Goodbye Google, Hello VMware!
September 8th, 2011 · 10 Comments
In july 2005 I joined Google as AdWords API evangelist, to start developer relations, be the public friendly face for developers, of a company mostly driven by algorithms, with little human front end. Google then had 3000 employees, and 5 developer products.
I left Google last week after 6 years, friday september 2 2011 was my last day in the beautiful San Francisco office. Google has now nearly 30 000 employees, more than 90 developer products, and a developer relations team of more than 200 extremely talented people. Participating in building that team, defining the roles, the job ladders, hiring the best in the world, and managing several teams has been very rewarding. I am thankful to +Vic Gundotra and +Michael Winton for making it possible. Introduction to Google Developer Relations has details on what the team is doing and how it is organized.
I learned a lot, had fun, and made many friends at Google and outside, all over the world, in the past 6 years, building developer ecosystems for Google services in Ads, Commerce, Social, Browser and Cloud. I worked with many partners, gave talks at numerous conferences and GTUGs (30-50 talks/year in the past few years), traveled a lot, and met thousands of developers who are changing the world with code.
I loved Google, for its focus on technology, culture of innovation in the open and risk taking, ambitious mission, and the joy of working with people who are talented, passionate, and data driven. The “don’t be evil” corporate value, as well as the strategy of innovation in the open, leveraging open source and open standards, were also aspects I loved.
Why leaving then, and to do what?
On tuesday, I joined VMware as Senior Director, Developer Relations, to help them build their developer relations team. I love Google but this is an opportunity that I could not resist!
In the past 2 years I managed the Google Cloud and Apps Developer Relations team, focused on the Google App Engine Cloud Platform and Google Apps collaboration suite (special thanks to +Simon Meacham for taking over the team from me). I believe that the move of software and data to the Cloud is a profound architecture transition like we see every 15 years (the previous ones being mainframe, client-server, web). Modern HTML5 browsers, as well as mobile platforms like iOS and Android represent the client side of this transformation, the server side being a set of software, platform and infrastructure delivered as services, and known as Cloud computing. Nick Carr has a good layman explanation of this transition in his book The Big Switch, where he likens it to the industrialization of electricity in the beginning of the 20th century, and if you prefer a video, Simon Wardley‘s 2009 OSCON talk Cloud Computing – Why IT matters is full of wisdom and fun to watch, on that same topic.
My recent talk Cloud is such stuff as dreams are made on gives a good summary of the Cloud space as I see it today, for software, platform, infrastructure and development (video from Paris JUG, in french).
In the same way the tech industry has put a PC (or Mac), with a big pile of software, on everyone’s desk in the 30 years from 1980 to 2010, the next 15 years will be about getting a mobile device in everyone’s hands, with myriads of cloud services to make them useful. Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and others will provide most of the consumer Cloud services, with many vertical players like Netflix. But a huge market is Enterprises moving their software to the Cloud. After talking to many customers in the past 2 years, I realized that there are 2 requirements for Cloud services for Enterprise: they must be based on open source and open standards, to avoid lock-in and allow the level of control Enterprises want to have, and must provide the ability to create private, public and hybrid clouds. It is true for Enterprises, Governments, the military (cf my talk AFCEA C4I Symposium: The 4th C in C4I Stands for Cloud), and even consumer startups once they start to scale.
6 months ago Vint Cerf came to give a talk to our team, and explained that when he was young, standardizing how machines talked together, with TCP/IP was a great career opportunity for him, and that today the same opportunity existed for standardizing Cloud technologies. In april VMWare released an open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) called Cloud Foundry. It is multi-language/frameworks, multi-service, and multi-clouds (private, public, hybrid). When I saw it launch I recognized the open source platform that could become the de facto standard for Cloud platforms, public and private, the same way TCP/IP standardized how machines communicate. My favorite industry analyst, James Governor, understood right away what Cloud Foundry means for the industry.
I had been following VMware for a few years, seeing Paul Maritz and his team avoid the innovator’s dilemma associated with their stronghold in IaaS, following a “go big or go home” strategy, embracing PaaS and SaaS through clever acquisitions and product creation over the whole value chain, assembling the whole Cloud stack from both ends: virtualization products at the IaaS bottom layer, for sysadmins, Zimbra, Sliderocket and Horizon at the top SaaS layer, for end users, and Cloud Foundry in the middle PaaS layer, for developers. Add SpringSource developer tools and frameworks, and you have the start of a very strong developer story. VMware is going to lead the cloud enterprise cloud transition, and while today they talk mostly to IT departments, Devops and Sysadmins, I strongly believe that they are going to become the first provider of cloud technology for developers: I am joining them to build their developer relations team, help them write and tell that story.
I am joining old friends like Guillaume “Groovy” Laforge (see our Devoxx 2009 talk), the 2 ex-Googlers who started Cloud Foundry, Mark Lucovsky and Derek Collison, thought leaders I respect like Rod Johnson, Chris Richardson and Steven Herrod, Wavemaker’s Chris Keene, and one of my favorite Twitterer, James Watters. I will be mentored by +Tod Nielsen and managed by Charles Fitzgerald.
To learn more about Cloud Foundry, download Micro Cloud Foundry for Developers, it runs on a laptop, watch the screencasts, start coding and deploying! @Cloudfoundry is the Twitter account to follow to get updates on the project, the source is on github, and the community at http://cloudfoundry.org/.
I will talk about Cloud and Cloud Foundry at many developer conferences in the next few months, starting with friday morning keynote at the Heartland Developer Conference 2011, in Omaha. If you’re at the conference come chat with me and let me know what you are expecting from your cloud! SpringOne Chicago 2011 October 25-28 will also have a whole track dedicated to Cloud Foundry.
Let a thousand clouds bloom!
When I wrote the draft for this post I started a long list of people to thank, then realized that between Googlers, partners, developers I met at conferences, GTUG members and organizers, bloggers, analysts, journalists, conference organizers, there would be more than a thousand people, and I would surely forget someone. The better idea for that kind of things is to crowdsource it! If we worked, or interacted together in the context of my role in Google developer relations in the past 6 years, please tell an anecdote on this Google+ thread (or this Facebook post, or with the #patgoogle on Twitter if you are not on Google+). I loved every bit of my time at Google, thanks to all of you, and will cherish these actualized memories. Plus, it will make it easier to create a circle called: “People from my golden years at Google”:-)