The New Software Industry: Jim Morris and Bob Glushko

Jim Morris of CMU West and Bob Glushko of UC Berkeley summarized the day in a final session, and although it’s coming up on 6pm and I’m eager to get back on the 101 up to San Francisco to get to the TUCON reception, I’ve been fascinated by today’s conference and not about to leave early. As Morris pointed out, this was originally a two-day conference crammed into one day.

Glushko gave us the phrases that stuck with him from the sessions today:

  • No-man’s land as a zone on a graph of business models
  • Sweet and sour spots for business models
  • Impact and complexity of the product-service mix
  • Service systems, and how they’re embedded in social and economic systems
  • The “nifty nine”, being the nine SaaS public companies that have achieved (collectively) $1.4B in revenues
  • Data lock-in as the dirty secret of the open source
  • Open source as a lever for putting pressure on your competitor’s business model
  • Emerging architecture, which he considered to be the oxymoron of the day
  • The tension between front stage and back stage design
  • Collective action in the software industry

Morris chimed in with his favourite, the one that I liked as well, where in World of Warcraft you can tell if someone has a Master’s in Dragon Slaying, and how good they are at it, whereas the software industry in general, and the open source community in particular, has no equivalent (but should).

Morris pointed out that Google and Amazon are gathering a huge amount of information about us, and we’re giving it to them for free; at some point, they’re going to leverage this information at some point in the future and make a huge amount of money from it — not by violating the privacy of an individual’s data, but through the aggregate analysis of that data.

At the end of it all, it’s clear to me that this conference is pretty focussed on the new software industry in the valley, or at most, the new software industry in the U.S. It’s true, there’s been a disproportionate amount of software innovation done within 50 miles of where I’m sitting right now, but I think that’s changing, and future “new software industry” conferences will need to be more inclusive of the global software industry, rather than see it as an external factor.

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