Think you can out-cloud the cloud?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is fond of saying that “all companies are software companies,” and we all like to hum along to Andreessen’s familiar anthem that “software is eating the world,” but what exactly does this mean? In real life, that is, and not in blog posts or executive keynotes.

Maybe a better question is, “What software (and hardware) should we be building ourselves versus buying from others?”

‘Undifferentiated heavy lifting’

Spend enough time around any AWS employee and you’ll hear them talk about how AWS strives to alleviate the “undifferentiated heavy lifting.” That phrase originated in a 2006 talk given by then CEO Jeff Bezos and has been repeated at least a trillion times since. The idea is that innovators should focus on innovating for their customers, not on doing all the “muck” like server hosting, Kubernetes cluster management, etc.

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