After closing a busy year for Informix at HCL, I was invited to attend an event at Bytec - a major Informix distributor. This was a year end dinner at the beautiful Lindau in Bodensee, in Bayern, southwest of Germany.
After the party, my friend, Richard Luft picked me up at the hotel in Lindau to kick off a busy day of meetings in Friedrischafen, then Munich, then Stuttgart, and then back to Lindau. I was wondering if we would be able to cover the distance of 650km (400 miles), plus all the meetings, and lunch and coffee gatherings, and be back at the hotel as he promised in 12 hrs. He just smiled and answered “Autobahn”.
So, here we go, legally speeding up 240km/h (150 miles per hour) and more. As long as you go on the left lane and there is not an explicit speed limit sign, you can go as fast as you want. Or better said, as fast as you and your car are able to go. What happens if a slower car passes an even slower car right in front of you? Well, you brake and reduce your speed very very quickly, then accelerate and go fast again. I mean really braking fast and accelerating even faster. And the German drivers like Richard seem to enjoy this… a lot.
Now, are they unsafe? Did I feel unsafe? Do they have more accidents? The answer is, No.
And that’s when you really get the marvel of the famous “German cars' engineering”, known for its high tech performance and innovation. It is not only about the sturdiness and aesthetics, it is all about safety and all of the technology features that allow them to drive like that. Sensors, actuators, and computers all through the car, that keep ingesting massive amount of information and reacting immediately based on the conditions. For example, pre-sense technology detects nearby cars that are in close proximity, reducing your speed before you hit the brake, maintaining legal distance with the car in front of you or sensing that the cold rain is changing the friction between the tires and the road, and therefore limiting the output of your engine. A real engineering, continuous innovation to drive safe, efficiently, very fast, while enjoying the experience.
That kept me thinking on the innovation dilemma: If they had limited the speeds and enforced it heavily, would they had achieved such a level of technological sophistication and superiority? So when we want to innovate, who should dictate the terms? The drivers of the left lane or the right lane? Nothing wrong with driving on the right, actually big payloads go very efficiently that way, but the true breakthrough will come from the ones who dare and enjoy driving on the left lane. We can translate this into everything in engineering and many other aspects of life, but we can definitely make a direct correlation to our own world of Information Technology and Analytics.
During my extended trip to Barcelona, Paris, and Zurich, I had the luck to meet the guys that drive on the left lane with Informix. Those that are still betting the future of their companies and personal life on Informix.
The major B2B of Construction and Home Improvement of Germany runs on Informix, meaning that every craftsman will send a quote to a client using a very robust and modern tool built all around Informix, fast, very fast. Number of DB administrators? Zero.
Do they use a “major ERP” tool? No. They use a "local neighborhood” one, and it seems that they are pretty much satisfied on never get canned on one of them. They keep beating the biggest on-line retail in the world. On Informix. Tremendous job made by Schramlsof Sofwarehaus.
The major Pharma distributor in Spain runs their entire business in Informix, including even tracking the trucks online and informing the deliveries of individual package of pills to the pharmacists. And if there is city traffic, the pharmacy receives a message with a new ETA. Amazing operation, from reception, to automated storage, pictures individually taken by product, delivery, sales, customer management, accounting, end-to-end, everything built around Informix, leveraging of course its uniqueness of hybrid content, time-series and geospatial capacities. On Informix. A superlative work made by Deister Software in Barcelona.
I was able to meet happy customers during this trip. There were plenty of good ideas that will help to continue improving our technology. I enjoyed the hospitality but what I enjoyed most was knowing that there are truly entrepreneurial innovators that keep running on the left lane and are committed to Informix. They made me feel the speed of their own Autobahns and the need for continuous innovation from us and how vital they are to our process. And actually, these neighborhood ERPs and development platforms could and should be used in other places too, expanding our community. Imagine that Informix Marketplace.
Having been an entrepreneur myself in the past, I can relate to the need for innovation, and we’ll make sure that we improve our innovation process prioritizing those who were betting and/or will bet their future with us. Please make sure that your voice is heard, don’t be silent, keep or start communicating. We welcome optimistic innovators. We will go to you and start a conversation, if needed.
So, on what side of the Autobahn do you want Informix to be? I say on the left side. Do you?
Have a wonderful 2018. And buckle up. We will ride on the left side of the Autobahn.
PS: Thank you Christian, Richard, Xavi, Vicente, Salvador, Eric, Mehdi, Arno, Dominik, Alexandra and others for your warm hospitality.