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    - Venture Capitalist @ GGV Capital
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@Scobleizer Reviews Focus.com

 Great post from Robert Scoble today with a strong review of Focus.com.  Without a lot of hype, Focus quietly delivers highly targeted content, data and expertise for business users (and yes, we’re an investor in Focus.com).  Check it out.

Cloud Computing: The Outlook is Bright, According to Top CEOs

We hosted our quarterly CEO dinner at Marche restaurant in Menlo Park on Wednesday night.  The topic this quarter was Cloud Computing (intentionally broad), and as usual we ended up with an amazing group of executives from some of the country’s best cloud computing companies.  We had a lively conversation and more than a few barbs thrown.  The highlights:

– Our guest speakers were Tom Fisher, CIO of Successfactors (GGV portfolio co.), and Brian Lillie, CIO of Equinix.  Thank you both for participating.  My favorite quotes from each:

Tom: “We pay an exorbitant amount in annual fees to incumbent vendors for licenses, etc. and would love nothing more than to see a lot of those dollars flow to new players.”

Brian: “We have a cloud-first policy.  For any new strategy, concept, etc., we look to use cloud-based apps and technology as a default.”

– Our Associate Adam Altman organized an iPad survey (using PollDaddy) at the dinner.  A few highlights from that survey:

+ 90% of attendees said they believe their customers are going to spend A LOT more on cloud technology in 2011 than in 2010, “I’m seeing aggressive spending trends.”  Consistent with what we are seeing in our portfolio, as well as the market at large.

+ 53% of attendees have raised >$15M in venture capital.  Not surprising, given the enterprise focus of most cloud companies.

+ 60% of attendees feel hiring is harder than usual and/or a major challenge right now.  As I’ve written in other posts, this is a major challenge in Silicon Valley right now.

+ Only 16% of attendees worry about competition from large incumbent vendors.  68% worry most about competition from emerging companies and startups.

+ 58% of attendees feel cloud startup valuations are “high, but justified given the potential.”  We certainly agree, and it’s why we’re constantly putting new money to work in this space.  Additionally, 74% said they believe valuations will be richer in 6 months than they are now.  We’re all for it…

It takes guts and a lot of optimism to run a high growth company in a competitive space like cloud computing, so our survey results are not surprising.  I do have to agree, however, with John Dillon, CEO of EngineYard, who said to the group “I’ve been around the block for a few cycles.  This one is going to be even bigger than anyone in this room believes.”

Thanks to all who attended.  We’ll do it again soon.

 

Focus.com CEO Scott Albro: “Are Technology and Productivity Gains Quashing the Jobs Recovery?”

Good article by (GGV portfolio company) Focus.com CEO Scott Albro today on Forbes.com.   I agree with many of Scott’s points, and one need look no further than to compare the technology job market in Silicon Valley – which is red-hot and companies are routinely competing aggressively for top hires – and say, a small manufacturing-oriented city in the Midwest.  I haven’t spent a lot of time in the Midwest, but from what I can tell, unemployment continues to show no signs of abating.  Focus has a unique perspective in that it can routinely sample or poll its user base – composed of roughly 1 million monthly visitors, most of whom are executives with small and mid-market businesses.  Will be interesting to see if Scott is right, and “this time it’s different.”

On another note, I do have to wonder how much Scott paid Forbes to put the line “Scott Albro: Too Productive?” below his photo!

New Post on Focus.com: The 3 Biggest Challenges Mobile Creates for CIOs

I recently responded on Focus.com to the question:

“What do you think the top 3 challenges are facing CIO’s and their IT staff because of mobile?”

Read my response, as well as the responses of others by clicking on this link.

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