By Dai Sugano

(Photo by Mercury News staff photographer Dai Sugano)

It’s a dog’s life, Silicon Valley-style.

Every weekday, Moe de Maupassant (Moe for short) commutes from his Saratoga home to work at SwiftTest in Santa Clara. He’s got his own business cards embossed with his title (Chief Customer Satisfaction Officer). He’s got his name on the door. He sits in on conference calls, delivers memos around the office, and drops in often on CEO Philippe Vincent.

Not bad for a one-year-old Australian Shepherd-Border Collie mix whose only prior gig was herding sheep up in Red Bluff.

But with the encouragement and support of his “Dad’’ and fellow office-mate (SwiftTest’s modest VP for sales Warren Bell), Moe has done everything caninely possible to win over the hearts of all 50 employees and the clients who use their software to test data-storage systems.

“Having Moe on a conference call or at a client meeting helps us break the ice,’’ says Vincent. “And every time we close a deal, Moe’s a big part of the celebration.’’

On a recent visit, we spoke with Moe (with Bell’s help) about his humble background, his daily routine and his plans for an even greater role as CCSO at SwiftTest.

Q So Moe, tell us a little about your yourself.

A I’m known as a “farm collie.’’ We’re recognized as one of the smartest dogs in the world. My dad brought me home when I was ten weeks old and he named me after the 19th-century French writer Guy de Maupassant, because I loved listening to the stories of Maupassant when I was very young.

 

Moe taking a lunch break

…and then dessert!

Q And how did you get hired on at SwiftTest?

A When my Dad took me to work that first day, I tried very hard to be part of the team. I was extremely nervous, because the only work experience I had was herding sheep. But I was fortunate to have a CEO who recognized my work ethic and potential. And since he’s French, it didn’t hurt that I had a French name. HR checked with every single employee to see if there would be any objections to me becoming a full time employee. There were none, and I was offered the role of CCSO on Jan. 5, 2012.

Q Walk us through your average work day.

A We get to the office between 7 and 7:30 and go to the kitchen (a coffee for Dad, a snack for me). Then we work through e-mails. We decide which e-mails will come from him and which should come from me. For example, recently a prospect had gone silent. Dad sent him a cute picture of me (I had met the gentleman before), and said: “Moe and I are begging for an update.” He responded within the hour — apologizing profusely for not responding earlier. He also included a picture of his two dogs in the response.

Q And you really do things like attend sales meetings?

A At 9:30, there is almost always a meeting for me to attend. At 10:30, I will make the rounds to say hi to the other head office employees. Dad is constantly on the phone with his fellow team members. Whenever he is on speaker, he always lets the other person know “the CCSO is in the room, so watch what you say about him.”

Almost every day, we have customers on site for meetings, and I always get the chance to meet them. I really enjoy this — and the customers seem genuinely appreciative of our time together. There is almost always a 1 p.m. meeting I attend — either an executive staff meeting, or a product management meeting, and often a sales meeting or conference call.

Q And we understand that you personally deliver inner-office memos?

A When purchase orders come in, Dad rolls them up, gently places them in my mouth, and I take them back to order fulfillment. I then go back to our office, and we send an e-mail to the customer — thanking them for the business (always accompanied with a picture of me and their PO in my mouth). Customers love this!
From 2 to 4 p.m., we review e-mails and Dad discusses sales proposals. I usually have a nap on my bed at 4 p.m., and at 5 p.m. I go back and cheer Dad on in his daily ping-pong game. I try to be “politically correct,’’ as Dad usually plays Philippe (my boss) — so I cheer for both of them.

Q It’s an unusual gig for a dog, no?

A Au contraire, this gig was made for me! Like everyone at SwiftTest, I am very smart. I have a tireless work ethic (a 50-60 hour work week is de rigueur). Employees and customers equate me with our products. We have the fastest products in our category and I am the fastest runner in the office.
I bring energy and enthusiasm to work every day. I know this has a positive impact on everyone. People see my unquenchable thirst for learning new things and I think this ‘‘moetivates’’ them as well. My work as CCSO supports a key element of our corporate mission: To deliver the best customer support in the entire hi-tech industry. Our customers regularly tell us that.
As I wrote on my Linkedin profile — if you are not 100-percent happy with our support or services, I will fix that. An e-mail to me also goes to the top five executives at SwiftTest. We take my role of Customer Satisfaction deadly seriously.

Moe de Maupassant

Birth date: Sept. 2, 2011
Birth place: Ride & See Farms, Red Bluff, CA
Position: CCSO (Chief Customer Satisfaction Officer), SwiftTest in Santa Clara
Previous job: Herding sheep
Education: A Dog’s Life – Sunnyvale (Graduated Puppy 1); received AKC STAR certificate. Other training at CaliK9 in San Jose and Rav’n Dog Training in Redwood City. Currently working on a Therapy Certification from Therapy dogs International.
Family: Father is Jasper, nmother is Andi. Seven brothers and sisters in litter.
Residence: Saratoga

 

Five things about Moe

1. He is learning five languages: English, French, Russian, Mandarin and Hindi. And he has plans to learn commands in Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese.
2. He loves hip-hop dancing and is always working on his “moves.’’
3. He is developing a web site to “MOEtivate’’ people around the world.
4. His favorite actor is Babe (the pig).
5. His favorite song is Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.”

 

 

Patrick May Patrick May (290 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.