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April 08, 2005

osbc buzz

Going by all the  blog posts, looks like OSBC was lot of fun. 

Picking pieces from different blogs. Steve Mallet of OSDir talks about Jonathan Schwartz's GPL criticism.  " Country forks" and "GPL as an imperialistic tool" were hotly debated issues.  I think we will hear more about country forks in the future. Open source is not only a good hedge against vendor monopoly but also a creative wedge on the intellectual property issue. 

Its not as if Sun has suddenly found new love for the rest of the world. They see the technology world (specially the Mobile and developer's market) shifting globally. It doesn't hurt to give a sympathetic voice to the 3rd world countries.  Remember all this CDDL thing is as much aimed against GPL as against Redhat. Redhat is well established in the emerging countries.  OpenSolaris is NOT ! They are catching up here.

Considering Spikesource's PR splurge there is definitely attention from the money lords. Taking into factor  Sand Hill's famous tendency to flock together, we will see more clones of Spikesource and SugarCRM pretty soon. Offcourse those will be under stealth and they will have their own differentiators. And I am not joking ;)

Talking about Spikesource,  They should succeed. If they succeed then the legendary might of KPCB will alone put open source in the board room. It will make selling little easier for other teeny weeny startups. Though I cannot resist the comparison between what Spikesource team did in the $115 million flameout Asera (Whitepaper in doc format) and what their test harness in Spikesource claims to do. That combinatorial complexity, dependency analysis and composition all sounds very familiar. Considering component explosion on the open source side they will certainly get plenty of attention, if only they can let the technology do the talking rather than drumming the PR parade.  It will be fun to watch how this one develops.

Checkout the buzz on blogosphere

April 8, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2005

FUD itself is a good business model

Sample this quote from Julie DeCecco of Sun Microsystems:

"Do a cost/benefit analysis early on to quantify what is the financial impact of using open source,It might not be worth the cost. A proprietary license might be the way to go"

9 out of 10 times fear works like a charm. Big question remains as to who defines the "financial impact" and what objective method they use to estimate that.

April 7, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Medical tourism

One of my business contact pointed me to this NYTimes piece on growing medical tourism and how India plays in this growing sector.  The lure of economics ! Trumps every other concern.

Howard Staab, 53, an uninsured self-employed carpenter from Durham, N.C., to repair a leaking mitral heart valve. Mr. Staab paid $10,000 for his surgery, his round-trip fare to India and for a visit to the Taj Mahal. In the United States, his options included surgery costing $60,000 at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

To take advantage of patients like Mr. Staab, Indian hospitals are expanding. In the Gurgaon suburbs of New Delhi, Dr. Trehan is building a $250 million multispecialty hospital modeled after the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. In the same neighborhood will be Fortis Healthcare's Medicity, a 43-acre hospital complex for foreign patients, which will have special immigration and travel counters and interpreters, with the idea of branding itself the Johns Hopkins Hospital of the East.

They are really developing new processes. Who thought one day hospitals will have INS type window helping on immigration chores !

April 7, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Virgin Dabbawala

This guy knows how to reach out:

Story of Dabbawalas is fascinating. Their execution model is a classic operations research example:

The tiffins are collected, sorted out, coded and sent to their destinations. Every station has a numerical code and each place has an alphabetical code. The tiffin carries the code of the source and the
destination. The codes help them identify each tiffin owner. The system has been developed over the years and perfected, beginning with colored
threads and evolving to more systematic and logical codes. Whether it is the manager of a bank, a computer engineer, or a 10-year-old waiting
for piping hot puris in school, the dabbawalas cater to all. The only hindrance would be a railway strike.

It seems to be a must experience thing when you go to Bombay.  In my two years stay in Bombay I never tasted the dabba food. Though running into these folks in local train used to be the common thing.

Checkout Wikipeadia for more serious overview of this. They are six-sigma ! Pity those companies who spend gazillions of dollars on outside consultants to get themselves six sigma certified.

April 7, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2005

Drone + Keyhole = I know where you are going

Taking a conservative estimate, in 10 years  time (if you apply accelerating change theory, you might get it sooner) this military technology might be available at your local dealer store.  Robotic plane and their smaller  family member called  Drones will have some non-creepy civilian use as well.

Combine that with Google's Keyhole capability and you have a friendly (may be creepy) I-can-see-where-you-are-going toy.

And the question is what stops someone from doing it ? Security and air zone regulations maybe ? There can be many good civilian use of this combination as well. Specially in situations like Tsunami where its hard to cover a very wide area.

April 6, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2005

License explosion

Straight from the guru Eric Raymond:

"Quite honestly, my hope is that if we piss off everybody at once we won't piss everybody off so much that they leave, I think it will eventually work out because everybody involved with the problem realizes a common material explosion of different licenses isn't in anyone's interests"

Open source licensing explosion is a major issue. We created this license browser just for fun and get to some sanity around the legalese around it. Hopefully industry participants will see reason and cut this list down to the manageable number.

Expect to see more such announcements when all penguin lovers get together at OSBC.

April 4, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 03, 2005

Outsourced storage management

= 80 x 

Why would somebody need this. Now all you need is a smart interface which can front-end 80 gmail account (using Gmail APIs ?) and bingo you have a personal outsourced storage manager.

All ready for the long tail consumers.

Update: Whatever you can think of, somebody somewhere has done it.

It seems many people are trying to write this kind of application. From hack-a-day. This seems to be more advanced implementation of the concept. Mounting Linux from Gmail. As Frank will say in that famous sitcom - Holy Craps !

April 3, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Open standards first and foremost

Mat Assay [of Novell] on the role open standards play :

So, while open source is a Very Good Thing, it's not the only thing one should consider when looking at software. If you're an IT buyer, open standards should be the overriding concern, with open source a close third. Your second consideration should be whether the product meets your needs. Why standards before needs? Because your needs tomorrow may change - if you're locked into a product because you bought into a closed standard, you're bien fichu, no matter how good it was at the beginning.

I started following his blog recently. Being an insider he knows how the vendor moves are shaping the open source world.  His reiteration of this correct sequencing starting with open standards and THEN moving on to customer needs and open source will help keep things in perspective. Little pragmatism will go a long way in helping all who care for open source.

Combining open standards with open standards will prove to be a winning combination. Both aim for maximum adoption and seek volume.

April 3, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2005

The power is the story

Go to Tom Peters if you need quick mantras to get out of the week's overload and have those mantras shake few cobwebs in your head over the weekend.

Sample this from his slide where he quotes Rolf Jensen, (author of dream society)

We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence become the domain of computers, society will place more value on the one human ability that cannot be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ritual - the language of emotion - will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how we work with others.  Companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths. Companies will need to understand that their products are less important than their stories.

There are lot of concise wisdom in that presentation, all pointing to one thing that story and emotions are the new foundation of successful business. It was always there as an important ingredient but lately this has come out as a key differentiators. It reflects which way competitive differentiators are moving in our  highly homogeneous and commoditized market place.
There have been many case studies on how companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Flickr, Google, Apple among others command high emotional loyalty. They make us feel good about ourselves and about our choices.

People are suckers for cool stuff. Rational thinking is overrated (Blink did some more damage to the rationalist school of thought) when it comes to the shopping experience.

What lesson an entrepreneur can draw from that.  To begin with focus on the emotional content of your product offering. What feeling does your product invoke in your users and among your employees. What image does it conjure in their mind.

Kevin Laws has an interesting post which expands on this theme. His comment on the growing tyranny of non-monetary cost is right on the money.  Customer's emotional experience is directly matched to his or her psychic cost:

Psychic costs are less well known and more difficult to measure. They are not the $3.99 a minute it costs to get your fortune read over the telephone - that cost is very monetary. No, psychic costs measure the stress of having to think about a transaction.

His recommendation is worth internalizing:

.. the critical importance of reducing non-monetary costs enough that customers actually use the product

Stories, emotions, conceptualizers, psychic cost, blink, thin-slicing, non-monetary etc are all part of the same equation. Technology has to be hidden and only that part should be exposed which says "I care about you".


April 2, 2005 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack