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Employees Bring Cisco Tech to Late Night on Jimmy Kimmel Live

- October 26, 2015 - 2 Comments

Cisco employees at Jimmy Kimmel Live

(L to R) Mike Thomma, Kevin Roarty a Jimmy Kimmel Live producer and Chris Ward pose in the green room before the show.

It’s Oscar’s night. Your technology is getting ready to debut in less than three minutes on Jimmy Kimmel Live (emphasis on the “live” part). You’re not sure if the celebrity interview you’ve planned at the Governor’s Ball is going to happen. Then, the show launches, Cisco’s Wall of America is a hit, you interview Kevin Hart and Eddie Murphy and you go back to your LA hotel to crash, satisfied with your technology.

It’s just another day in the life of a Technical Marketing Engineer (TME) at Cisco.

“Sometimes the role is stressful,” says Chris Ward, TME. “But hey, we’ve been backstage at Jimmy Kimmel. The perks of doing stuff like this are awesome. I’m not sure I’d be able to do this at another company.”

“Plus, we have access to the latest Cisco technology,” says Kevin Roarty. TME. “Being one of the first to get hands on and test is a cool opportunity. “

So what does a TME do?

“We work with our engineering teams to help test and validate new software and products,” says Mike Thomma, TME Manager. “But we’re also customer facing, and often present at trainings and trade shows to explain how Cisco tech works. It’s a great role, you can decide what you want to focus on.”

Chris and Mike started at Cisco in tech support. Kevin started in engineering. The team also has members with no tech background at all.

“The key is to be a product expert,” Kevin says. “Plus, a willingness to learn how our customers will want to use our products.”

So what’s it like to see your work displayed weekly on a HUGE late-night TV show?

“It’s really fun,” Kevin explains. “They orchestrate a show within a show. It’s a big important conference call within a live recorded late-night show. It’s really interesting to see them strike a balance between being spontaneous and scripted. ”

How’d they get to work on such a cool project? Jimmy Kimmel expressed an interest in using video technology to bring the home viewer into his show . The team started with some demos, and within 6 months, they were planning an Oscar-night launch.

“When we first went down to do a live demo, I was overwhelmed by how frantic it all was,” Mike says. “Seeing the chaos as they prepared for a new show every day made me realize I couldn’t last long under that much pressure. But we got to meet Jimmy Kimmel when we were doing a demo for the producers. He just walked in unexpected, shook our hands, said it looked cool, and thanked us.”

“Jimmy, himself wants to be entertained,” Chris added. “He didn’t want to talk to people on the Wall of America until it was live, so we’d use Cisco people on the rehearsal. The show has really embraced it beyond just the studio – they’ve built it into their regular day. Their producer sees forward. As we deployed Cisco tech, he’d ask if we could also do this or that. So we’ve added three new components since launch.”

“You can’t get exposure to most of this kind of tech at other companies,” Mike says. “My career advice for those who want to work in tech is to not stay in one place in a company. Expand your views. . Try new things that challenge you and always keep learning.”

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2 Comments

  1. Wow, th's not bad! Looks nice to be inside of Cisco, good team spirit!

    This is good stuff. Chris, Kevin, and Mike, you guys did a phenomenal job delivering this solution. I've seen the show; the Wall of America looks amazing. Congratulations on another TME success!