While bittersweet, career changes are exhilarating. After nearly five years as EMC’s CIO, I’ve handed the reins over to our newest executive Vic Bhagat and EMC’s award-winning IT team, who proudly and painstakingly built our industry-leading cloud and Big Data foundation.I may have given up the title and business cards, but I believe that once you are a CIO, you are always a CIO. As I roll up my sleeves to support the Pivotal Initiative led by Paul Maritz; foster the company’s international growth opportunities; and lend a hand with a variety of EMC’s customer activities, I will be relying on many battle-tested lessons from my tenure as CIO. Here are a few of the most important ones:First, agility is the new currency of the business as it further drives efficiency, strives to innovate and speeds its time to value. Rather than tactically deploying strong technologies at the whim and/or budget of the business (yes, that can happen!), IT must jointly develop value-driven solutions. Whether I am in IT or a customer within the business, this drive towards agility requires tight, joint IT/business partnerships; an active and involved executive sponsor; and a strong, vetted and validated business case. The basics don’t change, they just get more pronounced.Second, agility is also the currency and modus operandi for IT organizations. At EMC, we are well on our way. Virtualization and cloud have driven higher utilization and efficiency. Harnessing and analyzing Big, Fast Data is helping both IT and the business make faster, more informed decisions. And the software-defined data center promises to take the foundation we built even further by automating the pools of applications and information to make it even easier to acquire, manage and consume IT. As a “business” customer, I will have even greater IT reliability, flexibility and scalability to be more agile.And the final lesson is to wholeheartedly embrace the leading products and services that we tout and sell to our customers. Regardless of where I am in the company, I have immense confidence and pride in our products and services because we tested, used and showcased their value day in and day out. And, we even shared our experiences and best practices with customers and partners through the EMC IT Proven program. Many of our business units go as far as saying, “it’s not ready until IT has tested or used it.” I will continue to evangelize this with my colleagues inside and outside of EMC.I’d be lying if I said every day in IT was rosy. However, the relationships I built, the battles we fought, and the successes we had have made me even more prepared to tackle my new endeavors. As a former CIO and once again a “business” customer, I’m looking forward to working closely with my colleagues in IT to truly unlock the potential and value of IT to drive business agility.
Among my fascinations with open source is its cultural evolution. Open source demonstrates how much can be accomplished when we genuinely work together. Given that 2017 is the 20th anniversary of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, this seems like an appropriate moment to appreciate some of the long-term effects – particularly in non-technical terms.Look at how much has been done! From the start, open source has been a home-grown effort. Projects self-organize. Nobody inflicts boundaries; the community makes up the rules as it goes along. Leaders step forward based on technical excellence or their ability to communicate. Individuals contribute code, documentation, test suites; they collaborate on standards and interoperability techniques.Even more impressively: Quite often everyone does this for idealistic reasons. Sometimes they are simple goals, such as, “We want software that works, and that we can rely on.” But even when individuals, organizations, and businesses contribute to an open source community for reasons of enlightened self interest, it helps other people. As Linus Torvalds commented some years ago, “Open source only really works if everybody is contributing for their own selfish reasons. Now, those selfish reasons by no means need to be about ‘financial reward,’ though.”An open community for features and functionalityOpen source has also encouraged experimentation with business models, and a willingness to fail as long as someone could learn from the experience.Once, if you had a bright idea for a new application you either had to create it yourself (a difficult prospect for anything beyond a simple shareware application) or to convince some kind of gatekeeper (perhaps a venture capitalist) to fund it. Open source suggested – successfully – that it was possible to create freely-available software that anyone could use, and the bills would be paid by support services, training, and other extras.And that was just for its first act.Back when the only enterprise software was proprietary, it would never occur to you to develop a product that didn’t have a full set of features. Everything had to be self-contained, because the application had to stand alone. Adding to the ecosystem in any way was an expensive proposition, whether it was a partner program, hardware drivers, or additional application templates.Instead, open source communities said, “You want that feature? Cool. Build it yourself, and integrate it with the application so others can use it, too.”As a result, in today’s marketplace, vendors build the basic functionality and open up the API to a development community. Users and would-be partners develop what they need, which can be anything they think is going to succeed.Developing with APIs has transformed this industry. We now take open communities for granted.For instance, reports BetaNews, Amazon has made it cheaper to build and host Alexa skills using Amazon Web Services (AWS). “Previously, developers have had at their disposal the AWS Free Tier, offering a million AWS Lambda requests and a total of 750 hours of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) – monthly, for free. However, exceeding these limits also meant monthly fees.”Contrast that Alexa adoption to Siri. Arguably, Siri has equal feature sophistication, but it’s not open. The result is Alexa getting more mindshare, not to mention useful capabilities.It’s created markets and industriesThe culture of open development has also enabled the invention of whole businesses that would otherwise be impossible.For example, drone technology has been available for a long time. But for decades, the cost of building and using drones was so high that they were only used by governments, usually in military contexts. But as the drone software opened up, the market took off. Drones made a complex technology consumable by the masses and by businesses.The same can be said for bioinformatics, where a culture of sharing may save lives. Think of people’s willingness to share their own DNA with companies like 23andMe, which use Big Data technologies to match ancestors and develop health trends. People are contributing their most proprietary information, the DNA record about their human likeness, to a community of individuals for the greater good.The openness is a hallmark of open source, and it’s a key part of cloud development. So is scalability, for both technologies and support systems. As the resources grow, so does the capability. That too has enabled business models that were not attainable otherwise, such as Snapchat and Uber.A culture of opennessIt isn’t as though these human desires to share information are something new in the world in the last 20 years. It’s among the nicest things we can say about ourselves that we humans have always been willing to share knowledge for community benefit. Certainly it’s reflected in the history of computing, such as techies sharing their designs at the Homebrew Computer Club (well documented in Fire in the Valley, should you want to know more).However, open source made sharing information a business practice, not just something individuals did on their own. An enterprise can ask an open source community to provide features and functions that wouldn’t exist otherwise – and then everyone benefits by the improvement.Oh no, not another learning experienceNot all these changes happened seamlessly or well. For example, we’ve seen open source develop the culture of valuing simplicity. Because processes are open and because everyone has an equal contribution, there’s no “boss” to turn to for an executive decision. There’s no point at which someone makes a call. When you have too many people, too much opinion slows things down. And since everybody’s voice is equal, progress on large projects can be slow and overly complex.But I like to think that we learn from experience, and that that too is a benefit of the open source culture. When we’re free to try new things, we discover what works. One of those discoveries is “how many people can create something.” For example, The Open SSL project is written by two guys (both named Steve, which does not appear to be a requirement for success). Open SSL is open for anyone to consume and share but the reality is it’s an oligarchy. Even though everyone in the community has a voice, we end up with a few people leading. Everybody gets a vote – but at some point someone’s voice has to be overruled.That’s quite a journey in 20 years. What do you think will be different in the next 20? Ultimately, I believe we will all have slightly different reactions to these ideas, so in the true spirit of Open Source, I encourage everybody to reach out to me in the comments section below, or hit me up on Twitter @quityourjoshing.
Our technology’s latest speeds, feeds and features may generate a lot of excitement and attention, but what gets us most excited to go to work each day is how our technology drives human progress.From dairy farmers in India to cancer researchers in Arizona, our customers bring a diverse set of perspectives to the business problems they’re trying to solve. To address customers’ needs, the technology industry must solve a major business problem of its own: a looming talent shortage.By 2024 in the U.S., there will only be enough students graduating with computing bachelor’s degrees to fill 45 percent of the projected 1.1 million computer-related job openings.To close this gap, we must attract and retain more technology workers. And we can’t do that without bringing in more talent from underrepresented groups including women, African Americans, Latinxs, people who’ve pursued nontechnical majors or career paths, and those who’ve taken time off from work. Only 36 percent of U.S. technology industry employees are women, only 7 percent are African American and only 8 percent are Latinx. Closing the diversity gap is critical to meeting market demand and innovating solutions that reflect our global customer base. And it’s critical to closing societal wealth gaps, as the national average wage for all STEM occupations is $87,570, compared to $45,700 for non-STEM occupations.At Dell Technologies, we believe a diverse workforce is a critical part of our business success and how we make a social impact. We’re investing in education and training programs at all levels—from K-12 students to professionals—to bring underrepresented talent into the workforce of the future.Our work must start earlyNew research by Accenture and Girls Who Code found that more than 69 percent of the growth in the female computing pipeline would come from changing the path of the youngest girls—especially those in junior high school. However, that intervention must be sustained: A Microsoft study found that young girls in Europe become interested in so-called STEM subjects around the age of 11 and then quickly lose interest when they’re 15. “Conformity to social expectations, gender stereotypes, gender roles and lack of role models continue to channel girls’ career choices away from STEM fields,” said psychology professor Martin Bauer of the London School of Economics, who helped coordinate the survey of 11,500 girls across 12 European countries.Dell Technologies’ Youth Learning programs have provided 2.6 million underserved K-12 students with access to high-quality technology education. We collaborate with partners including Girls Who Code, which is building a pipeline of young women to work in computing, and CSforALL, which aims to bring computer science education to all of the country’s school districts.Getting real about where we need improvementIndustrywide problems require industrywide solutions. That’s why we’re a founding member of Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, a Melinda Gates initiative to double the number of black, Latina and Native American women graduating with computer degrees by 2025. Twelve tech companies—including Dell Technologies and our fellow Reboot founders Intel, Microsoft, Adobe, Oath and Salesforce—have committed a collective $12 million toward this goal, and new members continue to join. In addition, this coalition will work together to leverage best practices from our companies’ women’s leadership development programs to create an ecosystem that enables women of color to excel in tech.Beyond investment to create the curriculum that mattersThrough our new Project Immersion program, we are partnering with select historically black college & universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs) to develop curriculum that cultivates the skills diverse students need to succeed in today’s tech industry. Our inaugural spring semester classes began in January 2019. We have served more than 100 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students at The University of Texas at Austin and three HBCUs in Atlanta: Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University. We brought in teachers from across Dell Technologies to teach subjects like cloud infrastructure (Pivotal) and cybersecurity (SecureWorks). Dell Technologies’ Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Brian K. Reaves, led a session to provide perspectives from the C-suite on the critical business acumen skills required of future leaders in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And our employee resource group members from the local chapter of Black Networking Alliance (BNA) helped guide the technical workshops.“This program is personally meaningful to me because as a computer science major, I am interested in cybersecurity, but am still learning about what it actually entails,” said Yvonne Akuamoah, a Project Immersion student at Morehouse College. “My institution doesn’t offer any cybersecurity course, so this was my first real exposure to the field.”We held a roundtable with HBCU students and faculty to gain insights into how we can continue to attract and retain underrepresented talent in STEM. Additionally, we are scaling Project Immersion to other universities, starting with Georgia State University, one of the most diverse universities in the nation and physical hub for the Georgia FinTech Academy. We are also exploring opportunities to partner with additional HBCUs/MSIs to offer the program online.Helping non-IT pros make the switchCareer changes are common in today’s dynamic workplace, and we want to help more professionals pivot their careers to tech. Northeastern University’s ALIGN program serves women and underrepresented minorities from non-IT fields who are pursuing master’s degrees in computer science.Through our partnership, we have provided five Dell ALIGN Scholars with financial support and future co-op positions at Dell Technologies. We aim to double our reach this year, and are working with other companies and universities to expand ALIGN around the U.S.“This program encourages me to believe that I am able to learn a completely new topic at whatever age, no matter how difficult it may seem,” said Bethsaira DeOliveira, Dell ALIGN Scholar. “It is very empowering to be taught the specific skills needed to enter a complete new and different field of study—computer science.”It’s never too late to restart your careerBuilding a diverse team isn’t just about recruitment; it’s also about retention. Especially of women, as they leave the technology industry at a 45 percent higher rate than men. Through Dell Career ReStart, we offer professionals a smooth transition to working at Dell Technologies after they’ve left the workforce for a year or more. Their reasons for leaving might include starting a family, caring for an aging parent or leaving to pursue higher education. ReStart provides an unprecedented level of support spanning resume and interview coaching, mentorship and training.Windie Darrington, a ReStart participant working in project management at Dell Technologies, said, “I left my previous career to raise my two beautiful children and returned to the workforce when they started school. It feels amazing to be valued, supported and provided resources and mentors to grow my career and better myself in my personal life. I have never felt like this is just a ‘job.’ It is a true testament to my new career when my children brag about ‘mom’s work’!”Making a measurable impact on technology’s talent shortage will require many collaborative solutions—no single program can solve this issue. We look forward to working with our partners to expand our programs and help them thrive.Learn more about how Dell Technologies cultivates inclusion, here.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish health ministry says the country has seen more than 25,000 COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the outbreak in March. A toll of 140 fatalities reported Sunday saw the total figure rise to 25,073. Turkey has recorded more than 2.4 million infections since the first case was recorded on March 11. The government reintroduced restrictions at the start of December, including weekday evening curfews and weekend lockdowns, to stem another surge of infections. The number of daily cases has fallen to around 6,000 in recent days from a high of more than 33,000 in December.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Senate has approved a measure rebuking one of its most far-right members for a “pattern of unacceptable conduct.” On a vote of 24-9 Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled chamber advanced a resolution censuring Amanda Chase, a senator from suburban Richmond who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor. The vote followed a long debate that featured scathing rebukes from Chase’s colleagues on both sides of the political aisle. She launched into a series of personal and professional attacks, noting that some of her fellow senators have had their own behavioral and legal troubles in the past. The censure included an allegation that Chase voiced support for those who participated in storming the U.S. Capitol.
While a few have already hit the market, there are still dozens of coronavirus vaccines in development around the globe. The race started a year ago when the virus first emerged in China. Some of the vaccines use tried-and-true technologies while others are taking novel approaches. Preliminary results show a range in effectiveness, from about 50% to over 90% for some. So far, country regulators have OK’d about a half dozen vaccines, sometimes even before they were rigorously tested. A few more vaccines are nearing the finish line.
WASHINGTON (AP) — One of Donald Trump’s lawyers says Democrats are using the upcoming Senate impeachment trial as a political “weapon” to bar the former president from seeking office again. Trump attorney David Schoen also tells Fox News that Democrats are pursuing a case that is “undemocratic” and unconstitutional. Trump faces trial before the Senate next week on accusations that he incited a harrowing and deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Whether it is constitutional to put on trial a former president who cannot be removed from an office he no longer holds is a point of contention.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has signed a second spate of orders to undo his predecessor’s immigration policies, demonstrating the powers of the White House and its limitations without support from Congress. His orders on family separation, border security and legal immigration bring to nine the number of executive actions on immigration during his first two weeks in office. With proposed legislation to give legal status and a path to citizenship to all of the estimated 11 million people in the country who don’t have it, Biden has quickly taken aim at many of former President Donald Trump’s sweeping changes to deter immigration, both legal and illegal.