For some Carrier Neutral are dirty words

A carrier neutral data center is standard requirements for many and they don't look at a facility unless it is carrier neutral.

What Is A Cloud And Carrier-Neutral Data Centre?

A truly neutral data centre provider is one that is independent of the companies colocating in the data centre, does not compete with them in any way, and offers no packaged services as part of colocation. Customers are free to contract directly with the providers of their choice.

If you open your eyes and look at those whose business model is not aligned with carrier neutral, then you may realize carrier neutral is a dirty word that is offensive.  The question you need to ask is do you want to work with those who find "carrier neutral" offensive.  If you do, then you should not make use of the words "carrier neutral." 

I made this realization 6 months ago, and it has allowed me to look at new business opportunities.  In Japan on vacation it even helped me see something that was right in front of me for years. NTT, KDDI, Softbank are the major carriers fiercely competing.

As the iPhone sweeps Japan’s smartphone market, NTT Docomo has shifted the competitive focus to calling plans with its new unlimited-talk arrangement. Meanwhile, pending changes in telecommunications regulations promise either to strengthen the position of the former NTT monopoly or to blow the mobile market wide open. Ishikawa Tsutsumu reports.

Since Japan’s leading mobile operator NTT Docomo joined its two major competitors in offering the iPhone last September, the nation’s mobile phone market has fallen into a state of virtual homogeneity, with little to distinguish the three main carriers in terms of handsets or services. This has set the stage for the kind of price war that all the providers are anxious to avoid.
Playing “Chicken” with Cash-Back Offers

According to data compiled by market research company Kantar Japan, iPhones accounted for 68.7% of smartphones sold between November 2013 and January 2014. With Docomo, KDDI (which offers mobile service under the Au brand), and SoftBank all offering the dominant iPhone along with Android handsets, customers were no longer choosing a mobile carrier on the basis of its lineup of devices.

If you dig deeper one of these companies would not only find carrier neutral offensive there are others in positions of influence who would also be offended.

Being offensive does work when you are among like minded people.  Below is George Carlin's infamous 7 dirty words skit.  It is funny to many and there is another group who find this offensive.

Planning a Trip to Japan, working on the logistics

I started traveling to Japan in 1987 and my last trip was in 1993.  During that time I took about 20 trips working on monitors, power supplies, printers, keyboards, mice, system software and fonts with companies like Sony, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Morisawa, Ryobi for Apple and Microsoft.  Out of all the travel I spent little time on vacation except for short weekends for trips that lasted more than a week.

Taking the family to Japan I could leverage all those years of travel and plan a trip that would work.

Luckily I was able to use mileage points in January to book 4 round trip coach tickets from Seattle to Haneda airport.  Delta shuts down the Haneda flight from Oct until Mar, and restarts the flights on Mar 30.  Haneda is so much more convenient for getting into Tokyo with a 20 min train ride into Shinagawa station.  We arrived late as our flight delayed and it was after midnight when we got in.  A taxi ride was less than $70 which was fine for the our of us.

For hotels people will typically try the Ryokan for a traditional experience.  I went for convenience and booked at a range of Starwood Hotels.  I could easily book online and modify the reservations.  To start I booked hotels to see how the flow would work.  Then my daughter talked to one of her friends and she said Miyajima to pet the deer was the highlight.

Miyajima : One of the top three scenic spots in Japan
The Island of Gods, well known for its floating shrine and Otorii.

Miyajima Island, one of the most scenic spots in Japan, has long been regarded as an Island of Gods on the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. It is a romantic and historical island where Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site, is located, along with the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen, and numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments.

Miyajima is near Hiroshima.  So changed the hotel reservations to add Hiroshima.  JR Rail Pass was making sense to travel.  looked at options and decided on 7 day pass green car for the four of us.  the Green car was worth it for the extra room and being to reserve seats for the four us together and spin the seats so we can face each other.  We were in Japan for 10 days, but we only needed the JR Rail pass for the first part.  the last days we were in Tokyo.

To get an idea for travel times I used Hyperdia.  This gave me an idea of what we could do. Our list of travel points were Haneda, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo, and back to Haneda.

”HyperDia” is a service which offers the route and the timetable of the railway and the aviation of Japan.
With simple operation, “HyperDia” guides the optimal route and the fare from starting point to end.
The route search engine is made by self-developed technology.
By applying this route search engine, it is possible to make link to regional information, for example, map information, a rental car and the golf-course etc around the station from the search result.
So, it is possible to offer the information which is possessed with your corporation sight effectively.

I used Hyperdia regularly to figure out what trains, times, and platforms to go to.  After getting the JR Pass in Japan I started booking bullet train reserved tickets between the cities.  The hard part is you cannot start booking tickets until you exchange your tickets in Japan.  We had to wait for room for 4 green car reserved for a couple of hours in Shinagawa, but it was worth it given the 4 1/2 hours on trains to Hiroshima.

To get Internet access I rented a standard wifi device for $55 for 10 days.  The wifi was shared between all us who ran our phones in airplane mode in Japan with wifi on.  The family could e-mail, text, snapchat, and even facetime over the wifi device.  I spent most of my time looking up travel details.

For food, we tried to find restaurants to go to based on recommendations, but eventually just started wandering around an area and looking at what looked most interesting to try.

What did work out well for planning ahead was contacting the concierge at the Westin Osaka for baseball tickets to a Hanshin Tigers baseball game.  It was a the 80th anniversary so it was hat day.

Been on Vacation, Families First Trip to Japan

I took a break from writing as we have been on vacation.

I promised my daughter I would take her to Japan when she was little.  I told her when she turned 10 we could go, but we put it off.  Now she is 13.  My son turned 11.  Spring break was coming up and luckily I could use mileage points for 4 tickets to Tokyo.

For this trip we took no computers, no tablets. Just 4 iPhones  one Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and nice camera (Sony RX100iii).

Below is a great noodle place we ate at the Ohara District an hour out of Kyoto.

Kids had a blast of course.


A Story on Gigaom's Fall

Re/code has a post they researched on the demise of Gigaom.

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. 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

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 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.