Feeds

Bring on the Little Guys

Let's try something new

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Trade Show 6 Later we cruised around Las Vegas. Williams and I tried to find ways to scare Jason. It all came to an end when Williams drove up on the sidewalk and then hit the breaks. The car slid to a stop and Williams screamed, "let's kill some pedestrians!" As people scurried away, Williams muttered, "these people have no idea who I am."

On the way home, I complained about the long drive back to Gene. "Mike is flat broke," said Williams. "He's putting this whole venture on his credit card. He believes in this idea so strongly, that he's killing himself trying to make it work."

I thought about that for a long time. Mike smelled value in Linux and Williams' software. And he was right. All week at the expo, his booth was crawling with people. Everyone was excited to see Linux and an Open Source editor at NAB. Williams demonstrated his software to countless producers and Mike was endlessly peppered with questions.

The only question he couldn't answer was: "why should I buy this Alpha from you?" He lacked a functioning business model, but so did VA Linux. While VA was able to burn nearly two million on the domain linux.com, Mike couldn't afford the hotel bill for a convention.

I've interviewed the CEO of VA Linux, Dr. Larry Augustin before. He was never able to explain his expenditures. The only explanation for buying linux.com I ever got came from his PR man, Brian Ritchie. Microsoft was going to buy it so VA had to, Ritchie had said.

Two million dollars for five letters, or four hundred thousand dollars a letter. That's an unjustifiable expense for a company that sells computers. Later, VA bought Andover.net, a company that owned Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.org. These sites are great, but they don't help sell servers.

A year ago in New York, I listened to Fernand Sarrat, the CEO of LinuxCare brief the press on their business model. They were getting ready to launch the IPO, and they were giddy.

For the announcement they shipped journalists to the conference in black cars. Lunch was served. We watched a psychotic video of a talking penguin. "We know we're not supposed to talk about this," said Sarrat, "because we've filed for an IPO, but who cares?" I have the whole thing captured on a DV Pro cartridge, and my friends are shocked when they watch it.

Mike was the "Fast Food Consultant" in that Carl's Jr. commercial. Some guy in a booth with an overpriced product. Any takers? All he needed was one.

And he never left that booth. He paced back and forth, clutching a roll of names and numbers that a machine would spit out, as attendees swiped their badges in hopes of winning a giant penguin. "Look at these names," he said once, white-knuckling the tape roll, "I'm getting some great contacts."

Perhaps Linux really is about the little guy. Guys like Frank, who can sell sand in the desert and who have figured out how to use Linux in their business to save money. And guys like Mike, who have the balls and the imagination to plunge their fists into the chaotic cauldron of Open Source and pull out a fistful of strange and powerful software and say: "let's try something new." ®

Trade Show

1 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (The NAB edition)
2 I was a teenage hacker
3 Linux Media Arts Cuts the Fat
4 Linux saved my Life
5 Sex and Trade
6 Bring on the Little Guys

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.