Please, Arrington, don't pick another enterprise clone

A couple of years ago at Techcrunch 50 they picked a Twitter clone, Yammer, to win. That made sense, because it was the best business. But looking at the final seven companies at this year’s Techcrunch Disrupt, just announced, I see one that sticks out. Opzi. It’s a clone of Quora for the enterprise. Badgeville is a clone of Foursquare’s game for other things.

I hope that none of these win this year.

Silicon Valley needs to be sent a message that we need real innovation and interesting new ideas. There are a few other ones.

My favorite? DataSift, which you’ve already seen on my show, but is the one that I am already using and is already rocking my world (I got it for first time last night).

Let’s go through the winners (listed in no particular order, the final winner will be announced later today after a final round of presentations by these companies).

Pinger. Turns your iPod touch into a free cell phone.
DataSift. Helps you find a needle in the real-time tweetstack.
Qwiki. Turns the web into a video and audio experience. MG Siegler of Techcrunch wrote “Just may be the future of information consumption.”
Cloudflare. Wants to be a CDN for the masses. Makes your website faster and more secure.
Opzi. A Quora for the Enterprise.
Badgeville. Wants to layer social gaming (and yes, badges) across the entire web.
Game Crush. Lets guys pay money to play online games with women.

OK, to me, there are really two that stand out from the crowd. Cloudflare and Datasift. Real technology innovations. If I wear my Rackspace hat, I’ll vote for Cloudflare, I can see how that will help a lot of our customers make their sites faster. If I wear my Scoble hat I’ll vote for Datasift. That will help me (and other companies and users) find the best tweets and get rid of noise and spam in their streams.

But I’m afraid that Arrington will, once again, vote against technology innovation and go for the clone. Please don’t let that happen! You can vote for your favorite company until this afternoon. Please do and help me tell Arrington to support technology innovation.

You can watch live now on Ustream.

Comments

  1. @Robert – don’t you think that inadvertently you’ve stumbled across something rather profound about Silicon Valley? Where are the greentech, medtech innovators? These are the folks who are really doing mind boggling things. Anything that’s a clone is pointing the way to acquisition or death (depending on which event occurs first.) The fact Twitter has so many clones tells me their long term trajectory.

    1. Yup, but Arrington tends to focus on things that have widespread consumer impact. Greentech and medtech just aren’t that interesting to him. Neither is enterprise, actually, although he likes it when enterprises take consumer tech and validates it. Yammer with Twitter. Salesforce with Facebook. Opzi with Quora. Etc.

      1. @robert – I see that but what Arrington likes and what are making a real and huge difference in the world are not necessarily the same thing. Who’d have though for example that GE would be making huge innovation plays in medtech and greentech that sit comfortably alongside Zoho investments in that company?Silicon Valley doesn’t have that feel for doing things that change the world in the way it did years back but a place that bright kids go to flip something they dreamt up in a bedroom. Hard problems require a bit more than that. Even Google doesn’t seem to have that science based whacko geek thought leadership it once enjoyed. At least not from what I am seeing. Even so I do see disruption based upon new-ish technologies that is delivering value and that surely has to be the litmus test. Not another Yammer et al.

        But then you know I have a somewhat different lens on the world.

        1. The funny thing is I’m starting to see the world the same way. It’s why I’ve changed the title tag on my blog to “searching for world-changing technology” and why I’ll be in Europe twice in next five months. I’m getting bored with the Techcrunch-style company and am looking for real technology leadership. It’s why I went to the LED Fab opening (Techcrunch wasn’t there, that is greentech after all). Etc etc.

          1. FWIW I recommend checking out The New Polymath by my buddy Vinnie Mirchandani – he has hundreds of examples of the kind of thing I’m thinking about and a nice forward by Marc Benioff. http://amzn.to/aQn4rz I’m sure he’d send you a copy. You can skim the examples to get a feel for some of this stuff.

  2. The enterprise world is getting some heat lately, and as the technology and crowds mature, it’s definitely time to start migrating great apps from the consumer world to the enterprise, and no second can be too early for the poor starved crowds in the cubicle.

    However, thinking that migrating a service to the enterprise is just copying it and there’s no innovation involved is misleading concept. The challenges in building organization and a product a company would be willing to buy upfront, understanding the ROI issue and more importantly, allowing your customer to immediately understand them, and maybe the most difficult challenge – giving a real value to the users (employees in this case) that will make them USE the system – is extremely difficult, and a lot of innovation is needed there (and true to that – no one really made that happen yet, maybe other than SFDC)

    1. Oh, I know there’s some innovation. I’ve interviewed Yammer and Salesforce (nearly went to work for Salesforce, too, so I know that quite well) but it’s not the same as trying to cut a new path. Sorry, it’s not.

  3. Qwiki looks like real innovation, its the future of search, I’d want them to win.
    @Scobleizer I think DataSift is “feature not a company”, twitter for sure is gonna implement their own search filter at some point, thats where they can make monetize or they might end up buying Datasift. I agree its great tool that I have been looking for.

    1. Rak: I still think Qwiki is something that looks awesome on its surface but when you actually start using it you won’t keep doing it. It’s just too slow to get info that way.

      1. @Scobleizer I agree it will be slow, it wont appeal so much to tech savvy people, google will be the search tool for us. But I see it more for regular users like mom/dad, grandma… Since it is focused on rich media content, I’m guessing they can monetize it later by embedding rich media content Ads. The challenge is whether they can index all the content that people usually search for. I atleast would like the Qwiki page to appear high in google search, just like Wikipedia often shows up as top result in google search, they can make money that way.

  4. The thing is though, Quora for the enterprise would actually be a pretty big deal. So I can see the attraction of Opzi.

  5. Whilst I don’t have a problem w/ enterprise apps drawing inspiration from consumer innovation (i don’t consider that me-too), I get your drift and agree – theres too much incremental innovation in general. Of the consumer options in this list, its really hard to pick one thats going to have differentiated mainstream appeal. Maybe CloudFlare but OEMed by RackSpace et al. Datasift for marketers maybe and the very few content junkies like us.

    1. If you put Datasift underneath a consumer paginator, like Flipboard or Paper.li, that would really have mass appeal even if no one really knows what’s underneath.

  6. The problem *I* have with enterprise software apps is that they’re essentially un-sellable. Quite frankly, I don’t understand how even a quality product like Jive Software has been able to get any traction given the competition from giants like IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle.

    Of course, I’m not all that keen on tweetstream filtering tools either, mostly because I build my own. ;-) I am not going to pay someone to filter my tweet stream, and a business isn’t going to pay for “social media monitoring tools” unless they increase revenue, lower costs or save time. Why aren’t there social media demand generation tools? Customer service social media dispatching tools? *That’s* what businesses need, and startups aren’t building them – big names like Microsoft, Radian6 and Webtrends are.

  7. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

    1. Yeah, and you should get to IBM’s research lab in New Almaden. They let me move an atom of Iron across a piece of copper. Way more interesting than most of the startups I’ve seen lately. Oh, and at Microsoft Research I saw something very mindblowing and cool (you’ll see it on TV next year, I’m sure) but can’t talk about that until October.

      1. Happy to host you at IBM Research’s Center for Social Software in Cambridge the next time you are on the east coast. In fact, we’re hosting “IBM, Social Software, and the Enterprise” for an intimate group of social software bloggers next week. Interested? Contact @karenlilla

  8. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  9. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  10. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  11. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  12. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  13. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  14. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  15. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.

  16. As someone who plays in the enterprise space and does zero in SV, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an enterprise level product winning something like TCDisrupt. But, I do agree that clones should not win. No matter what, innovation should be valued and rewarded everywhere. But I would love to see projects coming out of IBM Research and from folks like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. compete against stuff being done at startups. Scoble – you should get yourself to the IBM Center for Social Software in Cambridge, MA sometime. I have seen stuff that is mindblowing.