Why leave IBM?

Since announcing my departure from IBM, there have been many questions about the move:

“What happened?”
“Why are you leaving?”
“Is there a non-compete that keeps you from coming back and working for us?”

I want to put any speculation to rest and explain all this in one place so I can just send a link.  It’ll be easier for all concerned.  Let me take these in order.


What happened?

Nothing “happened”  in the sense of a precipitating event or ill will on anyone’s part.  Sorry but there is just no dirt to dish here.  If you want drama, go read The Odd is Silent and search for “Nosy Store Clerks.”


Why are you leaving?

Best explanation I’ve written is posted on Facebook:

IBM’s expectations of me in PLM were preventing me from spending as much time as I’d like in the WMQ community. As a PLM you are doing all sorts of behind-the-scenes work that takes time from public-facing activities and are often working on things that are unannounced and confidential and you can’t talk about at all. So it was actually difficult to do that and contribute externally. My intention is to work more in the community and be a bigger asset to WebSphere Messaging externally than I was internally.

Fact is I’m pretty good as a consultant and fairly suck as a product manager. It seemed like a good idea at the time, didn’t work out and neither I nor IBM have hard feelings about it. In fact, I’m cleared to work through ISSW so can continue to serve the same customers even as I’m out meeting new ones. It can only get better for me, for IBM and for the WMQ community out there with this move.

If you’ve worked with me as a consultant, you know when it comes to deep technical topics I’m in my element.  Give me a set of requirements to design from, or a misbehaving system to troubleshoot, or a security perimeter to penetrate, and stand back.  But whether it’s my Asperger’s, my temperament, or a deficiency in “soft skills,” or some combination of all these, I wasn’t nearly as effective as in product management as I am in a technical or teaching role.  Not that I was bad at it, but I can’t stand to toil away being merely good at one job knowing there’s another where I excel.


Can you work for us?

Yes!  I’m available as an independent or if you have a preferred vendor list, I have agreements with several established services firms, one of which is bound to be on your list.  As alluded to in the last section, IBM Software Services is one of the firms I’m able to sub-contract through.  In the few cases where there’s a non-compete issue, all I need to do is refer you to the IBM Software Services Practice Manager.


Bonus question: So why not go back to ISSW?

I’m extremely interested in Internet of Things, Personal Clouds, Vendor Relationship Management and Identity Management.  IBM doesn’t cover all these spaces and where they do they tend to specialize.    I’m a “deep generalist”.  I want to do all of these at once.  And, of those they do cover, IBM tends to work in the Enterprise space whereas some of the things that most entice me are happening in startups.

So who is my target market?  Anyone from my regular large enterprise customers all the way to the small startups at the other end of the spectrum.  And if you are located in one of the two states I have yet to visit (Alaska and Hawaii) I’ll figure out an incentive for you.