Archives for September 2008


SVASE VC Breakfast with Hambrecht Geneva Ventures in San Francisco

Fincancial crisis or not, VC investments did not entirely disappear, it’s just getting increasingly difficult to get funded.  But VCs are still on the lookout, and as proof I’ll be moderating another SVASE VC Breakfast Club meeting this Thursday, October 2nd in San Francisco.

As usual, it’s an informal round-table where up to 10 entrepreneurs get to deliver a pitch, then answer questions and get critiqued by a VC Partner. We’ve had VC’s from Draper Fisher,  Kleiner Perkins, Mayfield, Mohr Davidow, Emergence Capital …etc.  This time we’ll welcome Peter Morrissey, Managing Director, Hambrecht Geneva Ventures.

These breakfast meetings are a valuable opportunity for Entrepreneurs, most of whom would probably have a hard time getting through the door to VC Partners. Since I’ve been through quite a few of these sessions, both as Entrepreneur and Moderator, let me share a few thoughts:

  • It’s a pressure-free environment, with no PowerPoint presentations, live demos, Business Plans…etc, just casual conversation; but it does not mean you should come unprepared!
  • Follow a structure, don’t just roam about what you would like to do, or even worse, spend all your time describing the problem, without addressing what your solution is.
  • Don’t forget “small things” like the Team, Product, Market..etc.
  • It would not hurt to mention how much you are looking for, and how you would use the funds…
  • Write down and practice your pitch, and prepare to deliver a compelling story in 2-3 minutes. You will have about 8-10 minutes, the first half of which is your pitch,  but believe me, whatever your practice time was, when you are on the spot, you will likely take twice as long to deliver your story. The second half of your time-slot is Q&A with the VC.
  • Bring an Executive Summary; some VC’s like it, others don’t.
  • Last, but not least, please be on time! I am not kidding… some of you know why I even have to bring this up. Arriving an hour late to a one-and-a-half-hour meeting is NOT acceptable, but we’ve had too many such incidents, so here’s a new rule:  if you’re late by more than 20 minutes, you will not be allowed to join the session.

Here’s the event info page, and please remember to register the next three Entrepreneurs get in free, contact me here.

See you in San Francisco!


SocialText Becomes Really Social

Socialtext, the enterprise wiki company is no more… a wiki company, that is.  Not since Socialtext 3.0, the new release announced today.   Founder and Chairman Ross Mayfield calls his new baby a Connected Collaboration Platform, that’s modular, built on a widget framework, and consists of:

A fourth piece, Socialtext Signals is in the works, in private beta testing – I guess we could call it Twitter (Yammer?  ESME?) for the Enterprise.  Actually more, since it involves active microblogging – quick messages – as well as pulling in what users do elsewhere (FriendFeed?)

The platform is flexible, easy to customize via widgets, clearly the vision is that in an enterprise environment actionable information is pulled in from the transactional systems, too – i.e. ERP, CRM.

Knowing Ross as the uber-social guy something tells me this is what he always wanted to to: create Social Software.  But I tend to agree with Jevon MacDonald, who differentiates social software from the wiki, which is primarily a collaboration tool.  So Ross was really in the collaboration business and given his name became synonymous with wiki evangelism, he will no doubt have a hard time changing that image. smile_wink

This is not to say the wiki part, should be neglected… It is the primary collaboration facility for anything not well handled by process-driven, transactional systems, and all this social layer is just the glue that holds it all together.  (Hint: you will hear a lot more about Glue soon).

I had in the past been quite critical of Socialtext’s wiki component, and am looking forward to revisit it, as part of our wiki-series in the coming weeks @ CloudAve.  In the meantime, enjoy this video:


Zoho Launches Application Marketplace

Having seen the power of Zoho Creator & DB I predicted Zoho would create a Marketplace eventually. Ten days ago Information week leaked the news, we wouldn’t have to wait long – and now it’s here: the Zoho Application Marketplace.

Ever since the famous Google Chrome Comic book, the gold standard for product announcement is just that: comics. Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy the following comic video announcement:

There’s a catalogue of business applications, but if you don’t find an app you need, spec it out, and receive offers from developers. Either way the apps are owned by the developers who set their own pricing and keep 100% of the revenue.

If they don’t take a commission, then what’s in it for Zoho? Clearly, having more situated software apps will drive up subscription demand. Zoho Creator (the platform Marketplace is built on) is free up to 10 applications, and there are several price levels above that.

On day one the ‘shelves’ no doubt will not be fully stocked but Zoho hopes developers will quickly jump on the opportunity. After all there are over 100K apps used by the Creator community. Clearly not all marketable, but even less than 1% can create a lively market.

Marketplace comes on the heels of a new release, Zoho Creator 3 (see video)

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Killing Two Birds with One $700B Stone

A hilarious “bailout” plan -  no, I haven’t made it up:

I’m sorta liking the idea of selling Alaska to the Russians for $700B. Kills 2 birds with one stone.

10:14 AM September 26, 2008 from Identica

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Cliff Gerrish


Cloud Computing and Open Source are Not Enemies

Richard Stallman at DTU in Denmark 2007/03/31

Image via Wikipedia

Are Open Source and Cloud Computing anachronistic enemies? You’d think so, if you read GNU creator Richard Stallman’s interview in The Guardian:

Cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time.

"It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign," 

Sure, there’s a lot of marketing hype as it is typical with any major technological advancement, especially as it reaches the peak of its hype cycle.    But I think Stallman loses sight of who the “enemy” is.

Read more here

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Cloudy Fusion

El número 14

Image by wicho via Flickr

The Enterprise Irregulars took over CloudAve… well, sort of, forcing us to release an article early.  Eran Kampf had a post lined up for Monday morning about Larry Ellison’s Cloud Envy, when all of a sudden fellow Irregular  Anshu Sharma had a humor attack and came out with a hilarious post. All he did was replace Cloud Computing with Fusion in Larry’s famous rant, and voila!:

"The interesting thing about Fusion is that we’ve redefined Fusion to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t Fusion with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?"

"We’ll make Fusion announcements. I’m not going to fight this thing. But I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of Fusion other than change the wording of some of our ads. That’s my view."

Wow.  This variant of Ellison’s speech makes a lot of sense, referring to his own elusive Fusion applications.   Even Vinnie Agrees. smile_wink

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Subprime Primer – What, Me Worry? :-)

This recycled presentation is making the rounds amongst the Enterprise Irregulars this morning:

Recycled, as it was first published in February, 2008 – see the financial crisis was not that unexpected, after all.  Apologies for the language used in the last few slides – I’m just the messenger. smile_embaressed 

Of course not everyone feels a financial crisis.  Here’s a report from another Irregular:

The Monaco Yacht show finished yesterday, and this year bigger and better than ever. Lots of buyers, new now is a distinct increase of Asians, especially Chinese and of course the usual Russians.
In fact same things happening as for every general downturns – big boats are just fine, small not so good.

The big ones though see no slowing down at all, if any of you are in the market to build a not too big one in the 70 to 80 meter size (reckon a million € per meter) at a good name yard (Germany, Holland) reckon with delivery earliest in 2015. Not a slot to be found before 2012 now. (And if you are, you know who to call of course)

As always, the rich (seriously rich that is) goes "what, me worry?"

Hm… all I can add is I like this description on the Show’s site (warning: don’t click the viewer applet with Firefox under Vista, you’ll regret it):

Aft deck beach area with pool that transforms into a helideck.

Something tells me I could not afford even the YaaS (Yacht-as-a-Service) version.


Update: For a bit more serious view, check out We are all Japanese now.


“SaaS as Recession-proofing Software” Theme Picking Up

It looks like I may have started ( actually, just re-started) a trend discussing How Software Can Be Resilient to Recession.

Sramana Mitra @ Forbes talks about ‘SaaS-ing’ Back At The Economy:

Some of the robustness of SaaS companies comes from the fact that the sector caters heavily to small businesses….

Fellow Enterprise Irregular Ismael Ghalimi makes the case that:

Some will gain, but most will lose, and some to be really affected by the downturn are enterprise software vendors selling expensive perpetual licenses for their products…

He than takes the oppurtunity to turn the analysis into a cocky offer to his competitors.smile_wink

Read more here

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Why Vista S**ks

Vista isn’t really that crappy – says Gizmodo this morning.  Well, I won’t tell you what I think ( I’ve done my fair share), I’ll  just let  you decide.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words… well, then how about a video?

Yes, all I was trying to delete empty folder structures from my own computer, using an account with full Admin rights. Makes me wonder whose permission I need.. Bill Gates?  Steve Ballmer? 

Read more here


Twitter Romance?

you know you are all grown up when you are purchasing your first very own toilet scrubber.

about 7 hours ago from web

Favorite reply to resawu



Teresa Wu

And the response:

@resawu I’ve since purchased two toliet scrubbers along my path to adulthood. I think I’m pretty much ready for children now

about 7 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to resawu

Favorite reply to danielha



Daniel Ha

Well, it wouldn’t be the first one 🙂

Update:  Toilet’s indeed play an important role in a startup’s life.