Posts Tagged 'Movie'

May 10, 2012

The SoftLayer API and its 'Star Wars' Sibling

When I present about the SoftLayer API at conferences and meetups, I often use an image that shows how many of the different services in the API are interrelated and connected. As I started building the visual piece of my presentation, I noticed a curious "coincidence" about the layout of the visualization:

SoftLayer API Visualization

What does that look like to you?

You might need to squint your eyes and tilt your head or "look beyond the image" like it's one of those "Magic Eye" pictures, but if you're a geek like me, you can't help but notice a striking resemblance to one of the most iconic images from Star Wars:

SoftLayer API == Death Star?

The SoftLayer API looks like the Death Star.

The similarity is undeniable ... The question is whether that resemblance is coincidental or whether it tells us we can extrapolate some kind of fuller meaning as in light of the visible similarities. I can hear KHazzy now ... "Phil, While that's worth a chuckle and all, there is no way you can actually draw a relevant parallel between the SoftLayer API and The Death Star." While Alderaan may be far too remote for an effective demonstration, this task is no match for the power of the Phil-side.

Challenge Accepted.

The Death Star: A large space station constructed by the Galactic Empire equipped with a super-laser capable of destroying an entire planet.

The SoftLayer API: A robust set of services and methods which provide programmatic access to all portions of the SoftLayer Platform capable of automating any task: administrative, configuration or otherwise.

Each is the incredible result of innovation and design. The construction of the Death Star and creation of the SoftLayer API took years of hard work and a significant investment. Both are massive in scale, and they're both effective and ruthless when completing their objectives.

The most important distinction: The Death Star was made to destroy while the SoftLayer API was made to create ... The Death Star was designed to subjugate a resistance force and destroy anything in the empire's way. The SoftLayer API was designed to help customers create a unified, automated way of managing infrastructure; though in the process, admittedly that "creation" often involves subjugating redundant, compulsory tasks.

The Death Star and the SoftLayer API can both seem pretty daunting. It can be hard to find exactly what you need to solve all of your problems ... Whether that be an exhaust port or your first API call. Fear not, for I will be with you during your journey, and unlike Obi-Wan Kenobi, I'm not your only hope. There is no need for rebel spies to acquire the schematics for the API ... We publish them openly at sldn.softlayer.com, and we encourage our customers to break the API down into the pieces of functionality they need.

-Phil (@SoftLayerDevs)

March 2, 2011

Motivation to Rock the Boat

Have you seen The Social Network? I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to see a movie before it comes out on iTunes or pay-per–view these days, so I'm a little late to the game on this one. I watched most of it on my flight back from Parallels Summit in Orlando ... And I say "most of it" because I started it up right when they said it was legal to turn on my device, and I had to stop watching it when iTunes decided I didn't need to see the last twenty minutes.

One minute, I was enjoying Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker (of Napster fame) yelling, "Let's get some Sho..." and the next minute, I'm smacking my iPad to figure out what happens next. Since they were at a club, I assume he was saying "shots," but I may or may not have had shots at the SoftLayer Happy Hour, so I might have been projecting.

Needless to say, I was mentally writing a sternly worded email to the higher-ups at Apple as I smacked my iPad like a early 80's televesion set to get the movie to start again. The story was interesting, and I couldn't help but think about its motivational slant.

Sometimes when you do the same job for a few years, you lose focus of where you've been and where you're headed ... both on a personal level and on a company level. I've had the opportunity to see SoftLayer grow from "start-up mode" to where we are today, and in the course of that growth, I filled seven or eight different positions throughout the organization. From the frontlines of support to the back office of marketing to large scale projects that work strategically on the company as a whole, I've seen our success from every angle. And The Social Network reinvigorated me with a fresh wave of SoftLayer-focused motivation.

What I'm trying to figure out now is which perspective in the story I was most motivated by. Is it okay to be inspired by the way Zuckerburg executed on the idea of "thefacebook," or does the moral compass require me to root for the Harvard Connect gang? Does Sean Parker's vision for Facebook and influence on its growth lose steam if it's framed by how it affected Eduardo Saverin?

Regardless of which sides are the "right" ones to take, each involves a dramatic departure from the status quo. I'm not encouraging you to go start a legal war or model your business after Facebook's quasi-factual history, but don't be afraid to rock the boat a little if it needs to be rocked.

Jean-Paul Sartre once said, "Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat." If that quote were to pick a side in the movie, it would be on the now-defunct Harvard Connect side ... With a few billion dollars less than the alternative.

-Skinman

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