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Past, Present and Future of NonStop Comes to Life at the Connect Technical Bootcamp

I’ve been lucky to work with NonStop systems, which I believe are the most amazing platform in the HP arsenal, for 30 years.  I think I finally figured out how social media works best, and thought it was time to put more of what I learn day in and day out online.  I thought as my first blog I would provide a little recap of the Connect Technical Bootcamp 2012 that took place at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose October 14-16.  Although there were some pre-conference training sessions on Sunday 10/14, I did not attend those. I overheard optimistic comments from attendees at the kick-off “Beer Bust” welcome party the night of the 14th.  Most of the general chatter was about how happy both the partners and customers were that the community had returned to San Jose for a new event. Initially ITUG roamed from site to site in the early days but finally settled on San Jose so that more developers, product managers and executives could present to the user group.  This had always been an important feedback opportunity for the company. 

At this latest event, we were treated to a taste of the early days as Connect pulled off a coup with one of the keynote speakers being none other than Jimmy Treybig, the CEO and founder of Tandem Computers.  He was also at the opening beer bust, which gained its roots from his early management style.  When asked why he didn’t have a drink in his hand, he explained his wife was having him get in shape and he was working on a real six-pack.  Besides Jimmy, Joel and Wendy Bartlett were in attendance along with David Greig.  Joel and David were employees 10 and 15 respectively.  Also at the kick-off was author Gaye Clemson, another former Tandem employee, who has recently released a book - “Tandem Computers Unplugged – a People’s History” (available on Amazon).  Gaye’s book is a history of Tandem Computers as told through the emails and social media of Tandem employees.  I’m happy to say that I’m quoted several times in the book.  Thanks, Gaye – the check is in the mail.  The general mood of the beer bust was very positive and upbeat, enhanced by the presence of Tandem celebrities.

 

Bootcamp 3.jpg

 

Photo by Wendy Bartlett showing, from left:

Joel Bartlett (Employee #10), Jimmy Treybig (#1) and David Greig (#14)

 

The Technical Bootcamp officially kicked off the next morning with a welcome from Nina Buik, Director of Marketing for Connect, emphasizing the return to San Jose and especially thanking the customers, partners and sponsors for their support.  Randy Meyer, Director, HP NonStop Product Management, Strategy & Technology did an overview of the NonStop strategy and overall direction we are taking in the industry.  He was followed by Mark Pollans, Product Manager for NonStop Platforms, who provided a quick overview discussing Core Licensing, SSD (Solid State Drives) and the newly released entry level, single-core NonStop system, the NS2100.  He in turn was followed by Karen Copeland, head of NonStop Product Management, discussing software direction and investment. 

After hearing about where we are today with respect to NonStop products and direction, Nina returned to introduce Jimmy Treybig, who ascended to the podium with a standing ovation.  For those of us who were privileged to have heard Jimmy in the past he was as good as ever.  Jimmy began the talk by saying how much he always thought of and cared for Tandem employees, partners and customers and that his talk wouldn’t be a ‘key’ note so much as a ‘love’ note.  Jimmy recapped his career that had begun at Texas Instruments but moved to Hewlett Packard when he needed a summer job while completing his MBA at Stanford.  He clearly appreciated his experiences at HP and especially how much he learned about people management from Bill Hewlett.  Jimmy was the marketing section manager on the HP 3000 project when he left HP to join a new company called Kleiner Perkins, one of the pioneers in the Venture Capital market.  Jimmy learned the ins and outs of business and finance and one of his most important lessons for a start-up was Never run out of money”.  With his newly acquired skills he started Tandem Computers along with Jack Loustaunou, Michael Green and Jim Katzman, with Tom Perkins as chairman. 

Jimmy reminisced about the early days and trials of Tandem and the culture that was created.  He also discussed the inception of ITUG and emphasized how other companies tended to tolerate user groups whereas Tandem embraced them.  Jimmy was always skeptical of internal reports and felt that people were telling him what they thought he wanted to hear.  In the early days, being at ITUG and providing beer and an open microphone he was able to hear directly from the customers. This was where the unfiltered information about what they liked, what they didn’t like and most importantly what they needed, would come to Jimmy and help shape Tandem’s roadmap.  As Jimmy pointed out, it was a first attempt at a social network.  He obtained direct feedback at ITUG and also got plenty of ‘suggestions’ on Tandem’s email system where anyone could email anyone else.  As he pointed out, at that time IBM employees could only email up or down but not across.  Honest feedback was a hallmark with Jimmy.  He also emphasized the focus that Tandem always had was on the customers and it continues today at HP in the NonStop Enterprise.  The ‘love’ note ended with another standing ovation for a great leader and founder of Tandem. 

After a short break, the sessions began in earnest and continued for the rest of the day and through the next.  I was privileged to sit down with Jimmy for a question and answer session that will be the basis for another blog and a Connect article.  The bootcamp sessions covered a wide variety of topics with presenters from HP’s NonStop Product Management, NonStop Development, the Advanced Technology Center, the Enterprise Solutions and Architecture group and presentations from participating partners and customers.  All the comments I heard were very upbeat and positive.  There was a general suggestion that the presentations be repeated since in many cases attendees were forced to choose between presentations scheduled at the same time.  Although there were many sessions there were still lots of opportunities to chat with the partners, many of which had set up tabletop booths in the foyer around the session rooms.  Users and partners tended to favor the venue since it allowed more in-depth discussions of products and requirements.  As Jimmy would have said, this was a good opportunity for feedback.  Click here for the agenda that was covered at the Connect NonStop Technical Bootcamp 2012. If you’re already a Connect member you can view the presentations. If not, you can gain online access by quickly signing up here.

Connect Bootcamp 2012 was jam-packed with lots of information and very positive attendee participation and response.  Everyone seems to be looking forward to this becoming an annual event and they are already advertising the next one on the Connect website.

I look forward to writing more about some of my areas of responsibility within the NonStop community around  availability, security, business intelligence and maybe even cloud.  I also have a more in-depth interview with Jimmy Treybig that will be coming in one of the next issues of Connection magazine so stay tuned.

 

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About the Author
I have worked with NonStop systems since 1982. I am a Master Technologist for HP and am part of the IT SWAT organization, the Cloud SWAT an...
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