06:35 AM

Leaders of the future software industry predict blue skies at sold-out SD Forum ...and IBM chief strategist talks with SiliconValleyWatcher

by Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

sdforum.jpgThe remains of Silicon Valley’s wet winter refused to budge Wednesday as a large storm dumped cold rain all day long, and then at times it dumped it three times harder. I wasn’t going to let that stop me from heading into the depths of Silicon Valley and to a conference that promised to be a top summit (one day it’ll be a Yalta ;-) of the web services/software-on-demand community.

The new old guard of the software industry was assembling: Salesforce.com, RightNow Technologies, NetSuite, Webex, Qualys, Grand Central, Concur. And all the Venetian princes were there too: Marc Benioff, Halsey Minor, Greg Gianforte, and a senior representative of the Vatican -— IBM’s emerging technologies strategist Gerry Mooney.

And of course, the local moneylenders were well represented with VC firm BA Venture Partners in the lead as one of the main sponsors of SD Forum’s “Software as a Service” conference in Santa Clara. Benioff had probably come all the way from the Big Island for this. Halsey had taken time off from managing his personal On-Demand VC fund and Grand Central; and Greg had left his beloved Montana for a largish hotel conference room in the middle of the world’s largest and wettest business park.

Outside, the storm pounded away but there was clearly no rain on this parade. It was a sold-out show and I scored big time and brought back a lot of original stories. Scroll down for a list of stories we plan on bringing you this week.

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Benioff, Halsey, and the Larry affiliates seemed to dominate the morning sessions of the conference, with keynotes and panels. But by midday they were nowhere to be seen, as RightNow grabbed the spotlight at the speaker’s lunch and in the afternoon panels.

During a break in the sessions, Greg tells me about how to build a successful business with virtually no money down, no startup capital necessary. That reminds me that I have an inbox littered with emails offering similar deals, many of them saying I can do it from home.

Greg is talking about his book, however, which is due out in late April. Greg loves to talk about how to start companies; he’s a five-time serial entrepreneur and says he founded RightNow with just $19K. I need to read that book - I’ve figured out how start a business with no money, but keeping it going is the trick.

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Here is what you should expect later today and later this week:

  • An exclusive interview with IBM senior strategist Gerry Mooney.
    The senior IBM futurist tells SiliconValleyWatcher that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market is missing a much larger business opportunity — over four times larger than the current business. I’ll tell you what that is and why you should watch Big Blue over the next few months as the world’s largest computer company moves to reposition itself, and this time it’s for a post-IT world.

  • Excellent tips for entrepreneurs from RightNow’s CEO Greg Gianforte.

  • There will be more on Search Engine Optimization thanks to our friends in the SEO world who have offered to help answer some of my questions about the value in spoofing search engines.

  • Also, is Google’s official launch of Gmail siphoning away Adsense revenues for online publishers? Or is it seasonal factors? One large site tells their Adsense revenues dropped 80 percent! We investigate and ask our community to help us by becoming citizen journalists! Let’s figure out the best way to harness the power of these media technologies to research this story.