Posts tagged ‘Business’

What did he just say?!

By Terence Craig

The one weekend that I decide to abjure from all things electronic and hang out with my wife, famous tech blogger Michael Arrington (@arrington) starts a scrap with some incredibly ill-conceived comments while being interviewed for @Soledad_OBrien’s documentery Black In America 4 which explores the black experience in technology.  At first, as any intelligent person would, I thought, “I’m just going to stay out of this.”  But as an African-American who’s been in the Valley as a programmer, entrepreneur, blogger, published author, and board member for over 23 years and who has lived on the 3rd rail of our collective discomfort with race as a happily married member of an interracial couple for the past 25 years, I thought it was worth giving my perspective.

The first thing that I have to say is that the Valley, by and large, has treated me and my family very well.  By the time I was 28, I was making more $$ than my father ever had – even though he was a renowned plant pathologist whose opinion was sought the world over (including Apartheid South Africa who offered to make him an “honorary white person” to gain his expertise – and no, I’m not kidding). (more…)

November 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm 2 comments

Steve Jobs – The man who bought style to computing

By Terence Craig

Although I never met the man – I think that I and every programmer or entrepreneur that has worked in the valley felt like we had a personnel relationship with Steve Jobs.   He was without a doubt the most polarizing technology figure in the valley – known for his brilliant design sense, ability to excite an audience, uncompromising desire to get it right, and pithy emails.

My first real computer was a Mac.  That Mac Plus with an additional acoustic coupler modem – (a blazing fast 300 baud baby!) helped pay my way through college writing other peoples programs for them uh, I mean tutoring other students. The Mac was amazing it showed us that computers could be fun, quirky, and artistic. It introduced stylistic concepts that we are still having trouble bringing into mainstream computing today.  In a world of VT220 terminals and ascii art (btw the link is amazingly cool ascii), the Mac with Steve as her father proved that the digital world could be thrilling as well as functional. For that we all, whether in technology or otherwise, owe him a great debt.

Finally, lets all remember that despite his laudable achievements, Mr. Jobs was a human being who had family and friends that are mourning a man that cancer took away from them at an early age. While we can and should honor his many achievements, let’s not forget to take a breath and send good thoughts to them and all the other families who have been stricken by this deadly disease.  Or better yet, donate to the Cancer charity of your choice.

RIP – Steve.

October 7, 2011 at 6:28 am Leave a comment

We love .NET

PatternBuilders sells a hosted cross platform streaming analytics platform that large companies use to do complex calculations and business process automation over very large data sets. So it was fascinating to read a recent post/troll from the CEO of a company that is writing yet another web based expense tracking system about how bad our technology and hiring choices were. Since we never like to pass up a good scrap – it seemed like a good time for a guest post from our lead server engineer Tim.

By Tim L.

Programmers with "Attitude"I don’t really understand why David Barrett wasted time writing his rant on .NET programmers. Doing a minimal amount of research on what .NET is, what you can do with it, and how people use it would have completely invalidated his original premises. He makes a lot of statements regarding how “different” .NET is from everything else, how restrictive it is, and how no programmer with “attitude” would ever use it.

Well, judging by his criteria, I think I am a programmer with attitude. I have been programming since I was 9, starting out with Basic and then moving on to C++ for about 7 years. I don’t know about knife fighting, but I do play guitar in a death metal band on the side. Hopefully those are enough “attitude” credentials for David Barrett. I have tried a whole lot of different tools, and guess what? .NET & C# are my favorite tools for almost any problem. Ironically, the only things I would write using other toolsets would be either very simple/small pieces of code, or big software for companies that force me to use something else (usually Java).
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April 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm 5 comments

Connect.me: The Beginning of a Consumer-Centric Data Monetization & Privacy Model?

A way for the big data industry to share the wealth with consumers and expand control over privacy.

By Terence Craig

There was a great article posted in All Things Digital about a company called Connect.me. While the article focused on the viral nature and the security implications of their launch (which says troubling things about consumer security awareness or lack thereof), the bigger story (IMHO) is the company’s business model.  Connect.me is developing a solution that centralizes control of a user’s digital identity, creating a peer-to-peer relationship between the consumer and brands. So instead of consumers “liking” a company’s Facebook page, they could have a deeper and, potentially, more meaningful relationship. In the video embedded in the article, one of Connect.me’s founders, Drummond Reed, likens this to a CRM solution for the consumer where a trust relationship between the consumer and each vendor is established and based on this relationship, the consumer decides how much personal information is shared.

As someone who is writing a book about data privacy and is CTO of an analytics tools vendor, I have been wondering when technology would be introduced that would let consumers control their personal information and treat it as a valuable asset. (more…)

March 24, 2011 at 11:57 am 1 comment

Yes, It’s True: Big Data and Analytics Separate the Winners from the Losers

By Mary Ludloff

Since we are a big data and analytics company, we spend quite a bit of time talking about “value.” To us, the analytics payoff is quite clear because we see it in action every day with the companies and organizations we work with. But this is our industry so I can understand that what we say as a vendor in this space may be subject to a wee bit of skepticism. That’s why independent surveys are so important and the recent results of the MIT Sloan Management Review certainly shine a light on the importance of analytics. Now, if you have some time I urge you to read the full report but if not, not to worry as I will summarize the highlights and inject some of my thoughts as well.

One of the most important findings in the survey: “Top performing organizations use analytics five times more than lower performers.” This is not surprising as I can pretty much predict (anecdotally of course) which prospects will pursue analytics solutions and my prediction rests on whether they are top performers in their industries. If they are, they are constantly on the lookout for ways to further differentiate themselves from the pack, they embrace change, and they are not afraid of the “unknown.” These companies and their management teams are fully committed to making data-driven decisions and are on the lookout for how to take advantage of disruptions—whether that disruption is a new competitor, an act of nature that impacts a supply chain, or an unhappy customer about to change vendors. (By the way, disruptions are why streaming analytics are so important—you can react far more quickly to changes.) (more…)

February 24, 2011 at 8:29 am 2 comments

Back to the future

By Terence Craig

In my last post, I talked about how the time sharing model for enterprise apps was displaced by user owned data centers and on premise deployments of enterprise software.  In the late nineties, a plethora of companies tried to reinvigorate the timeshare model, using the Internet as a cheaper network backbone.

These companies, collectively called Application Service Providers (ASP), used a variety of different approaches to deliver enterprise software over the web.  They ranged from: (more…)

January 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm 1 comment

Everything Old Is New Again

By Terence Craig

I had a discussion recently with a very talented but young product manager on the merits of SaaS (Software as a Service) and multi-tenancy versus traditional Enterprise Software.  The discussion got a little easier when I gave him some history about how we got here.  Yeah, I realize that knowing this history makes me ancient in programmer years.

SaaS could be defined as the combination of a new architectural model known as multi-tenancy with a payment model which has been around since the mainframe era — timesharing.   In this post I will focus on the history of timesharing.  In the next post I will discuss multi-tenancy.

SaaS re-introduced the hardware/software rental model known as timesharing to the world. For those of you who are young enough to think that Paul McCartney was always a solo act it may seem shocking, but yes people where renting software and data centers decades before Salesforce.com was founded.
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January 13, 2011 at 12:46 am 3 comments

Speaking at Stanford on Entrepreneurship in 2011

By Terence Craig

University of Sydney’s Global Executive MBA program: The Silicon Valley Module

I am going to be part of a panel with my good friend and mentor, Mike Seashols, talking about entrepreneurship in 2011.  This is the Silicon Valley part of the program for which the U of Sydney partners with Stanford.  This is the third year I have participated and it is always an interesting discussion with a good mixture of founders, professional CEOs, and folks from the venture community.

Prior to the panel, the MBA group is going to meet with one of the most successful entrepreneurs the valley has ever produced – Mark Leslie.  Mark is now a Stanford Prof and his classes are SRO.  He probably doesn’t remember this, but when I was raising money for an earlier venture he bent over backwards to try and help me out even though there was absolutely no benefit to him.  If you are a startup that does enterprise sales, his paper on the Sales Learning Curve is required reading. The valley would be a much more pleasant place if we all followed his and Mike’s example.  I will be sure to tweet and post about some of the things that the panel covers—in previous years there have been some great quotes and more importantly, interesting insights about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur—so stay tuned!

January 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm 1 comment

Big Data, Big Insights, Big Issues, and Facebook: Part 1

By Mary Ludloff

As everyone probably already knows (but just in case you have been living off the grid for an extended period of time), Facebook is considered to be the largest aggregator of private individuals’ data in the world. In fact, they don’t just index the “habits” and personal information of each Facebook user, but at an aggregate level the habits and personal information of entire communities.

Everyone—the PatternBuilders’ team, analysts, social scientists, economists, statisticians, the list goes on—would like to get their “hands” on that data to aggregate it and cross-reference it with other data sets to produce unknown insights about “all of us.” And Facebook has been pretty miserly about sharing. Facebook has also been under fire about its seemingly cavalier attitude about users’ privacy, touting that transparency and openness is the way to go. (more…)

January 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm 1 comment

Know When to Walk Away

By Terence Craig

Although I lean more towards hip-hop and heavy metal,  Kenny Rogers’ song,  The Gambler includes the perfect lyric for anybody selling Enterprise Software.  “You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to run”.

Towards the end of last year I decided to stop pursuing business with a particular prospect. The company is a good name, we are a good fit for their needs, etc., etc. One of our engineers asked me why. Rather than try and explain, I sent him this very funny video which perfectly captures why this particular deal wasn’t a good use of our time and why going forward on the terms they wanted would be a disaster for both companies. Go watch the video now or the rest of this post won’t make any sense.
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January 3, 2011 at 9:32 am 1 comment


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