Subject: Re: So... Re: offering pre-purchases
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 12:18:48 +0900

Thomas Lord writes:
 > Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

 > > Why?  What's in it for [the VCs]? 
 > 
 > Well, I hate "selling from the negative" but there's both a negative and 
 > positive here.
 > 
 > The positive:  they survive, my way.   The negative: they don't.

"Sez Tom Lord" is not going to convince anybody.

 > > Remember, the VCs don't care about the topology of software; 

 > I call "bs".

Because you're insisting on pushing your point and missing mine.

Please remember, I have no interest in "winning" this debate; I want
FSBs to succeed as much as anybody does (I'm not counting those who
have an economic stake in a particular FSB, obviously they care much
more than I do, and perhaps not merely in that sense).  I do not want
to see FSBs fail for having unrealistic ideas about the underlying
economics of the business, which includes a dominating portion of
general business and economics; the special nature of software is not
going to account for more than 20-30% of the difficulties of running a
software business.

Put it this way: you at least know I do care about the right things.
If you're not convincing me, how are you going to convince a typical
conventional client, even one that prides itself on free software-
friendly practices?

Sure, I know you've managed a prepurchase or two or six already, but
is it enough?

 > > [VCs] only really care about the distribution of the random
 > > variable called "ROI".

 > That's how they keep score, yes.

Which is what an economist means by "really care about", OK?

 > > You need to show them that understanding the topology gives
 > > them better distributions of ROI.

 > Yeah.  It's a detailed conversation about which I've given sufficient
 > hints.  Sign up today.

Are you talking about software I can prepurchase?  Or a business I can
invest in?  Or something else?

 > Building out good ideas into at-scale firms is hard.

That's my line!  I'm not sure how you think that works to favor your
point of view.  Explain?

 > > There *are* organizations which have managed to (to some extent)
 > > institutionalize repeatability: Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, IBM ....
 > 
 > The good repeatability examples you cite there failed only because
 > "all is change" -- the boundaries of cooparation and participation
 > were too inflexibly set.

I don't consider Bell and IBM failures at all, except that they've
somehow managed to overlook your not inconsiderable talents.<wink>  Of
course I'm teasing ... but only about 50%.  Still, in the great scheme
of things, I have to consider that failure pretty minor when stacked
against their accomplishments.  PARC is a very interesting case, they
had repeatability of ideas down, but they failed to get some of the
most important ones to market and so flunked the business course in
repeatability.  So, who would you cite on the "Great Failures of
Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center"?