Out/About: Managing global teams...PaySimple for SMBs...TiE reaches out to SF...VentureBeat party
[I'm a bit behind on my coverage due to a recent bug.]
- Four engineers for the price of one:
I had an interesting chat with Tom Laffey, Executive VP of products and technology at Tibco Software (Tibco is a founding sponsor of SVW). Tibco, like most US software companies, has been building development teams in India and China. I asked Mr Laffey about reports I'd heard that Indian software development teams were getting more expensive and the teams suffered from very high turnover. He said that Tibco had decided to avoid Bangalore and instead based its Indian development center in Pune, a similar high tech region but one with less competition from surrounding firms. He also said that Tibco offered programmers interesting and cutting edge projects which further reduced turnover. He admitted that employment costs had risen significantly in India. "But I can still get four Indian software engineers for the price of one in Silicon Valley."
Tibco has also been employing software engineers in China. "They speak English surprisingly well." Mr Laffey said that it is important to keep a lot of development in the US because it is closer to its customers and there are cultural differences in developing software that cannot be exported. The main problem with outsourcing development is the brutal travel time. "It can take about 34 hours from door to door to travel to India. I try to break it up with a stop in Europe to visit customers," he said.
- TIE reaches out to San Francisco:
I stopped in on an event in San Francisco organized by TiE, Silicon Valley's largest group of entrepreneurs. The organization's annual conference is coming up May 16 to 17 at the Santa Clara Convention Center and it has an excellent list of speakers and panels (and the best Indian food in the valley:). I said to the organizers that I was surprised to see a TiE event in San Francisco, I always think of the organization as very "deep" valley, almost San Jose, 60 miles from San Francisco. I was told that TiE is trying to reach out to San Francisco's high tech community. Peter Thiel (right) is one of the many top speakers at TiECon this year. Mr Thiel and he is one of the leaders of the SF high tech community, a former CEO of PayPal and a leading investor in startups. Here is this year's agenda.
- PaySimple looks to small business market:
I recently met with Eric Remer, CEO of PaySimple, an online service that lets small businesses accept electronic payments and credit cards while at the same time providing basic invoicing and financial reporting.
"I think that innovation can be incremental," said Mr Remer, referring to a recent post of mine. And I agree, as long as it is a combination of incremental improvements that add up to a lot more. That's what PaySimple has done, combining several financial services into one package that solves a problem for small businesses such as day care centers, dog walkers etc. Customers can pay electronically and the business gets its money sooner.
PaySimple is white labeling the service to smaller banks. It is also developing a way to automatically approve small businesses. It can take about a week to approve a merchant account at a bank. PaySimple says it will be able to do it all automatically -- the first such service of its kind. PaySimple plans to outsource this service to other companies.
VentureBeat threw a great party to celebrate... something?! [Matt Marshall announced something from the balcony at the Ambassador but I couldn't hear much because I was behind him and I was distracted because it reminded me of Mussolini for some strange reason but without quite as much gesticulation :-)
I'm a big fan of VentureBeat and its journalists. It is run by Matt Marshall, the former VC beat reporter at the San Jose Mercury. Dean Takahashi is a recent recruit and also a former San Jose Mercury reporter. All the top media digerati were there. I asked Mike Arrington how his roll-up strategy was coming along but he just glared at me and said "I thought you said it wouldn't work." I said that his math was spot-on but I couldn't see how all the egos could be rolled up into the same company. [Actually, the VentureBeat party showed you could get almost all of the top media celebs/bloggers into the same room but it required a lot of alcohol.]
Here is some of the coverage: