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Characters I've Met in the Cloud

These are the standard bearers and the enterprise IT shops of the Global 2000

After attending a Clouderati party and DeployCon the following day I started to question my very existence in the world of technology.

It's as if I've been closeted. It reminded me a little of my childhood in what was once  West Berlin, where my father burst onto the  art scene, only to flame-out after publicly humiliating the most powerful gallery of the time and his sponsor, Rene Bloch. My father wanted to flood the gallery with water and have the people traverse islands constructed as part of the exhibit as they moved from one island after another each hosting the paintings and provisions that had sustained the artist as he moved through one way of viewing to another as he constructed and sometimes destroyed his works. That's another blog post entirely, perhaps even a chapter in a novel.

The outrage, or intensity in the Cloud lies along several lines:

  1. Information Technology departments consume and build technology and they do not design or  write code or develop new technology.
  2. The professionals who manage  your infrastructure today are equal to those at Amazon or any Cloud Startup, you can almost here them  say, "if they can do it, we can do it" and feel the soft undercurrent of the engineer and the Ubris of a great leader, once defeated and now beseeching the  King for an opportunity for redemption.
  3. Cloud Startups and the visionaries who project these realities into the  world and who want to do what they want to do, but who also need money (the plight of every artist).
  4. Utopians and Romantics. These are the standard bearers and the enterprise IT shops of the Global 2000. They want to get it right this time, fix the Cloud, build it internally, and keep their shop safe inside the little jar. They long for a time when things were simpler and bemoan the discord introduced by Cloud and the radical and dangerous ideas the Siren Song of Cloud sings into the ears of people  who earn the real money and do the real business of business. These folks work tirelessly and patiently and bond together into a unified voice so as to better dissuade their captains from removing the wax from their ears, breaking their bonds, and swimming to the Sirens and the certain destruction they will deliver. For those of you who don't remember, Ulysses knew of the sirens, told his crew to put wax in their ears, and he alone heard the song and only the fact that he had the crew tie him to the mast kept Ulysses from swimming ashore and to his destruction.


Characters I Met in the Clouderati

Reuven Cohen
For some reason Reuven reminds me of Ed Kienholz, a brilliant sculptor who creates entire scenes that evoke familiar and powerful experiences and possessed a natural and perfect pitch for publicity and marketing his work and ideas. Reuven told me a fascinating story of a brand new city in China the size of San Francisco planned and built by bureaucrats and of course populated with no inhabitants whatsoever even as Beijing compresses ever more souls into its own Cloud of Commerce. For me this remains an allegory of the Corporate IT obsession with planning and building a Private Cloud for inhabitants / customers / developers with whom they are completely out-of-touch, unlike the wise and brilliant Mr. Cohen who successfully sold Enomaly to the Chinese government.

George Reese

For the purposes of this absurd conceit of transposing Clouderati characters onto the late 70s Berlin art scene, George  reminds me a little of George Ricky, the sculptor who composed giant stainless steel sculpture designed and consumed by the corporate elite, yet maintains its integrity of form and its potency to teach, transform, elevate, and inspire. This "latch" work of George Reese connects him to George Ricky through the sense of "counter-intuitive angles that are oblique to the "apparent" design of the otherwise rectilinear form of the latch." I'm not sure explicating this last verse is worth the words and would probably obscure more than focus the meaning, but use your imagination and construct the meaning for yourself.

James Urquhart

Beyond reminding me a little of the contemporary Gary Sinise, in the world of this conceit of Berlin Artists, James echoes for me the persona of Samuel Beckett, an Irish writer who wrote in French, who I met briefly at the age of eight while Beckett was directing a rehearsal of "Crap's Last Tape." Once again, that experience is the subject of another blog that ostensibly has nothing to do with Cloud Computing, or a chapter in the book of my remembrance of the late70s Berlin art scene, which probably has a lot to do with my fascination not so much with the  technology of Cloud Computing and more with the personalities, the  sheer cognitive grip on the  imagination that Cloud Computing holds for so many brilliant people of our time. James left his leftovers at the party. After I met James I then read his CNET blog and I understood why people like to meet the Clouderati in person: in person they are brilliant, interesting, yet human. In the  Cloud they remain immortals.

Next Post will feature the following

NIST Definitions for the Following Terms

Echo Chamber
Diorama
Utopian Idealism in the Cloud
Siren Song

The work of the next posts will be along the lines of mapping corporate IT and the Cloud culture to their respective dioramas as well as explicating or evoking the  Dioramas themselves such that each diorama escapes its limits and becomes something else.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Brian McCallion

Brian McCallion, founder of New York City-based consultancy Bronze Drum focuses on the unique challenges of Public Cloud adoption in the Fortune 500. Forged along the fault line of Corporate IT and line of business meet, Brian successfully delivers successful enterprise public cloud solutions that matter to the business. In 2011, while the Cloud was just a gleam in the eye of most Fortune 500 firms Brian designed and proved the often referenced hybrid cloud architecture that enabled McGraw-Hill Education to scale the web and application layer of its $160M revenue, 2M user higher education platform in Amazon Web Services. Brian recently designed and delivered the JD Power and Associates strategic customer facing Next Generation Content Platform, an Alfresco Content Management solution supported by a substantial data warehouse and data mart running in AWS and a batch job that processes over 500M records daily in RDS Oracle.”

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