Category Archives: MarkLogic

Google Settlement: Implications for Publishers White Paper

I’m happy to announce the availability of a white paper on which we worked with information industry veteran Bill Rosenblatt of Giant Steps Media that analyzes the effects of the Google settlement with publishers, and identifies new opportunities that result from it.

From the introduction:

The first part of this white paper describes the Settlement Agreement in the litigation, including the Book Rights Registry, the initial set of business models that Google and publishers will implement, and the set of business models that the Settlement Agreement contemplates in the future.

The second part discusses the future opportunities for publishers, particularly those that depend on publishers’ ability to build XML-based content architectures and make content available in structured formats with standardized metadata. It then discusses the capabilities that will be necessary for publishers to adopt in order to take advantage of these opportunities, including systems, tools, processes, and standards adoption where appropriate. Of course, a growing number of publishers are already starting to adopt these capabilities.

From the start of the second section:

The future business models contemplated in Section 4.7 of the Settlement Agreement differ qualitatively from the way that Google currently works with publishers – mainly in that they include several opportunities that require the availability of content in structural rather than page-oriented formats.

I believe the agreement enables Google to challenge Amazon in the sale of online books (and importantly, derivatives thereof) and therefore that publishers need to think of Google not as only a discoverability channel, but also a distribution channel — and ergo be ready to distribute their content in the way(s) that Google asks.

To me, this unsurprisingly suggests the need to store content in a centralized XML repository whereby it can quickly be repurposed, reformatted, and/or otherwise sliced-and-diced to enable experimentation about new and different ways to sell it.

John Kreisa from Mark Logic presented on the settlement with Bill Rosenblatt at last week’s O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference and here is an article in Publisher’s Weekly about the panel. The slides that they presented are below:

Bill Rosenblatt has blogged about the white paper and about the settlement itself on his Copyright and Technology blog.

You can download the white paper via the Mark Logic site (and be asked to provide some information) here. Or you can use the back door and download the paper directly via the Giant Steps site, here.

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Top 5 Predictions for Publishers in 2009 Webinar

Come to a webinar next week that Mark Logic is sponsoring entitled Gilbane’s Top 5 Predictions for Publishers in 2009 featuring speaker Steve Paxhia, lead analyst with The Gilbane Group.

Steve will discuss trends from his upcoming report, entitled “Digital Platforms and Technologies for Book Publishers: Implementations Beyond eBook,” where he identifies five important trends that are changing the landscape for information providers:

  • The Domain Strikes Back. Traditional publishers leverage their domain expertise to create premium, authoritative digital products that trump free and informed internet content.
  • Discoverability Overcomes Paranoia. Publishers realize the value in being discovered online, as research shows that readers do buy whole books and subscriptions based on excerpts and previews.
  • Custom, Custom, Custom. XML technology enables publishers to cost-effectively create custom products, a trend that has rapidly accelerated in the last six to nine months, especially in the educational textbook segment.
  • Communities Count. Communities will exert greater influence on digital publishing strategies, as providers engage readers to help build not only their brands but also their products.
  • Print on Demand. Print on demand increases in production quality and cost-effectiveness, leading to larger runs, more short-run custom products, and deeper backlists.

Learn more about these trends and find out if your company has the tools, processes, and attitudes required to exploit them in an uncertain market. All attendees will receive a copy of the completed research report from Gilbane.

For more information and/or to register, go here. Steve’s a great speaker. I’m sure you find the webinar a great use of an hour.

Thanks and Happy New Year

As I sit in snowy Tahoe with a glass of pinot noir in hand (and some Veuve Clicquot chilling for midnight) I thought I’d take a moment to say “thank you” to all.

  • Thanks to Mark Logic customers for having faith in us and for trusting us with your business.
  • Thanks to Mark Logic employees for delivering a record year, driving strong growth in 2008, and — despite a chilling economic environment — record fourth-quarter sales
  • Thanks to the Mark Logic board and investors for your continuing support.
  • Thanks to readers of the Mark Logic CEO Blog. Subscription and site visits are at record numbers, and I’ve had some major recognition for the blog this year — including the recent kudos from the ReadWriteWeb — which makes the time spent feel worthwhile and the atypical approach seem validated.

Happy New Year!


Gartner Names "Specialized Systems" A Top 10 Strategic Technology

Leading IT analyst firm Gartner has named “specialized systems” to its list of top 10 strategic technologies for 2009. While I’m sure Gartner wasn’t thinking specifically of Mark Logic (for, among other reasons, that we’ve not spoken with David Cearley though I do know him from my Business Objects days), I would indeed argue that Mark Logic fits perfectly into this trend.

Here’s what Gartner says about specialized systems:

Specialized Systems. Appliances have been used to accomplish IT purposes, but only with a few classes of function have appliances prevailed. Heterogeneous systems are an emerging trend in high-performance computing to address the requirements of the most demanding workloads, and this approach will eventually reach the general-purpose computing market. Heterogeneous systems are also specialized systems with the same single-purpose imitations of appliances, but the heterogeneous system is a server system into which the owner installs software to accomplish its function.

While this is a generalized description, the point is clear: for high-performance computing, you will increasingly partition your workload amongst a heterogeneous network of servers each designed and optimized for a specific task. For MarkLogic Server, that task is high-performance XQuery evaluation against large XML databases, documentbases, and/or contentbases.

I’d also say that this argument is similar to one that Mike Stonebraker makes: that as you partition your workload against various, specialized (database) servers (e.g., OLTP, data warehousing, stream processing, XML processing, scientific data processing) you will find that, by elimination, there is no apparent need for a general-purpose database. That is, that every purpose a DBMS serves is a special purpose and we will therefore soon see the end of the era dominated by the general-purpose DBMS.

By the way, I’d also argue that Mark Logic has a role in one of Gartner’s other top 10 trends, web-oriented architectures.

Web-Oriented Architectures. The Internet is arguably the best example of an agile, interoperable and scalable service-oriented environment in existence. This level of flexibility is achieved because of key design principles inherent in the Internet/Web approach, as well as the emergence of Web-centric technologies and standards that promote these principles. The use of Web-centric models to build global-class solutions cannot address the full breadth of enterprise computing needs. However, Gartner expects that continued evolution of the Web-centric approach will enable its use in an ever-broadening set of enterprise solutions during the next five years.

As I’ve said here before, once a customer starts to use MarkLogic as a platform / repository / search engine for their XML, they soon realize that it’s easier to write web applications in a pure top-to-bottom XML fashion than in the dual mapping from an XML-oriented browser to a object-oriented Java layer to a table-oriented (relational) DBMS. That’s the subject of a different post. If you’re interested in top-to-bottom XML, then go here.

Gartner’s top 10 list of strategic technologies for 2009 is here.

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Mark Logic Named Fourth Fastest Growing IT Company in Silicon Valley

I’m thrilled to announce that Mark Logic was named the fourth fastest growing company in the Silicon Valley Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Program for software and information technology.

With a five-year growth rate of 15,174% (from 2003-2007), Mark Logic topped vendors such as ArcSight (#7), SuccessFactors (#19), and NetSuite (#22).

The full Silicon Valley Fast 50 Program winners list is here. Mark Logic’s press release on the award is here.

User Conferences, Pigs, Wigs, and Lipstick

I’ve been traveling a lot recently (including a nice vacation at Club Med in Mexico) so please excuse the hiatus in posting.

In restarting, I thought I’d blaze out of the gates with a controversial marketing rant on user conference branding provoked, in part, by a Stephen Arnold post on his Beyond Search blog about (what I consider) the disguising of Nstein’s user conference.

Stephen comes from a different place than I do; his focus is to question whether users should attend these topical, vendor-driven conferences or topical, vendor-neutral ones? In some sense, I think he’s taking the bait. Fact is, these supposedly topical conferences simply aren’t: they’re user conferences wearing wigs and lipstick.

Don’t believe me? Then see the descriptive copy on Nstein’s site: “… to create a unique user conference for executives & technical developers …” They buried it, but it’s there.

My question to marketing VPs is simple: when did “user conference” become a four-letter word? Why do marketing teams insist on dressing their user conferences up in wigs and lipstick? Examples:

  • Endeca’s Discover
  • Nstein’s Innovation Leaders Summit
  • Business Objects’ Insight
  • SAP’s Sapphire
  • Cognos’ Performance

I have three problems with these faux-topical conferences:

  • They’re brand dilutive. Does Nstein really believe that people will say, “hey Joe, are you going to the Innovation Leaders Summit this year?” Sure, given enough size and money you can actually achieve that goal — people really do say “are you going to Sapphire?” — but even when you succeed you fail because you’ve diluted your branding. What’s more, if asked, “hey Joe, what’s Sapphire?” he’ll say “the SAP user conference.” All you’ve done is to create a synonym, and where’s the marketing value in that? And, sure as the sun rises, marketing will print the conference brand on all those bags and t-shirts in 10x bigger type than the company brand. Heck, I’ve seen examples where they fail to print the company brand at all.
  • They’re misleading. A disguised user conference isn’t a topical conference. If you went to the Insight conference hoping to hear case studies of how people have used Cognos or MicroStrategy to gather insight from data, then you were sorely disappointed. If you’re going to the Innovation Leaders Summit, don’t expect to hear how Elsevier, Oxford University Press, or Nerac have used MarkLogic to innovate in publishing. Good marketing doesn’t deceive.
  • They’re confusing. Reversing the prior case, whither the poor Nstein user who wants to learn about product directions, network with fellow users, meet with product developers, and visit with corporate executives? Should he go to the Innovation Leaders Summit? No, he’ll think, it couldn’t be something high hifalutin like that. By misnaming the event you appeal to people who shouldn’t be there and fail to appeal to those who should.

I’m fine with themes. I think user conferences should have them to provide a unifying element to the program. And I think the themes should be topical. But when it comes to names and branding, just keep it simple.

  • Call it the XYZ user conference, as we do at Mark Logic (“Discovering Agility” is the theme, not the name.)
  • Or emulate Fast and Cognos who (now) use simple variants of the corporate brand that pretty clearly indicate it’s a user conference (e.g., FastForward, Cognos Forum)

Aside: Some might argue that Sapphire falls into the second category. While Sapphire clearly does not try to position the event as something topical (i.e., there’s no confusion with a gemstone conference), I don’t think it qualifies a good, simple variant either because the company is called S-A-P by some or “sap” by others and when you say “sapphire” you make neither of those sounds. SAP Forum or SAP World would be better imho.

Sure, there’s an appeal in giving your user conference a sexy name. And, yes, everybody else does it. But does that make it right? No. Does it make it good marketing? No. Does it serve your customers? No. All it does is train them not to believe you.

By the way, if you want to host a real topical conference, go for it. It’s a great idea, and I’ve done a few in my day. But if the event is your user conference, then just call it that. Don’t worry: if you have users, then they’ll want to come. (And if you don’t, you have deeper problems than your conference name.)

By the way, I’ll see you at the Discovering Agility conference — just kidding– at the Mark Logic User Conference in June.