I joined the hack/reduce launch last night in Boston. The venue itself, Kendall Boiler and Tank building, was worth the trip alone. It is a tremendous atmosphere, in a great location, but that's just a small part of the story.
I met Chris Lynch a few years back. He personifies the old adage, "Often wrong, never in doubt.", and I mean that as a huge compliment. He is the type of person that believes obstacles exist for a reason: to prove how much you want something. Like everything else he has done, hack/reduce seems to be a product of his will.
When the concept was introduced to me, the mission was simple: Ensure that Massachusetts is at the heart of the next wave of IT innovation, namely Big Data. Given IBM's extensive lab presence in Massachusetts, that alone was enough to make sponsoring an easy decision. That being said, I think there are even more important reasons for our participation.
1) I believe this is real and substantial. The leadership ensures that.
2) Big Data is not a buzz word nor an idea, technology or product. It is the next generation of IT. See here, if you want to know why Warren Buffett agrees with me.
3) Big Data is about skills and talent for the next 5 years. Those with access to talent and the ability to cultivate talent will win. hack/reduce is ultimately about bringing the data and resources to the talent. From there, the talent can grow.
4) Massachusetts is critical to IBM. We have acquired many companies in Massachusetts and it has been a wonderful experience. All of this activity culminated in our opening a significant development lab in Westford. For this reason, it is essential to us that the Mass tech scene remain vibrant. The tech scene must include an entire ecosystem: talent, companies, venture firms, business partners, universities, etc. hack/reduce has the potential to be a key driver of the tech scene. It's great for the folks involved, great for the community, and ultimately great for our business.
We will be very active at hack/reduce: training, learning, providing technology and tools, etc. It's great to be a part of this and we can't wait to get started.