Coté Memo #080: Come on, register for this God damn webinar

This week is a lull in travel. I’m closing out the year by going to lots of DevOpsDays (Charlotte, where I’m speaking, and Silicon Valley next week), a few internal summits, and my first Gartner show, where I’m speaking in a sponsored slot.

Tech & Work World

Shameless Self Promotion

Journey Time

I finished up my “cloud native journey” series recently. The real title should be something more like “how not to fuck up your cloud strategy.” Obviously, it explains the type of thinking and environment that Pivotal Cloud Foundry is built for, but I spend most of the time discussing “culture” change in an organization, regardless of what technology you use.

Check out the series, and if you’d prefer the hear me present it, we have a three part webinar series, the first one is out next week, Nov 5th with the next two coming out in December, on the 1st and then the 15th.

There’s also a preview of the first webinar in the form of my slides if you want to poke at it.

Back to Evernote

Clearly, I’m the kind of person who switches between things a lot. After a long time using the old plain text files in Dropbox approach, I went back to using Evernote. I missed the “all in one thing” nature of Evernote and the ability to put images in there. This is sort of possible with markdown and plain text files, but not as easy.

After re-wiring all Drafts to save things to Evernote and a few weeks of usage, I think it’s pretty good. The iOS apps are responsive enough, and I also like having 7 years of my stuff in there. The related notes it shows in searches are interesting. The geo-location’ing that Evernote is also interesting. I enjoy looking through my digital past with as much data as possible to refresh my memory.

Now that I’m not getting briefed all the time (and instead spend most of time creating content rather than in meetings) I don’t actually take that many notes.

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Fun & IRL

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At first, I thought this was a costume of a motion capture suit. “Light Up Stick Man” makes a lot more sense.

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Avoiding screwing up your cloud strategy: the greenfield journey

I’m doing a series of webinars based on my cloud native journey blog series, see the slides above (once the recording posts, I’ll embed it here as well!).

The gist of this series is my collection of advice on getting your cloud strategy right, mostly for large organizations. It starts with defining why you’d care (custom written software can now be used as a core competitive advantage, like never before), what the goals are (getting good at custom software development and delivery), and then gives advice across three different phases (greenfield, legacy, and organization transformation), or parts of the “maturity cycle” (a phrase I didn’t really use in the series).

Check out the first webinar on Nov. 5th at noon central, with two more coming in December, on the 1st and then the 15th.

“You should put that on The Slide” – Software Defined Talk #47

Summary

What’s the right play for getting iPhone subscriptions in the US? What’s RedHat’s $100m acquisition of Ansible mean, and is this Dell/EMC thing gonna work out? That and more is what we talk about this week, plus the ATM market.

Listen above, subscribe to the feed, or download the MP3 directly.

With Brandon Whichard, Matt Ray, and Coté.

SPONSOR: Take our awesome, multi-cloud PaaS for a test-ride. Get two free months of Pivotal Web Services. Whether you want to deploy on-premises, in a dedicated public cloud, or just keep using our PaaS, Pivotal Cloud Foundry has everything you need for doing cloud-native applications. Go to cote.io/pivotal for the sign-up code!

SPONSOR: Want to go to the Chef Community Summits? Check out the summit in London Nov. 3rd to 4th. Register with the code SOFTWARE to get 20% off!

Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes, RSS Feed

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Recommendations

Gulf oysters

“The whole time I was watching that stupid spill cam with dispersant being injected into the spill, I thought oysters, oysters, oysters,” New Orleans chef Frank Brigsten told local news outlet the Times-Picayune last year.

There’s plenty of people who turn up their nose at gulf oysters. But, growing up on those big, ugly, juicy things, they’re the ones I love best over fancy named, effete tiny ones from other places. Recently, it has been harder to find them. Too bad.

See original story.

Coté Memo #079: No Comment, Slack Behavior

Tech & Work World

No Comment

Big news for the company I work in this week. Sadly for my desires to write about and link to interesting stories on it, I have to take a pass. It’s bad form for employees to comment on any of this stuff; and since I worked at Dell on strategy and M&A for software and cloud, it’s double a bad idea. There’s a lot of good write-ups out there, enjoy them.

Slack Behavior

I complain about Slack a lot in the SDT podcast, but, really, it’s a good, effective collaboration tool. The more technical people use it at Pivotal: we’re waiting for the sales and corporate marketing people to get in there. Once everyone gets in, I think it’ll be great. The idea that it not only cuts down on email but speeds up decision making (and, thus, action) is very true, anecdotally for me at least. Daily I find myself about to send an email and then thinking, “I should just write to the person in Slack or put this in the channel.” In that respect, it’s much like instant messaging, to be sure.

In the marketing/evangelism groups I’ve been in, we don’t do much with the integrations – early on we played with things like Trello integration. The integrations clog the channel up a bit.

What I’d like to see more of, in our use, is thinking more about how we use: making the implicit explicit, as it were. For example, we had a discussion about what the “available”e icon means. Does it mean someone will respond back quickly? Nope, not in out Slack “culture”: it doesn’t really mean anything, people will reply when they reply.

The other thing we should try to do more is create channels for ongoing “threads” of conversation. For example, we have a #DevOpsDays channel to discuss our participation on those conferences.

Anyhow, it’s a good tool. Slack is at that difficult point now where they have to balance throwing in new features and changing nothing at all. It’ll be fun to see what they come up with. I’d love to have a Google Hangouts/Skype/Zoom that works perfectly and seamlessly. They used to call it “unified communications,” and it’d be nice to have another go at that.

Travel

I’ll be at several events this Fall and Winter:

If you’re at any, I’d love to meetup and talk with you.

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Tips on using social media from analyzing how celebrities manage their brands

Some highlights from the article that seem to apply to any marketing use of social media:

  • “If staying on message is the first rule of corporate communications, it is also the cardinal sin of social media.”
  • Each medium has it’s own format and expectations: “corporations can and should differentiate their approach to each platform, digital-marketing experts say.”
  • “Instagram is stylish, behind the scenes” – well, for most of us, “stylish” won’t apply. But the “behind the scenes” part is interesting.
  • “Validate your followers with likes, comments and retweets. It builds goodwill.”
  • Frequent factotumia – “It’s about showing up every single day and showing pieces of their lives rather than when they have a premiere or something to promote.”
  • “Instead of trying to get followers to buy their product, companies can gently boost their brand by commenting on current events.”

Source: What Celebrities Can Teach Companies About Social Media

Business people need to understand how software development works

This led middle managers to over promise and under deliver. One middle manager told us that “you can get resources by promising something earlier, or promising a lot. It’s sales work.” This was made worse by the lack of technical competence among top managers, which influenced how they could assess technological limitations during goal setting.

As one middle manager pointed out to us, at Apple the top managers are engineers. “We make everything into a business case and use figures to prove what’s good, whereas Apple is engineer-driven.” Top managers acknowledged to us that “there was no real software competence in the top management team”.

Who knows if that notion about Apple is true or if it causes their success. The broader point of needing to understand the unpredictable nature of software is still important. As more organizations start using and making custom written software (if only to make mobile “store fronts” to their business), knowledge of the chaotic nature of software development needs to spread more beyond IT. Even IT people get it dreadfully wrong often.

So far the best tactic we have is to redefine what “success is”: it’s not delivering everything you promised on time, but being predictable about delivering something on regular intervals. That’s a vague way of saying delivering smaller batches of code into production more often. We sort of predict/hope that this results in more useful, better software overall. We’ll see.

Now, of course, part of this process is being honest about reality. The analysis of Nokia’s failures because “management” would not accept “real talk” from their employees will kill any innovation-driven business. As the company (and RIM and countless others) shows: tech companies are never so secure that they can afford to be confident in their market position.