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Things I Wish I'd Known



Rod Johnson shares some of the lessons he learned as an entrepreneur.


Rod Johnson is SVP, Middleware and GM of the SpringSource division at VMware. Spring was based on the code published with Rod's best-selling "Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development"(2002). Rod is a member of the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee (EC) and holds a BA with Honors in Computer Science, Mathematics and Musicology as well as a Phd from the University of Sydney.

About the conference

QCon is a practitioner-driven conference designed for team leads, architects and project management. The program includes two tutorial days led by over 80 industry experts and authors and three conference days with 18 tracks and over 80 speakers covering a wide variety of relevant and exciting topics in software development today. There is no other event in the US with similar opportunities for learning, networking, and tracking innovation occurring in the enterprise software development community.

Recorded at:

Dec 30, 2011

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Community comments

  • Great talk

    by numan salati,

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    Great words of wisdom. Liked the talk a lot. We should have more of these in the future.

    BTW, which two companies was Rod referring to that tried to acquire springsource in 2004 and 2007? I am really curious :)

  • Re: Great talk

    by Tom Green,

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    My best guess is that the 2004 recruitment attempt was JBoss/Marc Fleury.

  • Clearer Thinking, Open Communication.

    by Abhay Bakshi,

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    Rod Johnson is a successful entrepreneur. Point is - to *not* get bogged down by his success -- rather still be bold enough to raise your voices/opinions/contributions. Rod will rather *encourage* that for you (like how he sounds from his presentation).

    I talked with Rod Johnson first in 2003 (Boston), and some of his (VMWare's) employees are my personal friends (all at a professional enough level!). Some of my writings then are still available on-line and would involve people like Nitin Bharti, Jason Carreira, Floyd Marinescu (now a celebrity with InfoQ!)

    With that background, I would like to say that - Rod appears to have (been developing) a clear(er) thinking; much clear in the business domain. When Rod applied his clear thinking first (with the WROX book - J2EE Development without EJB) in the technology domain, now he seems to do similar (and successfully so) in the business domain. This talk shows! It's a compliment to Rod.

    The communication and the tone is also quite predominant (confident and assertive with genuineness) in this talk. That's another compliment to Rod.

    I should also compliment (thank!) Floyd Marinescu for bringing out this talk on InfoQ for everyone to watch/witness and learn from. You have to *feel* the vision. We are working in the progressive industry of software! :)

    In one of his concluding presentation slides, Rod mentions "Today everyone's an entrepreneur in their own career". Recently, I attended a talk (Note - I am not in *any* way promoting the talk or that business; rather, just mentioning here) at Persistent Systems, Pune, India, done by 1M/1M (by Sramana Mitra). 1M/1M campaign voiced similar need in this changing world - developing entrepreneurs. I met some *very young* entrepreneurs at that venue. Point is - you have to be on the cutting edge to see how things are changing rapidly these days in the information world.

  • Great talk

    by Jason Chambers,

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    A very useful reflective talk that I found useful in my current position. I appreciate your candor Rod!

  • Thanks for sharing this. Nice talk!

    by Ashwin Jayaprakash,

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    Apparently Spring only contributes 0.9% to VMW's stock price ( But the talk was worth listening to.

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