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Oh, so you've founded a disruptive storage upstart? Do tell me more

Hint for you: Disrupt, don't rip off like everyone else

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So you’ve founded a new storage business. You’ve got a great idea and you want to disrupt the market. Good for you. But you want to maintain the same old margins as the old crew? Where do we start...

So you build your startup around commodity hardware, using the same gear I can buy off the shelf from PC World or order from my preferred enterprise tin-shifter.

You tell me that you are lean and mean? You don’t have huge sales overheads, no huge marketing budget and no legacy code to maintain?

You tell me that it’s all about the software but you still want to clothe it in hardware.

And then you tell me it’s cheaper than the stuff that I buy from my current vendor? How much cheaper? 20 per cent, 30 per cent, 40 per cent, 50 per cent?

Then I do the calculations. Your cost base and your BoM is much lower and you are actually making more money per terabyte than the big old company that you used to work for.

But hey, I’m still saving money, so that’s okay…

Of course, then I dig a bit more… I want support? Your support organisation is tiny; I do my due diligence, can you really hit your response times?

But you’ve got a really great feature? How, er, great. I’ve not seen a single vendor come up with a feature that is so awesome and so unique that no-one manages to copy it.

In the race to the bottom you are still too greedy. You still believe that customers are stupid and will accept being ripped off.

If you were truly disruptive you’d work out a way of articulating the value of your software without clothing it in hardware. You’d work with me on getting it onto commodity hardware – and no, I’m not talking about some no-name white-box; you’d work with me on getting it onto my preferred vendor’s kit, be they HP, Dell, Lenovo, Oracle or whoever.

For hardware issues I could utilise the economies of scale and the leverage I have with my tin-shifter. You wouldn’t have to set-up a maintenance function or sub-contract it to some third party who will inevitably let us both down.

And for software support, well, you could concentrate on those.

You’d help me be truly disruptive… and ultimately we’d both be successful. ®

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