Investing at the Intersection of Opportunity and Serendipity

Peter and Rafael Bracho came by my office a few months ago (probably about 6) to talk about what they were doing with this concept. As it turns out I had been thinking about something similar, I just lacked the vocabulary to describe it as eloquently as they were able to. Also, at the time I was thinking of services interfaces very much in the traditional context of hardwiring enterprise applications together, basically a better-faster-cheaper way of doing what we have traditionally done. Rafael’s pitch was profound because it obliterated the notion that you had to have well defined business processes at all, and in fact a company could operate more flexibly with a collection of loosely described processes that really were beginning and ending points and some really intelligent middleware that could figure out how and in what order services were linked together.

This post from Peter is also insightful for the errors he admits making while they incubated the company, which point to the larger “issues” facing enterprise software entrepreneurs today.

EarlyStageVC: Investing at the Intersection of Opportunity and Serendipity:

My most important observation from immersing myself in the concept of mashups was the recognition that mashups were just another form of application integration, done client side rather than server side. That launched me in to seeing a potential unification of innovative consumer applications with stultified enterprise applications.

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SOA 2.0 backlash

This is clearly targeting Oracle’s recent attempts to rebrand their technology initiatives as “SOA 2.0″, which IMO isn’t a bad attempt at hitching one’s wagon to the Web 2.0 meme that is quite hot right now. Having said that, I believe customers are smarter than Oracle is giving them credit for, and the Panorama Capital CIO Council offsite that I attended last week proved that out. When asked about Web 2.0 in the enterprise, the assembled CIOs were unequivocal in their view that this is the same stuff with a new buzzword. Of course there are variations on the theme, but it is true that much of what we refer to today as Web 2.0 is simply the evolution of technology trends that began in the late 1990’s. I do agree that the “SOA 2.0″ label is premature, and by extension I think we (industry as a whole) would do well to de-emphasize buzzword selling while focusing more on what it means for customers as evident by what they are actually doing with this technology.

Macehiter Ward-Dutton:

We’ve created this online petition because we’re dumbfounded at the attempt by certain parts of the IT industry to create and give weight to the term “SOA 2.0″.

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RFID enables pedigree

The use of RFID in pharma has been a hot topic for a couple of years because it offers the promise of combatting the two big problems in the drug business today, counterfeiting (Viagra) and illegal distribution (OxyContin). The FDA has had some contradictory rulings on RFID in the face of protests and endorsements from the drug industry (often at the same time), and I think it’s safe to say that these issue boil down to who is going to pay for the technology rather than opposition to the technology itself. There are 4 primary links in this chain, the drug manufacturers, the distributors, healthcare providers, and perhaps most importantly, insurance companies (and remember that the federal and state governments fall into the category of insurance as well as healthcare providers).

The states of Florida and Nevada (and I believe California is currently debating this) have made laws requiring drug companies to provide “pedigree” data for all drug shipments, meaning where it was shipped from/to, lot number, EPC, and some additional data. In the EU there are similar laws so this requirement is very real and is an opportunity for RFID companies, but it’s not so easy to just decide you are going to “do pedigree” as a product. This is why the number of companies offering pedigree apps is pretty limited, Supplyscape is the most commonly mentioned, and the biggest name in town, IBM, has devoted the bulk of their considerable weight in this technology area to pursuing pedigree apps.

The RFID Weblog: FDA Ruling to Give Boost to RFID Business:

It is expected that by December RFID, drug manufacturers would be using RFID for tracking the most expensive prescriptions through the supply chain. FDA seems to have wakened up now as the number of fake drug cases has shot up.

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Top 10 Applications for an Enterprise Wiki

It would have been nice to have this list available as a wiki so we could add to it! Of the top 10 on this list I think application/customer support, project management, and research are the “killer” apps. At the same time I would like to see wiki companies get beyond the basic blank piece of paper approach and build templates that facilitate best practices, and while some percentage of users won’t want preconfigured apps, a meaningful percentage (like me) will if anything for the jump start effect. I would also like to see widgets start showing up in wikis, like having scheduling capability through an integrated calendar, even if it’s embedding something else like google calendar.

The best thing that happened in our wiki implementation was back in January when I put the brakes on everything and said we’re pulling back for a couple of weeks to organize a structure to manage everything in, after which we saw usage increase dramatically. From my perspective, the everyone can edit anything and add pages anywhere can result in complete chaos, there has to be a strong moderation hand at work. I would love to do more with what we have but the requirement to create a new application from scratch every time we contemplate a new use is burdensome.

StartupSpot: Top 10 Applications for an Enterprise Wiki:
Below is my list of the Top 10 Applications for an Enterprise Wiki.

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