Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vaya Con Dios - The Day I left XSPRADA

Effective today, I will no longer be working at XSPRADA. There, I said it. Catharsis, take me away! It was definitely a tough decision but this is par for the course in the startup world, and God knows I’ve been there done that, but in this case, my close long-time personal relationship with the founders and unwavering worship of the technology for the past ten years make this particularly bittersweet.

I was very lucky to work with some of the best, most resilient people this industry has to offer and I don’t claim this lightly. As you know, I am parsimonious with compliments. But "they" say that tough times never last, only tough people do. This is why I am still convinced that XSPRADA technology will someday take its proper place in the world come what may.

A failed endeavor is only one during which you have learned nothing. And in this case, the XSPRADA opportunity has enriched me in personal and professional ways beyond my wildest expectations. So I depart a richer, more experienced man for it. In an industry too often clouded by “smoke and mirrors”, I am always reminded of the following advice I received a while back:

  1. Don't profess about things you are not sufficiently familiar with.
  2. Don't assume something isn't true that might be, or is that isn't
  3. Listen at least twice as long as you talk.
  4. Ask twice as many questions as you answer and LISTEN to the answers.
  5. When asked about something and you don't know, say "I don't know."
  6. If there is even the slightest possibility that you could be wrong, acknowledge it....
  7. and don't forget to thank people for their time and advice.

You combine that advice with the one found here and believe you me you’ve got yourself one kick-ass sales engineer there. They don’t run the streets. I’d say these points could (or should) constitute the Seven Commandments of the Sales Engineer (and probably any other profession, except perhaps politician). They were given to me when I started by Chris Piedmonte, founder of XSPRADA, and a guy whose courage, integrity and technical brilliance are, in my book, without equal.

Be that as it may, I must soldier on. Naturally, I will not be able to discuss topics pertaining to XSPRADA technology as an insider from now on, but Lord knows there is sufficient ADBMS/BI material out there that’s interesting enough to cover and discuss on a regular basis. Namely, the new “PAX Analytica” movement as originally brought up by Curt Monash and professionally laid-out by Daniel Abadi as usual in his excellent post.

Also, the old one-size fits all (OLAP+OLTP+whatever) versus dedicated engines (columnar OLAP) has been revived with the recent ORCL announcement touting the new improved Exadata V2 (exit HP, enter Sun). This deserves addressing in more detail. It leads to serious implications for current and potential customers.

Relevant as well is a discussion about the future. Will the “big boys” end up swallowing “new-breed” technology and integrating it (what I call the Borg effect, as discussed on Daniel Lemire's excellent post). Or will they become obsolete allowing the new-breeders to survive long-term as independent replacement entities?

And then there’s a recent thread about analytical speed which is very relevant at this point in time I believe. Finally, a little bird told me there’s about to be some really interesting rumble (again) pertaining to the infamous (or not, depending on which side you’re on) TPC organization. Indeed, there’s no lack of interesting topics out there!

Additionally, I think there’s a compelling story behind employment search and provisioning in the BI industry, so I’ll be penning some thoughts about that as I go along. In my experience, you can infer a lot about an industry’s state by checking its recruiting culture and pulse. Joy Chen claims in a recent blog posting that 54% of workers plan to resign after the recession. If this prediction is correct, the impact on our industry is sure to be felt and that, IMHO, is worth discussing.

So what’s really happening behind the employment scene in BI? I’ll be sharing some thoughts about that as I embark on the new path the BI Gods have charted for me. So thanks for sticking around, and as they say where I come from (well, ok maybe a little further South) Vaya con Dios!

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