What Does “Data-Driven Company” Mean for a Developer?


At Pivotal Software, we frequently pitch about a virtuous cycle of of data-driven app development where:

  1. A cache of data is collected and stored.
  2. A team of analysts or data scientists discovers an insight or optimization opportunity
  3. This affects the app development which generates more data.
  4. The company continues through the cycle more and more agilely.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

However, the story above is more of an analytics story than a developer story.  This became clear to me while sitting with some crack developers at dinner at the Spring One 2GX conference.

One of my table mates asked me, “I understand what Pivotal is saying about the virtuous cycle, but what exactly happens between analytics and apps stages?”

[Read more…]

New Benchmark Results: Pivotal Query Optimizer Speeds Up Big Data Queries Up To 1000x

Cross posted from my original blog at Pivotal P.O.V

Have you heard about the new super-efficient Pivotal Query Optimizer developed by the Greenplum engineering team? Previously codenamed “Orca”, this new feature has been released as part of the HAWQ query engine in Pivotal HD, Pivotal’s commercially-supported distribution of Apache Hadoop.

This new optimizer has been undergoing months of performance testing and improvements and is nearly ready for market. Pivotal will be showcasing a peer-reviewed paper at ACM SIGMOD Conference 2014, June 22 – 27, on the results of this performance study. Titled “Orca: A Modular Query Optimizer Architecture for Big Data”, this paper explains how they built the query optimizer, and show the results they’ve seen so far in customer usage and ongoing testing. If you would like to get a copy of the paper yourself and see the detailed benchmark results, ask at the Pivotal booth (booth S32) at this week’s Hadoop Summit in San Jose.

The Pivotal Query Optimizer is now also available to Pivotal Greenplum DB customers as part of an early access program. For customers that are interested in trying this out, please register here.

Sophisticated Computer Science

Developing a query optimizer involves some very sophisticated computer science. The team wanted to create a new SQL-compliant query technology that was better suited to the trends we are seeing in big data:

  • Increasing volume from companies keeping detail data, not aggregates, from many more sources.
  • More variety in the types of data to be incorporated into queries such as application logs, sensor time series, geospatially tagged data, genomics data, and social media feeds.
  • Diverse storage due to an increasing variety of data technologies being instead of traditional RDBMS for storing and managing this data.
  • Complex queries generated by advanced analytics algorithms being applied to all this data.

This technology is laser focused on providing fast SQL query results on petabytes of data and be portable across data architectures, such as Pivotal HD and Pivotal Greenplum.

© 2014 ACM, used with permission.

Figure 1. The Pivotal Query Optimizer is a stand alone optimizer that is portable across databases that implement Data eXchange Language (DXL).

[Read more…]

SAP SAPPHIRE NOW 2014 Kickoff Keynote – First Impressions

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP  intends to prove to SAP customers that they are now a "cloud company."

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP intends to prove to SAP customers that SAP is now a “cloud company.”

I must admit, it’s kind of strange not being part of the festivities in Orlando this week since I’m no longer with SAP.

I didn’t wake up early enough to catch all of Bill McDermott’s opening keynote, but reviewing announcements gives a pretty good idea where SAP is heading this year. This is interesting to hear given the recent departure of SAP HANA’s executive sponsor, former CTO Vishal Sikka.

[Read more…]

My Experience Interviewing at Salesforce

Recruiting should not be a meat market...

Hiring good people is more than just selecting a cut of meat…


I just got asked by email to fill out a “confidential” survey about my experience interviewing with Salesforce.com.

Typically feedback from these kinds of survey tends to get aggregated and the pointed feedback gets lost when its compiled by third parties.

Instead, I thought I would put it out there publicly. Perhaps my feedback will help Salesforce make their interview experience better for candidates, and will help future candidates know what to expect until then.

For a cloud company that  is also closely allied with the world premier HR SaaS provider, Workday, Salesforce’s recruiting practices, in a word, suck.

[Read more…]

Why I Joined Pivotal Software

Cross-posted from my first blog published on LinkedIn

On brand with Pivotal Software...

Not only did I recently join Pivotal Software, I found my way into the swag closet…

I’m proud to announce that I have joined the marketing team at Pivotal Software.

There’s a special kind of excitement in helping build a business that you know can change the world. I’m excited to have a chance to work with the many talented people here at Pivotal, and be part of an amazing company and culture dedicated to helping customers create new innovations in big data.

[Read more…]

Fun Analogies and Metaphors at Work


[SOURCE: (c) Byron Villegas, used according to Creative Commons License]

Marketers are very fond of analogies and metaphors, maybe overly fond. A good metaphor helps convey the emotion of a thought. A good analogy can help explain a complex idea.

Much to the amusement and sometimes annoyance of my coworkers, I’m always trying to think in terms of metaphors and analogies.

For you word geeks, you might enjoy this quick post about the differences between an analogy, a simile, and a metaphor: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~ailed/125/resources/metaphors_similies_analogies.pdf

My coworkers suggested that I start keeping a log of my metaphors and analogies I use in my projects. Maybe I should figure out a voting system for readers to help express which ones are spot on and which ones turn out to be really bad.

[Read more…]

Little Companies Should Worry About Early Customers Before Big Company Partnerships

Here’s a common dream for many small company executives:

“If I can just convince Big Company to resell my product or service, their customers will love my product and I will make tons of money…”

Then you meet the representative at Big Company responsible for partner relationships and with a huge smile she assures you that everything you ever wanted and more will come true.

Source: used according to Creative Commons License

What I’m going to say in this blog should be obvious to anyone who has been around the block in the business world. Somehow, it seems that many small company executives forget when the reseller fantasy takes hold in their brains that Big Company’s partner representative is not your friend. At the very least, your company is nothing to them. At worst, they may see your company as their way to make their revenue quota for the next quarter.

[Read more…]

Crowd Funding – Good for Consumer Startups! Maybe Not for B2B?

There can be no doubt that crowd funding is a great opportunity for consumer-oriented startup companies, no matter whether they plan to stay small and local businesses or become overnight growth successes.  Kickstarter allows your company to launch inexpensively and prove demand for your product by taking preorders that generate cash. Not only does this bring funding with no cost to you in ownership, but it gives you additional leverage for when you might talk to traditional startup investors.


[SOURCE: Used according to Fair Use Doctrine]
The Pebble smart watch was just one of many super successful consumer product launches that generated significant pre-orders and fame.

[Read more…]

Saying Goodbye After Eight Amazing Years at SAP

[SOURCE: Andrew Hurley © 2011, used according to Creative Commons License]
“It feels right. But it’s emotional. Saying goodbye to anything you’ve done that long is hard.” –Angela Ruggiero


There is no better music for a reminiscent mood to than RUSH “Time Stand Still”

With a mix of sadness and excitement, I say goodbye to my colleagues at SAP this week after more than eight amazing years. Its no easy task to write a succinct goodbye blog with so much to reflect upon. So I will just focus on saying thanks to the incredible teams, customers, and partners I’ve had the honor to work with. While I name many people in this blog, there’s no way I can name everyone that deserves a thank you. So please contact me later and I’m more than happy to reminisce with you and thank you privately.

SAP is a company like no other. Between the amazing breadth of applications and technologies it’s developed and acquired over the years and the close strategic relationships it’s fostered with many of the world’s most successful brands, SAP well deserves the success it’s earned.

My time at SAP coincides with its transformation from traditional ERP vendor into a cloud services company. During that time I had a chance to hone my marketing skills by working with the world class marketing teams under CMOs Marty Homlish and Jonathan Becher.

I think of my time at SAP in four distinct epochs:

1. Helping SAP get saas-y by bringing SAP Business ByDesign to market
2. Guerrilla marketing for SAP Business Process Management
3. Going back to the cloud
4. Being assimilated by SAP HANA

Helping SAP Get SaaS-y with SAP Business ByDesign


[SOURCE: © 2014 Greg Chase]
I still have my original photo badge from when I first joined SAP eight years ago.

[Read more…]

Tactics for Getting More Positive Reviews From Customers

Readership on social review sites is growing at staggering rates. And, fortunately for you, now you can use this fact to improve interactions with customers so they’ll give you positive feedback on social media.

In 2012, the review site  Yelp garnered more than 78 million page views compared to 41 million views in 2010. Recent research shows that 81 percent of travelers find user reviews important(some people visit up to 11 review sites before booking hotel rooms), and 49 percent of travelers won’t even book a property that doesn’t have online reviews.

In fact, the average online review is read by anywhere from 150 to 25,000 people – and –  with the surge of smartphone usage, people of all ages and social economic persuasions are using the information out there to decide about their next purchase.

Even if you weren’t aware of the stats, you know that positive online reviews are critical for attracting new customers. Of course, realizing it is the easy part – now you need to know how you can get your customers to post more  reviews on social media and review sites and draw prospective guests in the door.

Here are four easy ways you can build a deeper connection with your online customer network through positive social engagement.

Tip #1: Give them something to talk about

People are already inclined to share outstanding experiences with their friends, especially when it comes to social media. So your number one job as a business owner is to ensure your customers actually have a great experience – because being the best is always buzz-worthy. And when you can, ensure they have an extra-ordinary experience by doing something they remember.

doubletree cookie care

[Read more…]