Is complexity inevitable?

Posted on: April 8, 2019 by Monish Suvarna in Isima

Is accidental complexity the norm for Software?

Isima was born because Darshan and I saw so much complexity in Data Solutions where the answers were simple. Some of the complexity came from integrating many different good products instead of thinking end to end. We saw layer after layer of point solutions that solved one problem well, but made the complete solution a lot more complicated. Each point solution was easy to try and use, but the entire system deployed at scale needed an army. The end result of this complexity was that Enterprises had no real ROI to show after years of huge investments in Big Data.

Beginning our journey at the end

My journey of understanding this complexity started in a very different world with my visit to meet with Mark Durcan at Micron in 2015. Micron was making incredible advances on new types of storage. Stephan Lai was instrumental in educating me about the future of the storage and it became clear that the possibilities of this innovation were endless.

We sat and thought about the markets that we could disrupt with this once in a lifetime hardware disruption – video, big data, etc. While the video market was interesting we discarded it because the GTM was too complex. We then kept iterating on the Big Data market until we found an unsolved need where the market came to us. We had many long moments of frustration, but never lost our belief in what we could achieve.

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction

The light bulb went off for us after we brainstormed our options with our guru, Ken Denman and we rethought everything end-to-end. Everyone else told us it was too complicated to deliver one big neat solution and asked us to pick a niche in this complex ecosystem. We then met Ashmeet from Engineering Capital who understood this problem right away, and it felt that we had found our soul-mate. With Ken and Ashmeet on our board, we knew that we could think differently to deliver a game-changing solution to conquer complexity. Our hearts were now set on solving something big or going home.

Beautiful paths cannot be discovered without getting lost

Now that we have deployed bi(OS)™ into production, the journey seems to make sense. All the pieces are coming together beautifully. Each new component makes the end solution simpler to use for our customers. I guess that’s the way the Apple Engineers felt when the first iPhone came out, and customers started using it. True Engineering seems simple and a thing of beauty when both engineers and customers experience it. We hope our customers experience the same joy when they deploy bi(OS)™ as they did when they first used an iPhone. Our goal when we started was to make the end result simple – tinkering with data should elicit joy within the Enterprise not groans. There is a long road ahead with many more fundamental computer science problems to solve, but that joy that we see at our customers gives us our North Star.

build different™. be different™.

Read perspectives from my fellow partners in this journey here, here and here.

One Response

  1. Vlad says:

    Very impressive. Excited to see where this journey takes you.

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