Entries from May 2009 ↓

What hat are you wearing?

I ran into Natalie working the V-Max booth at EMC World last week, and it got me thinking.  I have worked with Natalie several times over the past year, but it’s always been relating to her “other” job in the EMC Women’s Leadership Forum.  Seeing her working so hard at EMC World (doing her “day job”) made me realize something about most of the people who were down there.  Nobody was wearing just one hat.
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EMC World 2009 – Wrapping Up

I’m writing this from the Bloggers’ Lounge in an increasingly empty convention center.  I’ve battered my feet to their limits, I got soaked in the rain, I’ve waited in long lines for mediocre coffee, and I’m mentally exhausted.  And this is what we come here for.

It all comes together here in person for four crazy days.  We “meet” people we’ve interacted with online for months.  We learn about new products, or new directions for old products.  We teach people, we learn from people, we laugh, we cry.

I can’t decide what the single best moment was.  That first batch of feedback from our first hands-on session has to rank up there.  We took a major risk and invested incredible effort into rearranging our approach, and it was a hit.   But sitting in on Natalie’s Working Mothers Experience session was fulfilling in an entirely different way.  And of course, getting to sit and talk with Steve Todd and his wife for the first time in a long time was worth flying down here for.

The best moment may have been seeing one of my co-workers getting off The Mummy indoor roller coaster at Universal.  I won’t be forgetting that look of terror any time soon.

Now it’s time to pack up and depart Orlando, just as the sun is starting to come out.  Thank you all; I can’t list everyone who helped make this a huge success for me.  My co-workers, my managers, my online colleagues, our partners and customers, and of course the event staff.  See you in Boston next year?

EMC World 2009 – Day Three – WME Breakfast

On day three the conference has begun to take its toll.  Legs, feet, back, brain — all tired.  But this morning was energizing — a breakfast discussion with Natalie Corridan-Gregg and a panel of working mothers.  I’ll let others discuss the meatier parts of the breakfast, but I wanted to share some of what I took away from it.

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EMC World 2009 – Day Two – SRM Futures

This morning I sat in on an overview of future plans for Storage Resource Management, hosted by Scott Shaffer and Ryan Fournier, who lead the engineering and product management teams for ControlCenter (and other products) here at EMC.  They did a great job of talking about what we have today, what’s new in ControlCenter 6.1, and where we’re heading in the mysterious “SRM 7”.

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EMC World 2009 – Day One

Day one of EMC World 2009 has come to a close and I have trouble thinking of ways it could have gone better.  We had a few bumps and twists on “Day Zero” but the first full day has validated all the hard work our team has put in over the past months.

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Digital Universe: What recession?

EMC World is kicking off with a bang this year, with IDC’s release of 2009’s Digital Universe study (sponsored by EMC).

Every year this release drives some interesting conversation.  In 2007 we learned we were producing more digital content than storage to archive it all (fortunately, not everything needs to be archived).  In 2008 we talked about who owned all that data (70% user produced, but corporations responsible for 85% of that).  This year is no exception — the news is that our production of information hasn’t slowed, regardless of the economy.

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Twitter pulls a netflix

One of my early and still-popular posts talks about removing a feature for what are probably good business reasons, and angering a vocal subset of your customers while doing it. We made this mistake with StorageScope, and Netflix made it with their profiles.

Netflix ended up restoring profiles, and StorageScope has been working to restore the use cases we eliminated ever since we redesigned the product.

What does this have to do with Twitter?  In what they call a “small settings update” Twitter has removed the ability to see @replies to people you’re not following.  This isn’t a small change, it fundamentally alters how Twitter works.  Here’s the problem.

I join twitter, and I follow two people I know in real life.  I watch their conversations, and I notice that they’re spending a lot of time talking to a third person I’ve never met before.  I click on their name, see they are interesting, and follow them as well.  My network grows slowly over time to include people my friends are talking to, so that I can talk to them too.

Now, this did get confusing at times.  You had the choice to opt in or out of this additional information, and Twitter had to write extensive help documents about how it worked because people got lost.  So they just removed the option, and made it so the simplest setting (you only see @replies directed at people already in your network) was the only option.

And what do you know, people are annoyed.

A “Yes Man” feeling the energy

I’m not a big fan of Jim Carrey, and I wouldn’t recommend you go out of your way to catch his recent movie Yes Man.  In fact, I’ll go so far as to spoil the movie for you.  Saying “yes” to things you used to say “no” to opens up lots of opportunities for cool things to happen (and some not-so-cool, but they’re all worth it).  Oh, and he gets the girl in the end.

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Who tells you what to do?

As I was reading my RSS feeds this morning I stumbled across a recent post by Steve Todd, a long-time friend and mentor of mine.  He made a great point which I had to quote and comment on:

I am also of the opinion that if your manager disagrees with this approach, well, they’re not watching your every move now, are they?

I’ve written before about how it’s your own career you have to be managing first, and that includes sometimes acting in ways which your immediate manager might not approve of.  I’m not suggesting you act contrary to business directives in furthering your own career.  But I am suggesting that while your management tells you what you need to do, you shouldn’t limit your contributions to just that.  If you go asking for permission for everything, many managers will quite happily expand their control over your day to fill all your working hours plus some.  So don’t.

Of course, to pull this off well requires taking another piece of Steve’s advice.  Exceed your manager’s expectation of you, every day.  Do what you’re asked to do and do it better than expected, and ideally you’ll find the freedom you need to do the things your manager didn’t ask you to do (whether he or she knows about them or not).

Hands-on with 400 users

Preparations continue for EMC World 2009, including putting the final touches on the use cases for the ControlCenter hands-on sessions.  This year we’re repeating the session 4 times, with 100 likely attendees at each session.  We’re taking into account the things we learned from last year, and taking an approach which we hope will make our users happier. See if you can predict the problem we’re facing right now, though.

We have a two-hour session, divided into three parts.  Each part presents the user with a different ControlCenter application and a non-trivial problem (or set of related problems) to solve using that application.  Attendees will be presented with the problem and some hints, and a handful of EMC representatives will be pacing the floor helping out.  If anyone wants to see the “right” answer, they can just follow the directions in a handout.  After letting people explore each scenario, an EMC presenter will showcase a few highlights from the directions before moving on to the next scenario.

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