So Jon Paczkowski of GMSV is surprised that Scott McNealy of Sun said “No” to Java going open source. Didn’t surprise me. In my “In the DataCenter” commentary Making Up Isn’t Hard to Do months ago, I warned my audience not to presume:
“…But if Microsoft is on the run, why should Sun settle right before trial? It all comes down to money and open source. Sun, a proprietary unix vendor, has watched its dominance in the Unix market steadily sink under a
sustained attack by the freebie killer Unix clones. A cool $1.6B will sure help the bottom line of a company that also announced, almost as an afterthought, a 9% RIF and a “bigger than expected” net loss. They need cash – clearly, and Microsoft has buckets of cash.
But what does Microsoft get out of all this? Well, aside from this annoying lawsuit, they get something much more significant – a Unix vendor who needs Microsoft more than Microsoft needs them. Oh, and that Java licensing stuff that started all these suits – they get that settled as well, to their liking. All’s well that ends well, right?
The upshot – don’t expect Java to go open source, IBM. And don’t expect Sun to support Unix clones, either. They’ve crossed their Rubicon, and in running a hardware server business, cash is king.”
Mike Cassidy and I were chatting about the difficulties of getting away from work. Most people like to go home and really forget about work, but that’s not how it is in the startup world. In startups, you’re always having new ideas and working on new projects and companies. It is the driving force for change, and once you’re hooked, that is it.
Ever since Berkeley (and before, since I was working while still at school) it’s always been work everywhere. My kids are used to it. They wanted me to take them to the library today, but I said “Not until you take all the Celestron scopes out of the car and reassemble them, and don’t drop them”, and they did, and we did. The nice thing about working on startups when you’re a mom is that you can set your own schedule, and be around the kids when they need you, and work at off times when most of the tech work really happens.
Harry Domash wrote in the SF Chronicle today about how Intuit has “…apparently realized that it can’t make money by giving its products away”. So they’ve done some housecleaning, making some investment and banking tools only available to registered buyers of the product (so those who “borrowed” a copy are out of luck), and eliminating some other tools completely. Mr. Domash goes on to tout other places for free products to replace those that went away – “It’s too bad that Quicken deleted or restricted access to its stock tools, but as you can see, there are plenty of alternatives.”
But if Intuit, a very frugal company, couldn’t find a way to monetize the goodwill from it’s free stuff, what does that say about the software business?
Mike Cassidy of the Merc wrote a thoughtful piece about how companies need to be “taking care” of their workers better in these tough economic times. Now, I have no problem with fairness as both an employer and employee, and I think workplaces are far too riddled with unfairness, petty jealosies, back-office politics, and ego, and too little thought is taken to treating everyone in the business with professionalism and respect.
Mike’s underlying motive for suggesting this is a noble one – “To me the current situation is more like business are prepared to drag their employees out in the courtyard and shoot them when they no longer need them. I think a few steps back to the days when employees were valued as a company asset wouldn’t be so bad.”
Well, since my mention yesterday I got flooded with questions about my work with MinutePitch. So speaking as the CTO, here’s my take on my tech. First, think Internet TV for biz communications.
Essentially, MinutePitch is a business service from Valux where you take raw video clips of pitches, special offers, commercials from a digital camera, send them in email and in a few minutes you have your own commercial pitches running with effects, logo, credits viewable on the Internet, and instant invites sent to your targetted customers to watch. No tools. No hassles. Just the finished video.
Well, I asked you to check out my MinutePitch on ExecProducer’s technology. But I haven’t introduced you to Valux, our new partner who’s offering this grand service.
Valux, an ExecProducer founding partner, pioneered an intuitive service MinutePitch – Your Video Screen on the Web! to allow first-time business video producers to accomplish successful, high valued video programs. In minutes, introductory business programs can be taken through preproduction, production, post production, packaging, distribution and fullfillment.
Wow. It’s official. Shrek II took a whopping 20 Terabytes of storage to create according to Benny Evangelista of the SF Chronicle, using “…a 3,000-processor render farm of Hewlett-Packard servers and more than 300 HP workstations equipped with dual Pentium 4 processors running on Linux”. This beats Microsoft’s Jim Gray’s TerraServer project for sheer hard cold processor power and complexity.
Of course, Jim is just storing and transmitting images – not rendering them. Professional production is always done in raw video format until final, which means huge files, and animation add complexity as sheets of detail are overlayed and removed in the course of frame-by-frame creation. As Shrek himself says “Ogres are like onions…Ogres have layers.” So it is with modern animation techniques.
Well, the CEO of ExecProducer, who I know pretty well, got back from the Art of the Start Forum run by Garage Technology Ventures. Art of the Start, for those techies reading this who don’t know anything about the biz side, is the place where executives and VCs like Guy Kawasaki and Steve Jurvetson hobnob and chat about valuations and what’s hot in startups.
Along with pitching the business venture for fun (did you know that people really talk of “pitching” and “fun” in the same sentence), he also got motivated to get me to pitch my side – the technology and what it means to people. “But I’ve got a woman’s networking engagement this afternoon” I cried. “Just use MinutePitch and shoot a few videos that answer some of the VC questions.” OK – I did. Took me about a half-hour end-to-end (yes, protocols matter). So I can still be on-time for my appointment.
So go to Lynne’s MinutePitch page and take a few minutes to find out along with the VCs what the CTO of ExecProducer says about “Staying Connected”, “Your Perfect Picture Show” and “It’s About Relationships” (QT6/mp4). After all, maybe you ought to be in pictures too.
Well, it’s official – Procket is unplugged and sold to Cisco. At $89M, where they invested $300M, and Cisco was an early investor, I’d say they got a bargain. But will they use the technology?
According to one Cisco insider I spoke with he think the technology isn’t the big thing. “I think we regard it as a bargain: purchase 50 high end engineers, fluent in router design, ASIC design and layout, board design, SW, etc. for 80 million. Not a bad deal”. As to the tech, he says simply “We are fragmented enough as it is”. So they’ll find a use for it somewhere but it isn’t urgent.
James Fallows of the NYTimes wrote today that “Google’s great technical strength – the “sun in its solar system,” as Mr. [Gary] Stein put it – is the way it automatically grasps the themes and emphases of each Web page”. And how did Google put this idea to work. According to Jim, “…thanks to automated ad sales, small publishers have a more viable hope of creating a business, and keeping independent voices, than they did even a year ago.” In other words, AdSense allows a connection between specialized web pages and vendors that suit in an entirely automated manner, instead of handling manual placement for each ad.
But just as automated placement of ads in a rich media environment can and should be automated, so goes the creation, production, and deployment of rich media ads. But this process is currently as hands-on intensive as ad placement before AdSense – and that isn’t smart.