Q&A with Full Armor CTO Danny Kim

Recently, Channel 9 host, Charles Torre, had an opportunity to talk with Full Armor CTO, Danny Kim, a Microsoft Global ISV partner. The interview is informative, entertaining and well worth watching. Here are a few highlights for your reading pleasure. To view the full interview, simply click here.

Channel 9 guyCharles Torre: So let’s talk a little bit about your partnership at Microsoft. On Inside Out, we talk to partners. That’s really what we do on this show, and there are a couple questions I have. The first one I always like to ask is why are you so passionate about working with Microsoft? And the second one is, how have you developed this partnership over time, to the extent where you actually spend time with the product teams?

FA Logo_large with tagline Danny Kim: We became a global ISV about 10 years ago. That was when we were first working with Windows 2000. We approached the Windows 2000 Group Policy team and we said:

‘Hey we’ve been doing this stuff with NT system policy. Is there any opportunity with Windows 2000 and this new Group Policy Active Directory thing?’

And so we’re thinking we’ll extend it and do add on products. I remember the Program Manager at the time, Michael Dennis, he said,

‘You know what, we have some holes in Group Policy that we weren’t able to fill. We didn’t have reporting, backup restore and all this stuff, can you guys help us with that?’

We said we’d love to help you. So, we came back 4 weeks later and had a solution. He was like blown away, like

‘This is amazing, we’ll work with you.’

And from that point on, we’ve been able to start working with product teams and creating solutions. And what we quickly found out is there is a huge, and obviously the other partners in the Microsoft ecosystem know this, there’s a huge ecosystem of partners that love to work together.

So recently, about a little over a year ago, we got an office in the MPSC, Microsoft Partner Solutions Center, and there, there’s a ton of partners who have offices. For me, the first day I got in there, I was a kid in a candy store. It was like, which partner do I work with today? I walk across the hall and tell them all the stuff we’d done with Microsoft and the product teams and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh. Where have you been?’

I think in a little over a year, we had four signed deals with three different large Microsoft partners. And so it was just phenomenal. For me, we’re already working with the other partners there as well, so, we’ve signed licensing deals, we’ve actually done assist sales to some of the other partners and these are major public companies, that play very well in the Microsoft ecosystem, so for us, its an ideal world where we have the technical and the reputation within Microsoft and the ability to create products that are complimentary and then being able to partner with Microsoft partners to get that out to the market.

Channel 9 guyCharles Torre: Cool. So, I mean, let’s talk about partnering with Microsoft. Microsoft is a company of engineers, first and foremost. And engineers really aren’t very good at dealing with sales people and marketing types, not that they aren’t exceptionally important to any business, but engineers and marketing typically don’t speak the same language. So, let’s talk a little bit about how you, I mean clearly you’re an engineer, so it was kindof...

FA Logo_large with taglineDanny Kim: Is that clear?

Channel 9 guyCharles Torre: Well, you were a hacker, c’mon man.

FA Logo_large with taglineDanny Kim: I would say the one thing that surprised us, that we had to learn about Microsoft was,

1) Microsoft wasn’t one company. Every product group we have to prove ourselves over and over again. That’s one of the #1 mistakes a lot of partners make. They approach Microsoft and say ‘oh, Microsoft is this one company, you know, we’re going to do business or not based on that one interface we have with them. And that’s not true.

2) is, you’re right, Microsoft is an engineering company, that’s something that not many partners realize. Because what they’ll do is they try to send in a sales person or marketing person to talk to the engineers. And I can tell you right off hand, engineers, at Microsoft or any company, hate sitting down with the marketing folks.

To view the full interview, simply click here.

Deena McCloskey

ISV Team Blog