Tag Archives: Humor

The Musicians of Atlassian

One of the great things here at Atlassian is we have some wonderful musicians. Here’s a window into this side of Atlassian life.

Matt Ryall, Soren Harner, and Jed Wesley-Smith playing

Matt Ryall, Soren Harner, and Jed Wesley-Smith playing in Sydney

Soren Harner runs all our software development. He also runs marathons. Somehow he finds time to be an incredible guitarist and what really pisses me off is he has a voice that makes women rip their clothes off. I have not actually seen women do this. I have, however, seen women consider it. Soren also makes playing music seem so natural and easy. He is one of those guys who knows 325 songs and can start singing one standing on his head. Or perhaps under pressure, with a gun held to his head for example (and with a woman ripping her clothes off). You get the point: this guy is talented.

We have considered shipping Soren MP3s with some of our new product releases, but you know the famous Software Company Problem: not enough time to do all the new feature requests. So his fans must wait. I am one of those fans.

Boots Wang

Boots Wang

Boots Wang is in Technical Sales and is clearly the coolest musician at Atlassian. Being cool might be easy to do around a bunch of nerdy engineers who clip their nails at their desk in Sydney, but it’s not so easy to do in San Francisco. Boots wears hats you wish you owned. Boots name is even cool. Boots is in bands with cool names: “Nobody Beats” was one. Boots reeks Cool-dom, Coolness, Coolio-Feng-Shui.

To make matters even more cool, she is a drummer. When I went to music school, all the women played flutes or sang arias and danced in the moonlight. They were pussies. Boots, however, throws down. She hits stuff. She is our only drummer, and I bow down to Her Wicked, Bitchin’ Coolness.

Matt Ryall

Matt Ryall

Matt Ryall is a Confluence developer and a guitarist. Matt plays acoustic mostly and is the kind of guy who sings folks songs to women to get his way with them. I suspect he is extremely successful. You know: an Emo-kind-of-guy. The kind of guy that writes poems.

Matt is also one of those people who has natural musical abilities. My guess is he never practices. But somehow he whips out some John Mayer song and sounds great. He also lends me his guitar when I am in Sydney, which is terrific of him. Natural software engineer, natural musician.

Jed Wesley-Smith and me

Jed Wesley-Smith and me

Jed Wesley-Smith is a JIRA developer and a bass player. You non-musicians may not realize how essential it is to have a bass player. I can’t tell you how many bands are searching for bass players. That’s because only weird people play bass. Bass players are famous for lacking social skills. The bass is the Supreme Understated Instrument. It’s takes a certain Zen quality. Type-A, ADD, Hyper-active people like me cannot play bass. Mellow Dudes play bass, and Jed is an extremely mellow guy.

Jed is also a phenomenal musican. While some of us have played professionally, Jed has played concerts where people scream and dance until they have heart attacks or over-dose on something. Jed is also one of those rare white guys who can spell FUNK. Jed is a seriously funky player. Playing music with Jed is a pure joy.

Taras Naumenko

Taras Naumenko

Taras Naumenko is on the Customer Service team in San Francisco. He’s in another league from the rest of us musicians because he not only went to music school, but he plays Classical guitar. The rest of play music to drink by. Taras plays serious shit. Taras, however, is full of surprises.

One day we were jamming in the office, and Taras starts playing “Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now I bet Yo-Yo Ma never played that. How many classical musicians play music from a band that shoots heroin? Anyway, Taras taught it to me, so he’s a real Stand-up Guy.

Morgan Friberg

Morgan Friberg

Morgan Friberg is on our marketing team in S.F. and is the one Real Professional musician in the company. Morgan gigs regularly. In fact, his band, Arcadio has a website, they record regularly, and they even have Arcadio beer cozies, for Godssake. Morgan also plays multiple instruments: guitar, mandolin, ukele, and I suspect more.

Some day I’m going to come to work, and Morgan won’t be there because he was discovered and he hit the Big Time. I will buy every CD. I will even jump in the mosh pit.

Most of us Atlassian musicians are mere mortals. Then there is Jay Simons. Jay runs our marketing. He runs marathons. He does triathalons. He races in serious bike races for laughs. Jay does everything Full-Tilt. He is a spectacular piano player and has an incredible voice. In Jay’s case I am certain women rip their clothes off when he sings. Men might, for that matter. Jay is so talented, his dog is talented. Jay is also very funny and almost as funny as me.

Jay Simons

Jay Simons

If software ceased to exist as a profession, some of us could go be professional musicians. But we would be end up playing in bars where people drink too much and have fights. Jay, on the other hand, would be playing cocktail piano at the fanciest hotel in town, dressed in a tuxedo, sipping a martini while women ripped their clothes off. Jay is Pro all the way.

For those musicians out there with some Software Chops, you might want to someday consider joining Atlassian. We need a bass player in S.F. badly, a drummer in Sydney, horn players, perhaps a great conga player… Oh, you get the point.

Second Life vs. Webex

rabbit.jpg8 A.M. Preparing for the big presentation and teleconference later this morning. Which should I do? Same old Webex? Or might we meet in Second Life, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), and I’ll show up in my Rabbit Avatar outfit? Hmm. Tough question.

The customer has likely used Webex before. But in Second Life, I can see the customer, or rather their Avatar, and we can meet some place special to lend atmosphere. Like say, Second Life University if I want an intellectual, thoughtful slant. Or, perhaps we can meet in Amsterdam and go hit some clubs after the meeting. Forget it; that might get weird. If the customer has never been in Second Life, that could be risky.

If you think I’m fruitcake for considering online virtual reality for a business meeting, think again. People are already using Second Life for serious meetings with Skype for voice. Okay, Citigroup and the Pentagon probably aren’t but consider:

– Wells Fargo has launched “Stagecoach Island” inside the virtual world of Second Life, to teach people how to handle their finances
– Professors from the University of Texas, University of Oregon, Michigan State, Ball State, and Vassar are conducting lectures
– $5,000,000 in real money transactions took place within Second Life in January of this year
– On my own foray into the game, I met a couple that in Real Life travels a lot and they use Second Life to meet and socialize when they are thousands of miles apart.

Here’s my Product Comparison of Second Life vs. Web Conferencing for business meetings…

1. Will the meeting be interesting?

Second Life wins hands down. How often do you get to show up looking like a Rabbit with a baseball bat in your hands? Or perhaps a Cow with wings and a top hat? How about everybody on motorcycles? Think of how provoking your first impression might be on the customer?

2. Will you strengthen your relationship with the customer?

Guaranteed with Second Life. Memorable events greatly increase the chance of the client remembering you later. Think of it this way: if you took your client to a costume party in the Lower East Side of New York City at midnight dressed as Batman, would they remember you? Second Life offers you a safer alternative than walking down 8th Avenue ay 2.A.M. dressed up like a total idiot.

3. Will your message get across?

Webex may win for boring Powerpoint presentations. But we all know Web 2.0 Feng Shui says attitude is everything. Second life has attitude, baby. Although I have not found a Powerpoint API for Second Life yet, I bet if you attend some of these lectures, you’ll find a solution. Second Life has a developer community that builds things like animations so you can dance on your head, make rude hand gestures, and do other rather bizarre things.

Running a meeting in virtual reality may be best for weirdos from San Francisco and the New Media Consortium who already do. But just wait.

Here at Atlassian Software, we learned about Second Life because the creator, Linden Lab is a customer of ours here in San Francisco, and they emailed us to tell us how they use our issue tracker software, JIRA. Linden Lab uses JIRA to manage all projects in the company – not just software development but all projects including sales and marketing.

Now that we have visited CEO Philip Rosedale and the creative team behind him, we’re ready to check it out for our next company picnic…

Why Joe Kraus is Cooler than Me

The San Jose Mercury News did a piece on wikis today, and featured Joe Kraus of Jotspot. At Atlassian, we admire Joe and Jot and like the way they evangelize wikis. Interestingly the Mercury News article highlighted five cool things about Joe. Wondering how well I would do if I had to supply this kind of personal information, I realized I would never stack up as cool as Joe. Here’s why…

Cool Thing No. 1

Joe: Would be a pro surfer if he did anything else
Jeffrey: Would be a pro musician if I did anything else

Analysis: Joe gets the edge here because surfers generally look pretty good, have great physiques, and don’t die at a young age from overdoses. Surfers can die getting slammed into a rock at a beach like Mavericks, but that’s cooler than choking on your vomit like Jimi Hendrix did. Although musicians are certainly reegarded as cool, and this is a close call, Joe gets an extra cool point here.

Cool Thing No. 2

Joe: Was seen in his underwear at age 12 by Actress Rachel Hunter
Jeffrey: Has paid $9 to see actresses in their underwear

Analysis: Joe is way cooler here. TV actor, Bryan Cranston, who is the Dad in “Malcolm in the Middle“, taught me to sing “So Much in Love” and sang it with me when we were at a friend actor’s wedding. But, Bryan is nowhere as hot as Rachel Hunter. Plus, I had my clothes on. I pay regularly to see actresses in their underwear at the movies, but that’s lame in comparison.

Cool Thing No. 3

Joe: Blogged that he first met Bill Gates at the urinal
Jeffrey: Larry Ellison has driven to my house and flown my daughter on his private jet

Analysis: Once again, Joe clearly wins. I never met Larry Ellison but he dropped his daughter off at my house a couple of times. My daughter, Brittany is much cooler than Joe or me because Larry flew her and in his private jet to New Zealand for a week on his boat. I, however, have not peed next to him or Bill, and I would probably not even be able to pee, let alone blog about it.

Cool Thing No. 4

Joe: Was a political science major
Jeffrey: Was a music major

Analysis: Whew. I finally am cooler. Political science majors are not complete losers like say, business majors, but music majors are significantly cooler. There are different degrees of coolness in music, but because I went to a jazz conservatory ,Berklee College of Music, for one year, I think I am cooler on this one.

Cool Thing No. 5

Joe: Once played drums in a band called “Where’s Julio”?
Jeffrey: Played in bands named the “Universal Space Choir” and “Bozos on Broadway”

Analysis: I think I get an edge here. I played in a lot of bands, many with cool names I can’t really remember. “Where’s Julio” is cute, but “Universal Space Choir” is out there. “Universal Space Choir” has a certain Stanley-Kubrick-Tibetan-Monk-Zen thing happening. Plus, “Bozos on Broadway” is funny, and had some guys in it that went on to do really well, like my friend Dan Siegel, who has serious chops and has recorded with some heavy dudes. But given this is about the band’s name, I only get a slight edge here.

Final Score: Joe is cooler than me. Hats off to him. His company also is great at PR, which is something we don’t do at Atlassian intentionally.

I am glad Joe did his Mercury News interview before mine because that gives me time to adjust my life and prepare for a cool “Five Things to Know” about me. For example, I think I need to plan on jumping out of a plane (with a parachute). Also I need to call some of my old musician buddies and see if anyone can remember the name of the band…

27.2 Billion Blogs Are Not Enough

Certainly not. Why else start a blog? Technorati searches 27.2 billion blogs. Surely the world must be in desperate need of another.

Fact is I only can think of sound reasons for not starting a blog. For starters, one should poke hot needles in their eyes before starting a blog. Why? Because…

1. I need another RSS feed like I need a rabid orangutan swinging a sledgehammer at my teeth. I have too little time to read my New York Times subscription. Long ago I gave up on the time commitment the Economist requires. I am still adapting to the stress and guilt of fifteen saved episodes of Saturday Night Live on Tivo. Right. Another blog.

2. How many of the bloggers out there actually were Journalism or English majors? Who taught these people to write? Surely most of them must own The Elements of Style, The Chicago Manual of Style, or some other handy reference on grammar and writing. Surely.

3. After you read Paul Graham, Guy Kawasaki, Joel Spolsky or a few other of your favorites, I am sure there must be a good million bloggers with something equally insightful to say. That requires only 1 in every 27,200 is brilliant. Aren’t these reasonable odds?

4. There are lots of easy to remember URLs available, so snap one up, flail away at your blog, and launch http://www.rutebega-wind.com. I think it’s available! Or http://www.dog-poop,com. Damn! It’s gone, but http://www.dog-poop.net or the softer, more introspective, more community-oriented http://www.dog-poop.org is available and can clearly differentiate you.

5. There are no shortage of opinions on the web, and upon deep inner reflection, I realize I need lots of advice from total strangers grazing out there. It adds an element of risk and excitement to take advice over the Internet from people who may have driven their own financial portfolio into burning oblivion, who recently have been released from some maximum security prison, or whose level of medication has reached the point that only blogging can release their demons. These must be people I need. 27.2. billion of them will not begin to satisfy my lust.

Yes, I can think of countless reasons for not starting a blog. Perhaps even 27.2 billion if I had the time to ponder.

So with that, I am here. Howdy.