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David Skok

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Top Stories by David Skok

Portals, e-commerce sites, B2B commerce and so on...we're witnessing unprecedented demand for e-business solutions of every stripe as companies rush to put their businesses on the Web. With Y2K now out of the way, this has become the top IT priority. In the past many of these solutions have been built on top of IRM (Internet Relationship Management) products such as Vignette and BroadVision whose primary specialization has been content management and personalization. For early Web sites, mostly serving up static content, this was sufficient. But once the basic site is up and running, demand quickly shifts to more data-driven applications in which customers can place orders, see inventory, book travel, track packages and the like. This requires the ability to develop highly scalable, enterprise-class Web applications that can access existing corporate data and appli... (more)

Startup Killer: The Cost of Customer Acquisition

In the many thousands of articles advising entrepreneurs on what they have to focus on to build successful startups, much has been written about three key factors: team, product and market, with particular focus on the importance of product/market fit. Failure to get product/market fit right is very likely the number 1 cause of startup failure. However in all these articles, I have not seen any discussion about what I believe is the second biggest cause of startup failure: the cost of acquiring customers turns out to be higher than expected, and exceeds the ability to monetize th... (more)

The Application Server Market

The application server category is one of the more confusing markets to understand. In addition, the market changed rapidly during 1998, with a number of companies being acquired. This article aims to clarify the situation. Software: A History of Consolidating Services on New Platforms Looking back at the major shifts that have taken place in the software industry, a trend emerges that is a helpful indicator of what is likely to happen in the evolution of the application server market. As new platforms emerge, there are generally a number of players providing point products that ... (more)

J2EE Standard Dramatically Changes Application Server Market

Earlier this year I wrote an article describing how Enterprise JavaBeans had impacted the application server market, causing a convergence between Web application servers and distributed object and transaction servers. With the advent of the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) standard, we're about to witness another seismic shift in this market. It's worth looking at what J2EE is - and isn't. J2EE builds on the Java 2 standard, and adds specifications for most of the important programming interfaces in an application server. Key interfaces are EJB for middle-tier logic, and servle... (more)

Six Things VCs Look For in An Investment

As a serial entrepreneur, I learned a lot of lessons from things that didn’t work. These lessons later on shaped my ideas on what would be needed to build a successful startup company. When I became a VC, I realized that these same lessons could be applied to helping evaluate the many businesses that I was getting to see. Whilst the following criteria are by no means a guarantee of success, or the only criteria that you should think about, I do believe they can be very helpful. So in no particular order, here is a list of six questions that I learned to ask to validate my own st... (more)