QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Giovanni Rodriguez

He's still riding the crest of the hi-tech wave, fueled by almost

illegal quantities of sugar and caffeine. Say hello to Giovanni

Rodriguez, director of market relations at VMware.



Describe the company you work for VMware is a private software company

based in Silicon Valley. We design virtual-computing software, a

technology that enables businesses to run multiple virtual computers on

a single physical server or PC.



What do you do? I help VMware build good relationships with industry

analysts, reporters, and other people whose opinions matter to our

partners and customers. It's a glamorous life. I spend my days and

nights chained to a phone and computer.



Tell us something interesting about your company The New Economy is

still alive - at VMware. Engineers still roam the halls in the wee

hours. Some never wear shoes.



How did you get into PR? Before I got into PR, I managed a small

professional theater company. Theater PR is an even tougher act than

hi-tech PR, but there are similarities. A good review with the right

critic can have a great impact at the "box office." You learn to

prioritize for those opportunities.



What is your greatest achievement? Getting The Wall Street Journal to

listen to a pitch on Christmas Eve.



What was your best stunt? A few years back, the Stanford Law School

asked me to stage a mock trial as a special event for visiting alumni.

With an all-star "cast" - including Supreme Court Justices Rehnquist and

O'Connor - I decided to turn the event into a professionally produced

performance for the general public. "The Retrial of Lizzie Borden"

attracted an overflow crowd to Stanford and got national TV and print

coverage. The alumni was thrilled.



What was your biggest screw-up? Flying the CEO at my former company to

New York to meet with Time magazine. Had I grilled the reporter a bit

longer, I might have seen that getting coverage was unlikely - at least

in the foreseeable future. Fortunately, my CEO was a patient person.



What's the most daring thing you've ever done? Cold-calling Information

Week ... on a Thursday afternoon.



If you could work on one account, what would it be? Jolt Cola. Twice the

sugar, twice the caffeine. It's a mystery more PR people don't drink

it.



What time do you get up? West Coast PR people suffer the most. If I need

to make calls to the East Coast or Europe, I need to be up by 5am.



Who would you most like to work with? Benjamin Franklin. With his

personal and professional appetites, he would have kept any PR person

busy.



If you were an animal, what would you be? A party animal.



Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn I

studied religion and philosophy as an undergraduate.



What is the secret of your success? Early to bed, early to rise ... and

caffeinated beverages when all else fails.



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