An evangelism opportunity…

When I worked at Microsoft I remembered lots of people in the evangelism group worried that Linux was taking over the startup world in Silicon Valley. Heck, I was one of those people who noted that almost every startup was using LAMP instead of Windows.

There are very few opportunities to change the decisions of a startup in terms of the infrastructure that has been chosen.

What are they?

1) When a startup first germinates. Why? Cause that’s when an entrepreneur decides between Linux, Sun, or Microsoft backends. And on databases. MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, etc.
2) When a startup hits a major resource snag. IE, a major server dies and needs to be replaced.

I can’t think of another time when a startup could be switched from one ecosystem to another. Do you?

So, why am I telling you this? Because Zooomr is in the second group. I just got off the phone with Kristopher Tate and they are really in dire need of new database machines to get their servers back up.

If I were working at Microsoft or at Sun I’d be flying a team to Zooomr to help them get back up and running. I’d also videotape everything, and make a big deal about how a startup survived due to these efforts.

It’s interesting. Lots of companies claim to care about startups. Here’s a chance to help one. And, even, get one to switch from LAMP to Windows or something else. Anyone in?

302 thoughts on “An evangelism opportunity…

  1. Pingback: Zoho Blogs
  2. I can’t help but notice the divide between people who are praising Zooomr and the ones who are criticizing it, seems to be the exact same as the divide between people who have any technical understanding of what Kris & Thomas have accomplished, and those who don’t.

    The comments to this post contain a whole lot of “Things crashed. Since they don’t have as much backup hardware available as, say, flickr, *OBVIOUSLY* they’re not ready for prime-time.”

    Seriously, say it with me. Startup. Startups don’t have money pouring out of their ears to swap out hardware in 5 minutes, nor do they have staff size required to get something like that done.

    They’ve had hiccups. So what? Anyone who writes software understands what a massive undertaking Zooomr would have been, even if one had a TEAM of developers at their disposal.

    The fact that a company consisting of all of one developer could even get THIS far speaks volumes to their talent and dedication. Just think what they’ll be able to accomplish when they’re over the initial humps and have some breathing room.

    It can be really disheartening to work yourself to the bone and accomplish something amazing, and then be nitpicked to death by a bunch of people who see a couple hiccups and write the whole thing off as damaged goods written by talentless hacks. And really, it’s just a dumb attitude. As far as the nay-sayers go, I’d really like to see any one of you do better.

  3. I can’t help but notice the divide between people who are praising Zooomr and the ones who are criticizing it, seems to be the exact same as the divide between people who have any technical understanding of what Kris & Thomas have accomplished, and those who don’t.

    The comments to this post contain a whole lot of “Things crashed. Since they don’t have as much backup hardware available as, say, flickr, *OBVIOUSLY* they’re not ready for prime-time.”

    Seriously, say it with me. Startup. Startups don’t have money pouring out of their ears to swap out hardware in 5 minutes, nor do they have staff size required to get something like that done.

    They’ve had hiccups. So what? Anyone who writes software understands what a massive undertaking Zooomr would have been, even if one had a TEAM of developers at their disposal.

    The fact that a company consisting of all of one developer could even get THIS far speaks volumes to their talent and dedication. Just think what they’ll be able to accomplish when they’re over the initial humps and have some breathing room.

    It can be really disheartening to work yourself to the bone and accomplish something amazing, and then be nitpicked to death by a bunch of people who see a couple hiccups and write the whole thing off as damaged goods written by talentless hacks. And really, it’s just a dumb attitude. As far as the nay-sayers go, I’d really like to see any one of you do better.

  4. I can’t help but notice the divide between people who are praising Zooomr and the ones who are criticizing it, seems to be the exact same as the divide between people who have any technical understanding of what Kris & Thomas have accomplished, and those who don’t.

    The comments to this post contain a whole lot of “Things crashed. Since they don’t have as much backup hardware available as, say, flickr, *OBVIOUSLY* they’re not ready for prime-time.”

    Seriously, say it with me. Startup. Startups don’t have money pouring out of their ears to swap out hardware in 5 minutes, nor do they have staff size required to get something like that done.

    They’ve had hiccups. So what? Anyone who writes software understands what a massive undertaking Zooomr would have been, even if one had a TEAM of developers at their disposal.

    The fact that a company consisting of all of one developer could even get THIS far speaks volumes to their talent and dedication. Just think what they’ll be able to accomplish when they’re over the initial humps and have some breathing room.

    It can be really disheartening to work yourself to the bone and accomplish something amazing, and then be nitpicked to death by a bunch of people who see a couple hiccups and write the whole thing off as damaged goods written by talentless hacks. And really, it’s just a dumb attitude. As far as the nay-sayers go, I’d really like to see any one of you do better.

  5. While there’s no doubt that Kristopher is a talented youngster with a big future, I for one am very happy to see Thomas Hawk having to eat some humble pie.

    Welcome to the real world.

    This is only the first of Zooomr’s challenges in the transition to a viable website. I wait to see how they handle scale when they get to 20 million photos, or managing a community when they get more than 50,000 active users.

    I hope Thomas Hawk has learnt that taking cheap pot shots at competitors is easy but its not so easy when they’re his own challenges. Less talk more action fellas.

    But on the whole, good luck to Zooomr.

  6. While there’s no doubt that Kristopher is a talented youngster with a big future, I for one am very happy to see Thomas Hawk having to eat some humble pie.

    Welcome to the real world.

    This is only the first of Zooomr’s challenges in the transition to a viable website. I wait to see how they handle scale when they get to 20 million photos, or managing a community when they get more than 50,000 active users.

    I hope Thomas Hawk has learnt that taking cheap pot shots at competitors is easy but its not so easy when they’re his own challenges. Less talk more action fellas.

    But on the whole, good luck to Zooomr.

  7. While there’s no doubt that Kristopher is a talented youngster with a big future, I for one am very happy to see Thomas Hawk having to eat some humble pie.

    Welcome to the real world.

    This is only the first of Zooomr’s challenges in the transition to a viable website. I wait to see how they handle scale when they get to 20 million photos, or managing a community when they get more than 50,000 active users.

    I hope Thomas Hawk has learnt that taking cheap pot shots at competitors is easy but its not so easy when they’re his own challenges. Less talk more action fellas.

    But on the whole, good luck to Zooomr.

  8. Sorry, This does not inspire too much confidence for the future. I would think that after the first failed launch attempt of Mark III which caused a week downtime, that a little more testing would have happened. Stability or load testing (?) not sure what else as this isn’t in my field. (even not being my field, I know this should have been planned and executed more professionally.) Hardware does not fail for no reason and Planning does not cost more money…

    It may feel good to write about how good that 10 minutes of up-time was, but I am sure the volume that crushed your equipment was just a small percentage of actual traffic. So in hind site, that should serve as a warning I would think. I understand that right now your best option is to scramble, beg for help and attempt to save face. In the big picture, I just wonder how many times you can ‘cry wolf’ (since you are all familiar with bed time stories) before you are dead in the water. Personally, I know I will need to see some long term stability, before jumping back on this bandwagon. Nothing personal.

    I will also chip in the agreement that the lack of a simple message on the zooomr home page was irritating at best. Do not assume everyone is ready willing or able to jump on the latest gizmo/video to find basic information…

    Regards,
    -John

  9. Sorry, This does not inspire too much confidence for the future. I would think that after the first failed launch attempt of Mark III which caused a week downtime, that a little more testing would have happened. Stability or load testing (?) not sure what else as this isn’t in my field. (even not being my field, I know this should have been planned and executed more professionally.) Hardware does not fail for no reason and Planning does not cost more money…

    It may feel good to write about how good that 10 minutes of up-time was, but I am sure the volume that crushed your equipment was just a small percentage of actual traffic. So in hind site, that should serve as a warning I would think. I understand that right now your best option is to scramble, beg for help and attempt to save face. In the big picture, I just wonder how many times you can ‘cry wolf’ (since you are all familiar with bed time stories) before you are dead in the water. Personally, I know I will need to see some long term stability, before jumping back on this bandwagon. Nothing personal.

    I will also chip in the agreement that the lack of a simple message on the zooomr home page was irritating at best. Do not assume everyone is ready willing or able to jump on the latest gizmo/video to find basic information…

    Regards,
    -John

  10. Sorry, This does not inspire too much confidence for the future. I would think that after the first failed launch attempt of Mark III which caused a week downtime, that a little more testing would have happened. Stability or load testing (?) not sure what else as this isn’t in my field. (even not being my field, I know this should have been planned and executed more professionally.) Hardware does not fail for no reason and Planning does not cost more money…

    It may feel good to write about how good that 10 minutes of up-time was, but I am sure the volume that crushed your equipment was just a small percentage of actual traffic. So in hind site, that should serve as a warning I would think. I understand that right now your best option is to scramble, beg for help and attempt to save face. In the big picture, I just wonder how many times you can ‘cry wolf’ (since you are all familiar with bed time stories) before you are dead in the water. Personally, I know I will need to see some long term stability, before jumping back on this bandwagon. Nothing personal.

    I will also chip in the agreement that the lack of a simple message on the zooomr home page was irritating at best. Do not assume everyone is ready willing or able to jump on the latest gizmo/video to find basic information…

    Regards,
    -John

  11. I was thinking about this whole deal this morning and wondered, why doesn’t Sun start an incubator type of program?

    They could stock a datacenter with a bizillion of their servers and run them like Media Temple does their grid service. Lure in startups with the promise of free computing power and space for something like 2 years, with caps on processor and bandwidth usage of course. When their term ends and they, hopefully, move on to be a profitable company, give them a discount on their own hardware.

    Startups can then focus on their service and building a monetary base while Sun can focus on introducing startups to their hardware and OS with the hope that it will translate into sales down the road. Seems like a win-win to me. It will cost some money, but it pales in comparison to their overall budget trying to push their AMD based hardware. Bandwidth is so cheap these days, it would almost be a non-issue.

  12. I was thinking about this whole deal this morning and wondered, why doesn’t Sun start an incubator type of program?

    They could stock a datacenter with a bizillion of their servers and run them like Media Temple does their grid service. Lure in startups with the promise of free computing power and space for something like 2 years, with caps on processor and bandwidth usage of course. When their term ends and they, hopefully, move on to be a profitable company, give them a discount on their own hardware.

    Startups can then focus on their service and building a monetary base while Sun can focus on introducing startups to their hardware and OS with the hope that it will translate into sales down the road. Seems like a win-win to me. It will cost some money, but it pales in comparison to their overall budget trying to push their AMD based hardware. Bandwidth is so cheap these days, it would almost be a non-issue.

  13. “I’m working on a Greasemonkey script that will simply omit all comments by Shelley, if anyone is interested.”

    Yes, because God forbid that you come into contact with opinions that differ from your own.

    And really? Considering the sheer volume of what can objectively be called trolling by others on this site, Shelley alone warrants the magic eraser treatment, huh?

    While you’re at it, make a script to help me keep score. Here’s what I have so far:

    Dare calls Scoble out on an errant comment about Flickr: Receives mea culpa.
    Shelley questions how zooomr got to this point, and how they’re going to prevent it in the future: Threatened with the magic eraser treatment.

    Can I just say that I’ve got your “conversation” right here?

  14. “I’m working on a Greasemonkey script that will simply omit all comments by Shelley, if anyone is interested.”

    Yes, because God forbid that you come into contact with opinions that differ from your own.

    And really? Considering the sheer volume of what can objectively be called trolling by others on this site, Shelley alone warrants the magic eraser treatment, huh?

    While you’re at it, make a script to help me keep score. Here’s what I have so far:

    Dare calls Scoble out on an errant comment about Flickr: Receives mea culpa.
    Shelley questions how zooomr got to this point, and how they’re going to prevent it in the future: Threatened with the magic eraser treatment.

    Can I just say that I’ve got your “conversation” right here?

  15. “I’m working on a Greasemonkey script that will simply omit all comments by Shelley, if anyone is interested.”

    Yes, because God forbid that you come into contact with opinions that differ from your own.

    And really? Considering the sheer volume of what can objectively be called trolling by others on this site, Shelley alone warrants the magic eraser treatment, huh?

    While you’re at it, make a script to help me keep score. Here’s what I have so far:

    Dare calls Scoble out on an errant comment about Flickr: Receives mea culpa.
    Shelley questions how zooomr got to this point, and how they’re going to prevent it in the future: Threatened with the magic eraser treatment.

    Can I just say that I’ve got your “conversation” right here?

  16. I’m not even going to profess to know anything about Zooomr, or about when they launched a real RTM product. However, it would be very clear to me not to put high expectations into a site that has BETA in the name of the URL. I know when I use items that are in beta, if that item or site goes down, I just check back occasionally to see if they are back up. I certainly don’t berate them for not having a business model, or for not having the proper infrastructure in place to support the growing community.

    Now, if this was a true RTM product, sure, I’d have a hard time supporting them if this went on this long.

  17. I’m not even going to profess to know anything about Zooomr, or about when they launched a real RTM product. However, it would be very clear to me not to put high expectations into a site that has BETA in the name of the URL. I know when I use items that are in beta, if that item or site goes down, I just check back occasionally to see if they are back up. I certainly don’t berate them for not having a business model, or for not having the proper infrastructure in place to support the growing community.

    Now, if this was a true RTM product, sure, I’d have a hard time supporting them if this went on this long.

  18. @hillary

    > shelley, it might be time for you to go away.

    The guys at zooomr won’t have the luxury of being able to say that to serious investors or VCs, and most of those are going to have a very similar attitude to that Shelley is displaying here.

    That said, I wish zooomr luck, but let’s bear in mind that even if they pull this off, it’s not going to be sustainable or repeatable (for zooomr or others). Other youthful startups on a similar trajectory had better not be fooled into thinking that this kind of publicity and reaction can be generated twice.

  19. @hillary

    > shelley, it might be time for you to go away.

    The guys at zooomr won’t have the luxury of being able to say that to serious investors or VCs, and most of those are going to have a very similar attitude to that Shelley is displaying here.

    That said, I wish zooomr luck, but let’s bear in mind that even if they pull this off, it’s not going to be sustainable or repeatable (for zooomr or others). Other youthful startups on a similar trajectory had better not be fooled into thinking that this kind of publicity and reaction can be generated twice.

  20. just to clarify, ludicorp was making GNE and in a deep financial hole with a community of thousands saying “build the game! build the game! we’re with you all the way!”

    it is precisely because they decided to listen to their brains/common sense, and go AGAINST the wishes and passions of the community to build flickr instead of GNE that they are anything but a footnote in the history of “web 2.0″.

  21. just to clarify, ludicorp was making GNE and in a deep financial hole with a community of thousands saying “build the game! build the game! we’re with you all the way!”

    it is precisely because they decided to listen to their brains/common sense, and go AGAINST the wishes and passions of the community to build flickr instead of GNE that they are anything but a footnote in the history of “web 2.0″.

  22. shelley, i’m not sure that i agree with your tone, but i certainly understand your frustration.

    i really honestly hope that zooomr launches and that everyone gets paid a huge chunk of this apparently 2.5 billion dollar stock photo market and that there are zooomr museums set up in every major city with big plasma screens and laser light shows of thomas hawk and kris tate’s faces across the moon once a year on “international zooomr is awesome day”.

    but a lot of this is about ‘the dream’ .. does anyone really believe that if zooomr launches marketplace and they put up their photos for sale that everyone is going to be reaping the harvest? it is far from a sure thing and skepticism shouldn’t be a dirty word, not even in the blogosphere.

    which is to say that this is a social gamble on top of a technical gamble on top of a financial gamble and while it’s great that people have faith in it, there’s also very little to show for all that faith right now.

    i don’t think it should be heretical to point out that by many important criteria, zooomr is well short of ‘awesome’, and that perhaps this isn’t such a great ‘evangelism opportunity’.

    evangelism for and faith in a site praying for resurrection. there’s a kind of religious fervor around this thing that befuddles me.

    the funniest thing is that this REALLY reminds me of ludicorp’s first project, GNE – which had similar back end and financial issues. except in the zooomr version of that story out of pride they keep developing the original product instead of switching to something else.

  23. shelley, i’m not sure that i agree with your tone, but i certainly understand your frustration.

    i really honestly hope that zooomr launches and that everyone gets paid a huge chunk of this apparently 2.5 billion dollar stock photo market and that there are zooomr museums set up in every major city with big plasma screens and laser light shows of thomas hawk and kris tate’s faces across the moon once a year on “international zooomr is awesome day”.

    but a lot of this is about ‘the dream’ .. does anyone really believe that if zooomr launches marketplace and they put up their photos for sale that everyone is going to be reaping the harvest? it is far from a sure thing and skepticism shouldn’t be a dirty word, not even in the blogosphere.

    which is to say that this is a social gamble on top of a technical gamble on top of a financial gamble and while it’s great that people have faith in it, there’s also very little to show for all that faith right now.

    i don’t think it should be heretical to point out that by many important criteria, zooomr is well short of ‘awesome’, and that perhaps this isn’t such a great ‘evangelism opportunity’.

    evangelism for and faith in a site praying for resurrection. there’s a kind of religious fervor around this thing that befuddles me.

    the funniest thing is that this REALLY reminds me of ludicorp’s first project, GNE – which had similar back end and financial issues. except in the zooomr version of that story out of pride they keep developing the original product instead of switching to something else.

  24. I spoke too soon. But, at least equipment is being ‘loaned’ instead of money invested. Not that the lenders will get the equipment back if they let it leave the premises.

  25. I spoke too soon. But, at least equipment is being ‘loaned’ instead of money invested. Not that the lenders will get the equipment back if they let it leave the premises.

  26. I spoke too soon. But, at least equipment is being ‘loaned’ instead of money invested. Not that the lenders will get the equipment back if they let it leave the premises.

  27. Good luck with the next next launch – glad to hear that you’ve got your hands on some fresh hardware to continue the battle. I hope you got two of everything, with extra cheese this time though :)

    Operations can be a real drag sometimes, but the real world is always out there, somewhere…

    -/\/

  28. Good luck with the next next launch – glad to hear that you’ve got your hands on some fresh hardware to continue the battle. I hope you got two of everything, with extra cheese this time though :)

    Operations can be a real drag sometimes, but the real world is always out there, somewhere…

    -//

  29. Good luck with the next next launch – glad to hear that you’ve got your hands on some fresh hardware to continue the battle. I hope you got two of everything, with extra cheese this time though :)

    Operations can be a real drag sometimes, but the real world is always out there, somewhere…

    -//

  30. @72. Chris, let’s remember Scoble supposedly tried to get MS to buy Flickr, but failed. What makes us think he would successful with his board in convincing them to help Zooomr?

  31. @72. Chris, let’s remember Scoble supposedly tried to get MS to buy Flickr, but failed. What makes us think he would successful with his board in convincing them to help Zooomr?

  32. @72. Chris, let’s remember Scoble supposedly tried to get MS to buy Flickr, but failed. What makes us think he would successful with his board in convincing them to help Zooomr?

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