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My Views on OSS ESM (Part 4)

By John | August 21, 2007

Are salesmen the root of all evil?

Let me start with an obligatory sales joke:

A sales guy dies and he meets St. Peter at the Pearlies. St. Peter tells him about this elaborate new system they have developed in heaven in which new arrivals get to choose one of three options to spend the rest of eternity. St. Peter shows the sales guy a short video of option number 1. It’s an enormous fire-and-brimstone oven. The sales guy says, Turn that off and let me see option 2. St. Peter plays another video of option number 2. This video shows a frozen tundra with winds blistering a frigid wasteland. The sales guy shouts, Please, show the next option!” Finally, St. Peter puts on the last video, which shows a calm eighty-five degree beach with white sands and crystal blue waters. Relieved, the sales guy says, Stop. I’ll take option 3.” St. Peter gives the sales guy a large key to a door and thanks him. Once the sales guy gets behind the door it slams and locks, and he sees that his new eternity is worse then both options 1 and 2, a truly horrible place. The sales guy yells out to St. Peter from behind the door, “You gave me the wrong place!  St. Peter yells back with an evil laugh – No, I didn’t.  The sales guy screams, But the place I picked was a nice beach!   St. Peter then replies, Oh, that was just a demo and by the way I am not St. Peter.

Since I trashed the VC in part 1, the analysts in part 2, and the customers in part 3, you probably figured that I would trash the sales people in this article. NOT! The sales person is the life blood of an organization. A good sales vs. a bad sales is the key differentiator of a company’s success. You can have a great product, but, if you can’t sell it, people will never know how great it is. If you want to know more about the difference between good sales people and bad sales people, you should read this book:

On the flip side, even a great sales person can’t sell a bad product. You may be thinking that I’m wrong, but I’m not, at least by my definition of a “great” sales person. My definition is similar to David Sandler’s definition: great sales people solve customers’ problems. They don’t  just take the money and run. Therefore, if a company has a great product and a great sales organization, it can do very very well. A good example of a great sales person with good products is the CEO of Quest Software, Vincent C. Smith. He sells customer solutions. Smith started his career with Oracle in sales and then left to start Patrol Software, which he then sold to BMC. During the sale of Patrol to BMC, he moved to Houston and was involved with another startup called Quest Software. He then became an investor and CEO of Quest Software, and, in its first 5 years, he grew the company from around $5 million to $270 million. In its the early years, Quest sold missing functionality to Oracle customers in the form of tools (e.g.,Toad, which was originally available as a freeware product). A good friend of mine has been in sales at Quest Software for about 7 year and once told me, John, if I could develop a product like Toad, I could sell a million of them.


If an OSS ESM company can get past the VC stench and settle down and focus on it’s solution, it can start to have the kind of success that companies like Quest has found. The problem is that most, not all, open source ESM companies operate from a get-rich-quick model and they look for the sell out before their bottom drops out. Again, if an OSS company is making only $5 million in revenue and is going on its forth round of funding, then it’s all about the get-rich-quick scheme. Hopefully, OSS ESM companies, who stick to their focus of solving their community’s needs, will eventually find their own Vinny Smiths and have similar success stories.

See the other stories:

My Views on OSS ESM (Part 1)

My Views on OSS ESM (Part 2)

My Views on OSS ESM (Part 3)

Topics: 451, OSS, barcampesm, bmc, esm, gartner, groundwork, groundworkopensource, hp, hyperic, ibm, nagios, netcool, opennms, opensource, ossesm, quest, tivoli, zabbix, zenoss | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “My Views on OSS ESM (Part 4)”

  1. Mission Impossible at John M Willis Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    [...] wanted to say that his demo was proof of that I was wrong (see my joke about demo’s… My Views on OSS ESM (Part 4). He went on to say that Gartner said the same thing a year ago and changed thier story a few [...]

  2. Demystifying Clouds | John M Willis ESM Blog Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    [...] Level 3 providers IMHO are the current highest level of the cloud food chain. IMO, 3Tera stands all alone at this level. I first head about 3Tera when I read a Linux magazine article listing them as a top company to watch in 2008. 3Tera provides software that allows a company to run its own Virtual Private Data Center (VPD). A company or hosting provider can install 3Tera’s Applogic software on a grid of commodity based hardware and enjoy all the rewards of having a self contained cloud. 3Tera has partnered with a number of hosting providers that will provide customers their own private VPD isolated on a grid. 3Tera is only about 3 years old and they told me that their goal was to provide Google style commodity computing to the masses. The primary differentiator between the 3Tera offering and EC2/Mosso offerings is that 3Tera’s approach is a holistic approach. When you get a grid using 3Tere’s Applogic software you get a blank template, sort of like a workflow editor to build your data center. Then you can select from a catalog of firewall servers, load balance servers, Apache servers, and MySql servers. Basically they are predefined virtual images. However, the kicker is that when you select one of the cataloged servers the Applogic software understands the context of which you are selecting the server and makes the appropriate configurations automatically. Literally you drag the icons (I.e., servers) on to the canvas and then you use lines to connect the servers. All of the default mounted file systems are connected in all the right ways. All the nasty network configuration parms are set up with best practices. In fact in a demo/briefing I had with 3Tera they built a three tier Apache web and MySQL grid, the complete bundle, and started the image, all in less than 10 minutes. The images were as real as any EC2 image I have ever used.  I was so blown away that at first I didn’t trust them and asked them to putty into the icons and do some basic linux system commands to make sure it wasn’t a demo system. [...]