Click here to close now.

Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson, Daniel Kaar

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, Java IoT, ColdFusion, Wearables, @CloudExpo

Adobe Flex: Blog Feed Post

Can You Fire a Team?

I not saying that the Flash Player team has prima donnas nor that Adobe’s management can’t control them

iPad on Ulitzer

Yesterday, I finished my dinner in a French restaurant with traditional crème brulee. This time I've also ordered a small glass of Sauternes wine. Then we went to our friend's house to follow it with some good old port.  

But no matter what software developers drink or eat in February 2010, one way or the other the conversation will slide into a No-Flash-Player-on-iPad discussion. Apple pretends that they will never allow Flash Player on Steve's OS (SOS), because it's buggy.  Adobe's CTO, Kevin Lynch, states that Apple doesn't cooperate.

Jobs Has a Few Words for Google & Adobe



After the third round, I made a statement that when the dust settles, everyone will thank Steve Jobs for forcing Adobe to make Flash Player better and faster, which is a win-win situation for all application developers.

My drinking buddy responded that Adobe has a tiny group of hard core developers who work on Flash Player, have deep understanding of its internals, have the status of sacred cows, and Kevin Lynch can't put pressure on them regardless of what Steve says or wants.

When I hear about any prima donnas in IT, I'm getting easily excited. I believe that if any developer in any IT team starts exhibiting the prima donna symptoms, there's only one solution to this disease: s/he has to be fired.

My opponent was not so sure and replied, "You can't fire the entire team".

Don’t get me wrong, I not saying that the Flash Player team has prima donnas nor that Adobe’s management can’t control them... Actually, can you give a better than this explanation why the bug fix that caused Flash Player crashes was not deployed in production for more than a year?  Does it take Steve Job to have a product manager openly admin that they didn't pay enough attention to Flash Player bugs? Will it be different from now on? Anyway, after a couple of old ports it was interesting to dig into this direction a bit deeper.

I told my friends a story that happened with my friend Gregory ten years ago. Back than he had several gas stations in our state of New Jersey.  You may not know, but NJ drivers are not allowed to pump gas themselves. You just pull up to a pump, the gas attendant stops by, and you say, "Fill up, Regular please".  At least I say the same phrase during the last fifteen years - I lease cars and don't buy premium gasoline.

Gregory had about 20 attendants working for him. All of them were relatives from some Asian country. They were self-managed, low maintenance, and hard working people.   One day, the leader of the clan came to Greg and demanded raising salaries to all of them. Greg refused. Then the envoy said, "If you won't raise our pay, we'll all quit"

Greg quietly responded, "Go back and tell everyone that all of you are fired as of this very moment."  Greg had to temporarily lock his gas stations - he went to South Jersey, where the pay was lower, hired and relocated 20 new gas attendants. Greg has balls.  Yes, he lost money, but didn't bend to blackmailers who believed that they were irreplaceable.

You'll be surprised, but situation in the job market of gas attendants is very similar to what I see in IT. It's a pretty small world, all local recruiters know you, and employers require references from the previous place of work.

Two weeks later, the blackmailer came back to Greg begging to hire them back, but it was a little to late.

No, I don't think that developing Flash Player is as easy as pumping gas. But the source code of the latest build Flash Player is safely stored in a central repository, and if, for any hypothetical reason, Adobe executives will need to replace the entire team, they can do it within a month or so.  There are so many brilliant programmers in this country, you wouldn't believe it.

Sorry Flash Player folks, for using your team for illustrating my attitude to prima donnas in IT. I believe that you did a great job with this VM (trust me, I have something to compare with). But our conversation about your team did take place yesterday, and I've openly shared it with my readers. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but I'm sure there are plenty of non-technical reasons for the current situation in Mac OS and SOS.

I simply don't like prima donnas. Plus Sauternes. Plus the old port...

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Yakov Fain 03/21/10 04:53:00 PM EDT

@roche It looks like you didn't get my message and analogies. I know that Apple simply doesn't want Flash Player on iPhone regardless of how good/bad the product is.

I also know that Adobe has good engineers, but I don't see that they have much support from the management. By support I mean providing enough resources for delivering software of superb quality.

Your statement about "internal assessments of Adobe's management by its own engineers" is great, but show me the money. Why in the world does it take two years to release the next version of Flex?
Inadequate funding.

Why Adobe substantially raised the licensing cost of LCDS leaving in the dust those IT shop who started using it?
Poor management.

Being a democratic and cool executive is nice but not good enough. They need to make the right decisions to get better external assessment too.

Yakov Fain

roche 02/10/10 05:24:00 AM EST

Perhaps the greatest problem with the Apple/Adobe conflict is how many people grant Apple the high ground in the discussion. Adobe isn't being deprived access to Apple products because of quality. It's being deprived access to Apple products because that's what Apple does.

First of all, consider the business diplomacy issues. Adobe wants access to Apple's platform, so it cannot be forthcoming with its retorts. If you read between the lines, Adobe's response is always "our quality isn't an issue, and our customers are asking for access". This is very much a guarded statement, staying polite and ambivalently taking the higher ground.

Now, consider Apple's track record. Apple isn't a software company, it's a hardware company that runs proprietary software. To save some reading, suffice it to say that Apple has never enabled an OEM to install its OS or products (save ITunes & Safari), reaping the benefit of a constrained support base. Compare that to Microsoft. As maligned as their products are, you can install Windows XP on any machine from a multi-processor server down to a netbook. It supports everything. Apple's game is to keep the hw/sw relationship very safe.

Taking that knowledge to their iPod/iPhone/iPad family of products, consider what else they fail to support. Anything available on PC/Mac via browser plug-ins is not supported in iP*'s Safari. Java, Flash, etc... None of it is supported.

Now consider the balance of Apple's business. There was a time where Quicktime took the bulk of online video market share away from Real and MS. Then came Flash. Now, Quicktime is a piece of history rather than the authoritative online video platform, and Apple hates that. iP's video is all QT, they've even painstakingly ported it for YouTube streaming consumption. Those scars are still relatively fresh, and this is the first high ground Apple has had over Adobe since.

So, the bottom line is that Flash isn't supported on Apple's portable products because Apple wants it that way. Because it makes business sense to stay polite, Adobe is just reiterating indisputable facts about customer demand and its own bug stats. Apple is at fault for making this a shooting match.

And, finally, the Flash team has taken their platform (Flash/Flex/Actionscript) from an obscure product with a proprietary language to a far-reaching platform with a codebase that reaps support from a global community of developers. I've worked with Actionscript before, during, and since its frequent upgrades enhanced functionality to compete with Java, Javascript, and C# as far as functionality and support are concerned.

With due respect, your article documents a phenomenon that might have worked with gas station attendants, but not the architects, implementers, and testers of a hugely popular platform with a fully functional API. I'd question your perspective with regard to management and professionalism, seeing your virtue (or lack thereof) regarding your "burn it down" policy toward what you perceive as prima donna engineering teams. Read glassdoor.com's internal assessments of Adobe's management by its own engineers. People are harping on them for not making Flash a bigger product. It seems no one with first-hand perspective or an empathetic mindset wouldn't feel the need to destroy an engineering organization to prove a point about salaries or process.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is corr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and high availability solutions, leveraging the cloud and the benefits of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS...
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.