BLOG: busy!

I am sorry but I haven’t got so much time during the last days to blog. I am quite busy because:

  1. my exciting professional project started successfully on November 18 2004, with another central milestone on Mai 3 2005, will be finished next week on June 1 2005. I hope positively. Let’s see.
  2. I had a hard-disk crash last Friday on my Hewlett-Packard nx7010 laptop. For chance, I had full backups and I just lost 1 day of work. On the other side, it is still quite long to re-construct the whole stuff…
  3. Hey, I have the chance to test a new Hewlett-Packard ultraportable tablet-PC, the TC4200, which is a *incredible* machine. Stay tuned, I come back on that with more information.
  4. On top of that, I’ve seen the Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith for 3 days (numerical copy, great quality). Surely the best part of the new trilogy, from far!
  5. Finally, I was in Frankfurt – Germany the last two days for our annually so-called CIOs-meeting. Great discussions and exchanges, good food and wines (really, not joking) and some beautiful views. I will publish some pictures ;-)

BUSINESS: Longhorn…it is about talent too

[via Knowledge@Wharton]

Also by Microsoft, it is about talent at the end….

[…] “Longhorn is financially important to Microsoft and the growth of the industry, but it’s also important to maintain Microsoft’s position as an innovative company. The consensus is that Apple has lapped Microsoft many times on innovation.”

Why be innovative? Werbach says that, in the short run, being innovative doesn’t matter much. Over several years, however, a failure to innovate translates into a brain drain. The best and brightest programmers and developers want to work for the most innovative companies like Google. If Microsoft isn’t viewed as innovative it loses out on talent, which may focus on rival products such as Linux.

“Psychologically, Longhorn is very important,” says Werbach. “If it succeeds, Microsoft continues to grow and attract the best talent. If Longhorn only maintains Microsoft’s past glory, it may affect the company over the next five years.”

PRIVATE: Boomerang’s Board of Directors


We had our Board of Directors meeting of Boomerang at the Lago di Como, which is near Milano in Italy, during the last week-end. Fantastic :-) Great strategic meeting and discussions, great people, great company.

Thanks to Manu, Chris and Christophe to integrate me for now more than 4 years in the Board. The contact with these guys is *very* enriching, I tell you. As Alex (CFO of BioXell, an Italian biotech company, phase IIa, which already raised over 70 m€) and Pancho (Associate Professor of Strategic Management at EM Lyon), who are in the Board too. Below a picture of us in Como. Left to right: Alex, Manu, Chris, myself and Christophe. Pancho was physically missing this time, we had him by

BoD - Como

As you can see, the atmosphere is very cool, not prim, but *very* brain-intensive ;-) Como is, as so many people tell, a great place. Combination of an old Italian city + the lake + the mountains + the food (pasta, gelato, pizza, mozzarella di buffala, etc.). I recommand you definitely this place.

Como’s cathedral.

Como's cathedral

Lake of Como.

Lake of Como

NEWS: Rodrigo and Mihai at the Cannes film festival

It seems that Rodrigo and Mihai have a very tough time in Cannes for the film festival :-) They are organizing a blog coverage of this event, quoting Rodrigo:

Well it’s all happening on the blog ! We’re covering the Cannes Film Festival with a team of 10 people, blogging live anecdotes, backstage events, parties, breakfasts, film screenings, etc!

We’re even doing a street marketing event where we’re handing 30,000 flyers to all on-lookers with the help of 3 absolutely lovely hostesses. What for ? Hey, we’re allowing anyone to post a picture to, or send an MMS or an SMS and be published immediately on our blog.

Update: oups, sorry, I’ve forgotten to say that they are actually doing some viral marketing for glowria :-)

NEWS: Microsoft’s annual VC conference

[via Seeing Both Sides]

A post from Jeff Bussgang who was attending at the Microsoft’s annual VC conference. Interesting how Microsoft is changing/evolving in some areas.

  • The enterprise software business model is dead. This is refrain many VCs are mumbling to each other lately. Price pressure is incredibly intense between open source, Microsoft moving up the stack, vendor consolidation, IT buying wariness, the ASP model, overfunding in interesting sectors and many other factors. It used to be that you could build a profitable enterprise software company at the $15-20M threshold. But with today’s pricing pressures and high cost of sale, it seems to have jumped to $40M, and it’s harder to reach that threshold quickly. VC appetite for standard enterprise software appears to be dwindling to nothing.
  • LAMP cost of ownership vs. Microsoft is a myth. This is a new acronymn that I learned today. It stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP – all open source components that are eating away at Microsoft’s value chain. Microsoft firmly believes that they are right on the facts and losing a perception battle with their core developer community – and need to fix this, fast.
  • Microsoft is no longer the Big Bad Wolf. Believe it or not, Microsoft feels downright warm and fuzzy lately to a VC. It used to be that VCs would complain that investing is software is dumb because Microsoft will simply build it and give it away for free. Nowadays, you hear much less of that. The law of large numbers has settled into Redmond’s decisions. If a business is less than $1 billion in platform revenue potential, it’s not interesting enough to warrant Microsoft’s attention. Therefore, there are plenty of multi-hundred million dollar software segments that Microsoft is thrilled to help young companies build (on top of their platform, of course). Also, Microsoft’s IP strategy is now all about aggressive cross-licensing rather than offensive litigation. This company has really grown up over the years.

Update: Jeff (Clavier) also posted about this event. His summary differs in some points with the one of Jeff Bussgang. Some of his insights:

Microsoft major core bets are: software development platforms, information navigation & integration, communications, entertainment, security. Ballmer also commented on the critical nature of patents, and how Microsoft was often spending more money on buying or creating patents than developing the actual technology. And they will spend $6B in R&D; this year. A few areas of growth perceived by Microsoft:
– Windows: Software Assurance, Premium functionality, Music, Security
– Information Worker: Realtime Communication, Business Information, License acceleration (read: go after pirated versions of Office), Vertical applications (project management, note taking,…)
– Server: Premium CAL, Management tools, Mid-market functionality
– MBS: Platform for small verticals, Enterprise presence with a large number of vertical solutions
– Home Entertainment: Xenon – XBox 3, TV platform
– MSN: Search, Content, Mail/Instant Messaging, Storage

BUSINESS: Thoughts on entrepreneurship

Rodrigo is giving us (hey it was time ;-) his thoughts about different entrepreneurship’s themes and the “ingredients of good business” he is looking for as a VC:

  • the entrepreneur and his team
  • the market size
  • barriers to entry
  • the pain of market you are solving
  • the financial structure

Some good insights here, have a look.

My final word: building a business is a very old idea. It has one simple rule: you must sell what you buy with a profit. The question we must all answer next is: how big a profit?