I’ve just left Yahoo, mostly because it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to do what I was originally hired to do. Frustrating, but never mind. So now I’m checking out the alternatives (of which there are quite a few), and in the meantime I’ve joined US Venture Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence.
Archive for the “Transition” Category
Posts related to my RIF from Sun and the process of deciding what to do next….
Orientation was yesterday. Today I plunge in. I’m heading in early, to try to find my desk, though I suspect that my workspace will turn out to be wherever I (and my MacBook) happen to be…
Today’s my last day at Huawei. I’m going to take a couple of weeks off (first in Massachusetts, visiting family and friends, and then in Napa Valley, unwinding), and then on September 13 I’ll be starting at Yahoo! I’ll be working in Shelton Shugar’s Cloud Computing group.
I’m leaving one amazing company to join another. I’ll be traveling a lot less, and I’ll be dealing with a different set of customers, but in each case the vision is the same. It’s about computing as a service, and the operational and business possibilities this this opens up. It’s not defined by technology (despite what you might think if you dropped in on the various online discussion groups about cloud computing). It’s enabled by key technologies (virtualization, data center networking), and it establishes an “innovation vector” for new technologies to enhance and exploit it. I’m not too concerned about whether we label it as IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, or some other “XaaS“: what’s important is the “aaS“, not the “X“.
Over the last 14 months I’ve enjoyed working with the team at Huawei, in Santa Clara, Shenzhen, and Xi’an. I’m sorry that I’m leaving you all before the first release of the system, but I’m confident that the strategy is solid. It’s gratifying to see how recent events have validated the decisions we made a year ago. And I’m really excited to be joining Yahoo! and working with a company that has such a presence in the industry, and really understands operations at massive scale.
Unexpected aspects of 2009:
Overall, unexpected is good… it keeps you on your toes.It can be tiring, of course: it’s hard to relax into a routine. It’s been a year of learning, in all sorts of ways. I wonder what the corresponding list for 2010 will look like.
I seem to be slipping into a mode where I spit out a handful of blog posts and then subside for a week or more. C’est la vie. Since last blogging, we’ve made great strides on getting the apartment up and running. We have TV, Internet, and VOIP telephony. (And on the TV, mirabile dictu, we have SpeedHD! YES!!!) We have shared printing, albeit with a replacement printer: my HP All-In-One didn’t survive the move, so I went out and bought a Canon MX860. The idea of a WiFi-enabled device that does full-duplex printing and feeder-based scanning/copying for under $200 strikes me as vaguely amazing.
The car is almost sorted out. Some friends of mine decided to buy a new 2010 Prius, and offered me a great deal on their 2007 Prius Touring. It took a few days for everything to come together, but we’ve done the deal, I now have a California license, insurance is sorted out (which was more of a hassle than it should have been), and tomorrow I’ll go to the DMV to make it official by paying the sales tax and a gazillion other little fees. There’s not much point in me posting a picture (it looks like every other silver Prius you’ve ever seen), but it’s a true geek’s car. Now to pick out a personalized plate – maybe “CLOUD C” or “ESSEX U” or “AVEBURY”…
As we unpacked all of the boxes, I was all for crushing them and getting rid of them as fast as possible. Instead, Kate advertised them (for free) on Craig’s List, and we had grateful takers for all of them. Lesson to the impatient: recycling stuff is worth the small effort. We haven’t unpacked the books yet, so we’re going to have plenty more.
An on top of all this, I’m busy making plans for another trip to China! I’m flying out on Friday. This time, my plans are so fluid that for now I’ve simply booked a one-way ticket to Hong Kong; we’ll make up the rest of the itinerary over the next few days. There’s a nice urgency in all of this which I also found at Amazon (and didn’t experience during the last few years at Sun). But at Amazon, the urgency was of the short-term variety: small teams, short projects, quick pay-backs. Not here.
(Weird travel detail. I’m flying out on Cathay Pacific, and I thought that since I may wind up on quite a few CX flights over the next few years, it might make sense for me to join their Frequent Flier program, the Marco Polo Club. I went through the long online application form, right up to the point where they told me that it would cost $50 to join. I checked the out-of-the-box benefits: nothing special. So I think I’ll be accruing my CX miles on AA or BA.)
In Seattle we were stuck with Broadstripe for Internet/TV, and bandwidth was so-so. Here in Palo Alto we’re using Comcast, and I like the speed:
This has been an incredible week. 10 days ago we shipped all of our belongings off to California. Since then:
Tomorrow we’ll tackle the clothing and the rest of the geek infrastructure. (Printing would be good. Music too.) And we’ll do a grocery run, which will involve a tough choice: we have Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Safeway within a few blocks….
I’m sitting here at the Red Carpet Club in Seattle Airport, waiting for our flight to San Francisco. Tonight we’ll be in a hotel in Palo Alto, and in a few days the movers will be delivering our stuff. Another move completed.
The last few nights have been characterized by broken sleep: a combination of the jet lag of the return from China and the busy and distracting events of the move. At one point I found myself, half-awake, composing blog entries in my head. One was a challenge to self-declared supporters of Intelligent Design, which I may actually type up some tome; the other was a list of all the places I’ve lived. Since that’s actually relevant to today’s move, I thought I’d see if I could recreate the material that I dreamed. A disclaimer: this is slightly simplified, and there are overlaps during the period between 1968 and 1972 when I was working and attending university.
The dictionary defines an entr’acte as “an interval between two acts of a play or opera.” For me, it’s a relatively quiet few hours half way through the turmoil of my first month at Huawei. I’m sitting here in a cheesy tourist motel in Santa Barbara, having concluded a two week whirlwind tour of technology partners up and down the west coast of the US. I squeezed in a couple of days at home for the Fourth of July, and I’ve been conducting phone screens and arranging interviews in connection with staffing up my new team. (I’ve actually got two more phone calls coming up over the next couple of hours, which is why “quiet” is relative.)
This morning my colleagues and I went down to the Santa Barbara waterfront and enjoyed the pelicans wheeling overhead as the sun rose over the mountains and burned off the sea haze. That was wonderful. And this evening I’m having dinner with an old friend of my mother’s, a professor at UC Santa Barbara. I’m looking forward to discussing non-work topics!
Tomorrow it all picks up again. I’ll be on a puddle-jumper up to SFO, then on a United 747-400 to Hong Kong, where I’ll arrive on Sunday evening. Then I’ll be spending a couple of weeks at the Huawei HQ in Shenzhen, meeting more people and teams than I will be able to remember, and hopefully extracting a coherent picture from the whole experience.
What have I learned so far? I think the Number One thing is simply this: think bigger. At Amazon we were used to thinking big: customers, transactions, catalog items, suppliers. But telco is bigger. The future is exponential: more bandwidth (Huawei is a leader in LTE), more handset capacity (cycles, pixels), more interactions (classic “network effect” phenomena like social networks, more things interacting with other things). It’s multiplicative. And think globally. At Amazon the “world” was defined by the handful of countries in which we did business, most of which are suffering economically. But telco is REALLY global, with all of the opportunities and challenges that this brings.
This is going to be exciting.
From this afternoon’s MLS game between the Seattle Sounders and the Colorado Rapids:
It was an enjoyable game, which the Sounders won 3-0. The last 20 minutes were a bit flat, because the third goal knocked the fight out of Colorado. Freddie Ljungberg was the inspirational playmaker for Seattle, but the win was largely due to the collaboration between Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero. Oh, and the attendance was a record, 32,526, beating the previous highest total by just 3. (Obviously our last-minute decision to attend was significant!)
I wanted to see at least one MLS game in Seattle, and now I have. I’ve also seen the Mariners playing baseball, but I never made it to a Seahawks game. (I don’t really enjoy American Football, anyway.) What can we look forward to in California? The Giants baseball park up in San Francisco is nice. In San Jose they have an MLS team, the Earthquakes, but they seem to be struggling rather badly. In any case, we will no longer be able to walk across the street to take in a game on a whim…