Holiday (Or End Of The World) Thoughts

HP is the equivalent of the NE Patriots last Sunday vs. the 49ers - everyone knows all the pieces are there, all you have to do is not shoot yourself in the foot and you win. Oops.

Interesting meeting I attended yesterday with the nation's largest VARs. One problem they all face - inability to find good, high-level talent to add to their ranks. That spawned a few areas of discussion:

  • It's odd that there is a dearth of more senior talent available considering the fact that recent college grads can't find work. To me that indicates that we aren't creating new jobs as much as attempting to upgrade the ones we have.
  • I worry that if the fiscal crisis comes to be (it sure seems likely) then spending will slow and as such hiring will stop - and the opposite could be true. Companies (at least in the IT sector) will be cutting heads and ratcheting down - which means there may be a lot of higher end talent available soon.
  • It's stunning to me the simplicity and ignorance of a double/triple business taxation system and what the outcome will be. When you overtax a business, it has no incentive to do the ONE thing that an economy needs - hire folks. Why does that matter? Because real money comes from taxing INCOME - which is derived when a company PAYS you. Taxing a company on its profits --that it doesn't SPEND--is just stupid. I'm sorry, but it is. If the geniuses in Washington don't get this right (they won't), not only won't there be hiring incentives in the US, there will be MORE unemployment of higher end (aka larger taxpayers) people that will cause a spiraling negative drag on the whole enchilada. Now, before my bleeding heart liberal pals go all nutty on me - note: I am actually OK with paying more (higher rate) taxes as a PERSON - because when my company makes money, I get to keep some of it. I understand the reality of the situation. All I'm suggesting is tax ME, not the company. If the COMPANY is allowed to retain earnings without the government stealing it, the company will hire people and invest. Plus, if the company decides to spend those earnings - you get to take your slice then anyway. Enough of that.
  • If the world really ends Friday I'm going to be pissed that I never made it a real point to try to hook up with Elle McPherson. I think I'd have had a 65% chance.
  • Our IT industry is a lot like western medicine. We love to treat the symptom and rarely ever attempt to rectify the cause. Pisses me off, because I have an 11 year old who literally cannot stop coughing - for two weeks. All the docs do is throw crap at the wall to quell the cough, but none actually does anything to find out what the cause is. Today he goes to a witch doctor on the Vineyard who will do some voodoo and after a dose of eye of newt, I can practically guarantee he will be cured in 24 hours (I say this in all seriousness because it happened two years ago - after 6 weeks we FINALLY gave up and took him to this woman and I swear he was cured in 24 hours). Why? Because as crazy as it was, she treated the cause. We do the same stuff running IT. We throw capacity/CPU/people at the problems but we rarely architect a solution to the cause of our problems. We're a band-aid society in IT. Great if you sell band-aids, but it never really solves the problem. Fixes the symptom, i.e., stops the bleeding, but never changes the cause - i.e., let's stop juggling ginsu knives.

Here are some ideas for stocking stuffers for your favorite vendors:

  • Oracle: don't bother giving them coal, they just pile it up and sell it to an electric utility and make another billion. They like coal.
  • Amazon: one gift card for one VM - because you'll use it for a day, then forget it and not notice that your credit card is being billed for 17 years.
  • Google: your entire credit history. They are going to get it and do what they want with it anyway.
  • Facebook: a flash drive containing every photo that either currently, or in the future, embarrasses you, which they will not only publish but sell to others.
  • HP: Assassins Creed: Board of Directors Version

I think it would be fun for LinkedIn to do a Yankee swap, where we just swap bullshit profiles of each other and see who appears most important.

Cisco, NetApp, and (yes, I swear) EMC are 2012's channel models to envy in my opinion. EMC because after years of being super channel friendly until the end of the quarter when, "screw you hippie, I'm taking the deal" was the real life mantra, they have finally grown up to realize they can't do that anymore. Better, they are firing people who still do it.

Speaking of Scrooge, the fact is that EMC still intentionally churns 15% of its sales force annually - and has been a constantly improving company for 25 years because of it. It's not "nice," but it is enormously effective for them.

VMware needs to take heed of another valley software dominator of the day - Veritas - and not repeat its mistakes of over distributing, creating massive channel conflict, then eventually screwing everyone and going direct. Not saying they will, but I see a lot of potential similarities when I remember back 20 years.

In many ways a negative outcome to the fiscal STIFF issue could be a boon for the big IT vendors cloud/services offerings. Just because IT budgets are going to go to hell in a hand basket doesn't mean IT gets to pack up and go home - they still have to deliver services. If the big cloud folk can convince companies that they can save them PILES of money now - they will do it.

Look for acquisitions of both little companies and medium sized companies ($1B in revenue) next year. Organic growth is going to be hard so those with cash will look to acquire it. If you are in that $500M-$2B range, you are a target. (God, I wish I was in that range!)

OK, I'm bored. Have a great holiday all - I wish you health and happiness for you and your families. I look forward to an interesting 2013!!!