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March 24, 2004

KansasCity on Cricket

Well KansasCity Star cares about Cricket -

Sachin, as he's known to his millions of fans, had what for him was an ordinary match, scoring only 37 runs. He averages an astounding 65 per match and holds the career record of more than 13,000 runs, making him the Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth of international cricket

Never mind the i-love-my-cliche journos for using "nuclear armed rivals" every time they talk of India and Pakistan. They sound idiot each time they use something like that.

March 24, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Attention Management

Ross Mayfield sharing his thoughts on the Attention management -

In some companies, people spend four hours a day in their Inbox, each IM carries an interruption tax of 15 minutes recovery time, volume is growing at 30% per year and its intruding into our personal lives. What's new that old guard vendors don't get is that half of attention is control. The Pull model of RSS and throttling notifications by space for users, but also giving up control to the networks you are a part of to let them filter the world for you. We have to help people get out of their Inbox (even Ray Ozzie agrees). A someone noted in the wiki: People are pulling tasks out of email via wikis, RSS and IM

There is definitely a need for an automated context resolver which can steer the user's attention to the right task in right context.

March 24, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Subscription model is growing

IDC on growing trends toward subscription services -

Some 43 percent of the 100 software vendors IDC polled believe that subscription licenses will represent the majority of sales in six years, with 26 percent of the 100 end users surveyed in agreement

software makers are most concerned with making it easier to predict revenues, an effort made tricky by the long-term nature of perpetual licenses, but that they are also attempting to appease to customers who ask for increased IT budget flexibility.

there is clearly some disconnect with customers in determining the price of licensing software versus the value it delivers

customer complexity is another important client-side issue that's driving the shift to subscription licensing

The research firm said mid size and large software customers manage an average of 40 software contracts or more. It concluded that 70 percent of these end users expect the complexity of managing these contracts to increase. By eliminating some of the software license compliance issues that are related to perpetual deals, subscriptions could potentially free up dollars and employee hours currently spent managing those agreements

Two things standout from this report - why it took so many years to realize that there is a disconnect between price of the licensed software and the value it offers. Unwritten rule of the industry was that if you are selling an enterprise application solving some business problem then you have to start with at least a million dollar tag. Though the pricing has come down in recent times but the science of software pricing hasn't advanced that much. That explains the constant references to Salesforce.

Another interesting part of the research is that ONLY 26% of the end users were in agreement. What this tells you about the whole research?

March 24, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2004

Innovation engine is on..

Companies presenting during PC Forum -

Convoq helps the right people meet at the right time...and gives them the tools to communicate.

Language Weaver takes the logical (and clever) next step in machine translation with software that "learns" to translate from already-translated documents. It's not smart, but it knows a lot.

Scalix provides enterprise-class e-mail, messaging and calendaring capability on Linux and supports it from the server.

Informative helps companies listen to their customers using interactive, dynamic polling software.

Intelligent Results mines unstructured data from customer communications to help financial institutions and others predict customer behavior – such as whether they'll pay.

Mindfabric uses linguistic analysis to figure out what sort of information a customer is looking for.

MetaCarta offers a search engine that can identify the geographical context of a piece of text even though it may not express it explicitly, and it can tell the difference (almost always!) between Paris, France, and Paris, Texas.

N8 Systems solves one of the world's toughest translation challenges: It creates visualizations of natural-language process descriptions to help businesspeople communicate with developers.

Technorati tracks conversations on the Web by analyzing what bloggers are blogging about, and with whom.

N8 Systems sounds very interesting. Curiously there is nothing on the web about them. Does anybody know their website address ?

March 22, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hollowing out the backend

Alan T. Saracevic in Chronicle on Clayton Christensen

Christensen believes that Bloomberg News is in the process of taking over the business normally done by banks and trading firms through the use of disruptive technology.

The gathering of information and analysis, once the domain of investment banks, is now available to many more people through the use of Bloomberg terminals. The media firm encroached even further when instant messaging on the machines allowed people to order trades. That will start to take another function out of Wall Street's hands. And so it will go while the institution holds on to its old ways.

March 22, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2004

Sense of overhang in the venture world

Friendster's valuation is proving that greater-fool theory is alive and kicking -

As the economy and the stock market pick up, an estimated 5,800 companies are hoping to get a slice of venture capital, which includes tens of billions of dollars that have been on ice since the dot-com bust. Forecasters say private firms this year will invest about $16 billion with these companies, slightly higher than last year, making it the first such increase since 2000.

What is different in the current investment cycle is the entry of successful entreprenuers who have joined the party and can play both ways for VCs -
"entrepreneurs who made millions in the 1990s boom are also investing their own funds in a new wave of startups, which invariably compete with early-stage investors looking to put money to work.
All of this raises the possibility that another bubble could form as new, old and public money collide in the marketplace to chase the few startup deals that are out there"

One thing is clear, people have a very short memory and very deep pockets (though the combination can make some people so rich that they can continue to power the obscene Silicon Valley real estate market). Bill Tai's point is worth keeping in mind -
"If there is one thing I and anyone else that's been through three cycles in that business has learned, it's that if things feel great and everyone's making money it's time to look over your shoulder and get out of the way"

Though I am not an economist but my gut instincts tell me something doesnt add up here. Parse following news items together -

Warren Buffet on stock market - "We've found it hard to find significantly undervalued stocks. The shortage of attractively-priced stocks in which we can put large sums doesn't bother us. Our capital is underutilised now, but that will happen periodically. It's a painful condition to be in but not as painful as doing something stupid"
Bill Tai on venture investment - "If there is one thing I and anyone else that's been through three cycles in that business has learned, it's that if things feel great and everyone's making money it's time to look over your shoulder and get out of the way"
Dan Gillmore on housing market - "This is unsustainable, and when the bubble bursts people are going to feel some serious pain. "

March 19, 2004 in Economics of IT | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More BPM support from BEA

More business process management support coming from BEA. Its a natural strategy for them to move away from increasingly commoditized plumbing business -

"Project Sierra will include "patterns and best practices," or technical guidelines on how to build services oriented applications. The company will also be enhancing its WebLogic Workshop development tool with more so-called business process management capabilities, Willis said.

Business process management systems provide business analysts with visualization tools to model a business process and to monitor a business work flow. BEA currently sells some business process management tools as part of its WebLogic Integration product line. "

March 19, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Peoplesoft cutting TCO by 75%

Craig Conway, CEO of Peoplesoft at CeBIT -

"PeopleSoft would reduce the total cost of ownership of its software by 75 percent, admitting enterprise software is still too complicated to install and too expensive to maintain "

How did he come up with this number ?

March 19, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2004

China's software schools

Mercury News on China's software schools -

It is in settings like Peking University's School of Software where the Chinese talent will emerge to challenge places like Silicon Valley as a tech leader for the next generation.

Peking University is one of 35 Chinese universities chosen three years ago by the central government to build software colleges.

Right now, China's software workers perform mainly low-level programming tasks. The lack of higher skills in software means China is lagging far behind countries like India.

Yet China already is producing huge numbers of technically trained graduates.

In China, 58 percent of all degrees awarded in 2002 were in physical sciences and engineering, compared with 17 percent in the United States, according to the U.S. Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

In engineering, about 220,000 Chinese bachelor's degrees were awarded in 2002, compared with 60,000 in the United States.

Overall its a good development for the world of entrepreneurship and technology.

March 18, 2004 in Silicon Valley | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2004

Pramod Haque on services model

Pramod Haque on the emerging services model and its link to India -

“Customers no longer want to pay high licensing fees upfront, they want a pay-as-you-use payment model. This application service provider model will come to the software services sector, too,

We are looking at leveraging the offshore model for our portfolio companies. As it is, we don’t fund any company now which does not have an offshore or outsourcing component in them”

This will form the basis for next generation of innovation in the services sector - building ASP type variable costing with tightly matched SLA metrics to drive short-cycle services projects.

March 17, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack