When I took over OpenNMS in May of 2002, I had no idea it would become as big as it has, even to the point of outliving the company that started it. I knew my goal for OpenNMS – to make it the de facto network management application platform for everyone – was huge, and the only way to go about it was to heed our mission statement, which is:
Help Customers – Have Fun – Make Money
That, some luck and a lot of sweat equity has seen the OpenNMS Group through nearly nine consecutive profitable years, and we have built a great community as well having the best customers on the planet (in 26 countries, no less). But I knew the day would come where we would need someone with more experience to take the reins to get OpenNMS to that goal, and that someone is Ron.
I’ve known Ron for longer than OpenNMS has been around. He, David and I used to work together, and while the two of us went off to focus on network management, Ron went out in search of huge challenges. He was always focused on the mobile communications industry, and he worked his way up to become the Chief Technical Officer of Sony Ericsson, and then the Chief Strategy Officer at HTC. He managed engineering teams of over one thousand people, and has been responsible for the production of over 200 million mobile devices.
And while he is too modest to point this out, the most successful times in the history of those companies was when Ron worked there.
Ron will be directly responsible for the next phase of OpenNMS. We plan pretty aggressive expansion to better serve our customers, as well as improved Windows support and the introduction of some software as a service products to help our users get the most out of OpenNMS. He is fully on board with my two requirements for the OpenNMS platform: it will never suck and it will always be free.
With Ron’s help we have developed a wonderful business plan that will see some phenomenal growth in the OpenNMS software. Yes, this means the ever talked about but rarely seen, OpenNMS “Nukem Forever” Version 2.0, will become a reality (it is, in fact, a key part of our future). With a focus on a new, state of the art user interface and taking the already impressive scalability of OpenNMS and making it virtually unlimited, OpenNMS 2.0 will position the platform for the coming “Internet of Things”.
But this didn’t happen overnight – Ron has been on our Board since January and we have spent hundreds of hours making sure this is the right thing for us to do. At one point in the process David deferred a decision to me, saying that no matter how long he has worked on OpenNMS, he still considers it “my baby”.
Well, my baby is all grown up and ready for college. OpenNMS, and the OpenNMS Group, has always been much more about the team than me. All I did was shelter and nurture it, and now it is time for me to just take pride in watching the project reach its full potential.
Seriously, any credibility I have in this business is from standing on the shoulders of giants. The only true talent I have is attracting amazing people to work with me, and I plan to put that talent to use as we grow over the next year. While no longer taking the lead on the direction of the company, I have been named the Chairman of the Board, and I have chosen to focus on what I love to do best: help our customers. While we aren’t much on titles, I think mine will read Chief Operations Officer.
But in my heart I will still think of myself as Julie, the Cruise Director, here to make you OpenNMS journey as pleasant as possible.