Asay arrives at a critical time in Canonical's history. The company is transitioning the CEO role from Mark Shuttleworth to Jane Silber. A major product launch (Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx) seek to push Canonical much deeper in the business market, from mobile devices to cloud computing. And Canonical continues to launch and build new new services like Landesk Landscape and Ubuntu One.
So why do I worry? When I speak with Canonical insiders, I sometimes sense the enormity of the challenges they're facing. Different product groups are working toward different goals. Somebody has to coordinate all those efforts. That's where Silber and Asay enter the picture.
Asay's track record at Alfresco and Novell on open source business matters is strong. He understands how to monetize open source without alienating a community -- a difficult balancing act for many commercial open source efforts.
And full disclosure: I've met Asay a few times. And I've linked to his blog, The Open Road, over and over again because of his business insights.
Asay explains his move to Canonical in his own blog. And Canonical says Asay will be:
"Responsible for aligning strategic goals and operational activities, the optimization of day-to-day operations, and leadership of Canonical marketing and back-office functions.As I've pointed out multiple times, Canonical has grand ambitions in multiple software markets. The company needs an expanded executive team to potentially meet those lofty goals. Asay arrives just in time.
Most recently VP, Business Development for Alfresco, Asay has been involved with open source since 1998, and is one of the industry's leading open source business strategists."