Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Beautiful Things Come in Small Bundles

Beautiful Things Come in Small Bundles

Morning or is it afternoon? It could even be evening. Whatever it is, welcome. Another month has rolled in and we're now sailing dangerously close to that Christmas mark again. Goodness, where has the year gone? I've no idea. This is my wee corner of the journalistic minefield of the computing industry. Here I don't teach about Java. I don't take you through the joys of class design or the hell of class threading. Instead I ask you to sit back, push away the keyboard, tether the mouse and prepare yourself for some gentle mental stimulation as I give you some food for thought about the overall picture, the greater goal.

This month let's plump for greed, one of the seven deadly sins. When talking about money, it's really the only one that can apply. I want to take a look at the financial issues facing a small company in the Java world.

As most of you know, I run N-ARY Ltd., a British-based Java consulting company I gave birth to more than three years ago with nothing. I donated my old 486 and that was the only thing of note on the balance sheet. Three years later we have a team of 12-plus people and projects all over the world. And what do we owe our investors? Nothing. We don't have investors.

This is the first point I'd like to bounce around. When starting out on this long road to success, there seems to be the British way of doing things and the American way of doing things. It appears that when a group of skilled individuals get together to start something, what happens next depends largely on the side of the Atlantic you wake up on.

In America the first thing on the agenda, or at least one of the top things, is to find an investor. Whether in the guise of a friend, bank or, more than likely, venture capitalist doesn't matter. It seems my American cousins prefer working with a large sum and working down, hoping they start making money before it reaches zero. Us Brits on the other hand start with zero and work up, hoping we don't expand beyond the month's cash flow. From day one the American company is worth, say, $1 million, whereas the British company is worth practically nothing. After three years the tale can be somewhat different.

Granted this is a gross generalization, but it serves to illustrate my point. The question I put to you is, Which way is the right way? Talking to you who are CEOs, if someone approached you with advice on starting their own company, would you recommend the route you took? Perhaps another route? And if a different approach, why not the one you started off on? Answers on a postcard, please!

As one of the CEOs of a Union Jack company as opposed to a Stars and Stripes company, I'd have to say that our way may have worked 20 years ago or for companies that have no ambitions for growing multimillions. But in this day and age hard work alone is not enough. To successfully compete in today's high-paced industry I think we have to look at the American way of doing things. If companies are to succeed, there's not enough time in the day, alas, to grow the company organically. Ironically, the root of the problem may be the multimillion dollar companies, the very thing we CEOs strive to take our companies to. But why?

Many of the large companies have become so large that they can afford to lose money on projects in order to stifle competition. If a small company pops up with an innovative and exciting product and begins marketing it, chances are the marketing strategy employed will be very targeted and low-cost. Now if one of the bigger companies happens to see the idea, one of three things will happen: the first is for them to ignore it. The second is for the large company to buy out the smaller company. This is probably the best-case scenario, and I'll come back to it later. The third - and most damaging - response is for the large company to produce their own version of the product and market off the back of one of their more successful products.

For the smaller company this generally means a death sentence. Remember back in the old days of the World Wide Web, where one of the benefits that was touted around was the ability to give everyone a level playing field? Give the smaller company the ability to compete with the corporates. All you had to do was produce a Web site and you could start the duel. However, anyone who's tried this knows that it's not so much a duel as a complete mismatch. Sure, the Web site may be far superior, but what's the use of a Web site that no one visits? This is where the corporate entity can win...in its ability to attract users.

The corporation has the money to market the Web site elsewhere, the money to advertise the site both online and in more traditional media such as magazines and on billboards. The smaller company does not. Chances are the smaller company may have a far superior product, but what's the use of that if no one knows about it? It's a catch-22.

On my travels I heard of a small company based in Brisbane, Australia. Now these guys are typical of what I've just described. They have an exciting product that's doing famously well in the local market but they're scared to take it to America for fear someone might steal it. Granted, their very presence on the Web opens up their treasure chest for possible perusal by some Californian. The assumption is that they're unknown in the global arena and want to stay that way for the time being at least. So this column is really going to help them, eh? Oops.

The point is that in any other industry they have a strong chance of survival. They could grow the company slowly and surely. In our industry, however, the plot isn't as straightforward. All it takes is for Microsoft or Sun or another big company to take the idea and bundle it free with their next release. What chance does the small company have at this point? They now have to justify to their potential clients why they have to pay for the product when it's free elsewhere. A tough sale to make.

Before the Internet, an idea had the time to evolve and grow. Only a handful of people would know about it, and this would be through word of mouth. A good idea comes along now, and before you know it 16 other companies around the world are suddenly engulfed in the same project. A scary prospect at the best of times.

I think the best example of that has to be Web-based e-mail. When Microsoft bought out Hotmail earlier this year, did anyone notice the sudden flood of Web-based e-mail sites coming online? Even Yahoo! offers some sort of Web-based e-mail system and these guys are supposedly a search engine. There are a number of smaller Web-based systems around that are far more feature-rich than the "big boys" but have no chance of survival on a commercial level against the wrath of freebies.

I'm sure you can think of many examples of where this has happened. Another, more famous one is the handheld computer from the GO Corporation. Their CEO, Jerry Kaplan, tells a very entertaining - and in parts scary - story in the book Startup. I'd recommend it for any budding CEO, ignoring the last part; it's a very inspirational book. In this situation, however, Kaplan had venture funds but they proved ineffective against the might of Apple and Microsoft. The moral? Just because your project may be heavily funded doesn't mean it's guaranteed to succeed.

A company structured from a venture fund generally has an exit plan, which is usually to be bought out in three to four years. That's the American dream, to be bought out and walk away with a million or more dollars in the back pocket. But let's take a quick look at the overall picture. Someone once commented to me that they had read in a journal that in around 10 years there'd be only a handful of computer companies. All the smaller companies would have been absorbed into the bigger corporates.

Now on the face of it the comment seems rather silly. Think of the thousands of companies all around the world, all developing various tools and services. So let's see if this could be possible. We already know that the exit plan for many startups is to be bought out by a bigger company. Admirable. If this continues, however, with bigger companies buying up the smaller ones, the above statement suddenly starts to ring some truth bells. Maybe there's something in it after all. But there has to be a cutoff at some point, and maybe this is where the statement falls apart. Looking at the current trend now, it's possible to see a future with tougher competition and fewer companies.

So should we forget about running our own companies? I don't think so. Conversely, I think that in order to crack the monopoly the larger corporates hold, more small organic companies should be started, and alliances should be formed to effectively compete in the marketplace. The beautiful thing about the Internet is that it brings together this rich tapestry of talent and diversity and allows it to be explored and realized. We need more variety, not a handful of companies controlling everything. Do we want the computing industry to go down the same route as the publishing industry? Where two or three individuals control and own the whole industry worldwide? Names like Ted Turner and Robert Mudoch are familiar to everyone. We're heading down there already, but it's not too late.

Java has been responsible for a new influx of startup companies. We are one of these companies. Java has given us the ability to compete with companies irrespective of platform. In many respects we've been given the perfect tool to compete effectively with the big companies. We don't need to make that agonizing decision about which platform to support. We can let the big companies play their own politics; by our not directly supporting them, we're slowly weakening them. I love meeting other CEOs and learning about their growth and their excitement in using Java. It's good to see this wonderful array of companies explode into the marketplace.

It all comes back to greed, the greed of the bigger corporates who want to own everything and control every corner. We're in an exciting time, and if everything does go pearshaped at the end of the day, well, at least we'll have good stories to tell our grandchildren of how we tried to take on the world...and, in a small way, won.

More Stories By Alan Williamson

Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...