Dave Siracusa

 

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Lessons Learned

Villanova Computer Lab

Countless days, weeks, months, and years were spent devouring all that was computer related. 

 

Commodore "Early Years" 

I could actually get paid for my hobby.  I learned the value of doing it right the first time.  I was brutally aware that my code would be put into silicon.  Millions of units would be shipped and a revision would be very expensive.  So I did everything I could to guarantee that this would never happen (never did).

 

Decision Data 

I was formally introduced to higher level languages.  Up to that point I thought that assembly language was the only way to go.  I was involved in all aspects of the hardware and software design.  After much success I was asked by my manager whether I wanted to pursue a hardware or software track.  My answer was software. 

 

Cricket Software 

I started writing device drivers.  It was a good place to start because drivers are intimate with the operating system therefore it had to done right otherwise the OS would crash.  I created many tools to test my code.  I started to evangelize the tools and techniques and through hard work and persistence I became technically responsible for all software development.  I also learned a lot about managing a site.

 

Primavera Systems

I was hired as a project manager but quickly became technically responsible for the 'flag ship' product.  My technical expertise was more important than managing schedules.  The product was being ported from DOS to Windows.   I improved the development process by advocating the extensive use of tools and best practices.  The released product was very solid.  During the subsequent releases I had the opportunity to learn about project management.  In 1995 the web caught my eye.  In less than a year we shipped the first n-tier web based add-on product.  I continued to be involved in the development of custom middleware.  The lessons I learned in the early years made even more sense.  Rock solid stability and performance was still important because these servers were up 24x7.

 

The Network Connection (TNC)

Up to this point I thought everything had to be done in-house.  The way I figured I've been successful so far - I could virtually eliminate all risks by doing everything.  My first few days at TNC I was told otherwise.  I had my doubts, however the project was huge and the time to market was so soon, so I had to be a believer.  I thoroughly enjoyed working with 3rd parties with regard to business/technical issues.   I still wanted to minimize risk so I re-deployed technical expertise by really digging into these third party solutions.  I tore them apart, integrated them, and I must say now that this model worked.  The shared risk/reward of the partnerships were self evident and to quote Richard Genzer (former CTO at TNC) "To be successful today you must establish corporate *partnerships/alliances".  I also learned the value of intellectual property protection.  In the first few days at TNC I blurted out an idea.  I later had the opportunity to file a utility patent which included 4 claims (for a geek this is so cool).  Check it out:  Patent60-238070.pdf

*Thanks Rick for teaching this very valuable lesson.  

 

Hewlett Packard/Bluestone

Prior to joining HP most of my experience with Java was predominately on the client side.  I had the opportunity to learn more about Java + performance.  I used third party tools and also wrote my own.  I also pulled down the source to Sun's Java Virtual Machine (JVM 1.3) and built it, soon after I instrumented it.  I also improved the JVM by adding a SMP friendly memory manager.   I believe there are many opportunities to improve an applications performance by looking at the system in totality.  I found that the software patterns that I have advocated for many years (especially concurrency algorithms) were as applicable under Java as they were in the native counterparts.   

In many respects taking this job was a career change.  My primary responsibility at HP/BS was working with hardware/software in a lab setting.  It was too far removed from product development so I left.

 

Ajilon

This was my first experience working in IT.  I was amazed at the RAD/Extreme development philosophy.  I now understand that systems, and software must be kept running because business dollars could be lost.   I now appreciate, and applaud this triage mentality.

 More Information



PERFWARE LLC

I assisted several companies as an independent consultant.   I learned to manage relationships.  I joined a business alliance to secure benefits.  I worked on another patent (fun).



TNS MEDIA INTELLIGENCE

I’ve always been an ‘Agilest’.  At TNS we adopted Agile ‘SCRUM’ development practices which have allowed us to sustain near monthly development sprints for over two years.  Our sprints iteratively delivered new systems and/or provided continuous improvements across the suite of supported services.  I worked on another patent (joy).



PERFWARE LLC

The entrepreneurial bug got me again.

 

 

 

Last modified: May 04, 2007