NI3: The Net Result of Imagination, Innovation, and Investment
Friday, January 31, 2003
Drivel:  I am beginning to think that this consulting stuff is for the birds, at least on the scale that I am doing it now.  Scaling back would make it better.  I would love to get back into software development.
 
Drivel:  It is finally the end of the week.  I am half way through the travel schedule from hell.  I leave Sunday for Minneapolis, return to Boston late Monday night, leave for Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, and fly home on a red-eye next Friday night.  I am not doing this again.  I thought the whole point of the Internet and all of the technologies that leverage it was to enable people to communicate more effectively without having to be face-to-face.  Well, that's the standing theory.  When you are working with an organization that isn't open and there isn't a culture of sharing, this theory falls on its face.
 
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Drivel:  John Robb posted an estimated per user per month model for a weblog system.  I would challenge his model with a more robust TCO model illustrated below.

Decentralized Weblog System
Licenses of Radio cost $40 per year, or $3.33 per month.  Per user per month depreciation of a $5k server over 36 months and spread over 1,000 users is $0.14.  Let's assume that 1,000 users consume 1.54Mbps on average at a cost of $450 per month, leaving you with a $0.45 per user per month cost for bandwidth.  Fixed deployment costs will be approximately $2700 for a sys admin to spend a week configuring the installation image of Radio, testing it, configuring the RCS server, testing it, and deploying Radio to 1,000 users.  Ongoing operational costs will be approximately 0.25 FTE at a annual loaded cost of $100,000.  This tranlates into $2.08 per user per month.

What's the TCO of a decentralized weblog system?

  • Per user per month cost:  $6.00
  • Setup cost:  $2,700
  • 1st year operating cost:  $74,700
  • 2nd & 3rd year operating cost:  $72,000

Assumptions:

  • No more than 1,000 users are using the system at any time.
  • Costs may be reduced by supporting more than 1,000 users on one RCS server.
  • Support costs may be more depending on user sophistication and initial configuration of Radio.
  • Planning costs are not included in this model.
  • No initial development is required.

Centralized Weblog System
A centralized weblog system to support 1,000 users will require a minimum of two $5k servers, costing $0.27 per user per month.  3Mbps at a cost of $0.90 per user per month will be required to support user traffic.  Two weeks will be required to deploy the system at a cost of $5400.  1 FTE at an annual loaded cost of $100,000 will be required to support the system.  This tranlates into $8.33 per user per month.

What's the TCO of a centralized weblog system?

  • Per user per month cost:  $9.50
  • Setup cost: $5,400
  • 1st year operating cost:  $119,400
  • 2nd & 3rd year operating cost:  $114,000

Assumptions:

  • No more than 1,000 users are using the system at any time.
  • No license fees are required for the software chosen.
  • Costs may be reduced by supporting more than 500 users on one server.
  • Support costs may be more depending on user sophistication and initial configuration of the system.
  • Planning costs are not included in this model.
  • No initial development costs are required.  It is highly likely that some initial development costs will be required with Open Source software.

As you can see, the support costs are the key to running a cost effective weblog system.  Support and development costs tend to be higher for Open Source software than for off-the-shelf software.  Open Source is a great solution when your when the cost of retaining staff is less expensive than licensing and maintaining commercial software.  Weblog systems don't fall into this category -- yet.

 
Monday, January 27, 2003
Drivel:  I am in Arkansas right now.  Don't ask.  Believe me, it's worse than it sounds.
 
Sunday, January 26, 2003
Drivel:  I did not get to LinuxWorld last week.  I was very disappointed not to be able to at least comb the expo floor.  This new project is sucking the life out of me.  I am traveling again this week and actually leaving today, Sunday.  This traveling on Sunday and all week stuff has got to stop.
 
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Drivel:  I have been learning a lot about niche publishing companies over the past couple of weeks as a result of my new project.  Starting a couple of years ago they started seeing double-digit customer conversion to their Internet based products, which continue to be horribly under-developed.  These businesses are scared of technology and have very little money to invest in it due to very low profit margins.  It is a very scary time for specialty publishers as the Internet consumes their core business.  Companies that have been around for over 100 years may suddenly disappear.
 
Drivel:  I am heading to LinuxWorld tomorrow in New York to comb the exhibit floor.  I will report back with any goodies I find.  One goodie I wish I were going to see is a UserLand booth featuring Radio on Linux.  Who wants Radio on Linux??  Me!!  Me!!  Me!!
 
Drivel:  Today was quite the day for Microsoft security releases.  They released two Windows patches, one Outlook 2002 patch, and a patch for Content Management Server.  This is the most patches released in a single day by Microsoft that I can remember.
 
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Drivel:  It has been a busy start to the new year.  Taking on clients on my own is very different from sub-contracting on a project.  It has taken me a little while to get my head into the game, but it is there now and things are going well.  I am on track with all of my goals for the first couple of months of this year.  I think this year is going to be about changing perspectives.
 
Saturday, January 11, 2003
Drivel:  The folks at Bank Street shipped me an iBook at assist in the testing of their new web site, which happens to be powered by Frontier.  It is the first time I have used an iBook.  It is quite a nice machine.  If it weren't for the fact that I travel for business a lot and all of my clients are running Windows networks, I would switch in a heartbeat.  However, what I would really like to do is get a Linux laptop.  I already have this to a certain extend via VMware Workstation.  I can run Linux on top of Windows with VMware, but it can be a slow sometimes -- especially when I am running X.
 
Drivel:  I took a class last year to kill some time after my unexpected departure from Accenture.  The topic of the class was the history of warfare.  The topic was immensely interesting, even though it tried to cover way too much history in the time allotted.  The course culminated in a thesis.  The topic I chose was Asymmetric Warfare.  It was quick an interesting a vast topic.  The best I could do was attempt to define it, provide some historical examples, and explain how an asymmetry is created.  Here is my short essay on Asymmetric Warfare.
 
Thursday, January 09, 2003
Drivel:  The trials and tribulations of being a consultant and working from home got to me today.  I got a lot done, but not as much as I wanted to.  I have found that the key to getting things done when working on your own is sticking to a schedule and developing a routine.  Not starting the day the way I expect to really throws my entire day off.  I guess I am trying to get into a groove with this new project.  Sporadic travel over the next fifteen weeks is going to make getting into a groove more of a challenge.
 
Drivel:  Congratulations to Dave for his fellowship appointment at The Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
 
Wednesday, January 08, 2003
Drivel:  Just got back from Chicago.  The new project kick-off went extremely well.  This one is definitely going to keep me busy for the next six months.  I will be traveling 12 out of the next 15 weeks to places like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Van Buren, Arkansas.  Don't laugh about the last location.  I don't even know where it is!  However, these is quite a funny story behind it that I might be able to share at a later date.
 
Monday, January 06, 2003
Drivel:  Started a new project today.  I will be in Chicago for the next few days.  I fly United from Boston to Chicago this morning.  The flight was virtually empty.  I have taken this flight before and it is almost always packed.  I guess United's recent events have scared off a lot of business travelers.  I will make it a point to fly United a little more often.
 
Friday, January 03, 2003

Drivel:  A study of interviews with 100 IT managers can hardly predict the trends for an entire industry.  In any case, we now have predictions ranging from -1% to +4% for IT spending in 2003.  I would be more likely to trust predictions from a firm that knows technology a little better than Goldman Sachs.  Personally, I think that are trying to says it is going to be flat and leaving themselves some room to look good as the year progresses.
##  Goldman Sachs says IT spending to drop in 2003. In contrast to other firms, survey predicts 1 percent reduction [InfoWorld: Top News]

 

Drivel:  This is great news!!  How else are PC vendors going to maintain margin on their products when prices are falling well below the $1,000 mark?  All Linux distributor needs to do is get their name out there to Joe Consumer.  Red Hat should hire a world class marketing firm and starting advertising on TV.
## Which major PC vendor will sell desktop Linux first?. Doc's newsletter predictions for the new year include the "L-word" on the "D-word" and some other big moves from big companies. [Linux Journal]

 

Drivel:  This is all good news for consultants.  Consultants who can put together quality teams from the ranks of the unemployed or those looking to make a change will fair the best, in my opinion.  However, with only a 4% growth overall the big consulting companies like Accenture, BearingPoint, EDS, and IBM will be hard pressed to capture this growth.  They will have to continue to rely on their existing business and the infrequent large deal.
## Worldwide IT spending to grow 4 percent in 2003. Study shows Linux, outsourcing, wireless sales will be strong [InfoWorld: Top News]

 
Thursday, January 02, 2003
Drivel:  I am back from the holidays.  It was a great set of holidays.  Christmas was very relaxing as my wife and I spent it with our closest friends rather than traveling to see family on the West Coast.  We also spent five days in Maine where I learned to ski.  My wife and I had done cross-country skiing years ago, but our friends had not.  We all took a lesson and had a great day wandering around the trails in Sunday River Maine.  I had never been downhill skiing before and learned this weekend.  I am hooked.  We are going again this weekend.  My wife has been downhill skiing since she was four years old.  She is very happy that we have finally found an outdoor sport we both like.  Personally, I also think she likes that fact that she is much better than I am at this sport.  I now need to get her to like cycling. :-)
 

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