She’s an inventor, she’s a mom, she’s a VP at IBM…Jessica Murillo does it all. She’s not only a role model for women in technology, she’s a role model for anyone in technology. With dozens of patents, years of experience, and a strong vision of the tech trends that will impact business over the next several years, she is someone worth listening to. I interviewed her last week for OpenStack Podcast #18, and got her thoughts on:
- Why tech needs women
- Why IBM is so interested in OpenStack
- OpenStack’s growth and momentum compared to Linux
- The power of the OpenStack Summits
- How she manages to raise a family while building such an impressive career
- Why it’s important to ask for help and build a strong personal as well as professional support community
- Why more girls don’t gravitate toward science, math, and engineering, and what we can do to change that
For a full transcript of the interview, click read more below.
Niki Acosta: Good morning! Good morning! We are running a little bit behind. Jeff is on a plane right now, and the Google was confused. We’re here. I’m super, super honored to have a really amazing person on our podcast today. I’m Nikki Acosta. I work at Cisco. Jessica, please introduce yourself.
Jessica Murillo: My name is Jessica Murillo. I work at IBM. I’m currently the vice-president of strategy for our assistance team, but most recently and this is how I got to know Niki is through my participation with OpenStack and the OpenStack Summit. The role that I had for the last couple of years was for working … still working for IBM, and our Cloud development group focused on our OpenStack deliverables. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years.
Niki Acosta: I’ve known you for quite some time. I think one of the first times I met you, I was asking about how you got into tech. You told me about your patents. I was just blown away. I was like, “Wow!” This is like an amazing person who’s a mother and a woman and a VP, who just does it all. I was absolutely blown away.
Tell our viewers how you got into tech.
Jessica Murillo: Sure. I got into technology the standard way. When I was in college, I chose to take a programming class, and that led to a degree, an undergraduate degree, in Computer Science. After undergraduate school, I got a job working for IBM. At that time, we were called programmers. That really is what people call software engineers today.
After doing that for 10 to 12 years, I worked on a variety of operating systems at that time. I worked on OS/2, which is the first multithreaded operating system, followed by UNIX, and then Linux as well. After about 10 to 12 years of working as an engineer, I went with a local school here. I’m from Austin, [inaudible 00:02:09] and got an MBA, because I wanted to impact a larger area of the business.
Since that time, I went into management. I’ve had a lot of different leadership positions both in Linux, UNIX, as well as open software. That’s how I got my start, and talk a little bit about patents. Probably about 10 to 15 years ago, I started working with a patent team. It’s a group of folks that I worked with that we come from different backgrounds. We had worked on different technology basis.
What we do is we come together once or twice a month just to talk about ideas that we have. It’s really cool, because I’m very fortunate to work for a company that invests in invention. We’re able to write patents. Then IBM files them on our behalf. I have filed I think the last count about 150 patents, and 40 of those have been published. I’m an inventor. You can find me on Google patents.
Niki Acosta: That’s so cool. Are all of your patents around specific products or around things that you’ve built?
Jessica Murillo: It’s all across the board. There are some things on usability, usability of tools. There are things on security. There are also things related to cloud and file systems. Really, it’s kind of a eclectic group of patent portfolio.
Niki Acosta: Taking a step back, one of the things that we do in the Women of OpenStack group … I’m sure we can talk about this more here in a minute. One of the things we want to do is make technology a friendly place for women to work. I can imagine that as you got into this career or that you were a minority in that group, and so many women leave tech because culturally, they don’t feel like it’s a good fit for them.
What was it like to get your foot in the door in tech, in IBM, and go to school where there’s more probably more males than females, and then move up the ranks at IBM, which I’m sure just as any other tech company, women are outnumbered by men?
Jessica Murillo: That’s true. It is a male-dominated field. It’s an area that I know is a passion of yours. It’s the passion of mine as well to have young girls interested in science and technology, science and math or STEM. It’s where it starts. That usually happens probably eight, nine, and 10 years old. Then supporting them through middle school, and doing things like Science fair or First Lego League, and then into high school starting to …
Actually, it starts in Junior High. The programming stuff starts in Junior High and the High School, but keeping young girls and women engaged across that spectrum is very, very important to start. I was lucky. When I was young, I did a little programming, but it was mostly just on my own. It got me interested.
When I went to college, I went to school sitting in your first programming class, and I was one of maybe three girls, three women, in the class. That’s just what you get used to. You go to the lab at night. You’re the only woman. For me, it’s spurred me on, but I can definitely see how that could be an inhibiter and a distractor for some women who want to see other role models that look like them.
You don’t have that sense of community. I think it’s very, very important to not only get that good start, but to … If you look at some of the numbers, it’s about 15, 20% women are enrolled in engineering schools. We have to have a higher number. It has to start at the ages of 10, and 11, and 12. Getting those girls interested in programming, math, and science, and then feeding that program all the way up through high school into college. We need that number to be bigger.
Then when they go to work … I know you’re a mother as well. After you have that first child, there is that thought, “Should I go back to work? Am I going to be able to … Is my employer going to support me? Am I going to be able to have a balance?” I am very fortunate. Working for IBM, there’s lots of female role models. There is lots of ways to balance and have a way to balance your workday and your family life.
I do feel very fortunate, and I would encourage women who are having … They don’t know what to do, or they’re having issues, and they don’t know what to do. I encourage them to seek out other role models, people who have already been down this path. Trust me. There’s lots. All you have to do is ask, and they’ll talk to you and maybe give you some advice on how to proceed.
Don’t think you’re alone. There’s lots of us.
Niki Acosta: Why do you think that so few women go down that path? Is it cultural? Does it have to do with the human brain and how maybe men and women process information slightly differently? What prevents you think women from going into that field now?
Jessica Murillo: I think it starts early. If you look at early studies, women actually excel at Math and Science more than men at early ages, but they’re not always the quickest one to yell the answer in the class. Women process information differently. They want to work in groups versus work alone and be that person yelling out the answer. What I’m seeing now is a whole shift to design, designing a holistic approach for coding.
I’m sitting today in the IBM Design Studio, where it is groups of designers with product managers, with our clients, with coders all sitting together and designing our next generation systems. That’s where women can really shine, because we bring of a holistic view. I knew we had this discussion before about diverse teams.
If you build a product with five people who all have the same background, they look alike. They came from the same school. They have similar opinions. You’re probably going to get to end of job with that product pretty quickly, because everyone is thinking the same. They can read each other’s minds. That’s a great thing. Well, not necessarily because the product that I just designed, developed, and delivered, it’s for them.
It’s for those five people. Is that going to have a wide appeal to a broader market? Women are 50% of the buying force. You have to keep that in mind. Yes, you can get to end the job quickly, but is it going to be the best product? That’s why I think that diverse teams can bring a lot of added value to the process.
Niki Acosta: I’m definitely one of those people that looks at something and goes, “Well, if you do that, isn’t that going to happen?” Many people cringe like, “Oh shoot! I didn’t really think about that.” Not to be a Debbie Downer and all. Man, there’s so much we can talk about. I was looking at this … I really wanted to talk about this, why women shouldn’t code thing. That popped in the social web a couple of weeks ago.
It irritated me slightly. I probably don’t deserve to give it the attention that it needs. I want to skip that. Let’s talk about what you’re doing at IBM a little bit.
Jessica Murillo: Although my role has slightly changed in the last couple of months, I still have OpenStack and cloud and the oversight that I have. I am designing the strategy for our next generation IBM systems. Cloud is obviously a huge part of that. Since my background is in Open Systems and then Linux, I see so many parallels with what’s happening with OpenStack now, and what probably was happening 15 years ago in Linux.
The numbers are just crazy. I think there’s over 20,000 people now who are associated with OpenStack. There is over 400 companies who are on the OpenStack bandwagon. It’s just gained such fast momentum, much faster even if you look at the adoption of Linux. We have some pretty big shoes to fill as far as quickly being able to take this momentum and turn it into something real for clients.
That’s what I like about working with open standards is because you’re not locked into a single platform, a single vendor. It is something that you can build upon. It’s a framework that you can start at the infrastructure layer with things like cloud. You can start with OpenStack or IBM’s open power foundation. Then you build to the next layer with things like Cloud Foundry.
As long as you’re able to have that seamless up and down the stack conversation … We’re going to have these … One of our senior leaders at IBM, Danny Sabbah, talks about clouds, open clouds. I think that’s what we’re going to see. Working with clients on their journey to Cloud has been … It’s interesting, because everyone starts at a different place.
There’s not a cookbook. There’s no recipe. You start step one, step two, step three. Some people are starting at seven. Some people are starting at one. Some people are starting at 20. You have to be able to have a foundation that is versatile and flexible enough, that you can start anywhere along that continuum.
We are interested in developing cloud technology that’s going to work both on- and off-premise. You can think about our SoftLayer acquisition or even with other public cloud providers. Things are going to work on premise or what people used to call private cloud. Data that is going to stay within the customer’s data center, and then really where a lot of the discussion has gone in the last year, so it’s around the hybrid, so the data models where data can reside either off-premise, on-premise, or in between depending on what the user needs.
That cloud within cloud, why we’re so interested in OpenStack is because it’s extensible. We can build this architecture on-prem, off-prem as well as hybrid with something like OpenStack.
I’m also using things like Docker for Linux containers, Cloud Foundry for the platform to the platform tool set. It all links together. That’s what we’ve been … That’s what we are focused on, linking these parts together.
Niki Acosta: When you’re talking to people who are interested in OpenStack, you said they’re all in different places. Do you see a huge difference in the mindset around cloud now versus, say, a year ago? Are light bulbs going off with the people that you’re talking to, or are they still not quite there yet?
Jessica Murillo: I used to have this joke. You probably heard it. If you ask 100 people what’s cloud and have you adopted cloud, you’ll get 102 answers, because everyone’s starting at different spots. The progress that I’ve seen in the last year is that clients are much more educated on what cloud is. They understand the terminology. They understand what options are there.
They don’t quite know how to get there. We want to just underline that track. We recently did a study. IBM does this every year. It’s a CIO study. While 70% of CIOs said that they know they have to adopt these next generation data center technologies, like Cloud and the Linux Mobile Social Security, only 10% … There was between 10 or 15% had a plan to do that.
That’s a big gap for our CIO community. We have to go to them with not this, “You need to buy this thing,” because they have to rapidly progress their clients along this continuum. You have to give them some options of where to start. To answer your question, I definitely have seen more education and better questions, but there’s still some work to do.
Clients fall into two different camps when it comes to OpenStack. Either they have people working on OpenStack. They have probably a small team. They’ve been doing some POCs. They’re very, very knowledgeable. We saw this when we’re talking to people at the summit. There are people who are hearing about this for the first time.
What we have to do is we have to bridge that gap. We have to get those experts in with the people who were hearing about it, who understand the terms but don’t know how to implement it, and get those two together. That’s going to create the traction that we need. Every OpenStack Summit that I go to, it’s, “OK, let’s talk about user stories. Let’s talk about who is using this technology,” because we want to have those examples that other people can replicate.
Best practices, how do you get started? There’s lots of companies that are making really good money by implementing OpenStack for clients. That’s what we have to make sure that the message gets out there. It’s that, “This is ready for primetime technology.” You can kick the tires, but there are people who are using it in production.
Niki Acosta: Do you think the promise of OpenStack … At this point given the fact that there are so many vendors with so many flavors and so many distributions, is this doing you think more damage in the long run to OpenStack as a whole? Is it too vendor-driven at this point?
Jessica Murillo: You can say it’s the same thing. I’m going to probably sound a broken record, but this is a lot like what was happening 15 years ago with Linux. There were dozens of Linux distributions. Over time, they can sorted their self out for people who wanted to be for the long haul. I think the same thing will happen for OpenStack.
Now, I am fine with working for a commercial company. I see both sides of it. I think that you have to contribute to the core, but then you do have the ability to differentiate on top. You need to be able to make some money off this technology, or this technology would die and no one would invest in it, right?
I see the necessity. That’s why at IBM, we have hundreds of developers who are contributing to the core. Then we also take that product, and we build both private cloud technology, hybrid cloud technology, and off-premise technology, and serve it to our clients with OpenStack. We have offerings all across that spectrum. That’s a very good thing, because there’s not every client who is going to want to build their own OpenStack instance.
There are. There is going to be CERNs of the world who want to do that, but for 95% of the clients they’re not going to invest to that level. It’s going to take commercial entities or companies like IBM or Cisco to go do that for them.
Niki Acosta: Thanks for name dropping my employer.
Jessica Murillo: I know. I gave you a shout out.
Niki Acosta: Shout out! That’s super interesting. I talk to people every day, and it’s the same thing. There’s people who are just like, “Yeah, I’ve heard about this OpenStack thing, but I don’t really get it.” Then there is the people who have heard of OpenStack and they’re too scared to ask what it is, because everyone else in the room already knows what it is. They just sit in the back. Those are the people I love chatting with, and saying, “Hey man, you need an OpenStack 101?”
I try to get them to a farther place, but definitely seeing traction and movement. It’s been really interesting too. One of the things that’s happening with some of the larger tech companies is that their brand and their image is changing. You think about companies like IBM, like HP, like Cisco. You’re starting to see these sub brands emerge around the cloud.
I’m not sure what it is. I’m not sure if it’s because traditionally, companies like ours have traditionally worked with IT and the data center folks. Now, we’re working more with people actually writing applications or what. I have to say I really like what IBM is doing with their Bluemix, branding, and campaigns, and just the level of participation in OpenStack.
You guys just had a meet-up, right, at IBM?
Jessica Murillo: We did. We had the sender team hang together. We did a meet-up last week. It was a mid cycle meet-up. There were representatives there of course from IBM, HP, Dell, SolidFire, NetApp, RackSpace. It was great. They came together for … It was about three or four days. They were able to …
Usually, they interact through mailing lists or IRC, but came together. I think the count was more like 25 items off their list of things that they were working on. They had to have group consensus on. I thought it was really positive that they were able to come together, and not just at the summits for … I think when we’re talking these periods of early adoption of … There’s lots of things happening at OpenStack.
That face-to-face communication cross-team has got to happen. I’m glad we were able to do that with them.
Niki Acosta: For anyone who hasn’t been to an OpenStack summit, it’s crazy. It’s awesome. It’s really fun. There are a ton of smart people there. At my first summit, there were just a few hundred people. I think it was Boston. To see just how much it’s grown and how people who are competitors are able to work together and play in the same playground is truly amazing.
I think IBM is doing a good job in trying to wrangle some of those efforts together to really contribute back to open source. It’s cool stuff.
Jessica Murillo: I was looking at some of the stats. We had 4,600 people at that Paris summit, which … Given the location, I thought that that was amazing. I think there was about that many, maybe a few more in Hong Kong before that, I’m sorry, Atlanta before that. Then Hong Kong I think was 1,000 below that. It’s just crazy how it’s rolling 1,000 between years, around 1,000 participants. That’s crazy.
Niki Acosta: Certainly, the talks are getting more interesting too. They had the Thunderdome showdown at the last summit, where you had four very opinionated OpenStack leaders go head to head in the Thunderdome. It was like, “Wow! That’s cool.”
Jessica Murillo: In any open community, there is never a lack of opinions or characters. We have our share of those as well, which keeps it lively.
Niki Acosta: I love that. What else do you want to talk about? We wanted to maybe talk a little bit about the Women of OpenStack group.
Jessica Murillo: We do. Definitely, this is an area I know that we’re both interested in. I’ve been sponsors for. IBM was fortunate enough to sponsor a couple of Women of OpenStack events in Paris. Before that, the Women of OpenStack have done a great job of getting together at each summit, mostly for networking and trying to build a sense of community within the larger OpenStack community, which I think is very positive.
What we did. We had about 80 participants at our networking social in Paris. It was before the event. The idea was, “Let’s get some women together, so they can make some friends and maybe meet up with people later in the week.” Then on Tuesday morning, we held a blueprint session, where we used an IBM design or a design thinking methodology to look at what are some of the key issues that are facing women or underrepresented groups that are participating in OpenStack.
What are some merits we want to focus on? Two of the main areas that we wanted to focus on was mentorship, and then mentorship that led to having more speaking opportunities for women, because it’s important for your ideas to be heard. To do that, you have to be in front of people. You have to have leadership positions on different projects.
We wanted to help create a sense of community, and have a roadmap for how the people will get there. As you know, I appreciate Niki, Anne Gentle and Dianne Miller participated in a very well-received talk on how to get your abstract, which is the first hurdle, accepted for an OpenStack summit or any technical summit.
I had a lot of really good feedback on that. That’s been our first … one of our first outputs of that meeting. I hope to continue to have those types of sessions at each OpenStack summit, both networking as well as looking at what we need to do for the next six months for women or underrepresented groups leading into the next summit. Then have some mid-cycle meet ups for the Women of OpenStack. That’s the plan.
Niki Acosta: It’s so killer that you’ve been spearheading that effort. Jessica, you are just completely a beacon of inspiration for women in tech just in general and in OpenStack. I know you’re a mom.
Jessica Murillo: I am. I have two daughters. Julianne is 12. Jeanette is 15. We live here in beautiful Austin, Texas. They grow up fast. I just feel so blessed and fortunate to been able to have a career in tech and be able to balance that with my life as a mother. It’s been a real blessing.
Niki Acosta: I travel a lot. I know based on how many times we rescheduled this podcast that you travel often too. A lot of people, especially when [inaudible 00:25:34] asked me like, “What are you doing with your kid while you’re gone?” I’m like, “Well, he has a dad. His dad’s completely capable of taking care of him.” How do you manage being away from your daughters when you have to travel?
Jessica Murillo: Support system, it’s so important. It’s kind of similar to that support system of Women of OpenStack. Your personal support system is very important. I’m a single parent, so when I have to travel, my parents come in and move into my house to take care of my kids. Nothing misses a beat. I am so lucky to have that support system. I encourage women to … You just have to ask.
What do other people do? Some people have spouses. Some people have other people, have other arrangements. At the end of the day, you can make it work. When I started my career, sometimes people would ask me, “What’s your five, and 10, and 15, year plan?” I really hesitated when people would ask me that.
I knew I had to have a stock answer, right, because, “If you don’t have an answer, then you’re not ambitious.” If I look to what I thought 20 years ago when I started my career, and look now, I don’t think I would have imagined myself being here. I would not have imagined the path I took.
I think it’s great to have the vision, but don’t worry about the steps in between because that’s going to take care of itself. Just learn and move along the way. I was thinking about when we we’re preparing for this. One of my senior college projects was… it was dreaded. We had to develop a …
It was more of an analysis project, where we had to design a computer system all the way up from the hardware, the firmware, the software, the application, the operating system, the application writing on top for a business, for a business problem.
It was a semester long thing. You get one grade, this one project. I just remember my team. We developed a project that was based on a brand new technology. It just so happened to be at IBM. I hadn’t gotten the job at IBM yet, but it happened to based on a brand new IBM technology. I remember our professor liking our work, but said, “You should have never picked that unproven system from IBM. You never pick generation one.”
To think about how much that has changed to today, it’s crazy. No one wants to be implementing things from 20 years ago. They want to be implementing something that has a foundation that will grow. Just thinking back how quickly things have changed in just 20 years, 20 years does probably sounds like a long time, but it hasn’t been.
I’m very excited about what’s happening with OpenStack and the foundation we have established. I think a lot of the stuff will sort itself out. One of the questions we had talked about is, “Do I have something with OpenStack that keeps me up at night?” I have to say I think most of this will sort itself out. One thing I hear from clients is being able to ingest such radical changes in technology, because we’re having such rapid advancements between six months releases.
“I can’t bring that in-house. It’s too hard.” What I think is going to happen similar to what happened with Linux is there is going to be a stable tree established. There will be an innovation tree. Then the idea is that some of the innovation makes it into the stable tree. Over time, I think that’s going to have to evolve the way we come out with releases every six months.
I think that’s one of the areas that we need to improve upon for the next couple of years, to increase adoption of the technology.
Niki Acosta: I had a side thought. Do you have any Girl Scout cookies? I’m in the market.
Jessica Murillo: We sold girl scout cookies for years. Both my girls were girl scouts. They’re not selling this year, but yeah, I remember sitting outside the Chuy’s at 9:00 at night just freezing because I had to sell those Girl Scout cookies. I guess, support your local Girl Scouts.
Niki Acosta: Oh man, it’s probably good that I don’t know anyone really immediately that sells girl scout cookies. What else should we talk about? We’ve talked about OpenStack and lessons learned at scale. What’s available at IBM now? What can customers take advantage now? What are the products? What are the features?
Jessica Murillo: A little commercial for IBM, I appreciate that. The product that I worked on was the IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack. That’s facing basically our foundational cloud offering. What includes there is the OpenStack release. Typically, we try to come out within weeks of the latest release’s release date. That’s a lot of releases on a row, but within weeks.
Four to six weeks, we will have … After Juno is available, we will have the IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack updated with Juno, and then also some lightweight cloud management. That’s a part of it. Then to compliment that offering, we have our IBM Cloud Orchestrator that allows more broad cloud deployment and management.
One of the things that we talked about in Paris was a IBM hosted OpenStack from our SoftLayer, based on the SoftLayer technology. Basically, you have a privately managed OpenStack instance. I think that’s really great for clients who want to kick the tires. They don’t necessarily want to create the administration, but they want to try things on OpenStack. They want to get started quickly. That’s a good option.
Of course we have Bluemix. Our Bluemix environment, you mentioned it earlier. I definitely would suggest people go look at that. Log in, and see what services are available. We want our Bluemix services to work across all our different cloud platforms including OpenStack as well. Those are some of the highlights from just the last two months.
Niki Acosta: So killer. It sounds like you guys are … You have the expertise throughout the entire stack, which is really cool.
Jessica Murillo: We’re focused on the hardware side of it. Enabling our hardware to work well with clouds as well as our software through our middleware, and then our public cloud offerings, things like software. I’d say [crosstalk 00:32:37] together.
Niki Acosta: I was going to ask if you guys are hiring, but that’s probably a rhetorical question. What are you hiring for right now?
Jessica Murillo: We are hiring, yes definitely. We did have our signs out at OpenStack. We are always hiring talented people who want to work with a diverse worldwide team. Today, one of the things that we’re looking for are people with more design skills on how to design overall solutions for clients. That could be both code as well as user experience.
We’re always looking for folks who want to work with a fast-paced team of … That’s the great thing about working at IBM. You’ve probably seen that in some of the engineering companies you’ve worked with as well. The great thing is you work with really smart people. I would encourage people who want to …
You might not think of IBM as being a cutting-edge company. You might think of it as a company that was for the data center. Well, it’s data center for tomorrow. We’re still doing a lot of cool stuff. We’re looking for designers. We’re looking for developers. We’re looking for architects, people who can implement OpenStack solutions, and definitely, we will be looking to hire.
Niki Acosta: That’s so funny. You mentioned thinking of IBM as an older company. My grandfather thinks that I make set top boxes, cable boxes, because he has a Cisco cable box and this little box in his house. He’s like, “You guys you made those boxes, right? That’s cool.” I’m like, “Yeah, sure. Sure, Gramps. That’s exactly what I do.”
I’ve tried to explain cloud to him. I took a lot of pride in my cloud explanation, but I just failed with my grandfather. He just doesn’t understand.
Jessica Murillo: IBM is over 100 years old. We are a established company. That’s not a bad thing. So many times, people think of technology is what you hold in your hand like this, and not what it is connecting to. The great thing about working in a larger company, I’m sure you’re seeing this in Cisco as well, is the ability to move between different groups.
I change jobs every two to three years, but I keep incurring vacations. I keep incurring my 401K. It’s great. I get to reinvent my career every two or three years. That’s great.
Niki Acosta: I have to do that too. I get bored out of my mind if I do something for too long. Let’s see. You guys are hiring. You’ve got some great products it sounds like around OpenStack. Are you submitting any talks to the OpenStack Summit? If so, what are they so we can vote on them?
Jessica Murillo: We are. Unfortunately, I don’t have the list with me. We’re still internally vetting them, but we do have several … Internally, we have several hundred talks that had been submitted internally, that we will then pick the best and have those go forward. Yes, so February 9th, that is the deadline for talks. I will definitely publish … I’ll be tweeting what the IBM talks are for voting.
Niki Acosta: How can people find you, Jessica? I often chat with you on Twitter.
Jessica Murillo: My Twitter handle is Jessica Murillo, but it has a one. It’s with the I. When I created this Twitter ID eight or nine years ago, I didn’t realize how often I would use it. That was jess1camurillo.
Niki Acosta: Jess1camurillo, right?
Jessica Murillo: Yes.
Niki Acosta: We have it on our OpenStack podcast Twitter link. It’s linked up there if you want to find Jessica and chat with her. You’ll be in Vancouver and hopefully Tokyo, yes, maybe?
Jessica Murillo: Yes. That is the plan. I can’t wait. I’ve never been to Vancouver. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been to Tokyo for work many times, but my first trip to the northwest, so I’m looking forward to Vancouver for sure.
Niki Acosta: I know Diane Mueller from Red Hat lives up there. She’s got the ultimate list of things to do, see, eat, and drink while you’re there. I’m really looking forward to hanging out on her turf.
Jessica Murillo: I will have to publish that for sure.
Niki Acosta: She’s such an awesome woman too. What’s next for Jess? You do strategy, which is super cool. Strategy is one of those things that I think personally means that you do a whole other things that are really hard to categorize. Is that fairly accurate?
Jessica Murillo: I think that is fairly accurate. What we’re working on now is … Strategy, it can be the next three months. It can something greater than 12 to 18 months. What I’ve been working on is not tactical, like zero to 12, but things that reach out 18, 24, 36 months in the future. I got to work with a lot of cool people, not only in the industry with our clients across IBM, to develop the next generation systems that are going to support those technologies.
You’ll be seeing work from IBM. There are huge focused on cloud analytics, being able to analyze data within your clouds to combine those together along with social and mobile. It’s a very powerful way to use data, because I truly believe that the next huge economy is going to be around data. It’s not going to be …
Data is going to be what we’re going to be focused on. You’re already seeing some companies taking advantage of that. One of IBM’s, we’re a 100-year-old company. We’ve been around for many year because of the security of our systems and what we offer. Security I think is going to be also a very important area for our clients and for our vendors to ensure that in the cloud that your data is secure.
That’s another focus area that we’ve been looking at.
Niki Acosta: What are you most excited about looking forward? It could be something that you’re personally excited about that’s going to make your life easier or better or something maybe a little bit more like scale. What technologies are exciting? What trends are you seeing that might get you, “Yes,” inspired?
Jessica Murillo: Personally, having a 12 and a 15-year-old, the explosion of what’s happening with social media. That phenomena cannot be ignored. It’s something that I see. They have a new hot app every two to three months. I won’t go into the names, but it seems like I have to catch up and make sure I get that app, so I can monitor what they’re doing and saying.
That’s just a part of their life. They think in tweets. They think in snap chats, things that are happening instantaneously. They don’t understand when they have to wait for five minutes to … They will not sit with an application and wait for something for five minutes. They’ll go to the next application. There’s got to be a faster way to do that.
I think that velocity, agility, how much data is coming across the social networks, and then just people’s expectations of having things instantly is going to change the way that we work, we think, we play, and we live for the foreseeable future. That’s what I think is most impactful.
Niki Acosta: Gosh! You just scared the crap out of me. I have a four-and-a-half-year-old. He’s already addicted to an iPad. I’m stoked about home automation. I am really getting into home automation. It is crazy cool. It started with the Nest Thermostat like so many others, but it has moved now into lighting, which is amazing. Geofencing lighting supports if this then that. You could do some cool stuff.
When I walk up to my door, it light my whole house up. If I’m out of town, it turn my lights on between these hours and these hours, just really cool geeky-nerdy trick at your home with your computers thing. I think that’s going to be really cool.
I can’t imagine that my son probably by the time he’s old enough to drive, he’s going to be like, “You guys drove cars? That’s crazy. They didn’t drive themselves?” I can’t even imagine what that’s going to be like.
Jessica Murillo: It’s about partnership, and that’s with this morning about self-driving cars. You probably saw it as well, but the partnership to figure out how to do that. You think about those cartoons that you might have seen, like the Jetsons. We’re not that far away from what’s happening. I think the palpable one now is Back to the Future.
The things that were happening in back to the future since it was 2015, having those are really coming true today. The hoverboard would be really cool. I’m pretty sure I’d fall off of it, but I would like a hoverboard.
Niki Acosta: I saw some folks that made one, that you have to have a really interesting copper surface that’s really smooth or something. It’s there. They’re working on it. Crazy, crazy future. What else, Jessica? Is there anything else you want to talk about? I am just so stoked that we got to chat today. I think you’re the first woman to be on the podcast.
I, by the way, invite more women to be on the podcast. If you are a woman of OpenStack, let’s hang out. Let’s chat.
Jessica Murillo: One question I had is when we talked about this, and it was last year, you just asked me, “Hey, do you want to be on this OpenStack podcast?” I had to admit. I had not heard of it before, but I went back and looked at some of the replays. I thought it’s really great content. How do you guys come up with topics or speakers for this venue, because I had not heard of it before? How long has it been going on?
Niki Acosta: We’ve been doing this now, oh my gosh I don’t even know, for quite a while at this point at least. Before the last summit, we had already started. Basically, it’s just doing networking. We meet people from different companies. If there is a new company that pops up and it seems really interesting, we try to find via social media somebody that would be happy to join the podcast.
We just chat. It’s been a crazy cool learning experience for me personally, especially when you talk to people that were on the board, like Rob Hirschfeld and some of the other folks that we’ve talked to. Just to see what’s going on behind the curtains in terms of OpenStack, and the kind of problems that the Foundation has to solve in terms of keeping the projects moving, making sure that code can be accepted and put in the project, and is stable, and is enterprise-friendly.
They have a lot on their plate. They do a crazy amazing job. It all comes down to the people that are part of OpenStack. I know there is quite a few other cloud or tech podcasts out there. I know Aaron Delp has a good one. The vBrownBag guys are always doing cool stuff. We definitely wanted to have one that was specifically OpenStack focused.
When we started it, we didn’t have any clue how long it would go or what it would be like, but it’s really fun. I’m sad Jeff is not here because he would have had a blast chatting with you today. He’s on an airplane. I think he might be watching. Hi Jeff.
Jessica Murillo: That’s a great thing. I’m glad actually that you can’t use your cell phone on planes for voice calls, because then, we would never stop working. It’s great that he can participate through WIFI.
Niki Acosta: I can tell people this but it might block it. There is an app called Viber, V-I-B-E-R, that if someone else has Viber, for some reason it’s not on Southwest restricted throughput list. I’ve actually had phone calls on Viber while I’m on the airplane. Just a pro-tip, if you’ve absolutely need to call somebody, if you wanted to check on your kids while you’re flying. It looks really weird when you’re on the plane and you’re like, “Hey, what’s going on over there?”
Jessica Murillo: I have not heard of Viber. Your secret is safe with me and whoever is watching the podcast.
Niki Acosta: Whoever is watching, we typically get a couple of eye viewers, and then we get a ton of recorded viewers. I have a request from you. I’m hoping at some point in your life that your kids will scour the internet for you when we were talking about data, and they’ll come across this video. They’ll be like, “That’s my mom. That’s so crazy.” What do you want to say to your daughters that you think they will love to hear from their mom later in life when they find this video on the web?
Jessica Murillo: I didn’t really look at your social media. That’s what I’m sure what they would want to hear. No, I did. I did this for a project. It was probably like five years ago. You wrote a letter to your younger self. What I try to instill in my daughters is that the only thing that’s holding you back is yourself.
There are no limits in your life. Just be fearless, and remember that you are setting the limits, not anyone else. That’s what I try to instill in them. It’s hard into that 12 and 15-year-old brain to tell them this, because they’re getting so many different inputs. It’s different being a kid when we were growing up.
The parents still have a lot of inputs. My advice to women in tech, to my daughters, to anyone who wants to get started is just be fearless. If you don’t ask, you’re not going to get. You might as well ask. If you don’t like the answer you’re given, then just keep moving forward. There’s always a path. There’s always a path forward. You just have to believe in yourself and to find that path.
Niki Acosta: Man, that is solid advice, so cool. Jessica, thank you, thank you, thank you again for joining on the podcast. Next week, we have Yuriy Brodskiy. He’s the director of cloud tech from engineering at Symantec, which will be really, really cool. The week after that, we have Joe Arnold from SwiftStack. Two really cool shows lined up.
Again, if you want to follow Jess on social media, you could find her on Twitter @jess1camurillo, but the I in Jessica is actually a one, so jess1camurillo. You’ll be able to follow her there. Jess, thank you again so much for joining us today. We can’t wait to see you at the next summit.
Jessica Murillo: Sounds great. Thanks Niki and thanks Jeff.
Niki Acosta: Take care everyone. Ba-bye.
Jessica Murillo: Bye.