John Kaster

Behind the Screen

Moving on

with 50 comments

On December 27th, 2010 I will leave Embarcadero to pursue a great opportunity for myself. Please don’t view this as a sign that I think Delphi, InterBase or any other of the Embarcadero products is in trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Delphi XE is my favorite version of Delphi, ever. I have even gone so far as to call it “my” release. It has features in it (particularly some of the new DataSnap features) I’ve been wanting since Delphi 5. Really! It has great quality and performance, and I really enjoy working with it every day. Furthermore, the next release looks like it could be the most exciting release since Delphi was first launched in 1995.

Having said this, you’re now probably wondering why I’d be leaving Embarcadero if I feel that way about Delphi and its future. That’s a fair question. I hope you give me a fair chance to answer it, by reading this post to learn why I joined the Delphi team, and why I’m now leaving.

When I graduated from college in 1985, I sent my resume to Borland, because I wanted to work for the company that made Turbo Pascal. I never received a reply. I had already started building things in Turbo Pascal for my own use before I even left college, and these tools rapidly grew into popular public domain, shareware, and commercial products, which I sold and supported. Even while working as an employee of other companies, I kept building software development tools on the side, based on my own needs. 

After a couple years of working as a PC expert, consultant, and systems analyst for lots of major organizations in the Washington, DC area, I went out completely on my own.

In 1997 (12 years after sending my resume to Borland), while deeply engrossed in running my own very enjoyable and successful one-man product development and consulting firm, I got a call from a  head hunter that ended up changing the direction of my career for more than a decade. Based on the deliberately vague description he gave me of the position he was trying to fill, I knew the job involved working on the Delphi team.

I love using Delphi even more than I liked Turbo Pascal, and I thought it would be great to be a part of the team building the product. The thought of personally contributing to its success, and helping shape the product as one of its Product Managers was very appealing to me.

On the other hand, I had my own customers, whom I liked, and my own products, which I really liked, and I was making really good money from the combination of software consulting and product sales.

I was really tempted by the offer, but I was having a hard time deciding which direction to go.

So, I discussed the idea of putting my own business on hold with one of my best friends, Ali Davachi. At a Clipper conference back in 1990, I’d met Ali when he bought two copies of one of my products (TechWriter) with great panache. In the following years, we worked together on some projects, and I have great respect for both his business acumen and technical skills. We also have a fabulous time working together.

Ali said he thought it would be a great idea for me to work for Borland for 2 or 3 years, to get some experience working as a Product Manager on a major product I loved, from an industry-leading software company.

So, I accepted a huge pay cut to “get in the door” at Borland as a Product Manager. I started working as the Enterprise and Distributed Computing Product Manager on November 3, 1997. I was responsible for everything related to database connectivity, and anything to do with DCOM, CORBA, or any other distributed technology. This included the BDE, MIDAS (now DataSnap), and a variety of other “connectivity” technology that has come and gone.

After working in that role for about 1.5 years, I went to work for David Intersimone (David I) in Developer Relations. I became an “evangelist”, traveling all around the world, launching new versions of our products. Together with David and Charlie Calvert, I also launched what is now called EDN in 1999. Ever since then, I have managed, built, and maintained services for EDN, even while traveling.

When Embarcadero acquired CodeGear, I officially became the EDN Program Manager, which is basically what I’d already been doing for over 10 years. This is still my primary responsibility at Embarcadero. I still get to use Delphi to develop services for EDN, and I am constantly in conversations with the Delphi, RadPHP, and InterBase teams about their products, how they are used for EDN, and what I’d like to see in future releases.

A few months ago, my friend Ali contacted me. He told me he was accepting a position as CTO at a great new company called Transactis, and he thought it was the opportunity we’d both been waiting for: to work together again on great technology and services for our customers. In short, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. On January 3rd, 2011, I start working for Transactis as their Senior Vice President of Development, reporting to the CTO (Ali).

I will miss the people I work with at Embarcadero, the products I use, and the EDN services with which I’ve worked for so long. It’s very hard to leave, particularly because the projects never stop. But for me personally, this is an opportunity I can’t pass up.

Delphi will be just fine with me gone. EDN will be just fine, too.  As I pointed out in a previous post, many, many people have worked on EDN over the years. Many more have worked on Delphi over the years. Even more people will work on Delphi and EDN in the future.

I’m just one person, who stayed on the team 5 times longer than I originally planned, helping support Delphi. You don’t owe me any favors, but I’ll ask one anyway: if you share my love of Delphi, don’t worry about my departure, and don’t let others make it into some huge disaster for the future of Delphi. My departure has nothing to do with how I feel about Delphi, C++Builder, RadPHP, InterBase, or any other Embarcadero product. Even though I’ll no longer be “on the team,” I’m still a huge supporter of the Embarcadero products. I still plan to use them whenever I can in my future work.

In fact, Transactis will be buying some Embarcadero products in the very near future, so Embarcadero has just gained yet another customer! Smile

Keep the faith, and I’ll see you around.


Written by John Kaster

December 16, 2010 at 2:05 am

50 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Best of luck, and have fun!

    Craig Stuntz

    December 16, 2010 at 2:19 am

  2. Thanks, Craig. It will definitely be fun, and challenging.

    John Kaster

    December 16, 2010 at 2:36 am

  3. I wish you nothing but the best in your new endeavor, John.

    Nick Hodges

    December 16, 2010 at 2:49 am

  4. Congratulations, John. But, will Transactis be using Delphi (just kidding)…

    Good luck

    Phillip Woon

    December 16, 2010 at 2:56 am

    • I definitely plan to keep Delphi available for my development needs, and I’ll look for places it can fit at Transactis

      John Kaster

      December 16, 2010 at 2:58 am

  5. Does that mean you’re going to be moving ?

    Phillip Woon

    December 16, 2010 at 3:01 am

    • No, I’ll be traveling sometimes to our other offices, but working from home mostly.

      John Kaster

      December 16, 2010 at 6:45 am

      • Sweet

        Phillip Woon

        December 16, 2010 at 7:32 am

      • I love working at home. Took a significant pay-cut to be able to do it, but so far it’s worth it.

        I’m really sorry to see you leave Embarcadero, but opportunities like you describe don’t come around that often and shouldn’t be thrown away when they do. Good luck, and if you are ever in Colorado, let me know.

        John Jacobson

        December 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

      • Thanks, John. We have some good friends near Denver. Where in CO are you?

        John Kaster

        December 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm

  6. All the best to you, John! It sounds like an amazing opportunity!

    Zoya Salistra

    December 16, 2010 at 3:09 am

  7. Congratulations John. I am really happy for you and the new direction your career will be taking you.

    On a selfishly personal note though, I’m not quite as happy. I’ve really enjoyed working alongside you during my time so far as an EDN team member, and your contributions there will be sorely missed. Through your leadership, mentoring, and seemingly endless pool of knowledge and experience, you have taught me more than I could ever begin to thank you for.

    David Clegg

    December 16, 2010 at 3:28 am

    • Thanks, David. I’ve really enjoyed working with you, too. You’re a magnificent “sponge” who surely makes me seem smarter than I really am with the way you absorb and extend technical information. You do a fantastic job of taking the ball and running with it, and I sincerely hope to work with you again in the future.

      Best of luck with EDN.

      John Kaster

      December 16, 2010 at 6:47 am

  8. Best of luck John, it sounds like exciting times are ahead for you.

    Lachlan Gemmell

    December 16, 2010 at 3:56 am

    • Thanks, Lachlan. Yes – there are exciting times ahead for me personally. And I truly believe there are exciting times ahead for Delphi, too — so I hope to be able to continue to use it!

      John Kaster

      December 16, 2010 at 6:49 am

  9. Congrat John to the new personal opportunity and all the best. Thanks for all what you’ve made for Delphi in the last years, especially in the database-area!! Do you stay in the SC-area ?

    Thomas Pfister

    December 16, 2010 at 4:05 am

    • Yes, I will remain living where I currently do, mainly working out of the house with occasional trips. Definitely contact me whenever you’re in the area, and I’ll do the same for you 🙂

      John Kaster

      December 16, 2010 at 6:50 am

  10. Congratulation John, I know that the Delphi community will miss you.

    All the best for you.


    Eliseo GN

    December 16, 2010 at 7:09 am

  11. Its been great to work with you in many different ways over the years. I wish the best for you and your whole family.

    Robert Love

    December 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

    • Thanks, Robert. I’m really glad we’ve been able to work together, too. I definitely want to bring my family out to visit some time, and please let me know whenever you’re in my neighborhood.

      John Kaster

      December 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm

  12. Hi John,

    we didn’t had any conversion lately here or on the CG forums but I really feel sad seeing another great person is leaving Codegear.

    Anyway it seems, and this is my very personal opinion, the product Delphi is dying (this has nothing to do with your departure). I for myself will have jump on the Visual Studio bandwagon in the very near future as we are going to roll out Microsoft CRM and VS is the only IDE accepted here at our company.

    Best luck for your future and your familiy of course!


    December 16, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    • Michael, I’m sorry you consider my departure as a sign Delphi is dying. Delphi has experienced a great resurgence in popularity, quality, and functionality since being acquired by Embarcadero. I plan to still use it in the future.

      John Kaster

      December 17, 2010 at 5:21 am

  13. Good luck and have fun in your new job.


    December 18, 2010 at 9:53 pm

  14. Whish you all the best. A good CTO is also required in this world!!!

    Michael Thuma

    December 19, 2010 at 3:38 am

  15. @Michael,

    You seem to forget the great minds that have entered (or even re-entered!) the Delphi team at Embarcadero.

    No job is forever, and actually leaving a job even is a good thing for the employer too: it makes teams rearrange and opens up a whole new set of possibilities of the people stepping into the realm of the vacant position.

    I personally have seen good people leaving companies, and as a result that company becoming even better!


    Congrats with your new venture.
    I’ve known you since before you entered the Delphi team, so I know some of your capabilities outside that world too.
    Transactis has found itself a great new CTO!


    PS: Is my memory serving me right that we first met at a Conference to the Max (CttM) in Ede, The Netherlands?


    December 19, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    • @Jeroen, thanks for the promotion, but I’ll be Sr VP of Development for Transactis. My friend Ali is CTO 😉

      And yes, we have a long history together of knowing each other. Wow!

      John Kaster

      December 20, 2010 at 5:52 am

  16. I would like to say Congrats with your new venture.
    I’m so sad because you will not give me testimonial for my new book.
    But… I hope you still have planning to give it.
    If you will, please let me know, I will send you the outline of my book soon.

    Thank in advance John

    Good luck and have a nice day !!!


    Eko Indriyawan

    Eko Indriyawan

    December 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

    • If you want a testimonial from me for your book, I’m happy to provide one. I was just asking to see the outline so I could have a better idea of what is going to be in it.

      John Kaster

      December 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

  17. Transactis share price just plummeted! Just joking…


    December 21, 2010 at 11:53 pm

  18. Congratulations on your new post, John!

    Chee Wee

    December 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm

  19. Congratulations on the new position with Transactis, John! That is an exciting business area for sure!

    I believe it is healthy both for us and our employers that we pull up roots and move on from time to time. It rejuvenates both parties, as well as the new employer 🙂

    That said – you will be missed in your current role with the Delphi team. I hope you still will have time to “troll” the boards 🙂

    I wish you the best of luck with the new position, and send the best of wishes to you and your family for a Merry Xmas and a Prosperous New Year!

    Lars F.

    Lars Fosdal

    December 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Lars. I do hope this change is beneficial to both Embarcadero and me. I extend warm holiday wishes to you and your family as well.

      John Kaster

      December 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm

  20. > Please don’t view this as a sign that I think Delphi, InterBase or any other of the
    > Embarcadero products is in trouble […]

    TBH, the mere fact that you are mentioning this all the time makes me doubt it.

    But regardless of that: congratulations, and good luck with your new job.

    Moritz Beutel

    December 27, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    • Moritz, I only mention it because some in the Delphi community take any departure from the team so hard. That’s all.

      Thanks for the kind wishes for me personally.

      John Kaster

      December 28, 2010 at 3:37 am

  21. John…

    I’ve been gone from Delphi 3+ years. Stopped by Embarcadero’s site this morning for 1st time since… just on a whim.

    I was there a looooong time, made my career w/Delphi from the beginning (D1). I remember when you came on board. But what I remember most was you being among the hardest working, best informed pros I ever saw… anywhere. Nobody was ever more comprehensive or thorough then you.

    Best wishes… Transactis is lucky to have you.

    Jim McKay

    December 28, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    • Jim,

      I really appreciate your kind words, and sincerely thank you. While I also use other tools, I still find Delphi the best for many of the things I need to write. I hope you can find opportunities to use it in your future, too.

      Thanks for checking in, and for your comments. It was nice to hear from you. I have to confess I hadn’t noticed you’ve been gone, so it’s even better to have you respond to my blog post.

      Have a GREAT new year.

      John Kaster

      December 31, 2010 at 6:53 am

  22. Congratulations John. All the best in the new ventures!


    January 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm

  23. Congratulations, John!!!

    Good luck from Perú.

    José Castillo

    Jose Castillo

    January 21, 2011 at 5:56 am

  24. John K, I was out of touch when you announced this; so until now, I did not realize that you had moved on. Best regards and wishes for the future to you and your lovely wife. -JohnH

    John Herbster

    May 4, 2011 at 7:01 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: