After I left Nokia, I thought I was done with Mega-Corporations. But an opportunity came by that seemed to have most of the things I need right now that I had to take it.
As of 01 June, I’ll be joining Netezza, an IBM company, where I will be Director of Marketing, Public Sector (that covers Health Care, Life Sciences, Government, and Education). This new role will allow me to mix my product, biz, and marketing skills together and still talk science.
Netezza got bought by IBM for big bucks (Article: “IBM’s Most Disruptive Acquisition Of 2010 Is Netezza”). I only found out about it after I started talking to Netezza. I did pause a bit to consider if I wanted to dive back into a mega-corp, but I see my experience with Borg mentality and Jello could come in handy as Netezza integrates into IBM. [That's not fair to IBM. I've been given some corporate reading to do prior to joining and see lots of very good elements that are anti-Borg and anti-Jello; though, of course, mega-corp Jello made me wait 6 months to be hired. We'll just have to see how things transpire.]
Netezza is the leader in data warehousing appliances. It is all about Big Data, something I’ve been fiddling with in my mind for a long time, a direct descendant of a progression ideas stretching back to my Lifeblog days. IBM has bet big on Big Data, and I have been seeing a ton of signals that Big Data is, well, big, and growing fast. Netezza CEO, Jim Baum, says it best:
“And while [reporting and dashboarding] are very important, they’ve also become sort of foundational because most companies are already doing it. And that means most BI value today is historical in nature and is all about looking in the rearview mirror. But, the way business analytics and optimization are heading, it’s much more toward the forward-looking and actionable information—the advanced analytics and more predictive solutions and the business impact they can have.”
I learned a lot about organizations while at Children’s, and I learned about what environments I thrive in. While IBM is a swing back to my Nokia days (and in some way reminds me of when I first joined Nokia), it’s a better place for me than any “adjacent possible” work I could do at Children’s. [Though, I would like to find some middle ground between the hyper-organized mega-corp and the set-o-pants management style of the org I worked with at Children's.] Also, any of the other potential things I could do were through some big obstables of time and chance [For example, there were other things I really wanted to do at Children's, except that they were not "adjacent possibles". And, natch, the job market and financing and what I have in hand played a lot in this, too].
Furthermore, the offer from Netezza had so many things I had been looking for, that it was hard to turn down. One unexpected benefit of Netezza: the office is a 20 min walk from home. Right now I ride the (woefully incompetent) commuter rail, about 1h45m-2hrs door-to-door each way. I hope I use my new-found time wisely.
What about them bugs?
At my core, I am still a scientist and a determined practical microbiologist with a wide range of interests (listed in part on my About page). In the 20 months I have been in the Boston area, I have not really been able to properly meet the goals I had set with respect to biology and science. I hope that with the benefits Netezza will afford me (in many special ways, thank you), I’ll be able to finally reach those goals.
For example, the past 6 months that I was waiting to close the deal with Netezza were well spent doing some due diligence around some of the top ideas I have for a biotech biz. Also, I hope to interact more with the MIT Media Lab (I’ve known the incoming director for many years) and the DIYbio community.
Yes, I am committed to Netezza for a long while. This move provides a good mix of energy, learning, ideas, and opportunities at work and at home.
Watch this space to see how it goes!
Here’s a darn cool video about IBM, which is turning 100 this year.