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Archive for September 16th, 2008

 

Financial and Technology Markets are “Cloudy”

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 by

Perhaps that subject was not strong enough. The Financial Sector is currently weathering a hurricane, recently suffering the largest drop since 9/11. Merrill Lynch fell into the hands of Bank of America. Lehman Brothers is in bankruptcy and looking for a buyer with Barclays buying some of their assets. The Airline industry is failing. AIG and other financial companies are looking for some sort of an economic bailout. HP is eliminating 24,600 jobs. And this was all over just a few days. If one extends the look a bit further, the perspective is just a grim: gas prices going up, the dollar losing value and housing going down. One simply cannot be surprised by any of this.

Source: e*Trade graph of Dow Jones on 9/16/08

The Tech Sector is getting hammered as well, but this time, it isn’t “our fault.” The Dot Com bust managed to drag down the other sectors last time, but we learned our lesson. Long gone are unproven businesses and their associated models. Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors are taking long looks at business, not just getting in the car for a drive but doing a full check under the hood, looking at the road both ahead and behind and fully vetting the drivers and passengers. To get money as a start-up is truly an accomplishment nowadays. You have to have a proven business model, installed user base, and a clear direction of where your company and your industry will go.

I recently attended TechCrunch 50 which showcases 50 startups and allows them to present their business or service to a panel of experts. I saw about 1/2 of the companies’ presentations and I noticed that the companies where they couldn’t articulate or prove their monetization strategy, these companies got an earful of criticism from the experts. Similarly, at a meetup in San Francisco, the question asked every presenter is “How are you making or going to make money?” It’s a very simple question, but one that must be answered or the company loses credibility.

Perhaps we should apply these same simple questions to the Financial, Housing and Airline Industries? I guess the markets are already doing that.

It will take a long time before all of these markets start to recover, and corporations and businesses are currently challenged to prevent the hemorrhage of money and capital expenditures within their IT infrastructure. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Cutting Tech’s Energy Bill” by William M. Bulkeley that discusses how large companies are looking at ways to cut electricity usage within the Enterprise. With energy costs directly and indirectly rising, it’s critical for the embattled IT manager or director to make fiscally sound and environmentally responsible decisions to keep their business moving forward will simultaneously ensuring that their technology progresses.

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