Friday, February 18, 2011

Cloudy in RSA

Well, for those of us who have been in San Francisco and anywhere near the Moscone Center for the past few days, both the weather and the messaging has been decidedly "cloudy". The weather was typical for February.

The amount of messaging tied to "the cloud" was pretty amazing. I have to say that the level of marketing pile-on I saw relative to messaging for the cloud was a little over the top. From panel sessions to banners and billboards, Cloud was pervasive. At one level, it is exciting that so many vendors see the value in delivering messages, and hopefully product, in support of cloud deployments.

However, digging a little deeper, I and others I talked with during the week have real concern that this feels like another High Tech Marketing Frenzy, not dissimilar to "Virtualization", "The Internet" and "Eyeballs" that we've seen over the course of the past 15 years. In each case, the frenzy dramatically outweighed the eventual value to customers, resulting in more than a few missed expectations for vendors, investors and customers buying into the hype. This is reinforced by customers I've talked with recently that say they need help offsetting the hype with their business users, and that the industry is doing them little favors with self-serving hype.

So, let's be careful out there folks. We all know a bandwagon when we see one, but let's not jump so high that we miss the real opportunity to deliver value to customers. Hype doesn't create value!

It was great to see everyone (and I do mean everyone!) this week.

Until aye


Monday, February 14, 2011

RSA Monday

Well, despite this being a St Valentine's Day away from home, and a damp day in San Francisco, Monday was as I had hoped.

Maria and the America's Growth Capital team once again put on a fine conference for CEOs, SVPs and interested financial organizations at the Westin SF. As for the past few years this was a very long day, but a day filled with interesting topics, old friends and colleagues, and stimulating conversation. AGC manages to bring together so many people involved in the security marketplace. Most people I saw spent the entire day discussing new opportunities, meeting old friends and finding ways to change the game.

In addition, my colleague John Soper and I met with local San Francisco lawyer David Tollen. David provides outside legal services to local tech and other firms, and also offers training to help contract and legal teams in medium-sized tech firms to help them improve their skills and comprehension. We discussed the potential to collaborate on delivering services to Business Development and legal/contract teams in those firms to help them improve communication between contract teams and BD, and to improve their overall effectiveness in completing the alliance deals they need to maintain their competitiveness in the market, and to build long-standing alliances.

Specifically, we would aim to improve the BD team's comprehension of the business issues implicit in typical alliance contracts, and their ability to communicate using structured term sheets. Likewise, to help the contract team understand the business imperatives and gain trust in the BD team's representation of the issues, to improve the overall outcome and so that otherwise legal "hard stops" can be explored more fully in the negotiation process. I am interested in whether my readers see value in this. John may bring this to the local ASAP chapter for discussion if there is interest.

Particularly exciting to me was the unexpected opportunity to spend time with an old friend from 20 years ago who has some great strategic business development opportunities. Without this conference, we'd never have talked. Because of the conference, we may both have new opportunities. Such is the magic of this week in San Francisco!

Tomorrow is the first full day of the RSA Conference - for me, a day filled with meetings and my chance to visit the show floor. I'll plan to provide a synopsis of what I see as major trends.

Until then...


Sunday, February 13, 2011

From the RSA Conference

The RSA Conference has, for me at least, become the leading Business Development event in the security industry. Combined with the America's Growth Capital conference, it makes getting together with old friends, colleagues and potential business partners easy, fun and rewarding.

So much of what BD folks do in this business is based on building trusting relationships - with partners, and most importantly between people - between colleagues - between friends. This conference enables those relationships to flourish, renew, and create new opportunities. Many former business partners and friends are working at their third or fourth company since we first did business together, and we enjoy catching up and looking for opportunities to collaborate. That's what makes this industry exciting and keeps us coming back - after soooo many years.

I'll add commentary on any interesting events as they unfold.

Good night from San Francisco!