Thanks to an inability to manage my work calendar I screwed up the chance to meet Werner Vogels on his recent visit to London. Shame on me: Vogels might turn out to be the biggest revolutionary in business-to-business IT since Bill Gates/Larry Ellison/Michael Dell (delete applicable as prejudiced).
Vogels is the voice of Amazon.com's Amazon Web Services, one of the most significant transformational concepts ever observed in managing enterprise IT, and today he is touting a very nice bonus: the ability to pay at spot prices for EC2 sessions, with tariffs flexing depending on usage and availability. It's a typically bold (yet understated) Amazon move, gently flipping inside out the whole tradition of enterprise software, network and hardware pricing as surely as cloud computing does the same to client/server. Who knows, it might not be a huge success (especially at companies with ancient procurement practices or fixed ways of working) but it's a development worth considering for tasks that don't need to be immaculately scheduled.
What Amazon is doing with AWS is remarkable -- and even more remarkable in coming from a B2C company that is not at its essence an IT vendor. But then, Amazon is nothing if not a revolutionary company that, having already changed the nature of bookselling, is now reinventing the way we read books.
Vogels is an excellent speaker, perhaps the most incisive advocate of cloud computing today and the best at defining what it is and what it is not. Perhaps because he is at heart a techie, he doesn't try and sell it as a silver bullet or sliced white bread. He just tells you why he thinks you should listen, whether you're a CIO or a CEO. Crumbs, he even has that rarest of commodities in business technology -- a sense of humour.
If you can catch him at an event near you, do so. Just remember to put the date in your calendar first.