The Many Faces of SUSE Global Services: An Interview with Jeff Price
This issue of the many faces of SUSE Global Services was particularly fun to write as I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Price, Chief Architect on the SUSE Global Services Consulting team. You might know Jeff from his phenomenal drumming in the SUSE band or his keynotes at SUSECON. This interview will give you a little more insight to this self-described Renaissance Man. From music to philosophy, Jeff shared his passion for SUSE and our customers. At the end of the interview, perhaps you’ll understand why Jeff’s motto is “Make a lot of noise.”
Jeff, tell us a little about yourself and your role on the SUSE Global Services team?
I started in this crazy IT business with IBM Global Services and was with them for 10 years. In that 10 years, I went from server management to solution architect heavily focused on Novell products. I was recruited by Novell in 2003 and ultimately joined Novell on November 3, 2003 as a Novell Sales Engineer. On Day 2 (November 4, 2003) Novell acquired SUSE and my focus changed. I became engulfed in the Linux world and have been doing Linux ever since. My journey with SUSE has been exciting and I have gone from being a sales engineer to consultanto my current role as chief architect.
I’m loving the chief architect role as it affords me the opportunity to do more and do more good things. As they say “with great power comes great responsibility.” I feel great responsibility to keep moving the organization forward so we can do better for our customers and our company.
Do you spend more time with customers in your new role?
I do spend a lot of time with customers but I find that I’m not as dedicated to specific projects. For example I might do a white boarding session working with customers to see how the SUSE solutions can fit within their IT infrastructure and help them move their business forward. I spend a lot of time with customers helping them to articulate their business needs and determining how we can help them achieve those outcomes with SUSE solutions. Ultimately it’s all about the customer and helping them get where they want to go with our solutions.
Jeff, tell me something quirky about yourself.
I don’t know if this is quirky, but I’m a big believer of stoic philosophy (philospher: Marcus Aurellius) – the ability to act on your principles, not your mood. I’m on a constant journey to improve myself and surround myself with positive people who allow me to pull the best out of them. A huge part of my passion for SUSE is the people. The people that work at SUSE are amazing and talented and I find myself grateful to work at this company.
I live life with the philosophy of grabbing at everything that is awesome and pulling the best out of people and ideas. I get to do that here at SUSE and have the privilege of working with great customers and awesome colleagues.
I am also grateful to participate with my friends on portions of the SUSECON “Demopalooza” Keynote and I am a member of the SUSE Band. A colleague of mine, Erin Quill and I both read a book by Carmine Gallo called, “Talk Like Ted.” That book and another by Simon Sinek, “Start With Why” were instrumental to how we go about creating our keynote stories. We work to create “human connections” to the technologies we are presenting. We do our best to present (sometimes very) technical concepts in approachable ways – describing why our products and solutions are valuable for our current and future customers. The music thing started when our Corporate Video MadMan, Russ Dastrup “had a great idea” for a rock spoof video. There are some really fantastic pro/semi-pro musicians at SUSE – and we love to play. There are more coming soon!
Who inspires you?
Wow … Great question! I think my kids inspire me. I love watching them grow up and see how they react to situations. They really inspire me to do better as a person and as a parent.
In addition to family, in no particular order:
- My friends inspire me to be better.
- Authors that I find inspiring such as:
- My colleagues at SUSE are amazing and inspire me daily.
Jeff, tell me about the most difficult consulting or services project you’ve worked on?
Many of our SUSE Global Services projects are challenging but because we have the right team we always get them done. Many times the challenges come not from the technology but from the processes or the people. Managing time and resources are key to keeping our clients happy. We have to learn to manage implementation tasks against organizational tasks. I’ve begun to feel victorious about managing my checklists. Check at least 3 things off a day and you could be “crushing it!”
Most fun project?
My most fun project is ironically the project I’m currently working on. It’s improving the processes we use to deliver projects and helping to optimize the Global Services organization to do better. It’s hard work but ultimately it will improve our organization and help us to be even better for our clients. It’s giving me a lot of joy.
Jeff, this will be a tough question for you because you are such a music lover, but what was the best concert?
I would have to say taking my daughters to see Rush on their final tour. That was a full circle for me because I discovered Rush when I was a little kid as a drummer. Being able to take my daughters to their first progressive rock concert was an emotional experience for me.
King’s X would be another phenomenal concert. Every show they do is epic.
What was the book that made the most lasting impression on you?
The Bible has and continues to make an impression on me.
Other than that I am an avid reader and have Audible going all the time. I typically listen to books that improve me. We’ve talked about some of them:
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- 4 Hour Work Week — Tim Ferriss
- Principles – Ray Dalio
As much as I love music, you’ll hardly see me listening to music. I would rather listen to Audible or Podcasts. Fun Fact: If you listen a 1.5 – 2x speed while you are reading the physical book, Audible will pull you through the book and your comprehension will improve.
What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about SUSE customers, our enterprise-ready open source products, and the SUSE vision. I’m passionate about working with unbelievably smart and positive people; and I’m passionate about SUSE. I’m passionate about doing more things for our customers, and by extension the world.
You might say I’m a jack of all trades, master of none.
Jeff, we say SUSE is the open, open source company. What does that mean to you?
As a company, SUSE is passionate about leveraging open source and keeping it open so we can get benefits from the community and give benefits to the community. We are committed to finding the best open source code, putting it in our products, and wrapping support around it. We also readily contribute that code to the community.
As a company culture we tend to remain completely open to change and completely open to concept of feedback, criticism, and debate – at every level. An “idea meritocracy”.
What do you like about SUSE and in particular SUSE Global Services?
There is no doubt that the answer to this is the people. I never thought I would be here for 15 years, but it seems like every other day something more awesome happens. Whether it’s in our products or in the market surprises, challenges, and opportunities that come up daily.
But the people are truly unbelievable! The Global Services team always comes up with great ideas, are super smart, and are super open to discussing technology. I feel super blessed to be a part of the SUSE family.
Which four individuals (living or dead) would you like to eat dinner with?
I would love to share a meal with some family and loved ones that are no longer with us, including my Grandpa.
I also think that eating dinner with one of my favorite bands would be cool. Rush comes to mind because they’ve been together for over 40 years and genuinely seem to be friends. I think it would be completely hilarious to hang out with them.
Jeff, what is your favorite animal?
Not to be corny, but I think it would be fun to be a chameleon. Having the ability to adapt, change and blend in would be an amazing trait. I think whoever came up with a chameleon as our SUSE mascot is brilliant. As a Global Services team we have to change with our customers’ requirements and adapt our solutions to best meet their needs. And as a consultant, you have to blend in with the existing IT team. Brilliant!
Last question, Jeff. What is your favorite quote?
It’s a quote often attributed to Goethe. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. “
It’s the way I try to live my life. I often don’t know that I can’t do something so without fear of failure, I just start. If I don’t know how to do something, I have the privilege of working with awesome colleagues and mentors who will help me figure it out. Success is usually the outcome!
It was a real pleasure speaking with Jeff. He not only loves his job but he loves his life. To learn more about Jeff, you can follow him on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to register for SUSECON, where you can hear the SUSE band and meet the SUSE Global Services team in person!