Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Curses! I am again censored

Our blogging chum, Jason Corsello, a.k.a. Human Capitalist http://www.humancapitalist.com/, decided not to publish my comment to his recent post regarding SuccessFactors http://humancapitalist.com/?p=696. I am not sure why someone so in love with social interaction via the web would decline to publish what I still think is a very fair comment to his original post. I did call out certain factual inaccuracies and lack of diligence on his part, and for these perhaps he is a little embarrassed, or perhaps he viewed my anonymous commentary as unfair, or worse, malicious. I can assure you that neither of those things is the case. I simply believe that if one is willing to discuss a topic in an open forum, one should also be willing to accept critical analysis. If not, the behaviour is a little like a government saying it supports free speech, unless it's critical of the government.

Now, I can be critised on the fact that I post anonymously, despite a long tradition of anonymous authors including notably, Herbert W. Lovelace - The Secret CIO, who published a great column for years in Information Week. However, I am not going to duck a passionate debate when the reader, in theory at least, benefits from a great discussion. If my commentary was factually incorrect or logically flawed, why not call me out and tell me why my arguments are flawed or unfair? If Jason thinks I am being unfair, I am happy to publish his remarks, whatever they are, here. Now with full disclosure, following is the exact text of the comment still awaiting final moderation on the Human Capitalist blog:

5. Techsphinx June 17th, 2009 at 5:27 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

The different data that you and Grandpa had prompted me to do some research. Sad to say but Jason, I am shocked that you do not know how to read financial statements given your job.

You neglected to add cost of revenue for SF FY2004, which was $4.3m making for $15.4m in total expenses on the income statement. Add back estimated capital expenditures and deferred commissions, it’s probably very close to $17m in TOTAL expenses.

Also, Success Acquisition Corp. was the recapitalisation entity used by Greylock when they recapped the company in 2001 and brought Lars in. The company had operated as Success Factor Systems, Inc. since 1993! As evidence http://web.archive.org/web/19980612175043/www.successfactors.com/aboutsfs/ From SF’s 1998 web page, see the bottom of the page.

While technically it was a new entity, it was simply a restructuring of an already existing company. Your logic would be like saying Authoria was founded in 2008, because that is when Beford Funding bought the IP from “old Authoria” and brought in a new management team to run the company.

Last, I would like point out two of the most important “factors” that I consider when thinking about this company. 1) Lars has created loads of value for his shareholders since taking over in 2001, like him or not, and company is very well positioned in the space, 2) SuccessFactors blatantly lied about its financial performance to the analyst community and the media prior to the filing of its S-1. Surely, you remember the furor surrounding SF when everyone found out what the real numbers were. Tread carefully in all things.

One mark for Grandpa.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My new favorite blog, Twitter Backlash

After commenting on Jason Corsello's blog a few days ago (http://humancapitalist.com/?p=695) in which I complained that his recent use of Twitter, instead of his blog, devalued his content, I considered a lengthy post here ranting about the ridiculous hype and lack of real value regarding Twitter.

In my opinion, Twitter is the Paris Hilton of web technologies, i.e. initially attractive, distracting, but ultimately almost devoid of value. And, like the lovely Ms. Hilton, it demands far more attention and fuss than it could possibly warrant.

But, rather than go on-and-on here, the blog Twitter Backlash (http://twitterbacklash.squarespace.com/) provides a thorough and thoughtful set of commentary about Twitter. Of particular value is the following post, http://twitterbacklash.squarespace.com/journal/2009/5/4/the-medium-is-the-message.html, wherein Twitter is examined in the context of the groundbreaking work of Marshall McLuhan relating to media. Now THAT is good blogging.

Last, every time I think of McLuhan, this following epic scene from Woody Allen's Annie Hall immediately comes to mind. Wait until the end...it's worth it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kenexa rebrands its website

Kenexa rebranded this week launching a new website and logo. I must say, it is a tremendous improvement is most regards. Kenexa's previous site was seriously ugly and not very helpful for those interested in the company. I can't seem to mention this enough but, the Lawson website is still the world champion for awful websites in HCM technology.

While I really like the new colors and logo for Kenexa, I am not so sure about their "i x e = s" concept. It is really gross oversimplification, and Kenexa's explanation of the concept, and reference to Martin Luther King therein, is a bit of bullshit. I mean really, is it in anyway appropriate to associate a company with someone of the stature of Martin Luther King and the American civil rights movement? On the other hand, given the restricted amount of neurons that the universe has seen fit to distribute to HR professionals, perhaps this is a shrewd marketing decision and the HR folks will lap it up and forget to ask Kenexa any probing questions about their technology.

It was an overdue makeover, but good for Kenexa in finally undertaking it.