Sunday, December 20, 2009

My top ten predictions for 2010...

I dusted off the crystal ball to do my top 10 predictions for 2010 covering technology, the valley and a few other random topics of personal here they are in descending order...

10) There is a major malware incident that results in a compromise which is big enough to make the headlines. This will raise the visibility of cybercrime to new levels

9) The IPO market for tech warms up considerably and we see at least 15 filings and 6-7 IPOs out of the valley. I expect these to be about 50-50 enterprise and consumer/web2.0

8) The "cloud" suffers a major outage (unrelated to #10) and this slows but does not halt the drive to cloud-computing

7) Unemployment is the valley continues to hover around 11-12% until after the summer when we finally see real signs of recovery in employment

6) Oracle FINALLY owns Sun (does anyone really care anymore?)

5) The housing market finally stabilizes and we actually see BOTH price and volumes pick up in 2010.

4) The Republicans have a decent 2010 election, but don't fundamentally gain much, though they do slow the Dems down in the Senate

3) The Browns and Indians suck again and the Cavs disappoint in the playoffs (You can take the boy out of Cleveland, but you can't take the sports outta the boy...)

2) The Wildcats (Northwestern) snap their 61 year streak without a bowl game win by upsetting the Auburn Tigers in the Outback Bowl on Jan 1

1) The Wildcats snap their 0 for forever streak and make the Men's BBALL tourney...

Go Cats, and here's to a great 2010...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My website is live!!! YEAH

I'm officially in business at Check it out!!!

This is basic, but really now makes the business "Real". Great day at KJR :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

HUGE TSA leak, flawed technology, flawed management, all of the above

I spent 2+ years as CMO of One of our product, Protect, automates and discovers the presence of metadata in documents, including poorly redacted content, ie when the content is hidden but can be easily recovered.

Frankly, both Microsoft and Adobe, the 2 vendors who dominate the creation and publishing of business and goverment documents simply haven't closed the loop holes that let uneducated users create poor documents like happened to the TSA today!

This is TRAGIC for 3 reasons:
1) It could lead to tragic loss of life
2) It will cost taxpayers billions in damage control and changed processes
3) It's been happening for years and could be avoided with a simple $30 product , Workshare Protect

So I hope someone in the goverment calls Workshare tomorrow and buys this product for EVERY desktop in the entire goverment employ. I am sure this will be a lot cheaper than $30 at that volume...

I am outraged and amazed that this could happen...

Note: Yes I am a shareholder, but I'd gladly not see a penny from this...


Monday, November 30, 2009

Exciting and busy times for my business and me!

I've moved into and opened an office, signed my second client, am in the process of incorporating and launching my consulting firm, and planning a January launch party! In between, I'm exploring some investment opportunities with an old colleague, trying to find time to blog, buying office supplies, running a 5K on Saturday in SF with my oldest daughter Gigi, trying to keep the gym visits + rides at 6+ per week and getting ready for the holidays and the rush of birthdays in our house. Wow, no wonder I'm tired!!! But good tired!!!

2010 promises to be an exciting one indeed!

If you want to learn more about my new business, drop me a line!

Holiday Cheers to You and Your Loved Ones...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Chicken, The Ostrich and the Wiseman; A Holiday Tale of Caution and Opportunity

(Authors note: I have Cloud Computing on the brain. My client, Nimsoft, is changing the landscape of IT Monitoring with their recent Unified Monitoring Launch. I penned this little parable in honor of the Nimsoft customers who have the courage to challenge the status quo...For my non-tech friends, well, the puns will probably be lost on you, sorry...)

Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a not so faraway land called eSPee land, there lived 3 great friends, the Chicken, the Ostrich and the Wiseman. Not only were they great friends, but they were also fierce business rivals. For many years, they had competed with each other and had all built strong and thriving enterprises.

While it was their custom to avoid business conversations almost entirely, once a year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, they would meet for breakfast to talk turkey (though that term somewhat offended 2 of them!). At one rather ominous meeting, the conversation went something like this…

The Chicken said, “My friends, though business is good, I fear the worst. Clouds have been gathering over eSPee land and I am quite scared. The waters of the mighty Amazon , EverChanging 2day, threaten to flood us all out of business. I am paralyzed and fear that all the work we have done is doomed.”

The Wiseman nodded, and showed great empathy to the Chicken’s concerns, then turned to the Ostrich.

The Ostrich stretched out his neck and said, “ Mr Chicken, as always you worry too much. These Clouds are yet another passing fancy. My customers are a bit confused, but my key vendors, Harold & Penny and Ida’s Big Machines assure me that they are ready. I’ll stick to them and keep focused on my customers, you can’t lose when you work with the best”

The Wiseman smiled, and as he was in the habit of doing, thought before he spoke. He sipped his coffee, rubbed his beard and said, “My dear friends, I share many of your concerns. Mr. Chicken, I believe you are right to see the clouds as a threat to what we have built, yet does this mean we are doomed? Mr Ostrich, I agree we must focus on our customers, but really, you’ve been with those old vendors for decades, are they really ready?”

With that the Chicken balked and left in a hurry, still panicked, and the Ostrich called his rep who sent the call to a reseller, who finally called the Ostrich back in a few weeks and told him everything would be OK.

A few years later, the three friends met for a farewell dinner for the Chicken and the Ostrich, who were both retiring. The Wiseman rose to give a speech;

“My dear friends, it is with mixed emotions that I bid you both farewell. Mr Chicken, I was sad to see your business close. I wish you well in your retirement in Miami. I warned you not to panic at the Clouds and to invest, but you were too scared to act. Mr. Ostrich, your customers did love you, but those old vendors loved you more, in fact, they loved you to death. I warned you to change, but, well, I hate to state the obvious, but you just had your head in the sand. I am glad we were able to buy your remaining business, and I wish I could have paid more, but many of your customers had already came my way. Had you just listened to me and followed my moves to the new vendors, those who were built for the Cloud and the sun, you might have survived. I am thrilled that you will be enjoying your retirement too.”

The Wiseman really meant what he had said. He had adjusted and invested, without losing sight of his customers needs. He had aligned with new vendors, those who had both vision and execution, but were not tied to the past. He realized that he lived in a Cloudy place (think Seattle!) but knew that this never stopped Bill Gates, so why should it stop him. He business thrived in this new Cloudy world, though he truly did miss his friends…

The End

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dog days and dog nights...but worth it...early thanksgiving

It's been a LONG time since I last blogged, but between completing our program launch at Nimsoft, and our sick family dog, not much time for deep's been the dog days, and the dog nights...

I am very proud of the work we've completed at Nimsoft. Nimsoft is truly an amazing story, and we just needed to get out and tell it. Working with the Nimsoft team and a great set of outside help, including my trusted friends Susan and the team at Trainer Communications and Sara at Juicy Design, we really set out to change Nimsoft's core positioning from one of challenger to one of leader.

It's rare to find clients with great products, great customers and great market traction, who also have the courage and leadership to not rest on their success but to think big and take chances. Many CEOs would be content to bask in the glow of an amazing sales performance and great new analyst coverage, etc, but Gary R. and the management team were willing to be bolder. Nimsoft is now positioned for incredible things in the future. Most of the credit goes to the team for building a great product and a great revenue base, but I am thrilled to have the chance to work with the Nimsoft team and help them to put a platform in place that will accelerate their success even more.

At the same time our little dog has pulled back from the brink on Halloween eve, when his heart was down to 50/bpm, about 40% of normal, and is now recovering at home from Trigeminal Neurosis. I don't know much about it beyond what I've read, but the human version, Trigeminal Neurologia is described online as extremely painful, and has even been called "Suicide Disease". Poor little guy, no wonder he was not moving for a week!!!

I also have a new respect for the compassion and caring of people in veterinary medicine, I am sure they make a good living, but they sure do seem to care a lot too. Thanks to Barb Kollin, Linda Jorgenson, Dr Phelan, Dr Adamo and the crews at both Sequoia and South Peninsula Emergency pet hospitals. Sure we spent way too much money, but it's good to have been on that team too...Though he may have lost his eyesight in one eye, we are hopeful that Macabee will recover and live a happy dog life again, doing what dogs do best, sleep, eat, play, relieve, repeat...

So as we roll toward the T-giving holiday, I'm grateful for family (and dog!), great colleagues, challenging work and life in general. I may have a few more wrinkles after the dog days of Oct/Early November, but that's a small price to pay....


Monday, October 26, 2009

Blue Shield Still Sucks

Trust me. First see this post:

Now after 6 months of runaround, they want my wife to get a full physical (at our cost), reams of documentation, etc, etc, and then they MIGHT do us the favor of taking our business...

Six months ago I wasn't for big reform, but now I hope these insurance bastards are all run out of business...


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Luck to all NU 84s, and thanks for a great weekend

So, wifi from 35K never ceases to amaze.

Twenty five years seems like a long time, and hey, I guess it is about 1/3 of your life, hopefully a bit less. Walking the Northwestern campus was like a strange time warp, seem like nothing had changed but everything had too. 1980-1984 seems like a distant dream. Then walking into the reunion party and seeing the faces from that dream was both exciting and a bit unsettling. Some great people, and most seemed to have changed yet stayed the same.

I think of my journey since then, a long and winding road, filled with dreams fulfilled and for the greatest most part joy and a luckily relatively small amount of sorrow. I think of all the transitions, from engineer to sales rep to business person, from Chicago to NY to Chicago to Ca, from single to married to father, and it is hard to imagine to have asked for a more fufilling journey.

Many years ago, my old high school wrestling coach had a saying, "luck is when preparation meets opportunity." Northwestern truly did prepare me for life. The education, both in and outside the classroom, the people, everything, must of made me a very lucky man. I've had a thrilling career, and am blessed with an amazing wife and 4 incredible little ones. Who woulda predicted that? And I was really amazed by the success and maturity that I saw in all those 47 year olds who seem like they were just 22 a few years ago! Well done friends.

Maybe it is a bit ironic that I now find myself at a crossroads of my career, and at a crossroads in the family. I have decided to go out alone as an idependent consultant, and our first child is approaching tween-ness and already showing signs of independence, and hormones :). As I embark on the next 25 years, I've already marked the data for the 50th in 2034, and I think I am prepared well to venture into my new consulting business and to continue to create a loving home for our children to grow in and to eventually leave from. I only hope that my preparation paves the way for more opportunity and luck...and to all those others, fortunate enough to have had the preparation I did, I wish you all the luck

Over and out

Friday, October 16, 2009

Depressing Morning; The Demise of the Newstand!

I was feeling great this morning after a tough spin class and a cappucino, when I stopped at Mac's in downtown Palo Alto to pick up the Silicon Valley Business Journal to see the print copy of this feature on my client Nimsoft! Lo and behold, Mac's didn't have it. Also, all the old guys behind the counter are gone.

When I first moved here in 1990, Mac's was like a lifeline back to the midwest, where I could pick up the Chicago Trib, and even the Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer. Well, I guess it's no surprise that a) Mac's has been sold b) it barely carries newspapers anymore and c) it has now a wide range of hookah's where the cigar section used to be. (I didn't check if they still had the big adult section, but I'd never go there anyways :)!)

So, with the demise of newspapers, so goes another institution, the neighborhood newstand. I am sure you might find a few of the relics next to phone booths and near subway stations in NYC and London, but that's just a matter of time too. I love the digital world, but am feeling nostolgic and sad about the loss of print.

I predict that when my kids grow old they will say, "My Dad has to be the last man in the world who wears glasses (ie hasn't had lasix) and still reads the newspaper everyday (if I can still find one...) Oh well, old habits die harder than neighborhood institutions!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I think (like an engineer) , therefore I am (an engineer)!

In 1986, I made a decision that changed my life. I left a blossoming yet new engineering career to dive head first into business, at the most grass roots level, as an IBM sales rep. At the going away party in East Fishkill NY, my friends gave me a t-shirt (long gone to the goodwill) that said something like "Former Engineer - Technically Obsolete!"

Since that fateful day, my career has led me from sales rep, to business school, to CMO, from IBM to Intel to Netscape to successful and not so successful start-ups to my new consulting endeavor, KJR Assocs, from NY to Chicago to the Silicon Valley and to and through the black monday of 87, the dotc0m bubble burst of 2001 and the financial meltdown of 2009...and in all that time engineer has not been a word that I've even considered using to describe myself.

Until this Tuesday, when during the 7th worst rainstorm ever recorded in the bay area, I had an awesome coffee meeting with Julio Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern, my alma mater. Dean Ottino is a really dynamic guy, and I was honored to hear about all the great things he's been up to at NU, and even more flattered for some of the introductions that he offered up in our broad ranging and very entertaining conversation.

One thing sticks out in my mind. When I said to Dean Ottino that I was a "reformed engineer", I was corrected. Dean Ottino said (pardon the paraphrasing...) "It used to be that engineers were judged by what they made, but now they should be judged by how they think"

Dean Ottino also talked about the "Whole brain engineer". Every day of my career I have worked with engineers in some capacity or another, software engineer, systems engineers, developers, EEs, etc and I guess after a while I starting thinking of them as them, not us. I see now that this is a mistake. Thinking like an engineer means problem solving methodically AND creatively, with equations and with the heart. Above all I think it is a commitment to the analytical and the science of shaping the world to the benefit of the society. A daunting and awesome responsibility.

So now, as I prepare to travel to my alma mater for my 25th year (audible gasp) reunion, I am thinking of getting a t-shirt that says, "Think Like an Engineer, and You'll Never be Obsolete!" Thanks for the insight Dean!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If you want healthcare coverage, amputate your arm don't fix it!

Nothing like a little personal experience to understand the true F*&D-upness of the US's healthcare insurance system. I could rant for hours, but to see the hypocrisy and ridulousity of the system, just read the email we had to send to Blue Shield of California (YOU SUCK!) today.

After you read this you will see why we are considering having my wife's left arm amputated even though it works great (BTW, she's a righty, so no big deal, right?:)). Also, if you break a limb you may consider amputation to protect you from future coverage denial. Don't fix it, throw it out. Not your arm, our whole BS system. I hope Blue Shield of Ca get regulated to death! Just abosultely ridiculous

Dear XXXX,
Attached you will find a scan of all the relevant documents on my applications for Balance 2500 coverage. To recap the timeline for you:

On July 14th, 2008 I shattered my elbow in a freak bicycling accident
On July 17th,2008 I had reconstructive surgery, a radial head arthroplasty for a comminuted radial head fracture
On approx August 20th 2008, I completed physical therapy and have been symptom and treatment free since
In April 2009 : I applied for coverage under the Balance2500 plan on your recommendation
On May 5, 2009, we were informed in the enclosed letter from Jenny K medical underwriter that we were declined coverage because:

"The information indicates that you have the following, which exceeds Blue Shield's Underwriting acceptance criteria:
  • Fractured elbow requiring reconstructive surgery, radial head replacement within last year"
On June 9, 2009 we requested underwriting reconsideration in writing supported by a letter from Dr. Frank Chen stating that I was complication and symptom free, essentially cured. Both of these items are enclosed.

On June 25th 2009, we were informed in writing that we were declined again, and I quote with CAPITAL BOLD italics emphasis being mine:

"We regret to inform you, based on this review, coverage through our Balance2500 plan must be declined UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN SYMPTOM AND TREATMENT FREE FOR A MINIMUM OF ONE (1) YEAR"


On September 4th I was again declined for coverage with the NEW EXPLANATION:

"This information indicates that you have the following which exceeds Blue Shield's underwriting acceptance criteria:
  • History of fractured radial head with replacement"
Now the criteria is changed? I am a year + post treatment, but now the rule changes. What's is going on here. Please reconsider this application and be reasonable. We are at our wits end here. How does the criteria change when it was clearly stated previously. Are you all just trying to waste our time. This is really frustrating. I WANT coverage, and am healthy.

Thank you for your consideration,

Joel' C Rutsky

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall is in the comes 2010

Soccer balls are flying in AYSO, footballs are in the air everywhere (to be nostalgic for my NU friends I quote " you think the 'cats are gonna win this year or will it be just the same..."), the temperatures are beginning to drop, and the leaves are dropping. At the same time, Q3 is coming to a close, and Q4 is getting ready to roll.

I always think this is a good time to reflect and begin to set next year's business here are mine:

1) To complete all of the back-office "work" I need to do for KJR Associates, especially electronic presence and basic accounting before the year starts!

2) To refine and execute my personal marketing plan including blogging more, networking with more gusto, and actually building and managing a pipeline.

3) To further develop and refine my Product Differentiation Pressure concept and turn it into a useful tool and valuable IP for clients.

4) To launch at least one other conceptual framework that for my business

5) To be engaged in projects that are challenging and meaningful for ethical and aggressive clients

6) To keep learning and challenging myself, from both successes and failures

7) To keep my eyes on the prize: Balance, growth and excitement, not $$s and ccs.

8) To assemble my personal BOD for guidance and counsel

What are your personal business goals for 2010??

Monday, September 14, 2009

YAWNER ™ : White papers, why???

As I am knee deep in a whitepaper deliverable for my current client, I stumbled on this posting: on not being "boring" with your marketing...and I was reminded of the acronym I created while at McAfee...

That's just a YAWNER - Yet Another White Paper Nobody Ever Reads. (Of course the YAWNER now has a close cousin, the YAVNEW, Yet Another Video Nobody Ever Watches, but that's for another time!).

I content that 98% of whitepapers from technology companies are YAWNERs and yawners. Why is this? Well I think there are a variety of reasons, but they net out into 3 broad categories:

1) Ready Fire Aim
2) The Kitchen Sink
3) Getta J0b (0r hire it out...)

First, as fundamental as it is, most whitepapers are simply not well targeted. Who is the audience, what is the current belief, what is the desired belief and what are the key messages. These are basic questions that any marketing professional should ask, but I am amazed at how rarely the product managers that I've spoken to or worked with can crisply articulate answers even in retrospect. Getting sleepy yet?

Second, too many whitepapers are just the kitchen sink. Well, this is a great whitepaper about product X, so let's throw product Y into the mix because it's strategic too. Or let's try make this serve "multiple audiences", so the business whitepaper ends up with 5 pages of dissertation on the ins and out of our API set. You get the picture. You almost know if you can't cover a topic in 10 pages or less, there's more than one topic, break it up. If you're targeting is on, the message should be lot tighter. Eye's drooping???

Third, getta job! As much as we would like every PM and PMM to be a great writer, the fact is, most are not. But a good editor (insourced or outsourced) can make all the difference. And you PMMs out there reading this, insist on it. Take your knowledge and leverage it, don't try to be everything! Now I'm getting tired!

So, in summary it's just plain simple: 1) Target 2) Resist scope and subject creep 3) get the right skills deployed. Maybe then yours will be one of the 2% of whitepapers that are actually readable and powerful marketing tools...

Good luck!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Random thoughts on social media and PDP™

Jim Tybur's interesting post here: made me think if Twitter and other social media could be a great way to measure Product Differentiation Pressure™ ...Not sure yet how they connect, but maybe....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Product Differentiation Pressure: Do features matter?

Yes and No. It's the great contradiction of product differentiation, features mean nothing, yet features mean everything. Let me explain.

Features mean nothing - Customers (except a few really geeky early adopters which are not subject to the laws of nature:) don't buy features, they buy benefits. Or even more specifically, they buy either to put money in their pockets or to sleep at night. Nobody ever slept because their had a new feature. But lotsa people sleep well when they solve problems. Features don't matter!

Features mean everything - Let's go backwards here. Customers have problems. Product deliver benefits that solve problems. Features are the engines that make the benefit delivery possible.

Benefits that I can deliver that my competition can't are the crux of high PDP™ (Product Differentiation Pressure!) Unique features that are the engines for these specific benefits are the key to LASTING Differentiation!

Oh, and the customer better Care about these benefits. And Care means they will change their decision to get this!

Ask yourself, have I identified a set of unique features that create one or more unique benefits that I deliver better than my competition, and that a set of buyers Care about. If the answer is yes, you are on the way to high PDP.

Next blog I'll take a look at an example from my past...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Product Differetiation, why it matters, part II

In my last blog I stated that , "differentiation is at the crux of an effective go to market strategy".

Why? First, let's define product differentiation.

Product differentiation is the messaging that communicates
why your product is better than the competition at delivering
a set of business benefits that matter to a set of buyers

So, there's a definition. Been too too busy doing to write...But please note the absence of the word "Feature" or "feature set" in this definition. More to come on the roles of features in product differentiation next time...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PDP™, More to Come, and why it matters

Thanks for the positive feedback on Product Differentiation Pressure™, or PDP™. PDP is a concept which I've been working on for a while, and there is much more to come. Before I dive deeper into the symptoms of poor PDP, I wanted to talk about why this is so important.

I am a classically trained technology marketer. I crossed the chasm and grew up in the tornado. I've got a lot of respect for the traditional view of whole product from Geoffry Moore, and positioning ala Reis and Trout, and the good old 3 Ps and 4 Cs that I learned in Marketing 101. In fact all of these are tools to pull out and use with success.

Why then focus on product differentiation, especially at a time where all the experts say differentiation is not substainable?

Well, to me, differentiation is at the crux of an effective go to market strategy. That's a bold statement, so I guess I better explain why. But the kids are roused now and blogging time is over for this morning...time to cook breakfast...more to come later...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Diagnosis - Poor Product Differentiation, How to Spot a Silent Killer!

So many products, product lines, and even companies suffer from poor differentiation and don't even know it. Poor differentiation is like high blood pressure, it kills silently and slowly. Products don't maintain price points, it's hard to scale sales, etc. If only we had a simple cuff to put on our arm to measure our "Product Differentiation Pressure™." Well, until then, here's a simple list of symptoms of this silent killer...

  • Selling on price not value
  • Difficult to replicate sales success across reps or channel partners
  • Win rate below achievable (as benchmarked by best reps)
  • Difficult to partner (long initial sales cycle or stuck with techies)
  • Selling lower in org than desired
  • Stagnant marketing (conversion rates, content, etc…)
  • Lack of breakthrough beyond tech evaluators/cognoscenti
  • Sub-optimal targeting
  • Feature and/or generic focused discussion
  • Product roadmap not “focused”, spread like “peanut butter”
  • Product requests accepted that don’t seem to fit with agreed priorities
  • Lack of real or perceived strategic “vision” in roadmap
Ask yourself honestly if these symptoms reflect your product or company. If you answer yes to more than a few, you've got a low Product Differentiation Pressure™ or PDP™, and unlike blood pressure, where high kills, low PDP is the killer here.

In my next blog, we will look at each of these symptoms in a bit more depth...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SWATing Away at Marketing Plans

It's been quite a while since I blogged about anything even somewhat substantial. I am heads down on my project with Nimsoft. It is exciting and challenging, and I am loving it. We've built a very aggressive launch plan, and are now in deliverables execution mode. This is the grind part of the project, and every inch of progress is hard work. The team here is great and we are doing a lot of good work together.

I just put together a nice summary preso of the Secure Computing SWAT initiative work we did on Web2.0 threat protection in the late 2007- end of 2008 timeframe. It was probably one of the most successful campaigns that I've worked on end to end. This was really successful on a lot of levels, and is a model that I am using today for the current project we are doing. If our Nimsoft "Project Owen" is half as successful, than we hit a homerun at Nimsoft.

As I work on solidifying the KJR Assoc consulting business, the SWAT case study is a great template and service offering case study. It's all coming together...Looking forward to chatting with several friends on this topic over the next weeks, squeezing this in between presentation, whitepaper, website, demo, and other Owen deliverables...

Head back down now...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Guest Blogger, Owen R! : The future of California?

(Owen Rutsky is 2 in September, though he doesn't say much (Baba, Bebe, sPonge Bob,toes, head, hello, bye bye among them) he sure seems to have a lot on his mind. His Dad let him share the blog space today....)

Hey Dad, thanks for letting me's tough to get many words in with 3 older sisters ya know. Anyways, I love it here in California, the sunshine, the attitude, the opportunity....oh, wait, Dad was just saying it just aint what it used to be. I wonder what it will be like when I grow up. Dad says, hmmmm, for the first time since he moved here almost 20 yrs ago, he wonders if it's such a great place.

Work, work, work he says, and you never get ahead. Then you pay and pay taxes, but my sister's class size is up to 26 people in the 4th grade next year, whatever that means, I don't think it's good like 26 new hotwheels cars would be. When does it get better? I don't know, the houses arent worth near as much, Obama and Arnold (who are those guys) both seem to want to raise taxes, (I dont think Dad likes that, but he also says that bush was a bumblehead too...)

Oh well, I gotta go and play

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Clouds here, clouds there, macrotrends, opptys?

It seems to me that Cloud computing is everywhere, as I've pointed out in a previous post. I would like to point out 3 macro trends that get are related, but get a bit less attention

Trend 1: The Merging of Enterprise and Service Provider: For years, it's been talked about, but virtualization and "cloud" will accelerate this even more. The compute "grid" is pretty dang agnostic about location, Service providers will need to be more enterprisey and visa versa.

Trend 2: Disambiguation of terms: Cloud means so many things to so many it is almost meaningless. It's much more interesting to talk about PaaS or ITaaS or SaaS and their interrelations than throw out the "cloud" word willy nilly, though even these terms need better definition.

Trend 3: Federation will be the next hot space. Whether federation of resources across hybrid space or federation of security or federation of x, I predict that for the "cloud" to really accelerate, we must lower the friction of federation across just about all the core IT functions. Some bigger vendors are missing this as Billy Marshall points out here...

We are entering the next generation of IT infrastructure and we get to solve all of the old management problems over again, yeah for us!!!!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Boys night!

So the girls all went out to see the Jonas Brothers in concert. Here I thought I'd be able to get work done, but it took me almost 2 hours to get Owen down, he misses Mommy. Some good things take a while!

I had a nice coffee today with an old frat brother, he was a senior when I was a freshman. He's now a v. successful equity manager and hasn't changed that much, but then again, neither have I...

Tomorrow is a busy day to make up for tonight, and then dinner with 2 close friends...Boys night tonight, and boys night tomorrow!

I Agree: Cloud Requires Mature IT Service Management - Cloud Front Office

I Agree: Cloud Requires Mature IT Service Management - Cloud Front Office

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Congrats to old friends and new...a transaction

It was about a year ago that I "bumped", at least virtually, back into John Street and Scott Chasin formerly of, then of MxLogic and now, as of today, of McAfee. It's a bittersweet I am happy for John, Scott and the old crew from Secure, and also the new crew at McAfee. (For details see . I remember well sitting with the team in Denver and in Mtn View doing the mail service deal in 1997 (How did that get to be 12 yrs ago, crap!!!) . Omid (yes, the Omid, I knew him b4 goog!) , Amy, Alan and I from Netscape and John, Scott and his team. Ahh, the good old days!

I am still a huge believer of the Hybrid Delivery strategy we cooked up at Secure, and I wish MFE team well in executing. Well done! And congrats to John, Scott and the team!

Karma, it's a funny thing

Don't have too much to say on this topic, but it is amazing how small the world is. And with Linkedin etc, you just can't escape your past. Moral of the story: Treat people right, be honest and ethical, hold your head high and count on least you sleep at night then.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ego...success...Joyce and sunshine

I've been contemplating a lot about the role that ego plays in the job search and in the running of companies. Certainly, Entrepreneurs need egos. But when does ego get in the way as companies grow. Steve Jobs is a data point that says maybe never! Others I've seen who were great had/have very little ego. I guess it comes down to a) how you manage it b) how you use it. After all, isn't charisma an output of ego? Don't we want our leaders to be charismatic, isn't that what drives new companies and old to success.

Being in the job market, and doing consulting both mean putting a lot of ego aside....after all, as a consultant, your role is to deliver for the company, not for your ego, it's a quickie relationship, and for it to work it's ALL about the results. In the job search, if you let your ego get in the way, well it is very easy to slip into defensiveness or depression or both. I've been think that James Joyce might have been in a job search when he said...."

The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails. "

I think you do need to rise above your resume', get perspective, space, remove the ego, and then get on with it!

I've been trying to view my career as a piece of art, most like a novel. It's got an arc, and a destination, but it's not always been or will it be a straight line. After all, how many of our careers are predictable? For that matter, it does intertwine with our lives too. I was speaking with a old colleague who provided wise advise..."Your next job isn't what you are doing with your life, you are doing so much more..." So if our lives are stories, then our career is just one of the story lines. Then there's family, friends, spirituality and yes, the arc and story of our ego...

Now I am waxing randomly and philosophically, guess that's what happens when you take the kids out of the day. On to a beautiful day in the Seattle with old friends and new, always a nice refrain.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Creatures big and small and in between

Yesterday morning went like this....

Wake up 530 a: Roll out of bed to sound of silence. Roll bike out of garage and see 3 racoons trolling trash on the street. I hate those pests.

7:15 a climbing up Jefferson by Emerald Hill CC and see a doe on side of the road. I decided not to hit here with my bike :)...seriously, it was quiet and peaceful, and we checked each other out....

7:40: Back home to the little ones here

830: Creatures at consulting gig!

Boy it's energizing to get a whole workout in b4 work...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

6 degrees...

Executive A grew up with former colleagues husband and works with late best friends brother. Marketing Director B worked with PR Agency C who I've hired. Recruiter Y is brother of boyhood hero baseball star...

Connections are crazy, and I guess make the world go round....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Great morning, and remembering a friend

What an excellent way to start the day, a nice ride with my friend Tim E. Great conversation, career and riding tips, and quite a few laughs too...

This career break has been an awesome oppty to reset goals, both life and career. I've learned value of friendship, both old and new and everywhere in between. Over my nearly 20 years in the valley I've met some amazing people and I'm glad to now count Tim on that list.

I've lost a few too, and chatting with Tim about his loss this week made me remember Jeff Helfer. Jeff was irreplaceable to so many of us from the old frat house days at NU, to Jeff's network in NY, to his touching of those in SF that he knew in his ALL TOO SHORT time. All the more spookey is that was exactly 8 years to the day that Jeff drowned that Tim's friend left us. I didn't know Chris, but I hope Chris and Jeff meet up there cause they sure seemed to share the charisma that I miss so much, and they both went doing something they loved. It's hard to believe it's been 8 years my friend, I hope you've got an RSS reader up in the sky, I like to think may be gone, but you'll never be forgotten. Jeez how I'd like to hear your riff on the new President...nothing could replace that!

On the rest of the day thanking whatever powers there are for what I have, which is a awful lot to be thankful for, family, friends, health and that ever elusive and hard to hold onto happiness...

Peace to you Jeff and Chris, and thanks Tim for a great start to a great day...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hopeful signs? Pipelines growing?

My dataset is small (4+), but I am seeing a pattern of well established private cos that wisely battened down the hatches over the last 3 Qs starting to see healthier pipelines and encouraging sales. Seems like the wallets in heatlth care, fin services and mfg are loosening, and the overall pessimism is lowering. This is great news as there will be many opportunities for the strong to take share. The first stage of the shake out seems ending. I am expecting a return to growth for the well managed, a struggle for the weak with an overall rising tide by the end of the year. Hopefully Washington will stay out of the way, let the weak fall and let the strong grow stronger. This will mean jobs, wages that begin to rise and a lot happier time for all...

Is your pipeline growing? Are you feeling positive?

Keep your fingers crossed!


Friday, July 10, 2009

random thoughts

Mean what you say, do what you say. Don't believe everything you hear. The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.

I am holding all my thoughts to myself because it's just better. I am just hopeful that karma operates in the universe...and that those with high integrity come up on the top of the scoreboards that matter

On a brighter note, great getting to know the crew at Nimsoft. I'm really loving being back in my element, small, aggressive, growth private cos. That's where the fun is for sure...and I'm enjoying a great day today with the family...


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oh the people you meet...and 4th of July thanks!

It's been 2 months on this journey and it has been filled with fun, frustration, and adventure...mostly, as with everything else, it all comes down to people, whatta suprise! So, I'd like to thank old friends and new who have offered help, referrals, advice, and just plain favors. To all of you, you owed me nothing and have been there, it sounds corny, but you've restored a lot of my faith in the value of karma!!

There is much good humor along the way too, and I'm learning a lot. One highlight went like this...

Recruiter..." That last name is spelled Charboneau, C-H-A-R..."
Ken..."Oh, I know that last name cause I grew up in Cleveland, and that was the name of one of the biggest flameout baseball players we've seen"
Recruiter..."That flameout is my older brother..."


John, thanks for being a good sport on the phone and look forward to meeting you in person...

So while the pace is slow (are all hiring cycles these days having 6 weeks between interview rounds???) I feel grateful and upbeat, and look for more adventures to come in the weeks and months ahead!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Diet and Exercise milestone - 1 YEAR!

1 year ago I weighed 176 and my blood pressure was 149/95 with a resting pulse of 90. My doctor told me if I left it untreated I'd probably have a stroke within 3-5 years! That scared me. But I HATED the BP medicine he put me on, so I learned about the DASH diet. It works. I now exercise 6 or even 7 days a week, and follow that diet about to 85% compliance. New stats, weight 161, BP 120/78, resting pulse 56.

How do I stay motivated, well, I wake up in the morning and say, hmmmm, exercise today or die young....easy choice...


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home sweet home...ideas come around again and again

After 8 days in Orlando, there is NO place like home...back to the real world and weather where you CAN be outside allday without drenching your clothes in sweat.

I saw Hunch launch, reminds me of an old shopping aide that AOL had, I don't remember what it was called, but it reminded me that there are no new ideas...just ideas whose time has come, or who changes her stripes

I first learned about Virtualization as part of MVS on IBM we virtualize PCs and servers

I used to try to sell emulation boards that made PCs look like we sell dumbterminals and make them look like PCs...

Wasn't delicious a lot like Backflip???

Remember GrandCentral? Check out mashery!!!

Every time the compute platform changes, new startups and tools emerge, then get gobbled the cloud + virtualization one of these times? I think so...

Of course, some companies try to reinvent with these changes...any every succeed???

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cloud Cloud, Everywhere the Cloud...

Seems like the cloud is now everywhere, even in last weeks business week ON THE COVER!!! (BTW, thanks to the folks at B-Week for continuing to send the magazine, even though I stopped renewing, guess they need the eyeballs, but that's another blog altogether...)

So, what's the cloud to you, a catch all, marketing hype, the next bubble, or the real delivery of utility computing?? Where are the "plays", IT service management (and the big boys are cranking up their drive the "Open" efforts! ), Virtualization, Security (see Bruce Schneier's post here...) ???

Opinions welcome, even if there bad ones...:)

McAfee Network Security Launches, A nice wrap for me...

Though I didn't hit the road with Dan R, the package of announcements I drove for launching McAfee's Network Security biz made it out pretty dang well...a lot of the coverage looked like this...McAfee takes on Cisco, etc...and this McAfee pushes ePO and this , you can also read the press releases here.

This is really nice positioning work (if I may say so myself:), and the products are strong. I just hope the sales and channel teams can get behind this bucket of stuff with vigor and aggressiveness. The old sidewinder firewall is getting a nice re-launch with some cool app and identity awareness and virtualized and virtual versions, and look at the V aggressive GTM on the mail/web/DLP Internet Gateway bundle...look out Cisco!

As you can see, I take a lot of pride in this chunk of work, and am genuinely pleased to see it hit the market. I wish my old team and the gang from SCUR well with their ongoing journey to #1 in Network Security. I am pretty sure our paths will cross again - soon???


Sunday, June 7, 2009

COBRA, Haste makes waste

I waited too long to deal with COBRA, and now we are stuck in the EXPENSIVE, Cadillac plan, because Blue Shield declined us (appeal in process, see comment on process!) , even though we are pretty damn healthy. And to add salt to the would, our income is too high to be subsidized...So, if you are facing COBRA, make it your very first task to get alternative coverage lined up, AND USE A BROKER, the system is ridiculous to deal with as an individual, trust me...

About this blog

In April of 2009 I found myself in the job market. As a guy with 25 yrs of experience, 19 in the valley I wasn't sure what to expect. Much of what I did surprised me, much didn't. I thought I'd start this blog, part to vent, part to share experience, and part to entertain others in my same situation. In it you'll find tales of Cobra, Twitter, Facebook, endless coffee meetings, and others. Along the way I am learning A LOT about companies, funding, networking, new technologies and trends, etc...So come join me on my journey's and adventures.

Cheers for now, happy trails...
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