Friday, November 10, 2006

Web 2.0 Report

If I had to sum up a simple message from this years Web2.0 I would say that it's the realization that the Internet IS the platform and let's stop talking about it and start getting on with it. AOL announced that they will open AIM. Their new slogan "open in every way." With Google, Amazon, Yahoo and you can implement a very sophisticated application and host it virtually for free. Marc Benioff has put aside the whole 5th floor of the old Seibel building (which he got cheap) for entrepreneurs to create mashups that salesforce will help them monetize.

The implication of this is certainly felt by the VC community which judging from the attendee list was very well represented. Today a start-up can create a product with free Internet software services from Google, Amazon, AOL, Yahoo and Gather a critical mass of users and create immediate value. This new formula for success has very low risk and potentially very high return. The key is identifying a problem and optimizing everything for the user. The prime example of the power of user generated content and listening to what users want is Craig's list.

Craig's list CEO, Jim Buckmaster put it succinctly saying "defer to users early and often." Craig's list is the 7th most visited Internet property but only has 18 employees which is several orders of magnitude less than anyone in the top ten.

In fact many of the start-ups indicated that their VC money was still in the bank. In the session with Ram Shriram and Roger McNamee both agreed there is a lot of money out there for Web2.0 companies. After a question from a young entrepreneur on how much of her company to give up to VCs the question of smart money vs. dumb money came up. Roger pointed to Ram saying "he's the smart money." Roger went onto say the the best way to know the smart money is - If you can call (your investor) with good news or bad news at 2AM then that's the smart money. Ram shared his criteria for investment. He looks for the passion of the founders. If they have found a problem to solve and are passionate about solving it, then he's in. It's not a question of understanding the business plan. That can come later.

In the session with Jeff Bezos, Jeff explained that Amazon's biggest cost is idle time. This is why they are making Amazon's infrastructure available at a very low cost as services over the web. Some of the prices he mentioned.
  • S3 - 15 cents GB/month
  • EC2 - about $70/month
  • Alexa Web Search - 30 cents/1000 requests

The computing is completely elastic. In the future you will be able to send inventory to Amazon's warehouses with a webservices call. Later you can send specific items anywhere with another webservices call. This is further proof that you can easily leverage all of Amazon's infrastructure at very low cost to build your own company.

The other main theme was how convergence of media and the Internet is creating disruption. The buzz was all about Google's acquisition of YouTube and the problem of digital rights that exists every where user generated content is published. It seems a problem that can be solved with a lot less posturing then we're seeing. The rumor is that Google set aside $500M to pay for content rights in the YouTube acquisition. This video of Colbert makes the point.

To set the stage for irreverence, the conference featured 40 shorts. This one opened the conference.

From The Desk
From the Desk

Richard Treadway

Monday, November 06, 2006

Off to Web2.0

Well I'm off to the Web2.0 conference in San Francisco. I'm really looking forward to it. Last year I signed up late and couldn't get in. This year I made sure to sign up early and fotunately made it in. I heard that 5000 people applied but didn't get in. Lucky me.

More from the conference.

From The Desk
From the Desk

Richard Treadway

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Say One Simple Thing - Repeat

Car with 4 Steering Wheels

I've just concluded a prolonged engagement at Kabira as their Interim VP of Marketing. The project involved a deep dive into the world of high performance transaction processing. Miles away from my previous engagement with the ill fated PubSub and the blogosphere.

There is non-the-less a learning I take from both projects. That is that your marketing message must SAY ONE SIMPLE THING. While we marketers of high tech software know this to be true in practice it's not that easy. Especially if the software you develop has thousands of applications.

I have focused my marketing consultancy of helping companies find that simple positioning.

Many times this involves convincing the engineers to simplify their product from the car with the 4 steering wheels into something easier to drive. This is often hard as it means giving up some of the capabilities.

From The Desk
From the Desk

Richard Treadway

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Tag, Watch, Notify - Moving to a New Web Model

Yesterday's Mercury News had an interesting article about a number of new search / tagging services that are combining simple search with the ability to save the results including notes and share them with others. See the article by Matt Marshall here.

Ben Elgin from BusinessWeek also writes about a Search Engine for Every Subject.

I took a look at two of the services, Jeteye and Kaboodle. As a long time user of I immediately understood the value.

There are number of new services like this stemming from the problem we all have in storing interesting information and then being able to retrieve it later. Kaboodle was created by Manish Chandra because he had trouble surfing the web for items he needed in refurbishing his home. was created by Joshua Schachter because he was frustrated with the inadequacy of browser bookmarketing. Flickr's Caterina Fake brought the power of tagging to photos. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Side note, both and Flickr have been acquired by Yahoo.

Of course we all understand this problem of find things and then wanting to make use of them later. It isn't just on-line information. Remember the last time you read an article put it down and now can't find it. Or hanging your pictures, you put down your hammer and now - where the heck is it? Or you put that important document in your filling cabinet and now you can't remember which folder.

Tagging helps with this because you can put any number of tags on the same item. This means however you are thinking of a particular item the moment you are looking for it you are much more likely to find it.

But there needs to be more than just tagging, and saving. As we move to Singularity we need to transition from searching to watching, finding to notification and have it all integrated into our immediate context and location.

How about combining Jeteye,, PubSub, Rrove and Watson into a single service that works from wherever you are.

Stay tuned for more.

From The Desk
From the Desk

Richard Treadway

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Software 2006

Pundit Panel
Pundit Panel at Software 2006

I'm attending the Software 2006 conference in Santa Clara for the next 2 days. MR Rangaswami puts together this conference annually to discuss the state of the enterprise software business.

This morning Ray Lane gave his annual view of the software industry. Nothing new here but Ray always has some good insights. Some key points from Ray. Successful software companies have three attributes.

  1. Low resistance to value (Clear value, immediately recognized with decision to start as a no brainer)
  2. Viral TCO (customers pay after value is created to further viral adoption)
  3. Viral Installability (one button install to be up and running)

Viral is what it's all about.

Unfortunately the conference has turned into a forum for Indian outsourcing. There maybe some Indian outsourcing companies that aren't here but I wouldn't know them.

This afternoon we suffered through 2 shameless corporate pitches by Dave DeWalt, President of EMC Software and Thomas Kurian, SVP of Middleware at Oracle. I've never heard someone use more words to say nothing.

More tomorrow.

From The Desk
From the Desk

Richard Treadway

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dad, He's Here

Gabriel Treadway

The phone rang. It was the call I was expecting from Chris, my oldest son. "Dad, he's here, " he said.

And just like that I'm a grandfather. Chris and his wife Maureen had their first born son, Gabriel, born March 24th, 2006 at 3:57 PM in Phoenix, Arizona. Gabriel is a big boy and measured in at 8 pounds 15 ounces and 20 1/2 inches.

It is amazing to me how technology has changed how we experience a life being born. Not long ago no one would know the sex of the expected child. The father in the waiting room ready with cigars to pass around.

Today with ultra sound and other technological advances we knew a lot about Gabriel even before he was born.

And so it was. Chris' call with the simple words, "Dad, he's here" brought it home to me. The miracle of life.

From the heart

Richard Treadway

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A New Meaning of "Googled"

Google search results for Kinderstart

Today I read in the San Jose Mercury that is suing Google after it suffered a "cataclysmic fall'' in search ranking. See the article by Mark Schwanhausser here.

Indeed I tried a few searches using terms like "Kinderstart" and the first page of results did not contain a pointer to them.

Ummm... That does indeed seem strange.

The economic system would provide motivation for google to serve up results that would maximize its revenue. See this post by Steven Baker of Blogspotting.


Definition: When Google decides it does not like you and removes you from any page results.

From The Desk
From the Desk

Richard Treadway

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Almaden Valley Snow Line

Snow covers 6 story tracking
tower atop Mt Umhunum

Well spring might be just around the corner but it's snowing in Almaden Valley. With the jet stream coming in from Alaska the snow line came down below 1000 feet. Yesterday I toured the valley and got these photos.

Today Jon and I rode up Hicks road to Mt Umhunum. A tough climb - 2500 verticle in 4 miles. They should put this climb in the Amgen Tour of California next year and have a hill top finish.

Route up Mt Umhunum

Climb Profile

There is a property owner that will not allow anyone to travel the section of Mt Umhunum road that goes through his property so it is impossible to ride all the way to the top of the military base and the 6 story tracking station at the top. This is most unfortunate as it would be a world class Hors Category climb at just under 3500 vertical feet in 8 miles with much of the climb at over 13%.

From the Bike
From the bike

Richard Treadway

Monday, February 27, 2006

Internet Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Olivia LCD TV

Today's San Jose Mercury News had an article by May Wong (AP) about how the market for flat screen TVs has opened to new brands that have used a Word-of-Mouth Internet marketing strategy. This shows the power that consumer recommendations can have in a commodity market.

"At, a 32 inch Olivia flat-panel LCD TV was recently the No.1 selling TV. The relatively unknown brand ranks in Amazon's top TV vendor list, helped by positive customer reviews, according to Amazon officials."

This is further evidence that the new long-tail WOM-Internet marketing is working and having a real impact. See also Hugh MacLeod's post on success of Stormhoek.

From The Desk
From the desk

Richard Treadway

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Amgen Tour of California - Sierra Road

Climb up Sierra Road
Discovery Leads the chase up Sierra Road - Stage 2

Today the Amgen Tour of California rode through our back yard. It really was a thrill to see the world's best cyclists hammering up the very hill I climbed just the day before. Sierra is a tough climb rising 2000 feet in under 4 miles. It took me 39 minutes to climb it. The pros would climb it in 20 minutes.

I had no idea just how big this event would be and I certainly was surprised. As we waited on Sierra for the race to arrive the road gradually began to fill with hundreds of spectators. Jon and I had positioned ourselves about 1/3 of the way up and found a good spot to catch the action. A steep right hand turn. From our vantage point we could see down to the intersection of Sierra and Piedmont roads where the racers would turn left and start the climb.

People with cell phones getting updates on the peleton's progress... They're 30 minutes away! Then suddenly the skies filled with helicopters, motor cycles, police cars honking their horns and camera crews all whizzing by. It was like an invasion. Then the leaders on the climb. Yes with the same cross eyed brain dead look that marks the absolute concentration required to climb a 13% grade at 13+ mph at your HRMAX. Savoldelli, Hindcapie, Simoni all fly by. WOW.

Here are my photos from the stage

From the Bike
From the bike

Richard Treadway

Friday, February 10, 2006

Publish Subscribe Press Releases

Here's more evidence that the web is moving from request-response to publish-subscribe.

As noted by Tom Biro, PR Newswire now has a button that enables readers to tag press releases with

Steve Rubel takes this one step further in his post Social Press Releases with idea that if a press release were like a blog post it would enable a conversation through posted comments.

This points once again to the need for a new application that lets you be notified of puslished events that are material to you. As I discussed here that application is not an RSS reader.

From The Desk
From the desk

Richard Treadway

Meditation Point

Santa Teresa Park...

Sitting on a rock at meditation point.
What do you hear? What do you see?

Wind in your face to the south. Sun in your face to the north.
The first day of spring. In with some rain. Out with some sun.
Only the faint signs of life. Bird's song issuing the new bright green grass of spring.

Deep tracks in the hard baked mud of winter. Signs that there are other inhabitants you can't see, but certain they can see you.

Can you be still enough?
Can you be observant enough?
Can you be patient enough?
Can you be quite enough?
To hear and see and feel what you know is there.

From The Trail

Richard Treadway

Monday, February 06, 2006

Morning Coffee

After a difficult 2 weeks at work it's a great pleasure to enjoy an early leisurely morning outdoors having breakfast in the cool sun. Birds chirping. Sounds of the day awakening.

Each time I spend a morning like this it takes me back to my time in in Cassis, Provence. The early morning when the air is still cool, the wind is calm and the smell of pines is abundant.

It belongs to the early birds. Those that service the tourist industry, working diligently and efficiently to prepare for the new day. Cleaning the sidewalks, cafe tables and beaches in anticipation of the tourist onslaught.

Those moments of industry, so purposeful, so practiced, so efficient, followed by sleepy eyed tourists wondering about with no particular purpose but for that all important cup of coffee. It's a time when everyone can tell the tourist from the local.

Gradually the sun becomes stronger and the "cigals" start their chorus. You have to look hard to find the locals, their time of preparation spent, the tourist onslaught overwhelms them. The lazy moment of the wondering tourists ends as the early birds fly away into the mayhem of the crowed streets.

From the heart

Richard Treadway

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lost in Time On A Horse With Two Wheels

Cowboy Country From the Bike
Originally uploaded by Richard Treadway.

I took a great ride in the back roads of Hollister today with my son Jon. Just like San Juan Batista this area is lost in time. Cattle farms that have changed very little since the late 1800s dot the landscape as cows graze peacefully. This must be where they film the "Happy Cows" cheese commercials. I think if I were a cow this would be the place to be.

When I look out at the undeveloped land I'm taken back to a time when we'd be riding horses not bicycles.

Into The Hills

Old Barn

Here are the other pictures I took on the ride.

The day was perfect and the temperature was cooling in the mid 50s. The hills are all golden this time of year and made for a real contrast to my rides last week in New Hampshire.

Here is a part of the route.

Jon and I made a plan to do this ride again in the Spring when all these hills will be emerald green. Earlier this week a major bicycle race, the Tour of California will go through this area in February. That should be a perfect time to highlight the beauty of the region.

I'm looking forward to it.

From the Bike
Originally uploaded by Richard Treadway.

Richard Treadway

Enter at Your Own Risk

Enter at Your Own Risk
San Cristobal Mine, Quicksilver Park

My Brother was visiting for Christmas and to give him reprieve from the flatlands of Florida I took him on a 4 mile hike in Quicksilver Park to the San Cristobal Mine.

Quicksilver is a magical place that has loads of wildlife and plenty of ruins from the mines that closed down in 1972. A great place to take out of towners that is authentic and not touristy. I know that trials well as I ride my mountain bike on the English Camp - Bull Run loop often. In the years I have been visiting I have seen wild boar, bobcats, wild turkeys, coyotes, rabbits, deer and even a mountain lion.

It must have been a hard life as a miner but when you finally did get out of the mines you could rejoice in the surrounding beauty. The kids of Quicksilver must have been a tough bunch as well if this class picture in any indication.

English Camp School Photo
English Camp School Kids

The hike to the mine is a little over 2 miles mostly uphill with a mild 6% grade. The day was cloudly but warm as we've had a series of storms driven by a jet stream straight from Hawaii known as the pineapple express.

On entering the mine the air is strangely warmer and our glasses steamed up as did the camera lenses. The mine has been closed off about 100 feet in. Looking beyond the barrier gives you an idea of what cramped quarters the miners must have had to work in. It certainly gives you an erie feeling even though you are only 100 feet in. The rails remain in the entrance which makes for nice picture looking out.

Into The Light
Into The Light

You can see all the photos from the outing here on flickr

From The Trail

Richard Treadway