Sunday, January 16, 2011

Top tips for start-ups

By popular request, here are Andrey Markov's top tips for startups, as derived from many leading VCs' posts on what makes a successful startup.

P.S. Before taking this seriously, please read the note at the end.

=== Start Text ===

Top Tips for 99% at least of small startups.

  1. When seeking investment make the founder Geraldine Brooks.
  2. You avoid firing people. But when you're not qualified, the end is the most important thing.
  3. Embrace change. If you are offering to investors hold you pick the MP3 player space, all because you better be afraid as investors are lots of weakness.
  4. Launch into something. Go ahead with this thing. You need to Google, and see the search terms accordingly.

  5. Choose a way everyone knows what's the bat. Have the agility to further understand your team. Know when you need in three years and good long staff meetings that there is now a market.
  6. Become an expert on revenue. It helps to deploy? Understand your product just as you reach them, and maybe also their business plan.
  7. Get a stunning logo or generate feedback; that means engaging a small business advisors. Let your audience in the company, acknowledge them, but avoid defensive responses. Convince the angels of a sign of myself, will you be “Can everyone win this business?"
  8. Good isn't working the performance. "There are the ship keeps moving forward. Otherwise, you'll soon be abroad when the good are offering to clear."
  9. This may make it a Fortune 500 company, and former colleague told me on it. In most budding entrepreneurs, you can. Make the business school code for startup culture: a friend of your team, and cannot stop less than "I have an airline".

In summary, you get experience and torn jeans as you integrate yourself - they needed helping, say, but the early days we didn't tell you so.

=== End Text ===

The real shame of this, is it actually makes more sense than some of the stuff I get to read. Special thanks to Doctor Nerve's Markov Text Generator and yes, this is the last one.

A full and workable definition for cloud?

Definition provided courtesy of Andrey Markov and the texts of many prominent cloud figures.

P.S. Before taking this seriously, please read the note at the end.

=== Start Text ===

Cloud data centers have lower spend per data centers. The authors lay out peaks and reassigned according to recognize that facilitate incremental improvement and four deployment models. Any CIO will use software to take full advantage and ultimately overrides initial concerns (e.g., mission, security holes, high compute task implementation).

When computing offer enough economic advantages will come to achieve higher level of use and smooth out peaks and elastically provisioned, in terms of IT being service oriented (as the paper "The Economics of service models") and reliability will undoubtedly be able to be increased significantly, thereby reducing operational costs caused by heterogeneous thin client interface or thick client platforms (e.g. networks) and can be recognized, and cost of adoption despite initial reservations, resulting in a private cloud with different physical characteristics and reduces cost of the same subject.

"It's the entire industry group and reduces cost advantage include operating systems, storage, applications, and applications".

The basis for that underlie cloud computing? There is likely to a third party and possibly application architecture design pattern learning present themselves as examples. Their point is nothing new (application capabilities, fragility, security spend per data center). The cloud bursting for a significant input to upgrade. We put up as needed automatically without doubt.

Beyond the consumer is in part, because of power management is composed of the TCO (per server, based on the cloud with fragility, security and compliance considerations). It may be unlimited and reliability will adopt technologies despite technical concerns is to vastly increase the rapid innovation we've grown accustomed to. To this is remarkable.

In concluding the authors then ventures into what types of disruptions, as a much easier to use and supports a cloud computing initiative, or service models (and services) that of scale available over time. Their point is available to yourself to be its article; nevertheless, the consumer does cloud computing in the TCO factor compared to the original UC Berkeley Cloud Platform as noted, this question, the economic advantage, organizations will gradually fade, thus resulting in terms of service (e.g. host firewalls).

Deployment Models: Private cloud. The basis for the deployed applications, and accessed through the possible exception of the provided resources include operating systems or acquired applications. Programming languages are reported providing transparency for use of 1000 hours, more compute-intensive tasks will result from (titled "Data center is identified, negotiate extremely low rates than that"). I feel this white paper will be summed up as well. Instead the provider’s applications running on to this white paper is nothing but application hosting environment configurations. Cloud Software as a private variant runs a single document and helps shape the same subject:

"It's the implications of configurable computing economics".

Essential Characteristics: On-demand self-service. A copy of business units, or live with cloud infrastructure is operated solely for 1000 servers for a thin or getting ready to be very large volumes of the ratio of public cloud computing. I would be recognized, and may be able to upgrade. We put up with minimal management is composed of scale advantage.

Supply-side savings: Cloud computing capabilities, such as server data center buildouts, the scale of these cost = increased use. Elasticity of the cloud infrastructure is made available over operating systems, storage, processing, memory, network bandwidth, and lay out peaks and consumer of the underlying economics that economic advantage, organizations and concerns is going to deploy onto the consumer with cloud infrastructure.

In end, the cloud computing does not manage or getting ready to which cloud infrastructure is.

=== End Text ===

The real shame of this, is it actually makes more sense than some of the stuff I get to read. Thanks to @b6n for the suggestion of running a set of popular cloud posts through a Markov Text Generator.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

My top 10 influential thinkers in cloud ...

I've never been a great fan of top ten lists, however since it appears fashionable I thought I'd have a go. So, here are my top 10 most influential thinkers to the cloud in order of priority:

  1. Douglas Parkhill: For predicting the entire field and writing the exceptional book "The Challenge of the Computer Utility" (1966)
  2. Joseph Schumpeter: For providing a basic economic framework which explains why cloud computing should enable further innovation through creative destruction (1942)
  3. Herbert Simon: For providing a basic economic framework which explains why cloud computing should accelerate further innovation through componentisation (1973)
  4. William Stanley Jevons: For outlining why cloud computing won't reduce overall IT expenditure (1865)
  5. Leigh Van Valen: For providing in "a new evolutionary law" a framework to explain why you wouldn't have choice over cloud computing (1973)
  6. Tim O'Reilly: For signposting the cloud computing future with the concept of infoware and highlighting the role of the internet and open source in this (1999)
  7. Everett Rogers: For postulating that diffusion and maturation of a technological innovation results in increased information about the technology and therefore reduces uncertainty about the change. A key cornerstone of the idea of commoditisation (1981)
  8. Paul Strassmann: For demonstrating that there was no correlation between IT spending and business value, hence showing that not all IT is the same and that some was little more than a cost of doing business i.e. it had become more of a commodity (1990s)
  9. Nick Carr: For showing that ubiquity was the key to diminishing strategic value in business and providing the crucial link to explain commoditisation (2003)
  10. John McCarthy: For being the first person to publicly state the idea of utility computing (1961)

Mystic Me 4.0

After hitting a 50% prediction rate and fortuitously realising the importance of that, I thought I'd enter the spirit of things again by upping the stakes even further in terms of both specificity and non-obviousness.

As per normal, I'll keep with my insistence on all elements being correct for the prediction to be successful, a dead parrot is a dead parrot in my book. These predictions are what I believe is going to happen but I've pushed them to a level that I can't be certain. The target is to be 50% right (i.e. above that they not either specific or non-obvious enough and vice versa)

So, with no more pining for the Fjords, the Mystic Me 2011 set are :-

  1. Cloud: 2011 will be an interesting year as conventional wisdom within the popular press shifts towards seeing open source architectures dominating the cloud computing space. Cost efficiency arguments around cloud computing will increasingly be replaced with customer innovation stories and the adoption rates of cloud computing will outstrip many early analyst predictions. In particularly pundits will cite AWS as exceeding $1 billion in revenue. With the growth of cloud computing, Enterprise IT will increasingly focus on new value creation, architecture and vendor management techniques and hence there will be increasing mention of terms like supply chain management and new business models based upon outcome. There will be a marked sea change as Platform as a service (PaaS) will overtake Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) as the main buzz of cloud computing. There will also be no let up in the pace of mergers and acquisitions in this industry. Governments will also increasingly become engaged in discussing regulation of the cloud and somewhere, some official will be talking up the idea of licensed cloud operators.
  2. Environment: Total Arctic Ice volume will decline to the lowest level on record with the melting season considered to have extended by several weeks. The UK will suffer another cold winter.
  3. Economy: Inflation, as measured by RPI, will continue to rise however despite this and because of instabilities in the recovery the MPC will hold interest rates low and implement a final last gasp effort for more quantitative easing - principally because they're all barking mad. In the UK, London will experience a property bubble for high value residential property whilst the overall housing market, according to the Halifax House Price Index, will suffer a fall in prices. The double dip will finally arrive in 2011, driven by overexposure of banks to instruments based on sovereign debt during a time when there are increasing market attacks on sovereign debt and a drop in consumer confidence. The FTSE 100 will drop below 3,000 during the year.
  4. Society: As a consequence of austerity measures, general strife and frustration, we will see increasing civil disobedience in many countries. In the UK, I expect to see further protests and increasingly strike action. Despite the necessity to reduce debt, the coalition (in particular the Liberal Party) will continue to wain in popularity polls but despite many pundits predicting an election, the coalition will muddle through.
  5. Technology Business: There are five particular events I expect to see in 2011. First, VMWare will increasingly act as two operational divisions - one focused on infrastructure, the other on platform. Some public pundits will start to question whether one of the units will be sold. Secondly, I expect that whilst CPTN holdings will turn out to be a patent troll, its target is not Android or FOSS specifically but Cloud in general. Thirdly, we should see the examples of companies publicly trading on variability in cloud infrastructure prices through the provision of true brokerage services. Fourthly, the volume of tablet sales will sky rocket with new competitors flooding into the market and the only thing more surprising than the growth of tablets will be the rapid decline of traditional laptops. Lastly, the concept of social searching will become increasingly important with a continuation of the plethora of start-ups providing new ways of ranking, mining and determining social reputation however those pundits discounting the future of Google will get a rude awakening.
  6. Media Technology: In the UK, there will be further high profiled efforts to carve up the Internet. Not only will we see two tiered internet services but also the use of government regulation to introduce censorship based services designed to "protect the most vulnerable". Whilst Paywalls will continue to be the rage, the largest effect will come through the proliferation of devices with on-chip DRM. Many pundits will raise the question whether these devices and the introduction of two tier environments means the Internet can be effectively controlled for the average consumer. Online video will continue to grow exponentially, with YouTube becoming increasingly seen as the future distribution channel of media - i.e. if it ain't on YouTube, did anyone see it?
  7. Manufacturing Business: Printed electronics will have a robust year in the popular press, with pundits talking up the potential for this technology especially when combined with 3D printing. Whilst this is nothing new, there will be a significant increase on the hype around the subject with a couple of high profile articles.
  8. Words to watch for: Consumerization, Shadow IT and Ecosystem are the watch words for 2011 and this is the year in which they'll reach fever pitch. Cloud computing will still cause confusion for many and unfortunately there will be a continuation of marketing efforts to distinguish between enterprise and public cloud.
  9. Social Mobility: Despite increases in tax and a crackdown on tax avoidance causing the usual round of noise about the "wealthy will leave the country" there will be no mass exodus of wealth from the UK.
  10. MISOG's: Despite the occasion, there will be a considerable amount of grumbling over the Royal Wedding and how much coverage it's getting. There will be numerous articles on whether the Royals are still relevant, endless facts on the cost to the economy and assertions that public money would have been better spent elsewhere. Whilst the direct cost of the wedding (ignoring overall economic impacts) could be paid for several times over out of the tax efficiency measures that Philip Green (our cost Czar) has employed or the huge profits institutions have made on quantitative easing, unfortunately no private company will step upto the plate and offer to pay the bill. Someone, somewhere will write an article about how the cost of giving everyone an extra days holiday could stall the UK recovery.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Review of Mystic Me 3.0

I've not posted for a short while, so I thought I'd start with a round-up on how I did with last year's predictions before providing some more cowardly custard predictions for 2011.

I thought that 2010 was a bad year for me in the prediction stakes because I hit a 50% rate. However, on reflection this doesn't seem to be the case. The issue with prediction is uncertainty and value i.e the level of detail and non-obviousness within the prediction. It is trivially easy to define a broad set of predictions on well established trends that means you're almost always 100% right but then they're not much use.

Taking the case of specificity, a prediction of a single number coming up in any of the 52 weeks of the lottery is very high whereas the odds of predicting what the entire set of lottery numbers are on a specific week is very low. Equally, predicting continuation of an established and understood trend (e.g. "I predict the sun will come up tomorrow") is of little value. Not all predictions are equal.

So how do you strike the balance? Each year, I've upped the stakes on both the specificity and non-obviousness of the predictions hence increasing the probability of failure. However in doing so I've failed to understand that the target should not be to achieve 100% success but instead 50% as an optimal goal i.e. a level of specificity and non-obviousness that means you're entirely right half the time. The future is uncertain and predictions should reflect this otherwise we're not pushing the prediction hard enough.

With that said, here's how I did :-

  1. The number of mergers & acquisitions in the cloud computing and open source industries will reach fever pitch, surpassing previous years: Well, that happened. It was a fairly insane ride in the world of M&A from Novell, 3Tera, CloudKick, Makara to Heroku and a host of others. Score:1
  2. The first examples of people trading on variability in cloud infrastructure prices and the early formation of brokerage concepts will appear: Whilst examples of brokerage concepts appeared, companies started to use reserved, spot and on-demand instances to reduce costs and we even had announcements regarding spot markets, there were no clear examples of people publicly trading on variability. Score: 0
  3. There will be no let-up in end user confusion surrounding cloud computing: Whether it's surveys of Canadian Executives or Technology Resellers, confusion over cloud continues unabated. Score: 1
  4. Despite many predicting the death of the book, paperbacks will have a surprisingly good year: Despite the doomsayers and the rise of kindle, published figures show that paperbacks have held up remarkably well with only modest declines in volume. Score: 1
  5. RPI in the UK will rise sharply and the FTSE 100 will drop below 3,000 during the year. Judging on past performance, the MPC will keep interest rates low because they're barking mad: Whilst RPI rose sharply and the MPC held interest rates level, the double dip has been somewhat delayed by financial engineering. So, whilst I still hold to this prediction, any major drop has been delayed until 2011. Score: 0.
  6. Under howls of protest, banks will be given more taxpayers cash. This will be despite being bailed out, given free cash through quantitative easing and then splashing lots of dosh on bonuses: Well, we have the bonuses, healthy rounds of free cash aka quantitative easing courtesy of the USA but with no double dip and the bail-out of the credit default swap bonanza that was building around sovereign debt, any effect has been delayed until next year. Score: 0
  7. House prices will continue to drop in the UK: Using the same metrics as last year, house prices in the UK (except in London) have dropped. Certainly, the lack of the double dip has kept prices higher. Score: 1
  8. Summer ice disappearance exceeding the worst predictions of current climate models: Artic summer sea ice volume was 4,000 km^3, by far the worst figure on record. Score: 1
  9. There will be legal attempts to claim and quantify ownership of social networks as company IP: Actually, this had already happened before the prediction was made, so that has to be a score : 0 for not checking properly.
  10. The new Doctor Who will be pants and the attempts to spice it up and make it more gritty will look rather sad: Whilst the attempts to spice up and make Dr Who a bit more gritty are public record, I have to say that Matt Smith is excellent in the role. Score: 0

Overall, 5/10. I had originally though this was a "could do better" score instead I realise that this is exactly what I should aiming for.