MLB Advanced Media chief technology officer Joe Choti is a refreshing change of pace considering the monotone-suite-loving-cautious technology manager that runs rampant today.In fact, he almost seems like a throwback the way he conducts information technology at MLB.com (see gallery below right). I can't tell you the last time I've heard a technology executive mutter "best of breed." After all, they're too worried about business alignment (20 years of confusion and counting) and consolidating vendors.
Do it yourself: Choti tried to rely on others to distribute MLB video and it just didn't work. If you truly want control over the user experience it pays to execute from A to Z. That goes for software development too. Most of the neat features you seen on MLB.com were built by Choti's gang in Java.
Go best of breed: While most of corporate America seems to be obsessed with suites and going with one vendor whether its SAP, Oracle or Microsoft, Choti likes to take the best technology and mix and match. Sun (SUNW) does the hardware and software, Akamai (AKAM) delivers the video, SAS helps to target customers and Quova does geotargeting for the video. They're the specialists.
Push the envelope: Knowing he needed scale and the ability to adapt on the fly--especially when systems are stressed as folks try to watch the Yankees play the Red Sox--Choti went with a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). The problem: Choti went SOA without knowing exactly how his infrastructure would react. But that's what spring training is for--Feb. 28 was the first game on MLB.com. The site struggled at the 1 p.m. game, but stabilized as MLB.com staff tweaked components. In the end, MLB.com's site came out 40 percent faster than last season.
Not that everything is perfect. Choti is constantly putting out fires. The most recent one was trying to sort customers who were coming off a 5-day free trial. But to Choti MLB.com is a lifestyle not a job. Play ball.