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SaaS in the Desert

I've just returned from Software 2008, held at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. This year, Software 2008 moved away from the bay area and was co-located with Interop, a giant networking hardware convention monstrosity. One of the reporters at the show quoted me as having some serious booth envy.
I don't understand why firms in the B2B market continue to use "Booth Babes" - I find it hard to see a link between doing this and attracting serious buyers to your offerings and I generally find the practice to be inappropriate / offensive.

This was the first year the Software conference was combined with Interop. It seems as though the people running Interop thought it would be a good idea to put their networking geeks together with software geeks and that magical things would happen - more geeks in one place are always better, right? Well let's just say I hope they move Software 2009 back to the Bay Area next year - the event is much larger and more interesting when folks can just drive over to a local conference rather than having to get on the plane to Las Vegas.

SaaS and OpenSource were clearly the big stories and sources of innovation at Software 2008. The folks at the Ingres booth clearly had the most fun - they ported the Ingres open source database over to the Sony PS3, which gave them a great excuse to have Rock Band and Guitar Hero going at the same time in their booth. The session debating Platform as a Service was particularly interesting, with panelists talking about Google, Amazon, IBM, Salesforce and others battling it out for total global domination in this hot emerging area.

I also thought it was an interesting coincidence that the same time that Software 2008 was going on, SAP announced that their on-demand applications are going to be delayed by 18 months. This presents a nice contrast - the discussion at Software 2008 was largely focused on the amazing and rapid innovation being delivered by hundreds of fast moving startups at the same time as the largest and one of the oldest software vendors announced a major delay their attempt to move to to SaaS. That's why I love this business, the industry is constantly reinventing itself.

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