Fireside conversation with village elders while drinking Ardbeg, which is known to increase your intelligence by multi-fold.
Few things first:
1. We in the village love OpenStack – we think it need to succeed to offset AWS monopoly in IAAS.
2. We love that OpenStack is run by passionate and smart engineers. Lot of respect for you guys.
3. We love that it has attracted companies with deeper packets, so its not going to disappear and is the best chance we have for a future with options.
Now, for some education.
Because we not have Breaking Bad or Dexter to keep us busy, for most part, we sit around the fireplace and discuss strategies. Long time ago, we found the Chasm Model to be easy for describing the market evolution. We also think while Clayton Christensen’s Innovators Dilemma is good for lighting fire under CEO asses, but it causes more confusion among people who haven’t taken time to read it fully. Disruption is real and people who ignore it will learn Clayton’s sayings the hard way. However, its not for the masses.
With that, we made an observation few weeks ago:
1. IAAS has crossed the chasm thanks to AWS.
2. PAAS has not crossed the chasm and burden of proof is on PAAS vendors.
We had not expanded on it, because our village head thought its self-evident. However, the village council had concluded it had been a mistake not to expand on it. This post will try.
When you are in the Early market, you work with Visionaries ( Early Adopters ). An example of this is customers using CloudFoundry. Look at this post to see how visionaries think. Observe the language – ‘Radical Change’. Visionaries look for ways to break with the past and start an entirely new future. They think breaking with the past will give them insurmountable competitive advantage over the old order. When they succeed, its a sweet victory. We as an industry have a lot to thank visionaries, for without them, we would still be using punchcards.
After you had crossed the chasm, you enter the Bowling alley and Tornado. Here you work with Early and Late Pragmatists ( collectively called Early Majority ). These are typically companies that like to adopt technologies early enough, but not bleeding edge technologies. These folks do not love technology for the sake of technology. They believe in evolution, not revolution. These guys like to buy from market leaders. Most in this stage want to buy from AWS, who is the clear leader.
Looking at the revenues of AWS ( expected to be $3B this year) and the rate of growth, the village heads have said that it looks like a Tornado and we are past Bowling alley.
To start, OpenStack already has a disadvantage – the best they can hope for in the current cycle of growth is second place. You role is one of a Chimp. You competing against AWS is competing against the whole market. Do not attempt – you fail. You have permission to get some market share, but not dominate the market in the current cycle. Focus on a subsegment of the market. For ex: companies that want elasticity of the cloud but have preference for either private cloud or hosted private cloud. This is the time for you to differentiate yourself from the Gorilla, which is AWS. Good news for you is there are people among you that are pushing to go in that direction. You just need to listen more. If your sole obsession is fighting AWS, you cease to exist when the tornado period is over and main street begins.
You need focus that is specific to the subsegment of the market you are focusing on. You need to be targeting operations staff that want the benefits of Cloud, but are not comfortable with a operator driven public cloud. They are screaming currently that your install and configuration is not as easy as it can be. Fix that first. That is more important than trying to feature match AWS. Again, focus on the subsegment and do the best job you can for that market. As outsiders, our elders think your strategy looks a bit like spray and pray.
This is not the time for you to fragment your offering to try to appeal to both early majority and visionaries. Solum is your attempt to appeal to PAAS audience who for most part are visionaries. The worst thing that can happen here is that one of them gets interested in Solum and asks you to implement myriad of features they need ( which is what visionaries do). The distraction from trying to appeal to visionaries will distract you from trying to appeal to the subsegment of the early majority.
Think about it guys – if you do not succeed and differentiate yourself to be available when the market goes mainstream, the future looks bleak. Leave the task of crossing PAAS over the Chasm to CloudFoundry and OpenShift folks – they have the money and talent to do a good job – they are not your enemies right now.
We could continue more, but we just ran out of our supplies of Ardbeg and Azamat is not approve more Scotch budget.