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Jim Satloff & Neal Goldman’s AI Engine, Inform (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jul 23rd 2007

It turns out that both Jim Satloff and I happen to be Artificial Intelligence aficionados. What you read here is a discussion on Inform’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) based technology that attempts to create an interesting value proposition for publishers on the web. AI has been a notoriously difficult technology genre with big promises and relatively smaller actualization, except for the Search Engines. Let’s see if what Inform has to offer makes sense. >>>

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Taking on Business Intelligence: Lucidera CEO Ken Rudin (Part 7)

Posted on Monday, Jul 23rd 2007

SM: What stage are you at now? Revenue? Profitability? Traffic? Customers? Users? Any other metrics you track?

KR: We launched our service in Q2 of this year, and the response has been fantastic. We’ve already signed up our first set of paying customers, which is a great milestone for us.

Initially, our primary goals are based on reaching a certain number of paying customers. However, we are moving towards goals based on a key metric for an on-demand company: Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). A lot of on-demand companies focus on the bookings number, but that can be very, very misleading in a subscription service business like ours. MRR captures all aspects of the business: new customers, renewals, customer churn, discount amounts, and so on. At the end of the day, the goal is to have MRR increase by a certain percentage each month. >>>

Re-engineering the Book Business: Blurb CEO, Eileen Gittins (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 22nd 2007

SM: If I were to publish books through Blurb based on my blog writings, I would need to be able to have a paperback that sells for $5-6. I would also need to have a customized storefront on my site that seamlessly ties into yours, so that you can fulfill the order. Can I do that? Why, or why not?

EG: Today our books are not the text-driven, black and white paperback style books you reference, but rather highly illustrated, color books. The classic “trade paperback” is much, much, less expensive to produce as the paper is uncoated (does not need to carry color), the costs to print b/w are much cheaper than color, and of course paperback bindery is also less expensive that hardcover. In future, Blurb will offer this text-driven product, but not yet. In fact, we have a tool called Blog Flipper, with which you can easily convert a blog to a book. It works with WordPress, TypePad, etc. >>>

Video FAQs

Taking on Business Intelligence: Lucidera CEO Ken Rudin (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 22nd 2007

SM: What are your top target segments?

KR: We are finding a lot of success with Sales Operations managers, VP of Sales and also the CFO or Director of Finance at small and medium size companies. Those with a slightly distributed workforce and who don’t want the hassle of managing the cost associated with traditional on-premise BI solutions have demonstrated the most interest thus far. Some of our current customers include 3PAR, Ingres, KACE and Black Duck software. And, since we only started selling LucidEra in March, I’m really happy with the adoption rate. We also find the manufacturing vertical is very interested in on-demand BI services. >>>

Proof of Life: Taking responsibility for your words (for a change)

Posted on Saturday, Jul 21st 2007

By Richard Laermer, Guest Author

Let me just explain that heading, please.

Responsibility has become a buzzword. And I think it’s got to be known for more than just good psychology.

Here’s my question slash quandary: Why can’t people be careful when it’s only going to get worse for them? Why o why. Sure, you heard your parents mumble that one time or another. But I’m talking about writing. Almost everything I read has errors in it—and not because MS Grammar Check stopped its magic. I see a lot of carelessness emanating from people thinking (I think) someone else is going to make the document perfect.

Who is this someone else? Typos are mistakes you have to catch. While everyone makes minor goofs, I see major ones all the day and they’re uncanny. I’m here to ask every marketing professional to take a third and fourth look before hitting the Send key or printing on super-fancy copier paper.

Some say it’s the fault of e-mail. Sounds like a big excuse coming on. People pass their documents back and forth and add rather than correct. Since I am part of the last generation who once used typewriters and rejoiced at the invention of White Out ™, I place blame on those large monitors on our desks. There’s no way you can catch a boo-boo onscreen, but most folks won’t print out the written work. Such bother.

Today things travel casually, desk to desk, until the work goes out without someone realizing, “Wait, wait. That’s supposed to say AUNT.” (That’s a private joke for Curb Your Enthusiasm fans.) >>>

Taking on Business Intelligence: Lucidera CEO Ken Rudin (Part 5)

Posted on Saturday, Jul 21st 2007

SM: Describe the value proposition of LucidEra, including differentiation versus the rest of the market.

KR: LucidEra combines sales and financial data to give users at small-to-mid sized businesses powerful insight into the effectiveness of their entire sales operations process (including quotas, pipeline, revenues, and expenses). We firmly believe that just like the everyday consumer who has vast amounts of information at their fingertips through various websites, people should have the data they need to be successful in their business lives as well. It should be considered an employee’s right, not a privilege, to have this level of visibility into their business. In the existing BI market today, the average employee simply does not have this. No one should have to work in an environment where the right information is not readily available.

Our key differentiator is that we deliver a complete reporting and analysis solution entirely on-demand.

SM: How big is the market? How do you calculate TAM?

KR: Since we are re-inventing the Business Intelligence market, our market is essentially the Business Intelligence market (which has focused on enterprise customers) plus the midmarket which traditional BI vendors were not able to address. Below is a graph of the BI market size.

BI TAM

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Bootstrapping B:B:C Style

Posted on Friday, Jul 20th 2007

I promised B:C entrepreneurs that if I saw any silver bullet that might help you bootstrap your ventures and access consumers quickly, I will be sure to flag you. Well, here’s one.

Last week, I spoke with Rearden Commerce, a company I have covered before.
They showed me an implementation of restaurant reservation service OpenTable, which they are bringing to their 500 odd business customers, and consequently to their 100,000 users. >>>

iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: Micron

Posted on Friday, Jul 20th 2007

In this post, we will be analyzing Micron as part of the series analyzing the major players in the iPhone’s component ecosystem. The 2-megapixel camera mounted on the back of the iPhone is powered by an imaging chip from Micron.

Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE: MU) with revenues of $5.3 billion in 2006 is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of semiconductor devices. Apart from CMOS image sensors, its core products include DRAM and NAND Flash memory. To reduce its exposure to the volatile DRAM market, it is expanding into specialty memory products, NAND Flash memory products, and CMOS image sensors. >>>