21 Questions With…Michael Procopio
OpenText Product Marketing Manager AIOp
1. Name: Michael Procopio
2. Title: Product Marketing Manager AIOps
3. Location: Morro Bay, CA
4. What product forums are you most active in? Operations Bridge, mostly blogging.
5. What was your very first job ever? Gas station attendant – gas was 29 cents.
6. Tell us about your career journey: My father wanted me to be a CPA. I took an electronics class in high school and was hooked on tech. I took a computer programming class in college and was hooked on software. My first class used punch cards (have I dated myself?). My first job post-college was with Digital Equipment Corp (DEC), doing OS installations, and then became a network specialist. DEC was bought by Compaq, which was bought by HP – more on that in a minute. Next, I joined a startup that built a network connection product. That is when I moved from being a presales engineer to product management. I also did technical marketing at that company, ran a training group, and managed business development in the Asia Pacific region. The following startup, Trinagy, did network monitoring. Trinagy was purchased by HP, the product that came along we recently stopped selling – I completed the circle and reconnected with my friends who stayed with DEC through all the acquisitions.
7. What did you want to be when you were younger: Before high school, I wanted to be an astronaut. When I took the electronics class (before the PCs was a thing) an electrical engineer, and after my first programming class, software.
8. Who is your role model? Woz. Electrical engineer, nerd, and humble. Did you know Woz is still an Apple employee? He gets minimum pay and is considered an ambassador.
9. What do you like to do in your free time? Sci-fi and fantasy movies and books. Bicycle riding with Charlie Brown, my dog, baking, and eating – particularly at new places.
10. Best piece of advice you have ever received? Think before you speak. Also, respect is earned.
11. What technology innovation made the most impact on your life? The personal computer, which for me includes the smartphone. I use mine more as a computer than a phone. As I mentioned above, I got the software bug, and with a personal computer, I could now play with software at home.
12. What is one important skill every person should have? Good communication - start with listening. I find most disagreements are because people don’t understand the other person’s position or situation. A related saying is, “You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes.” I don’t think it takes a mile, just listening and asking questions. One of my mentors would say, “Help me understand…”
13. What is the best benefit that you have ever had at a job? (for example, every Friday, you got to wear jeans, every Monday there was coffee and donuts, you played sports for the company team, etc.) Company car and flying business class. The coolest benefit I saw was when I was in aerospace and went to a training class at HP on a piece of their test equipment. The classroom was in a modular unit behind the manufacturing floor, and they got coffee and pastry in the morning and fruit and cookies in the afternoons. Those were the good old days.
14. What is the most important personal attribute that you bring to your job? Curiosity: I always like to dig into things. This leads to my desire to help and teach people – what I learn while curious gives me better ways to explain.
15. Who would you like to exchange roles with? A good sci-fi author. I’m a decent writer, but my strength is making the complex easy to understand. I’d love to be more creative. Visual creativity would be nice, too. Obi-wan Kenobi would be another.
16. What is one of the things on your bucket list? I want to see the Cathedrals in Moscow, which is problematic in 2023 and may be for a while. Also, a riverboat cruise.
17. If you could only take one physical item with you on a deserted island, what it would be? Fishing net or a large knife. Alternately, a cheesecake – might as well go out happy.
18. What is a recent book that you have enjoyed? The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. I have about 700 books in my Audible library – mostly Sci-fi and Fantasy.
19. What do you consider your greatest work achievement? Playing information matchmaker. I’m often in meetings where I’ve heard something in another meeting that is relevant to a person in the current meeting. Sometimes, it is introducing a person to another person that can help.
20. What should they teach in school, but don’t? Personal financial management. I think this is a United States thing. We don’t have the safety nets for folks that some other countries do, and I find it sad when folk struggle to meet their needs in their old age.
21. What do you want to do when you retire? I wish I knew; that’s why I’m still working.