Make the world a better place

I’m at Oracle Cloud these days, sitting in one of the big box office buildings in Seattle where we’re  focused on a cloud platform launch via Ecosystems, that’s a surprise, right?  However this is not about the gig or Evangelism, well, maybe it is to some degree.

I’ve passed along applied lessons from my late 109 year old Obaachan, that’s Grandmother in Japanese.  I think it’s time to share one more thing I learned in her kitchen.

Obaachan’s kitchen was an amazing,  puzzling and finally as I grew older, an inspiring place for me.  There would be a different set of people I would meet there, her usual coffee klatch (or tea more accurately) of card playing little Obaasan (senior Japanese ladies) as well as a mix of senior Asian, Caucasian and African American faces.  At times it was a UN meeting in the small, crowded around the small kitchen table.

As I grew older, I asked them how they knew my grandparents.  The answer was a variation of “we’ve known each other for a long time” and “we’ve helped each other many times over the years.”  But one story I will always remember.  An older man who I only knew as “Barney” told me he was a merchant sailor during the depression.  He went to the hotel my grandparents owned in what we now know as Pioneer Square and told them his story.  He couldn’t find work, he was starving, he’d work around the hotel to earn his keep.  He told me all the other places he went kicked him out when they abruptly asked if he could pay.   My grandparents listened and took him in.  To them, he was another person struggling just like they were.

Today, more than ever, we need to take the time to listen.  To then make the effort to understand.  To then make our own decision.  As I’ve said before, Obaachan was relentlessly positive, and in this case, choosing to see the person before her through the lens of their shared experience, as a fellow traveler, part of her crazily extended family.

In tech, one of my former MS colleagues is known for his truly inspiring Evangelism 101 talk.  Back then, Evangelism “is war”.  During that same period of time,  I would occasionally have a beer with the ISV Evangelist from Sun Microsystems.   I was targeting his ISVs for Windows NT, he was fighting to both retain and go after my Ecosystem ISVs.  However when we got together we’d tell stories and laugh about our shared experiences.  We’d be sitting in a bar, but in my mind, we were sitting together around a small kitchen table.

Why I’m at NetApp

Making the move from BlackBerry/QNX was not an easy decision to make, so many great people and a ton of great work being done on the IoT products.  However, NetApp’s appeal to me is their concept of the Data Fabric.

It dawned on me while while working on an IoT cloud that Enterprise customers will be accumulating massive new datasets that reside on premise behind the firewall, in the public cloud or private clouds.  Giving customers the ability to easily manage their data across all three of these data locations is of high value, indeed it’s also high risk but high rewards if done well. Delivering on this customer scenario is absolutely what we’re working on here at NetApp.

Our first products for the cloud now reside in the Amazon AWS Marketplace, current customers will see product names that they know and use today.  However, this is just the first step towards delivering on NetApp’s Data Fabric vision, and while our customers can now use the same OnCommand data management tools to now manage their Data Fabric across all three data locations there’s much more to come.

I’ll be writing more about what we’re up to here, as well as what I see from my new seat out in the Ecosystem.

Mo’data and mo’data

Happy New Year and may it be a happy and prosperous one for all!

As I looked at customer IOT scenarios for QNX, it became clear to me that managing the coming (or already upon us) crush of data coming from IOT devices would be a challenge for our Enterprise customers.  While I view this as a great sign of coming success for my old friends @ QNX, I knew that management of this data would become increasingly complex with customer’s data in combinations of public clouds, private clouds and hybrids.

This all said, I’m moving on to NetApp who’s customer footprint in these Enterprise customer accounts is already sizable and I’ll have more to say about our plans to take control of your own data to keep pace with your business needs.

With a New Year, a new focus

Beginning in the New Year I’m moving on from my role at QNX Software to both a new role and a new employer. I’ll discuss my new Ecosystem focus once I’ve settled into role in the new year.

I want to say thank you to so many people at both greater BlackBerry/QNX and the best Community I’ve had the pleasure of working with during my career. It’s been a great pleasure and honor to work with so many of you around the world over the last three years. I leave with great memories and proud of the accomplishments that we all achieved together.

Please keep in touch, I know that we’ll all run in to each other again out in the Ecosystem.

Happy Holidays and a Great New Year to you all!

BlackBerry’s Project Ion – doing our bit from QNX Software

This week at O’Reilly Solid Conference we announced our overall BlackBerry Project Ion strategy for M2M/IoT as well as the first product in the portfolio, our QNX Device Cloud (note name is not final).  Various analysts estimate that the number of connected devices may exceed 200 billion by 2020, we believe this will drive the need for: (from our press release)

  • A secure public application platform that will enable a new generation of IoT applications that can access massive amounts of data from multiple sources and allow businesses to make timely, informed decisions. Powered by QNX® technology and BlackBerry secure enterprise mobility management, this platform will securely manage data from millions of end points across multi-device, multi-platform environments.
  • Facilitation of an Internet of Things ecosystem consisting of partners, carriers and application developers looking to connect an ever-growing number of Internet-enabled devices on a secure public applications platform.
  • Strategic partnerships, including membership in the Industrial Internet Consortium™ (IIC), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to driving standards-based technologies for industry, academia and government to accelerate the development and availability of connected technologies. BlackBerry is also one of the founding members of the Application Developer Alliance (ADA), an association that focuses on advancing application development while helping to solve current challenges such as security and privacy.

At QNX, we’re building the connected device cloud.  As I’ve blogged before, with 35 years in the embedded OS business, our team has a deep understanding of embedded device scenarios gained by working with our customers designing their devices.  With this unique insight into how connected devices work we are designing our cloud to be the easiest and simplest way to implement a cloud connected device whether you use the QNX OS or another embedded platform.  From BlackBerry we’ve gained valuable experience with secure endpoints, secure connections, cloud platforms and an in depth understanding of all things mobile.  More importantly we know how to make these devices work for your business.

Want to know more?  You can sign up here.  More information to come.

Back at El Rancho de IoT

This week I’ve been up at QNX HQ in planning meetings.  This was a great experience for a number of reasons, but, primarily just seeing the QNX leadership team in action.  I’m a guy who bears the scars of product review meetings with Bill Gates over the years, so, when people say technology isn’t a contact sport I beg to differ.  I have to say what I saw this week was very close to sessions I remember from Microsoft at it’s peak in the 1990’s.  The good news, seeing the emphasis on architecture.

Having been @MSFT for the genesis of the Windows NT operating system in ’89/’90, and the long run it’s had for the industry I can testify first hand about the importance of getting your architecture right, the pay off is obvious.  I worked closely with Dave Cutler’s team (now Chief Technical Fellow @ MSFT) and took their designs and reviewed them with the leaders in technology of the day, ecosystem friends and competitors.  There are subsystems in Windows that still manifest the impact of this review loop today.
I’m pleased to report we’re doing the same thing for my new products, talking to customers early, working hard to get things right.  We’re both building a cloud based system, but also getting it right on the device.  If your on device agents processing markedly changes device state, you’re really not measuring the true device state, are you?   Architecture matters, it’s not easy to do, but will show it’s value over time.