Friday, September 28, 2007

eBay was Hacked and I was almost a victim...

So, I was selling a Sony PSP on eBay and about 10 minutes after the auction closed last night I received the following email:

Real eBay Email

So, fine.  What a pain.  I thought it was because of some kid getting a hold of his parent's eBay account and not asking permission.

Then I get this email late last night: 


Fraudulent Email

What is interesting is that the second email (from PayPal) is really NOT from PayPal.  How do you know?  Well, there is an image missing for one.  Two the links are not correct and three, Why would Mark Wilson want me to send something to Nigeria?

Also, read the note about how the amount won't show up in my PayPal account until after I send them a tracking number and the email address is not an eBay or PayPal address.

Its not a bad scheme, but anyone who pays attention will see through it quickly.

Rumor has it that many many accounts were hacked earlier this week.  But, there was no press from eBay.  I guess they are trying to keep this one quiet.

Lewis Cunningham has a post about this on his blog as well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mr. Ellison, Please Check Your Ego at the Door

Larry Ellison has arguably one of the biggest egos in the business world today.  He may even hold the title now that Mark Fleury has left JBoss.  While there are other high profile CEOs out there, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos come to mind, no one is as egomaniacal as Larry. 

Sure, he has good reason.  Oracle has continued to produce stellar results.  He has done this through successfully integrating big ticket acquisitions that have hobbled many other companies (HP/Compaq comes to mind). 

But, in a recent article from the Motley fool, Larry blasts SAP and for their web-centric offerings claiming that this market is a bust.  His reasoning is solid TODAY.  Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) is a lower margin business.  TODAY.

This smacks of the arrogance that almost brought IBM to its knees in the 80s and helped Microsoft take its eye off the ball in recent years.  You can't be arrogant and wear blinders at the same time, Mr. Ellison.

The world is changing.  SaaS IS the next thing.  Google knows it and continues to capitalize on it with its Google Pack offerings that now include on demand versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  SAP, a company that I typically consider a late majority company is innovating in this area. IS making money here.  As are others. 

EnterpriseDB customer Tomax, a large ISV for the retail space, now offers much of their solution in a SaaS environment.  (An interesting side note to the Tomax story.  Oracle was an initial investor in Tomax and Oracle was/is the underlying database for their solutions.  But, Oracle bought their largest competitor, Retek last year, transforming Oracle form an ISV partner to ISV competitor.)  You can read more about Tomax and their offering here.

Arrogance is fine in many cases.  But, coupling arrogance with a myopic view can hurt you badly in the long run.

SaaS is a growing trend and not a FAD.  Wearing your jeans halfway off your butt is FAD... I hope.  Disco was a FAD.  Client/server computing was not a FAD. 

And it might just be replaced by SaaS.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

EnterpriseDB High Availability Webcast

Tomorrow, I will be the master of ceremonies and co-presenter for a webcast with Continuent.  Jim Mlodgenski, VP of Professional Services for EnterpriseDB and Robert Hodges, CTO of Continuent will be discussing High Availability in a webcast entitled "Building a Highly Available Infrastructure for Your Database and Application".  This webcast will be at 9am and 2pm ET.  I encourage you to attend.  You can register and find out more information here.

Halo 3

Well, today is the big day!  At midnight, stores across the country began selling Halo 3.  Microsoft's head of gaming was quoted as saying that this should be the largest entertainment event in history.  What does this mean?  Their goal is to make more money in one week than the reigning champion, Harry Potter.  For the record, the latest Harry Potter movie did $155 million in one week.  It is not outrageous to think that Halo 3 could surpass that, especially at $59.99 a copy.

So what does this mean for the gaming console wars?  Well, it helps to solidify Microsoft's XBox 360 as the one to beat.  That is yet another example of how Microsoft can enter a mature market and simply take it over.

They did it with Windows and then Microsoft Office and then they did it again, beating out Netscape with Internet Explorer.  While many argue that open source will hurt them in those markets (Firefox is gaining market share daily), the reality is that they have continued to innovate across the board.  While point solutions like Firefox may take some market share, there is no other company that has the range of Microsoft, from personal computing to your living room and from there all the way up into the Fortune 100.  Name me one company that can come close. 

Google? - Sure, they may own search and they may be nipping at the heels of Microsoft Office, but they still don't have the breadth and depth.

Oracle? - Not even close.  They are fully focused on the enterprise stack (Linux, 11g and their applications).  I don't think Oracle will ever enter my house.  (Notwithstanding the fact that I am an Oracle competitor and its in my DNA to dislike them.)

And, if Microsoft could spend some more time on the Media Center side of Vista to make it as easy to use as the Mac and brain dead simple for interoperability with cable and satellite boxes, etc, then that war will be over as well.

I have multiple Media Center PCs in my house, including my family room.  Though I do not have the Vista version yet, I can tell you that it is great for a geek like me, but not yet ready for my wife who just wants to watch/record tv or play some music.

But, I digress.  I am actually just wasting some time before Best Buy opens so I can go get my copy of Halo 3!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Calling Bullsh*t

The last time I saw a post with this title, Dave Dargo was calling bullsh*t when Oracle announced that they were going to provide Linux support as in, Yeah right, that's the problem, its the OS that's so damn expensive.

But, I am calling it for an entirely different reason.  What is up with companies that publish completely ridiculous press releases?  I am not going to tell you who the company is because they don't even deserve a mention, but here is a brief list of their newsless news: 

1.  In April, ABC Corp. announced that they were now a partner with a major player in the market and the supporting quote comes from the head of the major player's independent user group (which is a substantially large organization in and of itself)  Sounds important, huh?  NOT.  Turns out that they signed-up on the major company's website to be a partner and paid the $1500 fee.  End of story.  But, surely the supporting quote is something, huh? See next item.

2.  One week later, ABC Corp announces that the head of that independent user group has been named to the board of directors of ABC Corp and he becomes the mouthpiece of the organization while retaining his presidency of the user group.  (Ahhh, the bullsh*t continues)

3.  In May, ABC Corp announces the creation of a major consortium and has 4 founding members.  In this press release, they flaunt their "partnership" from above.  But, yet the other company refuses to acknowledge them.  But, still we are getting somewhere now, right?  Not really, read on.

4.  In July, ABC Corp announces that the Consortium is complete and it has major members but won't name ANY.  Oh, and it becomes clear that this is not a consortium, but rather a sales strategy.  All consortium members are going to pay ABC to have them do their voodoo.  Oh, wait, they also announce that this new "product" which they have been flaunting since April won't be delivered until the end of the year.

5.  And the coup de grace, ABC Corp announced that they would be presenting at the sales kickoff for the major company of which they are a partner.  WOW, I must be wrong.  There is something here, huh?  NOPE.  This company is sooo big that they actually have an exhibit hall for their sales kickoff and any of their partners can exhibit there for a fee.  (I told you they were a major company.)  So, there is no news here either.

Meanwhile, they have booked a whopping $90,000 in revenue for the first six months of the year.  Yep, you read that right, $90,000.  Oh, did I mention they were a public company?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Your opinion... is irrelevant.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, I took a class from Pragmatic Marketing ( that was for product marketing folks. It was an excellent class as far as I can remember, but there was nothing earth shattering about it. What was great was the ability to take 2 days away from your job to think about your job. Yep. Because Pragmatic marketing is pragmatic, they have build a framework that allows product marketeers to analyze what they do to see how they can do it better.

They make you realize that it is imperative to stop and think and gather outside information in order to do your job. Too many people in product marketing are busy "doing" that they don't spend the required time to "understand" the market and, as a result end up "doing" it again and again with the same results.

Which leads me to the title of my post. Pragmatic Marketing sells mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads, etc. with a very important message:

Your opinion, though interesting, is irrelevant.

What a great statement! It really is the truth. When trying to decide just about anything in product marketing, my opinion is only as good as the information I base it on and 99 out of 100 times, the opinions of a sales person, a development guy, a customer support rep, the head of finance, the CEO, CTO, COO are all irrelevant.

But, it is one of those absolutes that is almost always wrong. Each of those people (with the possible exception of the head of finance) has very important information IF they talk to and LISTEN to the prospect or customer. Each one of these folks talks to a customer at a much different point in the engagement. Some conversations are first impressions, others are during the sale, some right afterwards and ongoing and others talk about the future potential.

So, everyone has valuable information, the trick is getting them to give it to you without spoiling it with their irrelevant opinion!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Where were you when? (SCO)

Everybody remembers where they were when they found out what was happening on September 11.  I will certainly never forget. 

But, my question to you is where were you when you found out that SCO was suing the world over IP claims in Linux? 

I was in a rather unique position.  SCO was a major partner for Unisys. Unixware ran on the ES7000 server line and I was responsible for the partnership from the Unisys side.  I was also quietly shepherding in Linux on the ES7000.  (Up until this time, Unisys was beholden to Microsoft and the ES7000 only ran Windows and a little Unixware.)  And, believe it or not, SCO had joined the United Linux Consortium (along with Connectiva, SUSE and TurboLinux) and Unisys had just begun quietly shipping SCO Linux on the ES7000. 

So, on a Friday morning I deliver a presentation to a major customer about United Linux and our 15 year partnership with SCO and Monday morning I am on the phone with John W., our rep at SCO (who was just as blown away as everyone else in the world) asking what the deal is.  BTW, I changed John's name to protect the innocent.

So, here is what John tells me: 

Well, we will honor any deals you have in flight and we will continue to support the handful of existing SCOI Linux clients you have.  But, we are discontinuing the sale of SCO Linux immediately and I can't guarantee that we won't sue those customers eventually.

Yeah, right.  So there I am in the middle of a sh*t storm and caught between sales reps and customers and not a clue how to proceed.  Incidentally, SCO's stock was somewhere between $.90 and $1.35 at the time and I remember thinking I should buy a few shares.  They subsequently went through the roof in the next 90 days hitting a high in the low $20.00 range.  But, alas, I never purchased. 

I did, however, spend the next 3 months talking prospects, customers and internal management off the roof.  Everyone seemed to think the sky was falling.  And, since then it has been a wild ride...

What really got me was that SCO was offering Linux (SCO Linux 4.0 powered by United Linux v1.0) and now suddenly it was"their" code and they were going to pursue everyone who worked on Linux or used it to run their business (including those they had sold SCO Linux to?).  Ridiculous. 

Thanks for the memories Darl.  At first we were scared, then we were annoyed and then we just laughed. 

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hello World!

I decided it is finally time to start a blog (and follow through).   What is the subject of this blog?  While I wish I could properly define the contents of the blog, I think it will define itself over time. 

I can tell you that this blog will be a mash-up (if you will) of my work, the overall technology market (especially open source) and my personal life. 

What work? Well, I am the Director of Product Strategy at EnterpriseDB.  If you have any Oracle databases, then you should definitely check us out.  EnterpriseDB Corporation  We are also the world's largest Postgres company and I have a feeling that I will be spending a lot of time on that it in the near future.  Need a little info on Postgres (or PostgreSQL as it is called by the community?  The Postgres Resource Center

What personal life?  Well, there is a ton there.  I just had a baby boy on September 1, 2007!  Well, my wife did :)  But, more than than just talking about my wife and three beautiful children, I will try to stay on topic with personal issues as they relate to business.  But, who knows that may change.  I won't talk about my fish tank.  You can go here for some of that.

So, who am I?  Here is a little bio that I copied from someplace...

"Derek M. Rodner is currently the Director of Product Strategy for EnterpriseDB. Prior to joining EnterpriseDB, Derek held a number of marketing roles at Unisys Corporation, all related to Open Source and Linux for the Enterprise Server division. He was responsible for launching Linux for the company. In addition, Derek was the first elected Chairman of the DCL Marketing Board for Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), home of Linus Torvalds. Derek was also the founder and president of a business re-engineering firm for Fortune 500 companies."

More to come...