Amazon’s Cloud Play vs. Google/Microsoft’s

I heard the figure of $100M in AWS (Amazon Web Services) revenues bandied about lately.  Not too shabby for a business that started out as a spare-time as-is reuse of Amazon’s infrastructure.  By far the healthiest supplier of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

Compare them to Google and Microsoft, who started PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) businesses instead of IaaS.  PaaS (if I understand it right) tries to get developers to develop applications for the platform, whereas IaaS “just” provides a run-time environment for applications built elsewhere.

Microsoft of advertising the bajeezus out of Azure, but I’m not hearing much about great results.  Certainly no $100M in revenues (yet?).  And Google seems to be flailing about with its various cloud and app-dev platforms.

Makes IaaS look like the right bet, at least so far.


Galletto alla Diavola

I had a yen this weekend to cook a spatch (or spatchcock) chicken on the grill.

I’ve already blogged about cutting up a whole chicken, and spatching is similar: you cut out the backbone, pry out the front “keelbone” cartilage.  Then you whack the whole thing flat(ter) with a mallet.


Harry sent me a recipe for a Roman spatched chicken dish which looked really good.  Marinate the chicken in olive oil, lemon, garlic, rosemary, and hot pepper flakes.  Spatch it, clamp it into a hot-dog griller, and grill for 30-35 minutes.

As it happened, Debbie was coming back from a business trip just in time to join me in eating it.

Really good.

Facebook is the AOL of the ’10’s

At one time AOL was bigger than the Web.

I went to AOL from Compuserve in the late ’80’s or early ’90’s because AOL gave you a user name instead of a pair of user numbers.  At AOL, I was Smilesburg.  I was somebody.

The big pitch of AOL in those days was Community: they pioneered chat rooms for the masses.  They had common-interest groups for parenting, for dating, for everything.  I don’t recall that people could upload their photos, but at 56.5 Kb that would have been an unpleasant experience anyhow.

And they were a walled garden.  It was hard to get from AOL to the ‘net.  AOL vigorously offered alternatives to keep the inmates within.  They wanted us to stay put.

Sounds a lot like Facebook today.  It may get bigger than the rest of the Web (although not likely).  It features Community.  And it vigorously tries to keep the inmates within.

What happened to AOL?  Well, the inmates slowly and then rapidly escaped.  ISPs killed AOL.  gmail killed AOL.  The sheer wealth of content and interactivity growing in the rest of the Web killed AOL.  A walled garden can’t keep up.


Flash Fads

I don’t think I invented the “flash fad” meme (or, as I prefer to call it, “flashfad” in the “down-with-the-space-character” mode that’s sweeping the world in the 21st Century), but I think it’s a huge idea.

Years ago, I read a science fiction story where businesses rose during the early part of the evening, were indispensable by 10 pm, and were forgotten by 2 am.  I forget the story — does anyone remember this theme? — but at the time I found it intriguing but silly.

Guess what?  It’s become true.  You get a flashfad like “planking” (see the excellent YouTube video on planking, and the coverage, of course, in Wikipedia) where, as far as I can see, it’s a dumb thing you can do with pictures and UGC, but it’s novel and kind of silly and endearing all at the same time, so it catches on… for the first part of the evening.

As I said elsewhere, the thing is to be the platform for flashfads, and Twitter has that sown up I’m pretty sure.

Buffalo, Wholesome Rice Pilaf

I bought a buffalo steak (boneless sirloin, if you care) a few weeks ago, and haven’t done anything with it since Debbie declared that it made her “squeamish”.

Everyone’s squeamish about something, so I don’t begrudge her that, but buffalo seems just like lean beef to me, I don’t see it’s worth putting it in the squeamish-generating class.  But that’s me.

Since she found it squeam-o-genic I didn’t do anything about it until Thursday night, when she said, “Why doesn’t the Crummy Cook make something tomorrow night?”

As you can see from the lack of postings, I’ve been pretty idle lately, a consequence of too much travel and nights out with friends or restaurants.

So I said, “what’ve we got in the freezer?”  Debbie rattled off a list of things including the buffalo, and I said, “I’ll make the buffalo, but I’ll also make something else substantial in case you don’t want any of it.”

OK.  I found a Brown- and Wild-Rice Pilaf With Porcini and Parsley recipe in Epicurious that looked pretty tasty (amazingly, there are a bunch of brown- and wild-rice pilaf dishes; lot of people trying to make brown rice interesting).  I thought that would be pretty substantial.

And, just for kicks, I searched for buffalo recipes, and found Buffalo Steak and Onion Confit on Garlic Toasts, which I thought might overwhelm Debbie’s squeamishness.

It all went well (although, inexplicably, the onion confit calls for large pieces of onion, even chunks, which seems a little weird in a confit, but what do I know?).  Debbie and I both loved the pilaf, and the buffalo was pretty good too.  It didn’t quite overcome Debbie’s hesitation, but she finished it and declared she would eat it another time.

DC Tech Meetup on Big Data 6/7/11

Valhalla was fortunate to be part of a great #dctech DC Tech Meetup last night on the theme of Big Data.  Catch the stream on this from @dctechmeetup.


Followers of mine know I’m a big fan; Valhalla and I are actively looking for Big Data enabling technology businesses and businesses that do game-changing things with Big Data datasets.


If you’re interested in talking to us about a Big Data business idea, give a shout to @pipik or comment back here.

This message may contain information that is privileged or confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the information contained herein is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. If you received this transmission in error, please immediately contact the sender and destroy the material (including any attachments and all copies) in its entirety, whether in electronic or hard copy format.

Valhalla Video Summit Predictions from Last Year

Valhalla has a small annual Video Summit for our digital-media companies and some outsiders.  A half-day discussion on a series of topics.  Always interesting.

I was reviewing predictions made last year by the attendees for discussion this year.  Here are some which come due in 2011:

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

·         DVD sales are dead with post-theatrical movie business becoming 80% rental by 2011

·         Content will start unbundling and challenge the traditional business model in 2011 

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

·         Hulu doubles ad-weight from 2 to 4 ads per video, making it more like TV in 2011

·         Comcast/NBCU merger will usher in a new wave of consolidation of content + distribution players, starting in 2011

Anybody care to comment on how these will turn out by year-end?  Anyone care to weigh in on predictions for 2012??