AirWatch or whatever it may be, a disruptor of the industry because I’m still hungry for that. And I think that’s the great thing from everybody because they’ve learned so much.

And now we can go in and put, put all of our imports in. And I think that’s something that everybody’s taken away as well. They feel confident now of going into that environment and saying, well, actually we should do like Dave’s done.

Charles James: Yeah you’ve got a fancy title now, haven’t we Dave? What are we doing now?

Dave Horton: Well, right now I, I basically lead the solutions engineering team for a company called Odiseva. And so it’s kind of Salesforce ecosystem. I wouldn’t say it’s kind of like an a unicorn like AirWatch. It’s very. Is a very different technology. Like we’re not trying to burn through $200 million in a year to kind of like grow the company and market share and things.

It’s very different, but I think that is a casualty of 2023 and mm-Hmm. This kind of post covid era is the companies can’t just burn through money. Like spend $5 to make $1 and then hope that your market share is gonna carry you into an acquisition or an IPO. I think it’s a lot, it’s a lot more difficult to do that these days.

But one unique thing that from my career is posts AirWatch went to work for Vodafone cause I was like, you know, they were offering big money for me, for people with our skillset. Like you said, you know, it was so I thought, right, I’m going to spend a, spend some time, make some money. A year after that I was bored of working for a company that would get excited over a 1 percent growth.

And so you know, I was quite thirsty for that startup mentality again. And obviously OneTrust is, has a lot of DNA in AirWatch and subsequently Manhattan Associates. Those three companies are kind of. Children and grandchildren eat each other, and so I was the first direct hire in EMEA for OneTrust reporting to the CEO then, which was a ex AirWatch product manager, Kabir. Six months into that journey, we’re, we’re going through rapid hiring and we had a lot of money from John cause he was, he was bankrolling the, the seed round. Ian Evans walks in one day, announces he’s the managing director of OneTrust. I’m like, I was excited. I mean, he he, he, you knew if Ian was going to be involved in it, there was going to be some, some fire, there was going to be some growth and potential.

And. It actually gave me a bit of reassurance as to, well, you know, the company that I was in it was also a very good lesson to me not to burn bridges, right? Because when I handed my notes in the AirWatch, I did it incredibly respectfully. I didn’t do anything or upset anyone that. You know, it would affect anything and thank God because…

Charles James: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Dave Horton: It would have been really awkward to then, you know, have Ian as your managing director part two and you know, to make a success of it. So I was quite fortunate in a way, cause I, obviously a completely different arena is data privacy as a result of GDPR and things like we were building technology that solved that problem.

And so maybe in a similar way, but maybe not with the same level of excitement with like mobility. It was the same kind of there’s a product in the market. It’s new to every enterprise. There’s no solution that does it yet. And so it’s kind of on the cusp of something. So that company has obviously gone on to be very valuable.

It’s very big now, you know, the they’ve got a valuation of like five or 6 billion, you know, it’s a super successful, but. Yeah, I was, I had a really unique kind of story because a lot of the people that went to work for OneTrust, I was, you know, there’s a lot of people that came to work there, like Blake Brannan, for example, you know, he came to join OneTrust.

I was working with him very closely. A lot of the people that that Ian was managing, like Christoph and, you know, some of these people. It was part two. You know, it was I think it wasn’t the same camaraderie that AirWatch had. I think AirWatch was a very special point in time. Mm-Hmm. But it was a different company because OneTrust, I don’t think Ian had the same autonomy that he had AirWatch, he AirWatch, he was just given a bucket load of cash and said, right, build, build me a, an emea you know company and he did that excellently. He didn’t have autonomy, but…

Charles James: And Jamie from the AirWatch days, how have you gone? Because as again, I will say it and I’ve said it. I’ve even said it in interviews, you know, the best sales guy at AirWatch was Jamie Brown. Don’t care. Hands down.

Jamie Brown: It was part of a team. I don’t know. I’m humble. And then thanks for that. But I think we were, we were all super successful, certainly at AirWatch. We all had that hunger and desire. I think from, from AirWatch I’ve stayed in that EUC space, which has been good. But I think like most, most organizations getting back to that hungry startup organization is what we all thrive is where our skill sets are.

So, so, so yeah, been, been, been good now, probably at the latter end of my career, but then also. You know, think, you know, when you think air, which was 10 years ago, could I do it all again? I think, yeah, because I think the excitement is still there. And I think as we’ve matured, we’re still. We’re still fighting fits.

So, and I’m sure if I went to the gang now and said, look, you know, we’re going to form a company and it’s going to be headquartered in Northampton because they can get here and you can, you know, you’re, you’re away now. I’m sure everybody will say, look, when, when, where do I sign and where do I start?

Charles James: I’d second that a hundred percent. And it’s always something in the back of my mind. Who can I get? Who can we grab and whatever, you know, from my point of view I can’t really complain. Career went up and up. I’m now head of sales for UK, Europe. I work with the big banks. I do this of course which gives me some great autonomy to, to interview CISOs and C level people and understand their journeys.

But yeah, this episode was about discussing AirWatch, the fun times the, the Wolf of Wall Street times, as I call them you know, we didn’t, we don’t have to touch on all individuals, but you know, I will say that, do you know what, Ian Evans damn good job. Yeah. Still shake your hand and check your rings afterwards, but he did an amazing job of finding people building this business and making a lot of people successful.

You know, I touched on the car park thing and, you know, over the months and years you saw the cars. Get, you know, faster and bigger and louder. And for me, that’s where you can see the success. So yeah, I’m going to thank you both for coming. I know the likes of Morenzo tried to get here, but there was a big traffic jam down here.

Ross Cleary tried to get here. New job, so he couldn’t do that. Spano, he would have been great, but he’s stuck in Italy, so…

Jamie Brown: That’s a good thing. That’s a good thing to know.

Charles James: We’ll probably do a part two at some point and get some of the gang together. Talk about that. But David. Jamie, thank you for joining me on this Christmas special.


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