Predictions and Disruptions

September 7, 2015

2maIn my role as an analyst, it is amazing to have access to brilliant people and huge amounts of information. On this blog, I’ve always liked to share some of the books and other sources that have a profound impact on what I’m working on. Through Wikibon research (now on a new website and live video program theCUBE, I’ve had a front row seat to dig into the disruptive forces of cloud computing, big data and new infrastructure. I get to attend a number of technology conferences, my favorite event this year was with the MIT Sloan School in London that included sharing of research from the book, The Second Machine Age (book website, theCUBE content). Professors and co-authors Andy McAfee and Erik Brynjofsson (interview below) examine how information technology will have an even larger impact on how we live and work than the Industrial Revolution; the first machine age based on machines replacing physical tasks, in the second, machines take over more cognitive tasks.


As discussed in the interview, this new era does not mean an end to jobs; there will be a shift away from repetitive tasks and successful in this new economy will require significant shifts to organizations, training and education. Technologies like IBM’s Watson and Google’s self-driving car sit at the intersection of these trends. IBM’s Watson can not only play Jeopardy, but is being focused on real-world activities such as health care where vast analytics can help doctors make decisions faster and provide basic diagnosis to global audiences thought mobile applications. Andy and Erik say that the first few minutes riding in a self-driving car are a bit scary, but soon becomes easy to accept and that within only a few years we are likely to trust the machines to do a better job than most of the drivers around us. For those of us that have lived through the birth and growth of the World Wide Web, it can be a bit tough to put into perspective some of the amazing things that are now commonplace today. the-innovators-9781476708690_hrIn Walter Isaacson’s book The Innovators, which gives a great longitudinal look at the development of the computer and Internet over the last 200 years, he discusses a seminal article by Vannevar Bush published in 1945 after World War II. In As We May Think in The Atlantic Monthly, Bush looks forward to see what the world’s scientists can create with photography and computer technology if they all work together. The ideas for hypertext, the Internet, browser and even Google Glass are all here; even seventy years later, there are some great ideas in the article (it’s only 19 pages, give it a full read).

In 1945, much of what Bush wrote must have sounded like science fiction. Incremental changes are a lot easier to imagine than the 100x or 1000x advances that he discussed. The instant photo of a Polaroid was fun, but taking a picture anytime on a phone and being able to share it globally is vastly different. The power of cloud computing and big data can be seen when we can do things that either could not be done before or would take huge amounts of resources and time. One of the challenges with disruptive markets is that we tend to dismiss breadth and depth of the impacts. For some of Wikibon’s thoughts on some disruptive trends, see analysis and video about public cloud and Server SAN (storage/hyperconverged infrastructure).

Another topic that I found interesting from The Innovators was a discussion of how the Internet has long fought between two modes of sharing: a one-way posting of information (a low barrier including everything from early research postings to the various media firehoses today) and a platform for collaboration and community. Community and collaboration is a lot harder and requires lots of care and feeding. Blogging is part of the collaboration and community effort; while there are still plenty of blogs, many of us do more writing for our day jobs, and participation has dispersed into the real-time streams of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other areas. I’ve written over the years that we need more engagement, deeper analysis, and curation of ideas. One corner of the IT community digging into the opportunity of curating and sharing information is TechReckoning, led by John Troyer; check out the newsletter and upcoming Silicon Valley event. The event raises the question, what job will you have in 10 years? When it comes to disruption, if you don’t set the menu, you may be on it.




It has been more than a year lapsed since my last post on this site, if anything, I’ve been concerned of overexposure after so much time in front of the camera on theCUBE.

Since I have yet to write an article about my thoughts on being an analyst five years into that role, here’s a good replacement thanks to my friends from The Geek Whisperers podcast who interviewed me at VMworld 2014: Episode 60 Research Analyst.

At a VMworld 2015 party, I got to briefly meet the Woz and thank him – my first computer was an Apple IIc. A younger attendee at VMworld thought that it was a picture of Howard Marks with me (it made Howard’s week, even if it’s disappointing that an attendee at a tech conference doesn’t recognize one of the founders of Apple).

The Woz and me

The Woz and me

Stu Miniman

Passion, Scale and VMworld 2012

September 3, 2012

A theme that I’ve heard many times at business and innovation conferences is that the large organizations kill passion and stifle innovation. At last year’s BIF-7 conference, I asked Dan Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind, if large companies can innovate and he said, “No”. At the World Business Forum last year, Jack Welch said that the argument of companies innovating is a red herring; he said that it is people who innovate. At the recent Dell Wyse CIO Summit 2012, Paul Maritz stated that one of the biggest challenges of a public CEO is keeping the passionate, high-performing employees from leaving. Paul Maritz ran a 10,000 person division of Microsoft, was founder and CEO of a small startup (Pi Corporation) that was acquired by EMC, became CEO of VMware (which has grown to over 11,000 employees) and now moves back into EMC to become chief strategist. He said that the goal of a company is to help people feel that they are doing important work as part of a shared effort and that the structure of the company is helping rather than hindering progress. Size of a company is an obstacle and Maritz states that companies over 20,000 employees are never perfect.

I’ve worked at companies large and small and the balance of process and productivity is a tough balance regardless of size. Some thought leaders and authors have written that the industrial era reporting structure should be abolished. While it sounds promising overhaul management, it is the lack of management oversight and checks and balances that led to the Enron scandal. Paul Martiz stated that the number of people where dysfunction (my word) starts outweighing productivity is 20,000; others have stated that anything larger than a military battalion (around 1000) cannot all be motivated towards the same goal efficiently.

Passionate communities are tough to maintain. Early adopters move on to the next great thing, events lose steam over time and love of brands has a short half-life. The VMworld conference is my favorite show of the year, mostly because it brings together such a passionate community. The bloggers, entrepreneurs, engineers and thought leaders are so diverse and engaging that for the third year in a row, I left the show with my brain full, feet aching and voice shot from non-stop talking. This was the first VMworld that was over 20,000 attendees. While no event of this size is going to keep everyone happy, I have been hearing some rumblings from a number of constituents that the event organizers need to watch out for. First of all, I heard from a number of end-users that there were many sessions that did not meet expectations. A number of the sessions were reported as being too basic, too marketing/product focused or just too boring. I know many passionate vExperts and bloggers that have been calling for a VMworld unconference for the last 2 years to deliver proposed sessions that for one reason or another don’t make the cut. While VMware has to keep its sponsors happy, there’s usually a big gap in passion and delivery between a vendor-assigned presentation and one from a volunteer that shares what excites them. One of VMware’s greatest assets is the halo that the company gets due to the passion of the various communities (VMUGs, VCPs, vExperts, etc); this must be upheld to win the battle against Microsoft and other challengers.

Brent Spiner was the big geek draw at the VMworld 2012 booths, proving that Data was at the center of everything ;)
Thanks to @geekazine for the photo

Whether you were at VMworld or not, check out the full coverage of videos and articles from SiliconANGLE and Wikibon on our curated VMworld 2012 page. Networking had huge buzz at the show due to the Nicira acquisition and theCUBE got an exclusive interview with co-founder Marin Casado, see my article here. I also did videos with EMC TV (watch here – interviewed by Matthew Brender) and TechTarget (watch here – interviewed by Colin Steele).

Thanks everyone for the conversations and interviews at the show! As always, feedback and questions welcome.

Stuart Miniman, vExpert 2011, 2012

Stu’s VMworld 2011 roundup

September 27, 2011

When I joined Wikibon, I expected that activity on my personal blog would drop; I hoped to put up about 1 post a month. While I did OK for the first 12 months (15 posts), it’s been 4 months since my last entry. The main reason that I haven’t posted here is that my day job includes lots of content creation (in my first year, I wrote 59 blog posts and was primary author on 27 wiki articles). In addition to writing for Wikibon, I’ve always been an active member in technology and social media conversations online and in person. While there are lots of good conferences to attend throughout the year (some with amazing entertainment), VMworld was once again my favorite tech show due to the very active ecosystem of partners and enthusiastic virtualization community.

Here’s a collection of my activity from VMworld [photo on the right is of my badge, I’m an analyst, a blogger and vExpert – thanks VMware!]:

VMworld was one of the busiest work weeks that I’ve ever had; getting to discuss topics with other vExperts and speak to lots of C-level executives and customers. I received great feedback at the show on Wikibon’s VMware storage integration research. The conversations at the conference also provided some data points towards some networking research that I am working on.

Next week, I’ll be at two conferences at the Javits Center in NYC:

For the tech crowd, Interop is October 3-7 and I will be debating with Stephen Foskett on iSCSI vs. FC, Thursday Oct 6 at 3:15pm – details here.

For a dose of innovation and business leadership, I’ll be in the Blogger’s Hub for the World Business Forum, hearing from a lineup that includes Malcolm Gladwell, Jack Welch, Seth Godin and Bill Clinton.

Comments, questions and feedback are always welcome. Find me on Twitter and Google+.


Stuart Miniman

vAgents of Change, Positive Deviants and Stories That Inspire

September 9, 2010

So much going on, wanted to put up a quick summary of some recent and upcoming activity:


Amazing week in San Francisco, I got to talk with over 100 people that I met in person for the first time that I knew through online discussions. [here’s a photo courtesy of Rich Brambley from the blogger section at the conference keynote – Aaron Delp is next to me, Jase McCarty and John Troyer behind]

On Technology:  “vAgents of Change.  Virtualization is still relatively new to IT, but it has clearly crossed the chasm into a mainstream product line with 190,000 customers.  Leading the charge to deliver virtualization around the globe are 50,000 VMware Certified Professionals.  The culture of the virtualization community goes far beyond understanding a few products, as can be seen by the volunteer group that puts together the VM User Groups (VMUGs) and the passion of the vExperts.  Will these expert ambassadors of virtualization embrace and drive the change to cloud computing?” – see the full post for my take on ITaaS, Ecosystem, Mobility and xSPs.

On Social Media: “The big takeaway of VMworld 2010 for me from a social perspective was people were using the tools more than talking about them.  While most companies have a long way to fully embedding social into their culture and processes, VMware’s VMworld showed that events can have a multi-dimensional social media offering that supports and amplifies the messaging of the event.” – full post here

Lots of video – I was part of the SiliconANGLE live broadcast during the conference.  I did three segments live (Ed Bugnion of Cisco here, Abner Germanow of Juniper Networks here and Bob Zuber of IBM here), plus 2 recorded segments: with EMC on the journey to the private cloud and Cisco blogger round-up of convergence, VMworld awards and more.

Positive Deviants

I announced a new Wikibon award today which was inspired by Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky.  “Positive deviants are those who behave better than the norm, even when faced with similar limitations or challenges.”  The PosDev award is “to celebrate those who create a positive impact on the IT community through a collaborative process of sharing information and providing critical thinking on the business and technical challenges of the day.”  The idea of the award is to inspire more people to collaborate and share information – read the full post here.

Stories That Inspire

The PosDev award is an idea that I hope to spread (hat tip to TED – “ideas worth spreading”).  Speaking of great ideas, next week (Sept 15-16 in Providence, RI) I will be attending BIF-6, the summit of the Business Innovation Factory.  BIF is a 2 day event with a fantastic line-up of storytellers in an intimate setting.  You can get a taste of the event from the free “story book“, plus they will be streaming the event live and you can follow the #bif6 hashtag on Twitter.  I’ll be looking to share what I hear and see how it can connect with IT trends and communities.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve got a full quarter at the new job.  I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone that has been so supportive.  I’m very easy to get in touch with, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a person or topic that I may be able to help with.


Stuart Miniman

Taking the Virtual to Reality

July 30, 2010

Next month I have the pleasure of attending VMware’s VMworld conference in San Francisco.  Not only is it an important conference for virtualization, but the storage, networking and compute ecosystems are all strongly represented.  I expect to be pulled in many directions between sessions, analyst meetings, and video (it looks like “The Cube” will be coming to VMworld).  Most of my content from the conference will go on the Wikibon site (where you can find all of my “day job” blogs and research).  The theme of the conference is “Virtual Roads. Actual Clouds.” and just as the conference message is about converting messaging to reality, I look forward to taking many of my online interactions to real life discussions.

John Troyer of VMware created a wiki document of Social Media contributors for the conference.  If you are attending, make sure to put in your Twitter and blog information.  I took the people that have signed up and created a TweepML list (and I will update this list as people update the wiki).  If you’re not familiar with the tool, it allows Twitter users to follow everyone on the list with a single click (it will authenticate your account).  I’ve seen some really good TweepML lists for virtualization and cloud, and thought that one for VMworld could be useful. The easy subscription seems more useful than Twitter Lists or Listorious, what do you think?

If you will be at the conference, I hope to meet you there – send me a note on Twitter (I’m @stu).  If you won’t be able to attend in person, check out this TweepML list, check out the Wikibon site and blog for content and feel free to contact me if there are any questions that you would like me to raise at the event.


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