10 questions for Hortonworks CTO Eric Baldeschwieler

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I would focus on the open-source aspect of our business model. We're also a very interesting company because in some sense we're very young and yet we've been engaged in the project we're working on for six years, but we've only been around as a company for a year. That leads to a different set of problems than you'd find in other companies. We're still building out basic company processes. That may not be unique, but I think you tend to see that more in a spin-out situation than in other types of organizations.

More interestingly, I think one of the real key challenges in my role is to engage the open-source community. The Hadoop road map is a collaborative road map, so one of the things I try to do is to socialize what we're doing and learn about what other people are doing and then iterate a lot. Open-source projects are like stone soup. You've got to convince everyone that if everybody contributes a little bit, something great will happen. So there's a little bit of story telling and consensus building along the way. I think that dynamic exists in very many places, but it's certainly central to my role.

9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?

I've got three kids at home so that will keep you young. It's fun to go home and play with the kids. In the morning I also like to climb a couple of times a week. That's a great one because I think any kind of physical exercise that really requires focus is good because it takes you into different places. Climbing has a problem-solving aspect to it; you're exerting yourself physically and also trying to figure out what the next move is going to be to help you get to the top. The combination of mental challenge and focus is as good as a rest. It's a real change of pace. I just go to the local gym to climb -- we're lucky enough in this area that you can do indoor climbing.

10. If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?

I don't have an answer to that one. That's the honest truth. I'm so excited about the Hadoop project and its potential that, right now, I really can't imagine a different job.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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