Biography and Background:
Shari Barnett has been leading efforts to wrestle new technology to market for decades in fields as diverse as interactive television, video slot machines, healthcare, and now, managed services for SolarWinds MSP's worldwide partners. With a degree in product design from Stanford University, Shari went from designing life-size PacMan costumes at Atari to becoming an award-winning film and video producer in the Bay Area, to building one of the first live interactive TV services in Urayasu, Japan. After a stint leading the game development team for Silicon Gaming, the first all-video slot machine company, she spent 11 years in Microsoft's television division. Moving from the Silicon Valley to Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Shari eventually ended up finding her way to SolarWinds MSP, where she applies her product marketing skills to help bring the company's manages services offerings to market. A certified Product Management Professional (PMP), Shari enjoys the challenges of facing audacious goals together with her talented colleagues and working strategically to ensure partner success.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
In the past year, the SolarWinds MSP product marketing team dedicated ourselves to further enabling our partners to thrive as world-class MSPs. To that end, I was involved with helping to bring to market three new/updated offerings to advance our partners' success: 1. SolarWinds™ MSP Manager™ includes integrated ticketing, tracking, and billing, with a user interface that is simple and intuitive. In 2017, we expanded our MSP Manager mobile apps to support both Android™ and iOS™ mobile devices, with a goal of creating a more efficient, effective, and profitable IT service organization for our partners. 2. SolarWinds™ Mail Assure™ is a cloud-based email malware protection and spam filtering solution that acts as a protective layer for all incoming and outgoing email. In bringing Mail Assure to market in 2017, I oversaw the global product launch, along with a massive customer solution migration, integrations and more. 3. SolarWinds™ MSP Anywhere™ was enhanced in 2017 to allow partners to access Mac™devices remotely and provide full support in the same way they support Windows™ users. In 2018, we are enhancing the product extensively and making both the standalone and integrated versions of the product key parts of our managed services portfolio moving forward.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
We are working on doing a better job of tailoring our offerings for different segments of the MSP market and creating bundled offerings that support those segments as turnkey solutions. The concept driving this effort is that when it comes to MSPs, one size doesn't fit all. Our goal at SolarWinds MSP over the next year is to do everything we can to address the unique needs of each of our partners with the managed services solutions and personalized business guidance that they need to become - and remain -- world-class MSPs.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Work is its own reward, and although I didn't win any awards in the past year, I was very proud to earn my PMP certification (Project Management Professional).
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Janet Yellen, the former Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the United States. She rocks. Her ability to control a tricky economic situation with amazing calmness and aplomb is admirable. In the middle of chaos, when things are going 20 miles in all directions, she is a voice of reason. As a product marketing manager with a role that often puts me in the middle of chaos -- and requires that I be a voice of reason - I truly look to her as a role model.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I would say to myself that work situations will rattle you. Colleagues will rattle you. You will be sure that THIS is the moment that will determine success or failure, whether you're promoted or fired, whether this quarter's numbers are achieved or not. In reality, it's one moment, in one day, in one job - a minuscule part of your career. Take a deep breath and be grateful that you are doing something that triggers this level of passion, and is something that you're lucky enough to be paid to do.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
In any conversation, whether on the job or in your personal life, it's important to be able to listen and respond skillfully. I would like to master that skill when presenting: to be able to pace my words correctly and tell an engaging story that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat and then know the extent to which the audience is understanding my message, and adjust on the fly. Using this approach to tell powerful stories about our solutions and how they solve gnarly problems for our partners and their customers would make for very empathetic selling.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
"Astrophysics for People in a Hurry," by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It forces you to think way beyond the here and now, and helps you gain amazing perspective. Thinking about things like the fabric of the universe makes your brain spongier as you consider bigger possibilities beyond the obvious. As a marketer, my takeaway from the book is that if, in your mind, you take an orbit around the earth, you might be able to think way outside the box and come up with a new way to address a problem or challenge that an MSP has.
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