What Constitutes a Startup?

I read an article in the Register today about a new hyper-converged appliance from Atlantis, written by Chris Mellor in his usual inimitable style.  What really got my attention was his description of Atlantis as a “startup”.  As they were founded in 2007, 8 years ago my friends, I started to wonder what constitutes a startup? I am sure Atlantis’ marketing peeps would not want to be considered a startup; if you’ve been in business for 8 years surely you’re more mature than that?  However, there are advantages to being labeled a startup in technology as it gives the impression to the reader you’re an innovator.  I have known of companies 10 years and older that have changed their strategy and product focused and re-christened themselves a startup because it suited their desire to be seen as innovative.  But if you’ve already received 4 rounds of funding, I really wouldn’t consider that a startup!

However, having researched the interweb for this post, I came across many definitions of startups; from dictionaries to business leaders but this is the one I prefer:

Early stage in the lifecycle of an enterprise where the entrepreneur moves from the idea stage to securing finance, laying down the basis of structure of the business and initiating operations or trading.

In reviewing the Atlantis HyperScale announcement, perhaps the term startup is appropriate for them in this instance; they’re taking a whole different direction and, perhaps, are entering the phase that the descriptor above defines?

Whatever your definition of a startup is, it is exciting to see the continued innovation – completely new or just re-cycled – in our industry today.

London VMUG Meeting April 23rd 2015 – a Rimmary

 

We had record-breaking registrations for this 2nd meeting of 2015, and attendees from across mainland Europe and the US!  The day before our meeting Enrico Signoretti held his TechUnplugged event, which I also attended.  It was an interesting format and storage focused, with a bit of containers and cloud chucked in for good measure.  I also had the pleasure of hearing Nigel Poulton speak for the first time – impressive delivery and content, very enlightening!

The focus of our meeting was primarily vSphere 6 but we too had a mixture of containers and cloud discussions.  Andy Jenkins provided an overall strategy keynote presentation after Alaric’s usual entertaining intro.  And the day was concluded with a panel discussion on vSphere.next where Joe Baguley joined us and, for me, provided the quote of the day: “It’s heritage, not legacy.”

Julian also gave his ‘warts and all’ presentation on vSphere 6 – which was extremely well attended and received. I attended Richard Munro’s preso on deploying vCloud Air from Kilimanjaro – whilst a very short video clip showed the actual deployment, it was a very inspiring presentation and the trip raised $250,000 for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, so well done Richard and the other 4 VMware team members.

Hans de Leenheer and Nigel recorded their InTechWeTrust podcast from the meeting, with long time London VMUG members Ed Grigson and Julian Wood as guests, as well as Stephen Foskett.  Was great to see Stephen attend and glad he enjoyed Alaric’s banter in his intro!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d purchased 5 of Barry Coomb’s and Peter van Oven’s new Mastering VMware Horizion 6 Book to give away as prizes, a regular VMUGer, Phil Morris, won one for asking a cracking question to the vSphere.next panel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a privilege to host a number of other VMUG leaders from Europe; Max from the Czech Republic, Arjan and Joep from the Netherlands and Andrea from Italy – thanks for joining us!

As always, we can’t do these meetings without our sponsors, and are extremely grateful to Cisco, Atlantis Computing and Nimble Storage for their sponsorship and support.  We also had Taupo Consulting (a Purely Computing company) sponsor vBeers in the evening, they were not only vGenerous with the beer sponsorship but also held a prize draw for an iPad, a free day’s consulting and a free vSphere health check, thanks guys!

All presentations can be found at box.net/londonug and put July 9th in your diary for our next meeting at the London Chamber of Commerce and keep an eye on vmug.com for agenda and registration nearer the time.

See you there!

 

hiviz-marketing is 10 years old!

When I decided to leave my role as Director EMEA Marketing at VMware in January 2005, I didn’t envision 10 years later that hiviz-marketing would still be going so strong!

I took the decision to “go down a gear” after having spent 2 years, as employee number 2 in Europe, building the VMware brand.  Flying all over Europe convincing partners and customers that virtualization was the way forward, building a team of local marketers and being part of a cult-like movement was invigorating, challenging and exhausting!  Having done much the same for the previous 5 ½ years at Citrix, it was time for a change.  Telling my EMEA VP that I was leaving was a bit like asking my husband for a divorce – we’d worked so closely both at VMware and previously at Citrix – it was very hard to leave him, my team and the company.  But the world of consulting beckoned and I was looking forward to spending more time with my family, dogs and horses (not necessarily in that order by the way!).  hiviz-marketing was born in February 2005 and by the end of that month I had secured my first two customers – Platform Computing and VirtualizeIT (that was subsequently sold to Virtustream).

I have been lucky, and privileged, to have worked with some amazing technology and some fantastic people.  My criteria for working with clients is 3-fold; 1. I have to believe in the technology, 2.  I have to like the people and 3. They can’t compete with another client – as a “me, myself and I” business I can never have conflicts of interest or anyone questioning my integrity.  The thing I love about what I do is that I continue to learn; when working for one company you sometimes get sucked into the corporate culture that involves drinking the kool-aid, along with the bureaucracy and politics.  In my role, I ensure I don’t get involved in that and remain objective.  By working with different companies and technology I get a much more holistic view of our industry and can offer advice and guidance with objectivity; versus the subjective view you generally get when being an employee.

The companies I work/have worked with have primarily been US start-ups entering the EMEA market and, mainly, within the VMware eco-system.  Many of them have gone on to be acquired (Vizioncore by Quest, then Dell, ScriptLogic by Quest,) some have disappeared off the radar (PanoLogic) and some continue to disrupt and provide immense value to their customer base (Liquidware Labs, Nutanix, PernixData).  I’ve witnessed many technology movements and my role as a VMUG leader also provides me exposure to many new technologies that sponsor our meetings and annual user conference.  The other clear movement is the advancements made in storage during the past 10 years.  A techie friend said to me in the late “noughties” that he didn’t see longevity for companies like Atlantis as SSDs would negate the need for their solution, which goes to show there is space for differing solutions.

With a rear view mirror, many of the disruptive innovators in those early days are now major players, with billions of dollars in revenue.  VMware is obviously the main one.  Some people today think that VMware was an easy sale, a “no brainer”, but creating a market, changing mindsets of IT managers and CIOs is an uphill and a constant challenge.  Brian Madden recently wrote an article and claimed:

“The same is true for VMware in server virtualization in the early early-to-mid 2000s. …… This stuff was obvious, it was necessary, and it sold itself.”

I HAD to post a comment on this article because this is such a typical view of someone that wasn’t involved in the hard slog and just sees the results of a successful company and puts that success down to “an easy sell” – WRONG!  Looking in the review mirror, yes it’s obvious, yes it was needed, but it took a lot of technical, sales and marketing resource to make it so!

So entering into the next decade of hiviz-marketing, as a 10th anniversary present to me, myself and I, I’ve invested in a new website, please take a look and I hope you like it.

Finally, to all my clients, past, present and future, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you – it’s been fun and I look forward to continuing to work with leading-edge, disruptive companies with the most amazing people!! I wonder what the next ten years will bring……….

Forthcoming July 17th London VMUG Meeting

We’re just over 2 weeks away from our last meeting of the year in London.  As many of you might know, as a committee we also organize the yearly UK VMUG User Conference in Birmingham in November.  As such, we don’t hold a 4th quarter meeting in London, as we just don’t have that much spare time to volunteer for two events in the same quarter 🙂

You can register here for July’s meeting.  And you can find more details here for the User Conference in November.

So, back to July’s meeting, we have an awesome array of community and VMware speakers and sponsors, including an NDA session from VMware for customers.  We are very privileged to have this session and hopefully this in itself will be a very good reason to attend!

The agenda is below:

 

At the recent VMware vForum in Wembley, we staffed the VMUG booth and signed up 51 new members.  We hope to see all of you at this forthcoming meeting!

Thanks, as always, go to our sponsors; Veeam, Fusion-io, Extrahop and Atlantis Computing. Plus, Bitdefender is sponsoring vBeers, check out the post here.

 

This Week’s London VMUG – July 4th

 

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Having been on holiday for the past 10 days, the next meeting is already nearly upon us.  This one has been a bit more challenging in organizing speakers and sponsors than previous ones.  I think there have been so many VMware related events recently; with more VMUGs coming into play and the recent VMware Forums across Europe have sapped vendors’ resources; human and budgetary.  However, we have secured a GREAT line up for our members, with Veeam, Atlantis and Dell/Wyse as our sponsors and special guest, Frank Denneman from Pernix Data.  Of course, we also have some fabulous community content, with London stalwarts Julian Wood, Steve Bruck and Stu McHugh, along with newcomer speakers Fernando Frediani, Seb Hakiel and Sam McGeown. Our own steering committee member, Simon Gallagher, will give us his view on the recent vCHS (vCloud Hybrid Service) announcement and we have regular VMware VMUG contributor Aidan Dalgliesh with his colleague, Kamau Wanguhu, talking Simplifying DR IP Addressing With  Overlay Networks – all good stuff!

As usual, we’ll have our giveaways to chuck – sorry, I mean give to new members and am sure our sponsors will have some goodies too.

Check out the agenda for yourself below and ensure your boss will let you attend this great information and knowledge exchange/networking meeting!

 

In case you haven’t already registered (why not?!) you can do so here and looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday!