I actually don’t know why. They wouldn’t tell me. There was no reason given, no warning, no notice, no anything. I went into a meeting to discuss the larger Pivotal startup offering and I was ambushed with “the decision has been made”. There was not so much as a conversation or meeting about performance or problems, let alone a write-up or plan to correct them. The whole thing is incredibly strange and disappointing. I came into Pivotal Labs a few months ago excited and passionate, and I am now leaving Pivotal bewildered and dumbfounded.
I stirred the pot on the distinction between corporate and startup marketing to be sure, but never would I have imagined it put my job in jeopardy. And I certainly wasn’t told that, I wasn’t told anything. Even in the ambush of a meeting when I asked ‘why’ repetitively, no explanation was given. The Pivotal Labs I knew, I respected, I admired is no longer. This would not have happened there. It was not how they conducted business. It is sad the bigger company that took its name from Pivotal Labs cannot live up to it, but such is the case. I wish I had seen it sooner.
Pivotal is for corporations, it is for the enterprise, it is not for startups.
When it comes to Pivotal’s current state of play with startups, there are a relative few newbies trying to adjust to an environment they are not fit to serve, matched with no shortage of corporates pretending to be something they are not. That being a startup itself. I have never seen a 1-yr old company in such a hurry to become corporate. In general, I do not trust 3 letter acronyms. They are desperate to adapt and survive. They are slow and biased, tainted and inflexible, stodgy as they are depressing. Pivotal is part of one unfortunately.
Pivotal Labs as it was may be no longer, but it does not change Pivotal’s viability in providing a patch. Make no mistake, Cloud Foundry is well positioned to give large legacy what they’re looking for and take billions off of them in the process. Some may even buy enough time to plot another course, or at least get off a few life boats. It will not save the sinking tankers however, as even now the Tesla’s of the seas are being launched. You cannot change from which you come, and Pivotal comes from the old guard. Pivotal Labs represented the best of the new guard to me. They helped great companies build great software. They were the best. That is not the focus anymore.
The legacy system providers are desperate for a way to evolve, they will unleash their treasure troves in the attempt, but it does not change reality. Their foundation is old. The new will outperform them no matter how expensive the patch. After all, patches are themselves a sign of the legacy that will be surpassed. On the bright side of course is the fact those treasure troves are deep, and new agile companies are in a better and better position to slice off pieces of them. I would look at Cloud Foundry and its Federation in that light. Even for the newest of companies you can launch off-the-shelf enterprise compliant. THAT is valuable.
As much as I’m disappointed in how the collective Pivotal conducted itself, I am gratefully appreciative to have gotten to meet so many amazing people at Pivotal Labs. I have never seen anything like it. It was a privilege, and for their sake, I wish Pivotal the best in its endeavors. With that said however, it does not change the following cold, hard fact.
Pivotal Labs is dead to startups. R.I.P.