Monday Mar 16, 2009

Update that blog pic!

I do like to see bloggers post a pic of themselves on their blog. Just in case I run into one of 'em at a trade show.  However, I've always been bugged at personal portrait pictures on blogs, articles, etc that are waaayy out-of-date. I swear that PR folks never updated the Scott McNealy pic during his tenure as CEO. To each his own, I suppose.

The pic I had on my blog was about 6 years old, which made me a target of my own criticism. I kinda liked that pic, though. Fresh hair cut. 165lbs. 36 yrs young.  No signs of bald spot.

Today I decided to update the pic. What a difference 6 years makes!  42 years old. Less hair to cut (barring nose/ears). 20lbs heavier. A newly forming bald spot is racing my receding hairline to the top of my head (my money's on the bald spot). I'd swear my nose is 2mm (.005%) longer. I could go on. And on. And on.  However, it's me. Uncut and raw. The real deal. Dagnabit, I'm diggin' it.

I've been thinking about updating the pic for a while, when I finally saw one that made the grade.  A bit too "visionary-looking" for my taste, but the alternatives weren't as promising - such as me in Las Vegas with a ... (never mind) or at the beach without a shirt (Vegas pic is way better).

Stay tuned for 2015.

Saturday Jul 26, 2008

Has Open Source killed the RFP?

When I was in sales, I participated in numerous Request for Proposal (RFP) efforts. To put it in perspective, I spent most of my sales career selling hardware to the government vertical (albeit as a software specialist). Governments are big on RFPs (impartiality). I also helped the commercial sales teams with RFPs upon occasion, so my peers suffered the same fate.

Product managers are not immune from RFPs. We tend to be back line support for those questions that need a bit more insight into the product (ex: roadmaps). Since being in product management I've noticed I'm involved in fewer RFPs. I can say with authority it's not because of a lack of commercial interest. GlassFish is doing quite well in that regard.

Customers are leveraging open source to reduce cost and eliminate vendor lock-in (among other things). Before the move, customers are still comparing, in the middleware space for example, GlassFish, JBoss, Geronimo, and Tomcat. I occasionally get comparison spreadsheets from potential customers. However, the process of the formal RFP seems to be pushed aside. Here are some of my thoughts as to why:

  • Transparency. Open source is by definition "open". A vast majority of the information that is typically requested is publicly available.
  • Google. The information that is public available is easily found.
  • Community. The information that is not available can be quickly addressed by posting an email.
  • Resources. Organizations do not like the RFP process. It's time consuming and people-consuming. Thank goodness because vendors do not like RFPs either - it is equally time consuming :-)
  • Viral growth. Open source technologies often get deployed first at the departmental level. They tell two departments, who then tell two departments, and so on, and so on. Before you know it, the open source technology is already the company standard.
  • Value Proposition. The value proposition of using open source in general, or a specific technology in particular, is often compelling enough to "sell itself". For example, GlassFish offers enterprise features, is 1/10th the cost of its closed-source peers, and outperforms them as well.

The blog title truly is a question, not a statement. I've thrown out some supporting thoughts, but I don't want to claim an authoritative statement. Regardless, I know it is not an absolute truth. So the question remains, has open source generally killed the RFP?

Saturday Sep 22, 2007

GlassFish V2: The start of something great

What a difference two weeks make. Two weeks ago I was pulling (what's left of) my hair out trying to get the T's crossed and the i's dotted on GlassFish before the Monday launch. Pre-and-post-launch I've have been talking to potential customers, the sales force, analysts and the press. The word is getting out and the feedback is extremely positive.

I can't help feel that this GlassFish launch is the start of something great. Yes, Sun has had an application server (in one form or another) for almost a decade. Yes, GlassFish V1 has been around for over a year - even in production. But it all seems to have come together with GlassFish V2. Grrreat performance. New cost-efficient subscriptions for support. Enterprise ready. Open source community. Fully Java EE 5 compatible. The value proposition is looking good.  Not to put ASCII in their HTML, but Gartner seems to agree.

As we, the community, move forward, I'll do my best to keep everyone abreast of GlassFish momentum. The message may not always come from The Clingan Zone, but I've got prolific friends :-)

Wednesday Mar 28, 2007

Give it up for some new bloggers

It wasn't all that long ago that blogs.sun.com was at 2886 blogs. Today we are at 3,064 blogs. That's an amazing amount of content to sift through. As in the early days of Java, I used to read every message that came across the list. Too many blogs today to read every post. I suppose I could, but I'd get fired :)

There are two bloggers I want to point you to in particular. The first is Dave Edstrom, who I've been bugging for over a year to start a blog.  I can tell through my lucky interactions with him that he'd be very good at blogging. Call it a "gut feel". The second is Tom Kincaid. Tom and I have been interacting at work quite a bit lately, and I'll leave it up to a followon post to explain why. I'll use Tom's blog to get to know him better - in addition to our normal work that is. Sometimes you just learn new things about a person from a blog that wouldn't normally come up in day-to-day interactions.

I've got a gut feel I know other new bloggers, but I simply don't have insight into what new blogs have been created.

Friday Mar 09, 2007

Should I cash in The Clingan Zone?

Here we go again. The latest blog fodder is hitting the net and I simply can't resist the urge to participate :) Ssssooo, I clicked on the link to determine my blog worthlessness. Turns out $9,032.64 is the magic number. This, of course, pales in comparison to Jonathan's $165K and  Tim Bray's almost $700K.

The question is, how can one leverage this newfound wealth? Sell it on eBay? I figure if someone can trade up a paper clip into a house, then I have got a good head start towards this. Perhaps I could open a blog equity line of credit. Hmmm, I wonder if I can nudge it up a bit by linking back to this blog?

This meme is poorly timed in the US as tax season is pretty much upon us. I'm sure the gov't will find a way of re-distributing this new-found wealth.


My blog is worth $9,032.64.
How much is your blog worth?


Monday Feb 26, 2007

Blogging @ Sun followup

The week before last (and before my middle-agedness) I presented to some Sun folks on blogging @ Sun. First, thanks to Linda for much of the content. It saved me time, I learned a few new things, and even added my own flavor. Also, thanks to the other bloggers on the line (Identity gurus Jonathan, Mark and Robin) for chiming in with their thoughts. Hope I didn't miss anyone. Thanks to near-non-blogging-heathen Dale for posting to his blog. Nice to know I helped bubble up the blogging priority - for a day at least :) Thanks to Dave for setting up the call and getting the word out.

When I was first preparing for the presentation, there were 2,886 blogs at Sun. Today there are 2,937. 51 blogs in roughly two weeks. That should result in 3K+ blogs in less than a month from now. IMHO, that growth rate is pretty good  for a well-established corporate blog site.

Monday Feb 12, 2007

How has blogging impacted Sun ... and you?

 

This week I have to give a presentation to a slew of mostly non-blogging (Sun) heathens on Blogging @ Sun. Yep, I'm in recruitment mode - not that I ever left recruitment mode (Dave, Greg, Daryl, Darnell, etc). I have yet to create the presentation, but I pretty much know what I want to say regarding the "mechanics" of blogging, including what is blogging, why blog, how to blog, how it can help (or end) your career, guidelines (don't say anything stupid - something I have yet to learn), not to use mis-placed parentheses, what editors exist, not to write run-on sentences, etc. However, there is a section of the presentation I would like input on. The value of blogs.sun.com to you and to Sun.

I have my own experience of how Blogging has impacted me and my view of how Blogging has  impacted Sun. However, I would like other Sun Bloggers to comment on how Blogging has impacted their career, strengthened internal/external relationships, etc. On the other side, the not-yet-customer/customer/partner, I would like to better understand how Sun Bloggers have impacted your view of Sun, your business relationship with Sun, your career, etc.

To start the discussion, I'll lay down some 60-to-80-words-per-minute ASCII on the topic - assuming backspace-backspace-backspace is a word. There's no doubt that folks think Sun is back, and no doubt that our product lineup has something to do with it. I would like to believe, though, that our recent success is partially due to  the many communities we participate in. While many at Sun have done this for years, the growing number of employees participating within the growing number of open source projects widens the influence. In a similar vein, blogs.sun.com has helped Sun become more transparent, and customers respond in kind (read the thread). They equally influence Sun. Customers like transparency and, not surprisingly, Sun employees do as well. At 50K feet, the sales process is moving from customers buying from Sun to individuals buying from individuals. It's always been that way up close. Having been in sales, I can definitely say that blogs.sun.com has helped the process move to "people buy from people" on a much larger scale. At the same time, customer requirements are not hard to find enabling Sun to engineer more relevant products.

Now for what Blogging @ Sun has done for me. I've "met" (well, not face-to-face) some folks I now call friends. Ya' know it when ya' start asking about birthdays and kids. On another note, I feel that The Clingan Zone has enabled me to learn a lot in a short period of time thanks to the conversations I've had with blog readers that share a common interest. In turn, blog readers have told me The Clingan Zone has helped them decide to become Sun customers. Do the math and replicate that by the current 2886 blogs and we could be talking some serious business.  Gotta clear out the non-blogging-heathen ranks @ Sun. Continuing on, The Clingan Zone has enabled me to enter new customer environments where I had already (and most often unknowingly) established a baseline of trust and credibility. My job became a bit easier. And frankly, more enjoyable. Blogging has also raised my visibility within Sun. More employees know who I am and come to me for help in my area(s) of expertise. In return, I know a boatload more Sun employees through their blogs and, heck yeah, I call them for their areas of expertise. My job got easier again. In a highly work-at-home sales force, the Blog has become a pseudo water cooler.

Back to the point, how do you think Blogging @ Sun has impacted Sun ... and you?

Thursday Mar 23, 2006

Blogging too much?

I figured I could have responded to Matt directly, but I thought I would do it through my blog.

No Matt, I don't blog too much :)

Thursday Feb 23, 2006

Recruiting bloggers

I've been trying to recruit Sun bloggers since blogs.sun.com hit the web. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not. As you all know, Sun is big into The Participation Age. We are also giving away a ton of intellectual property. Today that IP is primarily, but not entirely, software centric. The way I see it, we can't talk about the Participation Age without participating ourselves. Lowering the barrier to entry is not enough. Free software is not participation. Building/joining and engaging a community is participation. That's a tremendous value for everyone involved. It may be cliche, but I get more value out of blogging than those that read my blog. I read much more of the read/write web than I write. And many of those who comment on my blog are now in my feed reader.

As with any other business, I participate in many espresso machine (ahem, water cooler) discussions. I particularly enjoy having the conversation that ensues after I bring up "Why don't you start a blog?" I don't bring it up all the time. That would add yet another reason for folks to turn around when they see me coming. Sometimes I pop the question when I see a need. Primarily I go into recruitment mode when I see an individual show passion when discussing a topic. Now that's an opportunity to diminish the non-blogging-heathen ranks!

Many are interested but don't know where to start. Tim said it best when he said "Blog what you know." [Ed. I know what you are thinking - John, take his advice.] There is often hesitation simply because folks don't know the boundaries. Again, Tim said it best when he said "Use common sense." [Ed. I know what you are thinking - John, take that advice too.] The most interesting comment I get is "But won't the competition know what we are doing?" Yes, they will. In the Participation age, hiding information from competitors means hiding information from customers (apply common sense on what information to disclose). I'd rather customers hear it from me first than my competitor (whatever "it" may be). I do warn potential recruits of the time involved in blogging. It's the read read/write, not just write.

Recently, my recruitment efforts are focused on software architects. I met quite a few very, very smart folks last week as we converged to talk SOA.

What I liked most about our SOA meeting last week was watching software architects from Sun and SeeBeyond/Sun discuss the subject. It was like a 25-way vulcan mind meld without the Spock hands-on-the-forhead thing. During introductions, I brought up blogging in an AA-like manner (I'm John and I'm a blogger). I quickly followed that with "There is a huge opportunity to talk software architecture on blogs.sun.com."

I figure if a person is passionate about a subject and know what they are talking about, why not expand the audience by thousands? [Ed. I know what you are thinking - John, note the point of knowing what you are talking about].

Tuesday Dec 20, 2005

Blogging from Writely


I'm trying something new today. I'm editing my blog from Writely. Writely allows one to edit, collaboratively edit, and publish documents. I am trying out writely as a blog editor, just for the heck of it.

Wednesday Nov 09, 2005

Social networking through interpersonal communication

Social networking tools can't replace person-to-person networking. I am up in the bay area getting hooked up with other Sun folks. At dinner, I happened to run into dangerously-close-to-non-blogging-heathen Rafat. Turns out Rafat and I can leverage the work each other are doing to a large degree. This is a "whole is greater than the parts" kinda thing. Never woulda happened if it were not for person-to-person networking near the [water cooler with a spigot].

Other ideas popped up in a couple of conversations between Matt, Scott and some non-blogging heathens. I'm talkin' high-impact ideas. Not sure if the ideas would have gel'd without interpersonal communication.

With all of the talk of social networking, let's not forget the value of interpersonal communication.

Wednesday Oct 12, 2005

Why bloggers blog

Here's an article on why bloggers blog. #1 reason? To establish themselves as an authority in their field. Note the survey results.

I have established myself as an authority in the field of pure drivel, but thanks for reading anyway :)

Sunday Oct 09, 2005

The Internet and AuntNet.

Reading Tim Bray's last post sends a shiver through my spine. One thing about the Internet, its speed nearly rivals AuntNet.

What is AuntNet, you ask? Well, the credit goes to THE Colin Powell, who was a speaker at a Sun sales meeting back in 1999. The topic had no political or military tone whatsoever, it was purely about social responsibility (IIRC). Along these lines, Mr. Powell used the example of AuntNet. Here's a clip:

"All up and down Kelly Street, block after block, there was always an aunt. And the aunt was always hanging out the window, looking down in the street to catch me and turn me in. And that’s all they—you could talk about the speed of the auntnet. I mean, this was the fastest net in the world, much faster than any Internet operation you have ever seen."

I see the Internet in a similar manner. Information moves fast, which can have great positive effects. In the case that Tim outlines, this can have its ill effects. Sometimes we tend to look ahead forgetting about the present and what got us here. Occasionally we should all stop and do a sanity check. Thank's Aunt Tim :)

Friday Sep 02, 2005

Spell checking blogs

I just received an ASCII tongue lashing about not spell checking my blog. Actually, it was a constructive comment :) Either way, I am guilty as charged. I don't spell check my blog. My last blog entry had its share of spelling errors. Particularly "payed" instead of "paid". I know how to spell "payed" - I mean "paid" - but sometimes, when your in the blogging "zone", it happens.

This reminds me of one of Tim Bray's blogging rules. Spell check. My excuse isn't a very good one. I find that JRoller's spell checker gets in the way. It tells me that "http://blogs.sun.com/..." is chock full of spelling errors. If taken literally, yes, that's true. However, JRoller also shows that blog is not a word! Irony at it's best. But that is not really a very good excuse. I can't point the finger. Guilty as charged. I'm not really the moron my spelling mistakes make me out to be, although my general content may prove otherwise.

If you don't spell check your blog, start. I think I'll take Tim's advice, albeit too late.

Monday Aug 29, 2005

Statcounter.com

Yeah, what Robin said. I have been getting enough hits to put me to #1 on the daily hit list and I have absolutely no idea which entries are peaking your collective interests.

It's unclear if I'll keep the counter in place. Let me know if it causes any issues.

Thanks,
The Management

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