Friday, December 24, 2010

RATING MY 2010 PREDICTIONS! - Stuxnet, Wildcats and random thoughts

My top ten predictions for 2010 GRADED

Looking through my 2010 predictions, it's clear I am better with technology than sports!
I'd say the Stuxnet prediction took me from mediocre to pretty good, if you grade impact and probability. Working on 2011...

10) There is a major malware incident that results in a compromise which is big enough to make the headlines. This will raise the visibility of cybercrime to new levels -
GRADE - A+ STUXNET rocks the IT Sec space, making NYTime, WSJ and changing the international landscape

9) The IPO market for tech warms up considerably and we see at least 15 filings and 6-7 IPOs out of the valley. I expect these to be about 50-50 enterprise and consumer/web2.0 -
GRADE - WRONG - However, high value M and A and private valuations make up for it and tech prospects are good.

8) The "cloud" suffers a major outage (unrelated to #10) and this slows but does not halt the drive to cloud-computing
GRADE - EHHH, NO huge outage, but lotsa little one, cloud continues to role.

7) Unemployment is the valley continues to hover around 11-12% until after the summer when we finally see real signs of recovery in employment
GRADE - Pretty spot on!!!, though the recovery is slower and later than we'd like

6) Oracle FINALLY owns Sun (does anyone really care anymore?)
GRADE - Yeah, so who cares...

5) The housing market finally stabilizes and we actually see BOTH price and volumes pick up in 2010.
GRADE - Yes on stabilizing, we are halfway there...

4) The Republicans have a decent 2010 election, but don't fundamentally gain much, though they do slow the Dems down in the Senate
GRADE - C here, Republicans did even better in house, so we will see how 2011 goes in Washington

3) The Browns and Indians suck again and the Cavs disappoint in the playoffs (You can take the boy out of Cleveland, but you can't take the sports outta the boy...)
GRADE - Yeah, so who cares...

2) The Wildcats (Northwestern) snap their 61 year streak without a bowl game win by upsetting the Auburn Tigers in the Outback Bowl on Jan 1
GRADE - 62 years and counting, with Persa out for the Ticket City bowl, I'm not counting on a win this Jan 1

1) The Wildcats snap their 0 for forever streak and make the Men's BBALL tourney...
GRADE - WRONG, I clearly have purple glasses on, maybe this year?????
Go Cats, and here's to a great 2011...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving thanks

Things I am thankful for:

My amazing wife and wonderful children
My great friends both new and old
My amazing clients for helping me to build my business
My families health and happiness
My health and happiness
The teachers and educators we are lucky to have
The safety and security we take for granted and enjoy and those who help protect it
Living in this amazing time and place
The fact that I can make the list above!

Over and out...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Uverse cares? NOT!

My chat with Uverse tech support, guess I was kinda pissed...priceless

Mr. Rutsky, thank you for contacting AT&T U-verse Member Support. My name is REP
How may I assist you with U-verse service today?

I am really pissed off about the loss of Food Network, HGTV and other channels
You need to tell SENIOR MANAGEMENT that they are ffing up big time
I want to make sure this message gets through. We give you 30 days to fix this then we are OUTOF THIS SERVICE!!!
I know this is not a technical issue, but this is the ONLY WAY TO GET ANYONE FROM UVERSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOU
PLS confirm that you will pass this up the foodchain...

Sorry, Mr. Rutsky. As the agreements with the Scripps channel has expired. That is the reason the channels are off air.
I will certainly pass this information, Mr. Rutsky.

The reason is that ATT management doesnt give a rats ass about what it's customers want. They think it is too hard to switch. This is REALLY NOT Acceptable
and a crappy way to run a business.
pass that on. doesn't ATT have a VP of Cust sat. How can that exec let this happen?
esp when negotiations were ongoing STUPID STUPID STUPID
tell them also to watch twitter, there is NO sympathy for them, just more anger...

We have not expected that this would reach to this situation, we hope that this would be fixed soon.

OK, sorry to yell at someone 3K miles away and 20 steps below the decision maker, but

Every member has raised the same question, how can this be off air when negotiations are going on.

also, according to Food Network, ATT CHOSE to turn this off while neg were going, again total disregard for customers
totally sucks
and they ATT execs will wonder when Google TV rules all
OK, I am done, I am just getting more angry. Like I said, someone at the sr level should understand how much customer anger this generates.

Yes, certainly I agree with you.
I'll escalate this to my supervisor.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My new product marketing blog

I've decided to split my blog. This blog will be my personal one. I am moving my Product Marketing Blog and Business content to my new site, Product (1st) Marketing (2nd), I hope you enjoy it.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Social media, innovation, B2B Product Marketing

I've been long since posting. I've been busy with clients and at home with the end of school year rush of events. Lots going on...

Been thinking a lot about Social Media, Innovation and B2B Product Marketing and the various intersections of these. I think there's a big change going on in B2B, lot's has been written about the new "Science" of analytical marketing, but at the same time, there is a huge gap on "Strategic Analytics" for B2B product marketers. I think there is a very real oppty to advance the science and tools that product marketers have at their disposal. More thoughts to come.

In addition, I am curious, if you are a product marketing professional, where do you go for help, advise and learning?? How do you find industry best practices when faced with a problem? Where do you advance your "toolkit"?? What role does social media play today, and do you find it worth your time???

More to come on these topics....


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Next Gen Threat Protection.

Check this new blog and site from FireEye out. Cool stuff!!!! Last week I wrote about the emerging Next Gen FireWalls, essentially consolidated policy management and compliance products. For next gen threat prevention, interesting to see what FireEye has offered up... and


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why Checkpoint (and Cisco and Fortinet and PAN) Should Take Notice of McAfee...

(Disclaimer: I previously ran product Marketing for Secure Computing and McAfee Network Security so has some bias, though hold NO market positions in any of the companies in this blog)

In Sept of 2008, days before the market collapse, Secure Computing accepted an all-cash offer from McAfee. In November, the deal closed. Many wondered what the future of Sidewinder, one of the oldest, but arguably most secure and revered product in the market. In less than 2 yrs, we now have the answer, with McAfee Firewall Enterprise V8.0. 8.0 is a BIG release, even if it only does some of what was announced. Application and user awareness, ePO integration and more make this a big product.

Next generation firewalls are coming hard and fast into the market, led by the innovative and disruptive Palo Alto Networks. Fortinet and others also have some level of this capability, and you can bet that network players Cisco and Juniper are not far behind.

With 8.0 , McAfee has fired a broad shot across the bow of the firewall market. Sure, lotsa questions remain, everything from performance to IPS on 8.0 and its impact on the OTHER McAfee IPS product line, to can McAfee win the love of the channel. However, this is a shot to be reckoned with. McAfee has a $500M+ Netsec business and wants more.

A bit more on IPS. The market seems to be saying this...1) IPS is part of the Next Gen FW 2) IPS provides compliance level protection 3) We need more innovation for threat prevention (witness the recent SNORT NRG initiative.) Now, I see this convergence as a leaving a wide open space for Next generation threat prevention at the NW level, a product that protects against today's browser based attacks, not the network probes of the past. Who/What will emerge to fill that gap?? That's a post for another time...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Positioning from Strength

Often I observe that when business is good, positioning gets stale. However, no one cares. As one of my good CFO friends once told me "Top line growth covers a lot of rocks". I think this is a shame, and a real missed opportunity. Positioning from Strength is a HIGHLY leveragable activity, one that has the potential to accelerate both business and valuation.

Take my client Nimsoft, recently acquired by CA for $350M on a very healthy multiple. When I arrived to work with the CEO, Gary Read and his exec team, business was going great. Nimsoft had (and still has) a tremendous product, great sales momentum and was an execution machine. However, to Gary's credit, he was open and receptive to a discussion of positioning, vision and go forward marketing strategy, in a way that was highly unusual for a business going so well.

I think Gary saw that Nimsoft was sitting at the apex of an opportunity to reposition from strength, and to use that strength to build a platform and vision that was forward looking and unique. That's exactly what we did when we launched and implemented the Nimsoft Unified Monitoring strategy, architecture, alliance and .com portal.

The results, well they speak for themselves, great going forward positioning, coupled with continued amazing execution led to continued growth and the CA transaction. But we are not done yet, and this week took the next step with the launch of Nimsoft On Demand, a SaaS delivery of Nimsoft Unified Monitoring. Look for more great things to come from the Nimsoft business now that it is part of CA, this is only the beginning.

So, I think this shows very strongly the value of positioning from strength. CEOs and BODs, don't wait for the crisis, IF YOUR BUSINESS IS GOING GREAT, and you haven't examined your GTM positioning and messaging within the last 12-18 months, there's never been a better time than right now...(Need help, well, I know someone who's pretty good at this :))...

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Google Docs ---Document Nirvana or Document Socialism

So, Google releases a whole new update to google docs today with MUCH fanfare and the requisite sexy blog and youtube video... This ones been in me for a while, and while there are a lot of little reasons I'm not sold (such as dont see biz value of Simultaneous editing, Version control really weak, Change tracking is not so hot, offline access, feature parity to SW) these gaps will are are being closed.)

I think the biggest reason is I want to own my docs!!!

I live my life in a world of docs, spreadsheets and presos, they are the way I create, communicate and distribute intellectual property. Yes, I often do this in teams, and LOVE for that. But I don't really want you to change that formula or that bullet point and obliterate my content. Do it, save it and call it V2. If I do let you do it to the live one, how do I easily and painlessly see the changes from the one on my hard drive??

I think content ownership IS a big deal ESPECIALLY when working with teams. To me, Google Doc paradigm is Content socialism, and I guess I want private property, even when I let you onto the property and even move the furniture! I've always found pass the baton editing (Sharing sites like fill the bill well for this) more effective than group gropes, which I love on the whiteboard but find incredibly frustrating when dealing with constrained content like Docs, spreadsheet and presos...

Am I a dinosaur?? What do you think???

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For IT Technology Vendor Go to Market plans, the 4th C=Cloud!

This ones bursting out like a rainstorm (pun intended) exciting stuff...

Eucalyptus, according to GigaMon, appears to be on the verge of raising a round with a post valuation of $100M on best I can tell revenues in the $0M range! (Granted, a big name CEO joined, but still, 100M valuation??) When I saw this, it really got me thinking of 1) are we entering a cloud bubble and 2) why, even if we are, how the cloud is changing the business that I and my clients are in. I'll leave topic 1 for another day, but let's take a look at #2.

4Ps and 3Cs - A Cloudy View
Let's pull out the trusty old standard and QUICKLY examine how these change or might change because of the cloud....

Product - The cloud opens up new delivery options for just about any hardware or software offering or capability. IT vendors MUST rethink their product plans and at a minimum better have good reasons NOT to be in the cloud.

Pricing and Cost- In IT mind, cloud = subscription, but does cloud = cheap? That's one of many open questions. The move from perpetual to subscription business is a very tricky one the bigger you get, but the cloud is accelerating an already present trend. Services = subscription. IT products = services...get it...How do you price cloud offerings relative to your traditional on premise/package ones...

And on the cost side, the good news, it's really cheap to get into business, no more hardware, no more datacenters, no more test labs, no more power bills. Ahhh, that works great for new start-ups. But aren't you ISVs used to zero marginal costs on sales. Sorry!, get ready for COGS, more users = more COGS. A great example of a business model issue that helps new entrants move faster than existing ones.

Worried about margin cannabilization, well, guess what, the yCombinator start up down the street built hosting COGs into the model from day 1. They don't expect 95% margins, but you do, oh, no wonder their offering is cheaper. Oh, and by they way, they've been built for low cost scaling too, while it's going to take you a year to get there. Price for scale now and take a margin hit??? Oh so many great marketing problems to solve!

Place - How do you spell "disinter-mediation?" C-L-O-U-D. As product become services, product providers become service providers. Distribution is "free" and
market friction goes away. New geos open without friction. At least that's the theory, but the reality is much more complex and the channel will not go away without a fight and transforming itself...

Promotion - Try and buy, freemium, SEO, Social Media, Viral spread. The Cloud accelerates ALL of these trends. Time to learn some new tricks???

Customer - Who's your customer, where are they, what do they expect. What are they thinking, what are their habits, who cares about you? How do they find you (see P=Promotion) and how do they expect to be found. As more customers can easily try your product is it right for them, are you missing new growth segments that you just aren't looking for???

Company - Is the company ready for change? Is the executive team engaged or scared. How high is the sponsorship of cloud inititatives? Is it genuine of lip service. Do you understand the business model barriers to transformation? Sales quota and incentives, rev rec, HR policies? This type of change can hit every corner of the business, you've got to be ready.

Competition - New competitors, more cloud ready, new substitute products, new pricing models to compete with and on and on. What Hosting provider or Telco would have ever predicted Amazon as a competitor???

OK, have I convinced you or is the cloud all hype? I'm ready to add the 4th C to the old model, CLOUD! Are You????

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Great post from my client FireEye

The truth will set you free!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Great Day for Nimsoft! Nice day for KJR...Positioning matters

Yesterday, my first and still active client Nimsoft got acquired by CA for an OUTSTANDING valuation of $350M. You can read ALL about it a here.

Just a great result for Nimsoft customers, employees and shareholders, as CEO Gary Read said here, a "Triple Play!".

Lot's of commentators have lauded this deal, one particular comment stuck out for me from the Register here:

Specifically, the quote I'd point out (with the emphasis mine) is....
"Last October, the company rolled out a new integrated suite of products called Unified Monitoring, the main reason why CA is interested in Nimsoft. The Unified Monitoring suite doesn't just babysit all the physical and virtual stuff humming away in the data center, but also Amazon EC2 and Rackspace Cloud compute and storage utilities, CRM software and Google Apps for Business...."

I am proud to have played a role in helping Gary and the team position and align both the communications and the product roadmap to this new vision last year. It's proven to be the right product at the right time, and the team has done an a great job of articulating and then acting on a vision with the speed and delivery of a great company. It's one thing to talk the talk, it's another to really embrace it. Yesterday, connecting vision, positioning AND execution really paid off. Congrats!!! Well done, and thanks for having me be part of it.

Gary talks alot about Cloud being a discontinuity in the market, and that new winners and leaders will emerge. Gary has both vision and execution, and CA is lucky to get the team, and in my opinion, got a bargain!

Keep up the great delivery and lead the CA team into the brave new future of Unified Monitoring....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back to the blog, RSA thoughts, etc

The really good news is that I've been so busy, no time to blog...the really bad news is so busy no time to blog...

RSA was a nice event. It was good to see many of the old Secure Computing gang, most who seem to have landed nicely either within MFE or at a variety of other places. My client, FireEye had a great show, thanks Hollman, Phil and Mark P and everyone else who helped out. New friends from FireEye such as Marc M and others made for a great show... Even our "book" signing went off nicely with about 150 folks at the B Bar terrace.

It was even nice to see Wendy from the conf sales staff, and for once, not to spend hours debating...

RSA never ceases to amaze me. As someone who is a mktg guy, it reminds me of the HUGE amount of vendors that buyers need to deal with...truly humbling. My favorite humorous moment was the irony of hired "booth bunnies" wearing t-shirts that said "Intelligent Whitelisting"...

Hoping to get some more substantive blogs out soon but no time for deep thoughts...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ten Blogs I hope to Write in '10

10) Customer references - Why they are so dang hard and what to do about it

9) Why are imaginations are never as good as the bad guys, and what to do about that!

8) Starting a consulting business, 10 mistakes I never thought I'd make, ..

7) Completing my fist century ride since 1990 at the age of 48...

6 and 5) Product Differentiation Pressure (TM) con'td

4) Cavs win the NBA title, ending a 47 yr drought without a major championship in Cleveland (OK, I can dream can't I...)

3) How I made it through the first year of my business

2) KJR Associates launches first SaaS providing Product Marketing with tools for success

1) Another healthy and happy year for my family and friends (God willing...)

Over and out
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