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rwandering.net

The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Good Lawford

Steve breaks radio silence and admits he is a pooka (from Bad Sinatra).

A lot of good stuff in this post, but I want to highlight one part. 

I posted the other day about the deprecation of the Google API.  My take: good for the Google; bad for the gaggle (i.e., the application developers).  Fun to talk about, but there are pragmatic solutions to this.  Something to be scared of?  No.

We (the users) needn’t be scared of vendor choices like this.  Why not?  Because nobody is forcing us to use these services.  As Steve says:

Who am I supposed to be scared of? Google? Nope, if the Ajax API and the terms of service around including unaltered adsense are so counter to user interest, that will precipitate a decline in usage and therefore less adoption of Google properties. Seems self-correcting to me: user votes, user wins. Why do we need saving here?

Exactly.

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What a Splenda day

Thanks to Adam Curry I just received 6 boxes of Splenda.  I like my coffee black without sweeteners, so I don’t know if I’ll like this stuff.  I do like Coke with Splenda, so I’ll certainly give it a try.

I promise I won’t allow this to bias me in any way. 

In fact, it won’t impact my pre-existing biases whatsoever.

Thanks, Adam!

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Marc Benioff & Hybrid Hosting

Marc Benioff was special guest in the recent Gillmor Gang (VIdeo Gang Parts I and II).   After getting through the initial discussion on SalesForce.com earnings we moved on to talk about the SaaS business and their application platform.

Mike Vizard led off the questions about ApEx with a good one: how will SalesForce get developer traction for their language / environment / form?  Marc enumerated several things they are doing about that.  Most of this is kind of “business as usual” for those building a developer community, though I do think that one of their strategies is pretty innovative: rent out cubicles to developers in a building devoted to ApEx development (this is happening in old offices of Siebel — this would be ironic if it weren’t intentional).  These developers get everything they need to build apps on the SalesForce platform.

This may turn out to be of great value to those who are already interested in the platform.  Of course, the drive for developers to build applications on ApEx will come down to one thing: is there a viable marketplace for the applications they build? 

Clearly Marc and SalesForce understand this fully.   They are not pushing the ”build it and they will come” mantra; instead, they have built an application exchange (i.e., the AppExchange) to enable a viable marketplace.

On a slightly different tack, I asked Marc to talk a little about their hosting capabilities for third party applications sold through the AppExchange.  Without getting into too much detail about the different kinds of applications that support the ApEx (native, client, hybrid, etc.) there is a class of applications that requires external hosting.  These applications take advantage of the SalesForce.com APIs yet are not built on the ApEx platform.  As a result, these applications are not hosted by SalesForce.com. 

I grok why they choose not to post these hybrid applications.  Doing so requires a different hosting model: one that is application-specific possibly supporting different hardware requirements, different OSes, different staff, etc. I can only guess that they have made the decision not to do this in favor of their “pure” ApEx strategy.  Certainly the “pure” strategy is a lot cleaner, more focused, more repeatable,  more like an “product sale” instead of an implementation sale . . .

However, lets go back to the earlier point of developer adoption.  Wouldn’t it be easier to get developers to adopt ApEx and AppExchange and the whole concept of SaaS if you were able to provide a hybrid hosting solution?

This reminds me a little bit of .NET.   One of the key features of .NET is support for COM.  If users had to throw out their legacy code to begin to adopt .NET in their organization, .NET would have had a much slower adoption rate.  They don’t. 

It sound likes an ApEx developer who wants to take advantage of the AppExchange has to either start everything from scratch or provide their own hosting solution.

So I wonder, would SalesForce be able to ramp up developer adoption rates with a hybrid hosting strategy?

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Better Bad News Riffs on Gang

Gillmor Gang Smackdown draws a crowd as tech talk gets rowdy at Better Bad News.

I listened to see if my voice of reason made the cut — it didn’t.  Rseason doesn’t entertain.

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Defending Pragmatism

On the recent Gillmor Gang (MidTail Gang), you can catch me disagreeing with Jason Calacanis on rollups. He argues that only “loser” entrepreneurs sell their companies into rollups.

I argued that this is simplistic — that sometimes a rollup is the best choice for a company to make. He conceded that in a weak market (and again, if you are a loser), this might be the way to go.

Interesting that Jason articulates his point purely in terms of the entrepreneur: if you are strong, you find a way to win or fail trying.

Failure is a part of being an entrepreneur, but successful companies are made up of more than just the entrepreneur(s).

What about other stakeholders? What if the options are: “fail” or “rollup”? Your employees all get jobs and maybe the investors get to let their money ride.

I think that this will always feel like losing to the entrepreneur. This will never be the grand vision he or she was working towards. But winning and losing is not so black and white.

Am I defending a loser mentality? No, I think I’m just defending pragmatism.

Disclaimer: I have never been a part of a rollup nor am I seeking one out!

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Visiting If 6 Was 9 Gang IV

And lastly, a surprise appearance by me. I didn’t really contribute much, but I wasn’t supposed to.

What was I doing there? Fair question. I was there to discuss the tech on a topic Steve never really got to.

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Visiting If 6 Was 9 Gang III

Gabe Rivera was a bit cagey about some announcements about TechMeme for Monday. He suggests what it might (or might’nt) be about.  He also said he’s rolling out some ads on his site.
One thing I thought was funny is that he said he suspects we might find TechMeme at the top of TechMeme on Monday.  Sure enough, there it is.
But, Gabe, you can make that happen whenever you want, right?

;)

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Visiting If 6 Was 9 Gang Part I

I particularly enjoyed the latest Gillmor Gang — If 6 Was 9 Gang — I had a front-row seat, so to speak.

Here are some of the highlights, in 4 parts.

Some discussion on the Zune. There was mostly consensus that its success will hinge on the services Microsoft can bring to the table to supply content — Steve argues that Apple has already won this war.

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