A Story on Gigaom's Fall

Re/code has a post they researched on the demise of Gigaom. http://recode.net/2015/03/14/the-long-story-behind-gigaoms-sudden-demise/

But, behind the scenes, Gigaom’s managers and investors had known the company was in serious peril for more than two months. And while they hadn’t discussed it publicly, its backers had been trying to fix the company for at least a year by pouring millions more into the publisher and swapping out executives.

The money was so short they couldn't host a Gigaom Structure Data schedule for this week.

Yet Gigaom needed even more money. Sources said the company wasn’t going to be able to produce an enterprise software conference in New York, which sold tickets for a list price of $1,255.50 and was scheduled for next week, because it didn’t have enough cash to pay vendors to stage the show. That kicked off the last-ditch effort to sell the business.

The area that Re/code focuses on caused the biggest losses was the Research group.

But Gigaom’s research business had actually become a significant drag on the company. While it had started out as a “pro” subscription business charging individuals as much as $299 a year, after a couple of pivots, the company’s research arm was now focused on creating custom white papers and other products, like Webinars, for corporate clients. While that group booked $8 million in business last year, it wasn’t profitable. That was partly due to high sales and product costs and but also because some of that $8 million never materialized as the company didn’t create the work it was supposed to. (Here’s a post from former Gigaom research head Michael Wolf, who says the company raised too much money to fulfill unrealistic growth expectations, and then mismanaged the money it raised).

Disclosure: I used to work freelance for Gigaom Research.  I decided in Dec 2013 to stop writing white papers and in June 2014 I stopped briefings and webinars. By Mar 2015 I was no longer actively working on any Gigaom activities other than being a speaker at Gigaom Structure in June 2015.

My History with Gigaom, start as an attendee, finishing with many friends and a great experience

In June 2011 I attended Gigaom Structure for the first time as a blogger, meeting many great people. A lot I had known through blogging like Barton George. http://bartongeorge.net/about/ Shortly after, Gigaom's Stacey Higginbotham reached out to Barton and asked for some one who could work for Gigaom as a freelance analyst on the data center topic, and Barton threw my name in the hat.

Note: Gigaom has been talking about data centers for a while, they just did not have someone focused on data centers. Below is when Dan Costello currently with Google spoke about Containers and a 1.3 PUE in 2008.

Microsoft Presentation on Containers at GigaOM's Structure 2008 - a PUE of 1.3!

THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2008 AT 2:47AM

PCWorld reports on a Container presentation by Microsoft's Daniel Costello, Director of data center research at GigaOm's Structure 08.

"The idea of modular, portable data centers is key to the industry's future," said Daniel Costello, Microsoft director of data center research, in a presentation at GigaOM's Structure 08 conference in San Francisco. "That's why I'm here to talk about data centers, not just for Microsoft but for our customers as well."

In June 2012 I attended Gigaom Structure as an analyst and started to attend more Gigaom events.  Met more people.  Connected with many who I had known during my Microsoft days - Satya Nadella, Paul Maritz, Bill Veghte, Scott Guthrie, Tod Neilsen are some.  And chatted with other industry visionary people like Urs Hoelzle, Werner Vogel, Frank Frankovsky, and so many more.  Oh and of course Om Malk.  Gigaom's events were industry leading.

In June 2013 I attend Gigaom Structure moderating a panel in addition to being an analyst.  Got a better idea of how Gigaom worked and how I fit in.  The cloud, big data, and mobile were big topics then.  Gigaom was in a leadership position with great relationships to the VC community. It is impressive how many VCs attended Gigaom events.

In June 2014 I attended Gigaom Structure again as an analyst and more of the same.  Om Malik had passed on the leadership role by exiting Gigaom.  Gigaom looked like it was on a path to be independent of its founder.  Gigaom asked me to do more analyst type of work, but unfortunately I had other commitments that took up more and more of my time, and I gradually exited the analyst role starting in June 2014.  Since that time I have not been on a Gigaom webinar or written a white paper, and became a reader of Gigaom like the rest of you.  I had insight into Gigaom and could reach out to the staff to discuss topics of mutual interest, but nothing was as a paid freelance contributor/analyst.

March 6, 2015 I was with some data center friends and I told them some strange things were going on at Gigaom as I had heard from two friends that they needed to chat off the record, and I hadn't had a chance to catch up yet.  March 9 one of the same data center friends sent me a text saying it was sad to hear about Gigaom.  And, the other friend e-mailed me the link to https://gigaom.com/2015/03/09/about-gigaom/

A brief note on our company

Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along.

— Gigaom management

Today is March 11, 2015 and I have had many friends tell me it is sad to see the end of Gigaom. Many of my Gigaom friends are without words to express their reaction to the end.  Some of the analyst I know have unpaid invoices.  Without funds the staff may not get paid or reimbursed for expenses.  At some point Gigaom.com could disappear or it could be acquired, but who would want to own the brand without the people.  The people who worked for Gigaom, spoke at its events, attended its events, and read the blog is what has value.  There was one post on Mar 10 from an analyst I saw yesterday and it has been removed.  What remains is these last three posts.  It is nice to see Stacey Higginbotham's post made it as the last post from a writer. Stacey is the one who brought me into the Gigaom group of friends.

I'll miss my Gigaom friends.

Gigaom Winding Down, sorry to see

A good friend passed on the word that Gigaom is winding down.  Om Malik posted on the ending of Gigaom.

Gigaom is winding down and its assets are now controlled by the company’s lenders. It is not how you want the story of a company you founded to end.

Every founder starts on a path — hopeful and optimistic, full of desire to build something that helps change the world for the better, reshape an industry and hopefully become independent, both metaphorically and financially. Business, much like life, is not a movie and not everyone gets to have a story book ending.

Coincidentally, I have been winding down my work with Gigaom as I work on other projects that require more of my time. These other projects made it hard to spend time as a Gigaom analyst. 

The Gigaom people who I kept in touch with mainly were the writers that I have been lucky to have many stimulating conversations. I am going to miss the chats with Barb, Katie, Jonathan, and Stacey.

And I am going to miss the staff at Gigaom and Magnify Communications who supported the Gigaom events.  Clare, David, Jill, Erin, and so many  more.


Open Compute Agenda is live

This morning the agenda went live. http://ocpussummit2015.sched.org

Here is the first morning's agenda.

Tuesday, March 10
Exhibit Hall Open Registration Open
Keynote: Welcome - Open Compute Updates - Frank Frankovsky, Chairman & President
Keynote: HP - Antonio Neri, Sr. VP & GM, HP Enterprise Group
Keynote: Facebook News - Jay Parikh, VP of Engineering, Facebook
Sponsored Talk: Intel
Keynote: Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu and Canonical
Keynote: Financial Services Adoption Panel - Peter Krey, Founder, Peter Krey & Associates - Moderator
LUNCH Exhibit Hall Open

Google's Joe Kava presenting at 7x24 Exchange chapter event, Mar 6, 2015, Hillsboro, OR

Google's Joe Kava, VP of data centers is presenting at 7x24 Exchange's Chapter Meeting in Oregon at Intel's Jones Farm Campus in Hillsboro on Friday,  Mar 6th 2015 at 10a.  The link to the event is here. http://www.7x24exchange.org/Oregon-Chapter/news+events.php.  If you are interested in attending contact Keith Knight.  keith.knight@oregon-electric.com

Google's first owned data center is in Oregon. http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/the-dalles/

Google is proud to call Oregon home to Google’s first owned and operated data center.

We opened our data center at The Dalles in 2006—investing $1.2 billion in the facility and establishing a long-term commitment to the region and state. Now a fully operational site, we’ve created over 80 full-time jobs on site, and we work hard to support the communities in which our employees live and work.

Apple, Google, Facebook lead the Green Data Center Efforts

Gigaom's Katie Fehrenbacher has written a nice piece on the green data center efforts, highlighting the leaders - Apple, Google, and Facebook.

The world’s largest internet companies are turning to clean power to run their data centers like never before. This month we saw huge clean power deals from Apple, including big solar projects planned in California and Arizona, and a big wind buy from Google to provide local power for its headquarters in Silicon Valley.

But it wasn’t always this way. It’s only been in the last several years that Apple, Google, Facebook and others have been embracing clean power as a viable option to provide a significant amount of power for their data centers, and it’s taken years for the power industry, and the internet companies themselves, to adjust to and learn about this emerging world.

Katie tells her own personal story of covering the green data center efforts starting in 2012.

I took my first road trip around the area in the summer of 2012 and wrote about the companies’ complicated relationship with the region’s dirty and clean power options. In late 2013, I took another trip to investigate Apple’s already built monumental solar farms there.

Disclosure: Katie Fehrenbacher is a friend and I will regularly discuss discuss the green data center topic when we are at events like Gigaom Structure.