Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘Workday’ Category

Finding Your Niche Via What Makes You Happy

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, eBay, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, silvafug, Tech Writing, Workday on September 15, 2009 at 8:00 am

I’m amazed by people who have a singular passion. In addition, I’m in awe with those that have many passions, but the will power to focus on just one to the point of major success.  I fit in neither of those two categories.

My curse is I work hard to be just “good enough” in one passion, then move on to another.  By “good enough”, I mean good enough for me.  I’ll take a rare indulgence here (take a picture, it’ll last longer) and say that my “good enough” is better than some people’s “best”.  I take this odd (for me) stance for a good reason, and it’s not just to stroke my ego.

Mankind has a strange habit of staying with something that is comfortable, regardless of passion or happiness.  I know people (myself included) who stayed at a job because it was easy and comfortable, long after the passion and happiness were gone.  These people are giving their “best” but without passion or happiness.  Therefore, when I enter the same space with passion and happiness, I can attain more in a shorter time merely because the passion will help push me further. Read the rest of this entry »

Birthday Thoughts: Resource Utilization

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Community, Mac Pro, Playstation3, Programming, silvafug, Technology and Software, Workday on September 23, 2008 at 8:41 am

The phrase “Resource Utilization” has so many meanings in my life currently, that I have no idea where to start.

At Workday, I (relatively) recently got a new manager, Charlie Boyle.  One of his strengths is definitely resource utlization.  Every manager has their own style and no style is right or wrong.  However, Charlie has brought some great plans to the team.  He’s brought on some processes and tools that make our lives as developers more productive. I don’t think we as a team work any less harder, but we’re definitely working a lot smarter due to the resource management.

My Silicon Valley Flex User Group (silvafug) is sorting being revamped as I write this.  At our most recent meeting, several of us got together to discuss how to better the user group in a variety of ways.  After Wednesday’s meeting, we’ll likely be officially announcing the launch of Silvafug South (and by default, Silvafug North).  There are a lot of great people in the user group with great ideas on how to make it better for everyone.  I look forward to working with them. Read the rest of this entry »

What kinda person is Tom Ortega?

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Creative Writing, Kids, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Technology and Software, Workday on May 7, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I was chatting with Brendan the other day. He asked what kind of person am I to attempt to carry a full time job, put on conferences on the side, manage a successful user group, write articles for the Edge and Adobe Development Center, be a good husband, be a good father of two, and be a good cub scout den leader.

This got me to thinking. Most people only know the Northern California Tom Ortega. Prior to my move to the Silicon Valley, my list of activities were quite different. In Southern California, my plate consisted of holding a full time job, being a good hubbie, being a dad of one and a whole lot of commuting. I didn’t blog, didn’t really participate in any tech community and flitted from one business idea to the next with none taking shape or form. Read the rest of this entry »

Viewing the web through a Prism

In 360Conferences, Prism, Technology and Software, Workday on October 31, 2007 at 6:41 am

I love my web apps. I use GMail religiously (on a computer and on the mobile). John and I use a suite of web apps to run and manage 360Conferences. We use 37 signals apps (Basecamp, Highrise), Buzzword (for docs), Google Docs (for spreadsheets) and Google Calendar (for scheduling). While AIR is an exciting technology, it is primarily a developer technology. By that, I mean the average web user will gain no benefit from AIR unless the web app developers choose to take advantage of AIR. It is for that reason that I find Prism so exciting.

Prism seems to be aimed specifically at end users, not just developers. For example, take Workday. Prism provides us immediate benefit. It allows us to break free from the browser. Workday is a web app and not a web site. We have no use for a back button, bookmarks, etc. Our application provides all those navigation methods much more efficiently (and dare I say, elegantly) internally. Prism allows us to break free from the broswer mold and put some shortcuts onto the desktop, quick launch bar and start menu. The best part is we (the workday developers) did not have to do anything to get this functionality. Prism allows our users to do create that functionality quickly and painlessly.

Another thing that’s great about Prism is that if a web app uses a plug-in and you have it installed for FireFox, then it’ll work. With AIR, we’re locked down to Flash Player and PDF only. While that is great for building new apps that integrate elements of those 2 technologies with the desktop, it’s a bummer for apps out there that utilize other plug-ins, like QuickTime.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about AIR too. It’s just that, like I said earlier, Prism provides immediate benefits with no developer tweaking. Adobe should emulate that capability. It shouldn’t be hard.

I’m at MAX

In 360Conferences, Business, Community, Workday on September 30, 2007 at 9:25 pm

If you’re at MAX, look for me. I’m wearing either a 360Flex or Workday shirt. John and I are walking around meeting all the 360Flex Alumni (speakers, attendees, sponsors) and looking for new future alumni. 🙂

I’m actually giving a session, “Intro to Flex”. It goes down Monday 4:30 to 5:30 and again on Wednesday 11 to 12. I’m really excited about my presentation. It should be a nice blend of Keynote (slides) and Flex Builder 2 (live coding). It’s the first time that I’m excited about my slides, as I usually think slides suck, but these slides are fun.

It’s awesome to represent two great companies at MAX: 360Conferences and Workday Inc. We’re both startups, both passionate about our customers and both looking to change the business that we’re in. With 360Conferences, I get to hang out with John Wilker, my business partner and, more importantly, my friend. With Workday, I work with a bunch of great people that I’m getting to know more and more each day. Do I feel lucky? I sure do. 🙂

If you haven’t said hi to me yet and you’re reading this post, then swing by one of my sessions. I’d love to hear any ideas you have about conferences. If you’re looking for Flex work, Workday is hiring and I can take your resume to hand back to HR.

New Flex Blog to add to your Favorite Feed Reader

In Business, Flash*Flex*AS, Programming, Technology and Software, Workday on August 31, 2007 at 9:43 am

Workday UI Blog at http://workdayui.wordpress.com(feed)

As many of you know, I joined Workday, Inc. back in June. Many people have asked, “Where do you go after eBay?” Well, for this developer, it was a company that’s doing some crazy, exciting things with Flex. Workday is an ERP SaaS company. For our frontend, we use Flex.

The exciting thing is that Workday’s choice of Flex wasn’t on a whim. They specifically chose Flex because of the amazing things that Flex can do that traditional web apps cannot. Here’s our app in a nutshell. It’s a custom built Flex VM built atop of Cairngorm. A UI server sends us a view and a model, which we then render together on the fly. We, the developer, create low-level components that the application makers then use as building blocks for our products. Therefore, the things we do vary greatly from creating a custom component one day, to creating an effect on another or tracking a logic issue in Cairngorm. And I literally do mean day to day as those were my last 3 days. One thing you will never be at Workday is bored.

At eBay, my users were a group of 20. Here, it’s literally the entire company (138 people and still looking for more). I say that on two levels. First, it’s our HCM system. We use our product just like our customers to track employee data. Secondly, our products (HCM, Financials, Payroll, etc.) are built on inhouse tools. Those tools are the exact same system as the final product. There’s nothing more rewarding than walking around the office and seeing YOUR work on EVERY employee’s screen. It’s just awesome to know you empower not only end customers, but also your coworkers.

One thing Workday is looking to do is give back some of our knowledge and experiences back to the community. The way we will do that is by sharing items on the Workday UI Blog at http://workdayui.wordpress.com(feed). There you will find posts on hard hitting technical Flex issues such as Memory Leaks in Classes to lighter UI topics like Fun with Icons. The things we’re doing here are pretty amazing and I hope you follow along not only to learn from us, but to share your knowledge with us as well.

See you at FlexCamp and 360Flex!

In 360Flex, Community, flex training, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Workday on July 27, 2007 at 8:25 am

Sorry for my long absence, but it’s been a busy past month.

We made the move from San Jose to Walnut Creek. The reason for the move was in an earlier post. I’m an employee at Workday, Inc. It’s a truly great company, doing some amazing stuff. The move and conference have prevented me from going hog wild on the code, but I’m rectifying that now by having some alone time with the code and trying to work on my bugs. If you’re heavy into Flex and want to do some amazing things that will change the ERP space, talk with us.

When and where can you meet us? At Adobe’s Flex Camp tonight. Me and some members of the Dev team will be there. I’ll be the loud laughing Mexican sporting a Workday t-shirt. Stop and say hi to me and the team. We may even demo what we’re working on if you ask nicely. =)

The other thing eating my time like nobody’s business is 360Flex Seattle. It’s going down August 13-15. John and I have been hard at work on this. Having a central hotel and proper conference space is bit more involved than just giving random hotel links and booking an internal corporate meeting space. =) That said though, this one is going to blow away the first 360Flex conference. We’ll have some cool oversized postcards promoting 360Flex to give out at Flex Camp, so look for them! Hint: They’ll be next to the cool green 360Flex t-shirt!

I love meeting and interacting with members of the Flex community, new and old. If you’re a newbie, check out my free trainings at the Silvafug site. Stop and ask me about any roadblocks your facing while starting up. If you’re a guru, stop and chat too. I’m always interested in meeting those folks that are taking Flex to the next level.

See ya soon!

Leaving eBay to start a new Workday

In 360Flex, Business, eBay, flex training, silvafug, Workday on June 12, 2007 at 7:02 am

It’s official. My last day as an eBay employee was Friday, June 8th. My first day as a Workday employee is Thursday, June 14th.

This is the first time I switched jobs for a strategic purpose vs. disliking the company. As a whole, the team I worked with at eBay was great. The North Campus where I sat most of my eBay life is beautiful. The work was fun and rewarding, especially during the “crunch” times.

I grew a lot during my tenure at eBay. Silvafug, free Flex training and 360|Flex were all hatched during that time. Heck, eBay even hosted the first 360|Flex conference!

If it was all so great, why leave?

One thing is size. I’ve been in corporate life for quite sometime now. I miss the days of knowing most, if not all, of a company’s employees. Knowing a team of 20 at eBay was nice, but was a drop in the bucket in number of total employees. At Workday, knowing 20 would be roughly 1/5 or 1/6 of the company.

Another thing is the amount of customers I can impact. At eBay, my direct customers were the various internal users of my apps. Indirectly, one could say that all the eBay buyers and sellers were my customers too, but I never felt that vibe. At Workday, I’ll be joining the UI team and will directly serve Workday’s customer base. I can help make the lives of these people more simple, fun and efficient. As the numbers of customers grow at Workday, so will the number of people I help. After serving a few hundred customers directly with 360|Flex, I found that serving large numbers of customers directly is something I enjoy.

I’ll be moving out to Walnut Creek for my new job. It has a slower pace feel to it than San Jose does. It also has a ton of restaurants that I can’t wait to try!

Adios, eBay: It’s been a blast!

Hola, Workday: Let’s make amazing things happen!