Marketing is the New Sales

A marketing person considers ideas in a future dominated by clouds.

After straddling the worlds of sales and marketing for a few years now, I’ve decided to go “all in” on marketing. Some of my buddies in sales think I’ve lost my mind. Why would I leave behind the lucrative combination of technology and sales, for one of the most under-appreciated (and underpaid) professions out there?

There are three reasons why I’m excited about this choice:

  • I’m seeing less opportunity in big enterprise IT sales,
  • quality content is starting to take center-stage,
  • for me, at least, marketing is becoming a lot more interesting, technical, and relevant.

Continue reading Marketing is the New Sales

It’s All Going to Work Out

change-ahead-sign

“Things generally work out for the better.” Right? My mom used to say that all the time.

It was another way of saying that you have to be OK with being uncomfortable. You have to be willing to leave something that isn’t quite working out any more. Even when what you have doesn’t suck, and you don’t really know what’s going to take it’s place.

But, choosing to do something uncomfortable, now, today, is really hard to do.

In these situations it’s generally best to just take a flying leap. Fix it so that you have no choice but to walk forward, because the door behind you has slammed shut.

Have you noticed how new opportunities and experiences only show up when something else has been removed from your life?

Sometimes you just have to mix things up. And be willing to be uncomfortable for a while.

In the end, it’s all gonna all work out. Don’t you think?

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

I’m reading (actually listening to — I love audio books for driving and walks) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink. Pink asserts that everything we know about motivation is wrong. What passes at the typical workplace, or school environment for “motivation” does more harm to problem solving, creativity, productivity, enjoyment and mastery than good. He covers study after study showing how typical carrot-and-stick rewards and punishments, actually reduce productivity and engagement rather than increase it. He delineates between ‘extrinsic motivation’, doing something for a reward or avoidance of punishment, and ‘intrinsic motivation’, doing something out of curiosity, joy, and progress towards mastery. He outlines the conditions for motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose. This book has been richly thought provoking — I bought it to better understand how to motivate my kids, but quickly gained flashes of insight into my work life and how to improve it.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

I highly recommend Seth Godin’s new book: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
The book challenges us to not just settle for “another cog in the wheel” jobs — but to share our ’emotional labor’, create art, and ‘give gifts’. I just finished reading it, and think its very relevant to vfx artists. The book caused me to ‘quit’ my old manager at the day job. I just started in a new position with a group and manager that ‘gets it’, and will better appreciate my work. The book is all about how to become indispensable in an age of outsourcing, shrinking revenues, and mass market media.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

JavaFX Silicon Valley Meetup at Google

Last night I attended a really interesting meeting, the first Silicon Vally JavaFX Users Group. It was held at the Google campus in Mountain View.

Joshua Marinacci showed some pretty amazing things that people are doing with JavaFX, like Project MaiTai which lets you connect audio and visual building blocks (oscillators, particle generators, filters, etc.) together to create interactive displays.

Richard Bair, from Sun, showed some really cool examples of how the language works (sequences, binding, list comprehensions), how to be efficient, and why they did things the way they do. He also previewed some of the new UI controls coming in release 1.3.

I got a lot of questions answered, especially in the area of media. Like: “What’s up with JMF (Java Media Framework) it seems to be dead?” A: All the JMF developers are working on JavaFX media.

Turns out that JavaFX is not just the scripting language, it is a ground-up rewrite of the client stack including fonts, image handling, rasterization, etc.

There were a lot of startups there—it definitely had that buzzy feel like the early JavaOne conferences. A common theme on why these new ventures were interested in JavaFX was the availability of the entire Java stack right from the start. They cited, for example, the ease with which you can access web services, or do peer-to-peer networking, or anything involving security, databases, 2d/3d visualization, or math.

The Google campus is a pretty amazing place. When I left at 9:30PM the parking lot was still almost full. You can just feel the buzz. There are all kinds of exhibits/projects in the lobbies showing stuff that teams are working on, and a general level of zaniness—if you have ever been on a tour of Pixar’s facilities, think Pixar x2.

And.. I won a Sun Spot development kit! http://www.sunspotworld.com/ Man, I never win anything! Its basically a kit containing two sun-spot micro-controllers with wireless radios and several sensors: 3D accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a light sensor, eight LEDs, two switches, and I/O pins. You program these things in Java and there is a special JavaVM that runs on the board. It has both 802.11 and mesh networking built-in. Now I have to cook up some projects to build with my teenagers.

So, in the end I came away even more bullish on the JavaFX platform. The future of any technology is unpredictable, especially given the pending Oracle acquisition—but in terms of client-side Java, this is where all the attention and effort is going. They might just get client-side Java right this time.