By Sharat Chander on Feb 03, 2009
All I can say is, "What a trip!"
Traveling to Singapore for Sun Tech Days was an experience of a lifetime! First, a little about the host country. Arrving in Singapore on Sunday, January, 18th, I was amazed at the raw beauty and cleanliness. For a country only 707 square kilometers in size, it sure looked BIG! Despite it's size, Singapore has a rich history, one that merges many cultures (Malay, Hindu, Chinese, Korean, and of course all the Brits and Australians) and is sort of at the crossroads of Asia commerce. Even the name (Singapore), has a rich history. "Singapore" is the English word for "Singapura", which means Lion City. This word originated when Sang Nila Utama, an Indonesian prince, set sail and discovered Singapore. He saw what he thought was a lion, which was actually a tiger on the island running at great speed, and since that was the first thing he saw on the island, he decided to name it Lion City, or Singapura. WOW! If you ever get the opportunity visit Singapore, take it! And try the black pepper crabs!
With that flavor in mind and spirit, I went on to participate in Sun Tech Days - Singapore (hoping to bring the same lion spirit of the country to the event). It was a 2 day event filled with lots of technical sessions covering many technologies from Sun, an impressive Keynote from Jeff Jackson (Senior Vice President, Solaris Enginering), as well as a jam packed exhibitor pavilion where Sun and partners showcased some of the best emerging technologies. My good friend, Arun Gupta (GlassFish Expert Extraordinaire) captures the event with many pictures you can see here.
On Day #2, the keynote was led by Matt Thomspon (Senior Director of Engineering). His focus was on the "Cloud," a pretty nebulous term for many, but he put it into context regarding what Sun's approach is and will be. Stay tuned for more! As part of his keynote, I got a chance to showcase Project Kenai to the audience. We walked through the site, the rich set of collaboration features, and how to get involved. I was very grateful the audience didn't throw tomatos at me, it was my first time being part of a keynote! Anyway, the booth traffic spiked up considerably after the keynote. Lots of folks with questions on Kenai, how to get involved, yadda, yadda, yadda. Again, Arun did a great job capturing Day #2 with pictures.
On the evening of Day #2, Sun helped sponsor the first ever Cloud Camp in Singapore. The intention here was to have an open, unconference style conversation with parties interested in the whole "Cloud Computing" ecosystem. Unfortuntately, the reception was a lukewarm. Most attendees perceived this event as a Sun-driven discussion versus an open discussion for all. It was never our intention to push a Sun agenda on Cloud Camp participants. Being the MC for the event, I tried multiple times to keep the conversation neutral. Sun should not have MC'd the event, rather just been a voice in the audience. Lesson learned for next time. My apologies to attendees if you walked away with a hallow feeling. By all means, I'm open to having an ongoing dialogue about "Cloud" with you. Just ping me: sharat[dot]chander[at]sun[dot]com
Finally, on Thursday, January 22nd, we got a chance to present Project Kenai to a few hundred high school and college students who attended Sun's University Day at the National Library of Singapore. What they got to see was a collection of some of the cool technologies Sun is working on. I think the coolest thing that really resonated with the kids (I think I'm old enough now to make that reference, although I'm a kid at heart), was Project Wonderland. The virtual world really grokked with them. Kenai, seemed interesting but the feedback I got from many after the event was, "You need more social networking features, NOW!" I hear you loud and clear and I'm taking your feedback directly back to the Kenai Team.
I enjoyed the trip overall. Great country, amazing people, and some of the smartest developers I've had the priveledge to speak with. Thank you Singapore for being such an amazing host country for Sun Tech Days!