“You’ve been down there, Neo. You already know that road. You know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be.”


Not looking for “Redmond Lite”

First of all, I’d like to thank all of you for your wonderfully kind thoughts and wishes on my “Leaving Microsoft” post.  That felt excellent, especially coming from such an illustrious group of people 🙂

In those comments, some expressed a sentiment that it was a shame MS didn’t keep me on in another role.  I want to clear that up – the folks at MS made many such efforts.  One way to view it is that they were trying hard to retain me.  Another way is that they were sincerely trying to help.  Both are true, for which I am honored and grateful.  MS could not have handled things any better.

Bottom line for me, though, was that after 14 years at “the brightest point in the MS galaxy,” I didn’t think I would thrive in “the outer systems,” to paraphrase from the book of Luke (Skywalker).

Please remove walls, ceiling, and net

Furthermore, in recent years I’d had a growing desire to try to build a business on my own.  Take an idea, accept the risks associated with pursuing it, take responsibility for delivering results, remove the restraints that naturally exist at a large company, and directly reap whatever rewards come from it… if it succeeds.

High risk, high reward.  Flexibility to pursue multiple ideas, to the extent that I am willing to put in the hours.  Ownership, in every sense of the word, was what I was looking for.  I’d been increasingly wanting that, and if I wasn’t willing to try it now, I knew I never would be.

I just needed to find the right fit.  And then, the right fit found me.

“Knock knock, Neo”

RedpillMatrix The trail started a few months ago.  An email from someone I didn’t know, with a movie quote as the subject line!  Followed by a face to face meeting in a picture-perfect town that looked like the setting of Gilmour Girls, The Truman Show, and the Stepford Wives blended together.

I never would have guessed that such a setting was the chosen lair of an analytics Morpheus, leader of a renegade BI outfit, who already grasped the potential of PowerPivot to change the rules.  It was a fascinating lunch – two High Priests of compatible religions opening each others’ eyes to possibilities.

I took the red pill 🙂

This Artist is Amazing - Click for his Site“That is the sound… of inevitability”

As of today, I am now officially CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and CAO (Cinematic Analogy Officer) of PivotStream.  (Seriously.  I’m gonna put both titles on my business cards.  I’ve long said that it would be ideal to be paid to quote movies, and this makes it official.)

They are data ninjas who move silently through the halls of big business. The Consumer Packaged Goods, Pharma, and Retail landscapes are where there art is most deadly, but they have forayed into other arenas as well, even…  sports data.  They accept data challenges for the sake of solving them.

I can’t say it any simpler than this:  they are my kind of people.

And PowerPivot figures heavily in our plans, so to already have “Pivot” shrinkwrapped in the title is pretty damn nice as well.

Why this fits me

No walls, ceiling, or net – the P3 Adaptive division
My mission is to run a Skunkworks-style startup division, charged with jumpstarting new platforms and business models.  No walls.

And for the first time in my life, I am a partner rather than just an employee.  I can’t tell you how exciting that is for me, to have my personal and professional success so tightly linked.  I can die by this particular sword, but I can also live very well by it.  No net.  No ceiling.  Pure motivation and energy.

Mission #1 – On-Premise BI JumpStarts
Think of this as consulting and training.  Want to hit the ground running with PowerPivot or the overall SharePoint/MS BI Platform?  The Pro (and my team, when needed) will come to you and get you up to speed fast.  [link removed due to 404] More details here.

Mission #2 – My Pet Project
How cool is it to pitch your pet idea and be told “yes, get started immediately!”  Well that’s how Morpheus rolls.

What is it?  Well, it will be easier to show it than explain it, so I’ve got some work to do.  In the meantime, here’s the gist:

  1. PowerPivot is at its core, so I will always have good fuel for the blog and FAQ
  2. I see myself becoming a bit of a Mashup Monster – of data, tools, and services
  3. At times, it most definitely will involve sports – how could it not?
  4. At times it will also leverage PivotStream’s existing expertise in Retail, Pharma, and CPG
  5. “IQ as a Utility” is one way we’ve described it amongst ourselves

Secondary Mission – PivotStream’s Current Business
PivotStream already has customers today, using an existing platform.  The expertise is already in place to keep that platform cranking along, as are the plans to grow business on it.  So that’s not going to be my focus, but I will be advising on infrastructure and optimization out of the gate.


Thanks for reading this far.  We now resume normal programming.