There are times when people choose a noble goal over a profit motive. These times often follow an occasion of hardship or an epiphany related to lifestyle choices.
To be socially responsible always seems to require us to take it on the chin, to leave some money on the table. So often a social good is pitted in a life or death struggle against maintaining profitability.
I feel that socially responsible causes that fail to embrace, or at least acknowledge the need of business to financially survive score only ephemeral victories. To truly help a cause, the most significant achievement is to link its success to the success of the businesses affected.
Before I left Caterpillar, I took an inventory of my best and worst days. I cataloged the days where I was at the pinnacle of employee engagement and the days where I was wallowing in the trough of worker’s despair. In an effort to determine “What I love to do” I looked for similarities and differences between the categories. And I found it in the field of software integration.
Whenever I felt elation, it was always as a result of getting two or more software systems to integrate in a seamless manner. Sorrow was always keenest when I was forced to watch the inexorable, slow-motion train wreck that was “traditional” (traditional meaning I was prevented from having anything to do with it) integration development as it presided over a facility transformation.
I am a software integrator. A language translator for computer programs. I get my biggest charge out of successfully connecting two or more autonomous entities. For me, the true challenge is to develop apps in the asocial media space. This is the space where no human eyeball ventures, no human eardrum listens. This is the virtuality where computer programs talk with one another. It is the landscape of Tron.
If you are not familiar with the franchise, I don’t recommend viewing the movies or TV series. The entire premise is fatally flawed. Computer programs do not speak English. To go further in my critique, they don’t agree on any language. In reality, using the Tron analogy, the ears and vocal cords would always be the last body parts added to most characters. And in most cases, these features would be dropped completely from version 1.0.
I feel that my mission is to give computer programs their voices and hearing. I am like hundreds of thousands of software developers in that regard. The software industry is split pretty evenly. Half of the money seems to be spent building and maintaining computer programs, the other half is spent trying to connect them together.
Unlike the hundreds of thousands of other software developers working in the integration space, however, there is something rare about me. I am not alone, but I am definitely in the minority.
I am not satisfied with the status quo. In my opinion, the first thing that must be addressed when a program is developed is its external integration strategy. How will it talk to other programs? I believe this strategy is what determines how efficient the development effort will be. I believe this one approach can contribute to the elimination of waste, which accounts for nearly 50% of the cost of most enterprise level software transformation efforts.
This is my noble goal. I want to see 90% of the cost of software integration vanish through identification of waste. I want to develop a solution for standardizing the language that computer applications use to talk to one another. I want to make it so easy to consider external integration first, that most software developers insist on it in their frameworks.
I believe that the software integration industry is expensive, opaque, lethargic and fragmented. I want to assist in developing the standards that will drastically increase integration solutions’ speed, security, robustness and reduce its cost, all by a factor of 10.