My No-News News Report

Since I have been on a recent news media diet; I duct-tapped my business hat to my forehead and started grinding my nose as hard as I could in an effort to turn my own economies around. I’ll update you later on what I have been up to more specifically.

Meanwhile, today I thought to myself, “I wonder what I am missing out there.”  Let me see if I can guess at it.

On Politics:

  • Congress is proposing more fees and programs to collect fees to help cover increasing costs of government programs.
  • Congress is looking to expand government programs and increase the number of people that are on government entitlements.
  • 35% of the country thinks this is a good idea, 30% are undecided and 35% are opposed.
  • Congress’s approval ratings continue to plummet.
  • The President’s approval ratings are declining but people are hopeful that things will turn around.
  • Someone shot someone today and violent crimes are on the rise.
  • Experts are surprised that the economy is still stalling and conditions are worse than they expected.
  • Congressional hearings are being held about big businesses role in something and the problems they are causing.
  • Little grandma’s and kids and victims are being paraded to capitol hill for their PowerPoint presentations – so politicians can get sympathy plays for their lobbyist pet legislation and hide their true motives.
  • The world will end in 10-25 years if we don’t act quickly.
  • The country will go bankrupt – if it hasn’t already, although they can just print more money and cause hyper deflation so technically it’s not possible.
  • Everything is someone else’s fault and no one will accept responsibility for their stupid decisions.

On to the World of Software:

  • Google announced something, it’s going to revolutionize the world of software. Microsoft is skeptical and Gartner says it’s not sure how effective it will be in the market.
  • Apple announced something, it’s users are really excited about it and can’t wait to get it but it will take 6-9 months before it’s available in the Apple stores or for purchase on iTunes.
  • MSFT is announcing that something will be happening soon, by 2010 at the latest and it’s committed to doing the same sort of stuff that other companies (like Google) are doing but theirs will work better – when they release it.
  • Experts say that the internet and web based applications and solutions (now called cloud based – because we need new terms to keep analysts interested) are on the rise.
  • Revenues at enterprise software companies are down. It’s the economies fault, not that there is a shift in how solutions are being used on the web and the economics of software are transforming how software is developed, distributed and consumed.
  • Twitter users continue to grow.
  • Users are speculating that Facebook is buying somebody – if they haven’t already bought somebody.
  • Yahoo is still in trouble and still talking with MSFT.

How am I doing so far? Did I get anything wrong? Not sure I really want to know.

General Interest Stories:

  • Caffeine is either good or bad.
  • Local politicians want to pass a bag tax, as if that’s going to help anything other than increase revenues.
  • Exercise is healthy but not too much exercise.
  • Wine is good but not too much wine.
  • Believing in God leads to longer life.
  • Smoking kills but may have certain health benefits; ask Mable who is 104 and smokes cigars and drinks whiskey.
  • People are getting by with less but maybe happier.
  • Schools are suffering with the down economy, but who isn’t.
  • Someone did something great with no self serving interest and we close the news with this story because it demonstrates that there are good people out there and they still do good things.

That’s the no-news for this morning.

How did I do? Did I get it right? Am I close on anything?  Am I close enough?

Why am I on a media diet right now? Seems like the best thing I can do to turn things around is to take action on my own. So that’s what I am up to.  Perhaps you should do the same?

Go out and do something to make a difference. Pursue something you are passionate about and start living the life you were given to live.



Conversation with Danny Kolke of Etelos

Original post here: from June 5, 2007
by Jeff Nolan

A company I have been watching for a few months now is Etelos. Despite having been in business for 7 years, the company has maintained a low profile while bootstrapping their business, all the while eschewing traditional venture capital.

They came on my radar when I found their CRM for Google application. In a nutshell, they take off the shelf Google apps components and combine them with some of their own stuff in a preconfigured Google start page. My first reaction upon reviewing this was “crikey, that’s what mashups should be” (I don’t recall saying “crikey” to myself but it works well now for effect).

This year they have added Netvibes, Windows Live, and most recently, Pageflakes client support but Google remains their most heavily deployed version.

I talked with Danny Kolke, the CEO of Etelos, today and found a kindred spirit… we were finishing each other’s sentences by the end of our conversation.

Danny’s belief system for Etelos is built on the following tenets, which if you have been reading this blog for any period of time you will see that they map to my own beliefs:

  1. The disruption that Etelos is targeting is distribution and consumption. This is not unlike what Salesforce is doing with Appexchange in that it provides a retail experience for software applications that have traditionally been sold through reseller and direct channels.
  2. The SMB market is fractious in that it’s really thousands of micro markets that are being served by small developers with specific domain expertise and no ability to scale their sales operations.
  3. Integration is a big problem that can be served by a service bus approach to application delivery… more on that later.
  4. The consumer experience is fundamentally and irreversibly changing the business software industry.

Etelos is an infrastructure play at the end of the day. Over 850 developers are delivering 200+ applications today and that number is expected to swell north of 300 in the months ahead. Developers can take pre-existing applications written in Java, PHP, or .Net and integrate them with the Etelos backend to take advantage of any service that Etelos is providing, such as mobile device support.

Etelos also has it’s own scripting language called EASE that developers can use to extend their apps, although from what I saw this looks like something that script developers would grok to extend prebuilt applications reliably and with little effort.

The Etelos approach reminded me of what Opsource is doing on top of Mulesource, but beyond the obvious similarities it’s not entirely clear what the distinctions are. Nonetheless, it’s apparent we will see more initiatives like this emerge given that it’s a fairly logical manner to approach a market and represents that plausible “platform play” for those vendors that don’t have the resources to invest massive $$ in pure platform technology to compete with the big vendors.

In reviewing the application catalog on their site there are a handful of vertical markets being targeted, which incidentally map to what Salesforce is doing on Appexchange: retail, insurance, real estate, medical, and independent consultants.

I don’t think this is deliberate but rather a logical conclusion that the addressable market for on demand hosted apps are services markets and digital products. To that end I would add media and advertising, and non-profit and local government to the list, the last two are often ignored by software vendors but represent great opportunities.

The company is based up in Washington state with 31 employees, 10 of which are offshore. I was impressed while talking with Danny, this company is at an inflection point and I expect they will benefit from a strong tailwind as companies begin to realize that start pages, like Google and Netvibes, are a new client interface and for something much more extensible than reading RSS feeds.