Friday, January 16, 2009

JBoss: Behind the Headlines?

For those of you who suggested I write a "JBoss: Behind the Headlines" novel, thanks for the vote of confidence. There are a lot of great stories there. However, relying solely on our little company to paint a picture of the software environment and entrepreneurial experience in the late 90s, pre-recessionary 2000s is over-reaching. A novel that captured an era would involve getting a lot of other people to tell me their stories, other companies, other exits, the VC perspective, the IPO experience (which is dead for now), the bankers, the customers, the corporate competitors... research and interviews I don't have the energy to do.

I could, however, be tempted to draw on my JBoss experiences to write a blog entry-format satire of the corporate IT and entrepreneurial world my former colleagues and I came from. Think something along the lines of Lucy Kellaway's Martin Lukes saga in the FT. My time and writing constraints favor an episodic story flow, with the ability to go forward and backward in time and introduce a varied cast of characters, a la the television series "Lost." I see this as being a story in the picaresque genre.

From Wikipedia:
The picaresque novel (Spanish: "picaresca", from "pĂ­caro", for "rogue" or "rascal") is a popular subgenre of prose fiction which is usually satirical and depicts in realistic and often humorous detail the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his or her wits in a corrupt society.


Being a lazy academic and person whose professional experience grew out of the collaborative environment of open source (get other people to do your work for you for free!), I welcome story ideas and collaborative suggestions from my readers, by comments or email (nathaliemfATgmailDOTCOM). Let me know which themes and characters you want to hear about.

6 comments:

Roy Russo said...

The problem with writing a book about the success of JBoss, is that you risk appearing as that egotistical, self-absorbed entrepreneur, you regularly read about and loath.

Although the JBoss story and culture was unique and fascinating to experience, the story has a rather anti-climactic ending.

pcleddy said...

fuck ya! use your mad skillz! model the personhood

Nathalie said...

Roy,
You misunderstood my post. I am NOT interested in writing a book about JBoss. What I am talking about is the occasional episode in a fictionalized satire of corporate IT and the entrepreneurial experience.

I'm not interested in interested in limiting my inspiration to JBoss (which is why I invite contribution--not just from JBoss people, but anybody in the industry). As for anti-climactic endings, that tends to be what make the stories real--not some chronicle of the entrepreur's glorious ascent. "Don Quixote" was probably the height of the picaresque novel...

Nathalie said...

For further perspective on different start-ups and the unexpected that can happen, Bob Bickel's "Ringside Winding Down" http://bobbickel.blogspot.com/2008/09/ringside-winding-down.html post is rather poignant. Several years ago, I read some a book called "Start Up" http://www.amazon.com/Startup-Silicon-Adventure-Jerry-Kaplan/dp/0140257314 by Jerry Kaplan. It's late eighties and his company failed...but it's very insightful. Of course, if you want the "Genghis Khan" perspective, there's always "Softwar," written by Matthew Symonds and Larry Ellison...

Roy Russo said...

"You misunderstood my post."

My apologies, can you write in my native tongue of Spanglish, next time. ;-)

Nathalie said...

Hay mucha probabilidad que se jode--work from there.