When Customers Become Employees: Meet Sigma’s Newest Solutions Engineer
Data Evangelist, Sigma
It seems like everyone is asking themselves big questions right now. Uncertainty naturally causes humans to stop and reassess their desires and priorities. In the COVID era, that’s no exception. So many parts of our lives have been put on hold, but our careers don’t have to be. Now is actually the best time to figure out what is most important to us, where we’re headed, and how we’re going to get there.
It takes a ton of bravery and grit to make big moves, especially in today’s complex and unpredictable environment. But like the saying goes “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Blazing a New Trail
Franklin Pfaller was on a hardware engineering path at Fictiv, an on-demand parts manufacturing company. As a manufacturing engineer, Franklin managed customer feedback, offered technical and hardware engineering expertise, and managed every aspect of development from prototype to production.
He brought Sigma to the company to help manage their complex database of parts, specifications, suppliers, and shipments. After seeing how powerful Sigma was and how simple it made his projects, Franklin fell in love with data analytics and the possibilities data-driven decision making has for growing companies.
As he continued to use and explore the product, Franklin shared his thoughts and ideas with our development team — including our founders. It was exciting to see how his feedback was shaping the product and he quickly became invested in its success.
After some deep thought, it became obvious to both parties that Franklin had to join the Sigma team. We’re thrilled to welcome Franklin as our newest Solutions Engineer. I had a chance to chat with Franklin over Zoom to talk about changing careers during a global pandemic, working to learn vs. working to earn, and the exciting problems he’s looking to tackle here at Sigma.
— What motivated you to move from your former employer to Sigma?
I made my pivot to data before I got to Sigma. Using Sigma at my previous employer, I was able to build a custom role for myself. It was at the core of every solution I developed. When I shared my thoughts and ideas with the team, I saw them show up in the product and that got me really excited. The feedback loop was so responsive. As Sigma grew, I felt myself growing along with it.
Learning has always been a top priority for me. Like anyone, I have to consider money, benefits, the team, the work space, but none of that is as important to me as the potential for growth. I knew that if I wanted to develop my skills and grow my skills in the data and BI space, I had to join the team.
Rob and Jason (Sigma’s founders) taught me so much about not only the product, but the space itself. I can already say that I’ve learned more in a month here at Sigma than I learned at any other job in my career.
— What has it been like changing companies during a pandemic?
It was nerve wracking at first. I wasn’t just changing companies, I was changing roles as well. But I had worked with so many people on the Sigma team as a customer that I had already developed close relationships. We’ve already done webinars together, brainstorms, and working sessions. It feels like I’m jumping on the other side of a Slack channel.
What has impressed me most is the plan that was ready for me. As soon as I was brought on, I knew exactly what my goals are, who my mentor is, what the metrics for success are, and how I can get there. It’s been great!
“I can already say that I’ve learned more in a month here at Sigma than I learned at any other job in my career.”
Solutions Engineer, Sigma
— What is solution engineering?
I work with customers to figure out what they need to do with their data and what their pain points are, and then lean on my technical expertise to figure out how Sigma can help them solve those problems. This is a new role for me so I always ask myself, “What can I pull from my past?” Every problem is a great learning opportunity!
“What has impressed me most is the plan that was ready for me. As soon as I was brought on, I knew exactly what my goals are, who my mentor is, what the metrics for success are, and how I can get there.”
Solutions Engineer, Sigma
— How has the transition been so far?
Whenever you are interviewing for a role, you do your best to get a feel for the company and the people, but you never really know what you’re getting into. But I can honestly say I’ve been blown away by the caliber of talented people here at Sigma.
I have a team of 10+ solution engineers and a manager who has been in my role to help me fill in my gaps. The product feedback culture here is bar none. Feedback is so well received. There’s no friction, no hurt feelings, and it’s not one sided. I know what I am saying is going to be heard.
At other companies, people may care about their role, but not the company. But here, you’re around people that love data and wholeheartedly believe in Sigma’s mission.
— What are you most excited about?
Learning everything I can about the data and BI space. I want to be an analytics expert. I thought I knew a good amount about data and analytics before I got here, but I realize now that I am just scratching the surface!
“At other companies, people may care about their role, but not the company. But here, you’re around people that love data and wholeheartedly believe in Sigma’s mission.”
Solutions Engineer, Sigma
— Where do you see the future of analytics going and how does Sigma fit into that picture?
Using Sigma at my last company, I felt like it solved every data problem I had. But now that I’m here, I’m figuring out how I can leverage my past experience with the product to help us get to the next level. I ask questions like “What don’t we do well? Why can’t every company adopt Sigma and be successful?” The future is in the cloud. The future is a world where business users of all skill levels can access, analyze, and draw insights from data. I’m excited to help build that future today.
Franklin Pfaller is a Solutions Engineer at Sigma Computing. He has over a decade of experience in hardware engineering, operations management, and data analysis. At Sigma, Franklin helps customers understand how Sigma can turn their data into actionable insights that drive business value through dashboards, reports, and ad-hoc analysis.
Cycling Hiking with his dog