Monthly Archives: October 2008

What is your busines really worth ?

This is a stealth security post, read on.

We all know that we line in the post industrial world, the services oriented, nee computerized services oriented business world. We are inundated by myriads of service companies, either financial, real estate, advertising, education etc. etc. ad nauseam. All these organizations share some common trends. They are all computerized, the communicate via well established networks, they have sales people, IT support people, managers what have you. So how much exactly is such a company worth?

Allow me first to attribute a phrase to my colleague Mr. Metaxas that is a company is worth its latest backup. Now to take this a step further I ask what is the differentiating factor between service institutions? What makes one richer and the other poorer? What is each company worth ? A service corporation is worth exactly as much as one can valuate its data, excluding physical assets like buildings and such, although with some institutions the value of latter are puny compared to the funds managed.

Information security is then akin to safeguarding the company’s monies. Sharing, losing your data means that you dilute your own value, you truly and really give away money. The people employed in the clandestine branches of various operations know this all too well, and so should all the other ones of us realize. As we guard our doors so should we guard our data or phase the certainty of loss.

Corollaries:

  1. Nowadays with ITC services being commodity, creating a service business is easy and cheap. It does not require the vast expenditures heavy industries require. Still it does not mean that everyone can become an entrepreneur. Information is immaterial of ITC systems, it exists whether it is being processed or not. IT makes it easier to manipulate and derive value from it , but it is not in and by itself a mean to money making. As an example review the number of web sites created by people tryin to make money out of thin ether with some cooky idea or other. The vast majority of them will shut down for no other reason than no true content to the information they gleam.
  2. Google then is really worth a lot of money since it has managed to process and contain vast amounts of information that are worth quite a bit of money to the right people.
  3. Who is paying for Google’s data processing abilities ? Advertising companies or clandestine ops?
  4. Are you really worht anything if you are completely open? Now that is an absolute dematerialised service.

Running alone and finishing second

I am very disappointed yet once more with SUN microsystems, it seems that finishing second while in a race all by themselves has become their modus operandi.

Historically, while they were playing the open code game and sharing NFS and other such goodies with the community, they were reaping enormous financial benefits. Then some really smart guys came up with the java language, a network centric rework of the idea of the UCSD P-system. Now what did the business geniuses do ? Instead of opening up the language and the code, they spent zillions into marketing it. Well it eventually caught on and under pressure from the community they have now opened it up realizing the error of their ways. The monies spent cannot be recaptured not to mention the market share that other companies have managed to built while SUN was trying to safeguard their “Intellectual Property”. Second at their very own very lonely race.

Unfortunately history is being repeated with MySQL as I type. They bought a wonderful little DB company with a smashing product and while trying to assimilate it they not only managed to fire/dismiss key people of the project but also failed to realize what the driving force is behind this and other FLOSS projects. It does not require blackmail licenses like pricing per CPU heat sink fins and no costly support contracts. Well guess what, a MySQL enterprise support contract is costly, granted not as befuddlingly skyscraperish like that other db yet it still requires a considerable lump of cash for something that was up till now practically free. They are again finishing second at their very own race without any competition, oh well there is a superior product called postgresql but it is not fashionable no big market share.

Guys and girls oh please get it together, I would very much like to replace that other DB with mysql, but I demand at least an order of magnitute cheaper support contracts. Just slashing costs in half as they say is not good enough. MySQL was healthy making do with much less than what you require.

Please be smart, do learn from your very own mistakes. Now if you were geniouses you would have learned from other people’s mistakes.

Innovation and the Linux /Open Source fenomenon

Once upon not a too distant time in the past, there were research labs abundant at least in the US. Remember Bell Labs, Palo Alto, T.J. Watson ? The last is still operational and that is probably the reason why IBM is such a great company. These labs were the center of innovation, this is where inquisitive minds were pushing the envelope of their imagination and creativity, this is where it all started, and then they faded away. It came to pass that they were center as cost centers and were closed down to save some money. Well you know what happens to a body once the brain is shut off, it is clinically dead. Brain transplants in humans as well as corporations seem to be inefficient. One cannot have someone else do the thinking ( outsource innovation ) and expect to remain sentient. The net result will be more like senility.

Innovation and creativity is in the heart of every human being, it is a veritable driving force. We all aspire to something greater, from the plains’ Indians who were looking for a quest to the kids in high school dreaming to surpass Einstein or draw better than Giotto. Once upon a time then, the inquisitive people were dreaming of working in such centers and were actively pursuing that dream, and lo and behold great miracles started coming from those centers.

Now switch to the modern age where absolute profit maximization is the only corporate goal. The centers were closed but the people’s brains were not turned off. New kids were coming of age eager to test their mettle against the old brains. New ideas were brewing, fresh blood was growing up with the now mythical centers of excellence as their shangri-las. This power, this ecstasy of creation found a way to express itself in Open Source development. There one could explore the geography of ones mind and push their limits of creativity and imagination. The rest as they say is history, it started with the GNU tools, BSD unix, Linux, and now with a vast range of applications which are sometimes substandard yet other times absolutely glorious.

I am curious about the next level, too bad I stopped growing up and now I am growing old.