Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A year in review.

Officially, CodeGear (and Borland) are in the midst of a holiday shutdown.  This is because the week between Christmas and New Years is never a very productive week due to many people taking the time to spend it with their family and friends.  With the new year approaching, I thought it might be good to spend some time reflecting on all that has transpired throughout the venerable 2006.

January 3rd, 2006 - Met with Tod Nielsen for one of his 100 one-on-one's in 100 days.  I vaguely discussed the content of that meeting here.  One thing I did not discuss in that blog post was that the subject of spinning-off Delphi (and friends) into some kind of separate company or subsidiary was actually mentioned.  It was mainly couched in terms of “fantasy“ and “what would the world be like if.“  I related the many conversations among Gary Whizin, Chuck Jazdzewski, Anders Hejlsberg and myself where we would all wax poetically about this subject.  Little did I know ;-).

February 7th, 2006 - Received a phone call from Rick Jackson (then the acting VP of R&D at Borland) letting me know about an announcement about to go over the wire the next morning.  Began working on a blog entry to be posted immediately following the actual public announcement.  Didn't sleep very much that night, that's for sure.

February 8th, 2006 - Fly! Be Free!  This is a date that will stick in my mind for many years to come.  Borland announces both the acquisition of Seque Corporation, and their intention of selling the Developer Tools Group to a yet-to-be-named investor or entity.  I still believe that Borland pre-announcing the intent to sell the DTG was the best approach.  There is simply no way to keep something that big and involving that many people secret for very long.  The rumors and speculation would have been far more distracting and frustrating for everyone involved.  How do to even keep something like this from the rank-and-file employees when you're asking for information how to separate internal computing systems, divide up the sales and support staff, and all the hundreds of thousands of little details?  Wholesale acquisitions of a company can far easier be held close to the vest, but for the DTG business which has been so intertwined with everything in Borland, you just could not keep it sufficiently “under wraps” for very long.

February 23rd, 2006 - The first of my “DevCo” - XX days after announcement posts.  The intent was not only to keep the customers informed, but also to make sure everyone was aware that there are real people behind these transactions.  I also wanted to make sure there was some trickle of information to let folks know that, while the content and substance of all the “behind the scenes” work could not be divulged in detail, it was clear that work continues.  One statement I made in that post was that “Once the deal closes, we can remove the Cluetraining wheels.”  As we move into 2007, those training wheels are now off.

March 16th, 2006 - Things you always wanted to know... This is an interesting post not just because of the content but because the reference to “Ed” is actually none other than CodeGear's very own Ben Smith!  So now you know ;-).

March 21st, 2006 - "DevCo" - 5 weeks after spin off announcement.  This post caused a bit of a stir among the “bankers” involved with the whole spin-off.  Apparently my progress posts began to be the only real source of information for the press since our PR firm was regularly contacted for clarification about certain posts I'd made.  The main sticking point was the mention of BearStearns and their reactions ;-).  From this point on, when I'd walk into the room for a meeting and the “bankers who shall not be named” were present, I'd get the obligatory “No blogging about this meeting!”  It actually became a kind of running joke for many months... with a hint of seriousness tossed in.  One thing I will note was that Ben Smith, was a supporter and still is, of my blogging and rarely did I ever get a “you stepped over the line” from him.  I'll admit that I certainly did push hard on the line throughout that period!

March 24th, 2006 - "DevCo" - Ping....  This was one of the first posts to highlight that even during the whole spin-off process, we were committed to appropriately growing the team.  We'd just hired a new compiler engineer to help on the C++ compiler.

Aprin 1st, 2006 - "DevCo" - 1 year after spin out announcement... I'm certainly happy that we didn't actually go more that one year to get to CodeGear.  However, that didn't stop me from having a little fun at our own expense.  I will, however, point out that while I was having some fun with that post, there was some drama happening behind the scenes regarding how we're going to carve up certain shared technologies and services.  I just took the opportunity to poke some fun at the process.

April 17th, 2006 - One Intern, Two Intern... Red Intern, Blue Intern....  We like interns.  Especially the “Asok” variety ;-)  One thing to note here is that we did hire an R&D intern over the summer, and have now offered him a full-time entry level position.  So, if you're in the S.F. Bay area, are a C.S. or C.E. student, let us know.  CodeGear can use you and you can get some valuable real-world experience (at least as “real-world” as it is around here ;-).

May 4th, 2006 - Borland announces "DevCo" progress...  The first official word from Borland that the Developer Tools Group was an independently functioning entity within Borland.  This was also the first time I really felt like I was in a different company.  I mentioned the company (Borland) meeting and how I really felt more like an outsider than actually a part of Borland.  From this point on, that separation just became more and more pronounced.

May 26th, 2006 - Questions, comments, suggestions, smart remarks....  This was the start of the Developer Tools Group soliciting the customers and the general public to send in their name suggestions on what we should call this new company/entity.  CodeGear was actually born out of all the myriad of suggestions we recieved.  I don't think anyone actually mentioned CodeGear specifically, but there were a lot of CodeXXXX and XXXGear suggestions.  Michael Swindell simply culled through all the suggestions and came up with CodeGear.  There were about 4 other top candidates for the name.  Since we do own the domains for those other names, I'll not mention them here since we may actually decide to use them for other things in the future.  In an internal Developer Tools Group poll, CodeGear stood head-and-shoulders above the other suggestions.

June 14th, 2006 - Nick-alodean.  This was an excellent day!  We finally convinced the ever present, tireless, Nick Hodges to join the Developer Tools Group!  I've known Nick ever since he posted, arguably, the first “Open Source” Delphi component, TSmiley.  As a long-time member of TeamB, and staunch Delphi supporter, it seemed so natural to invite him to to the helm of Delphi.  Nick has never been one to shy away from controversy and attack the issues head-on.  Since joining the Delphi team, sipping from the proverbial firehose, and being tossed into the deep end of the pool, he's becoming a clear asset to the Delphi product and the team.

July 7th, 2006 - It's a little quiet around here...NOT!  This is one of my first posts in reference to entering a “quiet period” during the spin-off process.  This is merely a period imposed both internally and by the rules of a publically held corporation to ensure that the whole process goes as smoothly as possible.  As it was explained to me, we could not have any information from this point leak out through unofficial channels (and, yes folks, this blog is about as “unofficial” as it gets).  Those deeply involved wanted to be spending more time on the details of the actual process and not get distracted by having questions about some trickle of information.  This only serves to make all those involved nervous and distracts from the core of the transaction.  We could not even hint at how many and what type of interested parties there were.  Standard fare for these kinds of deals.

August 7th, 2006 - They're baaaack.... Even during the “quiet period” imposed about the details of the spin-off, we here at the Developer Tools Group (CodeGear) were anything but quiet.  This marked the release of the Turbo editions of the Delphi and C++ products that were part of the Borland Developer Studio.  We also introduced the Explorer Editions of the Turbo products as a freely available download.  To date, 100s of thousands of the Turbo Explorer editions have been downloaded and continue to be very popular.

September 12th, 2006 - Will the real "DevCo" please stand up.  I just couldn't pass this up.  As some collegues and I walked back from lunch, we saw this truck entering the campus parking lot through the entry gate.  As we walked around to get back into the building, I snapped this photo with my camera phone.

October 30th, 2006 - New Delphi Survey.  The annual Delphi survey is posted.  The results of this survey and many other sources have a very profound affect on our product plans and roadmaps.  One small change to the roadmap that has been hinted at since Nick Hodges presented it at a user group in Amsterdam, is the movement of Unicode support for Win32 to the release following Highlander instead of Compact Framework.  Other changes are coming, so stay tuned.

November 14th, 2006 - CodeGear := TCompany.Create;  Finally!  Yes, I know, I know.  It was not exactly what we'd planned on, but it is certainly close!  After having been allowed to “peek behind the curtain” throughout the whole spin-off process, I'm still excited and totally stoked about being able to control our own destiny.  Yes, I know that this isn't going to be easy.  Yes, there is risk.  And, Yes, I'm a little scared!  However, it is a motivating fear, not a paralyzing fear!  A little bit of fear is actually good!  When you mix a little bit of fear with confidence, you have a recipe for success.  Without the formation of CodeGear and all the other events over the last year, I scarcely cannot even imagine what state Delphi, JBuilder, C++Builder and InterBase would be in.   I choose to not dwell on such things and only remain thankful that we are where we are.

November 27th, 2006 - Cough... cough....  As the dust clouds began to settle and the initial reactions to the CodeGear announcement began to wane, I offered my opinions on what this all means.  The good thing is that we can all put it behind us, pick up what we've learned, and charge ahead into 2007!

Well, there you have it!  It's been quite a year and that was only the highlights.  I haven't mentioned that we've hired and re-hired a lot of new and established talent.  We've been very hard at work on the product roadmaps to better adjust and align them to customer demands.  The dev teams have remained focused and are working hard to meet the roadmap goals and milestones.  We all here at CodeGear are beginning to feel more in control and are closer to how we drive success.  The distance between our CEO and the rank-and-file CodeGear employee is a mere 3 steps.  Unlike Borland where it can easily be twice or more than that.  The CEO and our head sales VP sit up here on the third floor with all the developers!  In fact, Nick Hodges is sandwiched between them!  After the first of the year, there will be no Borland employee here in the CodeGear, Scotts Valley campus.  Sometime in Q1, '07 we'll be officially “launching” the CodeGear company.  In the meantime, our marketing team is hard at work getting ready for this event.  As a matter of fact, last week I attended a meeting with the marketing team and an outside “branding firm” that will be helping us get the message out about what CodeGear is and what it stands for.  I found in interesting that the head of this outside firm was actually part of the Borland marketing team during the heyday of the developer tools.  I think this firm may actually have a clue about developers.

I want to take the time to thank all of you who read this blog (all two or three of you ;-).  I've tried to be as forthcoming with information and my own insights as I can.  I've also appreciated all the comments and reactions over the last year, even the ones I don't agree with :-).  Happy New Year!  I wish you all a productive, successful, and enriching 2007!