« March 2004 | Main | May 2004 »

April 26, 2004

Who needs who ?

For the times they are a-changin -

Seemingly unrelated, the two events are in fact key indicators of a power shift in the subtle game of global trade. By all appearances, US trade negotiators have lost their footing. Fretting over a record trade deficit of US$542 billion, they call for Asian governments to remove trade barriers. At the same time, Congress introduces protectionist policies at home. Treasury Secretary John Snow presses Beijing's leaders to revalue the yuan. Yet the Bush administration relies on China and Asia to finance its budget deficit by snatching up US Treasury bills, mass investments that keep interest rates soothingly low. In sum, the US needs Asia more than ever before, but its leverage is diminishing and its policies are all over the map.

April 26, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2004

Open Media

IBM's research report telling media giants to get into shape or be ready for disruption coming their way . Their recommendations:

1. Get your digital house in order: Create or convert content to digital formats
2. Manage content for optimum flexibility and asset value
3. Be open for distribution, no matter where or when
4. Be open for delivery – in multiple packages, with variable pricing and always-on
customer service
5. Open digital doors – to contribute, produce or author dynamic content
6. Create new product windows and business models
7. Manage openly and communicate in realtime through digital infrastructure
8. Leverage a new depth of business intelligence made possible by digital technology
9. Use partnership strategies that drive efficiency and optimize customer attention
10. Become an on demand business.

Though they can ignore the last recommendation - too obvious if you have already done the first nine steps.

April 25, 2004 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2004

Professional open source

JBoss is continuing its innovative march in creative profitable business model within the open source framework. Quality and passion of the developers is ensuring high quality output and allowing JBoss to maintain its lead in the marketplace.
In the words of Gavin King, team lead for persistence engine Hibernate (high quality component)

Right from the start I wanted to have a serious project for serious business applications. So right from the start we had good documentation, because that's often not the case with open source software. We don't want to be seen as a cheap solution. When you choose to use Hibernate, you choose to use something that's better than any commercial software. We love doing it but it's a product, not a hobby.

Only couple of years ago I remember yours truly bragging in front of a big fortune 500 customer team that my employer has this innovative XML enabled database persistence layer offering tremendous flexibility. Now that same module is available for free. Supported and enhanced by developers all over the world.

You dont want to be standing in front of open source projects, chances of you succeeding are going to be very slim. For some strange reason it always reminds of a scene in God Father2, where Al Pacino seeing a rebel Cuban blowing himself predicts that rebels will eventually win. In the battle between heart and reason, chances are heart and passion will win over. There are just too many developers out there who want to be known as next Linus Torvalds. And their crosshair is now on Oracle, SAP and other business applications.

April 22, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Would you invest in them?

Murthy and Gates in their prime years

"Would you have invested in these companies on the basis of these pictures?"

This picture is sure a big motivation to all the entrepreneurs out there. Start humble and shoot for the long run. Definitely they look like long distance runners.

April 22, 2004 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tibco consolidating via BPM acquisition

Tibco buying Staffware for strengthening its BPM portfolio.

EAI market will see some more M&A before all leading vendors can comfortably distance themselves from commodity message-oriented plumbing.

BPM is a next niche area for enterprise software vendors to focus on.
As Vivek Ranadive (CEO of Tibco) puts it -

We believe business processes are rapidly becoming the most valuable corporate asset. This combination brings two best-in-class technologies together to more completely deliver value to customers investing in BPM solutions

April 22, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google as a portable ID

Anecdote from Dan Bricklin about Charles Simonyi

The only note I made was about an anecdote that Charles told. He doesn't usually carry much in the way of ID. He was stopped at the guard desk at a company where he had an appointment. No ID, no entry. He asked if the guard had web access on the computer on his desk. He did. Charles told him to look on Google for "Charles Simonyi". Up popped his picture. Yep, that's him. He was let through.

What do you say - Google as a portable ID ? Who needs passport or a DMV license !

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

April 21, 2004

Complexity is more unavoidable than death

Thought provoking research paper by University of Toronto professors, from the abstract :

We are doomed to formulate conceptual structures that are much simpler than
the complex phenomena they are attempting to account for. These simple conceptual
structures shield us, pragmatically, from real-world complexity, but also fail, frequently, as
some aspect of what we did not take into consideration makes itself manifest. The failure
of our concepts dysregulates our emotions and generates anxiety, necessarily, as the
unconstrained world is challenging and dangerous. Such dysregulation can turn us into
rigid, totalitarian dogmatists, as we strive to maintain the structure of our no longer valid
beliefs. Alternatively, we can face the underlying complexity of experience, voluntarily,
gather new information, and recast and reconfigure the structures that underly our habitable

There is a lesson for technology proponents here that any system claiming to solve complexity should leave one door open for allowing itself to be self-corrected based on the ever changing realities.

April 21, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2004

India 2020: Emerging or Surging?

HBS joined other mainstream media in doing an exclusive coverage on India. Its a very interesting analysis, mostly comments from HBS alums.

Excerpts -

"Out of a world population of six billion people, the one billion who make over $2,000 a year are the primary recipients of technology's benefits. Why not build businesses that serve those at the bottom of the pyramid?" - Vikram Gandhi

"If you're starting a technology company of some size and don't have an India strategy, you're not likely to survive long" - Ramanan Raghavendran

"Investors will begin to use the labor pool available in India to create real value arbitrage—to tap markets they couldn't have tapped before" - Navin Chaddha

"I think the next big opportunity is to find the new sectors where you can take an Indian business global" - Ashish Dhawan

Minto Bhandari said it best - "It's about enlarging the pie, not just slicing up what's already there"

Its good to see Atanu and his team solving the problem for "bottom of the pyramid".

April 19, 2004 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

more on fud protection services

FUD still rules. For $495 you can get info on following -

A strong understanding of Free and Open Source Software
Information about the five most important software-related IP risks
An introduction to Open Source-specific liability exposures
A set of Best Practice Protocols for using Open Source, developed with input from Fortune 500 Linux users, IP legal experts and the Open Source community
Analysis of current litigation risk

According to its founder Daniel Egger the whole value proposition is based on the age-old American pastime - suing each other !

Providing Linux-related services to corporate clients was a $3 billion opportunity last year - but the explosion of Linux at both the device and enterprise levels now suggests it may well prove to be a $50 billion bonanza within 10 years
In America, whenever so many billions of dollars get involved, companies under pressure hire lawyers and begin suing each other. Why? Because litigation works well enough, often enough, to get plaintiffs' lawyers excited

April 19, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mission driven funds

Continuing my search for finding good venture funds/start-up models built around social enterpreunership -

SJF Venture -

SJF Ventures invests in companies whose successful growth is built on high performing entry-level employees and strong environmental performance. SJF seeks to serve individuals who, due to their family history, education, race, gender, or geography, have not had the chance to participate fully in the U.S. economy. Specifically, this includes individuals without significant formal education, transitioning from welfare to work, underemployed or unemployed, and/or living in economically distressed urban or rural regions. SJF aims to help create employment situations with room for advancement into positions requiring higher skills and providing greater levels of compensation and benefits

Falls under the category of mission driven funds - private equity funds with a social or environmental agenda, as well as a financial focus, they look for companies with double bottom line - financial return and social return.

April 19, 2004 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack