Category Archives: Change

The Cloud Manifesto

The Catalyst for Cloud

I  just spent two great days in Banff at the Cloud Matters conference representing IT World Canada.  The conference had over 175 people and a star-studded list of speakers.  At the end of the conference, I was part of a panel where each member was asked to give three minutes on what we could do to provide a Catalyst for Cloud Computing in Canada.

Our panel consisted of:

  • Jim Love, CIO IT World Canada
  • Timothy Grayson, Director epost Product Development Canada Post
  • Chris C. Kemp, CEO Nebula and Co-Founder Open Stack
  • Peter Coffee, VP/CTO and Head of Platform Research Salesforce.com
  • William Dupley, Chief Solutions Officer HP Canada
  • Harpreet Dhillon, Cloud and Open Source Program Manager City of Calgary
  • Robert Hart, Founder and CEO Canadian Cloud Council
  • Wayne Walls, Chief Cloud Strategist Rackspace
  • Ian Rae, CEO CloudOps

My contribution took the form of a “rant” which I dubbed The Cloud Manifesto – A Catalyst for Cloud.  It was partly original opinion, partly ideas inspired by the speakers over the two days of the conference.    Here it is…

The Cloud Manifesto – A Catalyst for Cloud

Ten points which will provide a catalyst for the movement to Cloud computing: Continue reading

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Fear, Lies and Purpose

Today, I will not live in fear.

For all too many years, I did. I lived with fear.  Even as I write this I can replay the feeling.  The tightening muscles.  The cold rush of adrenaline.  It stops you dead in your tracks.

I won’t say anything trite like “fear has been my friend”.  It hasn’t been my friend.  It’s been my companion, but never my friend.

What did I fear?  The list is endless.  I’ll spare you the personal side of fear and for the sake of this piece I’ll focus on the fear that accompanied me in my career.

Would I be passed over for a promotion?  Would I make a mistake?  Not even real mistakes — I could work myself into a lather just thinking I could make a mistake.  I spent time wondering what could go wrong.  It wasn’t even fear of big consequences — even the shame, the blow to my ego of a mistake happening on my “watch”.   I even feared being wrong.

It wasn’t just the fear of mistakes.  There was another type of fear.  Fear of loss.   I feared losing my status — what if I wasn’t recognized for my accomplishments?  I even feared of losing things I didn’t even have — fear of not getting that promotion or that raise, that job I deserved. I could go on…and on…

I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out that I wasn’t alone.  If you didn’t feel this way at one time or another, you are in the remarkable few.  I applaud you.  The rest of us are as described by Thoreau, the poet and keen observer of the human conditions who once said, “most men lead lives of quiet desperation”.

One day, for me, that changed…

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Several days after the end of the world…

I am told that the world ended on December 21st.  Not a minute too soon.

Not that anyone would miss it.  Not after this year!

Oh, yes, it started with great promise.  New Year’s Eve came with celebration, with hopes for a bright and wonderful future and of course, with the mandatory resolutions and promises for change.  By the next morning, New Year’s Day, throbbing heads and broken vows ushered in a year of faded hopes and broken dreams.  Three hundred and sixty-five crappy days to go.

It was a year where hopes were raised, only to be dashed again.

Arab Spring deteriorated into failed states and lost dreams.  We marvelled at the courage of the people in the streets.   We hoped for their liberation and the creation of authentic democracies.  We watched as the dreams faded.  We saw the new political order echo the words of the Who – “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

Not that things were any better on this side of the ocean.  The US election was a giant disappointment.  Was their ever a time when that nation truly needed to reinvent itself, to have a vigorous debate and contest of ideas?   This was truly an opportunity to unite a nation and meet the challenge of a difficult future.  Instead, it fizzled into schoolyard name calling where a divided nation electing the person they feared the least and even that by only a slim margin.  Deadlocked and leaderless, the once most powerful nation in the world marches lemming-like towards a fiscal cliff of their own making.

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Corporate Sanity Officer? Imagine That!

It was 8:30 on a Monday morning when I got in to work.  I was just back from my vacation.  My office was a shambles.  It had been torn apart. There was dust everywhere.  My whiteboard had been taken down and was leaning against a chair, the edge of which had rubbed out part of a work of inspired genius from a Friday “chalk talk” with our lead architect just before I left.   It was the perfect image of destruction.  Thank god I had taken my laptop with me.  My docking station was encased in a plastic cover, but that cover was full of dust.

In the middle of what once was my office was a stranger in a yellow hard hat staring at at the skeleton that was my wall,  with the aluminum studs exposed.   Another was on his knees, monkeying with the bottom of a stud that he appeared to be wiggling back and forth.

What the hell was going on here? Continue reading

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Buddha Gives Convocation Speech at Harvard

Harvard University’s MBA program made front page news today as Siddartha Gautama, also known as “the Buddha” addressed the graduating class of 2013.

“For many of you, ” Buddha said in his opening remarks, “this day represents a moment that you have anticipated and waited for — the success that you have craved for many years.  That, I would humbly submit, is where you have made a grave error. Continue reading

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Passport to Innovation at Technicity.ca

Thanks to Doug Ford, most Torontonians know that we live in a very literate city –a city of the arts. We know that our city is home to literary giants like Margaret Atwood, one of the world’s great novelists. They’ve come to see that this isn’t merely of interest to some snobbish artistic elite. They have come to see that at the base of this boiling pot of creativity is economic engine brings that hundreds of millions of dollars into our city every year and creates thousands of jobs.

What many haven’t yet realized is that within this same city is another equally creative centre — one that attracts some of the greatest minds in technology — the third largest technology centre in North America.

Most don’t realize that when they are riding the subway or walking down Yonge street,  they could be standing beside some of the giants of the tech industry.   To take only one example, how many average Torontonians know  their city  is home to Mark Surman.  Who is Mark Surman?  For those who don’t know him,  Mark is the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, which, among many, many things brings us Firefox.  You might not know Mark, but you would have to have been vacationing off the planet to not know what Firefox is.  But did you know how it’s linked to our city?  Probably not.

In fact, most Torontonians really do not know how much prosperity the tech sector brings to the city.  How much prosperity? Continue reading

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Dream Team – Or Your Worst Nightmare? In praise of the “B” Team

Everyone wants that perfect team. We are taught from the time we start in business that the secret to project and corporate success is getting the “very best” people in the right positions.  The “dream team”.  Get that right and you are 90% of the way to giving the competition a real butt-kicking.

That’s what we imagine. Excitement builds. We’ll get the best people, from the best schools, people who are “up and comers”! Get me the “A” performers! No “dead wood” on this team!

What a load of crap. Continue reading

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