Saturday, March 08, 2008

Top 4 Probable Digg Buyers

Rumors are hot again about Google/Microsoft planning to buy Digg. When I wrote about Top5 probable Digg buyers in 2006 it was a rumor, but this time reports coming out suggests that this time Kevin Rose might sell it, esp when stock market is going down and US is technically in recession. Only difference between now and than is, one of the suggested 5 players, Yahoo itself is in trouble. So only 4 players remaining in the race and these are :
1. News Corp
2. Time Warner
3. Microsoft
4. Google

I'm quoting from my previous post here with some modifications why these 4 players are after Digg:

News Corporation - Newscorp would love to have this esp; after their acquisition myspace has lost traffic/users and momentum to Facebook. And as a media company it makes sense to have the most popular portal for news/technology/current affairs to be in their armour.

Microsoft - Microsoft will be the obvious choice because Microsoft is lagging in this Web 2.0 phenomenon. There hasn't been any decent/buzzing service offering by Microsoft in this space. If this comes on board, it will provide them a kick-start, which they are hoping for a while. Microsoft has got all the ingredients the to make this happen. Only problem i see is they are offering less money than what Google is offering and they are tied with Yahoo acquisition.

Time Warner - Time warner group which own Netscape will be other contender. Netscape has launched their portal on digg style but is not popular as digg is. Netscape previously asked top digg contributors to join and get paid for their contribution. Netscape would definitely like to acquire this.

Google - If nobody can buy digg than Google will definitely try. It will be more of a strategic move, to not to allow, Microsoft or News corp to buy this. Google can pull this off. Also Kevin Rose would love to be part of Google rather than Microsoft.

I can think of only these 4 contenders, what do you think? is there any other company (media) which might be interested in?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Agile Consulting to Product Offerings - ThoughtWorks has come a long way

ThoughtWorks has come a long way from being an Agile practising and consulting company to a product offerings company. Founded by Neville Roy Singham, as a Management Consulting Firm under the name of Singham Business Services in 1992, it relaunched itself as ThoughtWorks after three years of its inception to focus on building software.

ThoughtWorks is now a leading global company when it comes to Agile Development and Practices. It is helping businesses across the globe with their consulting practices which include, Agile coaching and mentoring, S/W Development and Delivery and now products suite under the initiative of Thougtworks Studio

People who are in consulting business can learn few things from them:
1. Be Agile to market forces, prefer people to process.
2. Strategic Resourcing and Innovation - it follows a different model for hiring its workforce, people who already have a good profile in an open-source project are most likely to be hired and will be allowed to continue their participation in ongoing projects. This not only leads to expertise and new opportunities but also allows employees to be engaged with what they are passionate about; its intentions are similar to the famous 4:1 Google Model.
3. Hire bright guys only!
4. Tech due-diligence - is the best way of getting the foot into the door. I don’t think ThoughtWorks has many business partners or third party vendor relationships or product based relationships, pure technical consulting has to drive more business. This is in contrast to other models/practices for growth.
5. Better Movement of People - Probably one of few companies, which has achieved better results with offshore development and delivery. Its offices are located in the UK, US, India, Australia. It is probably the only company, which runs its induction session for new employees from various countries across the globe for 2 weeks in Bangalore (helps in breaking the cultural differences, if you have an offshore delivery model).

Going forward to capture more market share and to expand the relationship/engagement with current and new customers, it has started rolling out its product offering around its consulting practices, for example, Mingle - Agile project management and team collaboration tool.
Surprisingly the product suite is not on RedHat Model. It’s closely developed by ThoughtWorks and is licensed based, with no community participation in development. This model is similar to Atlassian, where an open-source community or non-profit organisation can get a free license.

Whats’ Next - to me it is a well-placed niche market in which ThoughtWorks is operating and will be safe to say are the leaders or trendsetters in their domain. I think sooner or later it will be a target of acquisition from a big consulting company like Accenture, Deloitte or maybe 3 Indian Giants Wipro/Satyam/Infosys. As Steve Jobs said with its launch of Mac Book Air. “It is in the Air”, BEA bought by Oracle, EDS by HP, Microsoft Trying... Yahoo. I will not be surprised if cash-rich Indian consulting firms, which have fewer consulting offerings in this domain, might go for it.

It will be interesting to see how ThoughtWorks go forward. What do you think? Any thoughts?