Follow this 6-part Meet the Expert series that features Polycom’s six Distinguished Engineers. In these blogs, we learn more about who they are and what makes them exceptional at what they do.
Today, meet Mike Tucker, DE.
Q: What was your career path to Polycom?
Mike: I’ve been at Polycom for 16 years. I was originally hired to be a video compression engineer but after being at Polycom for a few weeks I was asked to be the development manager for the ViaVideo product. This product was a USB compression camera and a Windows video conferencing application which is the forefather of the current RealPresence Desktop application. When I was hired, the ViaVideo team was nonexistent so I built the team and led it to design and build the camera and develop the software and release the first version. This all happened in about ten months from when I was hired.
The ViaVideo development was eventually moved to Polycom’s Andover office and at that time I joined the CTO organization. Initially I worked on the first integrations of our video products with Lync. I have done a variety of things with the CTO Group since then, mainly involving projects that require components from multiple development teams and sites. I usually develop the solution architecture on those projects. Currently I am working on our Content solutions.
Q: What are your areas of expertise?
Mike: I have a diverse background; right now I do solutions architecture and services based architecture development. In the past I’ve done a lot of the different technology areas at Polycom; signaling, media technology, security and more.
Q: What do you credit as the reason for being promoted to DE?
Mike: I was promoted in 2013 and I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve always tried to anticipate where Polycom needs to be going next in technology, and then I attempt to get ahead of the curve by learning new technologies before we need them. I think I am good at explaining how a new technology fits into a larger context; why we are working on a technology and where it fits into our strategy.
Q: What inspires your work?
Mike: It’s what the customers do with our products; how they utilize our equipment to do interesting and important things. Several times I have been able to visit State Crisis Centers and to see how Polycom equipment is used in crisis and emergency situations. I can see that these people really depend on our equipment in these situations.
Q: Tell us about some of the most memorable moments of your career?
Mike: The release of the first Polycom product that I worked on was very memorable (ViaVideo). It took a lot of hard work and you’re always nervous the first time people start buying and using a new product. After the release we watched the registration & usage database grow online as customers bought and started using the product. It was exciting to see people start using the product all over the world.
Q: Describe your approach when working with customers, sales people and partners?
Mike: When working with partners and customers it is important to listen first. I try to gain a full understanding of a problem before starting to suggest solutions.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Mike: I mountain bike quite a bit and I like to take long hiking trips. Recently I hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps with my son for nine days.