Barry Briggs

Welcome to the home page of Barry Briggs, software creator, enterprise architect, communicator, visionary leader. Called by InfoWorld "one of the better known CTO's in the world," my career includes serving as the CTO for Microsoft's 4000-person IT organization and leading its migration to the cloud; helping Interleaf (as its CTO) become one of the fastest-growing stocks in the bubble year of 1999; writing Lotus 1-2-3, at the time the world's most popular software application; and leading the technical integration of Lotus and IBM after the merger.

Some Cool Stuff I've Done Recently

Enterprise Cloud Strategy: Now in 2nd Edition!

Based on my experiences as Microsoft's CTO for IT for over five years, and my colleague Eduardo Kassner's work with literally hundreds of customers, this book explains how enterprises can take a methodical, pragramatic approach to taking advantage of all the cloud offers them.
Designed to Disrupt: a How-To for Digital Transformation

The only book we know of that talks about not the rewards of digital transformation -- but how you can start your own transformation. How you can take advantage of what others have done: imagine your digital future, run hackathons, explore entirely new business models!

Some Other Stuff I've Done Recently

CloudSheet, hosted on Microsoft Azure, is the largest recalculating spreadsheet ever created, holding some 2.3 billion data elements in this example and running on hundreds of cores. Each cell is an independent object in the cloud, and each cell can hold an independent, queryable table itself. Location transparency, RPC, and concurrency are managed by the Project Orleans "actor" framework, originally written for the Halo game franchise. Have a look!




No, I didn't write Stuxnet. At Microsoft we used to have this really cool tradition called Think Week where anybody could author an interesting paper, and Bill (and anybody else at Microsoft) would read them. Stuxnet: A Worm's Tale, which I wrote in 2010, was the result of six months' study of the most sophisticated virus written to date. Not only did it examine Stuxnet's technology, how it infected the target PC's and how the embedded PLC code broke Iranian centrifuges, but it also considered the geopolitical aspects as well. Stuxnet: A Worm's Tale was the most widely read TW paper ever written.


Talking To Animals


Really. Using a combination of advanced computer vision and machine learning we established the feasibility of tracking dogs, listening to them, and eliciting their mental state using the Kinect device. There's a ton more work to do here with some very exciting possibilities not just for dogs but other intelligent animals like dolphins or whales -- you name it. Here's a cool blog article about a chat I had with noted biologist Con Slobodchikoff at a recent conference.




Move over, Siri and Alexa. Back in the 90's I wrote an app you could talk to, and it would talk back, using IBM's (by today's standards, primitive) ViaVoice technology. HAL would eavesdrop on your conversations and display relevant information on the screen to help you out. It also had a 'psychiatrist' mode (based on Weizenbaum's Eliza) where you could tell your problems to an animated shrink and she'd offer advice.

Other Interesting Stuff I've Done Over the Years

My first job in the software industry was programming the giant Univac 1100 mainframe which managed telemetry for the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, which in turn relayed communications from the Space Shuttle. I wrote OS executive code in Fortran and assembler.
Lotus 1-2-3
I started with 1-2-3 for VAX/VMS and later was lead developer for the PC versions (DOS and Windows) for many years. I also wrote the event manager in Lotus Notes and in 1995 was named a Lotus Fellow.
While I didn't work for NeXT, I did port 1-2-3 to it (long before its launch), and twice I did technical due diligence on Steve and his company when we (Lotus the first time and IBM the second) thought about buying NeXT. Can you imagine? Anyway, along came Apple and so NeXTStep became MacOS, Steve once again took over Apple, and ... well, you must have seen the movie by now.
At Interleaf I was the CTO of the 5th-fastest growing company in the stock market in the bubble year of 1999. We did this by refocusing this dying company on a pair of brand new technologies called XML and XSL and a whole set of tools for them, and in particular on the nascent mobile web (who remembers WAP?). We were subsequently acquired by BroadVision where I served as co-CTO for a time.
At Wheelhouse, a provider of marketing analytics services we were designing a system for managing complex business events (your credit card is used in New York; two seconds later in LA; a fraud, perhaps?). Wheelhouse unfortunately collapsed as most of its customers were on Wall Street, very near the World Trade Center on 9/11. (Our NYC offices across the street from the WTC were totally destroyed.) We took the complex event processing code and started AptSoft, which was eventually sold to IBM.
Lotus eSuite
So in the early 90's there was this new language called Java and so I ported Jonathan Sach's C version of 1-2-3 to it; we then turned that into an entire suite of productivity tools delivered as Java applets in the browser. Putting productivity apps in the browser was however way ahead of its time (story of my life); but hey, cool. Here's the article I wrote for the IBM Systems Journal.

But Wait, There's More
You may have gathered by now that I like to write. It's true. Other people garden, or watch football (OK, I do too) but writing is one of my preferred forms of relaxation. Land of the Morning Storm and Shepherds of the Sea are available on Amazon, just click the link. And if that weren't enough, here are some of my short stories and here are some of my screenplays. No charge. Enjoy. Movie producers/directors, I'm happy to entertain your calls. No, really.
Oh, and if you're looking for the translation of the excruciatingly painful modern epic by my erstwhile acquaintance Mervyn Smythe-Polhemus, it's here.

Acknowledgements: Lotus 1-2-3 Release box photograph from the Lotus Museum as is the photo of eSuite (link). "NeXT logo" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - TDRSS image from NASA.