LucidWorks Makes Exciting Leadership Announcements

July 1, 2013

LucidWorks continues to grow and expand, not just in the open source community, but in the enterprise and Big Data community at large. In response to the growth, LucidWorks is adding to its leadership. Read all the details in the press release offered by PR Newswire, “LucidWorks Announces Board and Leadership Appointments.”

The release says:

LucidWorks, the company transforming the way people access information, today announced that Grant Ingersoll, CTO and co-founder of LucidWorks, has been named to the board of directors. The company also announced that Will Hayes, previously head of Splunk business development, has joined LucidWorks as chief product and marketing officer. The changes will enable LucidWorks to continue its rapid worldwide growth in response to surging demand for highly accurate, scalable and cost-effective search applications. The moves will also help LucidWorks become an even stronger partner and technology resource for the Lucene/Solr developer community.”

Ingersoll has been with the company since the beginning and continues to provide visionary leadership. Hayes joins the team bringing an eye for marketing and business savvy, rounding out the current team. The LucidWorks Search and LucidWorks Big Data offerings have been big hits at the major conferences this year including Berlin Buzzwords, Lucene Revolution, and the Hadoop Summit. Keep an eye on LucidWorks as the excitement continues.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 1, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search

Autonomy Founder Surfaces

July 30, 2012

By now we should all be familiar with HP’s purchase of big data company Autonomy that occurred last year. Some of us have also been following what HP seems to be planning for its property. But what about Autonomy’s founder? What has he been up to since the lucrative deal went through? Business Insider reports, “Looks Like Autonomy Founder Mike Lynch Will Become a Big-Shot London VC.” Writer Julie Bort tells us:

“Mike Lynch, the British founder of big-data company Autonomy is about to fire up a tech venture fund in London, Bloomberg reports. . . .

“Autonomy’s founder and CEO Mike Lynch joined HP at [the time of the acquisition]. But in May, during the company’s last quarterly earnings call, current CEO Meg Whitman said that Autonomy’s sales had been ‘disappointing’ and that Lynch was leaving HP.

“We haven’t heard much about Lynch since.”

Bort notes that, long before HP, Lynch was named Britain’s first software billionaire in 2000. The life of a technology venture capitalist seems like a natural extension of that title, she observes.

Autonomy was founded in 1996, with technology that evolved from research originally performed at Cambridge University. The company maintains dual headquarters in Cambridge, UK, and San Francisco, with satellite offices worldwide.

Cynthia Murrell, July 30, 2012

Sponsored by PolySpot

Tibco Performs Well and Axes Sales Exec

July 11, 2012

Infrastructure software outfit Tibco has had a busy time recently. Presumably, the company is happily celebrating its strong quarter; the Wall St. Cheat Sheet informs us, “TIBCO Software Earnings: Beats Analysists’ Estimates.” Meanwhile, we learn they have reshuffled some staff in Reuters’ “Tibco Removes Americas Sales Head.”

Tibco’s second quarter net income rose by 26% over the first quarter, from $21 million to $26.6 million. Their adjusted net income came to 26 cents per share, smashing the expectations of only 17 cents per share. This is the fourth quarter in a row Tibco has exceeded forecasts. Will they surprise the prognosticators again next quarter? Perhaps; the Wall St. Cheat Sheet write up reports that “analysts appear increasingly negative about the company’s results for the next quarter.” You’d think they’d learn.

The Reuters’ piece illustrates one potential reason for Tibco’s success—they fix things that aren’t working for them. The performance of their former US head of sales did not meet with expectations, so they have simply removed him. Regional sales vice presidents in this hemisphere will now report directly to the executive VP of global sales. The article reports:

“‘I was not happy with the way we were executing for the last three or four quarters,’ Chief Executive Vivek Ranadivé said on a conference call with analysts. ‘We felt that execution in other geographies like Europe and Asia was very strong. I felt we were leaving too much money on the table.’

“Sales at Tibco’s Americas business grew 13 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 22 percent growth in Europe and 27 percent in Asia. The Americas accounted for more than half of the company’s overall sales in 2011.”

Tibco‘s infrastructure platform focuses on real-time event processing and on easy-to-understand analytics. The company’s headquarters are in Palo Alto, CA, but it has offices around the world. Launched in 1997, Tibco workers prides themselves on “flawless” execution and delivery, and seem to enjoy helping clients navigate today’s shifting business landscape.

Cynthia Murrell, July 11, 2012

Sponsored by PolySpot

The Case for Reasonable Hours: Fact or Fiction?

May 10, 2012

Inspired by Sheryl Sandberg, Inc.’s Geoffrey James calls for us to “Stop Working More Than 40 Hours a Week.” Though Facebook COO Sandberg has been leaving on time to get home to her kids for seven years, the powerful executive only recently felt she could admit the fact in a culture where long hours are now required for workers to be considered dedicated and, by extension, worthy of raises and advancement. James points out that the excruciating trend has gained the upper hand despite longstanding evidence that working over 40 hours per week actually decreases performance. He writes:

“In the early 1900s, Ford Motor ran dozens of tests to discover the optimum work hours for worker productivity.  They discovered that the ‘sweet spot’ is 40 hours a week–and that, while adding another 20 hours provides a minor increase in productivity, that increase only lasts for three to four weeks, and then turns negative.

“Anyone who’s spent time in a corporate environment knows that what was true of factory workers a hundred years ago is true of office workers today.  People who put in a solid 40 hours a week get more done than those who regularly work 60 or more hours.”

This logic has shades of Henri Poincaré to be sure, but the advocates of balance have a point. People who just keep on keeping on past their 40 hours are at risk for burnout, which makes them far less productive. Just because you’re at your desk typing or clicking away does not mean you are doing a good job. Anyone who has had to redo work they (or worse, their colleague) did the night before, when intellectually numb and aching to get home to loved ones, can attest to that.

We think that opinions about how long to work are okay. The reality is that hard work often contributes to success. In fact, for some, work is play so it continues around the clock. We prefer the work mode. It validates self concept, generates revenue, and seems more productive than watching random YouTube videos.

Cynthia Murrell, May 10, 2012

Sponsored by PolySpot

Yahoo Loses a Wizard: Raghavan Jumps to the GOOG

March 5, 2012

Flash back to 2007. My Google Version 2.0 was in press but BearStearns learned about the study and asked me to create a short version of Ramanathan Guha’s Programmable Search Engine (PSE) chapter in my monograph, Google Version 2.0.

The BearStearns’ document was “Google’s Semantic Web: The Radical change Coming to Search and the Profound Implications to Yahoo! & Microsoft”, published May 16, 2007, by the BearStearns’ equity research unit. Maybe a former BearStearns’ wizard will have a copy of this document. I am not permitted to make mine available, but a single quote seems appropriate. One key point in the Guha semantic write up was:

“For Yahoo!, we believ3e it does not have the balance sheet, technical expertise, or patent availability to copy Google’s moves and is left with three choices: 1) Ignore Google, 2) Partner with a larger tech focused firms, or 3) outsource search to Google.” (Page 1)

As we now know in 2012, Yahoo ignored Google, blew off Microsoft, and began a drift to the margins of the epicenter of online revenue. Forget semantics, Yahoo management between 2007 and the most recent upheaval sort of watched the world go by.

You are affected by the semantic wizards work when you use Google to some degree, but it is a “plumbing” solution. Users don’t see Google semantics and the labors of Drs. Guha, Halevy, and others. Now BearStearns is history, risen the the place in heaven where bridge players and Type A MBAs go when a big US financial ship goes under.

In the New York office in 2007, I participated in a call from a person (Prabhakar Raghavan, whom I knew only from his conference presentations at the late but not lamented Boston Search Engine Meeting.)

When I learned that Dr. Raghavan would be on the “push back” call about the BearStearns’ Guha report and the PSE I flashed back to an April in the late 1980s. There was a downright memorable presentation by a well credential PhD from Verity. The speaker upon whom my lousy memory flashed was Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan. His talk from the late 1980s tickled my hippocampus. At that Search Engine Meeting, he enthusiastically explained how Verity, then an increasingly financially challenged search vendor with out-of-date technology–wanted to charge customers by “cell” of data traversed when performing query processing. The notion of taxi meter approach to enterprise search was unusual and somewhat interesting. Even in the late 1980s, the amount of digital data people wanted to search within an enterprise was growing each month. But variable or taxi meter pricing was going to be a tough sell. I interpreted the idea with this metaphor: an out of balance wheel on a 1985 Crown Victoria taxi. I thought it was more prudent to covert to a limo service with corporate accounts, fixed rates, and a predictable revenue stream.

Now back to 2007 in the Big Apple sitting about the Polycom listening to the ghostly voices in Silicon Valley:

On that Yahoo 2007 call with BearStearns and Dr.Raghavan about my report on the PSE and its possible impact on Google’s position in Web search, I wrote down this note to myself:

Raghavan… “We have semantic technology at Yahoo. Just watch what we do with it.”

This quote was one I tucked away. Frankly there was nothing to watch. But despite his apparent authority, it was far short of his fascinating statement about charging by the cell when a Verity licensee ran a query.

Now Dr. Raghavan has moved to Google. I learned this in the “Exclusive: Yahoo Labs Head Raghavan Departing to Google” write up by Kara Swisher. She reported:

Prabhakar Raghavan, the well-respected head of Yahoo’s Labs unit and also recently its head of strategy, is leaving the company to take a job at Google. The departure comes ahead of possibly deep cuts in his division, which is in charge of long-term research at the Silicon Valley Internet giant, said sources.

Will Dr. Raghavan contribute to semantic activities at Google or will he provide pricing inputs? Yahoo and semantics never buried the needle on my excitement meter. To be fair, semantic technology is a work in progress in my opinion.

The pricing approach, articulated when he was affiliated with Verity, did pique my interest. Worth watching what projects on which he will labor at the GOOG. I hope it is pricing. Dr. Raghavan’s ideas may be exactly what Googzilla needs.

Stephen E Arnold, March 5, 2012

Sponsored by Pandia.com

Ektron Lands an Endeca Wizard

February 28, 2012

This shift from Oracle Endeca to Ektron was an interesting move. Unlike the jump of Daniel Tunkelang from Endeca to Google to LinkedIn, Tim McKinnon’s departure sparks goose curiosity.

Ektron, a company that focuses on customer’s digital experiences on various Internet media channels such as websites and social network sites, has recently hired former Endeca Chief Technology Officer, Tim McKinnon, as their new CTO. According to the recent PRNewswire report in a dead tree denizen, the Sacramento Bee reported“Tim McKinnon Joins Ektron as Chief Technology Officer”, McKinnon’s responsibilities will include product innovation and technology strategy. As the report summarizes, McKinnon’s experience make him the ideal candidate to help Ektron’s technology and growth initiatives, explaining:

Prior to Oracle/Endeca, Tim held the chief technologist role in the Digital Marketing Platform Group at Microsoft, where he led strategic development for Microsoft’s search and web content management initiatives. He joined Microsoft via the acquisition of FAST Search & Transfer, where he spent 10 years in a variety of engineering leadership roles.

The article also quotes McKinnon as saying:

Ektron’s vision and execution for a web content management and digital marketing nexus is unmatched….Customer experience is a top priority for executives and marketing teams, and I look forward to helping Ektron customers and partners to capitalize in this area.

Considering his background and successes in working with industry leading companies such as Endeca and Microsoft, we have no doubt that McKinnon will contribute to a bright and prosperous future for Ektron.

However, Ektron is a Microsoft centric outfit I think. The loss of two CTOs suggests that the technology challenge at Endeca may be more significant than I assumed. With the largesse of Oracle and its super fast hardware, Endeca should be in digital hog heaven. Now another farm looks more attractive. Anyone ever been to a farm, a real live working farm?

Stacey Duwe, February 28, 2012

Sponsored by Pandia.com