Tag Archives: job

Some random reflections on 2014

As time has moved on, I’ve lavished less attention on my blog, which is a shame… “back in the day” I enjoyed writing for it, and gained a lot of value from doing so. It’s of no particular surprise to me that I’ve spent less time writing here in 2014 than in any of the previous years; but it is a regret. I blame my schedule, a general change in the way I interact online, and a lack of inspiration. Actually, that last one isn’t quite true: I’ve often been inspired, or felt the need to blog, but have found myself mentally blocked. I need to get over that!

Anyway… 2014, looking back… a little bit of a year in review.

LEGO AndyThe major life change this year was my move to Twitter, which has been very exciting and energising. I’m thrilled to have been invited to work with a team of exceptional people under Jeff Sandquist. In particular, this year I’ve had the short-lived opportunity to work with three brilliant and talented guys I want to say “thank you” to, for making my transition to my new role such a pleasure: Taylor Singletary, Sylvain Carle and Isaac Hepworth. A special shout-out too to my close friend and colleague based in London, Romain Huet, without whom I would have found the past nine months much less fun or easy-to-navigate! The whole team has been just amazing to work with, as have all my wonderful colleagues at the Twitter office in London #gratefulpipes

The work we’re doing on the Developer and Platform Relations team at Twitter is something I’m incredibly passionate about. Connecting with the third-party community and acting as the face and voice of Twitter with those developers, listening to them and responding to their concerns, is the reason I joined the company.

I’ve been involved in the launch of a couple of APIs (most notably the Mute API), and I’m getting to work on much of the external API surface, which plays well with my background and developer experience. We’ve completely relaunched our developer-facing website and forums in the past few months, which the whole team has worked hard on. I’m happy to see the focus of discussion on the developer forums substantially improved now that we’ve moved to the Discourse platform – the user experience is far better than we had with the previous solution.

Most importantly, this past quarter we launched Fabric, our new free mobile SDK and platform for iOS and Android, and delivered a swathe of improvements to the developer experience for mobile enthusiasts. We also ran our first mobile developer conference, Flight – I was excited to be there, and I’m looking forward to seeing that experience continue in 2015.

My background in the Internet of Things and MQTT space has partly carried over into my new life at Twitter, and I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a couple of events (including Flight) about how Twitter’s platform plays into that space. However, I’ve substantially stepped back from playing a major role in the MQTT community this year; a decision in part driven by the need to refocus on my new role, partly due to some personal hostility and “burnout” with a couple of specific issues, but mostly because – I’m no longer “needed”! It has been incredibly satisfying to see the MQTT community grow over the past few years. The standardisation of the protocol at OASIS, the large number of implementations, and the ability of many other much smarter people to pick up the kinds of speaking engagements I was previously doing as a matter of course – all of these things make me immensely proud to have helped to lay the foundations for the success of that community over the past six years or so.

I’ve also been very happy to see the success of the Cloud Foundry platform and the people involved – having devoted the previous two years of my career to that nascent Open Source community, it is just fantastic to see it take off and the Foundation get started. Nice work to everyone involved.

I’ve again thoroughly enjoyed my speaking opportunities this year, and the chance to broaden my range. Obviously that has included a lot about the Twitter API and developer platform, and lots again about IoT; but I’ve also spoken on wearables, developer advocacy, and API management. I’m very happy that I got to be a part of the first Twitter Flight conference – one of my speaking career highlights.

Personally, I’ve tried to stay healthy this year (no heart scares, no falls…!); although my travel schedule has been demanding again (TripIt tells me I covered 66613 miles in the air). That did at least include a couple of trips for fun, rather than being all about business 🙂

The next year looks to be busy with more events to speak at (and organise!), and much more to do around the Twitter platform. As an historian, a sociologist and someone with a keen interest in the intersection of technology and people, I’m very excited to be a part of this wave of change.

Happy New Year – here’s to 2015!

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On joining Twitter

#lifeattwitter

I’ve been settling into my new role at Twitter over the past few months. I’m a Developer Advocate on the Developer and Platform Relations team, based out of a beautiful new London office we opened a few weeks ago.

It has been fantastic so far, learning about the Twitter platform and starting to work with partners and developers trying out the API. I’ve been a small part of a couple of feature launches which I’m incredibly proud to have helped with. We’ve run our first Twitter UK community Friday4Good which I helped to plan. As well as that, I’ve spoken about the Twitter API in the context of the Internet of Things at both Techsylvania in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and more recently at GOTO in Amsterdam.

In a recent post over on the Twitter Developer blog I’ve written a little bit more about why I was excited to join this amazing team.

Developers embraced Twitter early on, seeing it as an open platform that could enrich apps with contextual information and provide access to public conversations, sentiments and signals. Twitter enabled developers to create cool, new and fun experiences that were never before possible.

Oh, and if you want to follow what we are up to as a team, you should keep an eye on the @TwitterDev and @TwitterAPI handles, as well as @TwitterUK for more UK-centric news!

#newjob

In late 2011, I was contacted by a very charming, smart and persuasive French gentleman who spoke of clouds, platform-as-a-service, and polyglot programming. It took him and his team a couple of months to get me thinking seriously about a career change, after 10 great years at IBM. I’d spent that period with “Big Blue” coding in Java and C, and primarily focused on enterprise application servers, message queueing, and integration – and yet the lure of how easy vmc push[1] made it for me to deploy and scale an app was astounding! Should I make the transition to a crazy new world? Over Christmas that year, I decided it would be a good thing to get in on this hot new technology and join VMware as Developer Advocate on the Cloud Foundry team. I joined the team early in 2012.

The Cloud Foundry adventure has been amazing. The day after I joined the team, the project celebrated its first anniversary, and we announced the BOSH continuous deployment tool; I spent much of that first year with the team on a whirlwind of events and speaking engagements, growing the community. The Developer Relations team that Patrick Chanezon and Adam Fitzgerald put together was super talented, and it was brilliant to be part of that group. Peter, Chris, Josh, Monica, Raja, Rajdeep, Alvaro, Eric, Frank, Tamao, Danny, Chloe, D, Giorgio, friends in that extended team… it was an honour.

A year after I joined, VMware spun out Cloud Foundry, SpringSource and other technologies into a new company, Pivotal – headed up by Paul Maritz. I’ve been privileged to work under him, Rob Mee at Pivotal Labs, and most closely, my good friend James Watters on the Cloud Foundry team. I’ve seen the opening of our new London offices on Old Street, welcomed our partners and customers into that unique collaborative and pairing environment, and observed an explosion of activity and innovation in this space. We launched an amazing productJames Bayer heads up a remarkable group of technologists working full-time on Cloud Foundry, and it has been a pleasure to get to know him and his team. Most recently, I’ve loved every minute working with Cornelia, Ferdy, Matt, Sabha and Scott (aka the Platform Engineering team), another talented group of individuals from whom I’ve learned much.

Over the course of the last two years I’ve seen the Platform-as-a-Service space grow, establish itself, and develop – most recently resulting in my recent talk at bcs Oxfordshire:

Last week, we announced the forthcoming Cloud Foundry Foundation – and one could argue that as a community and Open Source kinda guy, this was the direction I’ve helped to move things in the past two years, although I can claim no credit at all for the Foundation announcement itself. I’ve certainly enjoyed hosting occasional London Cloud Foundry Community meetups and drinks events (note, next London PaaS User Group event has 2 CF talks!), and I’ve made some great friends locally and internationally through the ongoing growth of the project. I’m proud of the Platform event we put on last year, I think the upcoming Cloud Foundry Summit will be just as exciting, and I’m happy to have been a part of establishing and growing the CF community here in Europe.

Cloud Foundry is THE de facto Open Source PaaS standard, the ecosystem is strong and innovative, and that has been achieved in a transparent and collaborative way, respectful to the community, in a good-natured way in the face of competition. Rest assured that I’ll continue to watch the project and use PaaSes which implement it (I upgraded to a paid Pivotal Web Services account just this past week, I tried BlueMix, and I’m an ongoing fan of the Anynines team).

There are many missing shout-outs here… you folks know who you are, and should also know that I’ve deeply enjoyed learning from you and working with you. Thank you, Pivotal team! I do not intend to be a stranger to the Bay Area! In my opinion, Pivotal is positioned brilliantly in offering an end-to-end mobile, agile development, cloud platform and big data story for the enterprise. I look forward to continuing the conversations around that in the next couple of weeks.

[…]

What happens after “the next couple of weeks”? Well, this is as good time as any (!) to close that chapter, difficult though it is to leave behind a team I’ve loved working with, on a product and project that is undoubtedly going to continue to be fantastically successful this year and beyond. So, it is time to announce my next steps, which may or may not be clear from the title of this post… 🙂

Joining Twitter!

I joined Twitter as a user on Feb 21 2007. On the same day, seven years later, I accepted a job offer to go and work with the Twitter team as a Developer Advocate, based in London.

If you’ve been a long-term follower of mine either here on this blog, or on Twitter, or elsewhere, you’ll know that Twitter is one of my favourite tools online. It has been transformational in my life and career, and it changed many of my interactions. True story: between leaving IBM and joining VMware I presented at Digital Bristol about social technologies, and I was asked, which one I would miss the most if it went away tomorrow; the answer was simple: Twitter. As an Open Source guy, too, I’ve always been impressed with Twitter’s contributions to the broader community.

I couldn’t be more #excited to get started with the Twitter Developer Relations team in April!

Follow me on Twitter – @andypiper – to learn more about my next adventure…

[1] vmc is dead, long live cf!

My next steps – joining the Cloud Foundry team

I’m very excited to announce that, from April 10th, I will be joining the Developer Relations team for Cloud Foundry at VMware.

This is a thrilling opportunity for me for a number of reasons.

  • from a technology perspective: Cloud Foundry is very, very, very cool. In my opinion, it really comes from a different set of thought processes than the other Platform-as-a-Service offerings out there, which make it unique and compelling.
    • the operating system stuff gets out of the way (why should it matter?), but multiple language runtimes and backend resources are available for easy scaling. Seriously, the first time I walked through the command-line tutorial and scaled a Ruby app to 6 load balanced instances with a single command, I was instantly impressed.
    • it is Open Source. The code is on Github. You can run your own cloud if you like. You can add support for your own languages and frameworks, much as AppFog have done for PHP, Tier 3 and Uhuru have done with .NET in Iron Foundry, and so on. This provides a huge amount of flexibility. Oh, and of course mobile and cloud go hand-in-hand, so last week’s announcement of FeedHenry providing tools to develop HTML5 apps to deploy on Cloud Foundry was really significant, too.
    • you can take your cloud with you using Micro Cloud Foundry – so the development and deployment model remains the same whether you are online or offline. I love this idea.
  • for me, personally: it’s a natural evolution of much of the work I’ve been doing over the past few years – focusing on developer communities and promoting technology adoption, as much as top-down solution selling. As my good friend James Governor is fond of saying and as his colleague Steve O’Grady wrote, developers are the new kingmakers – and with trends like mobile, cloud, and devops, nurturing those communities is more important than ever. You don’t impose technology on a community – you explain it and earn your place and reputation.
  • I’m looking forward to more speaking, more writing, more mentoring, and more online community building. These are things I’ve grown to enjoy (and in the case of the latter, appear to do naturally).
  • I’ve followed Patrick Chanezon, the Senior Director of the team, since he was setting up the developer advocacy programme back at Google – I have a lot of respect for what he’s achieved and the way he operates, so I’m delighted to have the chance to work closely with him. I’m excited to join everyone in the team, of course – I have spoken with most of the group already and I’m really looking forward to learning from their diverse range of experiences and backgrounds.

Between now and April 10th, I have a few things planned including a vacation (!), heading to EclipseCon to talk about MQTT and M2M topics, and some other speaking engagements. After I start the new role, I expect I’ll join in on the Cloud Foundry Open Tour and start to meet folks. I’ll also be on the team for the GOTO conference in Aarhus in October – exciting times ahead!

When “end of an era” doesn’t cover it

This week, I tendered my resignation at IBM, after 10 years and 4 months, to a manager who has been my team leader and friend for the past 3 years. I can honestly say that it was a really hard moment; but also the right moment to make this particular transition.

As I’ve repeatedly written over the past few years – IBM has been a company I always aspired to work for, and once I had the chance, one that I’ve been immensely proud to represent. It’s a company that has endured over a century, and one that I was able to spend time with for a tenth of its existence – it was really the age of both WebSphere and the rise of IBM Software Group, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been there.

I have brilliant memories of the past decade. IBM is an amazing company and I will always value the chance to be a part of it, particularly in a wonderful location like the Hursley Lab. The people I’ve worked with, and with whom I’ve formed what I believe will be enduring friendships, have been simply outstanding. There were so many opportunities to do great things, not only in “the day job” but also as a BlueIQ Ambassador and social collaboration advocate, with IBM developer communities, in the universities programme representing IBM at careers fairs and as a guest lecturer in degree programmes, and the schools and community programme as a BlueFusion volunteer and mentor to kids at schools in deprived areas. I’ve also loved the chances to learn from others formally and informally, and to act as a mentor to others.

This will sound like a total paean, but it’s very true that there are amazing talents around IBM. In 7 years in IBM Software Services, and more than 3 years representing the development, strategy and product management teams in the lab back out to the field, I amassed a list of friends and colleagues from across continents, business units, and brands. It’s amazing to think of the broad reach of my network and I can’t help but be grateful for that.

My next steps are still forming; but I’m looking forward to spending more time with Open Source communities, with developers, with new technology, with connected systems and the Internet of Things, and as a speaker and writer. I’m also grateful to a range of friends for their support, particularly in taking over initiatives like eightbar, and in enabling me to remain involved in strands like Eclipse and MQTT.

Thanks for following me, reading my blog, sharing my thoughts, and joining the journey. I hope what comes next will be a continuation of the path I’ve been on; and an exciting next step in developing the direction I’ve been headed in.