At Structure I ran into some of my readers and they asked what I was planning on doing next as I posted on my plan to change what I work on.
FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2011 AT 6:13AM
5 Years ago, I quit Microsoft after 14 years with no idea what I was going to do next. What I did know is after 5 years I would be working on things that were much bigger and more fun than than what I was doing at Microsoft when I left. Working on Win3.1, Win95, Windows 2000, and Windows XP were the most fun I had at Microsoft and I have the best memories. Working at Apple, re-architecting the physical distribution system, being part of the hardware team on the Macintosh II, and working on software components for System 7 was when I had the most fun at Apple. HP fresh out of school, I had all kinds of ideas on what I wanted to try. Ideas in quality/reliability engineering, process engineering, and distribution logistics were fun. Yeh, I am engineering nerd. Why can’t the same ideas I worked on 30 years ago be applied to data centers?
I was lucky to catch up with one of my old friends who was visiting from Japan yesterday and review some of my plans. Another of our SW friends who has been working on cloud solutions for the three years said our friend stationed in Japan was in town. Both of these guys are extremely smart SW operating system, application development, and even data center operations experience. I quickly sent e-mail seeing if he was available for dinner and cleared my schedule. As background, we all used to work together at Apple 20 years ago. One engineer worked for the other at Apple and Adobe. The senior engineer worked for me for a while at Microsoft and we have always had great discussions on technology, but haven't formed a business together. Now is the time to try.
In the hour dinner conversation we reviewed the solution and he agreed on the innovative approach that works well in data centers, but applies to many other areas besides data centers. He complimented me that I had figured out some great insights being immersed in data centers that no one thinks about, and the ideas scale like a platform. Platform ideass like we did at Apple and Microsoft with operating systems.
We discussed patent strategies, and he came up with better intellectual property protection mechanisms. We discussed user interface design and real time information vs. post analysis processing of information. We agreed on a strategy to create a new language that solves many issues we discussed.
The two engineers will meet in person on Saturday for lunch and hopefully come up with more ideas. We'll have a conference call on Monday to review things as a group.
This reminds of the fun we had at Apple where I was project leader and supported great engineers who knew the right thing to do. We all left Apple in the dark ages of 1992-3 after System 7. Neither of us went back to Apple, but we look fondly back to the old days when we were much younger. One of great lessons we all learned early on at Apple was the confidence and method to create solutions with no data to support the product. There is no data that supports the solution we are thinking about will work and what the market size is. The typical business plan approach would be to conduct a market analysis study. Nahh. We are going to build it.
My next data center conference is 7x24 Exchange Phoenix in Nov, 2011 and I'll see if some of the SW engineers will join me there.