Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sacha Retiring from Red Hat - JBoss

Sacha Labourey announced today that he is moving on from Red Hat - JBoss.

There were a ton of great people who helped make JBoss successful. Of course Marc Fleury, the smart and dynamic founder. Scott Stark who made JBoss a real product with excellent stability. Fantastic technical project leads like Bill Burke, Adrian Brock, Gavin King, Bela Ban, Ivelin Ivanov, Rich Friedman and so many more. And great business people like Tom Leonard, Rob Bearden, Joe McGonnell, Brad Murdoch, Shaun Connolly and of course the original JBoss Sales-Guy Ben Sabrin.

But I would say Sacha Labourey had as much impact as anyone over the years at JBoss.

Sacha started like all early people with JBoss – as a contributor. He wrote the first implementation of clustering with JBoss. That capability is what moved JBoss from a simple developer tool and low end app server to something that could seriously compete with WebLogic and WebSphere.

That early work established his technical smarts, but it also was the kick-off to demonstrating his ability to attract some of the best and brightest to JBoss. Sacha lives in Neuchatel, Switzerland – not exactly the hub of middleware technology. Yet his personality and technical leadership made it the hub of JBoss Europe with top flight talent moving from places like the US, England, and Russia to live in Neuchatel, as well as coordinate all the developers in Europe (which is where most of them lived).

Sacha also made the transition to running JBoss Europe from a business perspective. He established key customers and partnerships thru his unique technical and personal abilities. Large companies put a tremendous amount of trust in JBoss because Sacha was the person saying he would stand behind it. And these customers and partners knew that he would.

As JBoss grew, Sacha became Marc’s real trusted counselor. Perhaps it was that they both spoke French. But Sacha had the Swiss gift of diplomacy. Sacha could communicate with Marc in a unique way – and was always someone Marc could trust to give honest, non-biased feedback. Sacha provided a steady hand in the background as JBoss grew from 6 to 200 people in less than 3 years.

Sacha was always incredibly loyal to JBoss the open source project and JBoss the business. He brought balance and a long term perspective. While many people (like me) left after the Red Hat acquisition, Sacha saw the transition all the way to its’ successful completion. There were certainly many problems with the integration – but again Sacha had the patience and skills to guide JBoss forward. Much credit goes to Sacha for continuing on with great projects and getting resources for new projects. He was incredibly valuable in providing stability to the technology and had the skills to make sure the business worked well over time.

The true measure of how good Sacha was for JBoss is the good shape he has left it in. He has grown the business to the point where he is no longer needed.

I was in Europe two weeks ago and spent a day with Sacha exploring Switzerland. He was looking forward to having some more time in his life for Sophie and Eva. He was also looking forward to spending some time getting in shape (hint, hint Sacha). And I could tell he was already starting to think of new endeavors that would take him in new, fun directions. As always, Sacha had a very good plan of what would happen and how the transition would work. I don't know what is public, but I can say that the plan is great. It gives some very good people a well deserved chance to advance and contribute in new ways.

Certainly he will be missed, but I think Sacha leaves feeling he has done his job and JBoss will continue to be successful in the long term.

I certainly thank Sacha for his friendship, his guidance and all he has given to JBoss.

Onward, my friend!

1 comment:

Shaun Connolly said...

Great post Bob...and a job well done Sacha!