Women in tech

The study does offer some strategies to beat the trends and create more-inclusive cultures. This includes setting external goals; encouraging all parents to take parental leave; and providing mentors, sponsors and employee-resource networks.


Accenture and Girls Who Code also found that a disparity exists between how senior HR leaders at companies and women themselves perceive the situation. Forty-five percent of these HR respondents said it's “easy for women to thrive in tech.” For women, that percentage is 21, and it drops even lower, to 8 percent, for women of color. Fewer than half of HR leaders (38%) think that building a more inclusive culture is an effective way to retain and advance women.

Original source: Half of young women will leave their tech job by age 35, study finds

Project vs product, banking edition

Banks are on a digital transformation journey that will require them to get out of “project” mode, largely driven by IT, and transition to business-driven products that deliver customer needs through a planned and published roadmap—and then proceed on their journey to a platform orientation. In general, projects have an end date, while products have a lifecycle that continues to deliver capabilities well beyond the initial delivery. Projects typically perform only maintenance changes and don’t evolve the product’s capabilities. The product ethic is “standard issue” in software technology companies, many of which are already either operating as platforms (e.g., Google, AirBnB, Uber, etc.) or on the path to becoming one. The platform is a way to modularize products and combine them in different ways to meet customer requirements and business goals. Banks need to undertake this journey if they want to scale and benefit from powering an ecosystem that will help them generate incremental revenue with a very low capital outlay. Bottom line: To win, both banks and tech companies need a platform that powers both their products and their ecosystem.

Original source: Standing At The Crossroads: Observations on Banking and Technology

Het Gehucht – A. Defresne (1958) – BoekMeter.nl

I found a stack of old books on top of a trash bin here in Amsterdam. I got this one, and the description (translated by Google) looks awesome:

Book Week Gift 1958. A story about a hamlet that goes up in flames. There is a fun-fair and the Buoy King is challenged by a bunch of stupid farmers. A drunken student who got lost stands up for him, but his action fails. The Buoy King is running wild; the student disappears with his daughter. The pastor assumes it was the hand of God. The hamlet will never be rebuilt.

Sadly, it rained overnight, so the books are moist. Still, I’ll have to get fetch them to take pictures of good stuff.

One rando reviewer was not into it:

What a boring, meaningless book with a disturbing omniscient narrator. He looks down on the people in Het hamlet . The story drags on after the initial set of dressing. I did read the book, so that’s why the book gets two stars from me, but no, this is one of the worst book week gifts I’ve read.

See the entry in GoodReads, and a nice scan of a dry cover here.

Source: Het Gehucht – A. Defresne (1958) – BoekMeter.nl

Blame the rule for saying “no”

Steve Kamb, the founder of NerdFitness.com, told me that the best and most polite excuse is just to say you have a rule. “I have a rule that I don’t decide on the phone.” “I have a rule that I don’t accept gifts.” “I have a rule that I don’t speak for free anymore.” “I have a rule that I am home for bath time with the kids every night.” People respect rules, and they accept that it’s not you rejecting the offer, request, demand, or opportunity, but the rule allows you no choice.

Original source: My Octopus Teacher/Pocket synth/Dreamy wallpapers

Time with kids

It isn’t that I like my job more than my kids overall—if I had to pick, the kids would win every time. But the “marginal value” of time with my kids declines fast. In part, this is because kids are exhausting. The first hour with them is amazing, the second less good, and by hour four I’m ready for a glass of wine or, even better, some time with my research.

Original source: Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool

Oracle’s strategic missteps

Success in old it was a big reason why Oracle was late to the new sort: cloud computing. Mr Ellison long dismissed it as a faddish label for existing technology. By the time he realised it was an epochal shift in it, Oracle had fallen behind. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (oci), as it calls its offering, is said to have sales of less than $2bn annually, compared with more than $40bn for Amazon Web Services (aws). The e-commerce titan’s market-leading cloud unit is valued at several times Oracle’s market capitalisation of $178bn. Cloud-based rivals of the sort that Mr Ellison once dismissed, such as Adobe and Salesforce, are worth around a quarter more than his firm.

Even in databases, Oracle’s core business, the world has moved on. For many new applications, such as customer-facing websites, its tools are too expensive and inflexible. Recent years have seen the rise of more specialised digital repositories, many of them in the cloud and based on malleable “open source” software. According to Gartner, a research firm, Oracle’s share of the database market fell from nearly 44% in 2013 to 28% last year. And it has yet to shake off a reputation for antagonising clients with things like audits to verify their use of software by workers—and hefty charges for firms that exceed licence limits. Brent Thill of Jefferies, a bank, echoes other Oracle bears when he says that the company has been stuck for years even as “we are living in the data age, the biggest tech-boom ever.”

I'm not sure you can avoid open source destroying a closed source market. Oracle does have MySQL, but can revenue from a “free” piece of software replace Oracle DB losses?

Original source: Can TikTok help Oracle stay relevant in the cloud-computing age?

Getting customer feedback makes better businesses

“The use of near- and real-time analytics to collect CX data is a rising trend among growth companies, with 43% of product managers at growth companies using analytics to collect and analyze customer perception and sentiment data. This is compared with just 22% of product managers at nongrowth companies.”

Original source: Gartner Says Growth Companies Are More Actively Collecting Customer Experience Data Than Nongrowth Companies

My recap of the agile leadership track at SpringOne 2020

We did a recap/favorites for talks at SpringOne Platform this week. Here’s my section.

In addition to praise for Cora and Maria’s talk on service meshes, I called out these talks:

  • Air France-KLM talk.
  • TD Ameritrade on ROI
  • Jana Werner, Tesco Bank – “Tesco Bank has embarked on a digital transformation journey, and at the heart of it lies a shift of culture and the adoption of modern product development practices. What could go wrong? Everything! Culture, leadership, bureaucracy, route to production, you name it. Yet, with the help of VMware Pivotal Labs, we delivered an amazing product during a time of great need for our customers: a digital gift card allowing volunteers to shop for self-isolating and vulnerable customers, while creating our very first cross-functional Product Team, now scaling out rapidly with enthusiastic people and full exec sponsorship. If you’d like to learn what it takes, what not to do, and how to fast-track your digital transformation, don’t miss this talk.”
  • BT’s talks

Perhaps I had other mentions too, watch the video to see!

Source: VMwareTanzu – Twitch

BT SpringOne Talk: developer first and a willingness to learn and change as needed – Notebook

BT SpringOne Talk: developer first and a willingness to learn and change as needed

A keynote given by Rajesh Premchandran, BT

BT wants to get better at how their do business, through software. Their strategies are, of course, operational excellence, but also getting software that improves the customer’s experience. This means they need to simplify how business is done, which they did by transforming the way they do software: IT underpins this corporate transformation, Rajesh says.

His approach to telling this story is to talk about how BT questioned some initial assumptions. On some of their initial plans, they pivoted (adapted) when they discovered new needs and realitis. On others, they persisted when they really needed the change. For example, at first, they thought that having a PaaS would be good enough for all development and app needs.

A pivot example: they discovered that more fine grained control was needed for some apps (esp. legacy ones), so they added in kuberntes. Here. PCF/TAS and TKG.

A persist example: security had to move from security by static IP. Because they were moving to AWS and microservices, things needed to be more dynamic. There was no way to achieve their tech-stack transformation otherwise. So, they persisted.

The third area he describes is their approach to removing ops toil from application developer’s agenda. As ever, they want apps developers to focus on…apps! And have time to explore and innovate making the apps better to deliver on customer service goals. (You see several example from Comcast on this with their new TV apps and improving customer service with ChatBots, and even in-home wifi coverage calibration, etc.) He also comments on a discovery, or validation of a predictable state, in my rewording: developers aren’t good at production ops and don’t really realize all the new tasks they’ll need to do – responisbilities they have! – in a DevOps model. So, they had pivot to training them and putting in place tech stuff to make it work better for them.

He has some fantastic framing: "instead of letting [developers] grapple with operating model choices, we adopted a more human-centric approach to educating teams."

He touches briefly on some portfolio modernization strategy. The benefits of doing, I think, were that they spent their time wisely, modernizing apps that were feasible and valuable to modernize instead of all of them. I could use more detail here, but I think the point is made – I mean it’s a five or six minute talk, so it’s fine. For a lot more, check out the ever excellent Rohit explaining this kind of portfolio app modernization analysis.

There’s another, long BT talk that I haven’t fully dissected yet.

Raw(er) notes

  • BT business – Fixed line, mobile TV, and networking.
  • Goals:
    • Lead in converged activity by simplifying business.
    • Build scalable platforms for growth.
    • Creating leaner business models.
    • IT underpins this corporate transformation.
  • "The challenges arise from our ways of working, process, account policies, security postures, and even we inventory software assests."
  • Three challenges and how they worked with them:
    1. Strategy.
      • A PaaS, PCF/TAS with Spring – time to deploy from 2 months to 2 minutes. Also, microservices.
      • But, people wanted kubernetes for finer grain control, and needs for non/fuzzy cloud-native apps. Used TKG for this.
      • Listening to devteam
    2. Security.
      • Moved from static IP to static IP, public IP addresses.
      • AWS networking needs, i.e., elastic IPs and REST endpoints.
    3. People.
      • "They also were not fully aware of the [new] shared responsibilities of managing infrastructure as code, or how their roles changed when adopting the cloud."
      • E.g., with a more DevOps approach, "their responsibilities did not end with a cf push."
      • Enterprise architects looked through portfolio to bucket apps into legacy, strategic, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS to plan out the way of working, priorities, app modernization tasks.
      • Drives concensous on "application treatment" and how to educate teams on their roles and new skills.
      • Also, this eliminates scope overlap in our budgets and app modernization plans, allowing the PaaS team to focus on executation, [instead of work that wasn’t applicable to the various apps strategies and bucketing].

InfoWorld interview

Also, an excellent InfoWorld interview with Rajesh where he talks about several of these points, even more stridently.

Some highlights:

  • Rajesh: "What really happens is you’ve got to tease out what is containerizable"
  • "To overcome this challenge, BT has established a platform team, dedicated to helping application teams identify these containerizable elements and find the best environment in which to host them, be it in the public cloud or on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS)."
  • Rajesh: "You have to handhold them, otherwise they will take the biggest unit they can handle, put that into a Docker container and then lo and behold you’ve got the same monster on better infrastructure — that doesn’t solve your business problem."
  • "This is a constant tussle," he admits, "where people want Kubernetes by default, but I think you’ve got to be a bit more prescriptive in the beginning to developers and then as you see them maturing, have them make those independent choices."
  • "the next task is to scale it out via documentation and word of mouth buzz, both for in-house engineers and with external partners."
  • Rajesh: "If you look at how standards are democratized, you’ve got enterprise architecture that looks at the overall architecture standards and policies, then you have solution architects, who are a level down and are specific to a product, and finally we have distinguished engineers — we call them expert engineers — who are also key influencers for other developers, who look up to them."

Depression is a reality distortion field

While I’m manic I assume that people want to hear what I have to say. I assume that people are interested in what’s happening to me, and that what I can share might help them in their own lives. When I’m depressed, it’s the opposite. I assume that nobody wants to hear from me, that nobody could possibly care enough about what I have to say for it to matter. I get down about my readership and listenership numbers — I don’t think there’s any number high enough to make me feel validated in those times. There’s no amount of affirmation that can make me feel like I’m OK.

One of the key understandings is that rational proofs, responses, "argument" that "everything will be fine, is fine," don’t stick, simply aren’t believable. Imagine if someone told you that the world was flat, that time portals were always opening just around the block but you were refusing to see them. That feeling of dismissing the stupid impossibility of those claims is what it feels like, there’s no appeal to reason.

Original source: Bipolar: feelings vs. reality

Crisis drives transformation

The rise of digital-business models predates the pandemic, reflected in how quickly organizations were able to pivot to telemedicine, online learning and remote work, according to Kristin Moyer, research vice president and distinguished analyst at technology-research firm Gartner Inc.

But in its wake, nearly 70% of corporate boards cite the impact of Covid-19 for a ramp up in spending on IT and digital capabilities, according to a Gartner analysis this month.

Gartner forecasts global IT spending to reach just under $3.7 trillion next year, up 4.3% from 2020. Within total spending, investment in cloud-based IT infrastructure is expected to surge 27.6%, to $64.3 billion in 2021, Gartner says.

The goal for companies, Ms. Moyer adds, is to enhance customer engagement and generate revenue by driving “a higher proportion of business through digital channels.”

Unfortunately, for most it’s only a crisis that drives change. Hopefully once people in the organization demonstrate to themselves that the new way of working is possible and works, they’re more into sustaining the new way of working.

Original source: Enterprise Tech Efforts Move Beyond Survival Mode

Tanzu Talk Live 20200924 – First Show – Empathetic Lunatics & The Great Developers Using Kubernetes Scare

I started a new, I don’t know, streaming thing today. I’m trying out live streaming every Tuesday and Thursday at 11am Amsterdam time. It was nice – but we’ll see if it matters.

Here’s the recording.

I didn’t monitor myself, so my wires were screwed up and there’s a hum for most of it. Sorry!

And, here’s my “shows notes.” I used miro for this, which I didn’t like. I think I need something simpler. People tell me there’s HackMD. I dunno.

Anyhow! You should subscribe or whatever one does and watch these.

All those Q4 deals

McKay relayed an anecdote about an executive who waited until midnight on vendor’s year-end sales cycles to secure discounts. While this approach to pressuring vendors worked in many cases, it also gave the company a "nasty" reputation. If a salesperson brands a company as "difficult to work with … it can backfire on you," said McKay. Midnight deadlines should only be used in emergency scenarios.

Nice way for everyone to spend New Year’s Eve…

Original source: How to negotiate software costs as IT budgets are slashed