Henry Blodget nails disruption

Many of my commenters don’t understand disruption. That’s become clear in the argument about whether Amazon is going to disrupt Oracle and Microsoft and MySQL’s databases. But Henry Blodget understands.

I see this disruption all around me.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. My agenda is upholding people of all personality types and many varied skills to make money off the Internet just like you are making money off the Internet.

    What’s your agenda?

  2. My agenda is upholding people of all personality types and many varied skills to make money off the Internet just like you are making money off the Internet.

    What’s your agenda?

  3. Dawn: really? I didn’t see you linking to many blogs or, even, “real, professional, journalists” today. Have you started a link blog so that those people with varied skills can get access to your traffic and make a little bit more money off of advertising than yesterday? Or, even, just gain a new fan or two?

    My agenda? I connect people together through doing a video interview with someone interesting every day (from both the smallest startups to the largest companies) and I connect people by doing a link blog (more than 8,000 blogs served so far) and I connect people on my main blog by pointing out new things (last night, for instance) and I put up my pictures, taken with a $5,000 camera and with decades of learning and experience and I let you use those photos however you would like.

    My agenda? To learn what’s happening in the tech industry.

    Yours? Seems to be something else.

  4. Dawn: really? I didn’t see you linking to many blogs or, even, “real, professional, journalists” today. Have you started a link blog so that those people with varied skills can get access to your traffic and make a little bit more money off of advertising than yesterday? Or, even, just gain a new fan or two?

    My agenda? I connect people together through doing a video interview with someone interesting every day (from both the smallest startups to the largest companies) and I connect people by doing a link blog (more than 8,000 blogs served so far) and I connect people on my main blog by pointing out new things (last night, for instance) and I put up my pictures, taken with a $5,000 camera and with decades of learning and experience and I let you use those photos however you would like.

    My agenda? To learn what’s happening in the tech industry.

    Yours? Seems to be something else.

  5. I wonder if all you “pundits” are living in a reality distortion field of magnificent proportions or if I’m missing something. There are three main problems with using internet applications which haven’t been solved yet, and I haven’t see them being solved: 1. data security, which is both a technical and psychological problem 2. the best local app will always outperform the best internet applications in both features (local integration) and responsiveness (latency will always be there) and 3. internetus interruptus, which can only be reduced, never removed.
    These are the reasons that the disruptive scope of internet based apps is far overblown and will remain a niche, except maybe within intranets, where all these problems are greatly ameliorated.

  6. I wonder if all you “pundits” are living in a reality distortion field of magnificent proportions or if I’m missing something. There are three main problems with using internet applications which haven’t been solved yet, and I haven’t see them being solved: 1. data security, which is both a technical and psychological problem 2. the best local app will always outperform the best internet applications in both features (local integration) and responsiveness (latency will always be there) and 3. internetus interruptus, which can only be reduced, never removed.
    These are the reasons that the disruptive scope of internet based apps is far overblown and will remain a niche, except maybe within intranets, where all these problems are greatly ameliorated.

  7. Robert, I’m not trying to be an A-list blogger, or even a D-list blogger. I’ve worked hard “to learn what’s happening in the tech industry” and I have OFTEN thanked you for helping me do that.

    That *doesn’t* mean I have to like everything that’s happening in the tech industry and everything the tech industry is forcing down non-tech people’s throats.

    You’re the one who has the audience to share all this stuff with, and good for you for doing so! I mean that sincerely. But why are you forcing this model onto everybody else? Why can’t there be other ways to make money?

    Do you support the writer’s strike? Do you think creators should be compensated for their work? If you do, and it’s good for TV, why not the Internet?

    People don’t want the “big bad music companies” to make all the money. So why is it a good thing for Google to do so?

  8. Robert, I’m not trying to be an A-list blogger, or even a D-list blogger. I’ve worked hard “to learn what’s happening in the tech industry” and I have OFTEN thanked you for helping me do that.

    That *doesn’t* mean I have to like everything that’s happening in the tech industry and everything the tech industry is forcing down non-tech people’s throats.

    You’re the one who has the audience to share all this stuff with, and good for you for doing so! I mean that sincerely. But why are you forcing this model onto everybody else? Why can’t there be other ways to make money?

    Do you support the writer’s strike? Do you think creators should be compensated for their work? If you do, and it’s good for TV, why not the Internet?

    People don’t want the “big bad music companies” to make all the money. So why is it a good thing for Google to do so?

  9. >Why can’t there be other ways to make money?

    There are. Even in Silicon Valley. SmugMug, for instance, charges. Hot or Not sells virtual goods.

    >Do you support the writer’s strike?

    I’m agnostic. Doesn’t affect me and I’ll never join a union. But what they are doing is getting their customers to look around for other sources of content. They better hope there’s a job to come back to if they stay on strike much longer.

    >Do you think creators should be compensated for their work?

    Sure! I am compensated for mine. But not all work is equal. Some conferences, like Demo, have more value than others. Same with TV shows or video bloggers.

    >If you do, and it’s good for TV, why not the Internet?

    I am compensated, and very well, for what I do.

    But look at New York Times. They removed the pay wall and now more people are enjoying that work (and, I’ll theorize, they’ll make more money through advertising than they would have by charging people for that work).

    I don’t make the waves. I just try to surf them the best I can.

    Sounds like you’re trying to fight the wave making machine. Good luck with that.

  10. >Why can’t there be other ways to make money?

    There are. Even in Silicon Valley. SmugMug, for instance, charges. Hot or Not sells virtual goods.

    >Do you support the writer’s strike?

    I’m agnostic. Doesn’t affect me and I’ll never join a union. But what they are doing is getting their customers to look around for other sources of content. They better hope there’s a job to come back to if they stay on strike much longer.

    >Do you think creators should be compensated for their work?

    Sure! I am compensated for mine. But not all work is equal. Some conferences, like Demo, have more value than others. Same with TV shows or video bloggers.

    >If you do, and it’s good for TV, why not the Internet?

    I am compensated, and very well, for what I do.

    But look at New York Times. They removed the pay wall and now more people are enjoying that work (and, I’ll theorize, they’ll make more money through advertising than they would have by charging people for that work).

    I don’t make the waves. I just try to surf them the best I can.

    Sounds like you’re trying to fight the wave making machine. Good luck with that.

  11. Eric: back when I worked at Microsoft do you know what one of the fastest-growing teams was? The team that sold hosted Exchange.

    So, lots of enterprises are going for this stuff already.

    >>1. data security, which is both a technical and psychological problem

    Mostly psychological problem at this point.

    >>2. the best local app will always outperform the best internet applications in both features (local integration) and responsiveness (latency will always be there) and

    Read the disruption definition again. Disrupters are almost ALWAYS “lower quality.” At least at first.

    >>3. internetus interruptus, which can only be reduced, never removed.

    Yeah, yeah, I know Twitter is going down tonight. Seriously, have you heard of Google Gears? Adobe AIR? Microsoft Silverlight?

    Solved.

    Fail.

  12. Eric: back when I worked at Microsoft do you know what one of the fastest-growing teams was? The team that sold hosted Exchange.

    So, lots of enterprises are going for this stuff already.

    >>1. data security, which is both a technical and psychological problem

    Mostly psychological problem at this point.

    >>2. the best local app will always outperform the best internet applications in both features (local integration) and responsiveness (latency will always be there) and

    Read the disruption definition again. Disrupters are almost ALWAYS “lower quality.” At least at first.

    >>3. internetus interruptus, which can only be reduced, never removed.

    Yeah, yeah, I know Twitter is going down tonight. Seriously, have you heard of Google Gears? Adobe AIR? Microsoft Silverlight?

    Solved.

    Fail.

  13. ACID ACID ACID, ACID ACID. ACID ACID: ACID, ACID ACID ACID– ACID — ACID ACID. ACID, ACID ACID ACID, ACID ACID.

  14. ACID ACID ACID, ACID ACID. ACID ACID: ACID, ACID ACID ACID– ACID — ACID ACID. ACID, ACID ACID ACID, ACID ACID.

  15. I don’t know if that was a sincere “good luck,” but I’ll take it, anyway. We writers and artists need all the luck we can get just to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table these days.

  16. I don’t know if that was a sincere “good luck,” but I’ll take it, anyway. We writers and artists need all the luck we can get just to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table these days.

  17. > Solved. Fail

    Not really. The psychological problem won’t go away, keep in mind that hosting what is basically a communication server is somewhat different than storing important documents long term. Even with encryption and redundancy I think most would avoid it. Latency can be removed if the internet is removed from the loop, but then why not use a speedy, well integrated application in the first place? Gears et al are reinventing the lowest common denominator platform (three of ‘em no less, what a joy!) reborn for the AJAX/Javascript age. They will be about as competitive as desktop java, wxwindows and other cross-platform frameworks. There will be some successes, and some new niches, but disruptive, no.

  18. > Solved. Fail

    Not really. The psychological problem won’t go away, keep in mind that hosting what is basically a communication server is somewhat different than storing important documents long term. Even with encryption and redundancy I think most would avoid it. Latency can be removed if the internet is removed from the loop, but then why not use a speedy, well integrated application in the first place? Gears et al are reinventing the lowest common denominator platform (three of ‘em no less, what a joy!) reborn for the AJAX/Javascript age. They will be about as competitive as desktop java, wxwindows and other cross-platform frameworks. There will be some successes, and some new niches, but disruptive, no.

  19. I’m a Google Docs convert. It’s nice to know I can grab my files from the any device I want. Within two years I expect to use perhaps 4-6 devices.

    Disruption happens at a “sleeper” pace. We’ll see Google Docs users grow from about 1M now to perhaps 10M by December 2008. Then 100M by December 2009? And then 1000M by December 2010? Just a wild guess. Can you do the math? :)

    This really isn’t too much of stretch. Companies like Asus and their Eee PC are going after what analysts are calling the “second billion”.

  20. I’m a Google Docs convert. It’s nice to know I can grab my files from the any device I want. Within two years I expect to use perhaps 4-6 devices.

    Disruption happens at a “sleeper” pace. We’ll see Google Docs users grow from about 1M now to perhaps 10M by December 2008. Then 100M by December 2009? And then 1000M by December 2010? Just a wild guess. Can you do the math? :)

    This really isn’t too much of stretch. Companies like Asus and their Eee PC are going after what analysts are calling the “second billion”.

  21. SimpleDB is not disruptive because the database world was disrupted years ago by MySQL and Postgres, free, enterprise ready databases. Now SimpleDB is certainly different, but as I see it not very useful. 99.99% of websites will never need the scalability it provides and can do fine with a standard, small MySQL database setup. It’s not even hard to use anymore thanks to frameworks like Rails and Django which abstract the SQL. Those that COULD benefit from the scalability, will likely have the success and specific needs that demand they build a custom setup of their own. So who is this really for?

  22. SimpleDB is not disruptive because the database world was disrupted years ago by MySQL and Postgres, free, enterprise ready databases. Now SimpleDB is certainly different, but as I see it not very useful. 99.99% of websites will never need the scalability it provides and can do fine with a standard, small MySQL database setup. It’s not even hard to use anymore thanks to frameworks like Rails and Django which abstract the SQL. Those that COULD benefit from the scalability, will likely have the success and specific needs that demand they build a custom setup of their own. So who is this really for?

  23. >>dawnkey: look at http://www.gapingvoid.com — he’s doing quite well, thank you very much.

    SIGH How many times do we have to go over that one, Robert? Hugh is a MARKETER first and foremost, and always was. And he has a tech audience, as do all the cartoonists who make a living off the Web.

    Engadget, TechCrunch, Scobleizer, Facebook…yes you techies are very good at making each other money, just like the railroad guys and the oil guys and the newspaper guys before you.

    How many nontechie artists and bloggers are making as good a living as you are from the Web?

    I don’t begrudge you guys doing it. More power to you. It’s techies who created the Web and you deserve the first spoils. We’re all grateful, believe me.

    I’m just tired of you guys promoting ideas that will forever keep others cut out of it, and all while espousing yourselves as the great democritizers. It’s bull shit. And if you would stop and think about what I’m saying, I believe you would agree with me.

    Arrington won’t. He’s beyond hope.

    Take my getting pissy with you as a compliment.

  24. >>dawnkey: look at http://www.gapingvoid.com — he’s doing quite well, thank you very much.

    SIGH How many times do we have to go over that one, Robert? Hugh is a MARKETER first and foremost, and always was. And he has a tech audience, as do all the cartoonists who make a living off the Web.

    Engadget, TechCrunch, Scobleizer, Facebook…yes you techies are very good at making each other money, just like the railroad guys and the oil guys and the newspaper guys before you.

    How many nontechie artists and bloggers are making as good a living as you are from the Web?

    I don’t begrudge you guys doing it. More power to you. It’s techies who created the Web and you deserve the first spoils. We’re all grateful, believe me.

    I’m just tired of you guys promoting ideas that will forever keep others cut out of it, and all while espousing yourselves as the great democritizers. It’s bull shit. And if you would stop and think about what I’m saying, I believe you would agree with me.

    Arrington won’t. He’s beyond hope.

    Take my getting pissy with you as a compliment.

  25. @8 “I’m agnostic”. ????? I believe the word you were looking for is “neutral” or “impartial”.

    @9
    “So, lots of enterprises are going for this stuff already.”

    Name 2 in the Fortune 100. I’m not sure any enterprise would go for 3-Nines availability, which is all that Amazon will guarantee (and what most Exchange hosting companies guarantee). I’m confident most companies cant get more than that with Oracle or SQL.

    Nor would many enterprises agree to this (from Amazon’s AWS License agreement. You would do well to read it. It applies to S3):

    http://www.amazon.com/AWS-License-home-page-Money/b/ref=sc_fe_c_0_16427261_10?ie=UTF8&node=3440661&no=16427261&me=A36L942TSJ2AJA

    “we may crawl or otherwise monitor the external interfaces of your Application for the purpose of verifying your compliance with this Agreement. You may not seek to block or otherwise interfere with such crawling or monitoring (and we may use technical means to overcome any methods used on your Application to block or interfere with our crawling or monitoring)”

    or

    “you agree to furnish a copy of your Application upon request for the purpose of verifying your compliance with this Agreement.”

    or

    “You are not permitted to use Amazon Associates Web Service with any Application or for any use that does not have, as its principal purpose, driving traffic to the Amazon Website and driving sales of products and services on the Amazon Website.”

    “Unless we have provided you our express written consent in advance, you are not permitted to use Amazon Associates Web Service in connection with any handheld, mobile or mobile phone application.”

    (so much for a mobile version of SmugMug)

    And no way in hell will any F100 Enterprise agree to this:

    “….we shall have no liability whatsoever for any damage, liabilities, losses (including any loss of data or profits) or any other consequences that you may incur as a result of any Service Suspension. To the extent we are able, we will endeavor to provide you email notice of any Service Suspension in accordance with the notice provisions set forth in Section 15 below and to post updates on the AWS Websites regarding resumption of Services following any such suspension, but shall have no liability for the manner in which we may do so or if we fail to do so.”

    or this:

    “We strive to keep Your Content secure, but cannot guarantee that we will be successful at doing so, given the nature of the Internet. Accordingly, without limitation to Section 4.3 above and Section 11.5 below, you acknowledge that you bear sole responsibility for adequate security, protection and backup of Your Content. We strongly encourage you, where available and appropriate, to use encryption technology to protect Your Content from unauthorized access and to routinely archive Your Content. We will have no liability to you for any unauthorized access or use, corruption, deletion, destruction or loss of any of Your Content.”

    So, while it may be a good solution for cash strapped Web startups, there is no way Enterprises will use this “disruptive technology” with that type of agreement.

  26. @8 “I’m agnostic”. ????? I believe the word you were looking for is “neutral” or “impartial”.

    @9
    “So, lots of enterprises are going for this stuff already.”

    Name 2 in the Fortune 100. I’m not sure any enterprise would go for 3-Nines availability, which is all that Amazon will guarantee (and what most Exchange hosting companies guarantee). I’m confident most companies cant get more than that with Oracle or SQL.

    Nor would many enterprises agree to this (from Amazon’s AWS License agreement. You would do well to read it. It applies to S3):

    http://www.amazon.com/AWS-License-home-page-Money/b/ref=sc_fe_c_0_16427261_10?ie=UTF8&node=3440661&no=16427261&me=A36L942TSJ2AJA

    “we may crawl or otherwise monitor the external interfaces of your Application for the purpose of verifying your compliance with this Agreement. You may not seek to block or otherwise interfere with such crawling or monitoring (and we may use technical means to overcome any methods used on your Application to block or interfere with our crawling or monitoring)”

    or

    “you agree to furnish a copy of your Application upon request for the purpose of verifying your compliance with this Agreement.”

    or

    “You are not permitted to use Amazon Associates Web Service with any Application or for any use that does not have, as its principal purpose, driving traffic to the Amazon Website and driving sales of products and services on the Amazon Website.”

    “Unless we have provided you our express written consent in advance, you are not permitted to use Amazon Associates Web Service in connection with any handheld, mobile or mobile phone application.”

    (so much for a mobile version of SmugMug)

    And no way in hell will any F100 Enterprise agree to this:

    “….we shall have no liability whatsoever for any damage, liabilities, losses (including any loss of data or profits) or any other consequences that you may incur as a result of any Service Suspension. To the extent we are able, we will endeavor to provide you email notice of any Service Suspension in accordance with the notice provisions set forth in Section 15 below and to post updates on the AWS Websites regarding resumption of Services following any such suspension, but shall have no liability for the manner in which we may do so or if we fail to do so.”

    or this:

    “We strive to keep Your Content secure, but cannot guarantee that we will be successful at doing so, given the nature of the Internet. Accordingly, without limitation to Section 4.3 above and Section 11.5 below, you acknowledge that you bear sole responsibility for adequate security, protection and backup of Your Content. We strongly encourage you, where available and appropriate, to use encryption technology to protect Your Content from unauthorized access and to routinely archive Your Content. We will have no liability to you for any unauthorized access or use, corruption, deletion, destruction or loss of any of Your Content.”

    So, while it may be a good solution for cash strapped Web startups, there is no way Enterprises will use this “disruptive technology” with that type of agreement.

  27. The problem is that you cry disruption all the time.

    It becomes difficult to tell which are the rare times you are correct.

  28. The problem is that you cry disruption all the time.

    It becomes difficult to tell which are the rare times you are correct.

  29. There are technologies that make it, for a whole variety of reasons, and there are those that don’t. Simple as that. Disruption is so much journalist-posturing buzzwording, trying to hype up a future that actually doesn’t much change.

    I could point by point, but I’d be here all day, so your foolish contention that data security is ‘psychological problem’ should well suffice.

    http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/ChronDataBreaches.htm#2007

  30. There are technologies that make it, for a whole variety of reasons, and there are those that don’t. Simple as that. Disruption is so much journalist-posturing buzzwording, trying to hype up a future that actually doesn’t much change.

    I could point by point, but I’d be here all day, so your foolish contention that data security is ‘psychological problem’ should well suffice.

    http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/ChronDataBreaches.htm#2007

  31. Watching geeks writhe in denial rather than take the time to understand disruptive innovation is about as entertaining as watching journalists do the same thing.

    Disruptive innovations aren’t “better.” They’re “different” and typically create new markets.

    The point of Amazon’s new “database” is not to replace some DBA’s gloriously ACID-compliant performance-tuned data-striped stored-trigger-infested Oracle-based moneysucker.

    Not any more than blogging is “intended” to replace print journalism. Or personal computers were “intended” to replace mainframes.

    Disruption of existing solutions is a delayed side effect.

  32. Watching geeks writhe in denial rather than take the time to understand disruptive innovation is about as entertaining as watching journalists do the same thing.

    Disruptive innovations aren’t “better.” They’re “different” and typically create new markets.

    The point of Amazon’s new “database” is not to replace some DBA’s gloriously ACID-compliant performance-tuned data-striped stored-trigger-infested Oracle-based moneysucker.

    Not any more than blogging is “intended” to replace print journalism. Or personal computers were “intended” to replace mainframes.

    Disruption of existing solutions is a delayed side effect.

  33. Just to clarify this commenter’s point, I don’t doubt that cloud database will be “disruptive.” I just wonder why you keep insinuating that Microsoft and Google are doing nothing in this space. You seem bent on declaring Amazon the winner before the horses have even left the gate.

    Read the disruption definition again. Disrupters are almost ALWAYS “lower quality.” At least at first.

    The funny thing is that shitty, inferior knockoffs are almost always “lower quality,” too. At least at first. ;-)

    If I come out with a console-based, non-WYSIWYG line editor, call it “EDLIN PLUS,” bill it as a replacement for Microsoft Word, and give it away for free in Cracker Jack boxes, how should I respond to the howls of criticism? “You just don’t understand! This is disruptive!

    To quote Huey Louis and the News, “Sometimes ‘bad’ is bad.

    Personally I preferred El Jobso’s take on the NYT story over Blodget’s. Money quote: “As if to prove the point Raikes just made, the story contains not a single example of a big enterprise customer that has standardized on Google Apps.

  34. Just to clarify this commenter’s point, I don’t doubt that cloud database will be “disruptive.” I just wonder why you keep insinuating that Microsoft and Google are doing nothing in this space. You seem bent on declaring Amazon the winner before the horses have even left the gate.

    Read the disruption definition again. Disrupters are almost ALWAYS “lower quality.” At least at first.

    The funny thing is that shitty, inferior knockoffs are almost always “lower quality,” too. At least at first. ;-)

    If I come out with a console-based, non-WYSIWYG line editor, call it “EDLIN PLUS,” bill it as a replacement for Microsoft Word, and give it away for free in Cracker Jack boxes, how should I respond to the howls of criticism? “You just don’t understand! This is disruptive!

    To quote Huey Louis and the News, “Sometimes ‘bad’ is bad.

    Personally I preferred El Jobso’s take on the NYT story over Blodget’s. Money quote: “As if to prove the point Raikes just made, the story contains not a single example of a big enterprise customer that has standardized on Google Apps.