The Village View

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Novell Profit Gets Linux Lift

Couple of thoughts on this:
- Interesting that they were able to grow Linux revenue this strongly given the recent noise around Oracle entering the Linux market (although likely with a RedHat compliant distribution). I would have thought that the rumors that were flying would have slowed Novell's sales cycle.
- The growth rate, while impressive, is still on very small revenue numbers (rough math says the Linux Platform Products revenue a year ago would have been just over $9M)

Business software concern Novell reported on Tuesday its preliminary third-quarter profit increased more than fivefold, saying revenue from its Linux Platform Products category grew 30 percent year-over-year.
For the quarter, Novell reported revenue of $12 million from its Linux Platform Products group.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wired Wiki

The Socialtext blog and Jeff also picked this up. We use Socialtext internally ( I run much of the efforts at SAP) and SAP Ventures is an investor. When something similar was tried a few months ago it didn't work out so well. Be interesting to see what happens.

In an experiment in collaborative journalism, Wired News is putting reporter Ryan Singel at your service.

This wiki began as an unedited 1,059 word article on the wiki phenomenon, exactly as Ryan filed it. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do the job of a Wired News editor and whip it into shape. Don't change the quotations, but feel free to reorganize it, make cuts, smooth the prose, or add links -- whatever it takes to make it a lively, engaging news piece.

At the very least should be a good way of marketing and lead generation for Socialtext, given that...
To make any changes, you'll first need to create a free account at Socialtext.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Lew Tucker Leaves

Also, check out the comment by "A Lew Fan"; interesting in that it speaks to Tucker's importance to AppExchange.

Radar Networks annouced today that Lew Tucker has joined the firm as vice president and CTO.

At, Lew was Vice President of Internet Services where he was heavily involved in the creation of the AppExchange.


Customer Service done right - Thanks Jack!

Last week I ranted a bit about FeedDemon in an otherwise unrelated post. Shortly thereafter, Jack from NewsGator tech support posted a comment offering help. I shot Jack an email and he got right back to me. Apparently, I had run into a small bug that would be fixed in a later release. I upgraded today and I'm good. Thanks Jack.
Now, maybe you could contact Verizon Wireless and give them a lesson in great customer service.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Performancing test

UPDATE: the test put the "powered by performancing" line in mucho times. I took all but one out.

This is a test post using the Performancing for Firefox extension. I finally got it to log on to my Blogger account on the 4th attempt! I think this may have to do with Blogger and not Perfomancing though. Blogger has been defaulting to the Google log in name I use for my primary gmail account instead of the one I use for Blogger. I literally have to overwrite the username and password a few times to log on. I don't get it.

powered by performancing firefox

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 Enters Search Engine Marketing with Kieden Buy

Kieden was one of the partners was showcasing at the AppExchange seminar last month. They demo-ed the Google AdWords product and hyped the arrival of the "business web." The acquisition of another AppExchange partner demostrates that, in addition to providing expanded functionality for the core CRM product, the ecosystem of developers also provides SFdC with a pool of companies to acquire with proven products that customers are already purchasing.

A couple of items on the Kieden:
- Kieden has approx 45 customers and 4 employees
- Kieden is priced ($300) per organization, not per user and won't be included in the AppExchange Unlimited Edition

Also, today(8/23) there will be an investor luncheon at 12:30 EDT. I'm planning on listening to the live webcast. Here's a link to yesterday's product launch.

Blogger limitations & annoyances

Ive been considering moving my blog off Blogger, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. One reason is because I'm sure it's gonna be a big pain in the ass to do the migration. The other reason is that I'm not severely unhappy, just mildly annoyed with a few things: 1) No Trackbacks - So I "solved" this yesterday by installing Trackbacks plug in from HaloScan. I haven't actually tried the Trackback functionality, but the service also manages my comments. The problem is that I lost(well they're still there on Blogger's servers I would imagine) all my comments when I made the switch. (Including one from Mark Mangano listing a couple of other blogs he reads). Not a huge issue, but kinda a bummer. 2) Blogger is forcing me to log in with my Google password. Now I have 3 gmail accounts (I use one for personal email, one for my blog email and one for online storage) and one separate log on for Blogger. When I log into Blogger it logs me out of my gmail account. So far I've been opening gmail in IE and Blogger in Firefox to prevent this. I guess I'm going to have to consolidate the Blogger account under one of the gmail accounts.
On the positive side, I get picked up pretty well by Google blog search (which also powers the blog postings on Google Finance) and get a considerable amount of traffic from that source. I have a sneaky suspicion that I may not get picked up as much if I switch off Blogger. Of course, search engine optimization is not my bag, so I could be way off here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Open Source CRM?

I love this: the article talks about how great open source is etc etc, but spends a good bit of copy talking about SugarCRM's higher end products which aren't open source. Sure as a customer you may have access to the source code, but so do SAP customers. The Enterprise version is not licensed under the SugarCRM Public License (as the article implies) but rather users are bound by the Sugar Enterprise End User License Agreement. While the SugarCRM Public License that the free Open Source Edition uses is based on the MPL, the Enterprise EULA certainly isn't.

Here's Section 1.3 of the EULA: Proprietary Rights. SugarCRM and its licensors shall own all right, title, and interest to the Software, technology, information, code or software provided to Company, including all portions, copies or modifications thereof.

Now, I have nothing against the dual license model that SugarCRM employs (MySQL and others do the same thing) but don't write an article titled, "Now Is The Time To Consider Open Source CRM" and not make it clear that there are open source and non-open source versions. It confuses the issue as well as the readers/investors/customers/prospects.

The free version of SugarCRM only supports up to 20 users, while Sugar Professional is designed for up to 500 users. Sugar Enterprise supports up to 5,000 users and offers an offline client and other goodies. On-demand versions of SugarCRM Professional and Enterprise are priced at $40 and $75 per user per month, respectively, while on-premises versions are priced at $239 and $449 annually per user.

All open source CRM vendors let users see and modify the source code, but each has added its own spin to the standard license. SugarCRM sells its software under a modified Mozilla Public License; modifications made to its Enterprise version belong to SugarCRM. Centric CRM lets anyone modify the code of its apps, but they can't resell or distribute it without making a deal with Centric first. blogs I read

I just added another blog to my FeedDemon account (I've got some gripes with FeedDemon by the way too. How come everytime I add a new RSS feed, I only get "excerpt" view even though I have "full content" checked? uuuhh. the whole reason I went with FeedDemon is so that I could read my feeds without being online).
Anyway, I added the AppExchange Developer Network blog to my list. I also read the Successforce blog and The first two are fun by SFdC and the last is written by a user. Happy to hear of any others that are worthy of addition to my blogroll.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

SAP Announces Strategic Investment in Questra Corporation

Earlier this year, SAP launched a new fund (SAP NetWeaver Fund) to "nurture companies desiring to leverage the benefits of the SAP ecosystem." Here was Jason Wood's take on the fund when it was announced. Well, today SAP announced the first investment by this fund, in Questra Corporation. SAP's strategic investment was part of a $12.5M financing round that also included previous investors Trident Capital and Menlo Ventures. (Questra had announced a $9M Series C in 2004).

SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced it has made an investment in Questra Corporation, a leader in intelligent device management (IDM). Today’s announcement marks the first investment for SAP’s $125 million global SAP NetWeaver® Fund

Developed in conjunction with joint SAP and Questra customer Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, the Questra composite application enables manufacturers to monitor remote devices and automatically generate service notifications in their SAP Service and Asset Management solution.

Here's a bit more on the composite application -Questra RemoteService(TM)- that I found on a Questra press release:

It offers an enhanced business process for automatically integrating performance data from devices at customer locations with manufacturers' business processes....In a single interface, Questra RemoteService brings together the problem profile from the Questra IDM solution, which is populated with performance data from a manufacturer's equipment installed at customer sites, with the customer profile from the manufacturer's SAP solution. Using Questra RemoteService, manufacturers' service personnel receive immediate notification of performance issues along with the device and customer information they need to resolve problems quickly...

Questra's customers include: Agfa, Dade Behring, Eastman Kodak's Health Imaging Group, GE Healthcare, Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), Samsung, Ingersoll-Rand, and Waters.

In addition to SAP, Questra lists IBM, Microsoft,BEA and Siebel(Oracle) as partners. + Meebo

Mark Mangano over at the Salesforcewatch blog integrated MeeboMe into his instance. Seems he's using it for internal support. Wonder if you can do this with SAP CRM On Demand.

I thought, why not embed the widget into my Salesforce instance. This gives your users the ability to chat with your admin without leaving Salesforce.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Oracle to Announce Linux Distro Tomorrow

Jeff comes back from LinuxWorld with a little news (or at least a few rumors):

....according to a number of open source industry insiders, Oracle is going to announce at LinuxWorld tomorrow their own branded version of Linux based on the Red Hat distro. Previous speculation had them announcing something at their analyst meeting in October, but with the penguin festival this week in SF it makes perfect sense.

AC repair

An example of Southern engineering forwarded by my uncle back home in Florida. Definitely qualifies for the "You might be a redneck if...." genre.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Free wifi & good coffee in NYC

I've gone to a couple of NextNY events over the last couple of months. The website is a wiki and on the "resources" page a list of good cafes with free wifi access in New York has gone up. Useful when you're looking for a place to work outside your house or office. My contribution was SIP (it's a cafe during the day and a lounge at night) where I spent most of last Saturday working. Pretty good ice tea.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Software's Sky is Not Falling

I referenced the Enterprise Irregulars in this posting about a conference call on AppExchange. This is a varied group of enterprise software industry folks (software company execs like yours truly, consultants, investors, analysts/ex-analysts) that discuss and blog about various issues. We use a Google group, CrispyNews and will hopefully have another conference call soon. I've had the pleasure of meeting two members in person and speaking with several others on the phone. Given my strategy role, it's been very useful to bounce ideas off of others and, very importantly, leverage the combined wisdom of the group when thinking about important issues.

Today posted an article by the Irregulars rebutting an earlier Sandhill article by Guy Smith. In that article, Smith makes some valid points about open source software and the challenges that incumbent (proprietary) vendors face. However, other statements (as well as the title) are overstated. My piece is on the 3rd page at the bottom (prime real estate!). Please let me know what you think as feedback is always welcome. Also, given space constraints and duplication issues (a few of us took exception to the same statements) a condensed version of my original piece was published. For your reading pleasure, I've included the original below. Also, Jason, Vinnie, Niel and Jeff posted on this subject as well.


I take issue with the assertion that "with little effort a commodity stack can be deployed for 95 percent of all IT buyers." I'm particularly dubious of this claim with regards to the application layer. SugarCRM, Compiere et. al. have had success and are doing some interesting things; incumbent vendors surely should not be (and, by the way, aren't) sitting still with regards to OSS. However, I'm not sure that open source application vendors have relegated Oracle, SAP, Microsoft even SFdC, plus the mid-size ERP players, to fight for the last 5% of the market. If a customer is looking for basic, generic functionality at low cost then I think the open source application vendors offer a good option, but that leaves a large part of the (enterprise & SME) market looking at proprietary solutions. This is especially true in those parts of the market in which "the Internet makes selling solutions less expensive" is not really applicable.

Smith overstates the case when he says "any profitable segment in which there is no Open Source solution will soon enough have one." However, had he less sensationally stated that open source will continue to move up - the stack as well as into larger enterprises, I think he would be correct. So what will spur open source adoption? My sense is that open source application adoption will be driven largely by the intersection of three drivers: customer need, vendor push and community support.

Customer Need - Customers will be drawn to open source because of lower costs, freedom from vendor lock-in and a large community of available developers

Vendor Push - Software vendors (both open source and "traditional") will push adoption because it benefits them. They can potentially see improved margins, more efficient targeting of customers(price discrimination) and can provide a more tailored, useful product to the customer

Community Support - A strong community around an application can provide the elements necessary to success:

  • Product development - ISVs and independent programmers extend core functionality, and contribute bug fixes
  • Distribution - integration of open source product into larger software distributions as well as increased downloads due to network effect of word of mouth
  • Services - community provides support (paid or free), education and implementation

I do not believe that open source application software is nearly at the stage that Smith claims it is. A "commodity stack" play is much likelier today, and in the near future, lower in the stack and into a limited (albeit, growing) part of the applications market. My sense is that it may be a while before there is wide scale adoption of open source solutions in areas such as PLM, SCM and SRM.

Monday, August 07, 2006 news & thoughts

A couple of items from the news on and some thoughts: consultancy launches

Seems like the natural part of the evolution of i.e., building out the ecosytem. They've started well with AppExchange and ISVs developing complementary apps (which Enterprise CRM will do as well) and now they're developing the services side. My sense is that a significant part of Enterprise CRM's work will be integrating SFdC's CRM product with legacy, non-hosted apps. Also, as the AppExchange Apps largely address the issue of incomplete (horizontal) CRM functionality, there should be opportunities to provide verticalization of the SFdC app, either productized or on a one-off basis Bites Bullet on Integration
One thought that came to me while reading the article: some of the pre-built connectors built to link SFdC to other applications (ERP etc) may not work with the OEM platform products e.g Remend etc. Could there be missing hooks into some objects? For example, any connector referring to the Opportunities tab will run into problems as it's my understanding this tab doesn't exist on the OEM platform product. Likely not a large issue today given the limited number of OEM partners (5, i think?) but could become one depending on the success of the platform.

NY Web 2.0 Social Networking Tech Meetup

I'm planning on going to this event tomorrow night, however just went on the site and no location has been announced yet. It's capped at 50 attendees we could easily do it in a bar somewhere.


Picked this off of Jeff's blog. Unbelievably interesting to me for whatever reason. I've been following "Scott" around this afternoon; I'm a bit worried as he hasn't moved in quite some time though. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The August NY Tech Meetup

Went to the NY Tech Meetup tonight. This was my second time. Given that it took place at Columbia it was a bit of a hike for most folks (not for me, 10 blocks away) made worse by the heat and delays on the 2/3 subway line. Good turnout. My overriding thought is that the presentations were more technology, and less business, oriented compared to July's Meetup. Anyway, here are some of the things I found interesting about the companies that presented:

From what I understood, they are trying to solve the problem of having an easily accessible, searchable directory of software. Using a new, more structured type of wiki. Using Semantic Web ideas to solve the problems of the previous generations of wikis. Uses RDF which presenter assured is compatible with RSS (RSS 1.2 he mentioned). They created their own wiki engine for the Iterating product and use a PostgreSQL backend. The revenue model (I asked the question) is advertising and "services." I really wish I understood Iterating better, but I feel the presenter spent a lot of time explaining why it was needed and thus didn't get to share as much about the actual product.

Described as a "revolution in online dating" essentially it takes the idea to your cell phone. Founder and, evidently inventor of Social Networking, Andrew Weinrich talked us through it and ran a demo program. According to Weinrich the problem with "traditional" online dating is that it's asynchronous. MeetMoi allows you to do real time proximity searches and chat (or text) back and forth with a prospective date on your mobile device. Once you register on the site you can set your status as "available" and text your location to MeetMoi. The service will put you in touch with others near you. It hides your true phone number and email. An important question was asked: can I get a picture. Answer: as long as your phone has MMS capability, yep. That would be a dealbreaker if you couldn't in my opinion.

We've Met
Claim to fill the 2nd part of the dating equation (MeetMoi being the 1st). Essentially want to solve the problem of re-connecting with someone you met at a social gathering and would like to get back in touch with. Old way was "missed connections" in the personal section of the newspaper. We've Met has a "3 pronged approach:" 1) Parties - if an event is organized thru the site, afterwards a person can see a list of attendees. If you are interested you can click and put the person on your "wish list," if they also put you on their wish list, both of you can see each other's profile; 2) Hot Spot - Add yourself to a location that you hang out at a lot. E.g., you hang out at the Starbucks on 102nd & Broadway, you add that to your Hot Spots and folks can see you profile by location, 3) Your Network - creates a list based on the Parties and Hot Spots. Indicated they were focused on the Party element currently. Howard Greenstein asked about non-dating situations; answer was that they have decided to focus on the romantic angle for the moment. Currently, the service is free, with the idea of "ultimately" having advertising, possibly subscriptions as well as fees to industrial users e.g., Starbucks.


Seemed a lot of folks had already heard of these guys before. I hadn't. Essentially, the CEO Mark Cenedella gave a very short spiel and turned it over to a couple of developers. Mark's main point as I understood it was that et al are too hard and slow for recruiters to use. So his developers have put together a very AJAXy looking, slick UI which they explained in a granular level of detail. I tuned out at the stage of what was happening on the client vs the server. Someone yelled out the valid point that what we were being shown was a feature, not a business. The update on the business was given: Largest 100K+ job website, Free to recruiters, job seeker pays $30/month or $180/year, 80 employees, $10M in revenue, 890K jobs, 30K being added every month, 20k recruiters.

Described as a "platform for developing real-time applications" this was the most interesting presentation to me personally. A real time application has "exploding" volumes of data that aren't written to the disk, e.g., algorithmic trading or analyzing communications traffic. Employs StreamSQL which was described as "SQL on steroids" that gets around the problems of ordered data by Rob Macneill who did the presentation. He showed the visual programming interface used to build the apps. My sense is that what was demoed was essentially a development environment. I think we only saw a bit of what Streambase offers and I'd like to set up a follow up meeting with Rob. Revenue is generated by software license sales which were described as starting in the "low six figures." In response to a question, they haven't run into TIBCO BusinessWorks in a competitive deal. The company is 6 years old, based in Lexington, MA with offices in New York, DC and London.

Presenter/Founder John Engstrom(?) described this as a web-based personal finance and budgeting software. He gave an entertaining demo including doing an initial set up of accounts, expenses etc. Essentially this struck me as a simplified, AJAXy version of Quicken or Microsoft money. When asked how it differs from Quicken et al John mentioned the ability to see multiple persons' accounts together or separate (e.g., husband can see what he has alone or combined with his wife's accounts). BudgetSnap does not reconcile with any online banks, not wanting to become a portal for identity theft. (My sense is that this may be a limitation to adoption moving forward). During the Q&A John explained that this was a "weekend project" and that he is employed during the week; managing websites around publishing I believe. The site has been growing organically since a July launch with over 1000 users to date. 10-15 new ones sign up every day. Revenue model is subscription although you can get a free 3 month trial currently.

Panther Express

A Contenet Delivery Network who claim it will distribute your data for "the cost of centralized bandwidth." (Find more here). Presenters claimed that the market needed a commodity priced, easy-to-use CDN and one "not just for big companies." CTO claims no 3rd party proprietary software being used; everything either developed in house or used with an open source license. He then proceeded to go into detail on the technology powering Panther Express: 90% written in Java, commodity hardware etc. When asked how they (with 29 POPs) hoped to compete with the bigger boys who have thousands, the presenters answered that they were "very cheap." Additionally, there are not monthly minimum minutes and minimum commitments (start and stop using when you want). Panther Express recently closed a $6 million round of venture funding with investors including Greylock. Claim 25 customers.


For a different spin, Susan Crawford spoke to us about a day rather than a start up. (Susan introduced herself as being on the board of ICANN and as a professor at Cardozo Law School). From what I gathered, this day (September 22, 2006) will be set aside to celebrate the web. Here in New York it will be held during lunch time (a question was asked about free food) in Bryant Park.

Sun partners with Greenplum to launch open source data warehouse appliance

Ed Sim of Dawntreader Ventures let me know about this (Greenplum is a portfolio company). The product referenced below is "Bizgres MPP" which Greenplum describes as PostgreSQL for Data Warehousing. They market another product "Bizgres" as PostgreSQL for Business Intelligence. My sense is that Greenplum plays in a similar space as Netezza, DATAllegro and even SAP's BI accelerator product.

Sun Microsystems and open-source database maker Greenplum, July 26 introduced a data warehouse appliance built from open-source software and general purpose systems that the companies claim is much faster and cheaper than comparable proprietary systems...Called simply the Data Warehouse Appliance, the new product is powered by Greenplum's own distribution of the open-source PostgreSQL database, Bizgres MPP and Sun's open-source Solaris 10 operating system.

ZDnet's Open Source blog has this as well:
Open source compresses data warehouse margins by ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn -- The knock on open source databases has always been that it doesn't scale. With this new offering, users can scale from a few megabytes to multiple terabytes, without changing the underlying database structure.