Matt Asay’s Top Priorities and Goals

At the beginning of February Matt Asay moved from Alfresco to Canonical, and Matt’s blog activity already reflects his career change and I asked Matt about his top priorities in the new role.

It has now been three weeks since I started with Canonical, and each day it becomes clearer to me just how massive is the opportunity before Canonical and the Ubuntu community, as well as the great care that must be taken to ensure that we realize this potential.

It’s also becoming clear what I, in particular, can do to help, coming after the successful tenure of Jane Silber, who was Canonical’s COO and is now our CEO:

  1. Enterprise.  When most people think of Canonical and Ubuntu, they think “desktop.”  This isn’t surprising, given Ubuntu’s popularity on traditional desktops and industry-changing netbooks alike.  I have been amazed by how deep and wide Ubuntu’s penetration is in this market.  It’s much bigger than I’ve ever seen reported.
  2. As popular as Ubuntu has been for personal computing devices, I see an even bigger opportunity in the enterprise, where Ubuntu is already far and away the leading cloud operating system.  Canonical has the absolute right model for cloud computing.
  3. My first priority is to ensure that Canonical addresses the enterprise market, predominately through cloud computing, consistently and relentlessly.  We will win in the cloud, but it’s going to take sharp focus.
  4. Marketing.  Ubuntu is by far the most popular Linux distribution.  Nothing else comes close.  This is a testament to the energy and enthusiasm of the Ubuntu community.  It’s also a result of hard work that Canonical has done over the past several years to seed that community with great technology and strong backing.
  5. We will continue to invest in the community, but it’s also time for Canonical to invest more heavily in marketing the value of Canonical, the company, to prospective customers.  People recognize that Ubuntu is the best Linux distribution, but it’s now time to start telling the world about the value that Canonical offers.
  6. My second priority is therefore to augment our community outreach with improved marketing to our prospective customers, customers who will help fund the next wave of Canonical and Ubuntu innovation.
  7. Manage growth.  Canonical employs over 320 people spread across the globe in 29 countries.  The vast majority of our employees work remotely from our London headquarters, as do I.  As we continue to pursue ambitious community activity, technology and design innovation, and revenue growth, we’re going to hire more people and need to make sure we do so in a way that helps employees feel as much a part of the Canonical family as the Ubuntu community.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve processes, tighten communication, and hone our focus, and this will be a major priority for me in 2010 and beyond.

I have worked for some wonderful companies, but never for one with the possibility to have such a broad and deep impact on the industry.  I hope you’ll join me in getting involved.

Matt in closing I’d like to congratulate again for your new job!