The Bad, The Ugly and The Good Bits :: Sexism, VMworld 2012 & Smart Cool People

The Divide in Technologists…

Sexism & Those That are Building Tech

There seems to be a pretty distinctive divide in the technology industry today. There are the young, open minded, devop oriented, free-thinking individuals and then there are the old guard of IT. This later group still brings the “booth babes” and finds an incessant need to assume all women aren’t technologists (which I might add is utter bullshit). This is when I’m going to rant for a minute.

[rant=on]

Ok guys, pull your heads out of your collective asses. I’ve spoke to 11 ladies that are hard core technologists, that would take your old guard IT and replace your sorry ass with a shell script plus some cloud computing and leave you to the dogs. They’re programmers, devops pros, hackers and entrepreneurs  Simply, they kick as much ass as anybody, so shove off.

This however brings up the question, “Why the hell does the conference still perpetuate this bullshit with booth babes and mindless dribble?”  Seriously, can we focus on the technology, the reason we’re here? To learn, to build, to maintain, create and extend our services and capabilities that we work with? Can we not have a mass of “talent” come and stand around just so aging IT guys can ogle their breasts with roaming eyeballs?

Don’t get me wrong, beautiful people are great, and when done tastefully things can be fun. One of the ladies I work with mentioned it’d be great if Thor showed up and hung out at the conference (cuz ya see, we have a product called Thor, and this data company had Data attend. (Brent Spiner)).

I could go on. Simply put, companies and conference organizers need to own up and get with the times. For those of us that are a little evolved past nuckle dragging we should stand up to this time of nonsense. There’s a reason we’re at a conference and it damn well shouldn’t be to devalue people as objects and ogle various body parts.

[rant=off]

Ok, back on track with the successful bits. There were, after all a lot of successful bits and the sexism is a small, yet very sad and noticeable part of the event. The other good news is the amount of women’s groups that are getting together these days to code  (and I also find it unfortunate that to create a positive environment, women usually have to entirely disengage with men, and it is generally men’s fault)  Yup I said code. Rails Girls, Code n’ Splode and many others. So if you’re reading this and are female, check these groups out and get hacking & devoping.

The Big Move, PaaS is Starting to Rock!

VMware made serveral announcements around Cloud Foundry, which is pretty huge. The momentum is still growing, the community is still growing, and the energy is contagious. There’s been some egregious accusations and suggestions that the Cloud Foundry ecosystem is going to collapse. This is, however one of the more absurd notions I’ve heard in months. This definitely falls into the category of FUD flinging with no concrete notion. Lucas (@cardmagic) from AppFog lays out a bit of reality though, and the 20k people at VMworld and the thousands using and hundreds coding to Cloud Foundry give a resounding shout of,

“HELL NO”

Cloud Foundry is not collapsing, VMware is not taking an unfair advantage, and they’re in a position to win along with all the rest of the advocates of PaaS and open source. The thing is, things can indeed be win-win. They don’t have to be win-lose and the later thinking is negative to the industry and counter to the reality of open source.

Either way, toss any ideas this is going away out of your minds. I know most of you already have.

Smart People, Networking and a Few Rounds

The greatest thing about these conferences is the ability to network and meet face to face with hundreds of people that I do business with everyday. These range from people I hack code with, to people I help implement Cloud Foundry or people that simply are involved in the community too. To me, the most valuable ROI is the networking at a conference. Just to throw a few out there, I got to catch up with…

  • Dave McCrory @mccrory – This guy is awesome, if you get to work with him you’re a lucky soul. He’s heading up WMG as SVP of Platform Engineering now to get some cool things built and build out a solid team, which I look forward to hearing about!
  • Andy Piper @andypiper – Andy is VMware’s Cloud Foundry Dev Advocate of Great Britain. I got to meet Andy a while back and got to team up with him and many others to catch up on Cloud Foundry, see were things are heading, talk through some ideas and generally cause mischief around San Francisco.
  • James Watters @wattersjames – I always love running into this guy. Top notch smart, snarky and always ready to go through who’s who and who’s doing what in cloud technology. He’s the VMware Director of Ecosystem for Cloud Foundry and they’re damn lucky to have this guy!
  • Brian McClain @brianmmcclain – When I was originally writing Brian’s name out, I mispelled it “brain” and almost just left it this way. Brian is all over the Cloud Foundry realm working with BOSH, pushing forward with Cloud Foundry in an enterprise environment, and generally always ready to dive into the tech heavy deep end. Always great chatting with Brian about the details and whatever random code adventures come up!

…and there were dozens of others I got to catch up with. Mark Kropf, Ken Robertson, Daine Mueller, Jeremy Voorhis and almost got to catch up with Derek Collison too. Well, there’s always the next trip to San Francisco! If you’re into the Cloud Foundry space, into PaaS technologies, or just interested definitely reach out, follow these guys on twitter, and make an effort to meet them.

VMware’s VMworld Summary

VMworld was good times, for sure. There were the hiccups as I pointed out, but overall a great experience, the organizers did a solid job (still would help if they could crack down on the companies that perpetuate sexism and BS over content on the booth/show floor, but otherwise, kudos on a job well done). It was great catching up with the brain power in the industry and finally meeting many people I’d been wanting to. I even wrote more than a few lines of code and tested out a few deployment ideas based on the conversations. This, in the end, is exactly what the conference is truly about.  Cheers!

4 thoughts on “The Bad, The Ugly and The Good Bits :: Sexism, VMworld 2012 & Smart Cool People

  1. Adron…where to start…First, my post was a collection of observations formulated into a hypothesis. The post was not a rebuke of the members of the CloudFoundry ecosystem, but rather a thesis on a very real structural issue in this “partner model” being executed by VMware. I’ve seen the good old vague “FUD” thrown around a few times now; it seems that, based in usage so far, there has been little to no ability to distinguish between FUD and simply a counter-viewpoint.

    Maybe this will clear it up. I have asked these questions numerous times with little to no answer: when VMware convinces a customer to deploy to their public PaaS or to buy their private PaaS, and that customer had the option but decided to not adopt Tier3′s WebFabric or IronFoundry, respectively, are you not competing with VMware? Do you not believe that VMware sales reps will choose revenue over “partnerships” in each of these instances? Do you believe that if given the option, VMware won’t go for maximum market penetration on PaaS as it did with the hypervisor?

    This idea of “win-win” due to some vague promise of market expansion is dangerous; VMware will focus on taking all of it. Anyone who knows their amazingly well tuned sales culture knows that they won’t sit back and say “hey, you know what, the market expanded, leave some for our partners because we’re such a nice bunch and our bellies are full.” And if you think they won’t exploit deep integration between their CF version and their hypervisor and management assets, you’re fooling yourself.

    Maybe some clear answers to these fundamental questions will help readers through intellectual debate rather than distract them with the unrestricted use of the words “open”, “ecosystem”, and “community” as solve-all answers to every question posed.

    Most of what I’ve read so far has been in defense of VMware’s right to compete with its own partners. It’s very awkward. I hope you realize that this intended to be a constructive discussion, and this is a perfect forum for helping people understand how CloudFoundry partners plan on dealing with these issues. The fact that these questions are not being answered, I believe, severely undermines your claim that my post is FUD.

    • Honestly, I think your post is great. For those that don’t get open source, how the licensing works, or how the community is evolving will just be further confused about the whole matter. In that sense, your post does encourage and build on fear, uncertainty and doubt. I do see your points, and I disagree with them as I’m part of the community and have had meetings with key leads in the community. VMware even blinks, and there will be a publicly managed fork with a governance committee and appropriate stakeholders taking care of things.

      The reason there isn’t, is because VMware has so far managed to be a good open source citizen, albeit somewhat clumsy they are.

      As for this being a constructive discussion, sometimes that starts with fear of new technologies, uncertainty around the communities, and doubts. I don’t like FUD, but sometimes it is an ideal starting point to start a discussion. Prime example, Microsoft threw a ton of FUD at google docs and it started many discussions. Google still continues their growth with google docs in spite of Microsoft bringing up FUD through marketing, discussions and in other ways.

      So FUD away, the conversation will continue, albeit from a frustrating view point. Personally, and I know you’d like this a lot too, I wish we could focus on some hard core topics. Apprenda, Cloud Foundry, OpenShift, and the like. We all should focus more on how to get people out of traditional environments and remove the burdens they’re bound by. There is a huge space to grow this tooling in and we’ve barely touched the surface. You say that expecting growth through an ever expanding new market space is a bad thing, but at least we can have some awesome conversations about really interesting architectural advantages and capabilities of PaaS tooling. Regardless of who is making it.

      I’ve got a few blog entries coming up on Continuous Delivery with PaaS and am also working to get the Software Craftsman’s group in Seattle to work on some parallel efforts in their own environments. We’ll be looping back around to document where the pain points are and how we can all move forward more effectively. I’d truly love to get you guys showing some of your continuous integration or delivery setups with Apprenda to throw into the mix with the Software Craftsmans Group. Up for it? Just ping me via e-mail if you guys have some demo material or accessible demo environments.

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