When it comes to IT services and BPO, it’s no longer about “location, location, location”, it’s now all about “skills, skills, skills”.
Instead of “commodity” capabilities (things like password resets, routine programming changes, etc.), companies want more highly-skilled, innovative capabilities. Either offshorers need to provide this, or companies will in-source those skills.
Because offshorers typically don’t focus on such “open ended” roles, analysis of the survey suggests offshorers will have less business, at least new business:
aspirations for offshore use between the 2014 and 2017 State of the Industry studies, we see a significant drop, right across the board, with plans to offshore services.
an increasing majority of customers of traditional shared services and outsourcing feel they have wrung most of the juice offshore has to offer from their existing operations, and aren’t looking to increase offshore investments.
What with the large volume of IT offshorers companies do, and how this outsourcing tends to control/limit IT capabilities, paying attention to these trends can help you predict what the ongoing “nature of IT” is in large offshorers.
As for Oracle, the enterprise software vendor wants to use Apiary’s technology set to make its existing API Integration Cloud more robust. Oracle’s API product focuses primarily on services that help companies monetize and analyze APIs. Apiary provides more of a front-end platform for designing, creating and governing APIs. From Natalie Gagliordi f at ZDnet
It all starts with that first meeting when you’re thinking about building an API and you’re either kind of, you know, you’re inside meeting room ideating on a white board and then taking a photo of it and sending it to a co-worker, or summarizing it down into an email and sending it down to somebody else, saying hey, I just thought would could build something like this. That white board should be. And, if you do that it becomes, you know, we do a lot to try to make it super simple. We have a language that is like really, really simple for developers to write and we can write down a quick API in five minutes. It’s marked down, it’s like very organic, it’s very simple for developers.
What it creates for you, is creates this kind of common space, common language kind of when you talk about it that’s machine readable, human writable so it’s super simple but it’s also machine writable, and machine readable. The important aspect of it is that we take your white board, we take your … we build a language that we have API blue prints. It’s a… We take that API blueprint and we immediately create a API prototype, the moment you hit your first button. So, from day one when you’ve proposed your first API idea, your first resource you know, your first data structure. You have an API that’s sitting out there on the internet, somebody can query it and guess what, if they decide that the API is broken, that they would like to have a different resource, they would like to change the of a certain data structure, they would like add to it, whatever. They can go in, edit that out, click the save button and boom the API prototype is updated immediately.
Apiary structures its API lifecycle management platform into five phases. The design phase includes the means to ensure API design consistency using a style guide, a collaborative editor and an approval process. The prototype phase includes productivity capabilities such as auto-generated code and a feedback loop for quality assurance. The implementation phase enables agile-inspired and test-driven development practices, helps deploy server code, and provides for framework integration. The delivery phase includes tools for automated documentation, offers code samples, guides the release of final client code, and offers SDKs. The feedback phase includes debugging, support and usage metrics.
The Money – grabbing part of the $3bn pie
Forrester threw out some API management market-sizing back in June of 2015 (there’s likely something more up-to-date behind their paywall):
We predict US companies alone will spend nearly $3 billion on API management over the next five years. Annual spend will quadruple by the end of the decade, from $140 million in 2014 to $660 million in 2020. International sales will take the global market over the billion dollar mark.
With Oracle’s foot-print in all of enterprise applications and IT (they own Java and share much of the JEE market with IBM), there’s likely some genuine synergies to be had. That is, Oracle could be in a position to boost Apiary sales way above what the tiny company could do on its own.
To be clear, as pointed out above, Apiary doesn’t do all that Apigee does. Apiary is just for the development/design time part of APIs, also providing documentation.
That’s helpful for sure, but I’d guess most of Forrester’s $3bn estimation is likely in actually running and managing APIs. And, in fact, it’s probably more realistic to put Apiary in the development tools/ALM TAM, which is probably in the low, single digit billions. That said, I’m guessing Forrester would put Apiary in their API management bucket; after all, it has “API” in it!
From Gartner’s “Market Guide for Application Platforms”
This is the original report from Anne Thomas and Aashish Gupta, Nov 2016. Pivotal has it for free in exchange for leag-gen’ing yourself.
What is an “application platform” vs. aPaaS, etc.?
Application platforms provide runtime environments for application logic. They manage the life cycle of an application or application component, and ensure the availability, reliability, scalability, security and monitoring of application logic. They typically support distributed application deployments across multiple nodes. Some also support cloud-style operations (elasticity, multitenancy and selfservice).
An “aPaaS,” is a public cloud hosted PaaS, of which they say: “By 2021, new aPaaS deployments will exceed new on-premises deployments. By 2023, aPaaS revenue will exceed that of application platform software.”
On the revenue situation:
Commercial Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) platforms’ revenue declined in 2015, indicating a clear shift in the application platform market…. Application platform as a service (aPaaS) revenue is currently less than half of application platform software revenue, but aPaaS is growing at an annual rate of 18.5%, and aPaaS sales will supersede platform software sales by 2023.
Currently, the lion’s share of application platform software revenue comes from license sales of Java EE application servers. From a revenue perspective, the application platform software market is dominated by just two vendors: Oracle and IBM. Their combined revenues account for more than three-quarters of the market.
Decline in revenue for current market leaders IBM and Oracle over last three years (4.5% and 9.5% respectively), meanwhile uptick from Red Hat, AWS, and Pivotal (33.3%, 50.6% and 22.7% respectively).
Decline/shifting is driven by:
given the high cost of operation, the diminishing skill pool and the very slow pace of adoption of new technologies, a growing number of organizations — especially at the low end of the market — are migrating these workloads to application servers or cloud platforms, or replacing them with packaged or SaaS applications.
Java EE has not kept pace with modern architectural trends. Oracle is leading an effort to produce a new version of Java EE (version 8), which is slated to add a host of long-overdue features; however, Oracle announced at Oracle OpenWorld 2016 that Java EE 8 has been delayed until the end of 2017.3 By the time Java EE catches up with basic features required for today’s applications, it will be at least two or three years behind the times again.
Target for cloud native:
Design all new applications to be cloud-native, irrespective of whether or not you plan to deploy them in the cloud…. If business drivers warrant the investment, rearchitect existing applications to be cloud-native and move them to aPaaS.
Give preference to vendors that articulate a platform strategy that supports modern application requirements, such as public, private and hybrid cloud deployment, in-memory computing, multichannel clients, microservices, event processing, continuous delivery, Internet of Things (IoT) support and API management.
John Watters summary, inc.: “Java EE moves at a slower pace than solutions from vendors such as Pivotal,” Josh Juneau added, “as it should. The point behind Java EE is not to be on the bleeding edge of technology. Rather, it is to be using solid, tried-and-true standard solutions.”
John Clingan: “Reanalyzing the State of Java EE”: “My primary issue with the Gartner report is that it seems to completely ignore the advancements that Java EE vendors have made beyond the traditional Java EE APIs and runtimes, nor mention the MicroProfile efforts to develop microservices APIs for traditional Java EE developers.”
Oracle and Java: confusing
Oracle’s stewardship of Java has been weird of late:
July 2016: Oracle at first backing out of JEE support, then retracting that.
Oracle’s Thomas Kurian, president of product development goes over some things JEE needs to do to modernize to cloud native.
I wouldn’t say “attack,” but rather show that their app servers are in decline, as well as TP processing things. The report is trying to call the shift to both a new way of development (cloud native) and the resulting shifts in product marketshare, including new entrants like Pivotal.
I can’t speak to how JEE is changing itself, but given past performance, I’d assume it’ll be a sauntering-follower to adapting technologies; the variable this time is Oracle’s proven ambivalence about Java and JEE, and, thus, funding problems to fuel the change fast enough to keep apace with other things.
While HPE is getting $2.5bn in cash, the whole deal value is more like $8.8bn, the non-cash being stock. More details:
“Under the deal, HP Enterprise shareholders are expected to end up with Micro Focus shares currently valued at about $6.3 billion. Micro Focus will pay HP Enterprise $2.5 billion in cash.” (WSJ)
There’s about 12,000 people in HPE Software. (WSJ)
HPE Software revenue: “HPE’s software unit generated $3.6 billion in net revenue in 2015, down from $3.9 billion in 2014.”
Put another way, from TBR: “2Q16 software revenue [had a] decline of 18% year-to-year, driven down by a license revenue decline of 28% year-to-year.”
HPE has been divesting a lot, getting a hoard of cash: “In earlier transactions, HP Enterprise in May completed a $2.3 billion deal in China to sell a 51% stake in a venture there called H3C that sells networking, server and storage hardware and related services. Later the same month, HP Enterprise announced a deal to spin off a computer services business that employs about 100,000 people—two-thirds of the company’s total head count—and merge it with operations of Computer Sciences Corp.”
Also: “The company sold at least 84 percent of its 60.5 percent stake in Indian IT services provider Mphasis Ltd to Blackstone Group for $1.1 billion in April.”
The Docker forking hoopla is providing an interesting example, in realtime, of how open communities figure out monetization.
#RealTalk: Open communities are not immune to C.R.E.A.M.
One of the most important decisions an open source community makes is where and how it will make money. I always liked Eclipse’s take because they’re mega clear on this topic; the ASF plays this goofy game where they try really hard to pretend they don’t need to answer the question, which itself is an answer, resulting in only the occasional quagmire; Linux has a weird situation where RedHat figured out This One Cool Trick to circumvent the anti-commercial leanings of the GPL; MySQL has a weird dual licensing model that I still don’t fully grasp the strategic implications of; RIP Sun.
The role of standards plays another defining role when it comes to monetization. Think of Java/J(2)EE, vs .Net, vs PHP (a standard-less standard?), vs HTML and WS-*. vs, the IETF/ISOC RFC-scape that defines how the internet works. While not always, by far, standards are often used tactically to lesson the commercial value (or zero it out completely) of any given component “lower” in the stack, pushing the money “up” the stack to the software that implements, uses, or manages the standard. Think of how HMTL itself is “of no value” (and was strategically pushed that way early on), but that the entire SaaS market is something like a $37.7bn market, part of the overall $90.3bn that, arguably, uses HTMLas one of the core technologies in the stack, at the UI layer, (along with native mobile apps. now).
The dynamics of how open source, standards, and the closed source around it are defined and who “controls” them are one of the key strategic processes in infrastructure software.
The Docker ecosystem is sorting out monetization
Right now, you can see this process in action in the Docker ecosystem. Product management decisions at Docker, Inc. are forcing the community to wrestle with how ecosystem members will make money, including Docker Inc. itself.
By “ecosystem,” I mean “all the people and companies that are involved in coding up Docker and/or selling Docker-based products and services.” Actual end-users play a role, of course, but historically don’t have as much power as we’d like at this stage of an open communities formation.
End-users have to vote with their feet and, if they have one, wallets – whether wearing expensive loafers (enterprise) or cracked sandals (paying with nothing but the pride of ubiquity) – which, by definition, is hard to do until a monetization strategy is figured out, or completely lumped all together.
Looking just at the “vendors,” then, each ecosystem member is trying to define which layers of the “stack”‘will be open, and thus, free, and which layers will be closed, and thus, charged for. Intermixed with this line drawing is determining who has control over features and standards (at which level) and, as a result, the creation of viable business models around Docker.
Naturally, Docker, Inc. wants as big slice of that pie as possible. The creator of any open technology has to spend a lot of nail-biting time essentially deciding how much money and market-share it wants to give up to others, even competitors. “What’s in it for me?” other vendors in the ecosystem are asking…and Docker Inc.’s answer is usually either some strategic shoe-gazing or a pretty straight forwardly the reply “less than you’d like.”
And while I personally consider the orchestration layer the key to the container paradigm, the right approach here is to keep the orchestration separate from the core container runtime standardization. This avoids conflicts between different layers of the container runtime: we can agree on the common container package format, transport, and execution model without limiting choice between e.g. Kubernetes, Mesos, Swarm.
We saw similar dynamics – though by no means open source – in the virtualization market. VMware started with the atomic unit of the hypervisor (remember when we were obsessed with that component in the stack and people used that word a lot?), allowing the ecosystem to build out management on-top of that “lower” unit.
Then, as VMware looked to grow it’s TAM, revenue, and, thus, share price and market-cap, it expanded upward into management. At this point, VMware is a, more or less, the complete suite (or “solution” as we used to call it) of software you need for virtualization. E.g., they use phrases like “Software Defined Datacenter” rather than “virtualization,” indicative of the intended full-scope of their product strategy. (I’m no storage expert, but I think storage and maybe networking?is the last thing VMware hasn’t “won” hands down.)
“What, you don’t like money?”
All of this is important because over the next 10-15 years, we’re talking about a lot of money. The market window for “virtualization” is open and wildcatters are sniffing on the wafting smell the money flitting through. Well, unless AWS and Azure just snatches it all up, or the likes of Google decides to zero the market.
We used to debate the VMware to Docker Inc. comparison and competitive angle a lot. There was some odious reaction to the idea that Docker Inc. was all about slipping in a taking over VMware’s C.R.E.A.M. At one point, that was plausible from a criss-cross applesauce state of the market, but now it’s pretty clear that, at least from an i-banker spreadsheet’s perspective, VMware’s TAM is the number your doinking around with.
Looking at it from a “that giant sucking sound” perspective, most all of the members in the Docker ecosystem will be in a zero-sum position if Docker Inc moves, and wins, the upper management layers. Hence, you see them fighting tooth-and-nail to make sure Docker Inc is, from their perspective, kept in their place.
Apollo Global Management paying $4.3bn to acquire Rackspace, $32 a share in cash, a 38 percent premium (Bloomberg)
Competing against AWS is hard, plus the other mega public cloud plays: “Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc., Amazon and Microsoft have combined cash holdings of more than $200 billion compared to Rackspace’s less than $1 billion.”
Brenon at 451 points out that Rackspace throws off a good amount of cash, “$674m of EBITDA over the past year,” and concludes:
More from Brenon: “While we could imagine that focus on customer service as competitive differentiator might set up some tension under PE ownership (people are expensive and tend not to scale very well), Rackspace has the advantage of having built that into a profitable business. In short, Rackspace is just the sort of business that should fit comfortably in a PE portfolio.”
The MQ says “Rackspace has successfully pivoted from its ‘Open Cloud Company,’ OpenStack-oriented strategy, and returned to its roots as “a company of experts emphasizing its managed service expertise and superior support experience.”
Also: “Rackspace will continue to divert investment from its Public Cloud to other areas of its business, rather than try to compete directly for self-managed public cloud IaaS against market-leading providers that can rapidly deliver innovative capabilities at very low cost, or against established IT vendors that have much greater resources and global sales reach.”
Austin entrepreneur Campbell McNeill said WeWork’s “high energy environment, cool furniture” and location at Sixth and Congress in the heart of downtown allows his startup, Cocolevio, “to attract the young talent we need for our cloud business.”
“It would be considerably more expensive to set up a similar situation on our own as a new tech startup,” said McNeill, Cocolevio’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “We appreciate we may be paying a lot per square foot, but it is completely worth it when you consider the intangible WeWork benefits like networking with other great startups, making great friends, periodic presentations by industry leaders and WeWork Labs.”
“three out of four tenants looking for downtown space are likely to be tech-related, Kennedy said. ‘Ten years ago, it would have been less than half that.'”
“Rents for the highest quality office space in downtown Austin average $49.07 a square foot per year, according to Cushman & Wakefield. That’s 40 percent higher than top-tier space in the suburbs, where rates average $35.10 a square foot.”
“tenants can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $200 per month per space for unreserved parking. Reserved spots are as high as $300 per month.”
“The number of downtown tech workers — between 14,000 and 15,000, according to estimates from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce — is still tiny compared with the region’s overall technology workforce, which the chamber estimates at abou 130,000.”
“In 2015, the worldwide application performance management software market grew an estimated 12.1% over that in 2014, in large part because of increased demand for a new generation of solutions designed to support DevOps and multicloud infrastructure initiatives,” explains Mary Johnston Turner, research vice president, Enterprise System Management Software. “This new generation of APM solutions is easier to implement, supports more sophisticated analytics, and is less expensive than earlier offerings. As a result, APM is providing value to a much wider range of developers and IT operations teams that need constant, current visibility into end-to-end application performance and end-user experience.”
AWS and MSFT have won: “This phase of the market has been ‘won.’ The market consolidated dramatically over the course of 2015. Just two providers — AWS and Microsoft Azure — account for almost all of the IaaS-related infrastructure consumption in cloud IaaS, and their dominance is even more thorough if their PaaS-related infrastructure consumption is included as well.”
“We expect the overall competitive environment will not change significantly until 2018 at earliest, and new entrants to the market will have minimal impact before that time.”
Buyers, choose wisely. Two clouds dominate, there’s lots of fragmentation, so clouds come and go. This pushes people more towards the market-leaders because they seem more stable, despite there being many competing options. E.g., HP shutting down it’s cloud
“Public cloud IaaS provides adequate security for most workloads.”
If not already lean in IT, IaaS will save money – “The less efficient your organization, the more likely you are to save money by using a cloud provider, especially if you take advantage of this opportunity to streamline and automate your operations.”
Criteria of note: must be top 10 by global market-share, data centers at least 250 miles apart, pretty real IaaS capabilities (self-service, technical profiles, etc.)
PaaS and IaaS getting closer: “Most customers who adopt the infrastructure resources within a cloud IaaS offering will also adopt associated management services, such as monitoring, and are highly likely to adopt PaaS-level capabilities, such as database as a service, over time.” More: “This market is wholly separate and distinct from cloud SaaS, but is increasingly entangled with the PaaS market.” Also: “The next phase of the market has not yet emerged. It is likely that the next phase of this market will even more tightly integrate IaaS and PaaS capabilities, including an expanded use of container technologies and automated operations management.”
There is no cloud portability: “Cloud IaaS is not a commoditized service, and even providers with very similar offerings and underlying technologies often have sufficiently different implementations that there is a material difference in availability, performance, security and service features.” (There are ways to deal with this up at the PaaS layer.)
The young people account for 20% of of the $180bn US auto insurance market. Here’s some trends in their buying behavior a la a BCG infographic:
That nearly 40% are willing to buy from Amazon, Google, and others should put traditional insurance vendors in full on freak out mode.
Once The Kids start the long (up to two weeks!) research process, they’re 70% more likely to switch than The Olds. So, it’s probably a good idea for incumbents to heavily get involved in research, pointing to native content sponsored “third parties” and providing their own research.
The open source based data integration (basically, evolved ETL) company Talend IPO’ed this week. It’s a ten year old company, based on open source, with a huge French tie-in. Interesting all around. Here’s some details on them:
“1,300 customers include Air France, Citi, and General Electric.” That’s way up from 400 back in 2009, seven years ago.
In 2015 “Talend generated a total revenue of $76 million. Its subscription revenue grew 39% year over year, representing $62.7 million of the total. The company isn’t profitable: it reported a net loss of $22 million for 2015.”
By this point, I’m sure Talend messes around in other TAMs, but way back when I used to follow the business intelligence and big data market more closely, I recall that much of the growth – though small in TAM – was in ETL. People always like the gussy it up as “data integration”: sure thing, hoss.
Gartner estimates that the data integration tool market was worth approximately $2.4 billion in constant currency at the end of 2014, an increase of 6.9% from 2013. The growth rate is above the average for the enterprise software market as a whole, as data integration capability continues to be considered of critical importance for addressing the diversity of problems and emerging requirements. A projected five-year compound annual growth rate of approximately 7.7% will bring the total to more than $3.4 billion by 2019
In comparison, here’s the same from the 2011 MQ:
Gartner estimates that the data integration tools market amounted to $1.63 billion at the end of 2010, an increase of 20.5% from 2009. The market continues to demonstrate healthy growth, and we expect a year-on-year increase of approximately 15% in 2011. A projected five-year compound annual growth rate of approximately 11.4% will bring the total to $2.79 billion by 2015.
We’re replacing people staring at spreadsheets all day long.
For a long time ServiceNow has been angling to move beyond it’s initial IT service desk market into new markets that use workflow management at their core. By “workflow management” I mean business processes that have a multistep, often multi-person process of solving some “problem.” Solving IT problems like password resets and on-boarding new employees fits here, but you can also imagine how HR departments would use it on-board new employees for their needs (adding benefits, pay, etc. all with approvals from various staff through-out).
At the last ServiceNow conference, they used drivers license renewal as a good example: there’s a request (I want a new drivers license or to renew one) and a workflow associated with it (verify the requester’s identity, check that they have car insurance, sundry other additional updates and integrations to the government systems, finally, submit some request to another workflow to print and mail a new drivers license).
You get the idea: at the core, there’s pretty much the same software to enable workflows. To grow the TAM they operating in and also their revenue by selling into these new use cases, ServiceNow has aspired to move into these markets for many years (maybe since around 2011 or 2012?).
Kara Swisher has a short interview with Verizon/AOL’s Tim Armstrong on the Yahoo! buy, which is still “pending of course.” It’s hard to take any interview about a pending acquisition on super face-value (no one wants to show their hand), but there’s some good indication that Verizon followed the “we’ll sort out the strategy details post-sale” plan. Armstrong himself says they’ll be working on figuring out differentiating, and “sources” say:
Verizon has had little insight into a number of issues, including the terms of the contracts with key employees, that it will need to make plans for the future.
I like the theory that the goal is, really, just to optimize the existing business:
“The deal that we contemplated is about growing the company and did not start with synergies,” said Armstrong. “We will be walking through a pretty direct process about what is structure and then cost structure and there will be synergy, but it is not at the top of our list.”
“It’s a beautiful example of a company that has a lot of indispensable pieces, but they don’t add up to an indispensable whole,” says Rita McGrath, professor of management at Columbia Business School. Yahoo’s problems, she believes, stemmed from “a fundamental unwillingness to choose” what kind of company it wanted to be.
“AOL generates roughly $1bn from its owned media properties – Yahoo pulls in 3.5x that amount.”
My summary of one of their points: as mobile use grows and grows, over the next 5-10 years, there’s a window for new top-dogs to emerge and take market-share. Seems like a legit theory. 451 describes the market here as: “opportunities in telecom data as a service, a market combining digital advertising, proximity marketing and an array of big-data insight services that 451 Research forecasts will grow to a $79bn addressable opportunity by 2020”
They’re not big on the advertising technology and networking component in Yahoo!.
There’s some indication that Verizon’s digital business is doing well, so maybe they’re pretty good at integration acquisitions.
There’s also details on the financials of “RemainCo.”
Verizon is acquiring most of Yahoo! $4.83bn in cash, to be combined with their AOL purchase. As a wet finger in the wind reckoning, this feels like it’ll put Verizon as a distant third place in eyeballs and ad revenue: that’s probably what the business case is targeting.
Valuation here is tricky, since Verizon is only buying “core assets.” One back of the envelop analysis put the “core assets” at $1.7bn, suggesting a valuation of ~2.8x.
Combined with AOL and other Verizon properties, the company says this will result in “global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users — including 600 million monthly active mobile users.”
There’s fierce competition from Facebook and Google: “According to data from e-marketer in March, Yahoo’s worldwide net digital ad revenues will fall nearly 14% this year to $2.83 billion, from $3.28 billion in 2015. In contrast, Google will see a 9% increase while Facebook will be up by nearly a third year-on-year (31%).”
As a reminder, AOL includes “The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS and AOL.com.” Yahoo! Mail has 225m monthly active users.
It keeps getting described as an “assets sale,” because Yahoo’s stake in Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba will stay with Yahol! As the NY Times puts it: “a 15 percent stake, worth about $32 billion based on its recent share price, in the Chinese internet company Alibaba and a 35.5 percent stake, worth about $8.7 billion, in Yahoo Japan.”
Rival bidders: “Suitors included Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, communications giant AT&T and private equity firms Vector Capital Management and TPG.” AT&T seems to have been the main competitor. More from Kat Hall: “The telco was one of 40 suitors rumoured earlier this year to be interested, including Google parent Alphabet, Time and even Daily Mail parent DMG.”
It increases Verizon/AOL’s advertising marketing share, but Facebook and Google still dominate: “Verizon with AOL currently holds 1.8 per cent of the $69bn US digital ad market, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo controls about 3.4 per cent, while Google and Facebook combined make up half of the total.”
See some in-depth history and analysis from Timothy Lee over at Vox. The thesis seems to be: the company could adapt beyond it’s initial success in the 90s and never found a new identity beyond being a “media company.”
We told the Easter Bunny all sorts of things Cormac wanted: fun snacks, Hot Wheels, shoes, and his own sun glasses. His buddy Niilo and him had an Easter Egg Hunt, and found all the eggs! Kim has some Easter pictures up.
After many years, I met up with Ed Goodwin while in Houston. He was smiley and good natured, and we recorded an episodes of Back of the Envelope. It’s nice to be able to peer into how a business works – here, investing – by having someone who will answer all my silly questions, and allow me to interrupt and rat-hole the conversation.
Related, I started reading The Snowball, a bio of Warren Buffet. So far it’s nicely written with good content, anecdotes here, profiles and stories.
We finally came home from Houston. We were at Target yesterday and seeing the distinct Austin style was shocking, but comforting after being away so long: tattoos, shirts, shorts, and attire fit for warm days spent outdoors. Contrast to this to the style is Houston: more formal, slightly sporty at best – something you could wear in a CSI episode.
I think about Roger Ebert a lot, recently: how he’s carved out this intellectual niche for himself based reviewing on pop culture, movies, and how he’s been using the Internet to build a new type of following and intellectual-cult. He walked by a table of myself and others in the Driskill bar during this past SXSW, just walking along there. Attached to that, I’ve been wondering if the idea of an art movie is dead: do they distribute those any more?
I’ve been doing some “commentary” posts with Spiceworks recently. They have a pile of data and survey results and have been pulling together some brief findings from that data. This week, they estimated how much power saving came from the use of one of their plugins. I added some general context about power saving in the IT world and some tips for doing it: the green is money, not environmentalism. (I’m always miffed that people don’t use that word anymore, and even more miffed that people seem to have forgotten it.)
A nice Out of Office email ends with this: “If I do reply to your email it is because I took the time to hide from my family and peck out some gibberish on my Blackberry that probably could’ve waited until next week anyway.”
From a briefing request: “I’m writing you to request an analyst briefing from you as an expert on enterprise software.” Such phrasing makes me suspicious.
Cormac has been sick this past week and weekend, staying up all night. I have no idea how we kept sane when he was an infant and woke up every 2-3 hours. You feel like you can’t function. But, there’s a certain clarity it gives you: you no longer put up with bullshit and slack from people and the world. You want to optimize on one path.
“I’d appreciate anything, and be happy with nothing.” – that should be my coat-of-arms motto.
I went through the Long Beach airport this week, flying on JetBlue. It was tiny. At one point, you even walk outside to go through the gates. Being outside at the airport is lovely as you’re always sealed in. Also, you had to use stairs to get in and out of the airplane. I was sad that I didn’t have my sun-glasses, missing the opportunity to look at mid-century Hollywood. Also: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cote/5601490001/
I was at Microsoft’s MIX 2011 where there was much talk of a return to web development, HTML5 and all that. Microsoft is positioning itself as “the stable” choice, having learned the lesson of IE6: like all software, “browser versions never go away,” so you should work hard to make it right.
People in Las Vegas dress terribly. There’s all the Ed Hardy and that style’s mangled decedents – you know, off-center skull with wings stuff. And then the desire for both sexes to look like porn stars, hustlers, and hookers. It’s hard to imagine feeling comfortable in any of those, but people seem to dig those styles. And if they’re having fun, great for them.
We were in Houston for this week, at my mother-in-law’s. She’s right up against a golf course. One morning, when I was letting the dog out for her morning constitutional, I overhead a loud yell: “GOD DAMNIT!” said a golfer, missing a put or something.
A school was also in view. Around 7:30 each morning, a long line of buses first pulled up and dropped off kids. Then a long line of cars, from two different directions on the road lined up to let off kids one-by-one. It seemed absurd, but as I recall, my mother dropped me off at school each morning (a few years, I biked to school and took the bus). The bus was always crappy, being with your parents, listening to NPR on the way the class is much better.