As Chief Architect, Brad is responsible for overseeing the architecture and design of all Citrix technology, including ICA, HDX, XenApp and XenDesktop. In 2009, Brad recorded a video retrospective (20:52) of his then 20 years at Citrix.
After over 25 years at Citrix, Brad has announced that he is retiring at the end of April to spend more time with family, photography and do some traveling. You can see some great examples of Brad’s nature photography online. Following is a recent discussion I had with Brad that covers his reflections on 25 years at Citrix and broad array of technology topics, both past and present.
Retiring after 25 years with Citrix
Bruce: I’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions on 25 years in the company, and the technology and market changes have you seen.
Brad: Actually it’s been pretty amazing when you look back 25 years. Citrix was started in 1989 – the Internet wasn’t really prevalent and only used by some universities - it certainly wasn’t being used by small business or consumers. Back then I had to go out and buy programming reference books… I had a bookshelf full! Today, you use Google to do a search and you find all the information you need on the Internet.
Bruce: I remember the first time I understood what Lotus Notes was capable of when I was working at Lotus Development… it sounds quite dated now, but having an online library of information available at your desk was amazing at that time.
Brad: Yeah… now we take Google Maps or Bing for granted, or the GPS in your car, or your smartphone. I remember buying some very early Microsoft mapping software and the first time I looked at satellite pictures on the Internet. It was very primitive before Google maps existed, but I could find (based on GPS coordinates) my house even in those days.
Take the recording industry – when I was in college, albums and records were the norm, and occasionally you would record an album on a cassette tape. In the recording industry… vinyl record albums were replaced with CDs, which were then replaced by MP3s and now they are being replaced by audio streaming. So interesting how a particular industry is transformed over and over again. The key is that all companies need to remain flexible, be open to change and adapt quickly to change. Figuring out new ways of doing things, how to leverage change, how to create a product, how to benefit customers.
Bruce: That’s for sure… it’s incredible as we reflect on what’s happened.
Progress and technology changes everywhere
Brad: In your day-to-day life, you don’t realize how much has changed and when they are occurring you don’t really notice it. There were few mobile phones when Citrix started and no smartphones. Now, pretty much everyone walks around with a small computer in their pocket.
Bruce: Absolutely! I did a lot of travel overseas with several companies before my time with Citrix… before smartphones you’d rush to the airport lounge to download email over an analog phone line and make your phone calls through an international calling service like AT&T. Now we carry in our pocket these communication devices that are essentially powerful computers.
Brad: That and VoIP technologies are transforming the telephone. It won’t be long before landline telephones are obsolete and replaced by the Internet, using Voice over IP. When I remember the early days at Citrix, wireless networking was unheard of, and yet we take it so much for granted now. Everywhere we go we have wireless connectivity. Another example of new technology is online shopping… you no longer have to go to a physical store.
A personal favorite for me is photography. I used to shoot a lot of film photography when I was young. I grew up with a black and white dark room, but now it’s all digital and computers. It is amazing what you can do with digital cameras today that you couldn’t do before. The low light capabilities and the auto focus, auto metering… drastic changes.
Bruce: With digital images, you can do a lot more with photo editing software.
Brad: Yeah, the digital darkroom. I grew up with the chemical darkroom – it was cumbersome. While it was interesting, it wasn’t very flexible and difficult to do things. Nowadays with Photoshop and other editing programs you can quickly transform your photos, you can catalog them, you can do image editing, you can index them, and store them online.