via James Governors del.ico.us feed, I read a pretty disappointing blog post on Don MacAskill CEO and Chief Geek of SmugMugs, SmugBlog.
Reading some of his past posts it’s easy to accuse Don of being a bit of a Sun fanboy. He recently ran a server bake-off to get some new servers for SmugMug, and decided to go with Sun, fair enough. I can’t dispute that Sun have a good offering in the web space, and being based out on the West Coast, get a lot of face time and word of mouth endorsements with many of the startups, especially in the web 2.0 space.
I know how important this can be. Back in 2000, I hung out a lot at the Silicon Valley World Internet Center and then, late in 2005, early 2006 worked out of the IBM office in Palo Alto with a number of key virtualization partners to get some direction and development work started.
What troubled me was not the Don had chosen Sun for his servers, but his comment “One of the attendees, who spends obscene, ungodly amounts of money with IBM, can’t even get engineering staff on the phone. Apparently, IBM has a big sales force who’s trained to buffer customers away from the engineers.”
“shurley shome mishtake”? My whole career before I joined IBM, was littered with experiences with sage and helpful IBM engineers. Either through the numerous user groups, or best of all, when the products broke, and after talking to level-1 and level-2, you’d get through to the level-3 folks. I remember to this day having a discussion with someone called, I think, Linda Iannella, who worked up in Kingston in the mid-1980’s. She knew code like no one I’d ever spoken to, when I asked how she was so sage, she replied, “I work on this code 10-hours a day, every day”. Adrian Walmsley, a former IBM UK employee was probably the most influential, and I’m delighted to have worked with him later on.
Have things changed so much that you can’t get in touch with the technical team at IBM anymore, or was Don’s experience atypical? Is it a west coast versus east coast thing, or just becuase IBM is so big these days?
I have to admit, getting things actually done these days can be difficult at times if you approach a novice IBMer, but we have an excellent kStart team out in the valley working with some startups, and most of the blue coud work is being done in Almaden and SVL.
Let me know what your experience has been. Can I help ??