Coté Memo #071: How to eat a bubble at #ApacheCon

The Cloud Foundry Summit is coming up on May 11th and 12th, in Santa Clara. It’s a great chance to dive into Cloud Foundry ecosystem both on the technology side and to hear how organizations are using Cloud Foundry to become Software Defined Businesses. Register now with the discount code COTE and get 25%, which will bring the price down from $250 to about $187.

Follow-up

  • None this week.

Tech & Work World

ApacheCon 2015

It being in Austin, I’m at ApacheCon this year. The ASF was nice enough to give me a media pass, which Pivotal being a big sponsor wasn’t necessary, but I thought it was a sweet gesture, the kind of sentimental stuff I appreciate. I used to do media training with them (come sit with a real analyst for 5 minutes) which I always enjoyed immensely.

I’m helping man the Cloud Foundry booth a bit (we have plenty of folks keeping the Pivotal booth humming since we do a lot of data stuff in this community and launched Geode today).

Today the traffic was pretty slow (the data folks had more), but the nature of people we talked with was more interesting than volume. I’ll see how it pans over the next few days, but my theory is that ApacheCon is good more for business development (partner, etc.) than for “lead-gen” (finding potential customers, working on retaining existing ones). Indeed, I talked with one of the fellas at another booth and he turned out to be their biz-dev guy, who echoed this theory back at me.

Also, they served lunch at Threadgill’s. Yuh!

Jevon's Chicken Fried Steak

(“Introducing a Canadian to chicken fried steak” photo no actually from today. Also: pie!)

A bubble-talk bubble

It’s like there’s some coordinated PR effort going on: have you noticed how much “there’s a bubble talk, yes/no?” talk has been going on of late? There’s this interview with Marc Andreessen, some horseman of the digital apocalypse vitriol, and more from Scott Kupor at Andreessen’s outfit.

The most recent Exponent podcast is the best overview of the topic, which I’d recommend, along with Ben’s write-up.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

How to eat

One day I hope to do a “series” called “how to eat.” It’ll go over the proper eating procedures for various types of food. When I pitch this to people, they get confused. Why would you need that? Well, for example, what’s the proper way to eat sushi? How would you explain how to eat a hamburger and onion rings to someone who’d never seen it? What do you do with all those little bowls of stuff you get a Korean restaurant? When you’re eating at one of those European hotel breakfast buffets, what’s up with all that lunch meat? How do you eat a taco properly, or a chalupa (as we call all tostada like things in Texas)? You get the idea.

Just think of how fun it’d be to make videos of all that! And then blogs-cum-books, and so on. Even a podcast.

The further part of the dream is couple it up with the series my wife would do called “You’re doing it wrong.” Each episode would be about the modern day etiquette practices that people often overlook. People would be going about putting on a wedding (“if you’re family helping out, don’t try to hijack the agenda”), a baby shower (“don’t just buy random stuff, figure out the style they want and don’t deviate”), visiting with friends (“ask if you should strip the bed when you leave”), and so forth, and Kim would bust in after the initial montage of things going wrong and say, “you’re doing it wrong!” and then go on in the rest of the episode to explain things like, for example, how you need to figure out if Christmas gift-giving is done on the “give them whatever you think they want” vs. the “give them only exactly what they asked for” methods.

The “cross-over” would occur every now and then (maybe during the credits) where I’d stumble on with some food-related thing (“here’s how to eat at a wedding”) and basically be a buffoon that my wife would roll her eyes at (“as long as the bride and groom are having a good time, don’t be afraid to fill your plate with those mini steaks! Is this an open bar situation?” [wife rolls eyes])..and then she could come on my show occasionally and tell people how they’re doing it wrong (“always bring over a nice bottle of wine, no matter what the host said!”).

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Coté Memo #070: Lost in the review hole, Lord of Computing

There’s few links today, just some pointers to now published material that I’ve alluded to recently, and some moaning on needing to be a better team-player.

Follow-up

  • We got up to 100 subscribers, so good job there, y’all ;)

  • As several people wrote, the word I was looking for in that discussion of lower case letters is “semiotics”, the study of symbols.

  • The podcast I excerpted from on the operational needs of cloud platforms (and people who don’t capitalize words) is now up. There’s audio, of course, and a full transcript.

Tech & Work World

I am not scalable

I’ve been struggling with extending my reach of effectiveness at work. That is, working well with others. When it comes to “getting things done,” I’m very good at it if I do all of it on my own, and every knob and wing-ding from concept to delivery is under my control. Once someone else gets involved in more than a faceless way, things slow down. I almost give up because I can’t stand to wait.

This is very much so driven by the blogger culture that I “grew up in” over the lat 90s and 2000s. You would just type, hit publish, think of new edits, hit publish again, etc. It gets enforced by a (non-pairing) programmer mentality where you can do all you need on your own (short of last code review, perhaps), pretty much.

In the white-collar world, things are rarely like this. First, there’s often at least one other person who has to approve your work. This is often to the benefit of the message and making sure the company does well. Second, there are often “gate keepers” who control the release of product into the world.

Each of these steps (and others) are intended to add value to the end product, but I still struggle to value those steps myself and, thus, find the value in them. Obviously, that’s an annoying problem for all people involved. Now, watch me click publish…

New Podcast

I (re-)started a new podcast today, here’s the first episode:

How to demo your cloud poop, don’t smoke corn silk, and other advice for people who lived in the 1930s – Lords of Computing Podcast 001

After catching up several times over the past few months, John Willis and I decided to reboot our podcast from long ago. In this first episode, we talk about putting together good demos for cloud platforms, among other things.

We’ve re-named it the Lords of Computing, borrowing an ancient domain name I’ve had forever. Take a listen, and subscribe! (This will be three podcasts I do regularly now, which is great: it’s one of the things I like doing most.)

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work. I did notice that there was a half pot of coffee left at 3pm today. Something was going wrong.

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Coté Memo #069: Chili Cheese Tots, shift key avoidance syndrome

Follow-up, Follow-forward

  • The column I excerpted from last time is up, over at FierceDevOps: Software-defined businesses need software-defined IT departments. Tell me what you think; they asked me to write a monthly piece, so I’d love to get some ideas for topics going: got any?

  • I got some good feedback on the podcast sponsorship meanderings. Apparently, there’s pretty good money in tech podcasts. The next thing I’m curious about is if the advertising actually works…or how people even measure it.

  • We have 98 subscribers right now – exciting! Tell one of your pals to sign up so we can get above 100 for the next one.

  • I’ll be at ApacheCon (in Austin) next week. We’re hosting a related event during the conference if you’re interested; I advised them on pizza ordering (either Home Slice or Conan’s – we’ll see what happens). It’d be fun to chat if you’re there. A few weeks on, I’ll be at DevOpsDays Austin, giving a talk and hanging out. The Cloud Foundry Summit is coming up and, as you might guess, I’ll be there as well.

Tech & Work World

no caps

Today, I bring you an excerpt from an upcoming Pivotal Conversation episode with Andrew, due to be published this week:

Coté: You know, I was thinking. There’s something I wanted to ask you. You have, like myself, pretty broad experience in the IT world over a couple of decades now, which is odd to think about. I think you’ve had your head in a slightly different silo than I have, in the early days. I think you can answer something that’s been bugging me. What is up with people who don’t use the shift key? Like they never capitalize anything. They have good punctuation. They don’t capitalize the beginning of sentences. Am I over thinking this? Is there … I feel like a lot of technological people that I know, I shouldn’t say a lot, there’s a fair amount of them who don’t capitalize things. Because they’re sort of like programmers or operators, I know that they pay close attention to syntax. I feel like it must be a conscious choice. Right? They must have decided, sort of like: one day I decided I’m not going to put 2 spaces after a period. Done. I never do that. Right? So, I ask you again, what’s going on with people who don’t capitalize things?

Andrew C Shafer: I think it’s just a hipster…I sometimes do that. It actually is conscious.

Michael Coté: See. This is … I’m not passing any judgment. I have no judgment to pass at all. I’m genuinely curious. When that affectation is applied intentionally, what the semantic thing is going on there. Is it, what’s that fancy word, like the study of symbols? Symbiotic? There’s some sort of symbiotic thing going on there.

Andrew C Shafer: Quite frankly, I don’t know how philosophical you want to get, in an encore performance here, but I don’t actually see the point of capitalization. Seems redundant.

Michael Coté: Now, that’s a statement right there. I like it. That’s something meaty. I think, this has been my theory.

Andrew C Shafer: With punctuation and spacing, what purpose does capitalization…

Michael Coté: Yeah. Yeah. It can all be inferred, basically. Right? You know. This would also highlight why, if this was like 2002 and we were complaining about the kids with their T9 texting, that would be a whole other discussion of no capitalization. In this case, I think it’s this subset of people who are technologically inclined. I feel like the answer you just gave is probably what’s going on with a lot of them. It’s like, I want to have an economy in my writing that strips out anything that’s unnecessary.

Andrew C Shafer: Yeah. It’s a protest against hierarchy.

Michael Coté: Namely the hierarchy of typefaces that are taller than others.

Andrew C Shafer: Exactly. We don’t need a class system.

Michael Coté: We need a class system. That’s an entirely different type of “class system” we’re talking about. Not separating things out in their value. More logos space class system.

We then talk some sort of tech stuff. I’ll drop in a link to the episode once it’s published. Or, just subscribe to the podcast feed to get it once it’s published.

“the feeling of being informed when you get to the very end”

Ben Thompson pointed out this good, short interview with The Economist’s Tom Standage

I love their Espresso app, and here’s some stats on it:

It’s $3 per month. It’s doing well: We’ve had about 600,000 downloads. Weekly reach is about 200,000 readers, daily reach is about 120,000 readers. 175,000 weekly subscribers have enabled free access to Espresso. So in all of those ways, it’s good.

…I don’t know all those term well enough, but let’s take a stab. I’ll assume “daily reach” means people paying for it regularly. So, the revenue could be something like:

$3 X 200,000 = $600,000

I’m unsure if that 175,000 weekly readers is on-top of the 200,000. I’m a weekly (digital) subscriber (through airline miles!) and I added it (meaning, I don’t pay “extra”). Anyhow, like many people I probably don’t actually read the weekly edition of The Economist cover to cover, but I do tend to read the daily Espresso.

Someone in tech needs to do that model. It’s a great format: a few hundred words per story with a summary of 3-4 stories at the end, and then the usual Economist numbers fest. If you could draw lines around “enterprise IT” (that is, not Apple, Google, Facebook, and all that), I think you’d have something pretty good. You’d need to define the companies, technologies, and topics you cover there, and then just take the Espresso approach. Their “model” is world news and business, of course: much larger. Scoping down to just some chunk of the IT world would be easy enough for 1, maybe 2 people to boot-strap in. And fun!

Quick Hits

Nice chart on Uber growth:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

As you’ll recall, I threw together this one from rumored revenue in the Wall Street Journal:

Uber's rumored net revenue

I like to use these charts to illustrate how fast a software defined business can grow and that, you know, it’s a thing.

Fun & IRL

Eating Right

We visited with friends for Easter this weekend.

On the way, I enjoyed a rare road-food treat at Sonic:

Sonic Chili Cheese Tater Tots

To make up for that, our friends made excellent food each night, for example:

Eating right

I didn’t get a picture of the lamb-chops. Or the omelet stuffed with left over smoked pork.

#WorkingFromHome, lanyard signaling

A reader wrote in:

One tip on working from home from a friend that works at Cisco. He wears his Cisco badge on a lanyard when he works at home, so even when he goes to get a drink from the fridge the family knows he’s still “at work”. He just holds the badge up when his wife asks him to flip the laundry or take out the trash. For me, I’m still trying to get French doors put on my home office door to help w/the noise. Looking forward to your tips.

Man, I think my wife would kill me if I did that, but it does get to the point. Sometimes signaling is all that’s needed. My wife is very good at responding to a door closed signal. Whether it’s locked or not she assumes that means no interruptions and will keep the kids out, even I actually don’t mind. So, I have to be very mindful of door closed or not.

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Coté Memo #000: No jokes here.

Tech & Work World

“What kind of company do you think we are?”

Here’s some excerpts from a FierceDevOps column I submitted yesterday.

Quick tip: if you’re in a room full managers and executives from non-technology companies and one of them asks, “what kind of company do you think we are?”…no matter what type of company they are, the answer is always “a technology company.” That’s the trope us in the technology industry have successfully deployed into the market in recent years. And, indeed, rather than this tip being backhanded mocking, it’s praise. These companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to use software and connected devices in novel ways to establish competitive advantage in their businesses. They’re angling to win customer cash by having better software and technology than their competitors.

And, later revisiting my old IT – SaaS = what? trope…

There’s another “horseman” in the broader industry that’s driving the need to change how IT departments are structured: the rise of SaaS. Before the advent of SaaS across application categories, software had to be run and managed in-house (or handed off to outsources to run): each company needed its own team of people to manage each instance of the application.

451 Research ChangeWave Cloud Usage

Source: 451 Research/ChangeWave

As SaaS use grows more and more, that staffing need changes. How many IT staff members are needed to keep Google Apps or Microsoft’s Office 365 up and running? How many IT staff do you need to manage the storage for Salesforce or Successfactors? Indeed, I would argue that companies use more and more SaaS instead of on-premises packaged software, the staffing needs change dramatically: they lessen. You can look at this in a cost-cutting way, as in “let’s reduce the budget!” Hopefully you can look at it in a growth way instead: we’ve freed up the budget to focus on something more valuable to the business. In most cases, that thing will writing custom software. That is: developers.

Quick Hits

tumblr April Fools

Fun & IRL

#WorkingFromHome

I’ve been collecting some little aphorisms and such on working from home when you have young kids. I find it extremely challenging, and rewarding at the same time. I’m curious how other people cope. Part of the issue is that, with a 1.5 and 5 year old, about once every 30 minutes someone is crying or wants attention. There’s just no letting up. If you’re the parent working, you have to just ignore it, which is weird.

Here’s something I wrote up recently:

The end of the day is the worst. Your family asks you every five minutes when you’ll be done; they start wanting to play with you. At the same time, you’re desperately trying to find time to get done. Each time they interact with you, it slows you down.

The answer, of course, is the same as always: you have to control access to you in a way that;s not assholey. Lock a door, go to a distant room. You have to hide.

Five year olds aren;t up to speed on the cost of context switching and haven’t read the maker/manager essay.

Anyhow, I think there’s a good presentation in collecting enough tips and, more helpful, counseling to make it work.

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Coté Memo #065: Back home, finally

After two weeks away from home, I’m finally back.

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Follow-up

Some reader follow-up on the Mexican matches from @MordodeMaru:

That match-box sure is another mindfuck. I think the key is the de lujo rather than the Clásicos. De lujo means high-class, luxurious and those objects (except for the Parthenon temple) are considered high society objects. It’s a very typical Spanish expression to say something is de lujo to mean cool, and this is something publicity picks up very frequently.

Tech & Work World

The industry analyst business – meta-level

I finally wrapped a long post on the tech industry analyst market. As I talked about in a recording for thenewstack.io analyst podcast, I originally wrote the first draft back in April of last year when Ben Thompson first launched Exponent.fm. In a more recent episode, he went over how his business has been going (very well!) which reminded me that I should finish up the post.

In the proceding time there was new data out there which allowed me to rate his success by revenue, broadly. And, since I’d left the analyst world, I felt a little more free in analyizing that world.

Anyhow, it’s been nice to hear the reception from other analyst types. In talking through the piece with Alex Williams today, I think the part that I found lacking (as I disclaimed in an aisde at the top of the post) was an explanation of how this new crop of analysts could better attract buy-side customers.

What the new analysts do is mostly “vendor sports” which is appealing to the investment community (who wants to know how to allocate their money), vendors (who want ideas and competative intel), and the smaller “general audience” that just wants tech news. Buyers want advice about what IT to buy and how to use it. Alex and others are exploring ways of doing that…but there could be a lot more done there to marry-up the kind of work Ben Thompson, Horace Dediu, and even RedMonk does with Wirecutter style reviews (credit to SDT co-host Brandon Whichard for the Wirecutting framing which I think is spot on).

The issue, as I do cover in the post, is that doing these kinds of reviews and advice for enterprise technology is really expensive. Imagine what it would take to build out labs and tests to evaluate all the OpenStack distros, running in various modes…and then compare them to VMware and Microsoft virtualization. Or to evaluate all the ERP software out there.

I think it’s technically possible and would even be interesting. The problem is the opportnity cost for people involved: if you had the analytical and technical acumen to do that kind of testing, you can probably make more money working for an actual enterprise or vendor.

The problem always comes down to what people want to pay for, and it doesn’t seem easy to make money off the hard work in IT analyst land. That’s part of why Gartner has such a strong position, and, as I advise in the piece, an area they could defence against well.

As a side-note, I left out something I’d noticed about Forrester while putting together charts for the piece: they seem to be loosing profits, I’m not sure why, could be for growth or something bad.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

It looks like you’re supposed to drink 3-5 cups of coffee a day now. That and two glasses of wine a day, and we’ll finally be livin’ the life!

Honestly, I can’t keep up with all this stuff. Is there some source for nutritional advice that can be trusted more than 24 months?

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Coté Memo #064: I’m calling from Mexico, someone has stolen the Venus de Milo!

Follow-up

  • We’re up to 90 subscribers and one of you went a helped out one of our sponsors (The Craftsman PM), so thanks!

Tech & Work World

Sayulita

Week in Mexico

I had a nice chance to spend the week in Mexico this week. A friend of mine rented a house here in Sayulita and asked if we wanted to go along. Since I work remotely, so long as there’s a fast enough Internet connection, I’m good to go. Now, the family is frolicing around on the beach while I type away in cyberspace. What a world!

That advice from The Hitchhiker’s Guide was right, though: we should of brought more towels.

Allow to comment on the odd design of these matches:

Week in Mexico

First off all, the Venus statue. Sure. Makes sense for matches. And there’s a train, of course, and the Pantheon goes along with the statue…plus you can win $1,500 pesos? I’m not really sure what’s happening here.

I like to think there’s a caper where someone stole the Venus de Milo and is transporting it on a train. Perhaps an overworked Mexican detective is working with interpol investigating where this Mexican train is traveling and trying to find the statue. I don’t know, they sent the Venus di Milo to a musem in Mexico, or it was being transporting between the Panama Canal and Boston, or something. A sort of The City and The City situataion? Hijinks occur, and they end up solving the mystery with some match sticks.

That’s probably it.

Here’s some photos of the area:

Week in Mexico

Week in Mexico

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

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Coté Memo #063: Working at Pivotal and Yak shaving

Follow-up

In reponse to the analyst access commentary from last time, a reader wrote in:

Are you familiar with Securosis? They’re a security-only analyst firm.

Their business model is pretty different – everything they publish is free, and make money through sponsorship and inquiries etc. They have a model they call totally transparent research. I don’t know how much they make – but apparently they make enough to cover themselves.

Tech & Work World

Working at Pivotal

Cote Pivotal Linedrawing

I started a new job earlier this month at Pivotal. I haven’t had time to write an informal overview yet, but instead I did this interview/post on the official Pivotal blog.

There’s also a follow-up piece that I haven’t promoted too much yet. I’ve been busy. Hopefully I’ll have my feet better under me.

So far it’s been great, I’m really liking it. We have so much cool stuff at Pivotal and are getting crazy traction, with around $40m in Pivotal Cloud Foundry bookings last year.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

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Coté Memo #062: The Problem with Analyst Access

We’ve got a new sponsor this week, see below. There’s a 10% coupon. I’m planning on going to the event to get my lurn on.

Also, I wrote this pretty fast. Pardon messups.

Tech & Work World

The Problem with Analyst Access

One of the core opportunity/problem diachotomies in the analyst industry is “access”: access to the analyst’s insights, access to the analysist content, and access to the analysts themselves. Gate-keeping this access is the basis for much of the business: paywalls, paying for consulting, etc.

However, that business model can be a dangerous leaky abstraction in seamingly trival ways. For example, I recently wanted to sign up for RSS feeds for all the published research from Gartner, Forrester, IDC (actually, they have several, but no “everything” feed I’ve found yet), etc. (I already know 451’s feed URL, which is admitly not super easy to find, but there for finding). They don’t really seem to have them. There’s not full text in these feeds, of course: you need access to their paywall to read the full text. But, it’s important for me to know what they’re publishing and I imagine other folks would like to know.

Here’s how most access to analyst content seems to happen, you ask the AR person to send you a copy. You rarely get your own account (it’s too expensive, most analyst customers seem to think). Instead, there’s one account that an analyst relations people uses, and you can ask them to look up things for, like a reference librarian. And yet, analyst shops rarely put out a “card catalog” (that RSS feed) that lets us without accounts know what’s published. Thus, I don’t know what I should be requesting.

Of course, the analyst side of this is “well, you should stop being a cheap-ass and pay for an account, doofus, problem solved.” And, having been an analyst for almost 8 years of my career, I can’t fault them for wanting to get paid. I’ve got 5 kids to feed too!

But this need to control access so tightly that I don’t even know what they’re publishing is sort of a non-starter.

Once again, this brings me back to “access” as the number one variable and lever you can play with in the analyst business. GigaOm toyed with this when they set a very low price in their early days (around $70-200 a year for an individual subscription, depending on discounts) and I look at people like Ben Thompson as hacking that even more (he’s just $100/year). My alumus RedMonk took another tact years ago and just ditched the paywall, getting paid for consulting and other things (like their growing[?] events business); someone once derisivly called RedMonk a “patron” model, which is sort of right, but only a tiny bit.

So, in other words: hey analyst shops, can you get some RSS feeds? (Hopefully, they exist, and I just haven’t found them yet. Remember: all published research, not just blogs and announcements.)

Cloud SOTU, 5 years late

I had the privilege of talking to the Austin cloud user group earlier this week. I’d given the opening talk back in 2010, so they asked me to come give an update. The themes and many of the charts will be familer, but I’ve been honing down to a more specific message: you should get a platform…and probably not build it on your own.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

Too much fun this week to document. Stay safe out there.

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Coté Memo #061: On the tedious need to have an opinion

Tech & Work World

Having an opinion, or not

In the types of jobs I’ve found myself in over recent years – analyst, strategist, “content producer” in the form of podcasts and blogs – you have to generate a lot of opinions. The best actually seem to really care about the things they have opinions over and can express, at length, why they think like they do. Think about the ATP crew or any of the other podcasts out there: they really care about Apple! Ben Thompson is another font of opinion, and his content is very interesting for it.

I seem to have powered down my opinion engine of late: I just haven’t cared as much. I find myself taking a “wait and see position” more than not: in the technology space, I’m more interested in learning how people are using technologies and about how the actual technologies work than having a strong opinion about which their metaphysical essence.

I find that “having an opinion” also guides a lot of managing teams. A manager should have an opinion about how the team runs, what their work product looks like, how they’re rated, and ways to improve. That takes a lot of opinion, expressing it, and enforcing it. At an individual level – managing yourself – the same applies.

This leads me think that we need opinions to simply tell us what to do day to day and how we should rate how we’re doing. It feels something of a wrong conclusion: you’re not supposed to be overly subjective in “managing.” And yet, it seems to me that most interesting – not always the most profitable – “work” is driven by a strong opinion, and following it to its logical conclusion.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

My old cache of D&D books. And there's a whole 'nuther box!

Whenever I dig around in the attic, I came across the two (!) boxes of Dungeons and Dragons books I have up there. It makes me long to DM again. After coming across this “Three Sad Wizards” module and listening to the first episode of Total Party Kill, I wrote up the beginning of an adventure that night sitting up in bed.

Here’s the summary I tapped out at the top:

“The player wakes up in a dungeon with no memories of who they are and must quest through the valley of five rivers [can you tell I’ve been reading Game of Thrones?] to discover their past. The player should either be a warrior or a thief, they can decide which at some point early on.”

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Coté Memo #060: Mark all cookies as read

Follow-up

Tech & Work World

Whatever happened to “mark as read”?

Like most old cyberspace people, I lament the death of Google Reader and RSS daily. I still use Feedly (coupled with Newsify it’s alright – I wish Flipboard would work with Feedly but, you know, it doesn’t, because monetization or some crap, I guess), so I have that going for me.

Now that are so many other options out there for “reading interesting links,” I find that what I like about RSS readers is that they mark a story as read. Things like Flipboard, reading tumblr, HN, and all that seem to lack that feature – I don’t want to see the same thing twice, or, more likely, five times.

Which brings us to the “fun links in your social networks app du jour”, Nuzzel. It’s nice enough, but like all the other apps like it, it has no mark as read feature. I keep seeing the same stuff over and over. (And if you recall how I actually use Twitter, ignoring my “real” timeline in favor or a list I made, apps that depend on the Twitter timeline are borked for me).

As I alluded to above, Flipboard was the best when it worked with Google Reader – I could load up all the social crap it works with, and Google Reader, and it was tidy, marking as read my RSS stuff and letting me swipe through all the other nonsense that would sate my FOMO goblins.

So, a plea to all you FOMO app people: add mark as read to your app. Even better: add Feedly integration, they must have APIs or something, right? Make it an in-app purchase! I bid 20 quatloos on the new comer!

(The reason I really like Newsify – the one feature I can’t live without, as it were – is that it marks as read as you scroll, like the old Google Reader! The Feedly app sort of does that, but it doesn’t have real scroll, instead it flips through pages, making me have to shift my eyes from the bottom of the screen to the top each time I “scroll.” I know, this seems like a tiny thing, but when you read as many feeds as I do, it’s now.)

Quick Hits

Like most folks, I was gone for two weeks. These may be a bit stale.

https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/550370028437385216

Fun & IRL

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Coté Memo #059: Containers make butter-scotch pudding delicious and floors shine

Tech & Work World

Floor wax, dessert topping

As I mention below, I’ve had more time to write reports recently. I just submitted one titled “Docker: floor-wax or dessert topping? Reflections on DockerCon EU”. It’s one of our “spotlight” pieces, which means it’s an open-ended think-piece rather than a write-up of a briefing.

Here’s some excerpts:

451 Take: The container technology Docker and the ecosystem around it is figuring out its identity while at the same time contending with a sudden rise in popularity. While early attention on Docker paired it up against the likes of VMware at, let’s say, the IaaS level, as we look at it more, Docker looks like more of a PaaS innovator. VMware would certainly like that option, and Docker, Inc. spent much of its recent conference in Amsterdam talking more about Docker-as-PaaS – through the lens of “microservices” – than Docker-as-IaaS. From this vantage point, it looks more and more like dotCloud never really stopped being a PaaS vendor, and instead, with under its new name of Docker is just evolving the nature of PaaS.

The technology promises at least two things: (1.) an alternative way of virtualizing workloads on servers using the underlying containerization technology and (2.) a DevOps friendly way of packaging applications for deployment on cloud and cloud-like infrastructures. Much of the vendor sports watchers fixate onto the first use-case, looking to thrust Docker into a Thunderdome with VMware. However, as both Dockers – the open source project and the startup – have evolved, it’s becoming clear that the second is perhaps the more interesting promise, long-term.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, expect to see much shuffling and toe-stomping on the ecosystem dance floor. Indeed, with so many interests, large and small involved, it wouldn’t be surprising if the landscape changed dramatically over the next year. Early moves like the Rocket container standard effort point towards conflicting (or at least “differing”) interests, and with deep larders and large revenue sources to protect behind many, large Docker ecosystem member’s backs, anything could happen with something as miraculous as a floor wax that also makes butter-scotch pudding taste so terrific.

One of the ongoing theories I hit on in the piece is that (a.) cloud is all about developers, but, (b.) the PaaS market is small compared to others, so, (c.) what up with that? As you can imagine, I posit that the interest in Docker-cum-containers could change the market-dynamics a bit. We’ll see.

I’ll throw a link in here and all the usual places once it gets published, I’m guessing next week. I put in three or four charts too, so look forward to them if you like charts.

(Lucky[?] for you, this is the only place you’ll see the silly dessert topping floor-wax reference as the copy desk asked me to take that out since another analyst used it recently.)

How I use Twitter: ignore the timeline

I’ll let you in on a secret: I don’t really pay attention to my main timeline in Twitter. There’s too much crap in there that I’ve ended up following (1,910 account, to be exact) since I started using Twitter in 2006.

Sometime ago, I created a list called “Focus” that I actually follow. It has just 127 accounts in it and it works well. There’s some tricks of how to do this depending on which client you use. I can stand the official Twitter web and iOS (actually, I haven’t looked at it in awhile) apps so I use TweetDeck on my desktop and TweetBot on my phone. In both instances, you can choose to focus on a list.

In TweetDeck, it’s easy: you just move the column over that you want. You’ll notice in the below that my “timeline” is nowhere to be seen:

Switching around columns in TweetDeck

In TweetBot, it’s a bit more hidden, you have to “long tap” (is that what you call it?) on the title bar until it pops up a list of lists, then select the one you want. You can see what it looks like after I long-tapped on the title bar:

Viewing a list instead of your timeline in TweetBot

Sometimes I go slightly insane and think there’s not enough from Twitter. Recently, I thought I’d take a look at the timeline and see what was in it, what was going on. It’s a fun walk down memory lane as I discover clusters of accounts I’ve added over the year. I found a bunch from when I thought I didn’t get enough local and “real-world” news so I have/had several Austin accounts and things like Meet the Press. There’s also folks from long ago in there that I vaguely remember. And, going in and out of the analyst world, there’s also a lot of people who are or were clients at RedMonk and 451 Research. Lots of IBM. Lots.

I’ve been pruning that main timeline this week in the hopes of perhaps actually using it. I’m not sure it’s worth it, but it a good distraction-as-entertainment.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work.

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Coté Memo #058: Cloud ads, amateur coffee drinkers, orchiwhu?

Follow-up

Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn’t always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time.

Studies have shown that coffee may have health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. {{{More like: so long as you keep drinking coffee, you will not get depressed. A subtle, but important difference.}}}

However, the research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels {{{Doing good so far…}}}. And some studies {{{Uh-oh…}}} found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk.

Let’s get something straight: if you drink less than two (real talk: let’s say 4) cups of coffee a day, you’re just a recreational coffee drinker. I, sirs, am a professional.

Now, I need to go run my DNA in the hay-doop cluster to see about that “genetic mutation.”

Tech & Work World

Cloud Ads

In case you didn’t know, IT is my hobby and my job. I like to collect pictures of cloud ads in airports and otherwise (see above about keeping the flow of coffee steady).

Here’s some from my recent trip to Amsterdam:

2014-12-04 09.46.41

2014-12-02 23.10.13

Send me some #cloudads!

One of my favorite IT ads ever, from 2008:

New Compuware Ad

I like the look on the dude’s face in background: “not gonna happen, ladies.”

Quick Hits

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Fun & IRL

  • No today fun, just work.

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Coté Memo #057: Is Cloud Foundry a Thing?, EU Coffee, and developers

Tech & Work World

The Cloud is Developers

It’s an exaggeration, but for the most part “cloud” is all about supporting developers. What I mean by this is that it’s not exactly the best way to run packaged applications: there’s VMware, Linux, etc. for that it seems.

When I was working on cloud strategy at Dell, I’d often joke that we should do some field material (“field” == “sales”) that was a crude decision tree, like you’d see in magazines. The point of it would be, only sell cloud to them if they get to the “sell cloud” node in the tree. I doodled out that diagram, so here it is for your entertainment:

Cloud buying decision tree

We have some recent survey data at 451 that lines up nicely with this theory:

TIP-Thurs-Cloud-110614-pic

To put it another way, if you know a way to use cloud that does not involve developers, you’re probably educated enough not to need a cheesy decision tree…but if you’re not sure, start with the crude tree.

Is Cloud Foundry a thing?

We had an internal thread in Cloud Foundry, the foundation announcement of course being the cause. The main question from those who don’t follow PaaS, middleware, and appdev was, basically, “is this a thing?” Here’s what I typed:

I think it’s important, indeed. PaaS has never really taken off (beyond Salesforce, Heroku, and EngineYard), esp. in private PaaS. Part of the issue is that there has been no “standard” to agree on. Historically, unless you’re Microsoft, middleware needs a standard (formal or de facto) to adhere to (think of J2EE, the LAMP stack, even rails, etc.) for wide, enterprise adoption. Cloud Foundry appears to be “the OpenStack of PaaS.” With IBM on board, HP, Pivotal/VMware/EMC, and others there’s some good backing: even better, those companies seem to have commercial offers that they take very seriously.

Aside from “the big folks,” I also think relatively tiny ActiveState/Stackato is a good proof point. They’ve been in GA with Cloud Foundry for a long time and seem far from dead. My hope is that Cloud Foundry (along with Docker-as-PaaS)finally ushers in a new middleware era. We’ll see.

Slow Business Travel

Last week I was on a week long travel tour taking me from Santa Clara, to being stranded in DFW, to Amsterdam. It was fun, but a week is a long time. Each work-day I rush to finish things up at the end, to cram as much in as possible. Time seems to move quickly.

When you’re doing business travel, time moves slowly. You realize how slow time can move if you’re not distracting yourself with the check-inputs/do work/check-inputs loop constantly. My brain is wired to always check on Twitter, email, listen to music, file expenses, go get a glass of water: find anything to do but the core work.

Plane time reminds you that things can move slower. Of course, what did I do with most of my plane time? Well, after working on what work projects I could, doing some planning…I watched movies and read books.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

European Black Coffee

I’ve been lucky to be in Europe twice for work in the past month or so – the OpenStack Summit in Paris and DockerCon in Amsterdam. I drink black coffee, a lot of coffee. Probably too much given the history of heart attacks in my family.

Having drank European black coffee a lot, I can tell you that it’s not like American black coffee. It’s pretty, well, “motor oil” class. Thick, bitter, and far from smooth. Perhaps this means American coffee is “watery coffee,” which, having just grimaced down a cup of EU black coffee, sounds lovely.

The type of coffee you want, then, is an Americano. I’d always thought it was an odd drink, but in fact it’s the best simulation of “normal” to me black coffee you can get in Europe. I just had two cups, and found myself thinking: finally, some good coffee!

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Coté Memo #056: the $110,000 a year blogger, investing in barf bags

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

2015 Preview preview: invest in barf bags

Here’s the concluding text from out 2015 preview for Development, DevOps, and Middleware channel (one of the practice areas I oversee at 451) which I submitted to the copy desk today. We’ll see if it gets through:

Every which way you look, you hear “cloud”: a call to rip and replace the previous infrastructure layers and replace them with this ineffable new things of magic. For those with more gray hairs in our beards than not, this sounds like a gut-wrenching return of the climb up the roller-coaster ride of IT: time to put in place new layers of IT replacing old layers that never delivered on the promise of “business/IT alignment.” Well, it’s time to take some Dramamine (or at least get a barf-bag) and ride the roller-coaster. New cloud technologies and practices are proving to be better suited for delivering on business/IT alignment through the critical path of “agility.” While examples like Uber and mobile application loyalty card app like Starbuck’s are cliché by now, they point to a very real vision at the application development layer: the ability to harness developers to program the business with custom written programs. Thanks to new technologies (mostly, “cloud”) previously moribund and very un-agile industries have the chance to use IT for more than just running packaged applications, checking email, and scheduling meetings – a method of IT existence often known as “keeping the lights on.”

Over the coming years, the trends we’ve identified here will repeat themselves often: honing the software development and delivery practices (DevOps), new standards for packaging and deploying custom written applications (Docker), and the evolution of enterprise architecture practices and tools. The last body of work – enterprise architecture – must start evolving at pace with “the kids” of DevOps who have little knowledge, appreciation, or use of the staid body of work known as “EA.” The bathwater has become so murky that the baby can be hard to find, but we as industry must do so: extracting the best from EA and throwing the accumulated muck out the window. Mainstream companies, ever risk averse, are eager to find a steady-hand when it comes to applying DevOps to their software delivery pipelines. The DevOps community has done some work there, but it tends to espouse a raised earth theory of process change over an evolutionary change program. Enterprise architects themselves will need to understand how their roles changes in the rapid application delivery life-cycles of cloud and DevOps and help those communities evolve and become more “enterprise-y.” Otherwise, it’s out that window with all the brown water.

The Independent Analyst

As you can imagine, I’m fascinated by the independent analysts out there.

Those individuals who setup shop, hang out a single, etc. What I always want to know is how much money they make.

My analyst hero, Horace Dediu seems to have joined a foundation removing him from the mix. Ben Thompson (aka @stratechery) is one of the more recent ones to join this mix.

He has paywall (“subscription”) that costs $100 a year (or $10/month) and gets you daily updates, email access to him, a member’s forum, and other stuff.

In a recent podcast he mentioned he now has about 1,100 subscribers (in a post he said 1,000).

So, at $100 a year (the discounted rate), that’s $110,000/year, plus some consulting of around $10-20k total (so far), I’d guess? So, let’s say $120,000/year. That’s in just six months!

Let’s say it takes a year to double that to a round $200,000…and even after expenses (which should be low if he never hires anyone or travels much) and taxes, you’ve got a really high paying job there. (First of all: good for him!)

Consulting can add up quickly here as his fame (and trust in him) rises. I’d wager that in year two and three the consulting would ratchet up and he could charge between $5,000 and $10,000 for a one day, low prep consulting or speaking engagement – $20,000 for a higher prep one (requiring several days of work ahead of time). Beyond that it’s a project spanning weeks, but more in the $30,000 to $40,000 range per project. At some point, an individual has to turn away consulting work because it will very dramatically and very quickly damage your daily output (have you seen how little I’ve been publishing of late?).

Ben has such a broad area of topics that I’ve always wondered who his customer is: perhaps the generic “I want to keep up with startups and high-growth IT” readers? The TechCrunch crowd (a crowd that is likely starved for “industry analysts” who are good, let alone as helpful as Ben)? His customer, I guess, is the whole “software is eating the world” crowd, which is a good demographic to target: they likely have a spare $100/year and really want the information.

Another interesting tangent here is that Ben’s success is an example of his “there’s more than just scale” counter-idea to businesses like Google, Facebook, and Uber. He’s been doing a good job explaining it in the past two episodes of his podcast, #25 and #26. This “long tail” think has always been a hope of Internet people. Hopefully it’ll work this time.

The main issue is getting the actual individuals to take the leap, go through those “dark times,” and either fail or succeed. The technology and structures are there, it just needs more meat-sacks to take on the risk and see if it pans out.

(I’ll have to finally subscribe and see what’s going on beyond the paywall.)

Fun & IRL

Lamb chops tonight.

They had lamb-chops at CostCo this weekend. Here, you can see $21’s worth in action. I just ate the last of the left-overs for lunch.

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Coté Memo #055: It’s cold in Toronto

Follow-up

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

“Script” for Docker orchestration

Oftentimes, I write a “script” for presentations. I never read it for the presentation (maybe I should!), but it helps me organize my thoughts and presentation. Here’s the one I used for the Docker orchestration webinar I did with CloudSoft last week:

Macro-context: the demand for building your own PaaS – DevOps, cloud, etc.

[chart on DevOps delivery pipeline, old dto solutions DevOps pipeline]

I like to reduce things down to brutal simplicity. I have a lot going on in my work and personal life so I have to leave nuance for entertainment. To me, cloud is mostly about supporting custom written software, whether that’s for something like a SaaS (from social to ERP), consumer facing business applications (like online banking), or applications used by companies to help run their business. And what that means is creating a delivery pipeline that encompass all the phases of an applications life and automates each step as much as possible to reduce bottlenecks and increase throughput. You have to look at this pipeline as a mission critical process in your business: from development to production, it’s you’re factory, the thing that helps you make money…not just a cost center. You’re pushing out incrementally improving software that runs your business.

Custom written software is the most valuable work-load for cloud, I’d theorize, where value is rated by how technology can help a company get competitive differentiation.

So, something like Docker is especially interesting because it promises to speed up that pipeline. I don’t think anyone know exactly what it will shape up to be, but it looks like the “private PaaS” answer we’ve all be looking for.

[chart with SaaS, PaaS, ISaaS, IaaS market-sizing – put OpenStack market-sizing in there next to it]

Now, PaaS is an odd category of public cloud. It seems like the perfect realization of the efficiencies of cloud, and yet it keeps limping along as a market as this 451 market-sizing shows.

Much of that revenue comes from Salesforce which has its own Force.com platform (a “PaaS for SaaS” as we call it) and Heroku.

[chart on demand for private cloud]

For some reason, developers and companies have a lust for build your own cloud: they either get their own gear or rent raw IaaS and build up their own stacks to support as automated as a DevOps delivery pipeline as possible. Maybe it’s cost (I haven’t ever heard a developer say public PaaSes like Heroku are cheap), maybe it’s the need to exactly customize functionality, maybe it’s good old paranoia and FUD (which could be justified, who knows).

Whatever the case, people want control over their stacks, and that’s where things get interesting. The more control you have, the more you have to worry about the more hassle there is.

We seem to have a long way to go to replicate the magical, effortless push to deploy demo we remember from early public PaaS days. Much of what’s needed is what’s currently going under the title of “orchestration” which, roughly, means “making sure my complex distributed system is installed and configured properly…and then allowing me to modify its runtime characteristics and upgrade it.” You know, getting the application up and running, tuning its performance ongoing as needed, and upgrading it.

[insert chart showing rise of new automation tools/brands]

This area has long been the domain of custom shell scripts, manual configuration, and, thankfully, in recent years configuration management companies like Chef and Puppet (who are taking over the automation reigns from OpsWare and Bladelogic).

Docker has burst on to the scene of late as an interesting salve for cloud infrastructure woes. To me, it starts with the right goals: make using cloud easier for developers. That may seem subtle, but it’s different than most infrastructure software goals which is make like easier for sysadmins and auditors.

To keep pushing on the dream of being able to build your own PaaS, the ad hoc community around all of this has been obsessing about orchestration of Docker-based clouds, let’s call them, of late. So let’s look at that.

Emerging market for orchestration

Mindmap from Krishnan Subramanian

When it comes Docker orchestration, there are almost too many projects to count, and even a few products. I love this mindmap from Krishnan that shows just full this market is – and tedious for analyst to keep up with. This is a good sign, however: there’s so much interest and passion in figuring out Docker and how to orchestrate it that surely, something will work.

Emerging requirements for orchestration

When I look across what all of these projects are trying to do – and slap in some old IT Service Management think – I come up a list of requirements for orchestration. Some of them may seem obvious, but it’s always good to be explicit. If you spot ones that are wrong, or missing, you should pass them along and perhaps we can winnow down a list. We don’t need a manifesto or any nonsense like that, but in studying this space, you do find a distinct lack of architectural-level specifications and requirements – which is fine, people are busy coding.

Cluster/fleet management

  • Operate in terms of multiple nodes, not single nodes – configuring a single Docker node is mind-blowingly easy, doing it over 50 or 100 nodes gets to be tedious, esp. if you want to continually be turning over builds. Pets vs. cattle and all that.

Configuration management & Automation

  • Application modeling that describes the layout and configuration of various components – this is an old ITSM notion, “service modeling,” which got bogged down in drag and drop fantasy (just like UML). You need to model what all the different components are and how they fit together
  • Basic CRUD – creating nodes, updating nodes, restarting them as needed. You want more than just modeling what a node looks like, you want you orchestrator to actually do something.

  • Separating configuration from basic state – easily modify configuration without having to change too much about each node/image, like changing port numbers easily without rebuilding the entire node

  • Ensure proper configuration passing across nodes – passing server names and ports to servers, handing out credentials, wiring in service directories, etc.

Heterogeneous platform support

  • Support for different infrastructure, bare-metal, to plain old virtualization, to multipule clouds – some might call this “hybrid cloud” or “multi-cloud” – useful just for moving along the pipeline

Baby and bathwatering ITSM

  • Asset database to track all your cows – another ITSM trick. this starts getting into “enterprise” needs, but it handy even if aren’t tweedy. You need to know what you have out in the wild and quickly locate it when things go wrong.

  • Capacity management and adjustment of resources – not only monitoring if you’re over (or under!) capacity, but actually going back to your CRUD operations to make adjustments on your nodes. This is also where keeping configuration separate from node state is handy: you could increase memory, keeping the same configuration, for example, without having to rebuild or swap out nodes.

ABC

  • Ease of use, and esp. low cost – otherwise, why not just use a full on PaaS? This is always easy to forget, but it’s sort of the point of all of this. Ask yourself, is this easy and quick to use? If it’s not, something is wrong.

This last point is key. You need to remember that once you’ve done all the above, that’s when the difficult work begins. You still need to come up with an idea for an actual application and its features that will help your business. You need to stop orchestrating and start coding, not to mention working on the product management that will tell you what to code in the first place. Don’t get all caught up in all this Heathkit stuff: save your cycles for the most valuable thing: ABC.

[Always be coding chart]

And with that, I want to pass it over to CloudSoft to tell you how they’re helping you get closing to coding.

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work.

Sponsors

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Coté Memo #053: there’s a lot of earth for software to eat, day 1 of #CAWorld

Follow-up

  • It’s been awhile. The family and I were on vacation for a bit in Paris, and then I was at the OpenStack Summit.

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Las Vegas Conference: CA World

The longer you stay away from a conference in las Vegas, the weirder it is to be here for one. Or, maybe, it’s just that it’s always weird. I’m here for CA World now, which is an odd, interesting conference: attendance and sponsorship seems sparse but they have some good DevOps messaging.

I was last at CA World in 2010, where the message was a resounding “cloud or die!” There’s a similar message around “the application economy,” which is pretty well aligned to what I’m always going on about: developers are important, you business people should be hiring them to write applications. Coming from CA, a company never really known for having much to do with developers, this is a odd message, but it’s the one you’re stuck with in an IT – SaaS = what? world.

CA has good messaging and solutionaring around DevOps. They have release management (from Nolio), mock testing (“service virtualization” they call it), and monitoring of course, APM notably. They have lots of parts, and can put them all on a slide well. They’re also very clear about their approach being solution oriented: not DevOps products, but just ways of combining their tools together.

After a discussion with a fellow attendee, the question in my mind is: what’s the unique thing about CA that’d make you go to them for all of this? Their answer would likely be breadth of tools and integrations. The usual for a large company.

For as much effort as they put into DevOps – by my count, the most out of their class of companies – they don’t come up in the DevOps world much. One theory is that DevOps has, thus far, been product and commercialization resistant. Another might be that the message simply hasn’t gotten out. Another could be that the “DevOps market” is so small that nothing would register.

There’s a lot riding on mainstream “enterprises” committing to the idea of writing more and more custom software: that whole “software is eating the world” but. It feels true to us techies, but there’s a question of the rate of change and if it’s net-new growth. I’m also unsure how a company structures itself to take advantage of more enterprises needing to develop software.

As a round-about example, I’ve been looking into Docker and cloud orchestration software. There’s so many projects built around those problems: there’s even too many! In a software eats the world world, there’s almost too many options, making it hard for a company to cement in competitive advantage (the reason customers come to them and pay a premium over competitors – the reason companies make profits).

It’s just day one of two I’ll be here. Perhaps all the answers are tomorrow.

Fun & IRL

  • With kids on vacation, you watch a lot of TV. That Regular Show is pretty good.

Sponsors

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Coté Memo #051: Meetings suck, links galore

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

Sponsors

Meta-data

I decided to shorten the template a bit, moving the boiler plate stuff to the end.

Coté Memo #050: not much on Friday, pretty boring for #50

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #050. Today we have 54 subscribers, so we’re +1. Keep your best behavior up for this new person! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Follow-up &co.

  • I’ll be at BMC’s conference in Orlando next week. Let’s meet up if you’re there!

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

The Power Rangers need more sheep, also, big companies divorcing themselves

After a week off, we’re back with Software Defined Talk. This week’s episode is fun! Take a listen, and be sure to just subscribe to the feed.

Fun & IRL

I have to things from Big Trouble in Little China for you:

  1. GIFs!
  2. “You were not put on this earth to ‘get it’!”

Coté Memo #049: how to brief analysts, tech co.’s splitting up, noise canceling-enough

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Hello again, welcome to #049. Today we have 53 subscribers, so we’re +/0. See what happens when I stop posting? I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Follow-up

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Having gotten three days behind, there’s a lot!

HP divorcing itself, splitting up

Divorce rate set to go up in tech-world

RoW

Dealing with analysts

Stephen O’Grady wrote-up some tips for briefing analysts. It’s a good item to type up every few years; self-serving, but helps us analysts out. As you may recall, I have gave a presentation on the topic back in January, focusing on startups.

I added an extended comment to his post, which I’ll plunk here as it highlights some of my top pet peeves in briefings:

I think point #2 (“Unless you’re solving a unique problem, don’t spend your time covering the problem”) is where people waste the most time. And polite analysts like myself let them do it. In general, discussing “macro” issues is not interesting. We know computers are awesome, businesses want to focus on using IT to make more money, and everything that came before the offering being briefed on is crap.

There’s two common patterns I see, at startups and large companies here:

  • Startups like to re-use their VC pitch deck (or something else weird), which is usually that TED-level 500 slides that takes forever to get to a meaty point.

  • Large companies often talk about “solutions” and industry needs, and all sorts of high-level nonsense (did you know companies could be using computers to make more money? I know! crazy right?! Check out this picture of a guy in a suit smiling.)

In both cases, what I want to see if the actual product, what it does (feature set), and how it does it. Screenshots and demos are nice.

When looking at a new product – be it from a large company or a startups – the default assumption I have is that the product is crap and does not work as well as promised. Like the rest of the IT world! What I want to see is the reason(s) why this product is better and solves problems in a better way.

And, as you note, sometimes there is a genuinely new thing that demands a lot of “macro” talk. Like, remember when you and I had that first briefing with 3Tera long ago? It wrapped up all of the problems here: one, they needed to educate us about what “private cloud” was (this was back in 2006 or so before that concept existed) but at the same time, they needed to tell us the actual technology stack that was supporting it (I remember you badgered them for about 30 minutes before they stopped saying “new paradigm” and started saying “Linux”).

As a more contemporary reference, I’ve had similar experiences (though better) with Mesosphere and CoreOS. The initial Mesosphere briefing I got was very “macro”: grandiose, revolutionizing how all applications would run (“So, I can run SharePoint and Lawson on this?” “Well, not exactly…all applications except those,” etc.) but once I started asking questions about the stack, it perfectly turned into nerd talk and was great. CoreOS skipped the macro talk with a simple “updating Linux sucks” and moved onto the stack (all etcd, systemd, hot/cold images, containers, etc.) and discussed how that was all different than “the current paradigm.”

And, on point 9 (“Asking for feedback ‘after [or during!] the call’”), another phrasing would be: “so, can you give me some free stuff?” I don’t think most people understand that casually and formally giving people advice is a large part of how us analysts get paid (and 80-90% of how RedMonk gets paid – 451 has a paywall, as do others). Again, I’m very polite and never really say anything, but unless I’m “friends” with the person briefing me or they’re regular, good clients…and they ask for “input and feedback” I find it rude. It’s like asking a doctor or a nurse to just “check out” some ache I have in my back instead of scheduling an appointment: I’m asking them for free stuff.

So, there you go. You could also just tell us analysts to fuck off and stop being such pansies, but hey, there’s some insight into on our our core APIs: briefings.

Fun & IRL

  • I helped host a dinner at HCTS with SolidFire. It was fun! They gave me a pair of Bose QC15’s as a thank you gift. They’re nice! There’s a built in mic. I’ve been using them and while they don’t actually cancel all outside sound, I feel like they cancel enough to make the world (and airplane) much more pleasant. They also keep your ears toasty.

Coté Memo #046: I don’t like dick-bags either, & more on marketing platforms

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Hello again, welcome to #046. Today we have 53 subscribers, so we’re +1. The crazy pills are working! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Follow-up

  • See below.

Tech & Work World

More on marketing platforms.

One of you wrote in and asked for more detail on the platform marketing missive. As I replied back, that text was taken from an ongoing conversation I’ve been having with someone so much context was lacking. Here’s another take at the point I was trying to make.

The point I was trying to make was: your platform can probably do 50 things. Market just 1-5 of them. 50 things is too much and you come off being scary or, worse, arrogant. Developers don’t like switching to uber platforms – <gratuitous inside joke targeted at Robert Brook>Marco still uses PHP!</gratuitous inside joke targeted at Robert Brook> SOA/WS-* failed to be sustainable at winning the thought-leadership war because it was too big, did too many things. Developers just said, “uh, I just need a 3 page web application..WTF…?”

To use another metaphor, getting developers to adopt a new platform is like boiling a frog. You can’t let them know you’re doing it until it’s too late, otherwise they hop out. Again, this is where the open source process and culture is key. Unlike commercial products , OSS platforms are rarely planned out in advance. They evolve, often in an ugly fashion. And if they are “planned,” they’re allowed to “pivot.”

Remember Apache Avalon (I could never understand what the fuck was happening there)? Probably not, but I bet you remember Struts (ugly collection of code that coalesced into a platform through much patina’ing) – .do forever! You probably also recall Tomcat (based on a standard which the market had already long ago accepted – Tomcat’s pitch was “it’s free! [and works]”).

All of those were platforms, but each evolved differently. Each were destroyed/replaced by the next iteration of platforms that mostly grew up organically in the same ship-mutate-pivot-ship-mutate-pivote-etc. cycle.

You can’t plan ahead for a platform, you just have to adapt your bucket of parts to how “the market” actually uses it (here, “the market” == “developers,” sometimes “architects,” God help us). Or, have your platform be so damn simple that it does, pretty much just one thing, and then you market the shit out of that. E.g.: rails, early Heroku.

Yet another phrasing: “tech marketers: pick one thing your platform does, just one. What’s that? No! No exceptions: sit down and shut-up. Did you pick one thing yet? Good, now go market that for 30-60 days and see if it works. If it doesn’t, go through the cycle again and again with different features.”

Quick Hits

https://twitter.com/pmonks/status/517519157748039681

  • A burger diagrams go, this is a good one:

Fun & IRL

Coté Memo #047: Selling a “platform” is one of the more difficult tech marketing tasks you’ll ever do

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #047. Today we have 52 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I should write more awesome stuff to get more sign-ups!

I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Follow-up

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

  • Scores HipsterOps bingo!

  • These Pivotal people are up to something. They have a lot of pieces. Need some crazy visions. Cream on top.

Rants galore

There’s few people who speak their mind more openly and helpfully than @shanley. At least there’s someone throwing bombs.

I’ve enjoyed her weekly (daily?) rants on the OpenStack community of late.

Selling a “platform” is one of the more difficult tech marketing tasks you’ll ever do

I was discussing platform marketing recently in email. Here’s an except.

I think the market challenge [in selling a platform or “all inclusive middleware”] is forcing yourself to take on the perceptive of a blind man describing an elephant. You want so badly to be the man with two eyes describing everything; you want to go all Plato. That doesn’t work well early on, it’s too much for “the market” to consume, and they move on to simpler pitches.

Something like Apcera gets attention because it has fame behind it and they categorize themselves as a “PaaS,” a well know category (on the other hand, “PaaS” is a very confusing term once you look at more closely!). They enter into the conversation with these two things and then can helpfully deflect to being “policy driven” (a “fabric”), which a difficult concept to understand.

Sidebar: do you remember when Microsoft and VMware were going on and on about “fabrics” about 3-4 years ago? There was even vFabric! I never really understood what they meant (from their slides, not having dug into it) and I suspect the market didn’t either.

You use a good word below [in the email I’m responding to]: “orchestration.” And taking on that servicing the blind man and his elephant mentality, that might be a good way to describe these new types of platforms and middleware: we orchestrate the execution of enterprise applications. The thing to do is to pretty much stop there and just go out with that message. Describe what the problem is, what “orchestration” means, and then slowly trickle in your actual technology and how you’re different.

What’s frustrating to me is the conversation around things like Mesosphere and CoreOS. Both seem cool, but there’s very little talk about the business use of those technologies. Are we just talking about running “stateless” web and mobile apps (read: NOT enterprise software), or something else?

To go even more abstract, one of the problems I see in the developer world at the moment is that there’s very little “business analyst” think: that role that used to sit between the customer and the developers that understood the processes and needs of business and could tell the developers what that meant for code.

I don’t expect developers to map out business processes, but I think most platforms out there do. Developers need help understanding those processes. And once developers understand that their job (largely) is to write the code (or build the system) to automate and “computerize” those business processes, I think platforms slot in well. Instead, the developer world is so focused on consumer tech that the idea of a complex decision tree of events, workflows, etc. always seems foggy and foreign.

Thus, I think many “enterprise” platforms get a frustrating reception in the wilds of the web. If you remember the old Crossing the Chasm advice, the first thing you need to 5-10 good reference customers who can explain to their peers what the problem is and how it gets solved. Early on, selling the technology for the technology sake is difficult. This is also why so many “platforms” seemingly start as open source: they build up momentum and “reference customers” by giving themselves away for free for awhile.

Fun & IRL

Coté Memo #046: Who’s got the story?

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #046. Today we have 52 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Follow-up

Quick Hits

Hipster level final boss, EMC, Beef Jerky, and more OpenStack vs. Docker

This/last week’s Software Defined Talk is up. It’s a fun one!

Fun & IRL

Coté Memo #045: Double up to catch up. You have to spend money to make money. When you see this cup empty, just refill it w/o asking. QED

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #045. When we hit #050, let’s all have an extra drink – I know I will! Today we have 52 subscribers, so we’re +1. Good job, subscribers! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Follow-up

  • Sorry to have missed yesterday. Things be busy around here. It should even out next week, but then travel will start. I just got requests for two more trips today, for some fun consulting around DevOps, so that’ll be nice.

Quick Hits

Tech & Work World

This Week’s Software Defined Talk episode is awesome, I just need to publish it.

As they used to say: <eom>

Fun & IRL

https://twitter.com/BenKuchera/status/515234822135230465

Dune reference always wins.

Coté Memo #044: Very little today. Work, work, work!

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #044. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

https://twitter.com/cwood/status/514841459594256385

Coté Memo #043: EMC + (HP XOR Dell) == what? “Fabrics” returning, and the joys of bicycle jousting

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #043. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

  • Mirantis wants to part ways with Red Hat and it’s easy to see why – Mirantis has several “strategic” relationships and investments (vendors that invested in them, partner with them, etc.). As they expand, you know, it can get weird.
  • Why Rackspace will fly solo: the market is evolving – nice 451 commentary from Scott Ottaway and Carl Brooks: “The selection of an internal candidate for CEO also indicates that Rackspace will focus on its strategic direction of targeting customers that value managed services tightly wrapped into public and private cloud services. It will also focus on offering cloud services across multiple platforms beyond OpenStack, including VMware and Microsoft, and emerging services like bare-metal servers and devops.”
  • Dell World speaker schedule without star keynote; panel to open show – one doesn’t want to read too much into DellWorld line-ups at all. But, hey, less big stars, which I think is fine. I usually skip the big interviews because they have nothing to do with the company, whatsoever.
    More converged cloud theory – “They prefer buying a whole lot of stuff from one vendor, and we were open to the acquisition because it is in the interests of the customers that we are serving. We had a lot of customers asking us to do managed clouds, others were asking us for hardware recommendations. These were signals to us that it would not be a bad idea to have an end-to-end solution ready.”
  • Summary of Cloud & Data Center Automation Content at Engage – I’ll be at BMC’s conference this year. Oddly enough, the first time ever. Why odd? I worked there as a programmer for 5 years, covered them for about 6 years at RedMonk (OK, I went to an analyst conference they had which was very nice). It’ll be fun! If you’ll be there, let’s get together. I know the Swan and Dolphin and the boardwalk area like the back of my hand (thanks, IBM!).
  • Mesos Founding Father/Twitter Fail Whale Slayer Hindman Joins Mesosphere – eventually, these dudes or CoreOS will be a big deal. Perhaps both of them, but probably not unless they merge which wouldn’t really make sense, I don’t think.
  • Mobile security pain overwhelms the enterprise – damn mobile phones. The thing you have to remember is that each computer is kind of different: different enough to require new management stacks. You can’t use mainframe tools to manage Unix, can’t use Unix tools to manage x86/Windows/Web, etc. New devices mean new management tools, including security. Stay safe out there!
  • Article: Q&A on Kanban in Action – I should check this out. I have a theory that if I can apply Kanban to my white-collar work, things will go better. I can never really figure out Trello for “make that presentation” or “write that report.” Worse, my co-workers and folks on my team could give a crap about Kanban. The Office toolchain is just fine for them, thank you very much…which is fine.
  • The need for internal digital evangelism – I make this point all the time: if you want to change how things are done, you need to show-up, a lot. Sorry.
  • “Fabrics” are probably coming back – “We are seeing more and more customers looking at multitenancy requirements, and the word of the day is microsegmentation – how do you segment the infrastructure from end to end so you can run your risk analytics next to your Hadoop infrastructure?” Remember when everything was a “fabric.” We had “vFabric,” Microsoft talked in terms of fabrics, etc. I always thought it was a hella-cheesy, but I get the sense we might see the metaphor com eup again.
  • Linux? Bah! Red Hat has its eye on the CLOUD – and it wants to own it – nice letter from the Red Hat corporate strategy party.
  • Does Alibaba offer a ‘golden opportunity’ for U.S. small businesses? – I think what you (people who care about infrastructure-y stuff in the enterprise world) want to pay attention to here is how the hyper-scale Chinese web companies are positioned to be just like Amazon, down to AWS. As I understand it, AWS isn’t massive in RoR (“rest of world,” outside of Gringo-land on both sides of the pond), so there’s gap to fill. Everyone likes cloud, but lots of folks don’t like Yankees.
  • Heroku Rolls Out Metrics to Help Users Optimize Performance – they’re doing their own systems management. Fun!
  • BMC Software Sues ServiceNow for Patent Infringement – hey, it’s the thing Big 4 vendors do. “You kids (who used to be on our lawn and who, really, we bought the lawn from…hrm)…get off my lawn!”
  • Chinese Tourists Find a Movable Feast Best Left Behind – a large European city filled with dog poop and rude people! Sacrebleu! (See you in Paris for the OpenStack Summit!)
  • Puppet Labs hands strings to admins with updated DevOps tools – PuppetConf just wrapped and there’s some new features.

Rumors of EMC merging with HP XOR Dell

As I mentioned in Twitter, I think this would be a bonkers idea. Cats and dogs. Those companies all dislike each other. They’re so big it’s difficult to know how they’d properly integrate together. It looks like the rumors have blown over.

However, having worked in M&A for a few years, you can’t dismiss things like this too much. You have to remember how long acquisition projects are too: they rarely just pop-up over the weekend and have been churning around for 6, 12, even more months. At this scale, it’s also important to look at divestitures or “carve outs,” companies selling just part of themselves.

The bigger question would be: why? What advantage would a merger between EMC + (HP XOR Dell) get you? You could fire a bunch of shared staff (HR, finance, etc.), consolidate some campuses. Maybe get some benefits from account sharing. On the account sharing front, Dell’s “mid-market focus” would be a better match, on-paper, with EMC’s “enterprise focus.” Technology wise, it’s not like these things would suddenly work well together. You’d have duplicate storage portfolios that’d you have to consolidate – good luck with that!

Also, Dell and EMC don’t really like each other. I have no idea about HP.

So, it’s hard to see what the value would be. Why would two of those entites together perform (make more revenue, more profit) better than if they were seperate? That’s what you need to ask. Acquisitions are risky and rarely work out well, so you’re taking on a risk. The payoffs have to be both simple and big. Anything else is probably gonna fizzle.

(You have no idea how hard it’s been to not type “synergy” as this is the one context – M&A where “synergy” an appropriate word and not some B.S.)

Like I said, though, you should never dismiss M&A rumors too easily if they’re reported by credible reporters. Crazy stuff happens and there’s all sorts of cloak and daggers that goes around.

I’ll take the big iPhone, not the giant one

After much equivocating on either side, I decided on the iPhone 6, with 128 gigs of course. I tried out both in the store and the Plus seemed just fine. It seems too fragile though and I know I’ll like the size of the iPhone 6. I’m moving from a iPhone 4s, so it’ll be big enough.

And, really, after two years, I can just get a big one if I want. It seems wise to pass on a first gen big phone. We’ll see what happens.

Lucky for me, my credit card company “detected” fraud, so I’ll probably have to re-submit the order all over. Huzzah! (How ironic, given the point of Apple Pay: I don’t think taking out cards is inconvenient, it’s the fraud crap that’s annoying.)

Fun & IRL

https://twitter.com/Rokshimmer/status/514106534956388352

  • Jousting on Bicycles – the reason I like “old” stuff like this is because it has that illusion of a time when we have relaxing figured out. If someone has enough time and mental capacity to come up with and execute such a nutty scheme, it seems like they’re living a relaxing life. Meanwhile, in contrast, it seems like contemporary life is a never-ending series of death-mark projects that are waiting to explode. Where’s my 5pm commuter train back to the suburbs?

  • I’ll be traveling a lot over the next few months and I’m sure I’ll miss some days here and there. Apologies ahead of time.

Coté Memo #042: “Is this helping at all?” and other Linkatary

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #042. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. Keepin’ it smooth and level for the weekend! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

Sponsors

Follow-up

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

  • Rackspace To Go It Alone, Focus On Managed Cloud – hey, at this point, Rackspace is fascinating to me. How will the sort it out? As TPM pointed out, the seem to have gotten their very own Magic Quadrant. I’m not actually one of those people who thinks Gartner operates like that, but it is awfully convenient – maybe because it’s a proper way to divide up the market. As we discussed in yesterday’s SDT, I have a big open question for cloud: is it the case that people want (a.) a converged cloud (a box they just plugin, not futzing with software and such), and, (b.) “managed cloud” as the “public cloud” version of that: Cisco MetaCloud, BlueBox, Rackspace, and every other “not gonna compete head-to-head with Amazon” vendor out there who feels the need to do public cloud (equation: IT – Amazon = what?). I don’t think “the market” is big enough to know yet, to have enough requirements to drive it. The vendors have to place bets and drive thought-leaderships. Good luck storming the castle!
  • Red Hat to Wall Street: I came here to chew FeedHenry and kick some ass. And I’m all out of FeedHenry – it seems like Red Hat has been doing well of late. I’m starting to think of “Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)” as the new LAMP/J2EE-cum-JSP stack. We’ve changed the UI layer (from web to mobile) and you just need new a completely new stack of middle-ware because leaky abstractions. Think about it: if 70-80%+ of user were on mobile instead of web/desktop, you would just call MBaaS “middleware,” and the other stuff (web/LAMP/etc.) “legacy.” Private equity is on the prowl for the green screen – it’d be nifty if they started buying up old web stack companies.
  • What the winners in the application economy are doing differently – CA is doing well re-calibrating their marketing around DevOps (with some dusting of security-cum-API management). Here, they did a study that’s reminiscent of the 2014 Puppet DevOps study to try to show a connection between DevOps and “high performing business.” Looks like good raw materials for the field and keynotes at conferences that have the word “Expo” or “Congress” in them. (That’s a compliment.)
  • The more people fly, the more they prefer the aisle seat – I’m at 20,000 feet right now, brother. I’m totally that guy on this. Aisle all the time, baby: I gots to pee!
  • Life after Larry may be coming, but it’s not here yet for Oracle – it seems our 10 second analysis yesterday was a bit off. The 24 analysis hours cycle on Larry Ellison “stepping down” has been that not much is changing. OK; we’ll see.
  • Ping Identity Secures $35M Funding for Product Innovation, Global Expansion – “Series G.” The funding and corporate strategy history of Ping would be fascinating to explore. They’ve been around a long, long time (since 2002!) and seemingly keep just missing the brass rings of time. They’ve got to have rebuffed numerous acquisition offers, spent late nights trying to IPO, and done all sorts of other corporate financing gymnastics. Good luck to them this cycle! (If they get to Series O, can we call it “Series OG”?)

Fun & IRL

“Just call me ‘Captain.’ Mr. Dragon’s my father.”

Coté Memo #041: Check all the things with BatCISO, SAP now owns TripIt

Title: Coté Memo #041: Check all the things with BatCISO, SAP now owns TripIt

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #041. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +2. Jim-dandy! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Just in...

What’s a full stack developer?

Earlier this on the Under Development podcast week Bill and I discussed full stack developers in the context of working in a large company. There was also a fun discussion of the odd idea that “a good manager makes themselves unneeded” and what that phrase actually means.

We solve all of OpenStack’s problems

(Podcast here if you don’t like video – who does?!)

I think our Software Defined Talk podcasts keeps getting better. In this week’s recording (video only up at the moment), you can see Brandon move aggressively into the “let me tell you what I really think” zone, which is awesome.

The audio quality of Google oHangouts has been crapping out, so we’ll be figuring out other options.

Don’t forget to just subscribe to the podcast feed to get episodes downloaded automatically.

Fun & IRL

El-P and Killer Mike

I noticed there’s a new Run the Jewels album coming out, which made me go back and check if they’d added the first album in Spotify. They have!

I love that El-P sound.

Coté Memo #040: Market cycles in infrastructure software, still more OpenStack action

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #040. Today we have 49 subscribers, so we’re +3. What happened?! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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  • There was diverse feedback to my research agenda question from yesterday. One person suggested focusing on points of friction that customers are facing, another of you on re-framing DevOps to be “all that stuff needed to become a coding business” (my rephrasing), and yet another in a more commercial sense: what will people pay for? All good input that’s given me plenty to think about.

  • One of the key things to fall out of the various conversations is being more straight forward with the “what I really think” content. Oddly enough, in the analyst world, this is not as easy as you may think. One theory being kicked around in the inbox is to “give away” the facts and to charge for opinion. That is, put “what I really think” behind a paywall. As I said in the thread on the topic, I almost do the opposite nowadays. It’s something to think more on in the endless analyst business model noodling I do. You got opinions? As an example, listen to the last 20 minutes (sort of accidentally recorded) of the most recent Exponent podcast. I think it’s some of the best, most valuable work that podcast has done. I didn’t think of big Apple event at all like they do…and now I do! (There’s also good cultural commentary on Asian luxury buying habits.)

  • I’m sure you’re thinking, “hey, Coté. I know you try to release and UnderDevelopment.io podcast every two weeks. What up?” Well, we have a recording in the can. It just needs some editing. SORRY! (I’ll be recording Software Defined Talk this week remotely. We’ll see how that goes!)

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Systems Management Cycles: best of breed vs. full suite

On the plane today I started working on a piece considering the question, “should we make a platform out of all our point products?” In that context, I ended up typing up one of my core cycle theories for how the systems management market works. The below is just a first draft, pardon errors and stupidity.

The “infrastructure software” layer in the IT stack is that sinewy and sometimes well marbled layer between the hardware and the application layer: operating systems, cloud platforms, systems and cloud management tools, and all the other software required to keep the applications (or “services” if you were indoctrinated properly in the mid-2000s) running and healthy. These are the concerns of the “sysadmin”: managing the servers at the operating system level, ensuring the network is properly functioning, deploying and configuring the applications (custom written or packaged), managing requests for modifying the software, and then monitoring the performance of all of it so that end-users have the best (or, at least, agreed on) level of performance possible.

This diverse range of responsibilities and the vast array of vendors out available to satisfy each need creates an panoply of tools that a sysadmin can use to do their work. As with most IT, there’s an ongoing cycle of “does everything suite” vs. “best-of-breed” products in the industry. Currently, for example, as the new technologies needed to run and manage cloud penetrate into the enterprise (based on our studies, we reckon that most companies are well through virtualization and now onto cloud), it feels like we’re in a best-of-breed phase of the cycle: no single suite of tools can manage everything perfectly or match the all of the diverse use cases in the market.

In this initial phase of a technology market (as we are in with cloud) startups who seek to move faster and take on more risk than incumbents find holes in the suite approaches and prosper because they offer better performance, often at lower costs.

We’ve seen this happen in systems management, for example, with Splunk going against Big 4 log management tools and APM vendors such as New Relic and AppDynamics out-innovating the slower moving incumbents early in this phase of APM.

A similar cycle occurred with virtualization management with many vendors offering better ways to manage VMware clusters than VMware itself. Several years ago, virtualization market seemed to cluster back up into suite approaches with VMware and others buying up point tools. Atlassian in the developer tools space used disruptive approaches to go-to-market to peddle genuinely innovative developer tools to make trouble for the incumbent application life-cycle vendors.

Successful, best of breed, nimble tools often become the stable but innovation-listing incumbents for a new batch of startups.

As another ask, I’m trying to track down and “fact check” the idea that the Tivoli Framework was very problematic. People always talk about it, but I don’t know if I have any good write-ups on hand. Anyone have some pointers or first hand experience?

Rewrite brought to you by CA

Traveling

As you may know, I’m interested in CA’s marketing and brand transformation. Like Compuware, they seem to have simplified their face, as it were, a lot. While in JFK for a layover, I noticed CA had a lot of ads up. Above is one of the more interesting ones. It’s very “digital enterprise”/“coding business”/“bi-modal IT”/“third platform” (pick you favorite analyst/pundit phrase). Good for them.

I like the “we’re gonna spend the next 10 years rewriting all the software” hyperbole I start most of my talks with. But of course I’d like it.

Fun & IRL

If pictures of CA advertising in JFK aren’t “fun” for you, I don’t know why you subscribe to this thing!

(No, please don’t leave.)

Coté Memo #039: research agenda crafting, what Docker will spend $40m on, RAX no longer for sale

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Hello again, welcome to #039. Today we have 46 subscribers, so we’re +1. Dandy! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Quick Hits

This [cash injection] puts us in a great position to invest aggressively in the future of distributed applications. We’ll be able to significantly expand and build the Docker platform and our ecosystem of developers, contributors, and partners, while developing a broader set of solutions for enterprise users.

Look for significant advances in orchestration, clustering, scheduling, storage, and networking. You’ll also see continued advances in the overall Docker platform–both Docker Hub and Docker Engine.

And a fun diagram:

The Docker roadmap

What cloud vendor d'ya like?

Research Agenda Decisions

I have three options (OK, four) of what I should focus on in my analyst work in front of me and I’d be curious to hear your input:

  1. DevOps – we’ve done plenty of coverage here and there, but if you recall back in #028, we could do with a more rigorous and deep research agenda here.
  2. Software Development – when I was hired, this was an area that needed filling and I certainly would like to. As with DevOps, all of us fill it in well but we might could do with more focus on it.
  3. Plain of systems management, virtualization, etc. – while folks on my team cover APM, cloud platforms, and other areas, we don’t have a dedicated focus (again, with that rigor and depth I outlined for DevOps).
  4. Continue to be a be broad and cover all of the above, but with the more shallow depth that comes from broad coverage.

As I mentioned, at the team level we cover all the three items above. The question is what I should spend “all of my time doing.” In each of the three real options above, I could easily talk with only companies and end-users in those areas, spend “all my time” focused on researching and writing just one of them. My question to you, dear readers, is what you would (a.) find most valuable, and, (b.) what you think would be the best (criteria: commercially valuable, interesting, fun people to talk with, etc.) area for me to focus on (separate from of your needs).

I’ve equivocated many times solid answers for all four of the above, so outside feedback would be helpful.

Travel

Travel is starting up again, oh boy. I’m off to Boston later this week, Chicago next week, then HCTS (you can still get $200 off, see above!) in Las Vegas, BMC’s conference in Orlando, Paris for the OpenStack Summit, CA World in Las Vegas, and Toronto for a TechTarget speaking engagement. So far, beyond that, things look clear.

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work.

Coté Memo #038: No title, just links

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Hello again, welcome to #038. Today we have 45 subscribers, so we’re +2. Fun! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Tech & Work World

Busy day – and coming week – so just the quick hits for today.

Quick Hits

Hey, they just need faster Internet – “waitress, another Dewars!”

Mark drove though West Texas recently and noted how desolate it was, with photos! I typed up the below as a comment, but got trapped in some login madness, so here it is:

We lived a month in Marathon, Texas in 2010 or 2009 It was nice. To your point, there’s not much going on out there (by us city folks’s standards). It took 2 hours to get to an airport (El Paso) and the Internet was slow (I had to go to the Sul Ross library to do a webcast, as I recall).

It seemed to me, though, that if you had faster Internet, things would actually be very nice for a remote worker. I suppose the schools wouldn’t be as good as the “big city” schools, and your dog might get eaten by a javelina. Still, all those abandoned buildings must be dirt cheap and people generally leave each other alone out there.

I suppose that’s sort of a parasitic view of decaying Texas, but I think there’s lots of people who’s be glad to dump their cash into land and housing out there if there was good “first world” infrastructure in place.

Fun & IRL

We started back on some Andersons coffee today and man, it’s rocket fuel!

Coté Memo #037: vRealize report, PaaS winnowing, big hunks of turkey

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Hello again, welcome to #037. Today we have 43 subscribers, so we’re +1. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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  • 451 Deal Analysis of HP buying Eucalyptus – As I mentioned yesterday, we had a Deal Analysis in the works. Here it is.
  • That vRealize report is finally up. I spend much of the time going over the strategic reasons for doing this and much less on the actual features. I figure there’ll be more at the BCN VMworld so we’ll look to cover it more in-depth then. Coincidently, I had an end-user inquiry today that talked all about vRealize and its competitors. The customer was well trained: they said “vRealize” and never “vCAC”!
  • This is the kind of feedback I find most valuable (I’m serious!):

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work. I’m going to go have a martini.

Coté Memo #036: HP buys Eucalyptus, mind-mapping-aaS

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #036. Today we have 42 subscribers, so we’re +/0. Steady as she goes! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Quick Hits

HP buys Eucalyptus

The addition of Marten to HP’s world-class Cloud leadership team will strengthen and accelerate the strategy we’ve had in place for more than three years, which is to help businesses build, consume and manage open source hybrid clouds,“ said Whitman. "Marten will enhance HP’s outstanding bench of Cloud executives and expand HP Helion capabilities, giving customers more choice and greater control of private and hybrid cloud solutions.

We cover this in Software Defined Talk today. I start with some context on HP, Eucalyptus, OpenStack, and "AWS compatibility.” It’s nice to have three different perspectives.

As you can conclude from the discussion, I find it both perplexing and exciting. As we say in SDT, from a customer perspective “I want an AWS-compatible cloud that just works (as much as a private cloud can)” it makes sense; from a portfolio perspective (“which HP cloud did you want buy?”) it seems to add confusion. I suggest giving them some time to explain their plans. Should be fun in Paris at the upcoming OpenStack Summit.

We have a 451 Deal Analysis report on this in the works and it’ll hopefully be out tomorrow. In the mean time, check out Barb Darrow’s quick coverage.

MindMeister

I signed up for a paid account at MindMeister today. I think I like it. I’m eager to see how the mobile part works.

Also, it was cool that it has 2FA and uses the Google Authenticator. I poked around and it turns out Evernote does as well. For some reason, I love that!

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work.

Coté Memo #035 – Is Docker a threat to OpenStack, NPC in servers, OCP too expensive?, etc.

Meta-data

I’m shipping mid-day. Let’s see what happens!

Hello again, welcome to #035. Today we have 42 subscribers, so we’re +1. Fun! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Quick Hits

Is Docker a threat to OpenStack?

We get questions like this a lot. Here’s the swag du jour:

I think they’re complimentary. OpenStack is more about orchestrating and manage large clouds, where-as Docker alone is at the single node level. Docker should be looked at as two things: (a.) more efficient virtualization, but that likely works on less workloads than virtualization (at the moment), and, (b.) a developer-friendly way to package up applications for deployment into cloud and cloud-like environments (as well as non-cloud infrastructure).

Docker is a threat to virtualization, primarily. Systems like Mesosphere, CoreOS, and Kubernetes (I don’t understand it well enough, but I think it fits here) that use (or could use) things like Docker are more a threat to OpenStack. Why? Developers building applications could find the stripped down management and orchestration in those systems more than good enough and not go in for the “bigger plate of hassle” that OpenStack brings. The question becomes: is OpenStack “over” (managing how these things are used) those, or “under” (managed by and used a fungible resource) them?

As with all “threats” to OpenStack, the key question is: can these alternatives get into a production ready, get up and running in less than a day state before OpenStack does? I.e.: “OpenStack is hard, our stuff is easy.”

Fun & IRL

  • RE/Search – in the pre-web days, I loved these books. I don’t think I ever bought one, but I always sought them at at Half-Priced Books and thumbed through them. Now of course, we have the web.

Coté Memo #034: No longer blending iPhones, Applefornia, Developer Relations & Marketing

Meta-data

Hello again, welcome to #034. Today we have 41 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Quick Hits

Finally, I’ll be getting a new phone

Obviously, there was a big Apple event today. I’m overdue getting a new phone (I’ve got an iPhone 4s!), so I’ll be shelling some cash out once it’s available; I’ll see what kind of AT&T discount I get. I finally waited until I was due a new phone, so hopefully not that much.

Like most people I saw, I was impressed by the Apple Watch more than I thought. I like how Apple just kept piling on functionality to it. Pretty Amazing.

Kevin Lynch shows off the Apple Watch

It was also fun to see Kevin Lynch in action. I used to work with him in tiny ways, mostly over lunches, when he was at Adobe. He always seemed like a very genuine, very smart guy who actually had a passion for computers. I think that came through in his talk today. He had a nice sense of humor too which popped up a tad. Last we saw, he was blending iPhones, but you know, because the cause.

Applefornia

The other thing I find fascinating is the weird world that Apple’s personas all exist in. It’s somewhere between stock photos at Target and the mall, and high-end PowerPoint clip-art. I like to think of it as Applefornia: that cool, ocean-filled place where people seem to constantly be on vacation and covering them selves with patinaware. That Umberto Eco should write an essay on it.

Developer relations and marketing

At our upcoming HCTS cloud conference (look above for more info and discount code if you want to register), I’ll be doing a short talk on developer relations and marketing, followed by a panel on the topic.

I put together a first, incomplete draft of the slides. Take a gander and tell me if you have any feedback:

I’m not sure where I came up with that title, but it looks like something I’d type…

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work.