Feeds

Bring on the Little Guys

Let's try something new

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.