Monday, September 5, 2011

For me, it's that time again: start-up life -- and chair building -- beckon

After over 2 years at CA Technologies and almost 6 years with a vendor focused on what is (or would become) the cloud computing space, it’s “that time” for me again.

It’s time for me to jump back into a start-up.

CA has been a welcome change of pace and a rich set of experiences for me. I came into CA from the Cassatt acquisition back in the summer of 2009 -- shifting from Cassatt’s 50-person approach to problems to one in which we could bring the resources of a $4-billion and 12,000-person company to bear.

I like to think that I've helped move things forward at CA and for customers thinking about cloud computing. I joined the team that laid the groundwork for and built CA’s cloud business from the ground up. Following some very impactful strategy discussions, we pulled in a bunch of key acquisitions, including Oblicore, 3Tera, and Nimsoft, and have been building businesses on it since. (See here for what some of luminaries in the cloud market working with CA are doing and here for the company’s most recent cloud-related moves.)

The importance of building…chairs

But, deep down in my DNA, I like doing start-ups. I'm about to join my fourth. Sometimes they work out great, sometimes not, but the connection between the work you do and the results is fresh, visceral, and immediate. They give you a feeling of belonging that is hard to replicate.

I remember Alfred Chuang, one of the founders of BEA, telling over and over again how he had actually put together the chairs for the company’s first conference room in our rental space in East Palo Alto back in ’95 (I was with BEA from those early days until I joined Cassatt in ’05). I remember looking forward to when Ed Scott (my boss at the time) would be on the road with Bill Coleman or his sales team, since I was sharing an unassuming corner of Ed’s office. The office frankly seemed a lot bigger when only one of us was trying to use it at a time.

The New Thing

So what’s the New Thing that I’m going to?

I’m joining a small, stealthy cloud computing /mobility start-up in the Bay Area as VP of marketing. I will share details, the name, and world domination plans as soon as I can.

I start this coming Friday (and I’ll be on a plane with my new CEO twice that day, amusingly enough for those that follow my too-frequent Twitter flight exploits). I’ve worked with several of these folks before – a *really* important prerequisite in my book – and the others come highly recommended.

In one of my meetings with the CEO, I helped folks lug a few boxes out of the conference room so we could meet. While we were talking, a few team members were just outside the door putting together what was in those boxes. Yep, you guessed it: office chairs.

Now, many of the market signs that I’m seeing are pointing in the right direction for my new company and its space. But, when they started putting chairs together, I think that sealed the deal for me.

Getting started

So, this week I’ve been taking a little R&R, playing House Dad a bit, catching up on some blog posts, and buying a few gadgets to get me started.

Going forward, I’ll continue to write here at Data Center Dialog on most of the topics I’ve already been covering, plus expanding into a few more at the cross-section of cloud, mobility, and IT consumerization. I also intend to continue to contribute to Cloud Commons (and will re-subscribe to This Week in Cloud as a non-CA person).

And, when we’re ready, I’m also expecting to have the relevant posts show up on my new company’s site as well.

Thanks to everyone for reading the blog so far. I'm excited about what's next and see it as a great extension of what you've been reading here. I hope to continue to make this a worthwhile dialog for all of us.

At the very least, I should be an expert if you ever need your office chair adjusted.


Douglas A. Sikes said...

Congrats Jay. I share your thoughts on the sense of belonging working at a start-up can bring - there's nothing like the sense of urgency and 'live to fight another day' immediacy for sure. Good luck and I'll keep an eye out on the name and details.

Sam Somashekar said...

Wow, good for you Jay on following your passions. Good luck, and let's stay in touch!
- Sam Somashekar

Jay Fry said...

Thanks for the good wishes, guys. I'm looking forward to getting started on the New Thing in a few days and sharing details as things progress.

Dwayne Nesmith said...

Best of luck, Jay. Look forward to learning more about it.

Normaw said...

Congratulations Jay.
I commend your energy and optimism in going for another start up! Wow and good luck!

Lonn said...

good luck Jay! Look forward to catching up over coffee later this month!