Silicon Valley Bleeding

“Silicon Valley invented the technologies that will break apart Silicon Valley,” was the opinion of one Silicon Valley start-up founder in my cabal. Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Micro and the longest running ad lib comedy act in high-tech recently started a fresh round of discussions about the perpetually pending demise of Silicon Valley. He is heading a stealth start-up in Colorado, far from Stanford, Sand Hill Road and giant blimp hangers. This caught the attention of over seasoned Silicon Valley veterans, and apparently McNealy received a number of inquiries concerning the locale for his new technology empire.  In response he listed the “Top 10 Reasons it’s Better to do a Startup in Colorado than California.” Jerry Brown is spinning in his grave (What?  Not yet?  You’re kidding?  He looks older than Keith Richards’ grandfather!). Many things make Silicon Valley the incubator for new and world changing technology, but none … Continue reading

B2B Buzzing

One of the best lines I’ve recently stolen is that “the Internet is a gigantic copying machine,” to which I appended “with a share button.” Needless to note is that social networking is a driving force in consumer marketing.  Companies as diverse as Apple, Proctor and Gamble, and General Motors (gizmos, suds and duds) are active users of social media to create brands, promote products, and otherwise find cost effective means for memes.  Collectively consumer product companies are effective in targeting buyers, generating sharable content, and getting unpaid workers (you) to spread the word. B2B companies are borderline imbecilic on the process. Granted, the similarities between your average teenaged movie buff and all stakeholders in an earthmoving equipment purchase decision are about the same as the similarities between horses and horse fish.  With the exception of the single-decision-maker for a consumer product vs. group decision making for enterprises, the mechanics … Continue reading

Badly Branded

Novell knew how to murder brands. A recent lunch with a long-term friend and SuSE Linux leader reminded me of the problems faced with messaging and branding in both commodity and fragmented markets. Linux is a commodity, and was intended to be such. The lack of differentiation in the core product was Linux’s primary selling point to shops that stayed stuck on one or another UNIX derivative or even proprietary operating systems. Creating unique brands for commodities can be tough, though we did have success with SuSE’s brand before Novell diluted it. The Linux market is becoming even trickier as advances in deployment and scalability expand. Today’s global content start-ups are rushing to EC2, RackSpace and RightScale in order to avoid growing pains while chanting hadoop and nosql. Less data-intensive operations use traditional clustering or stand-alone servers. Some people need real-time Linux, and a few folk want stripped-down distros for … Continue reading