Archives for August 2005


“Resistance is Futile” – GBorg

Updates at bottom.

This must be Google-day:

First, details of Google Purge via John Batelle:

Google Announces Plan To Destroy All Information It Can’t Index


“A year ago, Google offered to scan every book on the planet for its Google Print project. Now, they are promising to burn the rest,” John Battelle wrote in his widely read “Searchblog.” “Thanks to Google Purge, you’ll never have to worry that your search has missed some obscure book, because that book will no longer exist. And the same goes for movies, art, and music.”
“Book burning is just the beginning,” said Google co-founder Larry Page.   As a part of Phase One operations, Google executives will permanently erase the hard drive of any computer that is not already indexed by the Google Desktop Search.

 The company’s new directive may explain its recent acquisition of Celera Genomics, the company that mapped the human genome, and its buildup of a vast army of laser-equipped robots.   Google’s robot army is rumored to include some 4 million cybernetic search-and-destroy units, each capable of capturing and scanning up to 100 humans per day. Said co-founder Sergey Brin: “The scanning will be relatively painless. Hey, it’s Google. It’ll be fun to be scanned by a Googlebot. But in the event people resist, the robots are programmed to liquify the brain.”

OK, so it’s humor .. after all it is from The Onion

But when you’re done watching Epic 2015, via Jeff Nolan,  are you still laughing?


P.S.  Does this mean Microsoft is now officially Off the Hook?

Update (9/1)  Russel Glass  chimes in:  there is actually some truth to the  Onion’s piece.

Update 2 (9/3) So, before long — the operating system, the artificial heart, and monthly blackmail cheques made payable to ‘The company that can do no evil”.

Update 3 (9/8)   “do no evil” – really?   You be the judge.  (via Chris Selland)

Update 4 (11/17)  Russel Glass shows Epic 2014. Hey, I beat you by a year, we’re in 2015:-)

Update 5 (03/06):  “We have all the ingredients for a great story: dramatic predictions of

Google taking over the world, secret disclosures of a new stealth

product at a Google analyst meeting, outing of the story by bloggers,

and subsequent purging of the public data by Google to keep things

hidden from the public and competitors.”  read on at TechCrunch.

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The Scary Thing About Ads – part 2. UPDATED

I don’t want to write a part 3., but this is getting ridiculous, please see updates at the bottom.

Seth Godin explains  what he meant in his previous post that I cited here. 

Well, that’s not the only unfortunate ad placement – how about this, from my yahoo home page:



No, I am not blaming Yahoo for being insensitive  – this is just technology without human feelings after all.

Update (8/31).  Check out Michael’s post about juxtaposed ads.

Update 2. (8/31) Stephen Baker at Blogspotting:  Feel-good ads feel weird on hurricane coverage”

Update 3. (9/5)  Another example via Jeff Clavier:

Update 4. (9/7)  I wanted to give these guys the benefit of doubt, and considered the above ad a simple case of carelessness, but, boy, was I wrong!  This company sets a new record of intentionally tasteless, exploitative advertising.  The proof is in the date (8/2, Friday AFTER Katrina) of this job post on craigslist.  I don’t expect the link to last long, they will probably delete the ad soon, so here’s the full quote: 

New Orleans Own – Southern Comfort – Needs Models

Reply to: [email protected]
Date: 2005-08-02, 12:02PM CDT

Born in New Orleans, Southern Comfort is seeking spirited girls to promote the brand around town! Must be attractive, willing to mingle, 21+, and have reliable transportation to get to promotions.

This job is all about having fun and involves no shot serving. Promotions will take place at local bars, conventions, music venues, and events such as Voodoofest.

“Southern Comfort – Born In New Orleans Where Anything Can Happen”

Job location is New Orleans, LA
Compensation: $20-$25 depending on experience / leadership

Hat tip to Jeff Clavier and I am joining him in linking to the call to boycott of  Southern Comfort’s products until they abandon this tasteless campaign.

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What You See Is Not What You Get

 Seth Godin captured what appears to be “The scary thing about blog ads” on Jeff Jarvis’s blog:




But this is the full picture from Jeff’s site:



Screen clipping taken: 8/30/2005, 7:31 PM



And clicking through reveals the “explicit” act


“the former Baywatch star and longtime animal advocate’s latest project is “Kentucky Fried Cruelty,” an undercover expos


Not-So-Open-Source Applications

(Updates at bottom)

“Enterprise software vendors who leverage open source, subscriptions and grid computing to meet customer needs will emerge as next-generation industry leaders. “ – says John Loiacono, EVP, Sun Microsystems.

Jeff Nolan recommends caution: “… open source and subscription licensing, two completely separate trends that often get lumped together, are not silver bullets for emerging companies.” His post is well worth reading, and I agree with most of his logic, which refers to the traditional Open Source “business model”, if there is such a thing (we’ll come back to this later):

  • Open Code
  • Broad Support Community
  • Paid Sales & Marketing staff
  • Paid core Engineering
  • Product Available free
  • Revenue from support / training / consulting… i.e. services

He then rightly concludes that this model is basically a service business, so investors should beware, when we peel the hype layer away, they don’t find the hypergrowth software business there.

Yes … but … this may just have been the “beta version” of an Open Source business model – if we can even say that. In fact we really shouldn’t: Open Source is not a business model, it’s a software production model (and philosophy), says Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL (via Jeff Clavier). Absolutely.

The two examples Jeff uses, SugarCRM and Compiere could not be further away from each other – not only in terms of their product offering, but mostly their business model.

Compiere, for all I know is closer to that “beta model” of “trying-to-make-a-buck” on Open Source, or, if I may say, the idealistic, altruistic (?) Open Source company that makes ALL it’s products ( full ERP & CRM for the SMB sector) available for free, source code included. They even let Consulting/ Implementation Partners rebrand the product under their own name. They are the “nice guys” barely making a buck on support. (Sorry, Jorg, if I am mistaken.)

SugarCRM, on the other hand is not even a purely Open Source company, it’s a hybrid. (Hey, hybrids are popular nowadays ). “ It didn’t take me long to realize that there is a HUGE part missing in the open source version “ says Simon Romanski, director of information systems at Fulfillment America, quoted by ZDNet. The title says a lot: Commercial open source, a misnomer? Well, not a misnomer, but definitely commercial software: SugarCRM sells the Pro and Enterprise versions of their product, and also charges for the On-Demand version. Even the Open Source version can be “upgraded” by paying for extensions, e.g. the $39.99/user Outlook Plugin. Hm, I would not put my Sales Organization, no matter how small, on a CRM system without Contact synchronization. By the time we configure the basic needs of a small Sales Team, chances are pricing is on par with a truly commercial software company, e.g. 24SevenOffice .
So is SugarCRM using Open Source as a marketing gimmick, riding the fashion wave? I don’t think so. Nor do I think there is anything wrong with the business model… perhaps a little heavy on the hype, like the other guy selling software using the “No Software” slogan. SugarCRM is a successful hybrid that’s partly Open Source (development, support community, viral marketing) yet generates it’s revenue from selling software like any other company.

Only to prove Marten right.

Update (9/01): ZDNet’s SaaS blog has a good follow-on article on SugarCRM: “Outwitted by its own ecosystem

Update 2 (9/01) The “Commercial Open Source” story reverberates; ZDNet’s Dan Farber follows on quoting Marc Fleury, CEO of JBOSS.

Update 3 (9/28): The Next Little Thing Isn’t Free by Sam Ramji

Update 4 (11/16) But is it really free? CIO Magazine

Hybrid Open Source Business Models by Zack Urlocker


On-Demand Software is Not Just a Lease (Where’s My Upgraded Lexus…)

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Recently several analysts downgraded’s stock, citing high valuation:   Salesforce a A Harder Sell , Shares Seen As Pricy  .  Chris Selland had voiced his doubts regarding the hosted CRM model before (“ won’t cure cancer anytime soon “) , and sees the downgrades as signs that  “the media honeymoon appears to be mostly over”.
I beg to differ … a stock’s valuation is often not indicative of the business’s success, further growth potential, and certainly not of the underlying business model (hosted CRM) in general.  The stock can become an underdog, simply because it had previously ran ahead, was overvalued, while the (and On-Demand software) continues to grow.

AMR research reported 105% growth in on-demand CRM in 2004. Nevertheless, the debate continues as to how suitable the On-Demand model is, especially for larger Enterprises:  “Is it less expensive to lease or buy a car? If you don’t have a down payment, a lease looks pretty attractive,” says Bob Thompson, founder of But if the total overall cost is the main concern, the best strategy is to buy a car and “drive it into the dirt,”  (via The
I think the car analogy is seriously flawed: this is not a simple lease / buy decision.  In the On-Demand model  bug-fixes, even major upgrades are managed centrally in a painless manner, often not even transparent to the Customer.  The car analogy would only be fair if it referred to a lease where any time the car manufacturer had an upgrade (we’re not talking about the new models every 4 years or so, with today’s cars software upgrades, amongst others are almost continuous) my friendly dealer  drove up to my house, leave a new car with identical trim level, color, options (“customization”) at my doorstep and drove the old car away. Now, that’s a lease model not even Lexus came up with … but if anyone knows such a deal, sign me up! 🙂

Of course the on-demand vs. on-premise decision is not simply a matter of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) analyses.  Phil Wainewright discusses a few other criteria specific to large enterprises. 

Debate or not, I think both camps agree at least in these points:

  • On-Demand software is now a proven business, here to stay
  • It is no longer “only for small businesses”
  • For small businesses though, it is likely to be the best choice
  • There is no “best choice” for a large enterprise, they all have to perform their own analyses and pick the best option.

After more than a decade in the Enterprise Software business with the “biggies” like SAP, IBM, Deloitte  my attention is now focused on the SMB sector, their Enterprise Software and Infrastructure needs.  It’s a very refreshing change, and I’ve come to learn a whole new world. (Having switched from Service Provider to Customer  in a smaller business was a tremendously helpful eye-opener.)   In the next several posts I will look at  On-Demand, Open-Source and other new trends from an SMB point of view.  



The Story of the Bitch Dog and the Palestinian Bomber

What does a “Bitch Dog” and a “Palestinian Bomber” have in common?

My guess: disgruntled customer service employees messing up their employer’s CRM data.

  • LaChania Govan complained about her cable box/PVR (these things die every two months or so), so her next Comcast bill arrived addressed to “Bitch Dog”    If this is not that customer’s name, it shouldn’t be on that bill,” said Patricia Andrews-Keenan, vice president of communications for the company.   IF???  Wow!  That’s from a Comcast VP!


  • Sami Habbas, Palestinian-born US Citizen, US Army Veteran who lived here for 51 years received a credit-card-offer  which began: “Dear Palestinian Bomber.”  When he called Chase, he was actually greeted with: “Yes, Mr. Bomber, what can we do for you?”  

    (via Chris Selland and Brad Feld)


Update: (8/28)  Oops, there’s more.. has being rude and brainless become a hiring criteria nationwide?

  • Peoples Energy addresses letters to customer as “Scrotum Bag
  • Waitress at a NJ restarurant writes “Jew Couple” on check – this later shows up on Credit Card statement.

What’s next?

Update (3/18/07):  Next is Hertz calling Phil Wainewright “English John”.  Phil, compared to the above, that’s not too bad 🙂

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Miracles Do Exist After All …

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Two orphaned Kazakh sisters, abandoned at birth and unaware that the other existed, found themselves living in the same Berkeley house this summer, thanks to a philanthropic organization that brings Russian and Kazakh orphans to the United States each year for a six-week taste of American family life.
Full story here.   


Pat Robertson “Misinterpreted” ?

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Pat Robertson now claims his call for the assassination of  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been misinterpreted: 

I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping…
There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him.  I was misinterpreted.”

Yeah, right…  But how about this quote:

If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”


must be my poor understanding of the English langugae … would somebody

please explain how  this could be “misinterpreted”? 

Update (8/24).  Admitting there was no “misinterpration” Pat Robertson apologized:

 “Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. “


Ohio School of Pregnancy

There are 490 female students at Timken High School, and 65 are pregnant, according to a recent report in the Canton Repository.

School officials are not sure what has caused so many pregnancies “ – Really? Perhaps THEY should go back to school… a little Sex Ed would not hurt … or just ask the girls?

(source: NewsNet5)

Update (8/23) The Blogosphere speculates on the “mystery cause”: here , here, here, here, and here, to name just a few.



Pat Robertson Publicly Calls for Assassination

Pat Robertson uses his broadcast to call for a political assassination:

“Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has suggested that American agents assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming “a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.”

Thanks God the US abandoned it’s earlier policy to assassinate political leaders we don’t like.  No-one should get away with public solicitation for a crime  under the auspices of Freedom of Speech.   Especially not in the media where “wardrobe malfunctions” or improper language result in fines and bans from the air waves.

ABC TV got banned from Russia for airing a terrorist’s views. What do we do with “The 700 Club”?

Update (8/23) This is funny.

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