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.

Gnarled two week IoT veteran speaks

I have been in my new gig for just over two weeks and have spent a lot of this time reading up on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) landscape, Clearly, the tech industry hype machine is in overdrive.  I guess these two weeks now makes me an industry veteran, at least given the rapidly shifting market landscape and the divergent approaches that exist today.

Maybe it’s my old PC systems management background or even my recent mobile MDM bias, but a lot of what’s being built in the market appears to be modeled upon those pioneering systems. I think this is the wrong approach,  The Internet of Things is all about the device and it’s unique functional characteristics.  Period.  Hence, any product built to address IoT scenarios must take a device first approach.

It should not be a surprise for me to say given the institutional knowledge @QNX that this is the design approach we’re taking.  Now you’re asking, “What does that mean?”.  I will from time to time share more thoughts as we make our way to market and what it means to be truly device first.

Evangelism lessons, from my Grandmother

Here are a few things I learned from my Obaachan (Grandmother in Japanese) who sadly passed last year at the age of, 110.  No, that’s not a typo.  One hundred and ten.  No condolences please, she lived a long and happy life.  So, a few life/Evangelism lessons I learned following this nearly five foot tall woman around all my life.

Get out – we spend a bunch of our lives behind the keyboard or at meetings sitting in rooms or in the car heading to… another meeting.  She’d be up puttering around in the garden or doing folk dancing.  It didn’t matter who the “folks” were, you name the culture, she’d try it. The only time I ever saw her sitting down was eating or playing cards with her card circle.  Yeah, I didn’t learn this lesson very well myself…. but get out, meet face to face and do your thing.

Be up, with people –  As Evangelists we deal with people, really not technology.  My grandmother was relentlessly positive and always collecting people.  Malcolm Gladwell calls these people “connectors” and by his standard she was a mega connector.  I swear she invented the concept of “meetups” in her kitchen, she could pick up the phone and make things happen that were fascinating and amazing.  Evangelists do this everyday online, on conference calls on webcasts…

Own it – We all try to make our work interesting to others, well, make it interesting to you first.  She’d take something ordinary and turn it into something of her own with surprising results.  A flowering cherry tree she had me plant as a kid in her garden I noticed while in college had fruit!  Apples, cherries, I can’t remember what else.  She grafted so many shoots on it that she couldn’t remember it originally was a cherry blossom tree, it was now in essence an “Obaachan Tree”.  Are your demos just the SDK sample code, if so, you really should make them your own.

That’s it, file this in the “are Evangelists born or is it something learned” chapter.


Ok, I’ve been a bad blogger for several months….

Suffice it to say that at BlackBerry, a day without change is, well, something that doesn’t happen.  The most recent change is moving from my seat in Developer Relations to the QNX Software division of the larger “BlackBerry”.  Yes, this is the same team of OS wizards who built the kernel running under BlackBerry 10.

Yes, this is the same team at QNX being started by Alec Saunders, and no, not we’re not doing Evangelism, rather, building a new product.  I’ll be working on a new M2M/IoT cloud based system, more on this as the story unfolds.

However, DRG and the App  Ecosystem team led by Marty Mallick have been merged, now it’s one App Ecosystem and Enterprise Developer team under Marty.  So if you work with someone on the BlackBerry DRG team or people you follow via the blog, twitter or forum posts, chances are they’ll still be delivering you the same great information, just with a new team name and maybe, well, I’ll wait for my old team to share their news.

I am planning to get back in the saddle and start blogging again, most likely with a broader focus than primarily product Evangelism.  Lots to discuss re: M2m and IoT…. but you know I’ll be watching what’s happening out in the Ecosystem.

How’s it going? Better than we ever admitted.

Up until this week, we’ve reported that our BlackBerry 10 App Ecosystem was the fastest growing for a new smartphone OS launch, namely 70K apps at our announcement, and 100K a month later by the time actual phone hardware shipped.  This week, we announced our growth rate continues, we’re up to 120K Z10 apps available in our BlackBerry World catalog today.  Impressive work by our great Ecosystem, 50K apps added since BlackBerry 10 announce!

This however is only part of the story.  Yesterday my boss Alec Saunders disclosed the other half, when you combine all the apps the team acquired last year, it’s over 250K apps for BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry OS (our old OS) and PlayBookOS!  This is in one year, with the same team, both launching a new platform and continuing to work with existing app developers.

What did we learn during this last year?  I’ve already covered many of the lessons here on my blog, but in this case much of the credit for BlackBerry OS goes to our great worldwide BlackBerry Developer Community, who’s commitment to share their BlackBerry OS expertise with others was truly outstanding.  Many of these Community members are part of our BlackBerry Elite, recognizing the top BlackBerry App Developers around the globe.  So, without working closely with our Developer Community, this last year would never have been possible.

Investing in your community pays multiple dividends.  They are your best advocates and Evangelists, and by investing in them, they will reward you with strong support like we saw at BlackBerry.  Do you have a Community recognition program?  If so, do you talk to them every week?  And more importantly, are you listening, they’ll tell you how things are really going out in your Ecosystem.