Thursday, 8 November 2007

Will Rudolph Run Over EC2?


Amazon, like most other event driven systems, has deployed an enormous amount of network, storage and compute power to handle a two month period of time. This will come across as a duh statement, but just in case you don't know, their event is the holiday season.

So what to do, what to do with ALL of that gear that sits around for ten months? Lightbulb!, build a product that lets others utilize the infrastructure while it is sitting dormant. So, kudos to Amazon for doing just that. EC2 and S3 sit on top of all of that event based stuff.

But I'm wondering..what happens during that two month period. That period when the 'event' occurs. The 'event' that provides you with 25+% of your annual revenue.

Quite an image right. Rudolph landing the sleigh right on top of EC2 and S3.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Much Love

To Troy Wing for giving us a mention yesterday in his well put together blog.

Why SaaS will become the preferred Online Solution


Troy's right on. Hopefully the CIO's out there are listening to him. They can either stay and be strategic or go the way of the dinosaurs.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Coffee is For Closers

I'm glad to see Alec Baldwin kicking butt on 30 Rock.

A - Always
B - Be
C - Closing

I love sales guys. Best feeling in the world when you have a strong sales team firing on all cylinders.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Why SaaS Wins

Sometimes I think we all lose sight of what is driving SaaS adoption. I'm constantly reading about the beauty of multi-tenancy, efficiencies of one to many implementations, reviewing long diatribes about how we should define SaaS (more on that later) and lengthy ruminations about how SaaS will change the world. These all matter and while they are helping to define and improve the industry they aren't the reason 'why' people are moving to SaaS.

So before we forget let's use the following example to demonstrate why SaaS wins.

Case Study of Acme, Inc. - 2007

I'm the owner of Acme, Inc. and it is critically important that we implement a CRM tool to track and report on sales efforts, campaigns, etc.. We've been passing items around on a spreadsheet but it is time to take the next step. So at Acme we gather our 'smart guys' together and they come up with the following recommendations.

Option One:

1. Purchase Big Co CRM tool
2. Purchase OS
3. Purchase a server to install this on
4. Set up a directory system for users to access (another server and OS)
5. Put in a data center (don't have one, I'll use my closet in the office..save some money here)
6. Get DNS set up so my users can access it via a public web url (need remote access for myself and sales team)
7. Buy SSL for my domain name (gotta be secure..important stuff here)
8. Buy a back-up system (can't lose my critical data)
9. Make sure back-ups are good and take tapes off-site..again this stuff is critical (I guess I can take the tapes home with me)
10. Have someone administer it (I 'm lucky as I can have one of my programmers administer, though I'd rather have him or her focus on writing my code/product)
11. Have same administrator continue to update, add patches, check log files, etc..
12. Design my application layout
13. With an aggressive time line probably get this up and going in a month (maybe)

or

Option Two

1. Buy the exact # of licenses we need from an CRM SaaS provider and get started tomorrow

Which one does Acme choose?

This is very similar to what drove the early adoption of the internet. Simplicity, speed, low cost.

Let's not forget the initial driver of the net...that you could quickly share documents between multiple operating systems. Yes, that was it. Sounds too simple right. But simplicity that solves meaningful business challenges is what resonates the strongest in a new market.

Oh, and btw, the analysis took longer than the implementation of the SaaS solution.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Oracle and SaaS


Oracle, who has trumpeted their on-demand capabilities for quite some time, doesn't appear to 'get it'. Phil Wainewright has an excellent review and commentary on some recent remarks made by Oracle president Charles Phillips. Definitely worth a read. You can check it out here.

For those of you out there that are wondering. Users of SaaS:

1. Do not want to replicate data behind their own firewall (though they definitely want to know their data is being replicated)
2. Do want to leverage and benefit from multi-tenancy
3. Do not want to own software (who wants to make a huge upfront commitment for sw)
and
4. Don't look at saas as just a 'hosted' option

Of course, most of the comments made by Phillips are self-serving. If I had the kind of revenue that Oracle has tied up in perpetual licenses and if I felt I couldn't iterate my company to adjust to the new model of software delivery I'd be saying the same thing.

Watch out Oracle...you are headed for the land of dinosaurs. While unfortunate at least you can feel comfort that you'll be remembered as a T-Rex.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Google Reader


I've started using Google Reader as my news reader of choice. It is very cool, has solid features and even has some very nice keyboard commands. I'm absolutely hooked on the j and k.

Really only have two complaints. The first being that even with gears I have a hard time reading my feeds offline and a second highly ironic complaint....where is search! How the heck does Google make a product where search is missing?

AN UDPATE: After removing gears on my Mac, dropping back a version of the reader, re-installing gears and then upgrading to the current version of the reader I now have re-liable off line reading (as long as I remember to download my content prior to going off line. Google, how about an option for timed/automatic downloads.).

And yes. This is the undocumented/documented fix for getting gears to work with Reader on the Mac. Google, what is your quarterly profit again? Maybe this is one way I can increase operating margins....

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Facebook


With so many people talking about Facebook I finally broke down and signed up last week. At this point I don't get it. Definitely some interesting things there but I'm not quite sure how it becomes the 'platform' that everyone is talking about. To me it feels like a netvibes/myspace combo or Yahoo portal on steriods (aka Barry Bonds portal) where you can plug in both personal and public items, attach to some outside apps via the i-frame technology they've built, get your own little group/network/blog going, etc..

Fact of the matter is that the power of Facebook is their userbase. Some of the guys at August Capital said Facebook had over 35M subscribers....35 MILLION (said like Dr. Evil). I wonder how active they are? I'm now one of the 35M and I doubt I'll log in more than once a week.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Brad Stone of NY Times = Frigtard

Well I guess it had to happen but I am still completely disappointed. Brad Stone of the NY Times figured out, and published, the identify of the ghost writer who has been producing the Fake Steve Jobs blog.

Some of the best reading on the net...flushed down the 'tubes' of the internet.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Ironman USA 2007


So those crazy type A folks were at it again this year. This was the first time I have watched a triathlon instead of participating. The swim start lived up to all the tales I've heard over the years from my wife and friends. Headed to the finish line and watched the last 90 minutes before the midnight cut-off. The folks that came in during the final minutes were inspiring.

As planned, I'm signed up for next year (and looking forward to the race).

Spying, thats right, Spying Squirrels

One of the better articles I've seen this month. Talk about dictators going out of control. Tehran is now rounding up large amounts of its rodent population.

From the Iranian Paper - Resalat

"A few weeks ago, 14 squirrels equipped with espionage systems of foreign intelligence services were captured by [Iranian] intelligence forces along the country's borders. These trained squirrels, each of which weighed just over 700 grams, were released on the borders of the country for intelligence and espionage purposes. According to the announcement made by Iranian intelligence officials, alert police officials caught these squirrels before they could carry out any task.

"Fixing GPS devices, bugging instruments and advanced cameras in the bodies of trained animals like squirrels, mice, hamsters, etc, are among modern methods of collecting intelligence. Given the fast speed and the special physical features of these animals, they provide special capabilities for spying operations. Once the animals return to their place of origin, the intelligence gathered by them is then offloaded. . . ."

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Looking for a Spam JudoChop!!



The Postini acquisition by Google was a great move. I'm hoping that the Do No Evil squad will use this acquisition to make a strong run at eliminating spam. The evil of all evils. I rarely say this but, "Go Google!".

P.S. I've gotten numb to spam. I get two or three of the junk pdf or penny stock recommendation a day. I also have pretty good spam filters as well as a paid for service for my corporate mail...which btw does a worse job than my free gMail account! (note to self to look for something else). Have you recently checked the amount of junk mail you have in your yahoo, google or other mail account. It is insane!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

South Africa


Just returned from South Africa. We were in the Limpopo Province for two weeks. Couldn't have asked for a better re-charge; no tv, no cellphone. You could touch the stars at night.

My first trip to R.S.A. Beautiful country with phenomenal people.

Monday, 21 May 2007

The Future of Development

So you buy software online via a service so why wouldn't you develop the same way? As the industry moves forward you'll start to see people expose solutions where developers can not only pull services into their application but also be able to develop those same applications online. I'm not talking about a closed platform with online development (ie a SalesForce Apex play) but a true Integrated Development Environment (IDE) available online with open languages and a directory of services developers can draw from. A true online 'plug-n-play' development environment. Pull the services, create your app, publish.

Think about it with a real world use study. A person in the shower comes up with a brilliant business application. They leave the shower then install an IDE, a delivery component (IIS, Tomcat, Apache), a database (MySQL, SqlServer), pull in some appropriate tool kits (some form of RAD tool), test/troubleshoot that the applications are functional and then begin to code. Instead, how about: A person in the shower comes up with a brilliant business application. They leave the shower, open their browser, create a username/login and beging coding. That IS the future.

There are some early companies out there that are trying to accomplish this. One that is getting the majority of the attention is Coghead. Coghead has an interesting approach as they are providing services but again a developer is trapped to only use the services that Coghead provides. The company that succeeds in this space will let the user community determine the services/applications that are the winner...not the company. I'm not saying that Coghead won't be successful (they will); just that they don't have a platform that will provide developers with the tools they need to build an application based on the services developers find the most useful.

Won't happen tomorrow; but in the near future you'll see companies that are providing this functionality. And they will be poised to truly become the 'hubs' of online application delivery.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

We Are Linux

Seriously. No, really. Seriously?

If my marketing team came to me with this idea there would be an extraordinarily high chance (around 100%) that a large group of people could witness me having a complete meltdown.

To each their own. But I don't see this one flying.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Day Digg Died - May 1, 2007


Digg got to experience a mutiny yesterday, a modern day Boston Tea Party of sorts. And much like the Boston Tea Party of old it signifies the death of an empire and the creation of a 'new country'. What that new country is and/or might look like is anyones guess but you can bet that Digg won't be part of it.

For those of you who don't know what happened to cause this ruckus click here. For those of you who do...read on.

In a nutshell Digg made two critical decisions yesterday. One which was right (pulling the protected content) and one which was wrong (reposting the protected content). The second decision guarantees that they have no long term viability in the market. Digg basically thumbed its nose at the entire HD-DVD industry. Can you guess what the next step is? If not, ask Google. Google can afford making those kinds of bets, Digg can't.

Don't get me wrong I'm all for free speech but I'm equally in favor of protecting Intellectual Property. Flying in the face of your own Terms of Use, flying in the face of IP rights/laws will absolutely, positively (to make up a word) solidly plant you in no mans land. Would Digg allow someone to publish their IP? I don't think so. Actually I know they wouldn't. They've sued companies for infringement on their name. Digg is done, finished, gone.

Here is the interesting twist which created my comment of a 'new country'. There is now a market opportunity for someone to take Digg's model and 'get it right'. Case in example; Napster/iTunes. If anyone has any ideas let me know.

Digg, you should have sold last year when you could have. I'm sure Greylock, Omidyar and crew are thinking the same thing right now.

Final note. May 1, 2007 also confirmed one other suspicion I have always had. It confirmed that 90+% of Digg posters are made up of 10 to 14 year olds. Advertisers if you are looking at that target market Digg is the place to go.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Seagulls


Emerging markets bring them in droves.

Friday, 30 March 2007

The Ongoing

who does Melinda Doolittle (American Idol) most resemble game continues. While most of you are talking about Vote for the Worst and the horrible weekly Sanjaya song slaughter I'd prefer to stay on the Who Does Doolittle (WDD) look like conversation.

I am going to stick with my claim that Melinda looks just like Shrek (see earlier post). But I've now heard from several of you that she is a dead ringer for D.W. from the PBS kids show Arthur. Hey, I can't debunk that one...definitely see the similarity there as well.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

SaaS, Say it Five Times Fast

Well, it was bound to happen...and it has. There have been grumblings in the SaaS community to find a new, or at least an agreed upon, moniker for SaaS. SaaS has been/is referred to as Software as a Service, Applications On Demand, On Demand and so on, and so on.

Phil Wainewright has recently blogged on this topic and references the new term webware that was coined by Rafe Needleman at CNET (i'm sure not coincidently named after his blog). And it appears to have the support of some other bright minds in the SaaS world.

To some extent all of these guys are right. There are entirely too many monikers being floated and SaaS probably doesn't give this sea changing technology justice. But, they are also missing a very important point.

In my humble opinion what the industry needs to solve more than anything else is the lack of both consensus and compliance. Let's call them the current yellow and red cards of our industry.

Without consensus the companies and individuals that are driving this emerging space are not doing the space any favors. Imagine being a new adopter and trying to fight your way through the tide of monikers you get thrown your way. There is absolutely no way for the larger portion of the buying community to adequately differentiate these terms, what each mean and/or that each one means the same thing! (yellow card)

Without compliance it gets even worse. The industry is currently at an inflection point that reminds me of the late 90's in the .com era. Every new company knows that the best way to get funding and get eyeballs on their business is too tag themselves as a SaaS company or a company that services the SaaS industry. I just finished doing some initial due-diligence for a VC on a new 'SaaS' company....and let me tell you. Nothing, absolutely nothing, this company does has anything to do with SaaS. But they'll more than likely hoodwink the investment community, probably receive some funding and tag themselves as a SaaS provider. Throwing more confusion into the buying market and investment community (red card, out of the game).

So, from the bottom of my heart. Let's pick one monkier that we can all agree on, start to call out the non-SaaS companies that claim to be SaaS companies and MOVE FORWARD.

And let's also make sure that whatever moniker we pick we can say it, 'five times fast'.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Where Am I Today


For better (business is booming) or worse (not spending as much time with the family as I'd like) I've been traveling a ton these days. Figure I'd start a little game of WAIT.

Give it your best shot. Absolutely nothing will go to the winner.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Does Anyone

Else think that Melinda Doolittle on American Idol looks exactly like Shrek? A friend and I were discussing yesterday and my premise was that it was because of her short neck. He was pretty adamant that it was the neck, the teeth, the whole package. Think I'm going to have to agree with him.

Listen, I'm not bagging on her...I'm certainly not going to win any beauty awards. But every time I see her on American Idol I immediately start thinking about Shrek fighting Puss in Boots (Or el gato con botas as I like to think about him. Sounds better and he is Spanish).

Between her and Sanjaya - who my buddy calls the chicken little of season 6 - I'm really having a hard time getting into AI this year.

Entreprenuers

With bright ideas get me excited.

Met today with two bright and driven entrepreneurs that have a fantastic app they are bringing to market. It was great listening to them. Completely excited about the idea, intimidated because they had just begun the process of raising money but ready to take on the world.

Building a new company/idea/market is fun!

Unbelievable Guitar Hero Chops

This guy is completely incredible...probably sad that I care but still, completely incredible. Saw this video on Brad Feld's blog and had to post on mine as well.