Alternate Title for this Post: “The Ken and I”
Ever know one of those people who take things that they’re passionate about really seriously?
I had an impromptu hallway conversation with Ken Muir yesterday. He’s the director of engineering over Novell’s GroupWise product line. As an engineering manager, Ken is typically very…what’s the word…determined? I’ve always known him to be that way, even way back when he was simply a developer and I was merely a product guy, both of us on the ZENworks product line. (Ken’s gone places since then, and I…well…I have a blog.) But ever since Ken started on GroupWise, he has seemed to be more singularly focused on, and empassioned by, his product than I’ve ever seen him before. I’m not saying that I know Ken extremely well, but I know him well enough notice the difference. I’m glad that GroupWise has his attention.
Anyway…Imagine my embarrassment when I ran into product line manager Phil Karren and started spouting off that we really need to get a much better GroupWise client for Linux out, and get it out soon. (In doing Linux demos, I want GroupWise to look like the coolest thing since beer in a can. I mean, doesn’t GroupWise deserve that?) Just as I was just getting warmed up for a good rant to Phil, Ken appears. To be sure, Phil would have shut me down soon enough, but he wouldn’t have done so quite as…abruptly? Ken pounced on my second or third sentence, his voice already rebuking me before he had even come into sight. Phil settled back and watched on with some amusement. (In fact, come to think of it, Phil’s smile may have expressed the deeply kharmic satisfaction that one gets upon seeing a car that had earlier sped by and cut you off in traffic, now pulled over by a cop.)
Anyway, Ken and I got into it for a couple minutes, and eventually found common ground, worked out agreements, etc. That’s not to imply that we had some kind of out-and-out verbal altercation–it was all very respectable. We have known each other long enough to have the kind of rapport that allows us to debate and know that we will have a productive outcome. Ultimately, we know that we share a commitment to a common cause.
Anyway, one of the outcomes in this case is that Ken posted “GroupWise Linux and Mac Client Futures” on Cool Blogs. It’s a really good post–exactly what I want to see more of from product leaders at Novell. In the post, Ken specifically names the current priority items on his team is working on, and solicits readers’ feedback on the list. Ken will take your comments very seriously. Trust me on that.
One last thing. Ken also mentions that he’ll be at the upcoming GroupWise Advisor summit. If you’re going, introduce yourself to him. He’s a good person to know.