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Rex Dixon – Professional BlogCaster

Archive for the ‘Startups’ Category

Interview with Benjamin Mestrallet of eXo Platform

Posted by rexdixon on December 30, 2006

UPDATE January 1, 2007http://rexduffdixon.comTechnically Speaking

New Feed URL:

Q1: Today we are speaking with Benjamin Mestrallet of eXo Platform. This is a webOS that I talked about briefly right here.  First off, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Let’s get started – How long has your company been around? I’m talking about total time here, as in when you came up with the idea or who ever did, and how you came on board with running with it?

Hello Rex, the company was created in November 2003. We sell an Open Source product line that goes from Portal to Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Our products have been deployed in quite large companies and organization mainly in the military market (our first customer was the US department of defense) and in public organization (such as the Venice tourism portal in Italia). The funny thing in our story is that we had customers even before I created the company with Tuan Nguyen!

Hence, we have been around for quite some time, building mission critical application in portal environment where data can be classified and security issues are extremely important. We also leverage the Java Enterprise Edition stack and we collaborate to the Java standards such as the Portlet API or the Java Content Repository which is extremely important for Fortune 500 companies that want to avoid vendor locking.

So we have spent quite some time building a strong server environment and now thanks to technology like AJAX we have been able to apply all our experience on also implementing a powerful and beautiful user interface…but once again this is just the top of the iceberg, building an operating system is a complex and hard work!

Q2: What distinct advantages do you feel your webOS offers over rival webOS startups? I’ve talked about quite a few here on this blog, so make sure you tell the readers exactly “why they should use your exoPlatform webOS” over the other players in the game.

If you look at the existing WebOS on the market that are mainly flash based or with and AJAX front end but a PHP backend. Those are built for quick UI experience and server side work is not the main concern (they maybe hope to be quickly bought by Google :)). Hence integration in existing IT systems will be a big problem if they want to also target the enterprise market.

eXo Enterprise WebOS is taking a different path. We have spent 3 years to build a strong server side platform based on Java standards (Portlet API and Java Content Repository) and we now apply AJAX and other web 2.0 technologies to the UI to provide a strong new paradigm for our existing Portal customers. And they like it, so other portal companies will go that way too (IBM, BEA…) which will make a much faster adoption in the enterprise than we can imagine.

For example the Java Portlet API is used as the backbone for our WebOS windowing framework which allows extensibility, modularity and portability of WebOS applications. Our WebOS File System is based on the Java Content Repository specification which standardizes content structures, search, versioning, locking and export. Furthermore, existing applications like ERP or CRM already have JCA connectors that can be reached in portlets and hence in eXo Enterprise WebOS windows.

Of course pure JavaScript components like MacOS widgets or Vista gadgets are useful, especially for simple mash ups where services are exposed through web services or REST APIs but that is not the case of most enterprise applications (and I do not talk about mainframes). That is why we are also building a widget infrastructure à la MacOS, built as a portlet application to aggregate different existing JavaScript gadgets (Mac OS, Netvibes, Google, vista…).

Hence, for a WebOS to be really used in enterprise, it will have to be based on what corporation already use and are familiar with. The server side makes the difference and it is a huge one if we want to see that type of technology inside medium and large corporation. As we come with a new paradigm, we can not lock user data and applications with new middleware.

That is our main concern when building eXo Enterprise WebOS.

Q3: What would be the main goal of the company in 2007?

We are building a full OS stack from the kernel to the most advanced applications.

We already have the windows while still supporting older portal layouts, we have a strong File System with JCR and we leverage it to build our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) offering. That one includes BPM, DMS, CMS, Records Management and WCM.

Furthermore we are integrating BI solution as we were already doing in our previous web 1.0 portal.

We also work on a full groupware suite that includes forum, email, shared calendar, wiki, contact management and much more.

The only part we are not building yet is the office application like a text editor or a spreadsheet as we look more for an OEM solution. If we don’t find one, we will do it too.

On the business side we have just opened an office in US (Houston) and we truly think that this market will be the main driver for the adoption of WebOS in enterprise.

So as you see we have quite some work for 2007!

Q4: Tell us some more about the company. Are you growing, looking for new people, how many there are currently, etc… Whatever you can release to the public at this time about your company would be great information to share here.

eXo Platform Inc is a profitable venture that employs 35 people in 5 offices in US, Brazil, France, Ukraine and Vietnam.

We are still a private company owned by 4 individuals with no VCs and a huge growth!

Q5: It is truly a fact and a pleasure to interview people that are true cutting edge players. I have loved learning more about every person that I have had these 5 questions interviews with. Once again, thank you Benjamin for taking the time to answer these for the readers here. Now, as usual, it’s your turn – you can say whatever you would like everyone to know that I didn’t cover above.

Thank you Rex for covering such a new market but still a very exiting one!

UPDATE January 1, 2007http://rexduffdixon.comTechnically Speaking

New Feed URL:



Posted in BEHIND THE SCENE (Q&A INTERVIEW), Benjamin Mestrallet, exoPlatform, interviews, Startups, Technically Speaking | 2 Comments »

Interview with Joseph Pally, of ZCubes

Posted by rexdixon on December 29, 2006

I did a more traditional interview with Joseph Pally, who prefers the title of Head Developer (CEO) of zcubes-xmas-icon.pngZCubes this evening. What do I mean by more traditional? Well I actually talked on the phone with him while he demonstrated the capabilities of ZCubes to me via GoToMeeting.

“We would like ZCubes to be an experience,” said Joe who was very excited while showing me some of the more interesting capabilities of the product while explaining everything in great detail over the phone. He has every reason to be excited. To truly get a grasp on ZCubes, you either have to have it shown to you as a demo, or go experience it for yourself. You readers will get that chance in a few moments to have your own experience.

“The internet has been reserved by people who can code. We want everyone to be able to express themselves, however and whenever they would like too. Why does it take for example 2 products from Microsoft to do 2 things?” Joe was referring to Word and Visio.

What he was saying was exactly what many have said before. Why should it take two products – one for writing a document and one for creating a flow chart – when it could all be implemented into one product? We all know the answer to this of course is money. You can make twice the money by having two products to sell. No rocket science there.

ZCubes does it all in one place. Not only that, you programmer types can actually do coding and manipulate coding at a level that you would have needed certain software products to do in the past. He showed me a great example when he drew 3 circles on the ZCube, and then with a few clicks he extracted the code to create the circles. He then opened up another blank ZSpace, and he took that code he extracted and put it in a code window and ran the code. It created the same 3 circles in the same exact spot. You can also go further with that by tweaking the code at that point.

The nice thing about ZCubes is that it is FREE. I was asking Joe about VC or investors in the product “We want to keep this product free for everyone to use,”stated Joe,”We believe it’s the experience that should be shared with everyone. Allot of what you see is user developed ideas.”

With a few clicks, he showed me something an 18 year old girl wanted in the product, and it was implemented. He stated,”Personally I would have never thought of putting this in the product. In fact most of the things that are changing daily within ZCubes are user feedback or user ideas.” Now even though Joseph is the CEO of the company he is very hands on. When I asked if he was the head developer, he stated,”I’m a very hands on CEO.”

ZCubes is currently about 30 developers world wide. Joe resides in Houston, TX, but there are developers everywhere. The main goal is to keep the product free, and to enhance the product from user feedback. “We feel that Google made money and they are still a free product,” Joe pointed out.

I think ZCubes actually has a viable working product to offer. Google when it first started only had a nice search engine to market. ZCubes is light years beyond just a search engine. I wouldn’t be surprised if ZCubes went IPO. What the ZCube company does not want to have is some investors taking the product and manipulating it into a capitalistic money making machine for sale to the user community.

ZCubes is truly what I would term a true Web 2.0 offering to the public to experience. In fact that is probably is an inaccurate statement. This is a probably a Web 2.1 or Web 3.0 product. It is as advertised. It is truly an all in one product.

There were so many things that Joe ran through in the 1 hour plus we were on the phone while he moved around in GoToMeeting to demonstrate some of the cooler things that ZCubes could do. One of the things that was very interesting was the ability of the product to extract every single picture from a web site, and then creating a nice slide show for yourself or to share with others. It can even go further, by going into the link tree from the site, and extract all those pictures also.

For the hardcore video heads, yes, it does video. The nice thing is you can mix video, pictures from the internet, and your own artwork in one ZSpace. You can then save it, share it, or e-mail it off to someone. Experience. It’s all possible in ZCubes.

Experience. That is how I would describe ZCubes now that I have had a guided tour. One interesting note, is that they are about 60 days away from being fully Firefox compliant. For now, to get the full ZCubes experience you will have to use Internet Explorer. Drag and drop is one of the main issues, but there are a few other nagging things that Firefox doesn’t do well. In fact they have resolved most of the drag and drop issues. Before releasing the plugin or fix, they want it to be right.

That last statement alone should say enough about the company. They want it to be right. This is a company that you want to definitely keep an eye on. In fact, you should not only keep an eye on it, but you should get over there right now – ZCubes – it’s an experience you will not forget. It’s an experience you can share with other people. It’s something you will remember and keep going back for more.

I want to thank Joseph Pally, Head Developer (CEO) of ZCubes for being so gracious and spending over 1 hour with me this evening. His product is world class, and as a final note, here is a picture that he drew and e-mailed to me. Open that link up in Internet Explorer and click the “Z” in the left hand corner. Click “Edit Experience“.

Technically Speaking, a whole NEW experience is about to unfold. The picture will be “ALIVE” for you to experience! Yes, you can take the experience I had watching Joe create earlier tonight, and you can now manipulate it and share that experience with whoever. In fact, you should save and post or e-mail your experience so I can see it when you are done.

Have fun with all you can do in ZCubes.

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks – moving – January 1, 2007 – – Technically Speaking’s new home.

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Posted in interviews,, Startups, Technically Speaking, Web 2.0, Web 2.1, Web 3.0, ZCubes | Leave a Comment »


Posted by rexdixon on December 25, 2006

I did one of my 7askitonline.png5 question interviews with Kaitlyn McLachlan the founder and sole programmer for AskItOnline awhile ago. She sent me an e-mail yesterday, and just let me know that she has been hard at work on the site. If you haven’t checked it out lately, or all of the sudden just need that survey – you may want to venture over there today.

She has made a ton of changes and fixes since the last time I looked at the site.  Do you need a survey? Today? Go on over to AskItOnline!

Posted in AJAX, askitonline, Startups, Survey | Leave a Comment »

Shuzak the social network for geeks

Posted by rexdixon on December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas! If you are reading this on Christmas day – you might be a geek! Do you want to hook up with other geeks and trade programming and math information? On Christmas day even? I’m sure you will find them right here at 7shuzuk.jpgShuzak. I received an e-mail about 7 hours ago (Christmas eve/day!) from Jawad who I have conversed with in the past about his new social network.

Since the last time I looked at it, it sure has improved allot! I think he has found his niche for his social network, and that would be the programmer, the math geek, and mainly the crowd that eats and lives coding 24/7/365. Give it a try, if you are reading this today. Because Technically Speaking, if you are reading this on Christmas day – you are a geek. 🙂

Posted in Geeks, math, programming, Shuzak, social media content, Social Networks, Startups, Technically Speaking | 3 Comments »

exoPlatform another webOS

Posted by rexdixon on December 22, 2006

exoPlatform is another webOS. I blogged just yesterday about wanting to install a webOS on my old laptop that is independent of having a OS. A true webOS and not just7exo.jpg a webtop. It will becoming soon, but this one looks nice for a webtop that is currently being described in 2006 as webOS.

webOS will become a true OS in 2007. For now give the company exoPlatform a look. I like the way the bottom works just like MacOS.

I believe the player (startup) that takes over in all of the webOS dollars will be the one that reads this blog. Just kidding! You don’t have to read the Technically Speaking blog, but what I mean is, the one that rules in 2007 will be the one that makes webOS a true OS.

This means

– a nice small footprint bootable OS such as a custom Linux

– then booting right into the webOS that is already there

Simple right? Well it’s probably a bit more complex, but not really. The technology is all there, and the first company that can provide this, I will load it up on my old laptop to check it out. I believe the first company that does this, will really grab most of the undecided “whether to go Mac or PC” market that is currently out there. That in itself is a gigantic market of people. Another market that will be tapped is the old PC and old Laptop market. That market alone should be big enough to entice some of these companies to get a move on for 2007.

Technically Speaking, it’s a wide open market out there. webOS is starting to come into it’s own, and could be OWNing their piece of the OS market in 2007; or at the very least be in a better position next year at this same time.

Posted in 2007, exoPlatform, Startups, Technically Speaking, Web 2.0, WebOS | 1 Comment »

GoogleOS II is now the Linus Torvalds years

Posted by rexdixon on December 21, 2006

Have you heard about the news about WebOS? More specifically GoogleOS? I am sure you may have read it, write? This is a nice speculation article that was written on the possibility of Linux(s) Torvalds working at Google to help with Google OS. I discussed the webOS thing awhile back, and I think that 2007 will be a year that more of the WebOS that are currently out there will begin to establish a foothold.

I started talking about WebOS about a month or so ago. The last time I mentioned it was right here, and the blog post was talking about some company called eyeOS. The above article mentions YouOS, which is the most “Linux like” webOS.

GoogleOS is inevitable to appear on the market in 2007. I mean, seriously, if you believe otherwise then the article about Linus joining Google is all TRUTH! Technically Speaking, I for one believe that 2007 is the right time and the right place in history for WebOS to really take off and get a foothold on small portable devices as well as our main machines. It will also lengthen and extend the lifespan of some older gear.

Personally, I have an old laptop that is currently gathering dust in an upstairs closet that could be easily serviced to be a WebOS testing platform. Are there any WebOS entrepreneur’s ready for Rex Dixon to give their OS a spin? Let me know. I think the number of “old laptops” that could be made into WebOS machines or more like useable computers or laptops again would probably astound people.

Posted in 2007, Browser OS, eyeOS, GoogleOS, Goowy, Laszlo, Startups, WebOS, YouOS | 3 Comments »

Sam Sethi’s new venture

Posted by rexdixon on December 20, 2006

It’s called Vecosys and it will be tracking startups. It says specifically European starups, but I can bet there will be an American version aka VecosysUS or something. This should be interesting going into the new year. We all know why right? I wonder if there will be many loyalty shifts over the course of the next year?

Their latest article, is an interesting one about advertising and IPTV. The one before that has them talking about and asking the readers to interact on who they think will be acquired soon by showing who was in 2006.

Posted in blogging, Sam Sethi, Startups, Vecosys | Leave a Comment »

Netsuite $1 Billion?

Posted by rexdixon on December 19, 2006

Netsuite is looking for that $1 Billion IPO valuation. They reported $70 million in 2006 earnings. I took a look at the site, and I think that combining ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), and eCommerce is a smart, but also dangerous thing.

Why? Well I speak from experience. While some of the readers out there may be in the startup industry in SV, Rex Dixon was responsible for installing and implementing these all in one great systems. I remember one that was written in Gembase over an Oracle  database. It was suppose to do it all, and guess what, it never ran successfully. I left that company long before the implmentation was complete. Well for more of that IT money basically, but also for the below also.

It was a botched purchasing decision to start with, and in the process, a VP of operations lost his job, an IT manager reached burnout and quit the biz entirely, and a Sr. Programmer had a heart attack due to stress of trying to implement a system that would not work. Rex Dixon knew a losing situation, and unfortunately he walked into another one. All for the money of course.

Another system, the do it all system (well it started out as tracking system for patients) was supposedly in talks to once again be the do it all registration system of hospitals. Do I need to continue? Do you already know what happened here?

What I am telling you, is that all the systems I have run across (from experience) that are supposedly do it all in one systems – never do it all, no matter how good they look. Is the company Netsuite worth $1 Billion because everyone goes ga-ga? I say Technically Speaking, start thinking and listening to those that have been there, done that. It might wake you up to the reality of the inflation of companies and software on the internet.

Posted in Netsuite, Startups, Technically Speaking | Leave a Comment »

InQ is now $7.75 million more stable

Posted by rexdixon on December 19, 2006

InQ, has raised $7.75 million and there is probably going to be more coming to this company. This is a great idea, as I totally agree with having a live salesperson 6inqlogo.pngclose a web deal you are about to do. When I saw web deal, I’m talking about buying something online. I feel that this company will take off in 2007.

Technically Speaking, you can point click, enter your credit card number, and hit “next” all the same. It’s the live person at the right time that might help you finish that deal. I think allot of eCommerce sites will be wanting the InQ personable touch.

Posted in 2007, InQ, Startups, Technically Speaking, VC | 3 Comments »


Posted by rexdixon on December 19, 2006

SaneBull is a market watch monitor. It is still in beta, and happens to be on the nice clean and clear Web 2.0 path. 5sanebull.gifMy only complaint about the site, and this isn’t much is that there is this “box off to the left corner” – go float over it. So really it is NOT a complaint. It was my first time there (obviously), and the almost complaint was turned into a “Duh! Great IDEA guys!” – for those of you who haven’t surfed there in another tab yet – the little “box” is your login window, register options, etc…

Like I said nice, clean, Web 2.0 design. For those of you who have all sorts of stock tracking going on with possibly 5 or more sites, give this one clean stripped down look site a try. I’m sure Felix and the guys will be much appreciative of the help. It is in “beta”, but as you know, sometimes beta is the best time to get in. You can actually help out a great new company and feel that close “you helped built it” feeling. There is nothing wrong with that, as this is the future of how all of the internet will look and feel. The new generation of web tools and web sites.

Technically Speaking, I give SaneBull thumbs up!

Posted in SaneBull, Startups, Technically Speaking, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »