Random Short Take #39

Welcome to Random Short Take #39. Not a huge amount of players have worn 39 in the NBA, and I’m not going to pretend I’m any real fan of The Dwightmare. But things are tough all around, so let’s remain optimistic and push through to number 40. Anyway let’s get random.

  • VeeamON 2020 was online this week, and Anthony Spiteri has done a great job of summarising the major technical session announcements here.
  • I’ve known Howard Marks for a while now, and always relish the opportunity to speak with him when I can. This post is pretty hilarious, and I’m looking forward to reading the followup posts.
  • This is a great article from Alastair Cooke on COVID-19 and what En-Zed has done effectively to stop the spread. It was interesting to hear his thoughts on returning to the US, and I do agree that it’s going to be some time until I make the trip across the Pacific again.
  • Sometimes people get crazy ideas about how they might repurpose some old bits of technology. It’s even better when they write about their experiences in doing so. This article on automating an iPod Hi-Fi’s volume control over at Six Colors was fantastic.
  • Chris M. Evans put out a typically thought-provoking piece on data migration challenges recently that I think is worth checking out. I’ve been talking a lot to customers that are facing these challenges on a daily basis, and it’s interesting to see how, regardless of the industry vertical they operate in, it’s sometimes just a matter of the depth varying, so to speak.
  • I frequently bump into Ray Lucchesi at conferences, and he knows a fair bit about what does and doesn’t work. This article on his experiences recently with a number of virtual and online conferences is the epitome of constructive criticism.
  • Speaking of online conferences, the Australian VMUG UserCon will be virtual this year and will be held on the 30th July. You can find out more and register here.
  • Finally, if you’ve spent any time with me socially, you’ll know I’m a basketball nut. And invariably I’ll tell you that Deftones is may favouritest band ever. So it was great to come across this article about White Pony on one of my favourite sports (and popular culture) websites. If you’re a fan of Deftones, this is one to check out.


Random Short Take #20

Here are some links to some random news items and other content that I recently found interesting. You might find them interesting too. Episode 20 – feels like it’s becoming a thing.

  • Scale Computing seems to be having a fair bit of success with their VDI solutions. Here’s a press release about what they did with Harlingen WaterWorks System.
  • I don’t read Corey Quinn’s articles enough, but I am glad I read this one. Regardless of what you think about the enforceability of non-compete agreements (and regardless of where you’re employed), these things have no place in the modern workforce.
  • If you’re getting along to VMworld US this year, I imagine there’s plenty in your schedule already. If you have the time – I recommend getting around to seeing what Cody and Pure Storage are up to. I find Cody to be a great presenter, and Pure have been doing some neat stuff lately.
  • Speaking of VMworld, this article from Tom about packing the little things for conferences in preparation for any eventuality was useful. And if you’re heading to VMworld, be sure to swing past the VMUG booth. There’s a bunch of VMUG stuff happening at VMworld – you can read more about that here.
  • I promise this is pretty much the last bit of news I’ll share regarding VMworld. Anthony from Veeam put up a post about their competition to win a pass to VMworld. If you’re on the fence about going, check it out now (as the competition closes on the 19th August).
  • It wouldn’t be a random short take without some mention of data protection. This article about tiering protection data from George Crump was bang on the money.
  • Backblaze published their quarterly roundup of hard drive stats – you can read more here.
  • This article from Paul on freelancing and side gigs was comprehensive and enlightening. If you’re thinking of taking on some extra work in the hopes of making it your full-time job, or just wanting to earn a little more pin money, it’s worthwhile reading this post.

VMware – VMworld 2019 – See you in San Francisco

This is a quick post to let my loyal readers know that I’ll be heading to VMware’s annual conference (VMworld) this year in San Francisco. This will be my fourth VMworld. I’m looking forward to catching up with some old friends and meeting some new ones. If you haven’t registered yet but feel like that’s something you might want to do – the registration page is here. To get a feel for what’s on offer, you can check out information about the VMworld 2019 sessions here. The Content Catalog [sic] is available now too, so if you’ve registered you can start filling up your schedule. You can also read the FAQ here.

Big thanks to Tej at VMware for organising the blogger pass. I’ll also be publicly thanking some other folks when I have some more logistics locked in. Keep an eye out for me at the conference and surrounding events and don’t be afraid to come and say hi (if you need a visual – I look like Wolverine would if he let himself go).

Pure//Accelerate 2018 – Thursday General Session – Rough Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Pure//Accelerate 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Pure Storage via the Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from Thursday’s General Session at Pure//Accelerate 2018.


Dave Hatfield

Dave Hatfield takes the stage, reports that there have been over 10000+ viewers and participants for the show. Cast your minds back to the “Summer of love” in 1968. This was also the time of the first big tech demo – “The Mother of All Demos” by Doug Engelbart – and it included the introduction of the mouse, network computing, hypertext linking, collaboration, multiple windows. You can see the clip here.

Pure is about embracing the tools of transformation.


Dr Kate Darling

Dr Kate Darling (MIT Media Lab) then takes the stage. She is a researcher with expertise in AI and robotics. She just flew in from Hong Kong. She mentions she had a baby 6 months ago. People say to her “Kate, it must be so interesting to watch your baby develop and compare it to AI development”. She says “[m]y baby is a million times more interesting than anything we’ve developed”.

AI is going to shape the world her baby’s growing up in. Like electricity, we don’t know how it will shape things yet. Some of the applications are really cool. A lot of it is happening behind the scenes. E.g. They took a Lyft to the airport and the driver was using Waze (which uses AI). There’s a bit of hype that goes on, and fear that AI might self-evolve and kill us all. This distracts from the benefits. And the actual problems we face right now (privacy, security, etc). Leads people to over-estimate where we are right now in terms of development.

She works in robotics. We’ve been doing this for centuries. We’re a long way from them taking over the world and killing us all. If you search for AI (via google images) you see human brain / robots pictures. Constantly comparing AI to human intelligence. This image is heavily influenced by sci-fi and pop culture. Automation will have an impact on labour markets. But AI is not like human intelligence. We’ve developed AI that is much smarter than people. But the AI is also a lot dumber. E.g. Siri, I’m bleeding, call me an ambulance. Ok, I’ll call you “an ambulance” from now on.

[image source http://www.derppicz.com/siri-call-me-an-ambulance/]

We’ve been using animals for 1000s of years, and we still use them. E.g., Dolphins for echo-location. Autonomous and unpredictable agents. Their skills are different to ours, and they can partner with us and extend our abilities. We should be thinking outside of the “human replacement” box.


  • Japan looks to AI to simplify patent screening
  • Recognise patterns in peoples’ energy consumption
  • Spam filters

Work in human – robot interaction. People’s psychological reactions to physical robots. Treat them like they’re alive, even though they’re machines. Perceive movement in our personal space as intent. The Roomba is really dumb. Military robots – soldiers become attached to bomb disposal robots. Paro Robotics – seal used in nursing homes. A lot of people don’t like the idea of robots for them. But this replaces animal therapy, not human care.

AI can shape how we relate to our tools, and how we relate to each other. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re interested in AI. It’s kind of a “hypey buzzword” thrown around at conferences. It’s not a method and more of a goal. Most of what we do is machine learning. eg. Hot dog example from Silicon Valley. If you’re into AI, you’ll need data scientists. They’re in high demand. If you want to use AI in your business, it’s important to educate yourself.

Need to be aware of some of the pitfalls, check out “Weapons of Math Destruction” by Cathy O’Neill.

There are so many amazing new tools being developed. OSS machine learning libraries. There’s a lot to worry about as a parent, but there’s a lot to look forward to as well. eg. AI that sorts LEGO. Horses replaced by cars. Cars now being replaced by a better version of an autonomous horse.


Dave Hatfield

Dave Hatfield takes the stage again. How can you speed up tasks that are mundane so you can do things that are more impactful? You need a framework and a way to ask the questions about the pitfalls. DevOps – institutionalised knowledge of how to become software businesses. Introduces Jez Humble.


Jez Humble

Why does DevOps matter? 

The enterprise is comprised of business, engineering, and operations. The idea for a project occurs, it’s budgeted, delivered and thrown over the wall to ops. Who’s practicing Agile? All about more collaboration. Business people don’t really like that. Now delivering into production all the time and Operations aren’t super happy about that. Operations then create a barrier (through change management), ensuring nothing ever changes.

How does DevOps help?

No real definition. The DevOps Movement is “a cross-functional community of practice dedicated to the study of building, evolving and operating rapidly changing, secure, resilient systems at scale”. There’s some useful reading (Puppet’s State of DevOps Reports) here, here, and here.

Software delivery as a competitive advantage

High performers were more than twice as likely to achieve or exceed the following objectives

  • Quantity of products or services
  • Operating efficiency
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Quality of products or services provided
  • Achieving organisational and mission goals
  • Measures that demonstrate to external parties whether or not the organisation is achieving intended results

IT Performance

  • Lead time for changes
  • Release frequency
  • Time to restore service
  • Change fail rate

We’re used to thinking about throughput and stability and a trade-off – that’s not really the case. High performers do both.

2016 IT performance by Cluster 

(From the 2016 report)

  High IT Performers Medium IT Performers Low IT Performers
Deployment Frequency

For the primary application or service you work on, how often does your organisation deploy code?

On demand (multiple deploys per day) Between once per week and once per month Between once per month and every 6 months
Lead time for changes

For the primary application or service you work on, what is your lead time for changes (i.e. how long does it take to go from code commit to code successfully running in production)?

Less than an hour Between one week and one month Between one month and 6 months
Mean time to recover (MTTR)

For the primary application or service you work on,how long does it generally take to restore service when a service incident occurs (e.g. unplanned outage, service impairment)?

Less than an hour Less than one day Less than one day
Change failure rate

For the primary application or service you work on, what percentage of the changes either result in degraded service or subsequently require remediation (e.g. lead to service impairment, service outage, require a hotfix, rollback, fix forward, patch)?

0-15% 31-45% 16-30%


“It’s about culture and architecture”. DevOps isn’t about hiring “DevOps experts”. Go solve the boring problems that no-one wants to do. Help your people grow. Grow your own DevOps experts. Re-orgs sucks the energy out of company. They often don’t produce better outcomes. Have people who need to work together, sit together. The cloud’s great, but you can do continuous delivery with mainframes. Tools are great, but buying “DevOps tools” doesn’t change the outcomes. “Please don’t give developers access to Prod”. DevOps is learning to work in in small batches (product dev and org change). You can’t move fast with water / scrum / fall.

Architectural Outcomes

Can my team …

  • Make large-scale changes to the design of its system without the permission of somebody outside the team or depending on other teams?
  • Complete its work without needing fine-grained communication and coordination with people outside the team?
  • Deploy and release its product or service on demand, independently of other services the product or service depends on?
  • Do most of its testing on demand, without requiring an integrated test environment?
  • Perform deployments during normal business hours with negligible downtime?

Deploying on weekends? We should be able to deploy during the day with negligible downtime

  • DevOps is learning to build quality in. “Cease dependence on mass inspection to achieve quality. Improve the process and build quality into the product in the first place”. W. Edwards Deming.
  • DevOps is enabling cross-functional collaboration through value streams
  • DevOps is developing a culture of experimentation
  • DevOps is continually working to get better

Check out the Accelerate book from Jez.

The Journey

  • Agree and communicate measurable business goals
  • Give teams support and resources to experiment
  • Talk to other teams
  • Achieve quick wins and share learnings
  • Never be satisfied, always keep going


Dave Hatfield

Dave Hatfield takes the stage again. Don’t do re-orgs? We had 4 different groups of data scientists pop up in a company of 2300. All doing different things. All the data was in different piggy banks. We got them all to sit together and that made a huge difference. “We need to be the ambassadors of change and transformation. If you don’t do this, one of your competitors will”.

Please buy our stuff. Thanks for your time. Next year the conference will be in September. We’re negotiating the contracts right now and we’ll let you know soon.

Solid session. 4.5 stars.

Pure//Accelerate 2018 – Wednesday General Session – Rough Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Pure//Accelerate 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Pure Storage via the Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from Wednesday’s General Session at Pure//Accelerate 2018.

[A song plays. “NVMe” to the tune of Naughty By Nature’s OPP]


Charlie Giancarlo

Charlie Giancarlo (Pure Storage CEO) takes the stage. We share a mission: to power innovation. Storage is really important part of making that mission happen. We’re in the zettabyte era, we don’t even talk about EB anymore. It’s not the silicon age, or the Internet age, or the social age. We’re talking about the original gold rush of 1849. The amount gold in data is unlimited. We need the tools to pick the gold out of the data. The data heroes are us. And we’re announcing a bunch of tools to mine the gold.

Who am I? What has allowed us to get to success? Where are we going?

I’m new here, I’ve just gotten through his 3rd quarter. I’ve been an nngineer, entrepreneur, CTO, equity partner – entirely tech focused. I’ve made a living looking at innovation on the basis of looking at it as a 3-legged stool.

What are the components that advance tech?

  • Networking
  • Compute (Processing)
  • Storage

They advance on their own timelines, and don’t always keep pace, and the industry someitmes gets out of balance. Data centre and system architectures adjust to accommodate this.


Density has multiplied by a factor of 10 in 10 years (slow down of Moore’s Law), made up for this by massive scale in the DC


Multiplied by 10 in 8 years, 10Gbps about 10 years ago, and 100Gbps about 2 years ago


  • Multiplied by a factor of 1000
  • Storage vendors just haven’t kept up
  • Storage on white boxes?

Pure came in and bought balance to this picture, allowing storage to keep up with networking and compute.

It’s all about

  • Business model
  • Customer experience
  • Technology

“Data is the most important asset that you have”

Pure Storage became a billion dollar company in revenue last year (8 years in, 5 years after it introduced its first product). It’s cashflow positive and “growing like a bat out of hell” with over 4800 customers. Had less than 500 customers just 4 years ago. And a large chunk of customers are cloud providers. Also in 30% of the Fortune 500.


The software economy sits on top of the compute / network / storage stool. Companies are becoming more digital. Last year they talked about Domino’s, and this year they’re using AI to analyse your phone calls. Your calls are being answered by an AI engine that takes your order. An investment bank has more computer engineers and developers than they have investment bankers. Companies need to feed these apps with data. Data is where the money is.

DC Architectures

  • Monolithic scale-up – client / server (1990s)
  • Virtualised – x86 + virtualisation (2000s)
  • Scale-out  – cloud (2010s)

Previously big compute – apps are rigid, now there’s big data – apps are fluid, data is shared

“Data-centric” architecture

  • Faster
  • 100% shared
  • Simpler
  • Built for rapid innovation

Dedicated storage and stateless compute


  • Large booking, travel, e-commerce site
  • PAIGE.AI – cancer pathology – digitised samples from the last decade
  • Man AHL – economy and stock market modelling

Behind all these companies is a “data hero”

Over 80% of CxOs believe that the speed of analysing data would be one of their biggest competitive issues, but CIOs worried about not being able to keep up with data coming in to the enterprise.

“We empower innovators to build a better word with data”

Beyond AFA

  • Modern data pipeline
  • A whole new model
  • Pure “on-demand”
  • The AI Era

“New meets Now”

It takes great people to make a great company – the amazing “Puritans”. Pure have a NPS score of 83.7 – best in B2B.


Matt Kixmoeller

Matt Kixmoeller takes the stage. We need a new architecture to unlock the value of data. Back in 2009. Michael Jackson died, Obama was in, Fusion-IO had just started. Pure came along and had the idea of building an AFA. Today we’re going to bring you the sequel

  • There’s basically SAN / NAS and DAS (which has seen a resurgence in web scale era)
  • DAS reality – many apps, rigid scaling, either too much storage or too much compute

New technologies to re-wire the DC

  • Diverse, fast compute (CPU, GPU, FPGA)
  • Fast networks and protocols (RoCE, NVMe-oF)
  • Diverse SSD
  • Eliminates the outside the box penalty
  • Gets CPUs totally focussed on applications

What if we can finally unite SAN and DAS into a data-centric architecture?

Gartner have identified “Shared accelerated storage”. “The NVMe-oF protocol … will help balance the performance and simplicity of direct-attached storage (DAS) with the scalability and manageability of shared storage”.

“Tier 0”? – they’re making the same mistake again. Pure are focused on shared accelerated storage available for all.

Tomorrow can look like this

  • Diskless, stateless, elastic compute (continuers, VMs, bare metal)
  • Shared accelerated storage (block, file, object)
  • Fast, converged networks
  • Open, full-stack orchestration


Keith Martin

Keith Martin (ServiceNow) takes the stage

  • Dealing with high volumes of data
  • Tremendous growth in net new data
  • 18 months ago, doing basic web scale, DAS architecture
  • Filling up DCs at a very fast clip
  • Stopped and analysed everything there was

What happens in an hour in the DC?

In one hour our customers:

  • 7.5 million performance analytics scores computed
  • 730,000 configuration items added
  • 274,000 notifications sent
  • 76,000 assets added
  • 49,200 live feed messages
  • 36,300 change requests
  • 15,600 workflow activities

Every hour of the day our engineering teams:

  • Develop code across the globe in 9 global develoipment locations (SD, SC, SF, Kirkland, London, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Hyderabad, Bangalore)
  • Use 450 copies of ServiceNow for quality engineering testing
  • Run 100,000 automated quality engineering tests

In one hour on our infrastructure

  • 25 billion database queries
  • 112 million HTTP requests
  • 2.5 million emails
  • 25.3 million API calls
  • 493TB of backups

We were going through

  • 30K hard drives
  • 3500+ servers
  • >2000 failed HDDs per year

CPU time was being consumed with backup data movement and restore times were becoming longer and longer. They started to look at the FlashBlade. With its small footprint and low power it was a really interesting option for them. It was really easy to setup and use. They let the engineers out of their cages to play with it in the lab and found it was surprisingly hard to break. So they’ve decided to start using FlashBlade in production as their standard for protection data.

Achieving 3x density now

Each rack has:

  • 30 1RU servers
  • 1000 compute cores
  • 1.5PB effective Flash

Decided to test and implement FlashArray as well and they’re excited about FlashArray//X. ServiceNow cares about uptime. Pure has the best non-disruptive upgrade, expansion and repair model. DAS can prove to be expensive at scale.


Matt Kixmoeller

Kix takes the stage again

  • 2016: FlashBlade – the world’s first AFA for big data
  • 2017: FlashArray//X

Introducing the FlashArray//X Family

  • //X10
  • //X20
  • //X50
  • //X70
  • //X90


Bill Cerreta

Bill Cerreta takes the stage.

  • The FlashArray was launched in 2012, Purity was built to optimise Flash
  • //M chassis designed for NVMe
  • Deep integration of software and hardware

Where are we going with Flash?

SCM, QLC. We’ve eliminated translation layers. The X//90, for example, has

  • Dual-Protocol controllers – speaks to both SSD and NVMe
  • The 10 through 90 have 25GbE onboard
  • Everything’s NVMe/oF ready and this will be added via software later in the year
  • Double the write bandwidth of //M
  • This year, they’re all in on //X
  • 7 generations of evergreen, non-disruptive upgrades [photo]
  • //X makes everything faster (compared to //M)

Neil Vachharajani takes the stage briefly to talk MongoDB on shared accelerated storage.

Kix continues.

Priced for mainstream adoption

  • Early attempts at NVMe cost 10x more than AFAs
  • //X, when introduced last year, was 25% more than //M
  • $0 premium for //X over //M on an effective capacity basis

[Customer video – Berrios]


Jason Nadeau

Jason Nadeau takes the stage. Most infrastructure wasn’t built to allow data to flow freely.

  • 10s of products
  • Complex design
  • Silos, difficult to share


Data-centric Architecture

  • Consolidated and simplified
  • Real-time
  • On-demand and self-driving
  • Ready for tomorrow
  • Multi-cloud


  • FlashArray
  • FlashBlade
  • FlashStack
  • AIRI

API-first model and software at the heart of the architecture.


Sandeep Singh

Sandeep Singh takes the stage. A lot of companies have managed to virtualise. A lot have managed to “flash-ify”. But a lot of them have yet to automate and “service-ize”, to “container-ize”, or to adopt multi-cloud.

Automate and service-ize – on every cloud platform

  • VMware SDDC – VMware SDDC validated design
  • Open automation – pre-built open full-stack automation toolkits
  • Openshift PaaS – container-based reference architecture

Simon Dodsley takes the stage to talk with Sandeep about MongoDB deployments in less than a minute (down from 5 days).

Sandeep continues. Container adoption is increasing quickly but there’s a lack of storage support for persistent containers. Pure have container plug-ins for Docker, Kubernetes. Containerized apps want to consume storage as-a-service. Introducing Pure Service Orchestrator.


Introduced ActiveCluster last year. Snapshots and snapshot mobility (portable snapshots introduced last year) are important.

  • Snap to NFS is generally available now
  • CloudSnap to AWS S3 (available in late 2018)
  • DeltaSnap open API (Veeam, Catalogic, actifiio, CommVault, Rubrik, Cohesity)


Jason Nadeau

Jason Nadeau comes back on stage. Data as-a-service consumption. Leases aren’t pay per use and aren’t a service-like experience

Introducing Evergreen Storage Service (ES2)

  • Pay per used GB
  • True open
  • Terms as short as 12 months
  • Always evergreen
  • Onboard in days
  • Always “better-than-cloud” economics

Capex with Evergreen storage, Opex with ES2

[Video on PAIGE.AI]


Matt Burr

Matt Burr takes the stage. Unlocking the value of what was once cold data. New era demands a new data mindset.

  • How has the value of data changed?
  • How can you extract that value?
  • How can you get started today?

A robot will replace a human surgeon. A machine has learned to adapt faster than the human brain can. More and more data will live in the hotter tier. What tools can make this valuable? Change in the piggy bank – like data. But data is stuck in silos.

  • Data warehouse
  • Data lake
  • Modern data pipeline
  • AI data pipeline

$/GB used to make sense. We need new metrics. $/flops? $/simulation. Real value is generated by simplifying and accelerating the data flow. Build a data hub on FlashBlade. FlashBlade is 16 months old (GA in January 2016).

Invites NVIDIA’s Rob Ober on stage


Rob Ober

“The time has come for GPU computing”

  • Moore’s Law is flattening an awful lot
  • NVIDIA as “the AI computing platform”
  • “The more you buy, the more you save”

Traditional hyper scale cluster – 300 dual-CPU servers, 180KW power, or you can deploy 1 DGX-2, 10KW.

Science fiction is being made possible

  • Ultrasound retrofit
  • 5G beam
  • Molecule modelling 1/10 millionth $

Scaling AI

  • Design guesswork
  • Deployment complexity
  • Multiple points of support

AI scaling is hard, “not like your traditional infrastructure”


  • Jointly-validated solution
  • Faster, simplified deployment
  • Trusted expertise and support


Matt Kixmoeller

Kix takes the stage again. There’s a big gap in AI infrastructure, with customers spread across varying stages of journey from single server -> scale-out infrastructure. Introduces AIRI Mini and they’re also extending AIRI to Cisco.


Data Warehouse pitfalls

  • Performance not keeping up with data
  • Pricing extortions and over-provisioning
  • Inflexible appliances built for a single workload

Progress has to have a foundation.

Customer example of telco in Asia moving from Exadata to FlashBlade

Introducing FlashStack for Oracle Data Warehouse

Set your data free


Dave Hatfield

Dave Hatfield takes the stage. Thanks for coming. Over 5000 people in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and a lot watching on-line. Customers, partners. Be sure to check out the “petting zoo” (Solutions Pavilion). We wanted to have something that was “not your father’s storage show. Your father’s storage show happened last month”. Anyone been to a Grateful Dead show? It’s a community experience, you don’t know what will happen next.

And that’s a wrap.

Dell Technologies World 2018 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my notes on gifts, etc, that I received as a conference attendee at Dell Technologies World 2018. This is by no stretch an interesting post from a technical perspective, but it’s a way for me to track and publicly disclose what I get and how it looks when I write about various things. I’m going to do this in chronological order, as that was the easiest way for me to take notes during the week. While everyone’s situation is different, I took 5 days of unpaid leave to attend this conference.



My wife kindly dropped me off at BNE airport. I had some bacon and eggs in the Qantas Club before my flight. I flew Qantas economy class to LAX and then American Airlines to LAS. The flights were paid for by Dell Technologies. Plane food was consumed on the flight. It was a generally good experience, lack of sleep notwithstanding. I stayed at the Palazzo Hotel. This was covered by Dell Technologies as well. I bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen for quite a few years and we shared an Uber to the hotel and then went to lunch and dinner to try and fight off the jet lag. This was at our own expense.



I mainly kicked around the hotel and had a reasonable burger at PBR Rockbar and Grill on the Strip.



Breakfast in the Press Lounge consisted of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and small hash browns. They also had tiny bottles of tabasco sauce that went pretty well with the eggs. I also had a mixed berry yoghurt, some cold meat and cheese, and some passable coffee. At the Media, Analysts and Influencers conference we were all given a Dell Technologies World / Intel co-branded d.stil water bottle that looks something like this.

For lunch I had a green salad, tomato and cucumber salad, red wine chicken and beans, NY sear steak and a small bread roll. I also grabbed a coffee and a homemade chocolate “whoopie” pie (yes, it’s apparently a thing). It’s basically some biscuit sized chocolate cake thing filled with ganache.

In the Luminaries Area in the Village, I grabbed a @theCUBE sticker from Stu for my laptop. I picked up a carry bag at the Solutions Expo during the opening reception. I then tailed Jon into a VMware NSX event at AquaKnox and had 2 plates of prawn and crab. They also had bacon which wasn’t burnt to a crisp. I headed up to the Media, Analysts and Influencers party at the Palazzo pool deck and had 2 Stella Artois beers.

We headed to Lotus of Siam for dinner in a taxi – this was covered by Tom Hollingsworth. At dinner I had 2 large Singha beers, some garlic prawns, and fried banana for desert. It was, as usual, delicious. The cost of dinner was covered by people from Rubrik, Datrium and Gestalt IT. After dinner we caught a Lyft back to the hotel. Tom covered this again.



I had a small flat white at Starbucks before breakfast courtesy of Ray Lucchesi. It’s nice to see flat white on the menu at Starbucks in America. It’s not quite like a real flat white though. In any case, it did the trick. The Solutions Expo was opened up to Media, etc for breakfast. I had a ham, egg and cheese croissant, and a yoghurt parfait with nuts and berries. The croissant was terrible, but you live and learn.

I had to skip lunch as a meeting I had ran over by 30 minutes and I didn’t have time to get anything before my next session. In the afternoon I passed by the Toshiba booth in the Solutions Expo and picked up a Toshiba-flavoured Greg Norman polo shirt. I then had a session and grabbed a coffee and a bag of peanut M & Ms from the press lounge.

Tuesday evening I went and found a Philly cheese steak place on the strip and retreated to my hotel room to watch the NBA Playoffs (Go Dubs!).



Breakfast in the press area was scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and small breakfast burritos. I also had some fruit and coffee. Lunch in the press area was lettuce salad and vinaigrette, 5 grain salad, basmati rice, chicken and baked salmon. It was actually pretty good.

I headed to the Solutions Expo after lunch to do a quick whip around of the booths. I picked up a shopping bag, a Cloudera t-shirt and “Data is the new bacon” sticker, an autographed Brocade SAN Automation book, and a Dell OptiPlex notebook. Konnie also very kindly gave me two Luminaries coffee mugs. We’ll see how they stand up to the baggage handlers on the way home. I grabbed a coffee and a small Hershey’s bar before heading in to a session.

I went to the Customer Appreciation Party held in the hall. I had 4 Stella Artois beers. I also had some Ricotta Cavatelli – tossed with lemon scented lobster, parmesan cream, finished with tomato concasse and asparagus tips. It was pasta on a cardboard plate, but I was hungry. I also had a Red Chili Braised Chicken Thigh mini street taco with spicy shredded cabbage and carrot slaw topped with Mexican crema in a flour tortilla. This wasn’t too bad either. I then spent too much time near the table with the artisan cheese platter, crackers, various cold meats, and chipotle chicken skewer with pearl onion and roasted pineapple, topped with creamy salsa verde.

Walk the Moon did a nice cover of Bowie’s Let’s Dance. Sting sounded good, if you’re into that kind of thing.



I had breakfast in the hall. This was a ham and cheese Croque-monsieur, mixed berry yoghurt, fruit and water. I grabbed a coffee on my way to my first session. I picked up a light Dell Technologies hoodie in the Village between sessions. Lunch was boxed. I had the roasted turkey club sandwich, with sliced turkey breast, crisp turkey bacon, dijon mayo, tomato and Bibb lettuce on a sourdough loaf. I also had the chocolate fudge brownie but left the apple, potato salad and potato chips. It was actually pretty good, considering it came in a box.

After the last session I headed to the LEGO Store and then grabbed my bags from the hotel and caught a taxi to the airport at my expense.

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Wednesday General Session – Technologies & Trends That Are Changing The World – Rough Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

<Eddie Vedder Voice> This one’s called longest title in the Dell Technologies World catalogue </Eddie Vedder Voice>

Here are my rough notes from Wednesday’s General Session – Technologies & Trends That Are Changing The World – at Dell Technologies World.

Allison Dew takes the stage. Data is the rocket fuel of our economy. The people in this room have always known that. We’re seeing emerging technologies like AI, ML, IoT, Blockchain becoming more mainstream. That’s enabling us to really unlock the power and the possibility of all that data. Data as the lifeblood of the economy – the next business revolution.

Morgan Stanley did some research and have suggested that “[t]he data era has become investable“. For example:

  • Walmart have reduced the time it takes to identify the source of food contamination from 7 days to seconds; and
  • NASDAQ can now identify potential fraud in realtime.

Using data combined with emerging technology to really unlock business potential. This will drive top-line growth, reduce costs, improving the bottom line. PWC think AI will contribute $16 Trillion to the global economy.

Dew then introduces Ashton Kutcher as an entrepreneur, and someone who asks “[h]ow do we use data for social good?”.

AK: There’s a lot of people here.

AD: It’s 10am on a Wednesday morning in Vegas, yeah.

AK: When I’m in Vegas I’m not usually up at 10.

AD: So you’re primarily known as an actor, and also a successful investor. How did you get into that?

AK: I was acting on “That 70s Show“. I was a Biochem engineering major in college. I left and became a model. I had a lot of extra time on the show as it was a large cast. I started producing reality TV. I started a production company. I started to see the buffering speeds for video improving on-line. We pivoted to be a digital media company. Needed to be able to measure and quantify distribution. Trying to quantify creativity. Elements in content that would increase distribution. Platforms that could measure that. If you could measure it you could improve it. Technology was a better way than hiring people. Started investing in foursquare, Skype, … Partnered with some people and started a VC firm. Started a new fund called Sound Ventures.

AD: What do you look for in terms of characteristics? In terms of transformation?

AK: It starts with a counter-intuitive thesis of some sort. The more I invest the more I realise the value of the company. You need to look at things in a different way. There are already so many giants in the market. If it’s really different, they might be able to get a head start.

AD: Example?

AK: Airbnb is counter-intuitive. Letting a stranger stay at your house is weird. But it works. They realised quickly from a personal data set that it worked. As the clients grow, the trust in the platform grows and becomes more valuable. Counter-intuitive ideology is core and key. Built off some data set that someone doesn’t have. It’s all about the team, the founders, their expertise. They have to have some edge. Everyone’s going to try and copy them. They need to be determined to walk though walls on behalf of their idea.

AD: So you spend some time getting to know them?

AK: I try to work out if I would I go work for that person. I don’t have a lot of spare time, but during the cycle I sometimes consider quitting my job and going to work for them.

AD: We talk about unintended consequences. Who knew the doorbell industry needed to be disrupted?

AK: I did. I met with the Ring founder when it was still a hardware play. I really don’t need this. Now I have one. That’s the other trick. When it was doormat it was really immature. And hardware is really hard, as you all know. I wasn’t a huge Amazon user at the time. I don’t buy very much. I didn’t understand how or if the next consumer was going to benefit from the previous user’s behaviour.

AD: Putting IoT on ice machines. Sometimes its about protection – insurance. Suddenly those ice trucks started using less salt. Is there anything you’re looking at now?

AK: I made a small investment in a company that does motorised scooters. People are upset because these scooters are ending up everywhere. How many times do you see cars everywhere and think, wow, these cars are a problem? Wouldn’t it be better if it was scooters? This is one of those early fights and people are going to realise that a few less cars on the road is good. Radar – using RFID tags – very localised. Every product in your store. Inventory control and checkouts. A lot of stuff in healthcare I’m interested in. Data with doctors – assisted AI.

AD: What’s Thorn?

AK: 10 years ago I saw this documentary about sex tours in Cambodia. I couldn’t believe it. It’s happening in the US and all across the world. I felt like I wasn’t being a good human if I didn’t do something about it. I formed it with my ex-wife. Started running campaigns. 72% of the transactions were happening on-line. Maybe we could use technology to make it a bad business? Now we build technology to fight the sexual exploitation of children. 5 tools (software). Help law enforcement agencies prioritise their caseload. Can use some intelligence to go through the ads and perform some analysis. We built a dashboard that law enforcement can use. Through the last year we found 18000 (?) people that were being trafficked through the US. Dark web tool to extract information from the dark web. Bunch of deterrence programs for people looking for child pornography.

AD: Are we going to continue to see technology going in this direction?

AK: It’s a function of time. As these databases become stronger, more intelligent, I think what we’re going to find is that the arduous things we do are going to become automated. We’ll become an economy of happiness. Doing things that fulfil us and make us happy, not an economy based on earning and labour. There’s going to be a real inflection point as jobs get taken over by AI. People are going to feel a real infringement of privacy. As a celebrity I fight for privacy. Rise of AI, rise of decentralised networks. People need to get smart about this stuff. Otherwise we’re going to live in a future where computers will tell us what to do, it won’t be us telling them.

AD then introduces Ray O’Farrell.

Many of you are technologists, used to technology disruption. What we’re seeing now is not just disruption, it’s a technology revolution.

  1. Mechanisation and Steam Power
  2. Mass Production
  3. Computer and Automation
  4. Cyber Physical

The initial tech was distributed, then consolidated (in large DCs or the cloud). The next step is going to be different. No longer about abstract data, now beginning to look at data generated by things of every day life. Where the physical world is meeting the digital world. Your car, your fridge, planes. We’re using data to gain insights and guide actions for positive outcomes. The physical world is not an abstract concept. Compute must be close to where the data is produced. Edge compute. The focus is also on enormous scale. Millions of mini DCs. Security is one of the most important elements, because it’s about the protection of something in the physical world.

Vast quantities of data being produced at the edge, so we’re becoming more aware of the concept of latency or, perhaps, responsiveness.

How do I build an ecosystem? Want something from end to end.

Examples: Agriculture, healthcare, and energy. Focus is on the outcome, not the technology. IoT is complex and new, and you want solutions. But you’re unique and special. Need to be able to work carefully with a broad ecosystem of partners. Making sure we can create open systems.

Ecosystem, Customers, Developers. Need to ensure that developers are empowered.

The industrial revolution has already begun. The shift to the edge requires new approaches to infrastructure (and management and operation). The world is a world of fast disruption, the pace is only going to increase. IoT used to be embedded systems. The difference is the mindset. Going to leverage the data to fundamentally change things. How is this a force for good? We’re constantly looking ahead. Not just this industrial revolution.

Ray invites John Roese to the stage to talk about AI.

Micheal talked about the person-machine era. I want to talk about the other half of the story. If we want a relationship, we need to make those machines smart. How is machine intelligence going to enter our lives?

1. This is happening now. It’s not something in the distant future.

  • Over 51% of consumers today are interacting with systems driven by AI
  • 40% reduction in Google’s DC cooling costs via DeepMind AI
  • $35B AI Chip Market by 2021

2. AI All around us

  • AI-enabled user experience
    • Careers: Natural language, visual sensing, predictive
    • Examples: digital assistant, industry robot, smart home
    • Visibility: High
  • AI-driven processes
    • Careers: Data analytics, SW development, TensorFlow / Caffe, Process Automation
    • Examples: Next Generation Customer care, Next Generation business processes, factory automation
    • Visibility: Medium
  • AI-optimized infrastructure
    • Careers: Future Design, Technical Support
    • Examples: Car Cruise Control, FAST in VMAX, Infrastructure Automation
    • Visibility: low

It easy to become infatuated with the user-focused AIs. We need to:

  • Improve the human condition – make our life easier
  • Ignite ROI
  • Scale beyond human capacity

Consequences and Benefits

  • Effort to implement
  • Job disruption
  • New job opportunities

Dell Technologies

  • Innovate on Compute – AI Engine
  • Store, Manage, Protect the Data – AI Fuel
  • Provide the multi-cloud Platform for AI – AI Brain

Group Chat Time

AD: Would you say you’re a nerd?

AK: Yes

RO: Yes

JR: Yes, super nerd

AD: We’ve seen the movies, which version do you think AI will most resemble?

JR: it’s not going to be the robot apocalypse. If we do it right, AI won’t be the story, the outcome will be. A thing that enables humanity to change.

AD: It’s a trick question

AK: It’s hard to say. There’s a lot of narrow AI that will launch in the short term various systems being replaced in specific ways. When general AI becomes more feasible – potential dramatic shift. Where the movie ends up will be different. A lot of jobs will be “pseudo-displaced” but other jobs will be created. Eg autonomous cars. “Pseudo class war”.

AD: Will your play yourself in the movie?

AK: No.

RO: I’m optimistic. The strength is when it’s a partner to the human. We’re mostly doing this in a useful way. It’s another tool in the toolbox.

AD: You hinted at the fifth industrial revolution.

RO: It’s a mindset change more than anything else. A fundamental shift in how things gets done. Like steam before it, data is powering the next revolution. I don’t think it’s going to be a sudden change.

AD: We talked about machines talking to machines.

RO: You already see a lot of machines talking to machines. Go into a modern factory. When you combine that with AI it becomes more interesting.

JR: Cloud Foundry. The next big gap in cloud native is service expression. Machines talking to machines – you need to solve the problem of common languages and APIs. That will be the biggest enabler I think.

AD: Final thoughts or comments?

JR: We are entering an era of human – machine partnership. Bringing the machines into the environment and making the machines smarter.

RO: I’m fundamentally excited about technology. When you look back over the last 10 years, it’s not stopping. The journey is continuing, there’s another transformation.

AK: All of this is really associated with the need to improve humanity. As these tools become better they’re really about improving our condition. Of all the startups I’m privileged to work on, my foundation is my greatest privilege. Solving a problem with the human condition. As we get wiser it’s important to use that knowledge and unleash it on behalf of humanity in a way that is greater than yourself. It’s far more rewarding. It just seems like it’s the right thing to do. These tools are built, and weaponised for good. And it’s all of our responsibility.

AD wraps up with a virtual mic drop.

Good session. 4 stars.

VMware – VMworld 2017 – See you in Vegas

This is a quick post to let my loyal readers know that I’ll be heading to VMware’s annual conference (VMworld) this year in Las Vegas. This will be my third VMworld. I’m looking forward to catching up with some old friends and meeting some new ones. If you haven’t registered yet but feel like that’s something you might want to do – the registration page is here. To get a feel for what’s on offer, you can check out information about the VMworld 2017 sessions here. The Content Catalog [sic] will be on-line in mid-July. Yes, no, that’s just how they spell catalogue. You can read the FAQ here.

Big thanks to Corey at VMware for organising the blogger pass. I’ll also be publicly thanking some other folks when I have some more logistics locked in. Incidentally, if any companies want to chip in for my flights I’m sure I can arrange some kind of exposure in return – just let me know. Keep an eye out for me at the conference and surrounding events and don’t be afraid to come and say hi (if you need a visual – I look like Wolverine would if he let himself go).

VMware – vFORUM 2016 Sydney – A Few Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended VMware vFORUM 2016.  My flights, transfers, and conference pass were paid for by VMware via the vChampions program. My accommodation and time were covered by my employer. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.




Alister Dias performed MC duties for the keynote, with Pat Gelsinger delivering his first keynote in Australia as CEO of VMware. I won’t provide a transcript here but rather some of the key points. (BTW I think Pat did a great job considering he’d just gotten off the plane from Tokyo a few hours prior).

  • Virtualisation in Australia and New Zealand has market highest penetration in the world
  • “be_tomorrow” – key opportunities for tomorrow. Is digital transformation the new business? Or is this the old, traditional business? New and cool? Or old and clunky? In their opinion all business is digital business.
  • Driven by cloud and mobility.


What’s your strategy?

  • 80% of companies still laggards in transformation
  • Culture and technology – redefining the rules, changing the framework, choosing modern technologies and processes.
  • Every business needs to become a digital business
  • Cloud is an essential technology (some background on cloud – Schmidt from Google – 2006)
  • Predicts that in June 2021 – 50% workloads in the cloud (20% private, 30% public, 50/50 split SaaS/IaaS). 50% public cloud? 2030. There’s a long way to go.
  • People building less DCs and consuming more in hosting environments
  • Machine-connected as opposed to human-connected devices connected to the cloud (not just smart lightbulbs) – 4x explosion in the number of devices
  • Cloud will decrease the total IT market? Not at all. Cloud will expand the market for IT.
  • Gelsinger talks about being Chief Architect for 486 CPU.
  • Explosion of “Shadow IT” – every piece of the business needs IT now
  • The bad news is “you’re still expected to make sure everything works right and is secure”, despite the fact that you have no control over the apps, data, users, devices, network, platform, DC, etc.


Challenge of “Freedom versus Control”

  • IT are the parents (wanting control) of teenagers (wanting freedom)
  • How do we have both? VMware is focused on bringing those two worlds together
  • Bringing together private and public cloud – transform IT into software-driven thing. DC as programmable and automated.
  • With compute – this is vSphere (with 6.5 – modern UI (!),  comprehensive built-in security, expanding application domains)
  • With management – leader in cloud management, NSX in the tornado of adoption
  • With storage – vSAN 6.5 – reductions in TCO, improvements in All-Flash support
  • Extension of this SDDC into the public cloud
  • Bring together all the private and public capabilities together? Cross-cloud architecture. “Run, manage, connect and secure your apps across any cloud environment using a common operating capability”.
  • “Like having a teenager you both love and like”
  • VMware Cloud Foundation
  • SaaS Services – Cross-Cloud services – enabling you to manage any cloud (VMware-based or not)
  • Foundation for hybrid cloud and public cloud services as well (mentions vCAN partners)
  • Foundational announcements – IBM making Cloud Foundation available as a service and partnership with AWS – bringing together leader in private with leader in public cloud.
  • Platform that says “Any cloud”. In the past they provided the freedom for “Any hardware”.
  • “Any application”. What about the legacy apps built over 10 – 30 years?
  • “Any device” – consumer simple and enterprise secure. Mentions Workspace One.

Never before have your capabilities been important in transforming business capabilities.

Bruce Davie then did some great demos on cross-cloud services and tied together Gelsinger’s key thematic notes quite nicely.



I won’t do the full disclosure post like I usually do with event attendance (although I’m sure you’re all very disappointed to read that), but as part of my attendance at this event I received:



While vFORUM has finished, you might find VMware’s Tech Guide a useful download. It contains details of all the sessions from the two days, along with useful links to collateral and further reading. In the next few weeks I’ll try and put together some posts on vSphere 6.5 and Cloud Foundations, etc.

Dell EMC World 2016 – Closing General Session Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2016.  My flights, transfers, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.


Here are my rough notes from the Closing General Session at Day 2 of Dell EMC World 2016. These are by no means complete, but they may come in handy for someone. Like most tech conferences, the closing session is generally run by thinky folks from outside the company. Besides Jeremy Burton presenting a short summary video covering the last few days of activity, there was no Dell EMC presence on stage.


“Innovation Panel” moderated by Aarti Shahani.

Every company wants you to believe they’re upending the world, and the 5 largest companies in the world by market cap are tech companies.


Malcolm Gladwell (@Gladwell) takes the stage.


“I’m the guy who has a blackberry” – he says it’s hard to talk to a crowd about something when they know more about it than you do.

The social dimension of innovation – there’s the thing we’re innovating and then there’s the context in which we’re innovating.

Example of fighting childhood leukaemia – Emil J. Freireich, Jr – using the 4 drug treatments at the time all at the same time. Published a paper in 1965 in Advances in Chemotherapy – solved the problem. We still use this strategy today. Cure rate for childhood leukaemia is now around 98%. That’s an example of innovation. He got an idea and took an enormous risk in testing out. He didn’t just take an operational risk, he took a social risk.

Sense of Urgency

Have you tried it on animals? What if you fail? “I’ve got 6 kids who’ll al be dead in 6 weeks, why can’t i try?”. Sense of urgency helped him go forward, other people had been doing science by the book. The compulsion to tackle the problem immediately. Gladwell gave the example of Xerox PARC, with Steve Jobs visitingt in 1979. Showed him the Alto with a GUI. Jobs goes back to his team, stops work on the Lisa and comes up with the Mac. What is it that distinguishes Jobs? Not smarter. Not a visionary. More resources? No. He’s in a hurry. It has to be done tomorrow. That’s the reason we’re not using Xerox computers today.


Don’t require the approval of others. Innovators are open, conscientious, and disagreeable. You need to not require the world to pat you on the back. There will be a time when the world thinks you’re crazy.

Gladman gave the example of Ingvar Kamprad working on Swedish furniture in the 50s – became Ikea. “Furniture made in Poland and shipped flat”. Dissruption requires some inner strength and independence of character.

Someone who doesn’t believe in the status quo

Things are always more volatile and unstable than we think.

Example of digital security. People seem quite complacent about all of this stuff. It would be easy to give up if you were trying to be an innovator in this space, but that’s not the right way to approach it.

Gladman spoke to Emil (Tom?) Frei about his work on leukaemia – was there ever a time when you were scared for your job? Sure, he had 3 small children, his wife didn’t work. Why’d you keep doing it? I had no choice. Once the innovator identifies the problem and figures out the solution, there’s nothing anyone can do to get in the way.


Kevin Kelly (Founding editor of Wired) takes the stage


He wants to talk about the next 25 years of technology.

If you want an answer, you ask a machine. Answers are free. Imagine the internet in 25 years time as a conversation. 1 answer creates 2 new questions. In a way, science is expanding our ignorance (more questions than answers) faster than it is our knowledge. A good question is the sign of a great education – a good question liberates answers and even better questions.

1. Artificial power (stream power, motors, electric power)

You could take something that was manually done, add artificial power, and then you get a new thing (industrial revolution). Now we’re taking artificially powered things and adding AI – the second industrial revolution

IQ as a service – flowing like electricity

Next 10000 startups = take X, add AI

What would you do with 1000 minds?

2. Maximum interaction with devices by going inside them via VR

  • Mixed Reality (augmented) – great for education
  • The internet of experiences
  • VR works on a different part of our brains – you don’t see stuff, you experience it
  • Experiences as the new currency, telepresence
  • The most amazing things in these experiences are other people
  • “VR will be the most social of social media”
  • What makes great experiences?

3. Uber – no cars, Facebook – no content, Alibaba – no inventory, AirBnB – no real estate

Access is more important (e.g. Spotify or Netflix). “Access is better than ownership”

  • Instant access
  • Rapid delivery
  • Immediate manufacture
  • Dematerialization
  • Constant upgrades

What can be accessed rather than owned?

4. IoT – everything we make has intelligence and communication embedded in it. Sharing economy. Nowhere near peak sharing.

  • Sharing
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Communities
  • Social Platforms

Facebook – 1.5B connections. Wikipedia is an example of scalable collaboration.

One financial heartbeat? One global economy?

The new machine

  • 1 quintrillion transistors
  • 55 trillion links
  • 20 petahertz refresh rate
  • 275 Exabytes memory
  • 100 billion clicks per day

Technological super-organism

What can you do with a billion people and their machines simultaneously in real-time?

We are at the birth of the beginning

The greatest products of the next 20 years have not been invented yet – so you’re not too late.


Tien Tzuo (zuora) takes the stage


Innovation in the subscription economy

  • There has never been a better time to innovate
  • in the last 15 years, 52% of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared

Who survived?

  • General Electric – from light bulbs to digital services
  • IBM – from punch card tabulators to cognitive data services

Not just product companies anymore – digital, services

  • Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, salesforce – the relationship-makers
  • uber, Netflix, box, AirBnB – the new disruptors

What is happening?

  • a 100 year old paradigm is crumbling – it’s not about the product

We have new expectations

  • Outcomes – not ownership
  • Customisation – not generalisation
  • Constant improvement – not planned obsolescence
  • We want the subscription experience #shifthappens

every industry is shifting

  • $420B spent on subscriptions in the US in 2015

transformation is the opportunity – $80 trillion is up for grabs

  • Traditional – Product via channels to the customer
  • Now – subscriber via channels to service experience

Growth in the new world is about

  1. Acquiring more customers
  2. Lowering churn
  3. Increasing value per customer

This changes things

  • Unit sales -> Value pricing
  • Branding -> Experience
  • Selling products -> Solving needs
  • Unit margins -> Customer lifetime value
  • Hit products -> Deep relationships

ERP systems were built for the past – can’t help you innovate. Can’t help you

  • Iterate on pricing;
  • Design great experiences;
  • Sales rep solve needs;
  • Calculate customer lifetime value; or
  • Help build a subscription economy.

That’s why they built zuora – turn your customers into subscribers. Transform your business around them. So you innovate for the next 100 years, today.

Discussion Panel to close off

Uber and self-driving cars as a case study in innovation. Is Uber innovative because their CEO is disagreeable? Or are they going to be overtaken?

Malcolm – the innovation hasn’t started. Taxi service on your phone. What has happened so far is the easy part.

Tien – Taxi hailing service like Amazon is just a shipping service. There’s a set of intelligent technology behind moving people from point A to point B.

Kevin – there was some disruption from Uber, based on the politics, outcry that came from that. But it’s just the beginning.

Aarti – Uber re-organising the relationship between boss and labour. What are we learning about Uber as a labour story?

Kevin – social media as a whole is less than 2000 days old. We have a tendency to learn about things by thinking about things. Sometimes we need to learn from experience (e.g. Wikipedia)

Malcolm – the harder disruptive stuff still hasn’t happened. Labour? Think about GM? A lot of energy spent on the care of current and former employees – unions, healthcare, government relationships, social management. A lot of startups don’t have that social expertise. Do they need it? They’re going to run into the difficulties faced by old economy companies.

Aarti – when will we see level 3 or 4 self-driving?

Kevin – 5 years. That’s what the car companies are saying.

Malcolm – what about when all the cars are autonomous. We have protection because of humans. We can change the cars once we remove the human element.

Aarti – is this complicated? Keep the driver alive? Keep the pedestrian alive?

Kevin – there’s a whole emerging field of ethics around this. Trying to work out some consensus.

Aarti – Debate?

Kevin – yes it is. Ethics are uneven and inconsistent with humans. Hard to teach to cars.

Aarti – do they embed the limitations or make us better?

Kevin – like having kids, make us better.

Malcolm – e.g. Army – rangers vs green berets. Each organisation has a culture and an algorithm for solving a problem. It gets super complicated super fast.

Kevin – who do you want to decide this?

Aarti – DoT inserted themselves into the conversation. Suggested companies share their proprietary data on crashes.

Tien – Entrepreneur’s view – What is the smallest step that you can take now in the end game?

And that’s a wrap. Nice way to close out the event. 4.5 stars.


[image courtesy of Jon Klaus]