Latest Posts

<< >>

Atlassian Summit 2017 Livestream

I’ve concluded that, for a lot of tech company user conferences, the livestream is the best choice. You get the announcements and keynotes, some of the better sessions, but none of the expense and hassle. If you are a hardcore software developer or IT professional, then the conference is likely worthwhile since it provides an opportunity to connect to others in your field. For bloggers, marketing pros, analysts, and the rest of the ecosystem, the livestream does just fine. Livestreams were also a way to “attend” events that your company or schedule would not permit. Such is the case with Atlassian Summit 2017. The company I worked for (but no

Emerging From The Cave

Tiki Tom

For a bit over a year I have been hiding in the bowels of a very large bank. The idea was to have a job to go to but not one that entailed much responsibility. No serious intellectual challenges, no P&L, no direct reports. I wanted to go to an office everyday just like millions of wage slaves do but not have all the old responsibilities. I got that… in spades. There were some things that I learned. I got to experience an Agile environment from the inside. Not just the the theory of Agile, like so many pundits, consultants, and industry analysts do, but Agile in practice and at

Google Should Not Have Fired Their Engineer over Sexist Memo

A pig.

Anyone who knows me personally knows my politics are generally liberal sprinkled with a strong respect for tradition. I also am willing to label myself a feminist in the traditional sense of the word – an advocate for the equality of women in all aspects of society. The reason I mention this is to provide context for my contention that Google was wrong to fire an employee for his wrongheaded remarks about women in tech. And also, to head off arguments that I am some right-wing, women bashing, pig. Like many in the tech community, I have been following the story of Google engineer James Damore’s internal memo entitled “Google’s

Why is The Internet Losing Their Minds Over MS Paint

A picture of the sadness that is MS Paint.

Yesterday, July 24, 2017, Microsoft announced that it would be deprecating MS Paint for the Fall Creators Release of Windows 10. Immediately the Internet went crazy with grief. There were even petitions! The reaction to the rather nonchalant announcement that MS Paint would no longer be part of Windows was so strong that Microsoft had to announce today that Paint wasn’t going away at all. Instead, MS Paint would still be available from the Windows Store, though it would no longer ship with Windows 10. Why?! MS Paint has been around over 30 years. That’s four centuries in computer time. It hasn’t changed much in that time and is, let’s

Microsoft Edge Quick Update

For the past week I’ve been trying to use Microsoft Edge almost exclusively. Despite it’s charms, I simply can’t. The inability to automatically open new links in a new tab is irritating. I end up opening a new tab and then loading the bookmark I want or having to middle click on a link. On top of that, the bookmark import from FireFox didn’t bring over all of my bookmarks. It’s not like it refused to bring over any – it just didn’t bring them all over. For example, a folder with ten bookmarks in Firefox might only yield four entries in Edge. That’s both weird and annoying. So, at

Atlassian Summit 2017 Livestream

I’ve concluded that, for a lot of tech company user conferences, the livestream is the best choice. You get the announcements and keynotes, some of the better sessions, but none of the expense and hassle. If you are a hardcore software developer or IT professional, then the conference is likely worthwhile since it provides an opportunity to connect to others in your field. For bloggers, marketing pros, analysts, and the rest of the ecosystem, the livestream does just fine. Livestreams were also a way to “attend” events that your company or schedule would not permit. Such is the case with Atlassian Summit 2017. The company I worked for (but no longer work for) would never have approved an expenditure like that.

Atlassian Summit 2017 was both familiar and unique. It followed the basic formula of most tech customer conferences. There were keynotes and breakout sessions and the livestream had both. The keynotes, the centerpiece of any livestream or conference, started with a lot of hoopla – dancers, loud EDM, that sort of thing. After the merriment, a co-founder or CEO (or both) come out to extol the virtues of the company culture and charitable giving. Has everyone noticed that every tech company now has a charitable foundation ala Salesforce? Clearly, it’s in vogue and tech companies love to parade out their good works out at conferences. Then we finish up with a speaker, most likely an author, “thinker”, or celebrity who struggles to connect what they do to the company’s products. Kevin Spacey did that masterfully a few years ago. I saw Scott Adams speak an IBM conference where he was funny but struggled to connect with the theme of the conference.

What was different about the Atlassian keynotes was how sloppy they seemed. The co-founders and co-CEOs, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar dressed like they were homeless people. Seriously, baseball caps and tousled hair as if they just woke up and said “Oh damn! I have to give a talk in 5 minutes! Better throw on some clothes. No time for a shower.” Just sloppy. Some of the presenters also seemed nervous or unrehearsed as if they were unprepared for the big stage. It may be that this was what Atlassian was going for, trying to project an image of informality and genuineness. Perhaps but to an enterprise IT professional I doubt this would inspire confidence in Atlassian’s products.

And that’s very unfortunate because the best part of Atlassian’s announcements would certainly appeal to the biggest enterprise customers. Data Center, for example, has expanded to include more Atlassian products and added more enterprise grade features. Cache replication and Rebalancing tools especially will allow for more stability in large installations. The new Identity Manager makes Atlassian products more palatable in security-minded organizations. The addition of Project level administration will also appeal to large enterprises where it is untenable for even a group of administrators to manage each project individually. Even something as simple as the new dependency report will be a help to project managers and release managers trying to manage big and complex projects of the type found in large enterprises.

In other words, the image that Atlassian has of itself and projects outward doesn’t sync with growing ability to service the largest of companies. That’s what made the Atlassian Summit 2017 so unique. These customer confabs are usually carefully scripted to project a brand that is especially palatable to the biggest customers. Atlassian obviously prefers to go its own way and be genuine. While I would love to see them drop the aging gamer look – really guys, it looks silly – for Atlassian, being themselves is more important than looking “enterprise ready.” While I think this will change over time but at this moment in time it’s who they are.

On a final note. A number of people saw my posts on Twitter as being negative toward Atlassian. This is ironic given that the theme of Keynote speaker Kim Scott was Radical Candor. When you consider the scope of Radical Candor, saying that the CEO should lose the baseball cap or show up on time for the Keynote is not particularly harsh. So, lighten up people. And lose the baseball cap on stage.

Emerging From The Cave

Tiki Tom

For a bit over a year I have been hiding in the bowels of a very large bank. The idea was to have a job to go to but not one that entailed much responsibility. No serious intellectual challenges, no P&L, no direct reports. I wanted to go to an office everyday just like millions of wage slaves do but not have all the old responsibilities.

I got that… in spades.

There were some things that I learned. I got to experience an Agile environment from the inside. Not just the the theory of Agile, like so many pundits, consultants, and industry analysts do, but Agile in practice and at scale. I had the opportunity to work in an open office plan, something I hadn’t experienced before and would like to avoid in the future. Along the way I met some really great, funny, good-hearted people. Unfortunately, I also met some people that were political to the core and just plain jerks.

One downside was less time for writing. My site was updated only sporadically and I thank my loyal readers for sticking with it. The monthly article I write for CMSWire wasn’t always monthly and I had less time to research new material.

Now, that has all come to an end. I have left the big bank and returned to the land of the living. No more hiding in the cave.

Over the course of the next few months I plan to… I actually have no plan. For the first time in my life I have no plan. I will research and write more but that’s not a future. I have 18 books on data science to read. That will take up some time. I think I have a book in me to write as well. Perhaps my only plan should be to come up with one or retire.

Or maybe, just maybe, throw the doors wide open and see what walks in. An open heart and an open mind may just reveal the true path.