In Europe, for example, Pivotal is working with a company to develop "genomic" data services for doctors that has the potential to save lives based on big data algorithms. "So helping doctors very easily get insight into genetic history and correlate that with a lot of [patient] information [and data]-that would be an example of people thinking about brand-new ways of doing things going forward," he said.
For Maritz, "brand-new ways of doing things" also means not falling prey to the high-priced lock-in that defined many different eras of computing, from IBM's mainframe dominance to the onetime Microsoft operating system monopoly or even Amazon's online shopping and Web services stronghold.
"We don't want this world to be like the bad old days of the mainframe: when you wrote a COBOL CICS app you were condemned to pay IBM a tax for all eternity," said Maritz. "We don't want to make it so when you write an app in Amazon you are condemned to pay Amazon a tax for all eternity. So we think the industry has to evolve to a layer that is open and cloud-independent. That is what we are doing with Cloud Foundry, which is open and open-sourced."
Thus, Pivotal is aiming to deliver a Platform-as-a-Service on top of a wide array of Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings from Amazon's EC2 Web Service to Microsoft's Azure and other platforms as well.
"If Infrastructure-as-a-Service is the new hardware, we are the new OS on top of it," said Maritz.
Think about the ambitiousness of that for a moment: Infrastructure-as-a-Service is the hardware. The Pivotal platform is the operating system.
No one has ever accused Maritz, who is regarded by both wizened industry veterans and young Millennials as a technology thought leader of the first order, of thinking small when it comes to tectonic technology shifts. This time around, Maritz is leading a determined group of big data super-geeks including an elite group of young hotshots from Pivotal Labs, which EMC acquired a bit more than a year ago. If you want to feel old, said Maritz, who recently gave his son the deadpan book "Dads Are The Original Hipsters," make a trip to Pivotal Labs. So how does the 58-year-old original hipster feel about climbing the technology pyramid yet again?
"Two-thirds of the time I am just amazed to have this opportunity to do what I love doing, which is working with technology and great people and working on something that really matters," said Maritz. "One-third of the time I am thinking, 'What the hell are you doing this for at age 58?' It's a hell of a deal. But at the end of the day, it is a privilege."
"Two-thirds of the time I am just amazed to have this opportunity to do what I love doing, which is working with technology and great people and working on something that really matters," said Maritz. "One-third of the time I am thinking, 'What the hell are you doing this for at age 58?' It's a hell of adeal. But at the end of the day, it is a privilege."
It's a privilege that Maritz is tackling with all of the technology smarts, chutzpah and gusto he can muster. At the heart of the Pivotal culture is a "passion" for making a bigger-than life impact on the technology landscape. "This isn't about just doing some small experiment on the side," said Maritz. "We are trying to do something that will have a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of businesses 10 years from now. There is something incredibly challenging about that but deeply satisfying as well. If that doesn't get your juices flowing, then Pivotal is not a good place for you."
NEXT: The Pivotal Plan