Prior to attending MongoDBWorld, I was told: 'You'll like the keynotes.' That's a big risk for someone to make as a predictive statement to this jaded palette. But they were right.
Today's MongoDBWorld keynotes from Max Schireson, CEO MongoDB and Mike Olson, Chief Strategy Officer Cloudera were a masterclass in presenting high protein ideas to which an audience can buy into rather than the turgid flogathons that seem be the standard low calorie fare of many customer events these days.
Schireson is clearly not afraid to state what would otherwise annoy potential investors but which makes perfect sense in the fast changing world of technology evolution. "The value customers gain is often way beyond what customers pay us and that's OK," said Shireson in his 30 minute, low key, well paced message to more than 2,000 attendees.
Now juxtapose that with Mike Olson's thinking that in the new world of data, it will all be about: "Small pieces loosely joined in a non zero sum world." Olson was borrowing from the writings of David Weinberger (Small Pieces Loosely Held) and Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright.
If you take a moment to think about this, then Olson and Shireson's messages make perfect sense when taken in the the context of an emerging world of multiple source and format machine and sensor data - which by the way is where so-called 'big data' really matters right now. No one vendor can have the lock on what this emerging framework of machines, sensors, databases, delivery mechanisms and analytic tools will look like. That is because the sheer variety of data sources is simply too big and diverse yet often specialized and niche. In that sense, the landscape around which future data is consumed as applications is completely unlike the ERP world of the past with which many of us are so familiar.
Collaboration in this world becomes a natural activity. So for example, Bosch provided compelling arguments where value gets driven throughout the ecosystems of major brands. Dirk Slama director business development, Bosch software innovation said: "We are really dealing with business model development. It is not so much about connecting a thing but about connecting thin things for example a sensor in a car's airbag being used to notify emergency services, then to direct a repair car to the scene of an accident, deal with insurance issues and obviously a replacement car."
As I heard these statements and listened to how both Cloudera and MongoDB see this collaborative world evolving, I could but help wonder what the behemoths of the IT industry will make of this. IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and Salesforce.com. They all ferociously protect IP and yet that seems to be the antithesis of this new world that is loosely held together by the fabric of open-ness.
I raised the question - can the combined strength this newer, collaborative model out gun the deep pockets of the older generation of established players as they themselves transition to new models? Nobody can know for sure but my sense is that it won't be their decision. If what I am seeing among customers is an indication then customers have already decided the direction they are taking. They are cherry picking the tools they need in order to develop the solutions they need while carefully assessing risk along the way. And it seems to be working.
More from this fascinating conference as I have discussions with the company and customers.
Endnote - oh yes, there wasn't a product pitch to be heard.