Sunday, March 29, 2009


I was out of town and could not attend the SDForum SAM SIG meeting on the architecture, which was a shame as it seems to have been a fascinating presentation. I have been following for some time. We had them present to the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG in 2002. In 2006, Ken Rudin an early employee gave an interesting presentation on his experience to the SDForum SaaS SIG.

On the one hand has built the first really successful Software as a Service (SaaS) application and continue to grow the company year after year. On the other hand there is a certain amount of hype surrounding the company. Here is the unvarnished story of what they do. In the USA, there are tens of thousands of companies with distributed sales forces. Each company has to keep in contact and track what its salespeople are doing, where each salesperson works out of their home or an anonymous office suite far from headquarters. provides the application to manage a distributed sales force. It is as simple as that. is the perfect web based SaaS application. There is a large client base. Each client's problem is to keep contact with a distributed sales force, dictating a web enabled application. There are many small clients who do not have the resources to implement their own sales force management application. In practice each client needs the same basic functions in their application, with some minor variations. started out by offering their application to the smaller clients who needed a few seats and would have the most difficulty in implementing their own stand alone software application. With experience they made their application economic to medium sized clients with hundreds of seats. Eventually they got to the point where they could effectively support the largest clients like Merrill Lynch with 25000 seats.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Google Blog Search is a Misnomer

Last week I saw one news item in passing that seemed to confirm my previous post about Twitter, and that was the news that Twitter Search is about to overtake Google search. At least that is what I thought it said, but it seemed so unlikely that I just dismissed it. Later, when I went back and looked again I discovered that the headline breaking news is that Twitter Search is about to overtake Google Blog Search.

I have tried to use Google Blog Search a couple of times and found it to be completely useless. It seems to order search results in time rather than by relevance. Others have complained about this as well. For example, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch made the same complaint when the service debuted in 2006. It was only after a conversation last weekend that I came to realized that the point of Google Blog Search is to provide search results in time order rather than in relevance order (in practice, you can sort by relevance or by time, but the relevancy order seems to be heavily influenced by recency).

Which brings me to my point. When I think of Google Search I think of the wonderful way that it always shows me relevant results in the first page. By ordering results by recency, the name Google Blog Search certainly does not explain its purpose and is thus a confusing misnomer. Ultimately the name dilutes the Google brand. I cannot offer any good suggestions, but Google Blog Search should change its name to something that clearly explains what it is for.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Twitter is the new Black

This is the age of Twitter. In the last couple of weeks, both Doonesbury and Jon Stewart have made fun of it. Members of the technorati who have been using Twitter for some time and have built up a solid following have suddenly found their lead in the number of followers eviscerated as Twitter goes mainstream and people we have all heard of become the most popular. As might be expected, the loudest complaints have come from Dave Whiner.

I have written about Twitter in the past and how it relates to various feed technologies. However I must confess that I do not use the service for the simple reason that I have no use it. We live in a very noisy world. I want to keep the noise level down, and Twitter seems to just increases the noise.

For example, when I first started using RSS to follow stuff, I subscribed to feeds from all the places that I regularly follow. Then I realized that there is no point in using RSS to follow a site that publishes several times a day. If I want to see what they have to say, I can just go to the site at any time and see their latest stuff. So I cut my RSS subscriptions back to the sites that publish infrequently. That way a quick daily look at my RSS feeds allows me to catch up with all sorts things without being overloaded.

That is not to say that I do not see a value in Twitter, it is just that I do not see a use case for my using Twitter now. Twitter is of most use for people whose job is about communications. My job is to get things done, and to do that, I often need to switch off the outside world to reduce the noise.

This attitude to Twitter could easily change. Many years ago, a friend suggested that I use Instant Messaging (IM). At the time I had no use for it and did not subscribe. A couple of years later, my manager asked that all reports be available through IM whenever they were working, so that, for example the manager could ask a question of anyone from a meeting. Ever since then I have been online in IM whenever I have been at work. At a minimum, it shows my colleagues in a distributed organization that I am at work and available. Just as I found a use for IM, I could find a use for Twitter.