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Community Manager

Welcome to the Community Member Spotlight series. In this edition, Aaron Schifman, a Cisco AppDynamics Product Marketing Manager and frequent Community poster, shares his perspective, tips, use cases, and more… 

— Ryan Paredez & Claudia Landivar, Community Managers 

In this post 


Your work: could you give us a picture of 'a day in the life' ? 

A typical day for me involves working towards helping customers see the value of our products and services. This can entail anything from creating blogs and videos to collaborating on newsletters and other forms of media, as well as organizing the strategies behind how to drive that awareness.  

My focus is to ensure customers are abreast of how they can be successful with our products by driving marketing initiatives that resonate with them. 


How did you get involved with this work? 

Quite by happenstance, actually... I have been a systems engineer (among other things) for most of my 23-years career. While working for Dell EMC, I fell into the role of product management and marketing due to organizational changes. I simply adapted to the needs of that org and have not looked back since.  

I much prefer marketing to pre-sales or solutions design work, because, in this role, I am able to touch a broader scope of personas and areas. I also get to work with a lot of very creative folks, coming together with similar objectives, much like sales has, with the result of benefitting customers. In the end, we all come together to support our communal mission. 


What has fed your interest in your work? 

I am not a musician or an artist, and the only creative outlet for me is my words. I relish taking complex concepts and breaking them down into something digestible. I am driven by helping others understand obscure concepts so they can make the decisions they need. I am very fortunate to be an educator and that is why I have an interest in this position. 


Working with AppD products  

Have you learned anything interesting about how different customers use AppDynamics to achieve their goals?

When I first came on board a little over two years ago, I thought AppD was just a bunch of flow maps and performance indicators. What some customers have taught me is that they leverage AppD’s synthetic browser testing to gain proactive insights, which can potentially eliminate the performance issues customers could, or would, experience. 

And that is the goal, right? Being proactive so as to not ever have to fight a customer experience issue. How our customers do that is always inspirational and gratifying.  

Can you tell us about a positive experience you’ve had with the community?

I noticed a post from, let me call him "Mr. M", that inspired me to understand a particular use case of the product. Being new myself, Mr. M had a wealth of experience I imagined I could gain from speaking with him. I was new to AppD, and so the Community offered the best touch point for how our customers actually used and felt about our product.

I reached out to Mr. M for some additional insights, and he responded right away, helping me understand the product I was hired to support. Imagine that, a new Cisco AppDynamics employee asking a long-time customer for help. It was an amazing experience and one I will never forget. It is the epitome of what a “community stands for and why I believe deeply in supporting it. 


What are your top AppDynamics hot tips? 

  • Pay attention to how Health Rules are configured and tune them periodically. We do not live in a set it-and- forget- it world. Maintenance is key. 
  • Keep abreast of the latest features and provide feedback to your account teams, and on Community. Stay engaged and be inspired to inspire! 

These are just a couple of tips, but every month I try and post a tip with a short video found in the Share a tip forum. I really want to hear from other community members about what tips they have, so we can share them publicly there.


What self-help issues do you notice most frequently with customers?

I find that a lot of help is often needed for managing agents and the instrumentation aspect. It is a very complicated area and one AppDynamics is addressing by providing simplified agent management 

With the advent of OpenTelemetry, as well, customers will need self-help options in a lot of new areas.  


Aaron Schifman.png

Keeping up with industry news 

Surrounding myself with people who share similar interests. I have found the best way to stay afloat is to chat and follow on social media those people and companies I respect and that I am interested in. I do receive news articles from various sources, but find those more difficult to manage vs. reading insights or a blog recommendation from someone I respect in the evening or when there is a moment of downtime. 


Life After Hours 

How—or where—do you find inspiration? 

I find inspiration all around...equally when I am alone as when I’m with others. Life is short so I try to keep my eyes, ears, and brain open to all possibilities. I love being inspired by others, and hope to inspire as well. It’s what makes us human and encourages us to grow. 


Insights to share

What advice would you give someone who is up and coming in your field of work? 

Always remain curious and do not be afraid to make your mark. Step in where you can and offer your perspective.

Do not shy away from being committed to your ideas, even if you do not think they are unique.

Be accepting of the status quo knowing that inspiration takes time to cultivate.