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Interview with Tibco CTO Matt Quinn: That two second advantage

Zafar Anjum | Oct. 29, 2013
In a quick interview in Las Vegas, Zafar Anjum asks Matt Quinn, Tibco’s CTO, about the company’s approach to big data, mobility, cloud, and R&D.

"So you set an agenda and then they just follow?"

"I try to do more than just set an agenda," he clarifies. "Because otherwise I just become an empty suite. I will give you an example. Earlier this year, we launched Cloud Bus. Cloud Bus came about because we believed that cloud computing was becoming very very important and so the agenda was very simple. The agenda was -we are going to pivot to the cloud. We are going to find products and services within our portfolio that makes most sense to move to the cloud. There was a whole bunch of different kinds of things that we looked at. Then we said we are going to do Cloud Bus first, and so it was myself and my team working with the engineers to build the cloud because if the first one is successful, it becomes a template for others to follow."

He further clarifies his views about taking the lead in driving innovation. "It does not mean you do everything," he says. He gives an example of moving a rock-let's say that's the task at hand. "What it means is that you are the first one to the damn rock. It is a lot easier to direct traffic when everything is moving than when everything is at a standstill."

He likes the last line, and laughs at it. It is catchy, kind of a quotable quote.

The public relations person reminds us that it is time to end the interview. Perhaps one last question? Yes. I appreciate the leeway and ask him one last question: on automation. I ask him, going forward how do you see technology departments in enterprises evolving? Will they shrink? Will they be totally gone?

"This to me is a little bit back to the future moment," he says. "When I started in Tibco 16 years ago, one of the things I saw was that in financial services, the capital markets had huge amount of IT and corporate IT relatively wasn't as big. So everybody was putting in a lot of money into the front office. Over time more of the budget moved to the corporate IT. If I look outside of that I see the same thing. About the same time the app vendors started to consolidate. With software as a service we are going back to that model because these SaaS applications are so focused I think the balance of power is shifting a little bit. It also means that the citizen developers are also becoming much more important."

I find the answer a little bit hazy. Perhaps we need further probing but time is up and Quinn has to go back to the stage to complete the set up for the next day.

I thank him and walk out of the hall.  


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