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Building a tech community in the cloud...

I have been an infrequent contributor to TechHui. Part of this may be because I live on the mainland...

However, as I've scanned the site this morning looking for information discussions on Salesforce.com, ExactTarget, ZoomInfo and other web centric application platforms I am struck by the absence of these platforms. I like to think of them as platforms because they are SaaS applications with strong emphasis on connectivity through API's. Yes, I've found a small SaaS discussion group in forums...but

Call me naive...why wouldn't Hawaii be an ideal location to leverage the advantages of cloud based technologies and services? Salesforce.com is a growing company and has a large footprint in the market. Administrators can configure, support and develop for the Salesforce.com environment from just about anywhere on the planet - including Hawaii. ExactTarget and ZoomInfo are two more companies with cloud based delivery models (Saas) with strong emphasis on APIs and connectivity.

Why isn't the Hawaiian tech community embracing cloud computing with a vengeance? The entire Pacific-Rim market and beyond for that matter, become prime markets to sell to. Perhaps these types of solutions have been widely adopted and I'm just not seeing it?

What am I missing? It has to be here somewhere and I'm just not seeing it...?

www.iangilyeat.com

Views: 15

Tags: ExacTarget, SaaS, Salesforce.com, ZoomInfo, cloud, computing

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Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 19, 2011 at 9:46am

You just have to concede that, for most businesses, if you are based in Hawaii and selling to customers on the mainland or in Asia you will be traveling frequently. I was in Tokyo two weeks ago and I'll be in NY next month. That's just the nature of our business.

Of course, if you have a self provisioning SaaS app like Google Apps or Ning, this isn't the case. You just build it and market it on the web. I say "just" with my tongue firmly in my cheek because its a lot harder to build a robust self provisioning SaaS platform than it is a typical web app or packaged software. The demands on everything from the architecture to the UX design are much higher.

Comment by Ian Gilyeat on July 19, 2011 at 6:06am

Wow... yea, this is from a while ago...:)  but your points are valid.  I understand the first on competing with $100 per month but isn't that the same for everyone that lives in a high wage society - mainland included?  On the travel cost difference you're absolutely right.  We just landed a new client in Denver and part of the reason we won - against a local outfit - was because I hopped a plane and met with the board face-to-face.  Received the invite on Thursday, bought the ticket Friday and were in meetings with them on Monday.  F2F does make a difference - and even though I'm a huge fan of insides tele-sales professionals, I recognize F2F can be the defining difference in winning certain clients.

Comment by Aryn Nakaoka on July 18, 2011 at 9:57pm

Sorry to bring back an old thread (almost 1 year)... probably lots has changed with tech but business wise not much has.

 

Businesses in Hawaii do use Clouds to sell on the mainland , We're selling PBXs to mainland companies. We can put a pbx in a data center near their offices which in some instances are spread throughout the USA. We also use remote hands in the collos , so in essence we have a pretty large work force and with cloud services redundancy isn't an issue. The data centers are also built to be highly available.

 

But I think the issue is that Hawaii based companies have a different mentality, we're move service focused than volume focused. We live on a rock, so there are limited customers and you can't just burn bridges / customers like you can in a market like LA , NYC or Chicago...

 

That being said there are also other challenges:

 

1. like you said, it can be done from ANYWHERE - which means Globally you have to compete so it makes it hard to price yourself against someone making $100 / month and happy with it.

 

2. Travel cost to go meet with your clients is much higher than competition. When competitors can drive, train or jet blue / southwest to see a client face to face, teleconference just doesn't compete.

 

Cloud is nice... but its only a % of the solution.

Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 3, 2010 at 11:05am
Francis A. Covington: Yes, I was just referring to their infrastructure.
All the Hawaii based and partially Hawaii based SaaS companies I listed cater to a global audience, so they wouldn't want their infrastructure in Hawaii. The majority of SaaS startups with which I'm familiar, in Hawaii and the mainland, build on top of Amazon's EC2. GAE is starting to win some converts (its much younger than EC2.) These are platforms for web apps. They aren't focused on IT infrastructure.
Comment by Francis A. Covington on June 3, 2010 at 9:13am
Yes,
I was just referring to their infrastructure.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 3, 2010 at 9:07am
Francis A. Covington: I looked at their website... but here again, (going back to the original question) they are California Based.

Are you referring to Qtask? Their headquarters is in Burbank but their cofounder and CTO is on Maui. I just learned of them recently.
Comment by Francis A. Covington on June 3, 2010 at 8:43am
Ian, I not going to put the sales pitch on the blog, but if you want to talk one on one on enterprise offerings, please drop me a note. Thanks
Comment by Francis A. Covington on June 3, 2010 at 8:37am
I looked at their website... but here again, (going back to the original question) they are California Based.
Comment by Ian Gilyeat on June 3, 2010 at 8:36am
I like the simplicity of a straight-line utility model as well although at some point it can become cost prohibitive on the upper end when compared with premise solutions. This is what I see among several of the SaaS providers we work with. They compare and compete very well until they hit enterprise class customers.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 3, 2010 at 8:12am
Another SaaS company with Hawaii connections for the list: Qtask.

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