As a few of you know, I left IBM last week to join Apigee. IBM is an absolutely wonderful place with the best people and the best technology. I have been fortunate to work there for 21 years, and have had the privilege of working with and for the best and the brightest. I had friends as bosses, and bosses who became friends. I had colleagues who respected each other. And the best part of being an IBMer is that the customers (even when criticizing some feature or capabilities of our products) had the admiration fo what IBM brings to the table. In some small ways, I have given back to IBM by helping it grow a few businesses, but what I have gotten far exceeds what I given back. Thank you IBM!
But there comes a stage in life when one examines what's next and sometimes concludes that there is something else to prove. I reached that point this summer and decided that I had to be in a startup that offered me a very different kind of challenge. IBM succeeds when innovation leverages the IBM engine and when it does the success is BIG. With the help of my colleagues, there are several technologies that we were able to bring success to using that engine. The latest efforts in IBM's Big Data capabilities is one of the latest such example. However, having done that, I wanted to prove to myself that I could leverage a very different engine, hence a startup.
Now my choice of the startup hinged on a few criteria I had set for myself.
One, it should already have paying customers, a growing revenue and a deep pipeline of prospects. This was important since the skills required to bootstrap a startup in my mind are very different than the one to grow it, and I did not believe that I had the former skills or interest at this time.
Second, I am a firm believer that data and analytics are the defining technologies for the next decade, and if pressed hard, I will grudgingly acknowledge that mobile is a close second. So I wanted a startup, and a role in that startup, that would have a good intersection of analytics and mobile.
Finally, and especially in a startup, one must work with folks who you respect and like and provide complementary skills.
All of this led me to Apigee. My day 1 was Friday. I will write about my transition (the shock and the awe and the gradual acclimitization I hope!) but most importantly, I will write about the technologies I will help create. For those of you who have followed me for my information management and cloud thoughts, you all might be a little disappointed in my future postings because I will talk about some slightly different things, but data and analytics and cloud would be undercurrents that would run through it. So un -blogroll me if needed! I would not mind :)
I want to end with how my last week in IBM transpired. As I was going through this decision, my immediate boss, several senior vice presidents, and many other bosses I have worked for, talked to me about the pros and cons of what I wanted to do. In the end, they were disappointed (deeply perhaps), but as I talked to them, it became clear to me that their treating of me as a colleague and as a human being is what makes IBM a wonderful place. And then I talked with my colleagues and that was so hard. We have had 21 wonderful years. In the end, one of them captured it beautifully, "Anant, we are sorry to see you go and wish you the best of luck. We know that you will always love IBM and IBMers, and that you also know that IBM is more than one person and will be even stronger in the future, so go realizing that you have helped in some small way towards IBM's success."