Generation Gap: Venmo

Last week I was having dinner in NYC. We were a table of four, and the table next to us, in cramped eating conditions in Koreatown, were two girls whom were in their twenties.

When it was time to get the cheque, we split the bill using cash and card. When it was time for the table next to us to pay the bill? One paid it, and the other said “OK, how much do I have to Venmo you now?”

Generation gap! I don’t even have Venmo. It was also timely to read this New Yorker piece, The Venmo Request: A New Wrinkle In Modern Dating, which apparently suggests that this is also becoming prevalent when it comes to dating! Choice quote: “A guy who seeks recourse through Venmo the morning after is a guy who doesn’t think he got his money’s worth the night before.”

I’m all for going cashless and splitting bills using something like Venmo. That was in effect the promise of the PayPal mobile app. My friends and I still end up using cash, and if its a bigger road trip, bank transfers. It seems that Venmo is currently USA only, but considering Braintree acquired Venmo in 2012, and PayPal got Braintree in 2013, its kind of a shame that its 2016 and they’ve not branched out of the USA.

SAP customers would rather do business elsewhere?

I just read, Buy SAP again? 60% of customers say no, says Nucleus Research. SAP isn’t pleased but made clear that they don’t participate in this particular report (presumably they do for Gartner/Forrester/IDC).

Besides the opportunity for others playing in the space SAP plays in, I am reminded by how a humble research firm (Iceberg Research) brought Noble Group down – Singapore Noble Group Rejects Iceberg Research’s Claims, Nobbled, How Richard Elman’s Noble Empire Crumbled (when this was written, its share price dropped 75% since the research report). This wasn’t the case for SAP (Noble lost 9.5% the day the report came out), and may not be (who knows).

As an aside, it regularly shocks me that people don’t realise that when it comes to analyst firms, the whole game is “pay to play”. You pay a sum of money, you get to speak to their analysts, the analysts get to query your customers, and boom, a report is produced. Firms tend to be clients of analyst companies.

Austin ridesharing reminds me of Chinese protectionism

Its no secret that a lot of the Internet economy in China is fuelled by protectionism. A reddit user managed to post some service equivalents.

In May 2016, I landed in Austin to see that there were no more pickups in Austin. I took exactly two cabs during my stay (to/from the airport), and walked everywhere I needed to go. It wasn’t a great experience as the weather was pretty bad as well, and Paul Graham also chimed in. Apparently there are hacks to get around to using Uber in Austin, but I’ve never bothered to use them (that article also talks about the requirements beyond just background checks BTW).

People get creative naturally – they started a Facebook group, so much so the police have started to crackdown.

But I’m starting to see all these other services crop up that presumably abide by whatever Austin asks for:

  • at the airport, ads at the baggage carousel for FARE (some news about their launch)
  • at the hotel I saw a brochure for Wingz which promises pre-booking, flat rates, surge-free and around town you pay a minimum of $20, and to get to/from the airport its a $25 minimum.
  • at the hotel again, I saw a brochure for Fasten with a $20 off my first ride promo code as well (their font initially made me look for “faston” instead of “fasten”).
  • Get me via an email from the hotel informing me that I wouldn’t be able to use Uber/Lyft in Austin.
  • zTrip was also in said similar email as above.

So its not that Austin doesn’t like ridesharing. And with time, presumably enough people will complain so we will see Lyft and Uber make their way back. This week I’m walking around Austin as well (its 38C, but thats better than rain I guess). But it sure feels very protectionist.

Evolution of Bitcoin

As videos go, I enjoyed the short and sweet Panel on The Evolution of Bitcoin held at Goldman Sachs.

Bitcoin selling points by Balaji Srinivasan, CEO of 21 Inc and Board Partner at a16z:

  • packet based money
  • protocol
  • unified way of transferring value
  • every entity can have a bitcoin wallet
  • four-sided network: miners, developers, merchants, users

I highly recommend watching the video.

May-June 2016 MariaDB Server related worklog

  • Reviewed Sergei’s MariaDB in Google Summer of Code 2016
  • Reviewed Kaj’s MariaDB Foundation dialogue GDoc/blog
  • Accepted to speak at SELF 2016, and also organise the speaking at Nerdear.la in Buenos Aires; tight schedules to make those events
  • Prepared for speech in Hanoi for OpenCPS Launch Event; give speech; wrote blog post about it on MariaDB Corporation blog.
  • Submitted some talks to Texas Linux Fest, LinuxCon Japan, OSCON/Velocity Europe
  • London: MySQL meetup presentation on MySQL ecosystem High Availability options; lots of Q&A, wish we had more time. Good dinner after with Ivan (ScaleDB) and Luisa (MariaDB). MariaDB Corporation team dinner, conversation with Kenneth (CFO) later over a beer. Arrived Somerset House early, did the roadshow from 8.30am-3pm. Did an engagement with SE Luisa as well, which more or less was planning architecture and answering questions; happy user.
  • Participated in Community Leadership Summit 2016, in Austin, Texas. Better get used to this location over Portland, Oregon, since its going to happen here again in 2017. Good discussion as usual.
  • Paris: SPIDER meeting, MariaDB Server roadshow. Drinks & dinner with some of the community & colleagues.
  • Seoul: meetings with new customers
  • Google Summer of Code 2016 has started; been coordinating activities between students and mentors
  • Looking at making SPIDER better; also the Tencent tree and their SPIDER usage
  • Write talk for nerdear.la, the 3 SELF talks
  • Meet up with Epidata (partner of MariaDB Corporation in Buenos Aires/Argentina + South American business). Present to clients/prospects about MariaDB Server 10.1. Many are also Amazon users!
  • Presented at nerdear.la. Well received.
  • Presented at SELF (3 talks). Barely made it to the conference (flight cancellations due to a transport strike in EZE). Fun as always, though I did miss the speaker dinner (one of the highlights; good Southern food).
  • Google Summer of Code 2016 mid-term reports; also mentoring my students (I’m co-mentor for one project).
  • Accepted a talk for LinuxCon North America, and a tutorial for Velocity Europe.
  • Preparing slide decks for the MariaDB finance meetup in NYC (Opensource in the enterprise, Secure Data Management – Threats and Best Practices, Migrating to MariaDB Server). Good discussions at the finance meetup.
  • Preparing deck for NYC MySQL meetup (Lessons from database failures). Gave talk.
  • Bill & I on a phone call with a bank to clear up cluster related matters
  • Admin: filed 4 expense reports
  • Customer/prospect email bumped up to us count: 15. Alliances related emails/chats count: 10. Management level emails: 3
  • Wrote posts for the MariaDB Corporation blog:
    1. OpenCPS: Vietnam’s Public Sector goes Open Source
    2. Planning for default changes in MariaDB Server 10.2
  • Blogged:
    1. London in May 2016
    2. London roadshow wrap-up, see you in Paris next week
    3. Speaking in June 2016

Speaking in July 2016

  • Texas LinuxFest – July 8-9 2016 – Austin, Texas – I’ve never spoken at this event before but have heard great things about it. I’ve got a morning talk about what’s in MariaDB Server 10.1, and what’s coming in 10.2.
  • db tech showcase – July 13-15 2016 – Tokyo, Japan – I’ve regularly spoken at this event and its a case of a 100% pure database conference, with a very captive audience. I’ll be talking about the lessons one can learn from other people’s database failures (this is the kind of talk that keeps on changing and getting better as the software improves).
  • The MariaDB Tokyo Meetup – July 21 2016 – Tokyo, Japan – Not the traditional meetup timing, since its 1.30pm-7pm, there will be many talks and its organised by the folk behind the SPIDER storage engine. It should be fun to see many people and food is being provided too. In Japanese: MariaDB コミュニティイベント in Tokyo, MariaDB Community Event in TOKYO.

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