The Tough Question for the Titans of Cloud, How is Your Team Better than the Competition?

Gigaom’s Barb Darrow asks for a question you would ask the Titans of the Cloud - Amazon, Google, HP, IBM, Rackspace, Red Hat, VMware, and Microsoft.

Top 5 questions for the titans of cloud


If you had Amazon’s Werner Vogels, Google’s Urs Hölzle, IBM/SoftLayer’s Lance Crosby, Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie, Rackspace’s Taylor Rhodes in one room, what would you ask?

There are 5 questions listed.  Being an insider and seeing how stuff works behind the scenes I have a tougher question than the readers sent in. 

Tell me how your team is better than the Competition?

Anyone who knows how things work know there are teams of people who work on the Cloud infrastructure.  If you trace cause of outages the human factor is hard to miss.  The Cloud automation is created by teams of people as well.  

HBR has a post on The New Science of Building Great Teams.

The New Science of Building Great Teams

by Alex “Sandy” Pentland

If you were looking for teams to rig for success, a call center would be a good place to start. The skills required for call center work are easy to identify and hire for. The tasks involved are clear-cut and easy to monitor. Just about every aspect of team performance is easy to measure: number of issues resolved, customer satisfaction, average handling time (AHT, the golden standard of call center efficiency). And the list goes on.

Why, then, did the manager at a major bank’s call center have such trouble figuring out why some of his teams got excellent results, while other, seemingly similar, teams struggled? Indeed, none of the metrics that poured in hinted at the reason for the performance gaps. This mystery reinforced his assumption that team building was an art, not a science.

And one of the insights on team performance.

Patterns of communication, for example, explained why performance varied so widely among the seemingly identical teams in that bank’s call center. Several teams there wore our badges for six weeks. When my fellow researchers (my colleagues at Sociometric Solutions—Taemie Kim, Daniel Olguin, and Ben Waber) and I analyzed the data collected, we found that the best predictors of productivity were a team’s energy and engagement outside formal meetings. Together those two factors explained one-third of the variations in dollar productivity among groups.

Here is the HBR video on Team Performance.

 Here are Barb’s 5 question from readers.

 1: When will all the major clouds support the same set of APIs?

2: When will they support migration of data/workloads from one cloud to another natively?

3: What comes after the race to the bottom in cloud storage prices plays out?

4: When will we see a true cloud exchange? 

5: How can we be sure our data is safe in your cloud from prying eyes?