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Mike Fields of Kana

04/19/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet, Business

Mike Fields, CEO & Chairman of the Board at Kana spoke at the OracAlum event last night and gave one of the best speaker's forums I've been too. Mike has a long history in the software industry, and has some great perspecitves.

He left Oracle in '92 to start OpenVision, where they had engineers in San Diego & Minnesota; the best engineers were in Minnesota. They did 14 acquisitions in 18 months

He lives in the US Virgin Islands

  • tax advantages
  • 8 x broadband of US
  • timezone advantages

John Thompson asked him to join Kana Board of Directors at Kana, which develops software [knowledge base, search & call center] & services in the customer support arena; after being on the board for 2 weeks, he was asked to run the company [that was only 7 mos ago]

One very interesting decision that he's made at Kana is to "backshore" development from India to Menlo Park; Kana had given up the intellectual knowledge of their Intellectual Property, and that couldn't be tolerated. After he had done that, they discovered that Kana had not been saving any money; looking at costs such as equipment in India, telecommunications, 1 Product Manager in US for every 5-10 engineers in India, and greatly increased QA & documentation costs. In addition, they had lost time to market due to the loss of collaboration between architect and programmer - they now have twice the speed to market with one-third the developers.

Mike also gave a very interesting answer to my question about the growth of Enterprise Open Source Software recently. He reiterated something that I've said before, there has been freely available and sharing of source code since the beginning of computing. But his perspective on the commoditization issue was very different. Mike feels that the commodization of all other products is driving the software industry. Software and IT will help companies in a commoditzed world - helping companiess help their customers.

Mike gave a refreshing and enjoyable talk. I was very glad that Clarise and I went.

2 feedbacks »


Comment from: Jane

Can you expand on Mike’s comment regarding the “…commodization of all other products driving the software industry?”

04/21/06 @ 07:08
Comment from: JAdP

I had posted on the OracAlumni group to ask if anyone could expand upon Mike’s comments, per Janes request. No one answered.

To the best of my understanding, Mike’s point was that all other industries, such as consumer goods, electronics, home furnishings, everything else, are using IT to maintain profitability as the gross margins on their profits shrink. Thus, the commodization within other industries continue to fuel growth within the software industry, even as software becomes commoditized.

We discuss commodization elsewhere on our blogs. Two posts come to mind

Products become Commodities


Survive Commoditization

07/08/06 @ 16:42
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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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