The Village View

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Spanning Sync goes beta - overly positive response

Fellow Enterprise Irregular Charlie Wood announced that Spanning Sync went public beta yesterday.... was promptly overwhelmed by interest (and traffic) and had to close the beta to new users. Being a PC guy, this whole thing is lost on me, but the Mac folks I know are celebrating the Second Coming.

Anyway, if you're an infrastructure vendor, there's an opportunity for you here

So tomorrow morning I'll be looking to beef up our infrastructure in a big way. I don't have time to comparison shop, so I'll be provisioning more hardware from our current provider, ServerBeach. But if another vendor wanted to be the hero in this story, there's a great opportunity. Sun has some kick-ass new servers they're looking to seed startups with, right? Or maybe a regional hosting provider could use some free publicity.

Either way, email me if you have an offer or a suggestion. I'm at and I'll be in the office tomorrow morning at 6:00am CST.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Enterprise Irregulars Site

You may have noticed the "Enterprise Irregulars" logo on the righthand side. Rob Boothby of Teqlo explains:

Jeff Nolan helped found a group called the Enterprise Irregulars. First and foremost, it is an online discussion group. The list is invitation only. I was lucky enough to be invited to join a while ago. The back and forth is blunt, rough, funny, opinionated, and usually focused. The focus is enterprise technology and the next generation in software.

Jeff hired me at SAP and was my first boss here. He's now the CEO of Teqlo. He initiated and pushed the idea of blogger relations at SAP and invited bloggers to SAP's user conference. The Irregulars grew out of that. Lest you think SAP gets soft glove treatment, I'd have you know I fought off a 3 pronged attack (a professional one mind you) from Vinnie, Dennis and James about SAP and innovation this morning.

Anyway, I'd encourage you to check out the site as there is a lot of good and original thought around the enterprise tech space there.

Restaurant Week

So, it's week 2 of Restaurant, uhh, Week. I'm checking out Megu tonight; three-course prix-fixe dinners for $35.00. Looking forward to it. As you can see from the site, they've got the link to Open Table right there, so making reservations was a breeze.

Friday, January 26, 2007

German army recruits SAP

I had a post last week on Public Sector software activity. Here's another one.

The Federal Armed Forces has agreed to license SAP software for more than 140,000 users...The contract calls for the deployment of the vertical SAP for Defense & Security software and the integration of the company's NetWeaver integration middleware...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Move Over Silicon Valley, Here Come European Start-Ups

Interesting article in today's Times, but I'm dubious of the claim that "Silicon Valley’s dominance of Internet-style technology innovation is waning" and that Europe is a larger innovation hub. The article points out one of the cultural differences which I think is still significant, "failure is not viewed as a badge of honor, the way it is in Silicon Valley..." While badge of honor may be a bit much, there is certainly less stigma attached to business failure in the US versus on the Continent.
Ironic to note that one of the companies cited to further the theisis, NetVibes, "received a $15.5 million investment from the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners" and whose founder "received practical business schooling in Silicon Valley." I don't want to give the impression that I do not believe there is much innovation happening in Europe, and indeed outside of the US in general, but ringing the death knell of Silicon Vally is a bit premature.

One more thing: did you know this? I didn't.
Skype, for example, now says that it carries 4.4 percent of all worldwide long-distance calling.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

funny site of the day - ePodunk

I was looking for some information on a small town (village) where I had done some conservation work with The Nature Conservancy a few years ago, Tolstoi, Manitoba. I laughed out loud when I saw the name of the site. Hilarious.

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Go Hybrid (no not talking about the Prius)

Dennis picked up on this article by Bob Warfield, CEO Callidus Software. Warfield lays out a great argument for why On Demand vs. on premise doesn't have to be a religious debate. Should vendors offer On Demand or on premise? Yes. Should customers go On Demand or on premise? Yes.

What is the right strategy? Go hybrid. That’s the conclusion many established software vendors are coming to. Offering both on-premise and on-demand solutions enables vendors to best meet the immediate and long-term business needs of their customers - and avoids the religious fervor that can sidetrack many sales efforts.

First time this really hit home was last year at the Office 2.o conference when I was listening to Microsoft's Technical Evengelist Don Campbell.
I believe he said something like "the user decides what's online and what's offline." Yes. There are some things I may not want outside the firewall.
SAP is also pursuing a hybrid strategy. A great example is the CRM On Demand product. The On Demand version has real time integration with the on premise CRM product (mySAP CRM) as well as the ERP product. Also, if a division or subsidiary wants to start with the On Demand version and later go on premise, it shouldn't be too hard to do so given that the On Demand version is based on the architecture, data model, and user interface of the mySAP CRM application.

Friday, January 19, 2007

MingleNow: Here's to Beer!

I like beer. Beer being one of the main reasons I now weigh 10+ pounds more than when I began at SAP a little over a year ago. That's why I was so pleased to see this news from Julia French at MingleNow (Julia, like me, has a German mother - we have beer in our genes)

Today MingleNow went public with a partnership with Anheuser-Busch as part of the beer industry's "Here's-to-Beer" marketing initiative. The partnership allows Anheuser-Busch to leverage the social media channel in keeping with the social aspect of beer itself.....It's the first partnership with a social network for Anheuser-Busch....Users photograph themselves "clinking" beer bottles or glasses together with friends, then upload the photos to galleries on MingleNow. (my emphasis)

So let me get this straight, I have to go drink beer with a friend or "friend" and take a picture? Yeah, I can do that. Twist my arm.

Julia made a few more insightful points, "The "Clink" program utilizes the online/offline nature of MingleNow to bring the real-life camaraderie of beer drinking to the Internet. MingleNow is putting the "social" back in social networking by connecting you online with the places you go offline and the people who go there, allowing users to connect with friends, plan parties and events in the real-world with tools in one centralized location on the Web."

On a more serious note, what I find interesting is that a main stream company and huge traditional advertiser is using a social media channel. My sense is that this will, in the eyes of other large, traditional firms, legitimize the medium. Especially given that social media use, I would imagine, correlates nicely with the market that Bud is reaching for.

Focus on Public Sector

I've seen more focus on government sector lately; or at least more press releases, marketing, and quotes).

Saw this article today, Eyes Public Sector Growth, which in fact talks not only about SFdC's interest in Public Sector, but also RightNow's. And why not, as the article states it's "estimated the federal government's overall technology budget will increase at a 4.4 percent compounded annual growth rate over the next five fiscal years..." Add onto that state and local governments, universities and other non-profits (often considered under the public sector umbrella for tech companies) and you've got an interesting vertical. Although, SFdC's chief strategy officer comes out with the totally objective insight that SaaS "is really the trend for the future," my gut would tell me that SaaS is likely a harder sell than on premise, at least to the federal government. I'm admittedly ignorant in this area, but mightn't there be increased security and privacy regulations, limiting off-site hosting of data, than for private sector customers?

Also, I recall that Larry mentioned Oracle's interest in public sector during the last earnings call: "We see that[referring to telco billing] as a growing business even in areas like government and the government sector, as they go ahead and modernize their systems. We think some of those specific government verticals are going to grow faster than the ERP portion..." Forrester sees Oracle's recent SPL acquisition as a move to compete with SAP in, among others, the public sector.

What about the home team? SAP has also shown an interest in the public sector vertical. A few months ago, SAP collaborated on a white paper with the Center for Technology in Government to develop a framework to determine public ROI of IT programs. Mid last year, stated that SAP was experiencing a "boom" in public sector. Recently, SAP had a win in the sector; SAP for Utilities will replace a legacy system at Dallas Water Utilities. Another Texas city, Houston, is also implementing SAP. So plenty going on here too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hey, we did it first - Bloggers credentialed as media by feds

Seems folks involved with the Libby trial are taking a page out of SAP's blogger relations handbook. Another bit of validation on the role of bloggers in our society. Glad to see it.

For the first time in history, bloggers are credentialed media for district court cases. The Libby trial is one of the most blogged political stories, and now bloggers will see firsthand what is going on behind closed doors.

Interesting to see that a well-know mainstream journalist thought the idea a good one.
Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz believes the bloggers will add an extra dimension to the coverage... "There are some bad apples among the bloggers, but just as fabricators such as Jayson Blair and Jack Kelley aren't typical of newspaper reporters, we shouldn't allow a few reckless bloggers to darken the reputation of all the honest ones," Kurtz told ABC News.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 picks up a "few" seats at Dell; Microsoft ain't asleep either

Dell Inc. bought Inc. software for 15,000 of the computer maker's employees, the business software maker said on Tuesday.

First of all: it's NOT software - geez, haven't you seen the buttons? More seriously, this is great news for -the deal had been rumored for quite a while. To understand the magnitude of this transaction consider this: this deal represents ~25% of the total number of net new subscribers SFdC sold last quarter. Unfortunately, I missed the Apex Seminar in New York last week, but did meet up with Jason Wood after the event for dinner.

However, lest you think that SFdC is the only game in town, Microsoft generated almost $500M in Dynamics license revenue in FY 06 (As Jason points out - most of the Dynamics license growth was attributed to CRM). Mid last year Microsoft claimed to have sold more than 50k Dynamics CRM users in one quarter. That's why today's news that Microsoft will begin previewing, to its partner community, the new multi-tenant version of its CRM, code named Titan (this name is original?) is exciting to me.
The new version introduces an advanced multitenant architecture, and uses a single code base to support on-premise deployments as well as software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments through hosting partners and through the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service

A couple of other things on
- I've heard SFdC is offering, or will offer, a vertical solution for the financial services industry and that they have dedicated financial services vertical support in place.
- Just in time to get me in the mood for my Nature Conservancy Young Professionals Council meeting tomorrow:
the Foundation, today announced Earthforce -- an initiative to create a carbon neutral in 2007. In taking important key steps in becoming a carbon neutral corporation, the Foundation will work to neutralize the effect of's corporate greenhouse gas emissions from its major areas of carbon consumption -- its office locations, corporate travel and data centers. This will be done through the strategic purchase of carbon offsets with the help of Clean Air-Cool Planet, NativeEnergy and Conservation International.
Apex code available for preview by developers:
The preview release of the Apex programming language will enable developers to learn the capabilities of the Apex language, write code and create applications, and provide feedback on Apex's design and capabilities. The developer preview release is currently scheduled to be followed later this year with a beta for customers.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Larry's in the mood for Asian tonight

Flamboyant billionaire Larry Ellison just can't let the Asian thing go. The Oracle boss hasn't been able to unload his imperial Japanese-style mansion -- it can be yours for $16 million

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Yahoo Inc. purchases Orlando's MyBlogLog

This is pretty cool. The founders are from the next town over from where I grew up. Good to see some Florida tech companies having success. Also, as you can see I use MyBlogLog too.

Internet giant Yahoo Inc. has acquired a small Orlando company, MyBlogLog Inc., a 2-year-old business that provides bloggers with visitor counts for their Web sites and allows them to form communities of like-minded readers.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back on the grid

Well, my regular blog readers (thanks Mom & Dad) may have noticed I took a bit of a hiatus over the Christmas break. I'm actually not even back in the office yet, but at my folks' house in Florida. Heading back to NYC tomorrow.

I spent 10 days in Argentina, mostly in Buenos Aires, but also a few days in the wine area of Mendoza. If you're not familiar with Argentine wines, they are generally a good value wine. My favorite varietals are Malbec (red) and Torrentés (white). I took a half day tour to two wineries: Lagarde and Terra. Here's a few pics:

From Argentina 06 07

From Argentina 06 07

I also took a trip up into the Andes (or past the foothills, but before you get to the really big stuff). Went to the entrance of Aconcagua park. Aconcagua is, as I'm sure you're all aware, the tallest mountain in the Americas. 6900+ meters or over 21,000 feet. Most of the area out there is pretty arid and some of it reminds one of the desert Southwest in the US. More pics for your viewing pleasure:

From Argentina 06 07

From Argentina 06 07

From Argentina 06 07

I spent most of the time visiting a couple of friends in Buenos Aires. As much as I love New York, I think that Buenos Aires is my favorite city in the world. I say this having lived there during the beginning of a crisis. Currently, Argentina (and especially Buenos Aires) are booming - something like 8% GDP growth for the last 3 years (if my memory and Spanish reading skills are serving me correctly). There are apartment buildings going up everywhere - nice ones too. The kind I could never afford to live in in New York - the kind my investment banking friends don't even live in, well, ok, almost. Not a few of the apts are being bought by foreigners, including Americans.
The place is jammed with US and Brazilian tourists. The Brazilians have always been going there, but the number of Americans was new. When I lived there (98-01) there were few American tourists. The Americans you saw were mostly business people or the occasional fly fisher/hunter in the domestic airport heading south. Not any more, BA has become fashionable. And why not, it's a European-esque city where you can have a fantastic meal at literally a 1/3 of the price it would cost you in New York.

Here's a pic of me on New Years Eve at my friend's weekend house - we had a traditional Argentine asado:
From Argentina 06 07

My Argentine friends were pressing me to move back telling me how well I could live on my US$ salary. I can imagine; I lived well when I lived there and I earned a 1/3 or less of what I do now. (It also seems to have gotten safer than when I was there 3 years ago. My friends were comfortable with me taking taxis, something they discouraged 3 years ago.)

It got me thinking about this whole idea of "location arbitrage" that I read about in Life 2.0. Someone left this book lying around the office and I picked it up. The basic idea as I understood it of this type of arbitrage is to earn coastal US salaries while living in low cost areas. It talks a lot about folks who worked for years in the Valley or in New York, but then went back to Iowa or Minnesota and kept earning about the same amount, but bought huge houses etc and had much better commutes and more family time. Now, I'm greatly simplifing the premise, but it does make sense. SAP is a pretty virtual company and I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't move back to Florida (Orlando or even Miami) or to a lower cost tech hub (Austin - hang out with Charlie and Cote, or Raleigh). I even played around with one of those cost-of-living calculators and looked at some real estate sites. Needless to say, I could probably live "very well" in Raleigh or Orlando. I'm defining "very well" as in I could afford to buy a nice place, pay less tax, have more disposable income etc. However, as a single, still young-ish, guy, and for a lot of intangibles, I don't think I could get myself to leave New York (or maybe San Francisco) just yet. Anyway, it was an interesting thought process and I feel good about where I live (at least until I talk to my buddies in Florida who are paying less for their mortgage then I am for my much smaller apt). But, back to reality....

I'm going to start back on my regular posting schedule now and will go back to mostly software/tech topics - so if you want any more vacation photos, ping me and i'll send you a link.

Happy New Year!