This interview with Ben is the latest installment in the “JBoss Diaries” filmed at JBossWorld in March 2005. Each installment in the series provides an introduction to the personalities that make up JBoss and insight into our gradual evolution from a loosely organized group of developers collaborating over the Internet, to a cohesive company with a mission to dominate middleware and bring Professional Open Source to the mainstream. That was a mouthful but it reflects the honest truth of our naked ambition :) Filmed by Ben Fee, whose prior work includes several snowboarding titles as well as a stint as personal videographer to Hunter S. Thompson, this is not your grandfather’s corporate retrospective.
JBoss would not be anywhere near where it is today without the contributions of some pretty amazing and unique people. Ben is the archetype of the smart guy that helped us get where we are today. Without an early injection of talent we likely never would have made the transition to a corporate entity. Before we were anywhere near formal enough to have a title like “VP Sales Americas,” Ben's current title, it was my wife, my dog and myself and would-be customers had to really try to get any of us on the phone. That all began to change when Ben hired himself in the summer of 2003. This is a great interview where Ben talks about the past and I can't help it but laugh at some of the old stories he tells there. Ben is one of those amazingly talented people with a passion for their work that just shows through.
Ben only alludes to the following story, that he hired himself in the company, I only took the meeting with him in the first place so that he would stop bothering me and just to see what the guy was made of. By end of the lunch meeting Ben was EMPLOYEE NUMBER ONE of JBoss inc. I don't really know, to this day, how he managed to pull that trick on me, maybe he used the Jedi mind trick? "You really need meeeee". It worked, we needed Ben badly.