Upcoming Talk: How to SaaS, Revisited

Back in 2007 I gave a talk on Selling your Software as a Service. The room was quite small but tightly packed, and several people have asked since then if I plan to repeat it. (I went back and listened to the recording of that talk, on the linked page; it holds up quite well. I recommend it if you interested in the topic!)

I finally have the right opportunity to do so; later this month at the St. Louis Innovation Camp mini-conference I’ll give an updated talk on the same topic, on Friday, Feb 26, in a time-slot to-be-determined. The talk:

The Software as a Service Business Model

In this talk, I will share some “lessons learned” from five years operating a Software as a Service business. Topics will include:

  • What is SaaS?
  • Starting a SaaS business
  • SaaS Product Management
  • Cash Flow
  • Customer Retention
  • Infrastructure and Operations

Books, shirt, free to whoever wants them at STL JUG tonight

The world is my warehouse. Here are a few items I’m storing in the warehouse (giving away) tonight at the St. Louis Java User Group:

The Hawken book is a classic, a wise read for anyone serious about growing a business. I’ve read it at least three times in full.

The Walsh book is a great introduction to the many hundreds of things a person needs to know, to start a web startup. I’m not starting a web startup; but if you’ve thought about doing so, come get this book free.

The T-shirt is from the EFF, a great cause that I support every year… but I have too many T-shirts already, and I prefer to wear plain (text free) clothing.

Update: Given away successfully.

Amazon S3: Now Much Safer for Important Data

A few weeks ago when I spoke at the St. Louis Cloud Computing User Group, one of the possible cloud storage worries I brought up was the prospect of a few misplaced (accidental or malicious) clicks deleting large swaths of data. This applies with both S3 (the market leader) and other similar offerings. If you’ve tried out the various GUI tools for manipulating S3 “objects”, you’ve no doubt noticed that just a few clicks could delete thousands of objects (files) or even a whole bucket. Imagine a naive new employee (or worse) discarding terabytes of customer data; your business could be flushed down the drain in seconds.

Amazon has recently added a couple of features which greatly reduce this risk: Multi-Factor Authentication and Versioning. Using these features, it is now much more reasonable to store important data on S3 – the access needed to delete data can be controlled in such a way that even a malicious user, with access to credentials sufficient to do real work, nonetheless won’t be able to actually delete any data.

As the various cloud offerings mature, I expect all major providers to offer increased “safety” features, and for technical audits to verify and require their use.