March 4, 2017 Comments Off on Helpful article on Apache Spark with use cases
I recently wrote Spark for Dummies in partnership with IBM. For those curious about this highly interesting and innovative technology – and the numerous scenarios where it can add value – there are increasing numbers of helpful online resources. A good example of what I mean is a recent article by Radek Ostrowski from Toptal. He provides a concise Spark overview, along with some sample use cases.
I’ll continue to cross reference online resources like this as I run across them. If you’d like to read more about all things Big Data, be sure to check out some of my other related postings.
February 28, 2017 Comments Off on Bad Sales Engineer Behavior #4: Negativity
Show me a salesperson with a negative attitude, and I’ll show you someone who will be looking for a new line of work before too long. Sales – and sales engineering – just isn’t a good fit for someone with a gloomy outlook. A while back, I wrote about skepticism and the damage it can do to a sales engineer’s career. In that context, I defined skepticism as approaching each sales opportunity with a dubious perspective and relentlessly putting the sales representative on the defensive – hardly a recipe for a harmonious relationship.
But negativity goes far beyond mere opportunity cynicism to color how the sales engineer interacts with everyone else in the organization, from immediate peers to people on other teams such as marketing, engineering, and product support. Negativity manifests itself in many ways, including continual criticism, doubts about the basic competence of everyone else, and questions about why the company is even in business! People pick up on this attitude very quickly, and it’s one of the most common reasons why a seemingly successful sales engineer is shown the door, whether or not they’re reaching their sales goals.
For those readers that are thinking of becoming a sales engineer but haven’t made the transition yet, I urge you to honestly evaluate your mental outlook and worldview before you start the process: Are you someone who sees the glass as half full, half empty, or shattered in pieces on the floor? If you can’t change your attitude for the better, my recommendation is to refrain from embarking on what is universally acknowledged as lucrative yet very taxing career.
January 1, 2017 Comments Off on Spark for Dummies is now available
A few years ago, I wrote Hadoop for Dummies, which presented an executive-level overview of Hadoop, its capabilities, and its amazing potential. Since then, the Big Data world has continued its relentless march forward, with Apache Spark serving as one of the most exciting and well-adopted new technologies. I’m happy to announce that I’ve just written a companion book dedicated to Spark. Here are the major topics that I cover in this book:
- Spark’s history
- How it works
- Why it’s such an important Big Data breakthrough
- Real world use cases
- How Spark, MapReduce, and Hadoop can work together
- How you can deploy it in your enterprise
- Best practices
You can download a copy here.
This book – which was sponsored by IBM – is a great example of the kinds of high quality technical marketing content developed at Think88. These include white papers, case studies, evaluation guides, technical presentations, and market research.
December 20, 2016 Comments Off on Seven attractive career paths for sales engineers
Whether you label it sales engineering, sales consulting, or simply pre-sales, supplying technical guidance during the sales process for highly complex goods and services can be a lucrative, intellectually stimulating career.
Many people happily spend decades working as sales engineers: I’ve met plenty of contented – and very well compensated – sales engineers (SEs) in their sixties who first took on this role in their twenties! On the other, lots of SEs view the job as a stepping stone on the path to other responsibilities – in their own organization or in other companies.
As I’ve depicted elsewhere, the most successful SEs are masters of blending technical and selling skills, which makes them highly desirable candidates for all sorts of different jobs. In this series of posts, I’ll be describing the advantages and drawbacks for some of the most attractive career paths available to sales engineers. Here’s a brief list of those alternatives:
- Post sales technical consulting
- Product development
- Technical support
- Client-side jobs
And since there are plenty of opportunities for SEs to advance within the sales engineering organization itself, I’ll write about that too.
If you’re interested in being notified of future editions, subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter: @RD_Schneider. You can read other sales engineering-related posts here.
November 10, 2016 Comments Off on Helpful article on journalist protection is relevant for us all
In the aftermath of this week’s US election, it’s worthwhile to – once again – revisit techniques to protect private information from those that have no business seeing it. Here’s a link to a very useful article from The Atlantic that might give you some ideas about how to safeguard your data. If you’re curious about other security and privacy topics that I’ve written about, here’s a shortcut to them.
October 30, 2016 Comments Off on Why the recent Internet of Things (IoT) attack is just the beginning
A few days ago we witnessed a new type of distributed denial of service (DDoS) incident. Unlike previous botnet attacks that enlisted compromised computers, this one corralled assorted unprotected devices like Internet-ready webcams, DVRs, and baby monitors to flood Domain Name System (DNS) servers, and thereby seriously degrade the Internet for hours. I’ll leave the explanation of the mechanics of this incident to more qualified commentators, but I do want to weigh in on why I think these types of events are very hard to combat and why I’m very skeptical about the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT).
We all (well, many of us) know how important it is to keep our computers and software patched and up-to-date; most people also get why firewalls are essential. But consider these facts about IoT devices:
- They’re being created for just about every industry. This diversity means that it’s much harder for the entire universe of vendors to agree on common security standards: defining safeguards for a heart pump is a little different than for a Web-ready washing machine. I’ve served on my share of standards committees: to say that they move slowly is an understatement!
- They have really short development cycles. IoT is shaping up to be a brutally competitive landscape. The winners will be those vendors that deliver solutions to market quickly. Designing and building strong security safeguards takes time, and time is money. The end result is that device protection takes a back seat to market pressures.
- There’s limited space for security software. Margins are very thin on hardware devices: security-focused onboard storage space adds costs that aren’t directly related to functionality.
- They frequently rely on APIs for communication. I’ve blogged about API security in the past. Suffice it to say that it’s a rare API that’s locked down properly.
- New models are always coming on the market. Here’s the really scary part: even if vendors do start getting their security act together, it will be years before today’s highly insecure devices get retired. Meanwhile, they’ll be standing by for their next set of DDoS orders.
September 30, 2016 Comments Off on Nice article about serverless architectures
As cloud computing – and the infrastructure that underpins it – continues to advance, we’re seeing some very interesting new software development design patterns gaining traction. I’ve been working with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for years, and it’s been fascinating to watch it evolving into new approaches such as microservices and now serverless architectures. Unsurprisingly, leading cloud computing vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS) are getting on board the train, with AWS Lambda an example of where things are heading.
If you’re curious about what serverless architecture is all about, Mike Roberts has written a comprehensive article on Martin Fowler’s website. I encourage you to check it out, because you’ll be hearing more about serverless architectures in the very near future.