Friday, October 23, 2009
It was a different experience for me as it was my first outing to any user event as in independent “consultant” working for my own company, Pyalla Technologies, LLC. And I have to admit I was just a little bit nervous, unsure of what to expect. After all, having spent the last twenty years working for companies like Tandem Computers, ACI / InSession, and most recently GoldenGate Software, this time I was participating at a user event without a strong company-supported infrastructure behind me.
My participation, fortunately, came as a result of the generous support from Ernie Guerrera of NuWave Technologies, Inc. I have known Ernie for many years – several of these years as a competitor, back in the time when I worked for InSession which has competing offerings in the SOA and Web services marketplace. Today, NuWave has contracted with Pyalla for my writing services and I am hard at work on an assignment from Ernie.
The CTUG committee, led by Rick Teeuwsen, and well assisted by Dick Bird and Jack McAuley of HP Canada, put on a great event. While I was unable to attend the recent SUNTUG (Connect Florida) user event in Tampa, those who did participate told me of how the CTUG event reminded them of SUNTUG. CTUG saw the same strong user turn out, the same good support from HP, and very similar vendor participation. Chris Koppe, the incoming President for the Connect user community also made an appearance at CTUG, and it was good to see Connect actively supporting the NonStop community.
Events of the size of CTUG, and with the user turn-out that it attracted, ensure a strong HP management appearance. And this year’s event in Toronto was no exception. Randy Meyer who heads the NonStop Enterprise Division (NED) Product Management team gave a product roadmap update and he was supported by Tom Moylan, head of sales in the Americas. While many financial analysts working Wall Street are trying to figure out if the recent economic recession has turned around and become a recovery, a quick exchange with Tom suggests that there are signs that NonStop customers are beginning to show a little more confidence in the economy and that the sale of Blade systems is beginning to pick up. He also gave us the latest score – 49 to 0. Remember this one, you will read more about that in a later post.
The lunch break gave me the opportunity to catch up with Rob Smink, solutions architect at CIBC. Several years ago, at one of the last ITUG events in San Jose, Rob gave a user presentation on his experiences with InSession products and we had enjoyed a couple of adult beverages on more than one occasion at that time, as I seem to recall. But quite a few years had passed since we last had the opportunity to catch up on what he was up to at the bank.
For me, the icing on the cake… was the icing on the cake – Randall Becker had arranged for a cake to celebrate the upcoming 35th anniversary of Tandem Computers. A large, and very rich chocolate cake and on top was an icing silhouette of a tandem bicycle. Before the closing reception started, the cake was cut, and I managed to get a slice with a portion of the tandem bicycle. For the participants with ties back to the early days of Tandem, it brought a flood of memories of our early days in Cupertino.
I have always had a strong connection with regional user groups (RUGs). For several years, when I was on the board of ITUG, I had the task of supporting the RUG leadership worldwide and of representing them on the board. During the time as Director, I developed strong ties with many of the groups and I enjoyed the opportunity this role gave me to participate at their events: BITUG, VNUG, OzTUG, SATUG, CTUG, FTUG, GTUG, and many more. At one point there were more than 30 active RUGs and the annual meeting of the RUG leadership packed every venue we selected for the occasion.
I am pleased to report that what I saw firsthand at CTUG last week really encouraged me. There is a sense of community that continues to thrive at the regional level. HP and the independent vendor community, as I attempted to illustrate with the details described above, will always support events that attract a strong following among the user community, and support from such an important stakeholder, as are the NonStop users, ensures that the drive to develop products will continue. Next month, I will be attending GTUG and I am expecting to see similar support for their event!
But given today’s economic climate, there seems to be a growing population of self-employed folks liberally sprinkled across the NonStop field; consultants providing services to others in the community. Perhaps, given of my own circumstance, I paid a lot more attention to them than I ever had in the past. And even among the vendors that were exhibiting, there were several consultants present.
In the last posting to my social blog site, covering an earlier outing on a Colorado race track, I needed to pay a visit to a nearby tire store. For more on this, check out: http://buckle-up-travel.blogspot.com/2009/09/give-me-brake-concentrate.html. At that time I wrote of how impressed I was with the tire company, suggesting that after a “one and a half hour process (of cleaning the wheels and checking the tires) … the lads at Golden’s Big O tire shop simply told me it was free! I decided: my next set of tires? I am going to give them a chance to bid!”
Well as it so happened, after returning from a weekend a California race track only a week ago, I picked up a nail in a new tire and had to make another visit to this time the local tire shop. And again, they patched the tire, removing it from the wheel, and didn’t charge me anything. They sent me on my way with the simple request to “please consider us when it comes time to make your next tire purchase!”
There have been many times when I have had to visit tire shops through the years, and I recall I had to pay every time – but clearly, no aspect of business is free from competition. The value that comes from taking down my information, and registering me in a data base more than offsets the costs of fixing my tire. Just another example of where the information about the service has become just as important as the service itself.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the NonStop community fosters long term “fellowship.” Even when given the opportunity to work on different platforms and support other environments, many individuals that have faced life-altering career choices, have elected to become independent and to stay close to the NonStop community. The collective knowledge of the technology, products, and marketplaces these individuals posses probably surpasses what can be found anywhere else. Probably including what can be found these days within HP. And the opportunity to provide users and vendors alike with a variety of services only makes the community richer!
The photo of the rainbow above is a reminder for me that as the recovery begins to kick-in, there will be a considerably expansion of commerce. As the economy picks up and consumer confidence is restored, people will start to invest and business will become frenetic again. And there will be many corporations that make poor judgment calls in haste when it comes to information technology and products. However, across the NonStop community and, as evident from the continuing support for RUGs, there are individuals only too willing to help out.
NonStop users in particular, are very fortunate as to have access to this sizable pool of consulting and services talent. Rather than walking away from NonStop to find employment on other systems, or simply retiring, these individuals recognize how much added-value they can provide – particularly in these difficult economic times where budgets are so tight.
So many data centers are lightly staffed today and have no “bench” or “supporting cast” ready to be thrown onto the stage to help out. Big consulting firms will always be anxiously awaiting any opportunity to place contractors into these data centers, but their ranks are pretty thin when it comes to NonStop expertise. The NonStop consultants within our community can provide so much value in this respect.
And for the most part, they can be approached to help solve a variety of problems and to address even major concerns, for nothing more than a simple “please consider me when it comes time to make your next service(s) purchase!”
Friday, October 16, 2009
"I started July 1979 to work with Tandem and ever since then "je ne regrette rien" We had (still have) some critical economical times, we went through a lot of changes, but the excellent technique, the expertise and skill of the people, the commitment from everybody we were / are dealing with was something I really do not want to miss. And it is still pretty much alive and will be for the next decade. I am happy to be chair of the European NonStop event this year and to host the community. What better opportunity to celebrate the anniversary and to enjoy a beer-bust ‘Tandem style’ on Thursday evening".
I had serious doubts about making it home as I watched the gas tank drain away. But I made it. And for some time I had serious doubts about NonStop. But after 35 years and after listening to folks associated with NonStop for decades, I truly believe, the summit has yet to be crested! And there’s still plenty of gas in the tank.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
But the coming of fall is not just about the display of colors, but about change. We saw days where the thermometer dropped as much as 30 degrees. One day it was 80+, the next barely 50! And the storms? On two occasions the continental divide glistened white with snow and one early morning, we were treated to one of the best electrical storms I have seen in years – lined up, one behind the other, weather fronts moved across the state with the regularity (and precision) of a metronome!
It was out of necessity that I also had to visit the local tire shop. The frequent driving between Southern California and
I have often talked of change in these blog postings – it’s the one constant we all have to deal with. IT makes no allowances for our “comfort zones” and continues to throw new things at us – whether processors, storage, or software. And the rate of change makes no allowance for our need to pause occasionally, and to take stock (of our situation or our priorities). Just as the trees of the Rockies react to the stress of summer by shutting down and shedding their leaves, and the tires on our cars react to the abuse they receive at our hands (or should I say feet), we are reminded of how often we are called upon to make adjustments.
GoldenGate has been acquired by Oracle, with the earliest press releases hitting the wire services back in late July. For many of us working at GoldenGate, myself included, the news of the purchase was cause to celebrate. For the three years I had been working at GoldenGate, business activities had all focused on driving up the valuation of the company – and to make it attractive (and highly desirable) among vendors we considered viable suitors. And with the news of Oracle agreeing to purchase GoldenGate, we felt our efforts well vindicated. But then again, for those of us who worked in business development and who had responsibility for partner management, the immediate outlook looked pretty grim.
The nature of business development is to develop partnerships with high profile vendors that “accelerate” the sales growth across the company – a way to augment direct sales efforts by “bundling” features with the partner’s established product lines. But clearly, when a company is purchased, it’s by a much larger vendor as the price tag often takes it out of the reach of smaller vendors. The larger vendor is typically already well-served by partner managers and, just as importantly, probably has far more comprehensive connections into those partners than exists within a typical start-up.
This is exactly the situation with Oracle. In my case, the main partners I had been managing at GoldenGate were HP and IBM – and it was obvious from the outset that Oracle already had these two vendors well covered. All Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO ever needs to do is pick up the phone and call Mark Hurd or Sam Palmisano, and there would never be any misunderstanding or confusion by either Hurd or Palmisano about who was on the other end of the line!
So, once again, I am facing change and looking to add another entry into the log that is my career in IT. But how things have changed: the economic climate we all have to deal with has turned the old adage, about doors closing only to have others open, on its head as doors have simply been removed. Senior managers and corporate executives have to reinvent themselves and be highly visible agents of growth and of adding value – otherwise, there are few options. And I was quick to recognize that I had to turn traditional approaches (for my next “gig”) on their heads!
Welcome to Pyalla Technologies, LLC. And no, this has nothing to do with any Spanish seafood dish you may have seen on the menu of your favorite restaurant. Likewise, I can assure everyone, there’s no connection with ill-gotten gains so often associated with the recording industry! And I haven’t butchered anything from my wife’s Polish language either.
When I returned to
Only a few tribes around Port Jackson used the word Pyalla. And it simply means “to talk.” Today, we may be more familiar with Port Jackson by its other name,
By creating the new company, as I have already stated in a number of discussion threads on various online forums and user groups, I am declaring my intent to turn “pro” – although as best as I can tell, NCAA doesn’t have any rules covering situations quite like this. And no, I felt no need to rush out and hire an agent either. The IT profession hasn’t quite created an environment where this would be welcomed, although those in the recruitment business may argue differently. However, in today’s networked world where so much information is available with just a click of the mouse, I am quite inclined to believe it has become so much easier to communicate intentions and network on a scale unthinkable less than a decade before.
I plan to stay very close to the HP NonStop user community. And I plan to stay very engaged with the HP NonStop vendor community. My interests lie in all things related to middleware and infrastructure – whether communications protocols, or higher level services that we associate with SOA, or even the management and oversight of it all. It’s the data center that interests me most – setting it up, running it, managing it, and connecting it to those that depend on us: whether our customers or our business partners.
To this end, the new CEO of the Pyalla Technologies has accepted an invitation to join the board of Infrasoft Pty Limited, an Australian company focused on communications protocols as well as on Web services and SOA, and this will see me once again reunited with longtime associates from my days at Insession – Peter Shell and Neil Coleman. But I will also be working closely with several other ISVs helping out with white papers, essays and articles, as well as contributions to their social networking pursuits. Already, I am pleased to say, the work has started and I am absolutely thrilled by the reception I have received and with the enthusiasm with which my first inroads into the independent business world have been received.
For me, it’s the beginning of a new phase, a change of seasons, of adjustments better aligned with what I really like to do. Now there’s every chance. of course, that remaining independent may change as well – privatizing individuals is just as likely as privatizing companies in this economy. But for now, it’s a new world and I am having a lot of fun – fortunately, creativity and enthusiasm are still in great demand and I just love to talk (pyalla?) technologies!
While I may not have captured the title of “NonStop Talker,” a title I recently saw attributed to someone else, communicating and networking remain my first love in business and I will continue to write and to blog.
I will continue to be a presence in the HP NonStop user community – and yes, anyone can buy me a coffee at any time! In fact, I hope to start a regular “Coffee with Richard” series of virtual coffee shop meetings, where readers of this blog will have an opportunity to share their thoughts, discuss ideas, and either agree or disagree vigorously with what I will be talking about in the coming months!v