Bringing truly unique technologies to market takes a thick skin. Or, as I’ve often been accused of having, a thick skull.
We’re busily introducing 3tera and AppLogic to potential partners and customers and most of the feedback has been very positive. In fact, of all the products I’ve launched over the past 20 years, I’ve gotten more positive feedback on AppLogic than on any other besides BayStack, and that was a decade ago.
The feedback wasn’t always so positive. Last year, when we first tried to explain to folks what AppLogic was and how it would be used, we failed miserably. Most people couldn’t make the leap of logic from racks of servers, load balancers, firewalls and storage to our pretty pictures and disposable infrastructure. To be honest, it wasn’t just that customers and partners weren’t getting it, we weren’t always getting it ourselves. For instance, we resisted calling AppLogic an operating system for months. We were concerned it would make people feel they had to port software onto AppLogic and that’d be a huge barrier to adoption.
During this time we got tons of negative feedback. “No one will trust their apps to a new operating system.” “VMware already does this.” “Why not just make a single OS instance that spans servers?” “You’re just saving a little bit of labor.” “Enterprise buyers will still want their enterprise class servers.” “You’re over simplifying what it means to scale an application.” “No one will trust their mission critical data to anything less than a SAN.” Well, you get the idea.
All that changed one magic day last December when the first system came online. Suddenly we could show customers how AppLogic runs applications. How easy it is to replicate applications. How you can export an application to another grid in minutes. A short time later the Sun Grid went live, and the press picked up on the fact it only runs number crunching apps. Suddenly, almost everyone we show AppLogic to gets it.
As usual with my ramblings, I’m having too much fun telling to the story to trouble with getting to the point.
One of the toughest parts of bringing a new technology to market is interpreting criticism. Avoid it, and you’ll find out too late what the short comings of your product are. Let it sway you, and you’ll devolve into building yet another me-too piece of crap that litters our industry. Dwell on it too long, and you’ll deliver nothing at all.
To that end, rather than force people to talk about us behind our backs, we at 3tera have decided to include an anonymous comment form on virtually every page of our website. I’ve never seen a site like it other than wikis, but we want to know what you think and we’re not afraid to have it out in plain view.