Wednesday May 23, 2007

Visit to Bangalore


The conclusion of my around-the-world trip landed me in Bangalore, India, where I met with the India Engineering Center, Sun's Global Sales and Services team (pictured above, but their smiles are neither a forward-looking statement nor an indicator of past performance; they're just fantastically fun and great hosts). We had some great customer and partner meetings as well as internal meetings where I was able to share a look back on my first year running systems engineering and what I hope to accomplish with the global team next year.

Best interaction of the trip: we were talking to a partner that makes retail branch infrastructure and has an online variant of their delivery framework. I asked "Why aren't you partnering with your customers and a wireless carrier to give away a cell phone that runs your front end?" Quite simply, there are orders of magnitude more cell phones in India than PC (or Mac) desktops. The conversation quickly turned to JavaFX, which had been announced hours earlier at JavaOne (time zones can work in your favor!), and how it would allow this partner to develop a rich end user experience for the mobile client. After having one of my earlier meetings interrupted by a short power brown out, I was even more convinced that anything relying on a static location, network and public utility grid was going to be out-paced by the unwired variant.

Then I got a real lesson in pace:

Our trip back to the Sun office was uneventful (I'm told) but full of photo and video opportunities. Driving the Hosur road that connects the central part of Bangalore to the budding "Electric City", we passed cows, open air fruit markets, steel-and-glass office buildings juxtaposed with shantytowns, mopeds, electric rickshaws, public buses, heavy construction equipment and cars, all packed into and along the same major road. The non-stop cacophony of honking reminds me of driving in Boston, as in both locales the horn means (a) I'm moving into that lane (b) Don't move into that lane (c) You're too close (d) You're too slow (e) You can move into that lane, because you're too slow for my lane and/or (f) the Red Sox won.

Back in the hotel (where the TV had over 80 channels of varied content), one of the English language movies was Fever Pitch. All the drivers were right: the Red Sox won.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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