Archives for July 2010

Rackspace Opens the Cloud (and I Couldn’t be More Proud)

A little over two years ago, as I was talking to Rackspace Hosting about joining their Cloud Computing Division, I told Rackspace that I wanted to change the world (again). I was involved with creating WiFi – and I wanted to again make that kind of change for the world.

More than I wanted a J.O.B. – I wanted to change the world.

And here I find myself, at 4am, not being able to sleep – even though I need to be on a flight to Boulder in 4 hours.  I’m too excited to sleep – oh, I tried!  But every few minutes I would find myself peeking once more at the OpenStack Twitter Account (@OpenStack) – wondering if the hits were still coming in (they are) – and assuring myself this is real (it is!).

We’ve been hard at work for the last several years – working towards that end. Today, I think we have helped change the world.

By open-sourcing the second most popular Cloud Computing platform on the planet, I think we’ve just changed the world. Hell, by partnering with NASA, we may actually be changing more than this world. (I can imagine OpenStack running on the Moon, and on Mars!)

The list of partners is impressive – go look at http://openstack.org. There are a lot of forward thinkers on that list – and they are company I am proud to be in.

Mostly though, I am proud of the company I work for. This is a bold move by a Leadership team that has demonstrated exceptional thought leadership in our space. In the two short years I have been with the company we have more than doubled our customer count, drastically increased the number of servers and data-centers we have, and made bold moves in many other areas.

I’m sure there will be a lot of discussions and a lot of questions about our decision (there were plenty of internal ones!) – but I am confident that at the end of the day, a truly open cloud that is already in production will better serve the world – a cloud that has proven its ability to scale and serve real customers.

It is a great day to be a Racker. I’m very proud of what we have done, and what we will continue to do to change the world – one (open) code drop at a time!

Come join us at OpenStack – change the world with us.  Change your world!

The worst advice I still get – “Be Careful”

Well, this blog post is about 4 months over-due.  That’s when someone I respect asked me to blog about the worst advice I have ever gotten.  In this case, I still get this advice almost every day – “Be careful”.

Now I am not suggesting any of you go out there and become dicks at work – that’s reckless.  I am suggesting that careful is career-limiting in some cases.

Don’t go tell your bosses they are idiots and then come back and blame me if you find yourself on the street – that is not what this blog post is about.

So what is it about?  It’s about risk and reward.  It is about knowing where the line gets drawn in the sand.  It is about knowing how and when to hold your company, your co-workers, and your contemporaries up to a simple standard.  Simple Standard? Yeah – it is not so simple – it is different for everyone.

I have a few very basic standards that I will not tolerate us (and by “us” I mean anyone I work with or for) abusing:

  1. Never lie.  Not to employees, and not to customers.
  2. Tell as much truth as you can as soon as you understand what the truth is.
  3. Admit failure.  We all suffer from it.  It only seriously hurts us when we try to hide from it.  Or lie about it (see #1)
  4. Never put your company ahead of your customers.  Unless you do not care about your company.

So the worst advice I still get is always about “being careful”.  “That VP is powerful – you better not piss them off – be careful”.  “Everyone loves this marketing campaign, don’t tell them why it sucks – you better be careful”.  “You aren’t making any friends by admitting we handled that poorly – you better be careful”.

Whatever.

I find that keeping the customer’s best interests ahead of mine, and ahead of the company’s is the only way to honestly advocate what is right for the company.  If I keep customers first and foremost, even when it causes short term pain for the company (and me), the company wins in the long term.  And I build credibility within the company, and with customers.

You can’t effectively advocate for customers if you are more concerned with keeping your job.

And if you work for a company that expects you to be the customer voice, but tells you to “be careful” with your internal communications – well, you are in the wrong position, and at the wrong company.

I can be a total ass at work when I think we are doing customers wrong.  And yes – that does not please everyone.  But it pleases my customers – and that pleases me.

My job isn’t to make the company happy, after all.  My job is to make customers happy.

And I am “careful” – I am careful to make sure we actually tell customers the truth.  I am careful that customers trust me because I have earned their trust.  I am careful that the arguments I am making internally actually matter to customers – that I am fighting the right fights.

But I am not careful to keep my job – that would render me ineffective at my job.

Finally – Free Energy (fly not included)

I don’t know why I get such a kick out of this video.  Perhaps because it does a great job spoofing all those other bogus “free energy” schemes…