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.

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.

What a difference a year makes!

Thanks for all the kind email today from industry friends around the world both old and new, yes, BlackBerry’s back in the fight as evidenced by today’s quarterly earnings report.  I for one am glad our BlackBerry CEO Thorstein Heins could actually say the word “profits” in a sentence today.

That said, reflecting back on a year ago and the situation at hand through the lens of an Evangelist, what did we accomplish in an open letter:

1) Built a world class Evangelism team.  This includes our HQ technical team, marketing and operations, as well as my WW team of Technical Evangelists.  As I’ve stated before, the team must be strong, and ours is built of achievers.

2) Imbued in ourselves and our community a shared sense of purpose.  Yes, it started with the Team BlackBerry Developers, but, we worked together with this strong core to “grow the bubble” of “those in the know” about BlackBerry 10.  One piece of evidence, over 55% of our sales are to folks moving off one of our competitors platforms.  We also saw that the developers on these other platforms began targeting BlackBerry 10 months ago, it’s true, developers are the early indicator of platform health.

3) Continue to invest and innovate.  We don’t plan to let up on the gas pedal, I’ve discussed the team innovating rapidly, this next year will not be any different, we’ve merely entered the next phase of our plan and will continue to drive innovative approaches.

4) Shipping is a feature.  My final big thank you is to our colleagues in Product Engineering for working the late nights & weekends, hope we did you guys proud.  Thanks for all the SDK releases, this was key for all the early developer engagement.

Thanks again, it’s been a great and at times unbelieveable year for the Developer Relations Group at BlackBerry and we look forward to seeing you out in the Ecosystem.

iPhone most vulnerable platform, for now

BGR reports that iPhone is more vulnerable than Android and Windows Phone and BlackBerry, snippet follows:

A new report suggests that Apple’s (AAPLiPhone is more “vulnerable” to attacks than Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry (BBRY) smartphones. According to a study from SourceFire, the vast majority of all mobile phone vulnerabilities that have been discovered so far have been found in Apple’s smartphones. The firm found 210 vulnerabilities in the iPhone, giving iOS an 81% share of known mobile phone vulnerabilities, while Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices combined to have a 19% market share.

Yves Younan, a senior research engineer at SourceFire’s Vulnerabilities Research Team and author of the report, revealed to ZDNet that the results were “surprising.” He added that it was also “interesting” because Apple has continued to implement additional security features in new versions of iOS.

I’m not sure why this should be surprising to anyone, any platform that hits a sufficiently large number of users will fall prey to attack.  The many lessons that we learned on the PC platform are happening, albeit at an accelerated pace, on the smartphone platforms.  This is something that we all have a stake in and every business and consumer smartphone customer will need to be responsible for “securing their end point device”, i.e. your phone,  just like you have secured your PC.  No platform is truly immune, active measures are called for.

At BlackBerry we’ve built in several features to help, BlackBerry 10 has built in support for our Fusion MDM product to remotely manage and more importantly to remotely wipe sensitive corporate data.  We’ve got Balance, essentially separate “personal” and “business” partitions built into the platform keeping work and personal data and apps separate and secured.  Our BlackBerry World store has “Enterprise Store” capability, allowing businesses to select, manage and distribute only the applications they’ve approved on the business partition.  Finally, we’ve also announced our relationship with Trend Micro to keep our BlackBerry World stores malware free.

I wish that it were the case that all the features and services we’ve built for BlackBerry 10 were enough, however, you’ll need to take additional steps to insure your apps, services and phones are secure for your customers and employees to the best of your abilities.  This includes preparation, education and implementing sound policies and procedures.   This is our shared responsibility in the smartphone ecosystem.

Great Vision, Great Execution

I may be BlackBerry’s Evangelism Team’s Sensei, but I’m not the Sensei of all things smartphone or even mobile devices.  Lucky for me, I get to work every day with colleagues who literally invented the smartphone category.  For example, I just had dinner with colleagues from the Enterprise Products team at BlackBerry and gained insights about how the requirements of operating mobile devices connected to the Enterprise lead to what we think of as core BlackBerry strengths re: security and manageability.

What I’m struck by as I’ve learned more about the evolution of BlackBerry’s Enterprise products is how the team’s very forward looking initial product vision continues to make product feature decisions easy to make even in today’s BYOD world.   In fact, it appears to me this makes BlackBerry the most “BYOD Ready” platform on the market today, yet “BYOD” wasn’t on the radar when the team crafted their product vision many product cycles ago.

What can we learn from this as Evangelists?  As a team, a strong shared vision and mission provides clarity for the team every day, but especially in moments of crisis or indecision.  At BlackBerry our team’s mission is to “Make BlackBerry the best business partner for App Developers.”  Period.  To begin with, this means many different things to us, like are we making things easier, faster and more profitable for our developers?  Are we helping them see additional opportunities worldwide with their apps?  You get the idea.

Up front clarity of vision and mission enables you see more clearly your desired end point, hence, helps you reach your destination faster and with fewer detours and false starts.

What’s your team’s vision and mission?