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Jargon Induced Misery

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One of the scariest things to contemplate is the executive memo. Will it actually have a nugget of useful information cleverly shrouded in useless jargon and sad, repetitive, colloquialisms or will the nugget be, in fact, the tiniest scrap of a left over Grade-D sand grain that would not even find its way into the concrete that makes up a poorly constructed city sewer system?

As soon as I see such classic gems as synergy, paradigm, schemas (oo that one burns me), empower, or perhaps fragile business landscape (have people noticed everyone buying up competitors, seems more bloody and hellacious then fragile). Then there are the phrases such as you can’t have your cake and eat it too (sorry I thought the point of having cake was to eat it, my mistake, perhaps I shall try the pie).

So, now we are going to do something fun. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we have devised a means of taking any memo and refine it to the barebones information. Therefore I present the executive memo:

TO: Company Family
FROM: Pointy Haired President
I would like to take the time to get our big happy family reacquainted after the long vaca break. Welcome back to work there are a number of procedural ramifications that have designed a synergistic exemplar hegemony of understanding.

From a customer centric viewpoint, remember that the solution is within the grasp of the preliminary synergistic schemas involved with our latest services. On this point, R&D will move the plane onto the runway so as to reamortiz the viral marketing campaigns.

The holistic paradigm shifts we have seen over the past weeks have laid before us an interesting topic for discourse. Therefore, I find that we have but one path to tread between the sides of disparaging goodwill.

Pointy-Haired Kitten Co. is determined to promote constant attention in regards to the concurrent procedures of transacting business focusing emphasis on innovative ways to better, if not supersede, the expectations of quality!

In a purely, scientific exploration, let’s see what this memo really says:

TO: Senseless Cogs
FROM: Your Supreme, Yet Incredibly Attractive, Leader
I am glad that my minions are coming back from a tax-break induced holiday. Thankfully, everyone has returned because there is a lot of work to do that I do not understand.

The customers hate our services and have told us so. Therefore, we need to find a way to throw a large amount of money at a marketing campaign to make us appear nice and fluffy.

A ton of lawsuits have occurred while you were all enjoying yourselves and I am angry at you all. We need to find a way to handle this so I am not at fault.

I will continue to run the business as usual while my minions will have to work a lot harder.

And on this note I need to get back to work and start writing up the TPS reports. Happy hosting!

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Part 2 of my interview with Tom McCafferty, Director of Marketing and rockstar of Vyatta.

David: What was the original design of the company? Was it originally just to be software or did you want software and hardware at the same time?

McCafferty: Software definitely software..we still consider ourselves a software company. We haven’t changed our focus at all.  All the hardware that we have is really zero-customization; X86 off the shelf boxes. We brand them….

David: Yeah with the cool little paint job.

McCafferty: That’s right. There is nothing-special going on.  It is the same boxes, pretty much the same performance you’re gonna get from sourcing IBM, Dell, Sun or whatever you want to run it on. It doesn’t matter.

David: And you can use blades.

McCafferty: A lot of hosting guys are doing that. You can have a router blade. The nice thing about running it on a blade server is it’s a lot easier to keep an on-the-spot blade then it is to keep whole spare part Cisco boxes around.  You can always turn a blade that is doing something non-essential….

David: And you can just plug it in.

McCafferty: That’s right.

David: What are you looking to do in the future? What’s the next thing on the horizon? You talking making a smaller box maybe….

McCafferty: We’re going smaller and bigger.  Again, it’s not about the box. It’s just about… I guess on the low end it is about putting it on some cheaper hardware.

David: So people can just plug it in and not deal with it.

McCafferty: We can get a price point down there because we know when you put it on a small set like a router board; you’re not going to be supporting multiple BGPs feeds.

We’re looking higher as well.  Lot of new features, so the next version includes intrusion detection and anti-virus and those things are waiting to go live. You know they show up in most other router solutions right now.  Its’ about rounding out that feature set. We have to make sure that pretty much feature for feature we can hang, across the board. I would say that by the end of this year with our VC5 release we will be there mostly feature for feature… core features. There are so many things that you can do with a Cisco box that most people would never touch anyway. You take a core set of features that anybody from an SMB  to  even a good size enterprise or server provider and we will be able to cover that no problem.

Business wise build up the channel. We are working hard on that right now. 130 or so channel members today.  That will probably be closer to 200-250 at the end of the year. That’s great for us. That is definitely playing into our goal for now.

David: Well it was good talking with you.

McCaffery: Yeah. Yeah it was good talking to you.

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At HostingCon 2008, I managed to sit down with many movers and shakers of the industry. My interviews are more conversations between professionals and as such can take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. Due to this, I have split the interviews into numerous parts. The following is my interview with Vyatta representative Tom McCafferty, Director of Marketing.

David: Let’s start with just give a brief overview of what you do.

McCafferty: Vyatta is open source networking. Router, Firewall and VPN, plus Intrusion Detection, the goal is to continue to add as many other open source projects as we can that make sense for the networking space. Cisco replacement is our goal.To be the open source Cisco replacement. It’s open source software that runs on standard hardware and  we will do everything we can to make sure that it outperforms Cisco.

David: Is it like Cisco in a black box method or can anyone troubleshoot it if they have a major problem?

McCafferty: Pretty much anybody could. It looks and acts very much like Cisco in general. That’s a lot of what we bring to the table is that we’ve taken all these projects and wrapped  them up in a command line that any body whose played with the Cisco box or Juniper for that matter can pick up pretty quickly.

On the flipside, if you are a Linux guy you can do it. You can run Linux commands pretty much the same as you would already. Which plays well in the hosting Industry.

We definitely find more Linux guys then are, say BGP [border gateway protocol] router jocks, so being able to give them some sort of happy medium works out nicely. The only thing that nice in this space is the standard hardware. Right? Most guys have either have a relationship with somebody they are getting the servers from now or there is always a spare they can just put it on and play with.

David: How much have you grown since last year?

McCafferty: Grown company wise grown?

David: Customer wise.

McCafferty: Customers… a ton. Do you want me to give you a count?

[laughter ensues]

McCafferty: I could if you really had to have it.

David: Percentage wise would work.

McCafferty: Percentage wise… 500%.  If you keep in mind, when we did last year was months out of the gate not years a lot of tired kickers then. A good perspective would gone from probably last year about this time a number of downloads was probably 30 to 40 thousand to right now we are over 200 thousand. So, we did hundred thousand downloads in the first two years to hundred thousand the first six months.

David: Yeah, I would say that is pretty good.

McCafferty: It is certainly popular.

David: What do you find to be the biggest roadblock that you face selling your product?

McCafferty: To this particular space you’ve got a lot of guys that we’ve been talking to today were saying, they’re a Cisco Shop. That’s just what they are. I don’t know if that is a matter of if you spend a lot of money and spending a lot of time getting the CCIE who want to keep their job. When you get into larger providers, that’s the big one, we are a Cisco Shop. My response is take the software, you know what play with it see it! That the big hurdle for us. I think as the economy slums along I think people are going to be changing their minds.

David: Yes I can imagine. I was looking at the cost.

McCafferty: Yeah, we feel pretty good about that.

David: Yes. Why should I update my Cisco Network when ….

McCafferty: Doors are going to open that is for sure. You know in a lot of ways it is a radical change for people. They are used to you go out and you  buy a fill in the blank Cisco something you are probably going to learn some commands and that is what you live with forever. When you come to us and you notice it is software based, you can run it on blade server, you can run it off whatever. You watch light bulbs go off but they don’t necessarily know what to do with it right away. We see that sales have really taken off and that our customer cycle is longer then what we originally expected. People kick the tires for a good 6 to 9 months because it is free software, free download and that wasn’t unexpected for us. Coming out of it, we thought this should be fairly easy replacement; we are up against Cisco where upgrading the card will cost you more than our product. Why wouldn’t you?

David: And it’s better as far as efficiency and all that rest too.

McCafferty: The performances are there and then some. Yeah. You get an entire solution and support for a fraction of what the Cisco card costs you in some cases. Especially as you get up to the higher end stuff like the 7200 class stuff.

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The conclusion to my interview with Michael van Dijken and John Zanni, both from Microsoft.

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Part 2 of my interview of Michael van Dijken and John Zanni of Microsoft from Hostingcon 2008.

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