James O'Neill's Blog

September 1, 2014

The start of a new chapter.

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 7:19 pm

A symbolic moment earlier, I updated my Linked-in profile. From September 1st I am Communications and Collaboration Architect at the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team.
Excited doesn’t really cover it – even if there are some “new school” nerves too. I’ve spent the last three years working with people I thought the world of, so I’m sad to say goodbye to them; but this is a role I’d accept at almost any company – but at a company where I’d take just about any role – I’ve joked with that if they had offered me a job as senior floor sweeper I’d have asked "how senior ?" People I’ve told have said “Pretty much your dream job then ?”. Yes, in a nutshell.

F1 is a discipline where you can lose a competitive advantage by careless talk: anything to do with the car or comings and goings at the factory are obviously off limits. Pat Simmons of Williams said in a recent interview that the intellectual property (IP) in racing “is not the design of our front wing endplate, you can take a photo of that. The IP is the way we think, the way we operate, the way we do things.” The first lesson of induction at Microsoft was ‘Never compromise the IP’ (and I learnt that IP wasn’t just the software, but included the processes used in Redmond). So although it’s been part of my past jobs to talk about what the company was doing, at Mercedes it won’t be. I find F1 exciting – more so this season than the last few – and it’s not really possible to be excited but not have opinions about the sport, although things I’ve said in the past don’t all match my current opinion: the James Hunt/ Niki Lauda battle of 1976 is almost my first F1 memory, if I still thought of Lauda as the enemy I wouldn’t work for a company which had him as chairman. In fact one of the initial attractions of the team for me was the degree I found myself agreeing with what their management said in public. Commenting on the F1 issues of the day from inside a team looks like something which needs to take a lot of different sensitivities into account and it’s something I’m more than happy to leave to those who have it in their job description.

If I have interesting things to blog about things which don’t relate to motor sport or the job or about software which anyone working with same produces could find out for themselves (i.e. not specific to one company), then hopefully the blog posts will continue. 

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