November 2008 was an interesting turning point for my career, my family, and my life. The company I was working for was acquired and on the day of the acquisition the acquiring company laid off 150 people – including me, my boss, and my bosses boss. This is de rigueur as acquisitions go and all in all I was not overly concerned about it. Annoyed, sure. But not all that concerned.
Up to that point I had been steadily working for close to 20 years in the computer hardware and software world. In case you may have forgotten in November 2008 we were fully into the financial meltdown on Wall Street and a Presidential Election was imminent – both of these were going to lead to some significant changes in the coming months. Little did I know that those tectonic plates that were moving under the nation were also going to directly affect me in such a strong and impactful way.
For the next 14 months I spent time on consulting projects and also was able to spend more time thinking about and engaging with the Social Media community. I have met some of the best and smartest people through the Social Media Club Seattle chapter. I liked it so much I joined the board of directors. I look forward to continuing to help grow and contribute to the Seattle social media scene. I also look forward to continuing on with the business I’ve lived for 20 years.
At the SharePoint Conference in October I had the pleasure of meeting with Tim Mortenson and Jim Saavedra of Kodak. We continued to talk after the conference and a few weeks ago an opportunity came up to help extend the Kodak business with Microsoft. I took it and that’s what lead to this blog post today –in a sense it’s a new beginning. In other ways it’s like going back to my roots.
Old Friends – Good Friends
I’m looking forward to working with some of the same people that I met back in my days at Kofax, FileNet and Microsoft. In some ways the Document Capture segment of the ECM industry industry hasn’t changed much. In other ways it’s been changed by the ever increasing rise in the popularity of Microsoft’s SharePoint server. I think Document Capture will play a significant role in SharePoint’s Next Billion Dollars.
Some of the people at Kodak include people I’ve known at Bell + Howell for years. You see, Kodak completed an acquisition of Bowe Bell + Howell in Sept 2009 which will allow me to the chance to work Mike Friel, Sophia Marchi, Russell Hunt, Roland Simonis, Jim Saavedra, and too many others to list here. With their permission I will be writing about some of them and talking about how we are helping to transform and extend the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry.
I’m also looking forward to re-connecting with partners, analysts, customers and many others to shape the future of Kodak. In fact, I’ve already started by reaching out to a few analysts and partners I know. If you haven’t heard from me yet … feel free to ping me directly. My contact information is below. The market is wide open and I’m going to need the help of people with the passion and drive needed to transform the industry.
It’s gonna be fun. Who wants to play?
Back to My Roots
In some ways this is a journey back to where I started. In 1992 I joined a company by the name of Kofax Image Products working for Don Field. Don is still at Kofax and is still a great friend and mentor. Don hired me just after I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona as a newly minted engineer. The role at Kofax required me to shutter a company that I had run for 5 years where I was a SCO Xenix and Unix reseller.
Ironically, in this day and age, I will keep my consulting business. Not because I expect to drive a lot of revenue. Mainly because I will continue to write, speak, and get involved in projects where I’m really passionate about making a difference.
Back to my roots. Some of the companies I’ve worked with and worked for in the past might be confused about the areas where and how Kodak plays in the ECM space. I will be working to insure we have a clear message here – at least as it relates to the Microsoft partner ecosystem. I look forward to reconnecting and exploring options to expand the footprint. It’s not Zero Sum Game – Vendors, Partners, and Customers can work together to drive the whole industry forward.
What to Expect?
Initially … a few less tweets. I just hit 11,000 tweets last week. However, as I come up to speed I will continue to tweet and blog. I’ve got an idea in my head to capture my first year at Kodak much like I captured our first year with our puppy Ellie. I don’t think I’ll have the same format of “What did Jeff Learn this month” however I think I will share some of the tidbits I’ll be picking up from a company that is at a critical juncture.
Of course, I won’t be sharing confidential information. So, if you will be reading my blog posts for tips on the stock market or what’s coming from the Kodak labs --- you will need to look elsewhere. However, I do plan on sharing what we will be doing in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) space and how we are using Social Media to get the message out. I’d like to think that these will be case study worthy efforts that will help Kodak and other companies come up to speed and utilize social media to build their business.
As I retrace and relive some of the experiences from my roots in the ECM space I expect to run into an work with a lot of the people I have lost touch with over the years. I look forward to this. The Enterprise Content Management industry will transform and shift a lot in the next few years. I look forward to being a part of that and if we do it right we will be at the leading edge of the spear to instigate and see through some of these changes.
2010 and Beyond
As we start off the new year I will be looking for ways to extend and enhance the Microsoft SharePoint world. Of course, there are numerous ways to go about this task. I have a few ideas that will be explored in the coming days and weeks with partners that share the passion and drive the push the ECM industry forward. As these efforts start to gain traction look for some exciting news as we expand the footprint and broaden the intersection where Microsoft, Kodak and partners work together.
In 2010 I will continue blogging, tweeting, and posting videos. You can still reach me in the comments below or your can reach me via any of the contact points below. My role at Kodak is Director of Business Development with an emphasis on Microsoft SharePoint. If you have a question or an idea about Kodak and how we might be able to work together to go from Good to Great feel free to contact me (I will add my Kodak e-mail address as soon as I have it. I think it’s firstname.lastname@example.org.)
As the title of this blog post states it is somewhat of a New Beginning. Yet, the world has changed. I think the market is wide open and I’m going to need the help of people with the passion and drive needed to transform the industry.
It’s gonna be fun. Who wants to play?
About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.