Confessions of a Cloud

Confessions of a Cloud
Journaling, who knew that was still a thing? Yes, I wrote this.

Someone Save Us from Our Cloudy Judgments

Here I am, sitting before a digital abyss, armed with nothing but a questionable sense of humor and journaling (yes with real paper, you wouldn't understand). I've been reading a lot lately and thinking about my life choices. Sadly, I've been reading a lot of nonsense which I feel has been AI generated so I feel like my brain is getting more smooth, but as I sit here and mutter, I thought, why not talk about more things I've been doing, feelings, and what I'm excited about.

While the Rack I used to know is in the rearview mirror, the Rack I've returned to is almost more electric than the Rack of yesteryear (that's a hard to read sentence). I know folks will wax nostalgic, and yes, I've read the hater reports, but the Rack is back. It's really a tale as old as time: we ventured a bit too far down a battered path and found ourselves tangled in a cloud of complexity, and now, in a moment that's equal parts epiphany and insanity, we're making a grand return. We're a little greyed and our knees crack when we get out of bed, but we're here, wiser for having the journey, and more ready than ever to take on everything.

My Love - Hate Relationship with the Cloud

The cloud and I go way back, from dealing with VPS and the fruits of Eucalyptus to the shores of OpenStack; my relationship with the cloud might read, "It's complicated, but I love it."

We all know the truth: the cloud landscape is less of a serene pasture and more of a minefield; however, I'm excited to be able to help folks navigate it with OpenStack. OpenStack's open-source nature is a dance through the haze, betting on community-driven innovation to deliver us from depravity. It promises developers a sandbox of opportunities that may result in getting sand in the eyes, but also a marvelously stable castle.

On good days, modern open infrastructure is a beacon of flexibility and scalability, a utopia for developers and operators who dream in code and wish for a fully automated 10-9's experience. On a bad day, it's a hurricane - exciting, terrifying, disastrous, and disappointing all at the same time. Open infrastructure is something I'm passionate about, and I'm doubling down on the chaotic good in the hopes of striking innovative gold.

The Developer Experience: A Dark Comedy

Speaking of developers, enhancing their experience is my self-assigned mission. It's been a while since anyone was thinking OpenStack was a developer platform, but I'm here to say it. Seriously, developer platforms aren't all about the shiny bits, sometimes it's about nothing more than a stable API and the ability affordably simplify things.

OpenStack Public cloud is the place to be, even if it gives me an occasional existential crisis.
Create a 16:9 image for a blog subsection named "The Developer Experience: A Dark Comedy" Neo noir in style, dark, gritty, hyper-realistic. the setting is a desk, a developer, a keyboard and a single spot light which is off camera.

I think folks are sick of the current state of the cloud and the reality is, nothing is going to recreate Pandora's EC2. That said, in partnership with the open source community, we'll offer a user-friendly(ish) platform that promises to turn hyperscaler pain points into open-source bright spots. I for one am done with chasing hyperscaler crumbs and I think the development community is too.

I'm pouring my heart and soul into ensuring developers have what they need, even if it means wrestling with documentation that occasionally reads like it was written by a cryptic idiot or putting on a dunce cap and writing software. The goal? To transform workflows into smooth processes that feel less like navigating a labyrinth and more like a walk in the park (albeit a park where you sometimes find yourself questioning your life choices).

We’ve made some early moves and there’s plenty more to come. For instance

The team is hard at work building products and creating new and interesting things. Things that are developer centric. Things that are enterprise accelerators. Things that are different. Some of the things we’ll make are bound to be incredible, others maybe not. The point is we’re not all over the place and we‘re no longer chasing our virtual tails. We’re focused, we’re executing, we’re alive, and we’re coming to where you are.

I'm learning

I think my leadership style could be described as a cross between a motivational speaker and a mad scientist. I'm all about leading by example and empowering Rackers, which I think is technobabble for I hope Racker brilliance can bail us out of conundrums. My approach is aimed at giving folks the freedom to innovate, the space to fail spectacularly, and support rise above tomfoolery. I set out to help with the goal to be a replaceable leader; one day I’ll move to a new role and I look forward to the day one of my reports steps into their own leadership shoes and replaces me. As I've come into a leadership role, I've tried to make sure I'm pushing folks forward, sometimes dragging them, but all the times hoping that I'm doing the right thing. I've gotten value from betterment books, podcasts, and other media, but I'm not trying to be those people, I'm not even looking at many of them as someone I want to emulate; however, I do want to learn from them.

I want to lead authentically and reevaluate myself continuously.

As I'm learning I've come to the conclusion that empowerment at Rackspace is part resurrecting a fanatical culture and part nurturing people so they can make a difference. I'm convinced that the line between genius and madness is as thin as our last outage was long. The best part about rebuilding a culture is that our leaders at the highest levels also believe in the power of Rackers. The folks sitting in the box seats at the Giants game, believe in our open-source roots and the ability of all Rackers to go forth and be brilliant. It's been a while since Rackspace had transformative leadership and I'm ecstatic that I've made the boomerang so that I can help and be part of the transformation.

Chaos with Arms Open

As we pivot towards this new chapter with Open-Infrastrucuture leading the charge, I'm under no illusion about the challenges ahead. It will be an exhilarating ride, part hair-raising, with a good chance of unexpected twists. My vision? To steer into the uncertainty and navigate the complexity with grace and a good laugh.

Developers, entrepreneur, businesses, and enterprises: Hang on as Rackers ignore the weather report, innovate with the confidence of a child wearing a cape, and steer into chaos. Welcome to the new Rackspace, a serious competitor that is serious about disrupting the status quo and is seriously going to do it with a fair bit of self-deprecating humor, all while remaining super serious, seriously.

Our Return
In case you hadn't heard, Rackspace is Back and our best is yet to come.

My closing thought is my excitement is only tempered by the fact we've only 24 hours in a day. We're back, we're hustling, and we're looking forward to building things you love.

We're back!