9 Second Project Introduction - Reprise

  • I've been working on a response for the product manager applicants. I want to keep it brief. I want to keep it short, but there are so many angles to this project that it is a big challenge. During the proposal I used the onion as a metaphor for the project. It was like an onion because there were many aspects or perspectives to the project. This could be seen as many different layers. Yes I know, like an ogre. I used that one in the presentation too. So basically, I find myself stuck again.

    It occurred to me as I sat down to ponder this as I watched The Apprentice, and it hit me. Maybe a description is an ineffective way to share our vision. Maybe the best way was to use a picture, or a diagram, and even better if it could be our logo too. So first things first. I had to list all of the layers so that I would have them out in front of me. Here's what I came up with:

    SNAP Platform
    We will do for Java and Open Source development what RedHat did for Linux
    SNAP Community
    Making Java and Open Source development simple
    Global center of excellence
    Java certification machine
    Simplifying Java and Open Source training
    Human resources development
    Integrating a software company inside a university
    Open source trail blazer for Puerto Rico

    I'm sure there will be more, but for now that is plenty to work with. How to combine all of this elements? Can they all be combined? Do I need to synthesize the layers into more dense ones. And so now I've come full circle. Is an onion a good metaphor and  logo for the SNAP Development Center? What does that do for us as a brand? Is anyone already using it. Do we dismiss from our consideration totally the obvious tie-ins to SNAP?

    Let's give it a try and see how it sounds. We are the onion of the open source community. Hmm, kind of catchy, but it seems forced.

    • Coming up with cohesive messages is what you are paying them to do, so just lay the problem on their lap and ask them to come up with something...that is the first question on the interview!

      Personally, I think it is all about building world-class talent that can economically impact their communities, their careers, and their employers. The world-class project is just a vehicle.


    • You are right, building a world class pool of talent has gotten lost in the evolution of the project. So as you point out, it will be the product manager's role to create a cohesive message. What a challenge. They will need to start from building world class talent and quickly transition into products and markets. For as they title suggests, I have approximately 9 seconds to deliver this cohesive message. Wow, this is clearly an area way outside my abilities.

    • PJ Cabrera
      PJ Cabrera

      The latest software security report could help us find one of the defining "targets" for the SNAP Development Center. Or rather, it is my recommendation this be one of the defining targets. :-D

      In the report, the National Cyber Security Partnership proposes changes to education, software development and patching as well as incentives to convince software makers to improve the security of their wares.

      The report calls for changes in education. Could SNAP, as part of its goals, adopt the industry's recommendations of better education and certification for programmers to improve software security?

      I believe a focus on proven development processes, industry best practices, and in particular, application security, will help us achieve our goal of creating a world-class software development center. The best part is, this "foci" are independent of any development technology or language. They can and should be equally applied to Java and J2EE, C# and .Net, Python, etc.

      Here is the URL to a lengthy article about the report:


      And here is the URL for the National Cyber Security Partnership website:


      • http://www.owasp.org/ and their Top Ten is an excellent outline for a application-level security syllabus.


    • PJ Cabrera
      PJ Cabrera


      You and I had a cell phone conversation about the project vision on Wednesday April 7. You expressed some concerns about the ideas Marcos and I have presented here.

      As your project architect and senior engineer, I feel I have the obligation to address those concerns. I believe I have an answer to your dilemma. I think your concerns are born of misunderstanding what Marcos and I have been saying.

      Watch this space in the days ahead, for an explanation of how SNAP can take this focus on process and security withoug any change in effort, and without missing the goals
      in the project proposal.

      Call me (if you have the time) to revisit your concerns, just to make sure I tackle them all. :-) Or reply to this and list your concerns out, spell them out for me again on writing.

    • Pardon me for butting in but that is what I like to do. I think branding goes along with the mission. The mission is to build world class programmers that will create innovative world class-software by integrating what is out there and creating new applications.  From what I know the school is the first client, since the project will deliver education. Students really need a reality based environment, so that this does not become fun and games. In the process, the lab should write software for as a fee-based-developer-of-sorts. Using real projects will instill professionalism and accountability. Cybersecurity is a very hot market.
      So lets begin as a real company with a clear mission/vision and a plan to develop a marketable set of student-run services to be offerred within the first year. (Can someone send me the mission/vision, it should be nine seconds long).
      The logo can be an onion, but someone has to come up with a good drawing of the layers. I like a volcano, which runs hot (intense work), has overspill lava (students and new applications leaving to do their own ), and is controllled by the forces of gravity (Inter) and heat (combustible environmet). Java is starting to explode in world wide utilization like lava from an active volcano that has been dormant on the outside.
      Is it true that PR is a dead volcano?

    • PJ Cabrera
      PJ Cabrera


      PR might be a dead volcano, but with input like yours, it just might come alive again! That was an excellent post!

      Do not feel like you're butting in, this is a public forum.  (If I had wanted to keep this vision conversation private, I would have sent my thoughts to Kevin in an email, or I would have called him on the phone.)

      And everyone is welcome to post their opinion. Everyone reading this, feel free to comment on what you read here, ask questions, put us to task, make us think! Prof. Galvis and faculty, Richard Vazquez, university administrators, students, potential external contributors, feel free to let us know what you're thinking.

      I will comment with my take on SNAP's contribution to world-class development and security later on.

    • Cool, I'm loving this. Words are great! Try these on for size. Imagine you are project director for the first manned space mission to Mars. During the course of the project you must determine the flight path for the mission. You will have to meet with the engineer in charge of programming the on-board computer guidance system. During this discussion you must do two things. First you must communicate exactly the route to Mars and where to land the spacecraft. Second, you must ensure that the engineer understands exactly what you want. Simplifying this analogy, you must define your exact goal and ensure that your team understands this goal.

      My point is this. I can only have one basic goal. That goal may overlap with supporting goals, and may even include secondary in-direct goals. However, there can only be one goal. Making our goal complicated, significantly increases the risk of missing all goals. Maybe each of us can have our own goal in this project, but mine as Program Manager must be meeting the milestones.

      This one goal, one mission, one vision is also important in two communities. First, for the most part the students we hire will have little or no experience. Although they may be bright, intelligent, maybe even brilliant, I believe it is critical to communicate with them simply and ensure they capture correctly the intent of our message.

      Second, when we deal with professionals, journalists, project leads, or major corporate partners they have an extremely small amount of time and bandwidth. Therefore, we must explain our company and products quickly and simply. Perhaps in each of these interactions we can chose which goal to explain, but trying to have too many goals will dilute our message. If we attempt to make our introduction too dense by packing in too many goals, we risk losing our audience even before we can begin building a relationship.

    • lenny

      I would go with fire as logo to represent the project. This still in a planning phase but is growing very fast, just like fire. Fire, also resembles light, and that is what the project will bring to the software industry and also to computer science education.  ( thats what im understanding so far lol). Fire always catch attention of ppl, and i think that is what we want the project to do. Catch the attention of ppl and get them involved with progress of software. Well, this is what I can tell with what I have understood so far :-D   check this out!...


      • Awesome. I really appreciate your initiative. I would have to agree with you that fire always catches your attention.

        As Marcos mentioned a few posts back, deciding how we brand the project will be one of the first tasks for our missing Product Manager.

        I'll be working hard to identify this person between now and May 15.

    • lenny

      Heh! hope im not misunderstood. Just thought it would be nice to contribute with the perspective of the project that I have so far and what came to my mind after all that posts reading. U guys been working on this longer time than me (Heh i havent started yet :-P), but note that is just a suggestion, not that im forcing u to use the fire image by any chance lol. I did read about the product Manager, yeah it his job, but also would be super useful to let him know what this project represents to all the ppl involved not just the administrators, but that r just my thoughts.

      • I wanted you to be proud of your contribution. You are sharing something that I can not give. Actually two perspectives. First a newcomer's view of what SNAP is about and two, a student's perspective on the project.

        Your fire and light metaphor will be valuable input for when we try to pull together the many different ideas into a simple vision.

        Keep your creative juices flowing and post more great ideas...

    • cesar otero
      cesar otero

      I think that one of the logos that was considered in the past was a "snapping turtle". Although this isn't by any means as inspiring as the fire or volcano logos (I think those both sound like great logos), I also think that an animal might be good. (Emphasis MIGHT BE) Linux has a penguin, and that has worked out for them pretty well. Also, that concept has been taken pretty much too an extreme by O'reilly publishing. 

      I also wanted to comment on the previous postings about "we" the students focusing on real world problems, like the security issues. Java has grown at an incredible rate. Just the fact that NASA used it on their mar's rover says a lot. Having us concentrate on this project with concepts like security and stability in mind would both help the students, i.e. the developers, and the future customers of snap. A future customer will almost definately be concerned about security, so designing with that in mind from the begining is surely a good thing.