Link: What is “digital”?

“I tend to (rather crudely) break down what digital transformation could mean into three broad categories: (1) Digital access – taking a paper or telephone based process and whacking it online with an e-form (quick to do, few benefits except a bit of convenience for web savvy users); (2) Digital efficiency – taking that process and digitising it end to end, involving the replacement or integration with back office systems, removing unnecessary admin touch points an so on (takes longer, more difficult, but yields better results); (3)Digital transformation – taking an entire service and rethinking it from the ground up, knowing what we know about networks and connectivity (really hard, but could ensure the relevance of that service for the next 20 years).”
Original source: What is “digital”?

Coté Memo #062: The Problem with Analyst Access

We’ve got a new sponsor this week, see below. There’s a 10% coupon. I’m planning on going to the event to get my lurn on.

Also, I wrote this pretty fast. Pardon messups.

Tech & Work World

The Problem with Analyst Access

One of the core opportunity/problem diachotomies in the analyst industry is “access”: access to the analyst’s insights, access to the analysist content, and access to the analysts themselves. Gate-keeping this access is the basis for much of the business: paywalls, paying for consulting, etc.

However, that business model can be a dangerous leaky abstraction in seamingly trival ways. For example, I recently wanted to sign up for RSS feeds for all the published research from Gartner, Forrester, IDC (actually, they have several, but no “everything” feed I’ve found yet), etc. (I already know 451’s feed URL, which is admitly not super easy to find, but there for finding). They don’t really seem to have them. There’s not full text in these feeds, of course: you need access to their paywall to read the full text. But, it’s important for me to know what they’re publishing and I imagine other folks would like to know.

Here’s how most access to analyst content seems to happen, you ask the AR person to send you a copy. You rarely get your own account (it’s too expensive, most analyst customers seem to think). Instead, there’s one account that an analyst relations people uses, and you can ask them to look up things for, like a reference librarian. And yet, analyst shops rarely put out a “card catalog” (that RSS feed) that lets us without accounts know what’s published. Thus, I don’t know what I should be requesting.

Of course, the analyst side of this is “well, you should stop being a cheap-ass and pay for an account, doofus, problem solved.” And, having been an analyst for almost 8 years of my career, I can’t fault them for wanting to get paid. I’ve got 5 kids to feed too!

But this need to control access so tightly that I don’t even know what they’re publishing is sort of a non-starter.

Once again, this brings me back to “access” as the number one variable and lever you can play with in the analyst business. GigaOm toyed with this when they set a very low price in their early days (around $70-200 a year for an individual subscription, depending on discounts) and I look at people like Ben Thompson as hacking that even more (he’s just $100/year). My alumus RedMonk took another tact years ago and just ditched the paywall, getting paid for consulting and other things (like their growing[?] events business); someone once derisivly called RedMonk a “patron” model, which is sort of right, but only a tiny bit.

So, in other words: hey analyst shops, can you get some RSS feeds? (Hopefully, they exist, and I just haven’t found them yet. Remember: all published research, not just blogs and announcements.)

Cloud SOTU, 5 years late

I had the privilege of talking to the Austin cloud user group earlier this week. I’d given the opening talk back in 2010, so they asked me to come give an update. The themes and many of the charts will be familer, but I’ve been honing down to a more specific message: you should get a platform…and probably not build it on your own.

Quick Hits

Fun & IRL

Too much fun this week to document. Stay safe out there.


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Coté Memo #054: CA World wrap, Docker orchestration

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

### AWS

There were innumerable announcements from Amazon at re:Invent this week, perhaps even more tomorrow.

Docker Orchestration

I gave a webinar today on Docker Orchestration (you can see the recording and the slides). I’ve spent time following this and looking into and tried to distill down the reasons you’d do it and the “requirements” for such a tool…it’s pretty non-technical.

In doing this research, you find that no one has really say down and specified what orchestration means, which is what I was hoping to prod someone in doing. There’s no ThoughtWorks microservices essay that sums it up, and their should be!

Thanks to CloudSoft for putting it on!

CA World sets a 12-18 month spring-trap

As I discussed in the Software Defined Talk podcast recording today (subscribe to the feed to get the show once I publish it), I’ll be looking for momemtum from CA in a year or so. Their vision, portfolio, and “slides” were all good and spoke to DevOps well at their conference this. They even had some excellent customer talks, like ING going over how they’d used DevOps. I spoke with another customer who was eager to do very genuine DevOps as well – we see this in our DevOps market studies as well.

At this point, the only thing to do is wait and see if it works out by: (1.) tracking customer adoption and, thus, revenue, and, (2.) seeing how CA fills out the rest of the DevOps portfolio, if at all.

Hopefully I’ll be able to check back in at the next CA World.

Fun & IRL

  • No fun today, just work.



Coté Memo #052: Two types of clouds and headless doctors


  • Hey there! It’s been awhile. I warned you, things are monkey-balls over here.

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Software Defined Talk #15, with guest Andrew Shafer

If I don’t say so myself, I think Software Defined Talk has hit its stride. The three of us have a good mix and tone, and I hope you’re enjoying it.

At the spur of the moment, we had Andrew Shafer on our most recent episode, so we talked at length about Docker, both at a technical and strategy level. He’d just published a good article on the topic. It was a great conversation.

Also, you can hear me complaining about how my diamond shoes are pitching my toes, which is to say, wanting someone to fix calendaring.

There’s two kinds of clouds in the world…

I’m fond of pointing out the theory that, for the most part, cloud only matters if you’re talking about developers. You’re probably not going to run packaged software – SharePoint, Lawson, SAP, etc. – on cloud stuff: the incremental benefit vs. plain old virtualization (VMware) likely isn’t there (yet?). Thus, there’s this unhelpful discuss of cloud that doesn’t distinguish between running “old (mostly packaged) software” and (mostly net-new) custom written software. To put it another way, if you were doing lead qualification for cloud deals (public IaaS/PaaS or private), the first question should probably be “how many developers do you have on staff?”

There are exceptions, etc; hence: “theory.”

An old friend of mine, Zane, and I were discussing this in email recently. In reply to him complaining about over-hyping cloud, I replied:

Yeah, this assessment is pretty much right. I think the thing about cloud, to your point, is that unless you’re going to dramatically change the way you write applications, it’s just slightly better virtualization.

Now virtualization, that’s certainly a big deal…but the step order improvement from cloud is not that big [I’d theorize].

The part people often miss about cloud is the self-service/fulfillment changes. It’s about dramatically reducing the reliance of service desks and manual IT and instead automating provisioning new IT and the ongoing management of it (server is in bad state, reboot it). [Or, as covered in a recent DevOps Cafe podcast with Tom Limoncelli: in a cloud world, tickets are filed when things go wrong, not for any old request.]

“Private cloud” is another weird thing that I’ve yet to fully understand. It seems like just setting yourself up for the same old management problems, that maybe move a bit faster, but is it really so much better than just a bunch of VMware with self-service…or moving more of your stuff straight to SaaS? [I was called the “private cloud analyst who doesn’t believe in private cloud” in a briefing recently, which seems pretty much right.]

For developers – like yourself – cloud will always be more tedious than it seems…because you guys are doing more than just installing software and using SaaSes. I think the big hope for cloud is that (a.) IT admins have to spend less time manually caring and feeding for compute, storage, and networking (much of that work is manual now-a-days!), and (b.) companies move more and more of their on-premises packaged software to SaaS. Managing GMail (or even Office 365, I should hope) should be magnitudes of order more easy than managing on-premises Exchange. To me, this migration of on-premises packaged software to SaaS is the real boon…and why SaaS tends to be larger as a market and more valued.

We’ll see how it shakes out, but to my mind if there’s a SaaS version for a product it almost makes no sense to run the on-premises packages software on your own, or even colo’d somewhere…unless you have developers on staff, in which case there’s a whole other conversation to be had.

Fun & IRL

Inside Jokes: “Good luck with no fuckin’ head”

Another one of my inside jokes is an exchange from Barton Fink, which was brought to my attention (as with so many good movie lines that have become core inside jokes) by Chip:

Mastrionotti: Started in Kansas City. Couple of housewives.
Deutsch: Couple days ago we see the same M.O. out in Los Feliz.
Mastrionotti: Doctor. Ear, nose and throat man.
Deutsch: All of which he’s now missin’.
Mastrionotti: Well, some of his throat was there.
Deutsch: Physician, heal thyself.
Mastrionotti: Good luck with no fuckin’ head.
Deutsch: Anyway.

So, next time you see an absurd situation in front of you and someone’s asking you to fix it, just sigh and utter out, “good luck with no fuckin’ head.” I’ll know what you’re saying, and we’ll high-five.



Coté Memo #033: Taking my toys home, microservices vs. J2EE, Tex-Mex/Cajun Fusion


Hello again, welcome to #033. Today we have 41 subscribers, so we’re +1. Yay! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.



Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

I’ve been working to better automate a suggested reading list. This is the first cut. It’s a lot as it covers more than a 24 hour period of my reading (the weekend). My idea here is to share with you the stuff I’ve read that I thought was remotely to very interesting. It sounds egotistical, but what I wanted to try to do was sync up the incremental “industry context” I build up in each 24 hour period. I enjoy lists like that from numerous sources. Tell me what you think as I tune it.

Anti-pattern: taking my toys home

Over the years, working in teams (small and large), I sometimes find myself in a dangerous zone: waiting for the organization to ask me to help it out. (And, it should be clear that “it” is a “them”.)

It’s easy to get disillusioned and upset at how “ground level” things are annoying, routine, and even “dumb.” The result, in me, is not volunteer ideas or offering to help out. Keep in mind that those two things are the core business of what I do: telling people what I think they should do. So, it’s odd when I shut that pipe off.

I end up doing this, like many things, when you’ve been “trained” to: you’ve suggested things in the past and they go nowhere, or get shot down. You’ve got to watch out for that once you become more “senior.” “Taking your toys home” isn’t part of that job description…but it’s so easy to do.

Fun & IRL

  • On ‘Krazy Kat’ and ‘Peanuts’ by Umberto Eco – reality explained through Charlie Brown. If it’s been awhile since your college literature classes, strap yourself in and have some fun. Best line: “since he acts in all purity, without any guile, society is prompt to reject him.”

Coté Memo #032: when to have an executive summary

Title: Coté Memo #032: when to have an executive summary


Hello again, welcome to #32. Today we have 40 subscribers, so we’re +1. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.


Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

When to use an executive summary slide

I don’t like “agenda” and “exec summary” slides. There are many reasons, some of them: it’s takes up a slide, just wait and you’ll find out, meetings often never leave that slide. White-collar folks love using them though, so I’ve learned most of the tactics and tricks, of course, as should you. But, when you can choose to, ditch them.

Sidebar: I recall that in one critical cloud meeting at Dell filled with high-ranking brass and such we didn’t moved past the cover slide for half the meeting. We didn’t even get to the executive summary. That’s the kind of thing you deal with in PowerPoint, room full of executive land. It turned out to be a good meeting, but you know, be ready to spend weeks on slides and then not really use them.

Anyhow. I was doing some follow-on bullet-proofing/polishing of a client’s presentation today and wrote this on when to use “executive summaries” in presentations intended for analysts:

For something like [the topic being discussed in the presentation], it’s good to have an “executive summary” slide as a defensive move. Right away if I’m an analyst I’m going to ask a bunch of “have you considered this? how about this?” type questions which you’ll probably answer in the presentation. In the first slide put up an executive summary whose first effect is to demonstrate the breadth of what you have and whose second effect is to make sure the analyst shuts up long enough so you can tell the story. (Normally I don’t like executive summaries, but with the introduction of a new thing where the audience thinks they’re much smarter than you, they’re good.)

That’s a good tip beyond analysts as well if you feel like you’ll be in a similarly combative situation with your, you know, “deck.”

If you like “tips on dealing with analysts,” check out the recording of the talk on that topic I gave at HeavyBit at the beginning of this year. (It was a reprise of a 2008 talk I did, long ago.) It’s targeted at startups, but the majority of it applies to companies of all sizes.

Fun & IRL

Making Sangria

Not really much. Gotta stop typing so I can get to it.

Coté Memo #031: Avoiding Showing Up, Yet Another Private Equity in Tech Story, Cyborgs, and more #VMworld

Title: Coté Memo #031: Avoiding Showing Up, Yet Another Private Equity in Tech Story, Cyborgs, and more #VMworld


Hello again, welcome to #31. Today we have 39 subscribers, so we’re +1. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.


Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

It’s a real project if…, or, avoiding showing up to save time

I liked the quick summary of determining if something is a real project or not on this week’s Back to Work. I spend much of time sorting out if I should get involved in a project or not, both internal to 451 and externally. In analyst life, there’s lots of people looking for open-ended projects with no budget, and those become time-sucks that marks like me end-up carrying the water for.

I spend a lot of time observing behavior of other people in the companies I work for, mostly the people who are considered “successful.” What I’ve noticed is that those successful people don’t do much, in a good way. They’re highly selective of the projects they get involved with, and even the email threads they answer.

If you’re the kind of person who subscribes and actually reads this newsletter, you likely have the problem I have: you get bored easily and use work as a way to entertain yourself…instead of using work as a way to get paid. I’ve got to shift more and more of my efforts to that second part, because the first creates a stream of unfinished projects that go nowhere and becomes a terrible loop of boredom on its own.

451’s VMworld 2014 pieces are coming out

The names may have changed, which makes it quite difficult to track both historical usage and forward-looking plans, but at the end of the day marketing departments like to change names to protect the guilty. Whatever the products are called today, or may be called in the future, it is clear that the hypervisor-level technologies that are the basis of VMware’s current market dominance are commoditizing. This provides leverage but no guarantee of future market share for VMware in adjacent markets (management and cloud platforms), which have notable established incumbents and a set of engagement rules that are not necessarily aligned with VMware’s historical success factors.

Hey, don’t worry: that vRealize one is on the kitchen island ready to cook up.

Private Equity, which was the style of the time

All the sudden so many large tech companies are looking to go private. TIBCO did the obligatory hanging out a sign recently, it seems. Of course, I’m sure many are all like “TIBwho?” which is fine (and if you’re a TIBwhu? person, you’ll love this discussion of Compuware!). If you couple this trend with another macro-theory, that IT spending is slowing down, permanently, then you’ve got something slightly interesting. Tech becomes normal.

Fun & IRL

There’s only two days left to upload several years worth of photos to my newly TB’ed Dropbox account. Yup. Try not to do that.

Coté Memo #030: SolidFire’s foray into OpenStack, Crowd-sourcing DevOps


Hello again, welcome to #030. Today we have 38 subscribers, so we’re +2. Nice! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.



Tech & Work World

Either I didn’t read the news or there wasn’t much of it today. I forget which.

SolidFire’s foray into OpenStack

Reference architecture

Back at the Atlanta OpenStack Summit, SolidFire announced a reference architecture (branded “Agile Infrastructure for OpenStack”) for running Red Hat’s OpenStack on Dell gear with SolidFire storage management software. I wanted to catch-up with them to see if it worked, and did so today.

I’m typing up a report on the topic, but here are some interesting tidbits from the call today:

  • About 30% of their install base runs OpenStack, another 30% CloudStack, and 40% VMware. Their pipeline is dominated by OpenStack and VMware.

  • Their customer base for OpenStack is primarily large enterprises, telcos, and other “big IT shops”…as you’d expect; see some recent 451 TheInfoPro survey results on cloud budgets.

  • The AI for OpenStack thingy has results in several closed deals, not always for OpenStack. That is: the marketing/thought-leadership gambit here is working.

  • There’s also a “AI for Virtual Infrastructure” released last week during VMworld.

Anyhow, sometime over the next week I should have a 451 report up. Along with that vRealize report I keep taunting y’all with.

DevOps Crowdchat

I was in a “DevOps Crowdchat” today which was kind of fun. It’s a “happening,” as they used to say, you know, for social marketing purposes and discussion and the like. It was interesting and fun with a nice range of comments, all archived.

I’ll be curious to see if it’s “better” than things like webinars and/or how it helps beyond ephemeral “thought-leadership.”

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work. (There are some recommendations in this week’s Software Defined Talk Podcast if you’re desperate.)

Coté Memo #29: vRealize almost explained, Compuware gets bought, 1 year at 451

(I cross post my week-daily newsletter here, but also feel free to subscribe to it directly if you’d don’t want to follow regularly.)


Hello again, welcome to #29. Today we have 36 subscribers, so we’re +3 – good job, subscribers! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.


  • You can still get $200 off your 451 cloud conference registration with the code MC200 when you register. We’ve been going over the agenda and presentations internally and they should be fun. Also, if you attend you can schedule 1:1’s with 451 analysts, whether you’re a client or not (I believe), including me.

  • This month, if you’re in Chicago on Sep 23rd you can come see my talk on DevOps for free. I’ll have it updated with some new market numbers and cloud survey data. Registration is free (there’s vendor pitches), so sign up if you’re interested. I’ll be doing the same in Toronto on Nov 18th.


Tech & Work World

1 year at 451

Today marks my one year anniversary at 451. I’d just come off sucking down two weeks of left over vacation at Dell, and go all setup to start analyzing. Over the past year it’s been great to re-engage with my old industry friends and new ones, and get back to writing regularly, something I’d been sorely missing while I did strategy and M&A at Dell…which doesn’t really reward speaking about what you think publicly too much.

Along with the other teams in 451, my team re-organized our coverage areas into new practices: Development, DevOps, and Middleware and Enterprise Platforms.

We’ve also done a good job stoking the fire of our DevOps research, which I really enjoy; you may recall that Jay Lyman, on my team, published one of the first analyst pieces on DevOps in 2010!

Anyhow, enough self-aggrandizing. If you’re not a client – or at least have a trial – you should check it out. If you end up not wanting to fork over some cash to get behind our paywall, I’d be interested in hearing why so we can noodle on fixing that.


VMware vRealize

After last week at #VMworld, I’m forcing myself to write a 1,500-2,000 word report on vRealize. The issue, as I discussed in our Software Defined Tech podcast recoding today, is that I have a mixture of NDA and public knowledge, so sorting through an already confusing pile is difficult.

To that end, there’s actually a good PDF that VMware has explaining the new portfolio (vendors usually are bad at this), and even a an install guide which looks like tasty.

Also, on that page, you can see a 2012 IDC market-sizing and vendor overview of cloud management and a 451 paper on cloud management and automation from Nov 2013 (these types of 451 reports ain’t cheap, so enjoy the freebie).

Finally, it’ll be posted as a proper episode tomorrowish, but Matt Ray does a good job explaining “the VMware cloud” in the Software Defined Talk episode we recorded today.

Also, this plea for VMware to fix up its APIs from Matt Wrock is good reading. Remind you of anything?

Thoma Bravo buys Compuware

Compuware revenue
Compuware revenue by product area

Thoma Bravo is adding Compuware to it’s portfolio (pending closure of the deal, I believe). Dennis Callaghan on my team is writing up a 451 Deal Analysis that I’ll link once it’s published. We discussed it in a “bonus episode” of Software Defined Talk today, esp. as it related to the full life-cycle of software companies, where PE companies figure in at the end to either strip mine (or more likely in this case) try to pull the old fountain of youth trick.

It’s also interesting to look at the rest of the Thoma Bravo portfolio and think how Compuware would co-existing and integrate with them, and look at how Attachmate broke up Novell as a possible model for Compuware. Thoma Bravo is invested in Attachmate, you see, so they no doubt have some staff and strategy-think cross-over.

If you really want to dig deep, check out the FY2013 annual report and the most recent quarterly presentation, for FY2015Q1.

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work. I made a pitcher of sangria yesterday and I need to go polish it off:


Coté Memo #28: Yet another DevOps landscape, webinar tips for analysts

(I’ve had a little email newsletter for sometime. It’s fun! People like it and write to me! Rather than rely on the archiving at TinyLetter, I thought I’d post the archives here. However, feel free to subscribe to the newsletter in its proper format, email…or just read it here, whatever you like.)


Hello again, welcome to #28. Today we have 33 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.


Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

The DevOps Landscape

I need to put together a stronger DevOps research agenda at work. We actually have a great paper from 2010 that Jay Lyman wrote, but there’s a certain systematic set of material that’s good to have on most topics.

In 451 speak, here’s the body of work I’d want to see over the course of a year on the topic:

(1.) Define DevOps with a taxonomy and “landscape”

(1.a.) Write down and categorize all the relevant vendors and projects

(2.) Write a Spotlight defining the space, going over concerns/best practices for buyers (“enteprises” or “end-users”), vendors, finance (these could be separate spotlights)

(3.) Write a SectorIQ [this covers potential acquisitions in a space] going over startups in there

(4.) Write a TBI [30-40 page PDF, “long form report”] or Spotlight that’s a “buying guide” targeted at enterprises that goes over how short-list options. For DevOps, this would include numerous open source projects as well.

(5.) Do all the usual weekly company coverage of people in the space as defined by 1.a.

You know, just a short list of stuff.

To that end, I started a mindmap to think about how to slice up “DevOps” and eventually list vendors, projects, and practices that would drive our research and what we focus on. The mindmap is likely to be thrown-up all over, thrown away, and evolved; I think I’ve spent about 15 minutes on it so far. But I’d be curious for pointers and thoughts on how to put this all together.

A cursory lmgtfy brings up numerous other slices at this over the years:

I need to do the above for two primary reasons:

  1. We’re getting lots of inquiry from vendors, enterprises, and finance to understand the space. They just want to definitive coverage of it.
  2. I need to narrow down our focus on DevOps and add in the discipline of having a “list” of topics we regularly cover.

It goes without say: I’d love your input!

P.S.: is MindMeister the best option if I don’t want to shell out for MindManager?

How to do a webinar for analysts

I was doing a webinar today, and when it was my time to be quiet, I tapped in some tips on what analysts are supposed to do in webinars (I guess in addition to paying attention when they’re not talking ;>).

The framing is that analysts are often brought in to do webinars with vendors. The commercial goals are to (a.) help draw an audience, and, (b.) get some credibility and interesting content from the analyst. In other words: it’s a marketing activity, from the vendor’s view point. Typically, the analyst speaks to “macro trends” for half of the webinar, the vendor pitches how their product helps you, the customer, profit from those macro concerns, and then there’s question and answer. You do webinars for thought leader and lead-gen.

In no particular order, here’s some tips for analysts doing vendor webinars:

  • Timing is critical, webinars often involved more than one person, so you’re stealing time from others if you go on.
  • Don’t mention rival vendors or “solutions” in any but the vaguest way.
  • No need for a lot of context setting and explanation, just focus on simple direct things without educating too much – need to move quick.
  • Try not to sound bored.
  • Don’t be dismissive of the core concepts under discussion, e.g., “cloud, you know, some people like it.”
  • You’re setting up the audiences minds to listen to the vendor pitch, so leave them thinking happy thoughts.
  • Cut out parenthetical asides, they take up time.
  • Practice and write-up your talk, even if you don’t read the script. This is a performance, not a “talk,” discussion, or a podcast.
  • Live vs. recorded. Doesn’t matter that much, but economics of webinar mean little to no editing should be done. There’s really no benefit to being live.
  • Q&A: from audience is good for your own input, or canned.
  • Slides should match talk. In this instance, you kind of are reading the slides, it’s not keynote stuff. But, be brief. If you have 5 points in a slide – 5 data points on a chart – just talk about 3 or 2 to cut down time.
  • Give the vendor lots of time to talk, unless they don’t want to.
  • For the vendor: Publish a recording for maximal value.
  • For the vendor: demos are a nice thing to do.

Fun & IRL

What’s more fun than tips on doing webinars?!