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.

Data Center spying with Drones in NC is about to illegal, can you shoot a spy drone?

There have been helicopter views of Apple data centers in Maiden NC that have gone viral.  Facebook and Google are also in NC.  A helicopter can only get so close before there are restrictions and safety issues.  If you were thinking you could take a drone with you and throw it up over the fence to spy on a data center, don’t be surprised if it gets shot down by a drone hunter.

Gigaom’s Barb Darrow posts on the new NC legislation on drones being illegal for hunting or fishing.

Going huntin’ or fishin’ in North Carolina? Leave your drone at home


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North Carolina legislators are poised to approve a law that restricts the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to help hunters and fishermen find their prey.

If North Carolinians want to bag some game they’ll have to do so the old fashioned way, without help from an unmanned aerial vehicle (a.k.a., a drone) if new legislation passes in the state legislature. The state’s lower house recently unanimously passeda bill outlawing the use of drones for hunting and fishing and the state Senate is about to vote on it.

What I am curious is whether it is legal to shoot a drone since they are illegal for hunting or fishing?  How do you document an infraction?

Disclosure: I do freelance for gigaom research and know barb darrow.

5 details about Google's Cloud

Here is a post on GigaOm on 5 things your probably didn’t know about Google’s cloud.  Here is one.

1. Google Compute Engine Zones are probably in Ireland and Oklahoma

In 2012 Google released impressive internal photos of their data center facilities and mapped them out. However, the Compute Engine Zones are very non-specific, e.g. “europe-west1-a”. Indeed, they have only two geographical regions (Europe West and US Central) compared to Amazon’s nine. In addition to its 13 locations, SoftLayer has announced 15 new data centers just for this year.

Google’s networking is very opaque. If you traceroute an Amazon or SoftLayer instance, you can see where traffic is going, the network providers, and usually the locations of the routers. In contrast, Google goes into its network at the closest POP, and everything else is very hidden.

It’s possible to guess where Google is locating its cloud. A test of a Google Compute Engine instance showed round trip responses within 20ms from London, UK. If we compare that to pings from London to the three European countries where Google has facilities — Ireland, Belgium and Finland —  we can rule out Belgium and Finland because the ping round trip time is too high. Only the Ireland facility is close enough.

Google europe-west1-aAmazon eu-west (Ireland)Belgium





Disclosure: I work part-time for GigaOm Research.

Om Malik Makes a Transition from GigaOm to True Ventures

Kara Swisher on re/code writes on Om Malik’s move full time to True Ventures, leaving GigaOm.  It is funny how many times people think Om’s name is Giga Om.  Going to True Ventures, Om won’t have this problem as much.  Om is different than most media in that he has made the jump to the VC community.  Reading Kara’s post reminds me of things that make Om fit in a technical community.

A sassy tech blog with class and standards and ethics and a big, big, voice?


But Om has been much more than a disruptor. He has also been a generous and kind adviser to anyone who needed help, including to competitors; a smart and analytical writer, whose fog-horn sensibilities nearly always cut through the incessant soup of hype that blankets the Bay Area tech landscape; a terrific reporter at his core, who knows news, has a nose for news and, well, knows it.

Kara closes also making the point on Om’s name.

From Medieval Latin, omniscient means “all-knowing,” which kind of sums up Om a lot of the time.

His own name also is defined as a “mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra.” Perhaps that’s going to far — I know he’d think (and say) so.

So let’s just agree that it’s been a good name — a really good name — to represent tech journalism online and we’re all the better for it and owe him a debt of gratitude.

Here is True Ventures post on Om joining.

Om is known for his prescient thoughts about the tech industry, his deep understanding of markets and trends, and his fast friendships with most of the other thought leaders in our industry. He is the most loyal and thoughtful friend an entrepreneur could ever ask for, including all of us at True. Few people in Silicon Valley are as respected, and as someone who has known Om for a long time, I can say with absolute authority that few people are as kind.

That is why it is an incredible honor to announce today that Om Malik will join True as a full-time partner. He has detailed his decision on GigaOM, and we are unbelievably blessed to have him dedicate the majority of his time to True. Om personifies this firm’s love affair with technology, and we are so looking forward to having him, his big ideas and his big heart around a lot more.


What’s Om doing?

Status Update

I have hung up my reporter’s notebook for good and retired from the news business. I have joined early stage venture capital firm, True Ventures, as a full partner of the firm.

 It is great to see people make transitions and grow.

Disclosure: I work part time for GigaOm Research and have had the pleasure of good conversations with Om.

Microsoft Windows Azure makes move Amazon Web Services refuses to make, Tell us what Server Hardware is used in the Cloud

Some people believe the cloud is great and solve all problems.  But, those who don’t believe the hype want to know more about the data center and the hardware in the cloud.  When AWS had outages in 2012, Digital Realty Trust was forced to make it clear that the AWS outages due to power problems were not in their facilities. 

Digital Realty, DFT: No Interruptions from Virginia Storm

July 3rd, 2012By: Rich Miller


A facility at the Digital Realty Trust data center campus in Ashburn, Virginia

The two largest wholesale data center operators in the northern Virginia market said their data centers performed flawlessly during last weekend’s electrical storms, maintaining electrical power during grid outages and keeping customers online.

Microsoft made the announcement yesterday. that it is sharing its server hardware designs it uses in its Cloud.

The Microsoft cloud server specification essentially provides the blueprints for the datacenter servers we have designed to deliver the world’s most diverse portfolio of cloud services. These servers are optimized for Windows Server software and built to handle the enormous availability, scalability and efficiency requirements of Windows Azure, our global cloud platform. They offer dramatic improvements over traditional enterprise server designs: up to 40 percent server cost savings, 15 percent power efficiency gains and 50 percent reduction in deployment and service times. We also expect this server design to contribute to our environmental sustainability efforts by reducing network cabling by 1,100 miles and metal by10,000 tons across our base of 1 million servers.

GigaOm’s Barb Darrow covered the release and makes the point that Amazon Web Services doesn’t share its server hardware designs it uses.

The great unmentioned player here is Amazon Web Services, which dominates the public cloud infrastructure space to date. While Amazon Distinguished Engineer James Hamilton talks broadly about data center energy efficiency, Amazon does not publicize its server designs.

Is the future of Clouds a transparency telling the users what hardware you are running on?  Seems like it is good for users bad for the Cloud Suppliers.

Disclosure: I spend some time working for GigaOm Research and know many of the GigaOm editorial staff.