Monday, February 10, 2014

What is happening with Cloudera?

In March 2009, about five years ago, New York Times published this photo
Christophe Bisciglia, Amr Awadallah, Jeff Hammerbacher and Mike Olson
 started their company, Cloudera, around Hadoop.
Mr. Hammerbacher - ex Facebook and Mr. Bisciglia - ex Google were joined by Amr Awadallah,  a former Yahoo engineer, and Michael Olson. Mike Olson is the one who sold his SleepyCat database to Oracle, has some money and good reputation.

They were the media darlings of the moment. They were to stir a revolution:
By mapping information spread across thousands of cheap computers and by creating an easier means for writing analytical queries, engineers no longer have to solve a grand computer science challenge every time they want to dig into data. Instead, they simply ask a question.
Simply asking a question  as New York Times puts it, was a bit of simplification. Cloudera and Hadoop are not for everyone. The first thing a customer must do is to go to Cloudera University, graduate and then , maybe, she starts using Hadoop. Maybe because people don't buy on features.

They buy on sentiment, feelings. "The instinct cannot be expressed in terms of intelligence, nor, consequently, can it be analyzed" said a famous French philosopher.

Competition started cropping up from everywhere, because Map Reduce and Hadoop are open source

According to Scott Denne, M&A analyst with 451 Research, in Quora here is a list


Today GigaOm reports that
Splice Machine, a startup promising a SQL-on-Hadoop database that can handle both transactional and analytic workloads, has closed a $15 million series B round of venture capital from InterWest Partners, along with Mohr Davidow Ventures. 
Cloudera raised a series E capital infusion of $65M in December 2012 (14 month ago) that nearly doubled their funding  to $141 millions.

But didn't they loose their soul, a little bit? I played by scribbling a piece of paper and I came out with this:

Miha's scribblings
The base box originally included the founders, I still see the original 2009 photo  from NYT, everyone looking like young Beatles. But looking  at Cloudera management page I see a lot execs, fifteen people managing this company. The five years of expected success plus the tons of money they got from venture firms, elevated their name to one of the High Priest temples on Silicon Valley. Ph.D tries to recruit another Ph.D's. a Stanford graduate another Stanford graduate, transforming all other people in second rate candidates with a second rate know how.

Cloudera has become, in my humble opinion, an ivory tower. I wonder how many times someone studies what a Joe IT worker says and what he feels when a Cloudera salesperson calls to offer him Hadoop.

John Gourville from Harvard Business School says "Many innovations fail because consumers irrationally overvalue the old, while companies irrationaly overvalue the new"

Even if "the benefits of using a new product are clear and substantial", if the use of this products require a high degree of behavior change, they are doomed to fail.

The above quotes are from How to make products with a happy ending and from here, where I refer to Fogg's Behavior Model. It shows  a behavior, any behavior, can change. A decision to loose weight or buying a Hadoop product has the same components.

As Mike Olson sold his previous company to Oracle, we saw consistent rumors in the media that Larry Ellison will acquire Cloudera. However Oracle culture does mix with Hadoop culture like oil and water. The litmus test for Cloudera is to deliver products and services Oracle sales people can handle, without attending Cloudera University.

As time passes by, each day Cloudera value for Oracle decreases. With so many alternatives for Hadoop companies, it is a buyer market.


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