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Hiring – Marketing May 11, 2010

Posted by Sacha in CloudBees, English, IT.
1 comment so far

BzzzzzA few weeks ago, I announced I was back into the game. Well, things are moving well and the engineering team is doing wonders!

Now, in order to launch our first offering and reach as many users and customers as possible, we are recruiting for the following position: Technical Sales and Marketing Manager*.

This person will be responsible for all pre-sales prospect/customer-facing systems and activities including (but not limited to) web site presence (implementation, content creation and follow-up), presence on social tools (Facebook, twitter, etc.), presence at conferences, evangelization, etc.

Does such a James Bond person really exist? Probably not. Consequently, the best fit is probably a very hands-on Sales Engineer with a strong Java middleware background who has already worked on program marketing and product marketing activities and would be willing to further grow into that marketing role. Oh, and you must be ambitious, smart and energetic. Track-record in community building and evangelization is a must! Ideally, this hero native’s tongue is English, lives in Boston and has already worked for startups.

Obviously, being a startup, we pay with low salaries and stock options (until we raise our first round of financing – and then we’ll decently pay).

If you are this 007, contact me at firstname@lastname.com.



EDIT: one of my co-bee made the following comment which I thought made sense: “As our market is technical people, it isn’t marketing in the sense of coming up with ad campaigns for the new Snuggie, but quite technical. Ideally they would be happy to get hands dirty on code for demos, understand important customer needs, understand a bit of the architecture etc. Google calls these people “developer advocates” – they get developers (the market) excited and signed up, and act as advocates for their interest internally… When looking at people, I would hope we can get someone that is good at blogs, twitter etc, as you say, “public speaking” both online and off. Someone that you want to hang out with. Basically, we want Iron Man”. (We have more details in a proper job description document btw.)

*) The word “Manager” needs to be put in the context of the company’s very early stage of development. The current position includes the management of complete processes and activities. However, it does not include any traditional management duties such as people management. Therefore, we are looking for an ambitious candidate who will need to be very hands-on and focused on operational activities.

The SpringForce/VMForce announcement April 29, 2010

Posted by Sacha in CloudBees, English, IT.
1 comment so far

VMWare and Salesforce.com common announcement this week, VMForce, was really interesting.

First of all, it is yet another drum beat on the cloud march. The virtualization king (Market cap: 25B) and the CRM PaaS queen (Market cap: 11B) got together in what appeared to be a relatively ego-less offering: VMForce. One camp has the developer community; the other has the XaaS credibility (and is the biggest PaaS provider by far). This is not a lightweight marketing partnership: this is a pretty deep partnership under a unified brand umbrella.

This reinforces a message that will become a truism in the next few years: the cloud is new platform.

What is this really about? This announcement is about the PaaS leader, salesforce.com (CRM), offering itself a new programming model on top of its already successful platform, in order to extend its developer reach. CRM already has a strong set of services at its foundation: a relational-like multi-tenant database, pre-defined business schemas, REST APIs, etc. But all of those were only available from CRM’s own proprietary programming model. Thanks to VMForce, Spring users will have an easier path to Force.com.

But don’t be tricked, this doesn’t make VMForce the new “all-purpose”, generic PaaS offering: this remains a vertical-focused PaaS offering, aimed at Salesforce.com users. VMForce offers the advantages of its disadvantages: if you are a Salesforce.com user, this is going to boost your choices and flexibility by being able to leverage a substantial chunk of the Java ecosystem. Yet, if you are not a salesforce.com user (or if you are developing a non-CRM related application), VMForce represents a major lock-in into a platform that makes very little sense for your application.

So, who is the winner of that partnership, VMW or CRM?

The obvious beneficiary is Salesforce.com: it is already the PaaS market leader and through VMForce it keeps its lock-in while extending its developer reach. Brilliant. But does it necessarily mean that VMWare doesn’t benefit from that deal? While it is certainly a good financial deal for VMWare, it is almost secondary. The second beneficiary of this partnership is not the good old virtualization-focused VMWare, but VMWare’s middleware team: SpringSource. Acquisitions are never easy to pull correctly, especially when an operations-focused company acquires a development-focused one. Consequently, since SS’s acquisition last year, the middleware team has pretty much travelled in a black hole. Yet, VMForce (which should really be called SpringForce) will help SpringSource re-broadcast their message: they are after the cloud – and this is really what triggered their acquisition in the first place. So this announcement will definitively help restate their objective to the market.

But does it necessarily help SpringSource’s independent agenda as a PaaS provider? I am not at all convinced that it is the case. Lots of the PaaS’ hard problems have been solved in VMForce by simply leveraging Salesforce.com’s existing services. So, not only VMForce will not help SS’s independent agenda, it might actually represent a marketing/positioning challenge down the road when they’ll have to differentiate both offering.

Concerning the timing of the announcement, I was very surprised. It came out of nowhere, wasn’t announced as part of any cloud or developers conference, and the offering is not yet available, not even as a development offering. A beta developer release should be made available in the second half of 2010 with no known date for the GA production release. So, why so much hurry in the announcement? Both companies are known to be more reliable than MSFT’s vaporware PR.

Another element that hasn’t been announced yet is the pricing. This is probably fine for such an early announcement, but not even the pricing SCHEME was announced. And I bet there is a good reason for that: Salesforce.com is known to build by user (which has its own set of consequences and constraints for a PaaS) and VMWare is known to build by the deployment unit (CPU, core, VM, or whatever makes more sense). It will be interesting to see how they can resolve that pretty significant “philosophical gap”.

In any case, what I’ll remember from this partnership is how smart that was from Salesforce.com to make an ego-less move away from its own proprietary offering in order to extend its developer reach, and all this under a 3rd party branded offering, with limited impact on its own engineering roadmap. And congratulations to the SpringSource team for striking a partnership which impacts their mothership as a whole, this is probably their best way to escape from the acquisition black hole.



Google to accelerate Chrome’s adoption? April 14, 2010

Posted by Sacha in English, IT.

In the last few days, Google announced quite a few welcomed new features to their Google Apps offering, including better text/spreadsheet editors, an independent drawing tool, better Google Docs file sharing capabilities (those still remain pretty weak). That’s all great.

Yet, a postscriptum in their announcement also indicates that as of May 3 (read: first thing tomorrow morning in Enterprise-speak), the Google Mail/Calendar/Docs offline feature based on Google Gears will be disabled! That’s right, one of Google App’s key feature to simply be usable by many enterprises (i.e. being able to work offline) will be disabled in 3 weeks.

So, what are the options? Well, that is where things get interesting: Google promises that a solution based on the HTML 5 Web SQL Database spec should be available by then. So let’s look at the typical browsers out there and which are the ones supporting this feature:

Leading browsers not supporting this feature:

  • IE
  • Firefox
  • Safari

And since Opera is not officially supported on Google Apps, that leaves you with … Google Chrome.

Translation: “Dear valued customer, in 3 weeks we are going to abandon a key feature of Google Apps: offline files. Yet, if you want to still benefit from it, you have no other choice but roll-out our Google Chrome browser across your enterprise in that generous 3-weeks timeframe.

As much as I am a fan of Google Apps (and using it extensively on a daily basis), I am speechless about Google’s current move.



Back into the game April 1, 2010

Posted by Sacha in CloudBees, English, IT.

Flying BeeOne year ago, I left RHT with the clear plan to be actively doing nothing for some time. I did, but quickly realized I wasn’t good at it: it is not easy to relax when your brain keeps wondering what you could be doing next.

So I’ve started working with several startups, including eXo Platform and Wallix, but that only increased my desire to be back into the game.

And so today is the official start date of my new venture. I won’t tell you much about it at this point:  I’d rather wait until we have something real to show – that shouldn’t take long.

But who is “we”? Five highly talented engineers from ORCL, SUN and JBoss. Last but not least, my friend Bob Bickel accepted to be our advisor. Life is great.

So stay tuned…



RHT FY10: great results – yet… March 25, 2010

Posted by Sacha in /dev/null, Finance.
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RHT just posted its FY10 results and they are very good and this, despite a weak US+EU economy and weak USD currency during that period.

Yet, some analysts have been negative about it and, consequently, after-hours trading was down -3.x%.

The best comment is probably from Katherine Egbert (Jefferies & Co), who wrote “They gave a conservative forecast. Given that the economy is in recovery and IT spending is improving, the question is why,”. You are wondering why?!? Where did you see that the economy is in recovery? Homes sales have hit their record low, unemployment rate has hit its record high, IT spending for SMB is low and will only marginally increase in 2010, etc.

The economy is doing fine, the economy is doing fine, the economy is doing fine… It seems Mr. Coué still has quite a few adepts.

eXo Platform raises 6m USD March 8, 2010

Posted by Sacha in English, IT.
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I am very happy to report that eXo has successfully raised 6m USD from two leading French VCs (Auriga Partners and XAnge Capital). Also, Bob Bickel will step up as chairman of eXo’s BoD. As announced a few months back, I am an advisor to eXo and I’ve also participated to this investment round.

I’ve always been impressed by eXo’s product portfolio, both in terms of width and depth. Yet, while eXo is well-known and has very solid references in France (Orange, M6, Geneva State, Generali, etc.), they are pretty much unknown in the USA. This is not surprising though: this is the result of a complete lack of sales presence in the USA and no marketing activities. Consequently, with this investment, eXo will accelerate their U.S. operations and recruit some key talents.

And this acceleration has already started: Katie Poplin, fame of JBoss’s marketing machine, has recently joined eXo as their worldwide marketing director (Katie was the steam engine behind all JBoss World events). And in case you didn’t know that yet, the highly talented Chantal Yang is behind eXo’s PR machine (through PageOne).

This is going to be a fun ride! Onward,


[FR] Paris JUG – Sorbonne! February 1, 2010

Posted by Sacha in Français, IT, JBoss.

La semaine prochaine, le Paris JUG fêtera ses 2 ans. Déjà 2 ans? Seulement 2 ans? Une certitude, en à peine 2 ans, le triumvirat des co-fondateurs (Goncalves, Dewalle et Cadi) a réussi à établir le Paris JUG comme un point d’ancrage inévitable du monde Java à Pâââris. Alors que pour bon nombre de JUGs, la difficulté est de trouver des présentations intéressantes, le défi n’est pas le même pour le Paris JUG: leur challenge est de trouver des salles (peu coûteuses) permettant d’accueillir un nombre croissants d’auditeurs. Quel beau problème.

Et donc, pour les 2 ans du Paris JUG, j’ai l’honneur d’avoir été convié à présenter la keynote. Son titre: “La révolution Open Source a-t-elle eu lieu?”. L’événement aura lieu dans le lieu mythique qu’est La Sorbonne.

Que vous soyez de Paris, de province ou d’ailleurs encore, vous pouvez vous enregistrer ici pour assister à cet anniversaire.

A la semaine prochaine…

UPDATE: voici les slides de ma présentation.

JavaOne 2010? Dead or slow moving? (like, really really slow) January 13, 2010

Posted by Sacha in English, IT, JBoss.

I was looking for information about JavaOne 2010 and despite being indeed listed on the Moscone Center events page, SUN/Java web pages make absolutely no mention about it and only refers to JavaOne 2009. No words about a call for paper neither. So, does SUN really think it can pull a JavaOne conference from scratch is less than 6 months?

Until ORCL’s definitive agreement for buying SUN has been closed, SUN is supposed to keep driving its business independently. I have a really hard time believing this total lack of communication and organization around a JavaOne 2010 conference fits that rule.



P.S.: too bad, the OracleOne TLD is already taken😉

RHT Q3FY10 December 22, 2009

Posted by Sacha in IT, JBoss.
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From RHT’s Q3 report:

Total revenue for the quarter was $194.3 million, an increase of 18% from the year ago quarter. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $164.4 million, up 21% year-over-year.


Non-GAAP adjusted net income for the quarter was $33.5 million, or $0.17 per diluted share…

For reference, analysts estimates projected revenues of $188 million and earnings of $0.16 per share – without taking in account the recently settled 5 years old lawsuit.

Great work, onward,


EE6 has been approved, yet… December 3, 2009

Posted by Sacha in English, IT, JBoss.

It is with GREAT pleasure that I’ve learned that the JCP EC had approved the final ballot for Weld and EE6!

This really finishes the work started with EE5 and clearly positions EE6 as the most powerful and yet the easiest to use Java runtime environment, clearly ahead of Spring and its XML logorrhea. Furthermore, the definition of a powerful Web profile without the hassle of some of the most legacy EE specs (IIOP anybody?) will give fresh air to the too many IT teams building (and attempting to maintain) their own Tomcat on steroids.

Yet, a spec with no implementation is hardly usable (for my own sanity, please don’t mention the EE5/JBoss5 drama), and so I’m very impressed that JBoss already released JBoss 6.0M1 which contains some of the most important EE6 bits. Jason’s blog entry here, Dimitris’ here. Congratulations guys, the move away from 5.2 was a smart decision.

Yet, when closely looking at the Weld and EE6 votes, only one company didn’t vote for both JSRs: SpringSource/VMware. They didn’t politely cast an “Abstain” and explain the reason why in the comments, no, they simply didn’t cast a vote at all. How to interpret that non-move? Well, maybe they “forgot” – this happened to me at JBoss for a couple of “less critical” votes – and so I went to look at SpringSource’s official news and PR page, SpringSource’s official blog and even Spring “.org” page: nada, nothing, no official position (and Rod Johnson hasn’t blogged in more than 3 months – so no help from there either).

I don’t think this silence is clever as this will make people speculate that either i) SpringSource is still debating internally what their official stance should be or, worse, ii) that they will retain from giving an official stance for as long as possible to keep all options open and possibly change their opinion down the road as they see fit. Or maybe SpringSource didn’t cast a vote because VMWare refused to sign JCP’s JSPA agreement for some reasons related to their IP. Who knows?!? (disclaimer: I don’t)

In order to keep the worse rumors at bay, I think that SpringSource should clearly state ASAP i) why they didn’t vote and ii) what their official stance on EE6/Weld/etc. is. and iii) whether VMWare/SpringSource is still part of the JCP.



Quickies… Roubini, SAP and Java, anatomy. November 16, 2009

Posted by Sacha in /dev/null, English.

Is the economy really doing better? We keep getting “positive” information from official sources, but Roubini isn’t that convinced it seems:

Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening. While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2% and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5%.

While losing 200,000 jobs per month is better than the 700,000 jobs lost in January, current job losses still average more than the per month rate of 150,000 during the last recession.

Also, remember: The last recession ended in November 2001, but job losses continued for more than a year and half until June of 2003; ditto for the 1990-91 recession.

Ouch, not good, but much more in line with my intuitive perception of the market situation.

On a more positive note, a blog post by Vishal Sikka from SAP (as discussed on TSS) asking ORCL to put Java in a proper foundation à la Eclipse. Most commentators focus on the MySQL part of the SUN/MySQL deal, but the Java aspect is much more important: Java is a much bigger ecosystem than MySQL is and will ever be, impacting about half of the new applications developed in the world. Consequently, I am very happy to see SAP step up and make a public promise on its Java investment in case ORCL behaves. My only criticism to SAP? JCP EC members are not supposed to publicly disclose information discussed during the EC meeting – which Vishal Sikka did in his blog – not classy.

Last but not least, a Russian artist shows his “deep” understanding of women’s anatomy. Very impressive.

SUN vs./and ORCL: the failure of the dual licensing model? October 25, 2009

Posted by Sacha in English, IT.

I’ve never been at ease with GPL-dual licensing business models. What worried me wasn’t so much that OEMs had to pay for a proprietary license on the product – OEMs spend half of their lives licensing software and the other half paying royalties, FOSS or not. No, what I didn’t really like was the viability of this model, or more precisely that it invalidated one of FOSS’s key value and promise: the extreme viability of the code. Let me explain…

The good thing with FOSS-backed business models is that as a user of a FOSS product, whatever happens to the company behind the product (getting evil, going bankruptcy, etc.), you do have a B-plan. That B-plan might not be ideal, it might take time to materialize, might cost some money, but there *is* always a B-plan.

The problem with GPL dual-licensing business models is that this is simply not true. If the company behind a dual-licensed product X get sold to an evil company, goes bankrupt or decides to increase its prices by 400%, all OEMs are doomed. In the best case (i.e. if the IP is still owned by some legal entity, read: no bankruptcy), the OEMs can keep paying a high fee. But in case the IP owner just go bust, you cannot license that IP from anywhere anymore and you are only bound by the terms of the GPL and either have to GPL your own product or get rid of that viral piece of code. Don’t get me wrong, that situation is very similar to any proprietary product, but it then defeats one of the key added value of FOSS software: by going the GPL-dual-license route, OEM customers do not simply pay a fee, more importantly they loose one of the most important feature of FOSS: long term viability of the code.

So, to go back to the MySQL/ORCL drama, all of this bla bla wouldn’t take place if MySQL wasn’t dual-licensed (but was LGPL based for example): all customers (OEMs or end-users) could keep using it as-is, with no restrictions as to whether they have to open source their own product or not. Granted, they would loose the support/maintenance provided by SUN/MySQL, but could hope to find quality support from another company. There would be no ORCL/EU story, nada. For example, this problem doesn’t exist for other SUN-owned FOSS products such as Glassfish (CDDL) or OpenJDK SE (GPL+CP-Exception).

Oh, and if ORCL wanted to be (really) evil, they could simply relinquish control of the project governance to some “open body”, give away the trademark of the project and walk away… but KEEP MySQL’s copyright in their safe. They would then argue that they are good FOSS citizens since they have relinquished control on anything FOSS-related. This would obviously kill MySQL’s OEM market but ORCL could hardly be criticized by Open Source proponents for that move: the problem would lie in the absence of a *proprietary license* here, not in any FOSS-related concern. And if needed, this could be properly “spinned” as FUD by ORCL PR machine (and MSFT for that matter) to show how weak the Open Source model is – when it actually only shows *the* big weakness of  dual-licensing models.

Some of the ex-MySQL co-founders who now ask for ORCL to let MySQL go are responsible for the current situation: their choice of a dual license  business model years ago is what led to the current situation … but also what led MySQL to a 1B valuation. You cannot have it both ways I guess.

For a free marketing ride on the FOSS buzz, the dual-licensing model could cast a FUD-cloud on all FOSS-based business models.



JBoss World 2009 September 4, 2009

Posted by Sacha in English, IT, JBoss.

Even though I left RHT a few months back, I remained in close touch with the team there and it is with a great pleasure that I attended JBoss World 2009 this week in Chicago.

For the first time ever, JBoss World and Red Hat Summit happened at the same time under the same roof. Better, a unique pass enabled attendance to either sessions. While this approach had some risks, it has been very well executed: both conferences kept their pedigree while enabling cross-pollination (I’ve myself attended several RHEL-related sessions). From an attendance standpoint, I’ll wait for the official number, but I’ve heard the number of 1’600 persons which isn’t bad at all in the current economy.

On the JBoss front, this year was pretty reasonable in terms of announcements. Things I’ll remember from this year:

  • The long awaited EAP 5 has been released (yes, I know, it was about time)
  • Bill Burke initiated the REST-* initiative, aiming at defining a set of middleware services API on top of REST (read: WS-* for IQ<180)
  • RHT initiated the Deltacloud effort aiming at standardizing an abstraction layer for IaaS cloud providers
  • and last but not least, the GateIn project was released to the public!

The last news is actually very important and generated quite a bit of noise since i) it is clearly a big jump for JBoss Portal users and ii) will shed quite a bit of light on Exo Platform, a talented company whose codebase was merged with JBoss Portal. Project merge are always risky but the result that has been achieved in just a few months of work is simply amazing – look at the snapshots.

Since I’ve left the conference one day before it closes, I’ll miss tonight party but I think it is much safer this way – one party was enough😉




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