There's no shortage of opportunities. We're working on a huge portfolio of technical projects. The challenge is to figure out what things you can do that are both pragmatic and that will move you forward, but that are setting you up for long-term success. I think that balance is a hard one.
In my previous job before taking on Hadoop, in the years I was at Inktomi and Yahoo, I was trying to figure out how to build the infrastructure to crawl the Web and build search projects. It's the same problem -- you have a really large team, but you have to pick projects that move the ball forward in the short term and not lose sight of that long-term goal.
The other thing that stands out for me is that it's a very interesting time right now to be in business, especially in our business, where we're building technology that's really potentially transformative and can allow companies to do a lot more for less. You've got a climate where the technology is changing very quickly, budgets are constrained, and yet companies are seeking opportunities. We're working in a very interesting market, where there's a lot of excitement and opportunity but also a tremendous amount of uncertainty, and financial uncertainty.
So you have to be ambitious and you have to be pragmatic.
4. What is a good day at work like for you?
There's so many different things going on. Careers aren't linear. A lot of my time, I've spent doing line management. The majority of my time since 1996, I've spent managing a large team. When you manage a large team, your day is very structured. In a CTO role, if you don't have a direct line and a large team, you have the luxury of a bit more space.
So there are two things that I really enjoy. One is very outbound -- I get to talk to a lot of people using our technology and the thought leaders in our space and adjacent spaces, so on a good day I learn a lot. There's nothing like getting a download about how a person in a different space has wrestled with the same set of problems but come to different answers or looking at how really bright people use your technology and what works and what doesn't work. Those outbound conversations that show you what to do and how to do it better are very exciting.
Internally, it's similar. You get to work on the more ambitious parts of the agenda. I get to work with really bright people on designing the next generation of technology.
The nice thing about the CTO role is that you have to do both, so it's a real fusion of looking outbound and learning and the big picture and then coming in internally and solving problems, merging that big canvas view with what's happening in our industry.
5. How would you characterize your management style?
As a CTO, I'm managing fewer people directly. In my previous roles, I've managed teams of 60 to 100 people. In this role I'm not.