Monthly Archives: May 2010

Big finance and now Big oil

As America turns more and more into a nanny state I hope americans and their government representatives start to realize that government is suppose to provide a safe environment for people to live – live as they please without breaking the law. It seems the government has spent way too much time telling us HOW to live while they let big finance clean out the coffers, making a lot of people rich, and now they have let big oil destroy the gulf.

Government should be regulating business more than regulating our lives. Clearly we missed it on wall street and now it is clear that those watching over big oil were more interested in profit than the environment. Disgusting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/opinion/28fri1.html?ref=global:

Mr. Obama said he would need Congress’s help on some changes. But there is much he can do administratively, and rapidly, including requiring more rigorous inspections of rigs by the Coast Guard and other agencies. One big problem, as he noted, is that government officials (he included himself in this indictment) have too easily accepted industry assurances that it could deal with a worst-case scenario.

They clearly should not have been so trusting. This is an industry that can no longer safely be left to its own devices.

The secret is out! (Yahoo! buys Koprol)

t-shirtWell – this is what I have been working on for the past few months with my good friend and co-worker Shanan. My first M&A deal at Yahoo! but also the first of its kind in places like Indonesia. Pretty sure this is the first time one of the big internet companies has bought an Indonesian startup. This is great for Indonesia and the emerging markets as a region – showing that good products have an exit strategy.

I will be blogging more as I work on the Yahoo! integration and the plans for Koprol in the future. Stay tuned.

Just some of the coverage –

http://www.e27.sg/2010/05/25/yahoo-acquires-koprol-foursquare-of-indonesia/

http://www.pcworld.com/article/197064/yahoo_buys_indonesian_mobile_internet_company.html

http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/24/yahoo-koprol/

http://kara.allthingsd.com/20100524/yahoo-acquires-indonesian-geo-location-service-called-koprol/

Arrington is finally onto something!

I was reading this post today by Arrington and was LMAO – it is so spot on.

For the years I lived in Thailand I was generally running around with a cheap Nokia phone – something like this. I think I paid like 40 USD for it – brand new. Slapped my SIM card in it and I off I went. I was always able to get any of the cheap phones to sync using Bluetooth to my MAC so I was always up and running with my full address book quickly. Battery life is killer on these phones and call quality is amazing with the ability to make calls in elevators most of the time.

It is amazing how smart phones add in all the whiz-bang stuff but seem to fall down on the normal stuff – like making calls.

This is the good stuff though:

And really, for certain social situations, like dinners, all this phone activity needs to stop anyway. If you can’t check into Foursquare or Gowalla with your phone, you definitely won’t be. I found I was having actual conversations with people instead. While my tiny prepaid phone sat lightly in my pocket, humming on a full battery charge.

When all your phone is for is making calls – then you tend to use it less and actually interact with the real world. Nice!

My prediction is having “dumb” phones will be the new cool thing!

The battle of the Century!

Read this first: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/03/state-of-internet-operating-system.html

Then: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/04/handicapping-internet-platform-wars.html

A shame Yahoo! was left out but oh well – the info is sound but probably does not correctly reflect that the big war is between Google and Apple. At Google I/O it was very evident that Google knows who they are battling – Apple. What I find so childish is though Google having to throw jabs all day at Apple. We all know that the guy who brags or claims to want to take you down is the guy who most people don’t respect. Google may win or may not but being so cocky about it is lame, lame.

Here is Cedric going on about it, former Google employee heading to Linked-In, and I think he is wrong. Whether or not Google will surpass Apple is beside the point – being arrogant about it to me is so unprofessional. One thing I like about Apple is they tend to keep their head down, produce and innovate. Google is a huge innovator but the cocky attitude is getting tiresome – especially coming from such a cutthroat company constantly breaching privacy rules while pretending it was an accident.

It was good to see Kara point out that Google I/O would have been better without the arrogance. I had assumed given Schmidt’s experience at Sun that he would have seen how McNealy’s constant chest pounding and jabs never got Sun anywhere – well other than sold to Oracle. 🙂

Crazy times but I think the quiet superstar always comes off better than the arrogant one.

Go Larry…

I don’t really care for Oracle but you have to like Larry. I remember at one of the first Java One conferences he followed Bill Coleman’s diatribe and just mopped the floor with him. Coleman is a sharp guy and BEA had its heyday but when it comes to speaking and showmanship – BEA was terrible. Scott Dietzen could usually save the day with a demo and talk but anyway – moving on.

When it comes to the Enterprise software space Larry is one of a kind. I have spent an afternoon with McNealy back when I was working with LVMH and he was cool but as a speaker he spent more time bashing than enthralling. Larry has a magical way of slightly bashing while enthralling. Much more powerful. I was backstage when Chuck Phillips and Larry listened to Coleman rambling on and on while coming up with their retaliation game plan. Larry followed Bill – pretty much everyone forgot what Bill said at that point cause Larry was a showman and he owned the audience.

I was impressed – in my opinion he is the Steve Jobs of the enterprise space.

Stumbled across this article today and loved how he explained Sun’s ponytail years as I call them. In my opinion Schwartz ruined Sun and I was pretty happy that Larry was going to try and save it:

Ellison says he learned that Sun’s pony-tailed chief executive, Jonathan Schwartz, ignored problems as they escalated, made poor strategic decisions and spent too much time working on his blog, which Sun translated into 11 languages.

“The underlying engineering teams are so good, but the direction they got was so astonishingly bad that even they couldn’t succeed,” said Ellison. “Really great blogs do not take the place of great microprocessors. Great blogs do not replace great software. Lots and lots of blogs does not replace lots and lots of sales.”

Schwartz declined comment as did Sun co-founder and former Chairman Scott McNealy.

At the start, Ellison shut down one of Schwartz’s pet projects — development of the “Rock” microprocessor for Sun’s high-end SPARC server line, a semiconductor that had struggled in development for five years as engineers sought to overcome a string of technical problems. “This processor had two incredible virtues: It was incredibly slow and it consumed vast amounts of energy. It was so hot that they had to put about 12 inches of cooling fans on top of it to cool the processor,” said Ellison. “It was just madness to continue that project.”

More infuriating, says Ellison, is that Sun routinely sold equipment at a loss because it was more focused on boosting revenue than generating profits.

The sales staff was compensated based on deal size, not profit. So the commission on a $1 million sale that generated $500,000 in profit was the same as one that cost the company $100,000, he said. “The sales force could care less if they sold things that lost money because the commission was the same in either case,” he said. Ellison added that Sun also lost money when it resold high-end storage equipment from Hitachi Ltd, storage software from Symantec Corp and consulting services from other companies. Oracle is ending those deals.

Larry and Oracle have their work cut out for them but I know that a lot of my ex-BEA friends are there and in powerful positions. Larry just might pull off his grand vision and it is thrilling for me to know that I was a small part of it given that the WebLogic stuff is a huge part of Oracle’s middleware strategy.

Panic!

daring fireball does it again.

Check this link: http://www.panic.com/blog/2010/05/an-apple-e-an-ipad-and-jed/

These guys make the coolest software – been using Transmit for years but what is also hugely evident by reading their blog is that they are the coolest people. Cool, happy people make better software.

Panic – my hats off to your team! Amazing stuff.

I miss my Apple IIe but seeing it hooked to the iPad made me miss my original Newton!

peace

FB

I have this love/hate relationship with facebook. I started using it years ago and found it a fun way to reconnect with people and kind of, but not really, meet new friends. Meaning I met people on it but it was not like meeting real people, in real life who eventually become friends. When meeting people in real life you either become real friends or you just don’t really talk to them again. No harm, no foul but I don’t have to delete them – so in this case real life seams just simpler than FB.

What is becoming increasingly clear though is that FB keeps getting more complicated and for the most part less useful. The new exporting of my likes to the planet and the everyone, including my mother, showing up on it actually makes the product even less appealing. Oh yeah – it is just a product folks – not a life, the internet or the world. Lest we forget that we all existed without FB and could very well function without it in the future if needed. The new theme that FB is the internet or that publishing, social and “like” are doomed without FB is almost comical.

Leave it to Gruber to succinctly tell it like it is – as always:

df

Now we have the NYT making a nice little chart about the complexity of the FB privacy model –

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/12/business/facebook-privacy.html

Ouch – that gives you a sense of how out of hand it has gotten and shows you how little FB cares about how any of us feel about it.

My friend Shanan writes about it the growth of FB that continues unchecked despite how many of seem to be using the product less and less but of course the growth continues until all of us are using FB. Then what happens?

I don’t know since I won’t proclaim to predict the future but I can tell you this – FB is less appealing than it was – for me anyway.

New Windoze phone UI

Had this phone post the other day: http://www.nokpis.com/2010/05/08/the-mobile-web/

I am not a fan of windoze on the phone but to be honest – apart from the iPhone UI – none of the current phone UIs are that interesting. The BB is so tired – and the Nexus One is boring but I saw some of the new UI work from Samsung – promising but not remarkable.

So here is some new stuff showing windoze 7 – actually kind of cool!

http://www.winsupersite.com/mobile/wp7_rc_shots.asp

I touched one!

Being fairly new to Singapore I am learning the local ropes slowly but surely. The little nook and crannies that conceal the occasional taxi allowing me to get home without having to book one. The hawker stalls that the locals might be hanging out at versus the gawkers from the Lonely Planet. I am getting the hang of it but one thing about me already defined me as a local – the Singaporean craving for all things gadget like. Phones, mp3 players, in car TV systems, big screen TVs, stereos, remotes, and more phones. The statistics tell us that we must each have more than one.

Singapore is mad about mobile phones. When I first showed up to town with my little Nokia I bought used in Bangkok I knew right away I was out of depth. Fortunately on my first day at work I was given my trusty new BlackBerry. I was stepping up in the world but of course everywhere I went I was bumping into iPhones.

The local mobile phone companies all push iPhones with great calling plans and incentives to entice people into being a proud iPhone owner. Everywhere I go I see an iPhone and at times I have iPhone envy. iPhones in people’s hands, iPhones tethered to machines for surfing the web 3g style and iPhones being tapped on in the dark of the cold movie theater giving off a warm, inviting glow.  I won’t lie – there are times I have iPhone envy but I haven’t given in yet.

Not quite yet.

Being the tech hungry media junkie that I am though I was able to stave off my iPhone craving with a Nexus One from Google. Singapore is lucky enough to be one of the countries where you can pop online and buy a Nexus One directly. Unlocked and ready to go. Just pop your SIM card in and experience Google’s vision of the new smartphone. Of course I didn’t order mine. It was given to me for some testing I am doing for some mobile software products. What can I say other than it is cool but sometimes I still look at the iPhone’s in my friend’s hands and get a tad jealous but at least now I have a phone that I can swipe, pinch and touch. Makes my BlackBerry look at little old school but I still use that little keyboard profusely.

Apple keeps tempting me but so far I am holding my own against the tide – that is until I touched one.

I saw my first one at a conference. It was too far away so I just ignored it and pretended it had no effect on me. Another time I saw a whole stack of them in boxes. A good friend had returned from the states and brought five of them back with him. I wanted to open a box and see it for myself but I refused. There I was though. In a meeting and sitting right next to me was a co-worker reading his email on it. Zooming, flipping and engorging his email. I read my email all the time but he seemed to really be enjoying his email. Much more than anyone should.

I asked if I could touch it. He said go ahead – check out some web sites on it. Oh and here is the latest episode of Lost – plus check out the Keynote stuff. I had only wanted to touch it but I couldn’t help myself. Loaded up DaringFireball and marveled at the speed of the page loads. ITunes, TV shows and then Lost. The TV show has jumped the shark but watching it on the iPad made me feel like I was back in season 1 enjoying the magic. Then I popped into Keynote loaded up a PPT. A staid company presentation came to life and I was suddenly drinking up the corporate brainwashing and actually agreeing with the company line.

I set it back down on the table and slide it over. Like something forbidden that I wasn’t meant to cradle – let alone explore.

I keep telling myself I don’t need one. They are all over SimLim and I even have a friend selling a stack of them at US prices because he is an Apple fanboy wanting to spread the gospel without making a killing. I have refused – but it keeps getting harder to do so.

All was fine until I read the Apple press release stating, we knew it was coming, that the iPad is officially coming to Singapore in July. People are speculating as to the exact date, how much and will this include the 3g model as well. Which carrier will jump behind it and what wil the plans be – the discussion will peak in the ensuing months. I am positive we will hear more soon but I have to admit though that I may just have to pick up a 3g model knowing that I won’t be able to resist the call of the overgrown iPhone.

Can you?