Why open source companies dont dance?

I have been pondering on this seemingly logical paradox for some time now-

1) Why are open source solutions considered technically better but not customer friendly.

2) Why do startups and app creators in social media or mobile get much more press coverage than

profitable startups in enterprise software.

3) How does tech journalism differ in covering open source projects in enterprise versus retail software.

4) What are the hidden rules of the game of enterprise software.

Some observations-

1) Open source companies often focus much more on technical community management and crowd sourcing code. Traditional software companies focus much more on managing the marketing community of customers and influencers. Accordingly the balance of power is skewed in favor of techies and R and D in open source companies, and in favor of marketing and analyst relations in traditional software companies.

Traditional companies also spend much more on hiring top notch press release/public relationship agencies, while open source companies are both financially and sometimes ideologically opposed to older methods of marketing software. The reverse of this is you are much more likely to see Videos and Tutorials by an open source company than a traditional company. You can compare the websites of ClouderaDataStax, Hadapt ,Appistry and Mapr and contrast that with Teradata or Oracle (which has a much bigger and much more different marketing strategy.

Social media for marketing is also more efficiently utilized by smaller companies (open source) while bigger companies continue to pay influential analysts for expensive white papers that help present the brand.

Lack of budgets is a major factor that limits access to influential marketing for open source companies particularly in enterprise software.

2 and 3) Retail software is priced at 2-100$ and sells by volume. Accordingly technology coverage of these software is based on volume.

Enterprise software is much more expensively priced and has much more discreet volume or sales points. Accordingly the technology coverage of enterprise software is more discreet, in terms of a white paper coming every quarter, a webinar every month and a press release every week. Retail software is covered non stop , but these journalists typically do not charge for “briefings”.

Journalists covering retail software generally earn money by ads or hosting conferences. So they have an interest in covering new stuff or interesting disruptive stuff. Journalists or analysts covering enterprise software generally earn money by white papers, webinars, attending than hosting conferences, writing books. They thus have a much stronger economic incentive to cover existing landscape and technologies than smaller startups.

4) What are the hidden rules of the game of enterprise software.

  • It is mostly a white man’s world. this can be proved by statistical demographic analysis
  • There is incestuous intermingling between influencers, marketers, and PR people. This can be proved by simple social network analysis of who talks to who and how much. A simple time series between sponsorship and analysts coverage also will prove this (I am working on quantifying this ).
  • There are much larger switching costs to enterprise software than retail software. This leads to legacy shoddy software getting much chances than would have been allowed in an efficient marketplace.
  • Enterprise software is a less efficient marketplace than retail software in all definitions of the term “efficient markets”
  • Cloud computing, and SaaS and Open source threatens to disrupt the jobs and careers of a large number of people. In the long term, they will create many more jobs, but in the short term, people used to comfortable living of enterprise software (making,selling,or writing) will actively and passively resist these changes to the  paradigms in the current software status quo.
  • Open source companies dont dance and dont play ball. They prefer to hire 4 more college grads than commission 2 more white papers.

and the following with slight changes from a comment I made on a fellow blog-

  • While the paradigm on how to create new software has evolved from primarily silo-driven R and D departments to a broader collaborative effort, the biggest drawback is software marketing has not evolved.
  • If you want your own version of the open source community editions to be more popular, some standardization is necessary for the corporate decision makers, and we need better marketing paradigms.
  • While code creation is crowdsourced, solution implementation cannot be crowdsourced. Customers want solutions to a problem not code.
  • Just as open source as a production and licensing paradigm threatens to disrupt enterprise software, it will lead to newer ways to marketing software given the hostility of existing status quo.

 

 

Interview with Rob La Gesse Chief Disruption Officer Rackspace

Here is an interview with Rob La Gesse ,Chief Disruption Officer ,Rackspace Hosting.
Ajay- Describe your career  journey from not finishing college to writing software to your present projects?
Rob- I joined the Navy right out of High School. I had neither the money for college, or a real desire for it. I had several roles in the Navy, to include a Combat Medic station with the US Marine Corps and eventually becoming a Neonatal Respiratory Therapist.

After the Navy I worked as a Respiratory Therapist, a roofer, and I repaired print shop equipment. Basically whatever it took to make a buck or two.  Eventually I started selling computers.  That led me to running a multi-line dial-up BBS and I taught myself how to program.  Eventually that led to a job with a small engineering company where we developed WiFi.

After the WiFi project I started consulting on my own.  I used Rackspace to host my clients, and eventually they hired me.  I’ve been here almost three years and have held several roles. I currently manage Social Media, building 43 and am involved in several other projects such as the Rackspace Startup Program.

Ajay-  What is building43 all about ?

Rob- Building43 is a web site devoted to telling the stories behind technology startups. Basically, after we hired Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica we were figuring out how best we could work with them to both highlight Rackspace and customers.  That idea expanded beyond customers to highlighting anyone doing something incredible in the technology industry – mostly software startups.  We’ve had interviews with people like Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of FaceBook.  We’ve broken some news on the site, but it isn’t really a news site. It is a story telling site.

Rackspace has met some amazing new customers through the relationships that started with an interview.

Ajay-  How is life as Robert Scoble’s boss. Is he an easy guy to work with? Does he have super powers while he types?

Rob- Robert isn’t much different to manage than the rest of my employees. He is a person – no super powers.  But he does establish a unique perspective on things because he gets to see so much new technology early.  Often earlier than almost anyone else. It helps him to spot trends that others might not be seeing yet.
Ajay – Hosting companies are so so many. What makes Rackspace special for different kinds of customers?
Rob- I think what we do better than anyone is add that human touch – the people really care about your business.  We are a company that is focused on building one of the greatest service companies on the planet.  We sell support.  Hosting is secondary to service. Our motto is Fanatic Support®

and we actually look for people focused on delivering amazing customer experiences during our interviewing and hiring practices. People that find a personal sense of pride and reward by helping others should apply at
Rackspace.  We are hiring like crazy!

Ajay – Where do you see technology and the internet 5 years down the line? (we will visit the answers in 5 years 🙂 )?
Rob- I think the shift to Cloud computing is going to be dramatic.  I think in five years we will be much further down that path.  The scaling, cost-effectiveness, and on-demand nature of the Cloud are just too compelling for companies not to embrace. This changes business in fundamental ways – lower capital expenses, no need for in house IT staff, etc will save companies a lot of money and let them focus more on their core businesses. Computing will become another utility.  I also think mobile use of computing will be much more common than it is today.  And it is VERY common today.  Phones will replace car keys and credit cards (they already are). This too will drive use of Cloud computing  because we all want our data wherever we are – on whatever computing device we happen tobe using.
Ajay- GoDaddy CEO shoots elephants. What do you do in your  spare time, if any.
Rob- Well, I don’t hunt.  We do shoot a lot of video though! I enjoy playing poker, specifically Texas Hold ’em.  It is a very people oriented game, and people are my passion.

Brief Biography- (in his own words from http://www.lagesse.org/about/)

My technical background includes working on the development of WiFi, writing wireless applications for the Apple Newton, mentoring/managing several software-based start-ups, running software quality assurance teams and more. In 2008 I joined Rackspace as an employee – a “Racker”.  I was previously a 7 year customer and the company impressed me. My initial role was as Director of Software Development for the Rackspace Cloud.  It was soon evident that I was better suited to a customer facing role since I LOVE talking to customers. I am currently the Director of Customer Development Chief Disruption Officer.  I manage building43 and enjoy working with Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica to make that happen.  The org chart says they work for me.  Reality tells me the opposite :)

Go take a look – I’m proud of what we are building there (pardon the pun!).

I do a lot of other stuff at Rackspace – mostly because they let me!  I love a company that lets me try. Rackspace does that.Going further back, I have been a Mayor (in Hawaii). I have written successful shareware software. I have managed employees all over the world. I have been all over the world. I have also done roofing, repaired high end print-shop equipment, been a Neonatal Respiratory Therapist, done CPR on a boat, in a plane, and in a hardware store (and of course in hospitals).

I have treated jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge – and helped save a few. I have lived in Illinois (Kankakee), California (San Diego, San Francisco and Novato), Texas (Corpus Christi and San Antonio), Florida (Pensacola and Palm Bay), Hawaii (Honolulu/Fort Shafter) and several other places for shorter durations.

For the last 8+ years I have been a single parent – and have done an amazing job (yes, I am a proud papa) thanks to having great kids.  They are both in College now – something I did NOT manage to accomplish. I love doing anything someone thinks I am not qualified to do.

I can be contacted at rob (at) lagesse (dot) org

you can follow Rob at http://twitter.com/kr8tr

Create an animation movie for free on Youtube

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Just went to YOUTUBE to check the new apps they are rolling out.

It works! You can create art , cartoons, tutorials, videos without needing anything but a browser.

http://www.youtube.com/create/GoAnimate helped me create a @youtube video/animated movie at

Not bad for 5 minutes of work from 0 to finish.

R Commercial Software

Revolution Analytics

http://www.revolutionanalytics.com/ Download- http://www.revolutionanalytics.com/downloads/ Official Screenshot-

• XL Solutions

http://www.experience-rplus.com/ Download-http://www.experience-rplus.com/down.asp Official Screenshot-

Information Builder

http://www.informationbuilders.com/products/webfocus/PredictiveModeling Official Screenshot-

Blue Reference- Inference for R

http://inferenceforr.com/default.aspx Download-http://inferenceforr.com/freetrial/default.aspx Official Screenshot-

R for Excel

http://www.statconn.com/

Download- http://rcom.univie.ac.at/download.html

Also integrates R with Word, Open Office and Excel with Scilab

Computer Education grants from Google

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Image via CrunchBase

message from the official google blog-

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/supporting-computer-science-education.html

With programs like Computer Science for High School (CS4HS), we hope to increase the number of CS majors —and therefore the number of people entering into careers in CS—by promoting computer science curriculum at the high school level.

For the fourth consecutive year, we’re funding CS4HS to invest in the next generation of computer scientists and engineers. CS4HS is a workshop for high school and middle school computer science teachers that introduces new and emerging concepts in computing and provides tips, tools and guidance on how to teach them. The ultimate goals are to “train the trainer,” develop a thriving community of high school CS teachers and spread the word about the awe and beauty of computing.

If you’re a university, community college, or technical School in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East or Africa and are interested in hosting a workshop at your institution, please visit www.cs4hs.com to submit an application for grant funding.Applications will be accepted between January 18, 2011 and February 18, 2011.

In addition to submitting your application, on the CS4HS website you’ll find info on how to organize a workshop, as well as websites and agendas from last year’s participants to give you an idea of how the workshops were structured in the past. There’s also a collection ofCS4HS curriculum modules that previous participating schools have shared for future organizers to use in their own program.

How to Analyze Wikileaks Data – R SPARQL

Logo for R
Image via Wikipedia

Drew Conway- one of the very very few Project R voices I used to respect until recently. declared on his blog http://www.drewconway.com/zia/

Why I Will Not Analyze The New WikiLeaks Data

and followed it up with how HE analyzed the post announcing the non-analysis.

“If you have not visited the site in a week or so you will have missed my previous post on analyzing WikiLeaks data, which from the traffic and 35 Comments and 255 Reactions was at least somewhat controversial. Given this rare spotlight I thought it would be fun to use the infochimps API to map out the geo-location of everyone that visited the blog post over the last few days. Unfortunately, after nearly two years with the same web hosting service, only today did I realize that I was not capturing daily log files for my domain”

Anyways – non American users of R Project can analyze the Wikileaks data using the R SPARQL package I would advise American friends not to use this approach or attempt to analyze any data because technically the data is still classified and it’s possession is illegal (which is the reason Federal employees and organizations receiving federal funds have advised not to use this or any WikiLeaks dataset)

https://code.google.com/p/r-sparql/

Overview

R is a programming language designed for statistics.

R Sparql allows you to run SPARQL Queries inside R and store it as a R data frame.

The main objective is to allow the integration of Ontologies with Statistics.

It requires Java and rJava installed.

Example (in R console):

> library(sparql)> data <- query("SPARQL query>","RDF file or remote SPARQL Endpoint")

and the data in a remote SPARQL  http://www.ckan.net/package/cablegate

SPARQL is an easy language to pick  up, but dammit I am not supposed to blog on my vacations.

http://code.google.com/p/r-sparql/wiki/GettingStarted

Getting Started

1. Installation

1.1 Make sure Java is installed and is the default JVM:

$ sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jre sun-java6-jdk$ sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-6-sun

1.2 Configure R to use the correct version of Java

$ sudo R CMD javareconf

1.3 Install the rJava library

$ R> install.packages("rJava")> q()

1.4 Download and install the sparql library

Download: http://code.google.com/p/r-sparql/downloads/list

$ R CMD INSTALL sparql-0.1-X.tar.gz

2. Executing a SPARQL query

2.1 Start R

#Load the librarylibrary(sparql)#Run the queryresult <- query("SELECT ... ", "http://...")#Print the resultprint(result)

3. Examples

3.1 The Query can be a string or a local file:

query("SELECT ?date ?number ?season WHERE {  ... }", "local-file.rdf")
query("my-query.rq", "local-file.rdf")

The package will detect if my-query.rq exists and will load it from the file.

3.3 The uri can be a file or an url (for remote queries):

query("SELECT ... ","local-file.db")
query("SELECT ... ","http://dbpedia.org/sparql")

3.4 Get some examples here: http://code.google.com/p/r-sparql/downloads/list

SPARQL Tutorial-

http://openjena.org/ARQ/Tutorial/index.html

Also read-

http://webr3.org/blog/linked-data/virtuoso-6-sparqlgeo-and-linked-data/

and from the favorite blog of Project R- Also known as NY Times

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/15/sorting-through-the-government-data-explosion/?twt=nytimesbits

In May 2009, the Obama administration started putting raw 
government data on the Web. 
It started with 47 data sets. Today, there are more than
 270,000 government data sets, spanning every imaginable 
category from public health to foreign aid.

AsterData partners with Tableau

This chart represents several constituent comp...
Image via Wikipedia

Tableau which has been making waves recntly with its great new data visualization tool announced a partner with my old friends at AsterData. Its really cool piece of data vis and very very fast on the desktop- so I can imagine what speed it can help with AsterData’s MPP Row and Column Zingbang AND Parallel Analytical Functions

Tableau and AsterData also share the common Stanfordian connection (but it seems software is divided quite equally between Stanford, Hardvard Dropouts and North Carolina )

It remains to be seen in this announcement how much each company  can leverage the partnership or whether it turns like the SAS Institute- AsterData partnership last year or whether it is just to announce connectors in their software to talk to each other.

See a Tableau vis at

http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/geographyofdiabetes/Dashboard2?:embed=yes&:toolbar=yes

AsterData remains the guys with the potential but I would be wrong to say MapReduceSQL is as hot in December 2010 as it was in June 2009- and the elephant in the room would be Hadoop. That and Google’s continued shyness from encashing its principal comptency of handling Big Data (but hush – I signed a NDA with the Google Prediction API– so things maaaay change very rapidly on ahem that cloud)

Disclaimer- AsterData was my internship sponsor during my winter training while at Univ of  Tenn.