Today is a milestone day for SysAid – it is the 1st day of employment for our 1st USA-based employee! We could not be more thrilled to welcome Michael Slabodnick to the SysAid family. In order to introduce him to everyone inside the company as well as our extended SysAid Community, we asked him a few questions…to get to know him. Take a look:
1. What is your background in the IT industry? How many years? Where have you worked?
I could say I’ve worked in IT for about twelve years, but in reality I’ve been working on computers since I was five. To try and not give too boring of an answer, I took on programming in high school because I thought computers could get me a date. I was wrong, but at least it set me up for a nice career. Eventually I landed as an intern on a helpdesk in college to help pay for beer money and that kept me in IT support for the next five years. Eventually I got to the point of hating computers and attempted to join the ranks of the highly depressed dental field. Lucky, I didn’t get into dental school and came back to IT where, by chance, I landed a job titled “Incident Coordinator” at a hospital. I really had no idea what I was doing at the time, but people told me I did a good job and eventually I ran into ITIL and IT Service Management (ITSM). As soon as I took my first ITIL foundation course, I knew that this was it; this highly boring and tedious framework would be my career. I continued my ITSM career into tool development and was able to gain name recognition for building a gaming system into IT service desk software. After riding that wave for a while, I moved into professional services and joined the ranks of the consultants. Consulting is a great way to gain experience, but I really enjoyed blogging and networking in the IT industry. It’s the networking that brought me to SysAid in the summer of 2013, where I got a chance to meet some very smart people working in a very cool company. It was that meeting that eventually led me to here.
2. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
Most: The people.
Least: The people.
I love technology and the capabilities it provides, but the people who build it, implement it, and ultimately use it to help others create the value. Of course, during the life of any technology there are people out there that are resistant to new ideas and change, and it’s this group which can make or break any new technology or method.
3. Tell us a little about your blog and Twitter persona @itilandme.
I started down my ITIL journey around the end of 2008. After drinking the Kool-Aid and becoming one of the zealots of ITIL, I needed a place to vent out frustrations, vet new ideas, share knowledge, and generally find a “home” for my IT Service Management content. I came up with ITILandMe name because, honestly, “The IT Skeptic” was already taken. Besides, I wanted to blog from my personal point of view and with my own opinions; something I feel few of us do as professionals. So I came up with a name that symbolizes my personal love/hate relationship with ITIL and puts in perspective that I’m just an “average joe” trying to make a buck in the IT Service Management industry. With hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would’ve gone with “ITSMandMe,” but until someone invents the flux-capacitor for timetravel, I’m stuck with the original name.
4. What’s your level of involvement in the itSMF network?
Currently, I’m pretty quiet with itSMF. A few years ago I dove headfirst into itSMF, first supporting my local chapter here in Ohio, and then by chance being pulled into the social media committee for the USA chapter. If you can recall any funny tweets from itSMF_USA around 2011, that was me. Unfortunately, a day is only 24 hours long and with kids and a busy work life, itSMF lost out with my time and I’ve abandoned it like an unwanted stepchild. It’s not to say that it’s not a worthwhile organization; I highly recommend people starting with itSMF for the networking and getting a feel for IT Service Management, but it could use an overhaul and I want to jump back into it sometime in the near future.
5. What is the new position you are taking on at SysAid?
Officially, it’s that of “Customer Community Manager.” Any successful business knows that a key to continuing growth is to build a strong community, both for keeping current customers happy and to have advocates in the industry that can attest to the value provided by a product or service. It’s here that I’ll be able to interact with existing SysAid clients, blog about the industry and the product, and get a chance to network with the community and to help it grow.
6. What would you like to accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days on the job?
I can say for the first 30 days, I’ll be learning everything about SysAid, both as a technology and as a community. By 60 days, I hope to be enmeshed into the day-to-day community activities and will be at a point that most users will know me and trust my knowledge. By 90 days, I really want to be focusing on growing participation in the community. To me, the ultimate goal of a community is to support itself, so if I can get participants excited and contributing material, then I know I’m on the right track.
7. Will you be based out of SysAid’s office in Israel?
I wish! I’ll be based in North America in Columbus, Ohio (go Buckeyes). The great thing is I have family in Israel and have visited a few times, so a trip to the Israel office feels more like a homecoming than an office visit. Unfortunately, I’ll be missing out on the Thursday happy hours in the office. I’m considering joining on Google Hangouts, but I’m not sure if drinking a beer at 10 AM is a good thing. But…it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
8. Besides ITSM, what are you passionate about? Do you have any hobbies?
Besides science and technology, I’m also passionate about history and games. Whenever I have free time, which isn’t often, I’ll either be playing Call of Duty on my Wii U, watching a historical documentary, or reading a book on some historical event. If money were no object and I could choose any career, it would be that of an archeologist, which probably explains why I’m excited to work for a company in Israel – no other country in the world has as much history.
9. What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
Heights of Courage by Avigdor Kahalani. My father-in-law fought as a paratrooper in the ’73 Yom Kippur War, so I’m fascinated by any book or documentary detailing the battles fought at the time.
10. What is your favorite website?
www.itilandme.com. How could I not promote myself? Putting aside my ego for a minute, I have two favorite websites. For technology, I love www.tomshardware.com. I’ve been reading articles from that website since I was 15. For laughs, I love www.epicrapbattlesofhistory.com. The Epic Rap Battles produced are simply hilarious, and often they have a pretty good tune.