Inside Architecture

Notes on Enterprise Architecture, Business Alignment, Interesting Trends, and anything else that interests me this week...

About Inside Architecture


About Inside Architecture

The Inside Architecture blog was established because I love to write and share ideas, but I just don't have the time to go through the publishing cycle for magazine articles more than about once or twice a year.

Plus, I'm not so organized to assume that the 'idea' I feel like discussing on Monday morning is still the same idea I want to discuss on Thursday afternoon.  I will want to discuss at least three novel concepts a week with someone smart.  Through this blog, I feel like I am able to reach out to smart people.  Sometimes they even respond.

A little about me.

My name is Avinash Nicklas Chan Kumar Malik.  Odd as that name sounds, it is an appropriate blend of two different cultures: my India heritage and my American heritage. 

I started writing software in a college class I took in 1979, while still in High School.  I fell in love with computers, but its not like there were many computers to muck around with at the time.  If I wanted to work on a PC, my choices were limited to an Altair or a PET.  I ended up writing code on an HP3000.  They didn't have a mainframe at that little community college.  They had a Teletype 33 terminal and a phone modem.  The mainframe was about 60 miles away, at a bigger college.  The modem was 150 baud.  My program listings were stored on paper tape.   I've come a very long way since then.

I started working immediately upon entering a large public university, mostly as a technical writer, and then writing software for the University of Tennessee Computing Center in Knoxville.  Everything went well for a while.  Learned a lot.  After a disasterous attempt to get credit for a year as an exchange student, I dropped out of college and went to work writing Hospital management systems on Unix.  Bad move.  I went back two years later and finished my degree.

I worked for a while in many different places.  Firmware for data communications.  Tester for OS/2.  Risk management systems for a credit card company (don't leave home without it).  I worked at Microsoft for two years just as Windows 95 was coming out (Start Me Up).

Then the Internet happened, and I wasn't about to be left behind.  I turned down a job at a junky little book seller in Seattle because I got a bad impression after spending 20 minutes with the CEO.  Bad move.  The stock for the fledgling Amazon was just about to start it's stellar rise. 

Instead, I joined a little web boutique called Fine.Com and rode the success wave as we went from one office of about 15 people to offices in London, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tokyo.  I learned the meaning, and value, of leadership.  I also got the equivalent of a business degree the hard way: in the school of real life.  Marketing, Sales, Operations.  Management.  Leadership.  Innovation.  I didn't write much code.  Too busy redefining myself into a technical leader.  To the people who helped me along the way, thanks and, well, sorry... ;-)  When that company sold itself, it was time to move on.

So, I teamed up with three other folks and we founded our own Dot Com.  Why let everyone else get all the goodies?  We grew to about 110 people and the technology division was all my doing.  It's interesting to build a function from scratch and then have to "own" every decision... every mistake... every success.   Taught me more than I usually admit.  Two years later, when the bust came, we gave back a few million dollars of the money (We didn't go down owing paychecks, at least), closed doors and didn't look back.  I still have a box of pens with the Acadio logo.  To the best of my knowledge, not much else exists of it.

A couple of years in Management Consulting in government at the State and Municipal level for a consulting firm, and then I ended up back at Microsoft.  Took a position as an individual contributor to get a good feeling for the culture.  I'm glad I did.  Tough crowd.  I moved to Enterprise Architecture and stayed there, in Microsoft's internal IT division, from 2005 through 2012.  That gave me a chance to contribute at a strategic level, but also gave me a single "EA Customer" for seven straight years.  In 2012, I switched back to consulting, this time working for Microsoft, as needed on the West Coast of the United States.

I love Microsoft, but the company is will past the 'rapid growth' days of the 90's.  Not so many new millionaires.  The greedy have jumped to Google.  The rest of us can focus on making a world-class business.  I don't need to get rich at all costs.  The cost really is steep.

So I work in Enterprise Architecture.  We are some of the most experienced and varied folks you can imagine. 

If you think you have what it takes to be an Enterprise Architect at a World-Class company that believes in innovation, cares about its people, and is always working to improve, drop me a line.  I am completely serious.  If you are truly an EA, I will encourage you to apply for one of our open positions in this growing area.  It is the hardest interview at Microsoft.  But it's probably the best work on the planet.