Monthly Archives: October 2007

Highlights of Web 2.0 Summit

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* actually I must admit I didn’t, but Mike Cannon-Brookes did and I was terribly jealous.

David Kisses Goliath: Confluence Connects to Microsoft SharePoint

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  • We’ve integrated Confluence with Microsoft SharePoint. We found Microsoft incredibly like-minded in solving a huge customer problem.

    Last June when meeting with customers and analysts, SharePoint came up in every meeting. “We have growing groups who love the wiki, and long standing users of Microsoft and now SharePoint. Help!”, customers asked, including Geoff Corb, IT Director at Johns Hopkins University.

    When Microsoft approached us to ask us to integrate, it made perfect sense. Then the hard part started: we had to put some engineering muscle behind it. We found Microsoft wanting to solve the same problem: remove friction between our technologies. And we found Microsoft easy to work with. Their product managers and engineers and ours even got Accenture on the phone to test out the requirements. Accenture is a partner of both our companies, and a large user of Confluence, so their feedback was important.

    Why did we do choose to do this? Foremost, to bridge groups of workers who prefer to work in different ways with different technology. Customers have multiple domains of work: wikis, office document/email, document management, blogs, IM, and more, yet want to use the best technologies.

    As a software company, Atlassian also did this because Microsoft was motivated, and we expect other partnerships like this in the future, so Confluence is more open. Although Confluence has an open architecture and now rather large plugin library, we have not focused, until now on larger partnerships.

    Today, we release the SharePoint Connector for Confluence which is by far the deepest integration of any wiki with SharePoint, and is a testament to the connectivity of the .Net and Java platforms. The Connector is available today with:

    • Search: Users can search SharePoint and Confluence content together from one place.
    • Content sharing: From within SharePoint, users can embed Confluence page contents allowing users to blend content.
    • Linking: Within Confluence, users can access SharePoint document facilities. By including SharePoint lists and content within Confluence, users, in a single click, can edit Microsoft Office documents.
    • Single Sign-On and Security: With one login, users can access both systems while seeing only what they have permission to view.

    It didn’t escape us that Microsoft asked us with our Java product to integrate with SharePoint. I can only take that as a complement, and a recognition of our customer base.

    Updates and Further Reading

    • Robert Scoble visited to video Mike and me, and blogged it, ” Why do that? After all, Sharepoint has its own wiki service? Cause Atlassian’s is better and Microsoft’s customers were asking it to support Atlassian’s.”
    • Richard McManus covered the partnerships with Atlassian and NewsGator.
    • Dan Farber and Dennis Howlett gave it ZDnet coverage with Dennis having his often interesting edge.
    • Mike wrote the most insightful post about the risks and tensions inherent in deciding to do this partnership.
    • And the feature tour is here, and the sufficiently reviewed 🙂 press release.
  • Hang Tough and Live Strong

    The community of inspiration I felt when I blogged about my cancer is still alive. Lance Armstrong just sent me this great note:
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    My friend Fred Harman happens to be on the board of FRS [stands for Free Radical Scavenger — which would be a much cooler name — a great Health Energy drink] with Lance. Fred told Lance about my blog where I talked about telling my kids about my Plan to whip cancer, “The one difference between Lance and me is that I didn’t have to win the Tour de France. I only had to beat cancer.” All true, and one of those truly emotional moments.

    Getting this is wonderful and inspirational for me. Lance was one of my attitude inspirations three years ago. When Lance writes “Hang Tough”, you know it’s coming from someone who defines Tough.

    And I absolutely _love_ the last three words on the bottom of the card: Attitude is Everything. Check.

    Why Radiohead Should Price Your Software

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    If you are the typical software company, I have a hot tip for you. Call the guys in Radiohead and try to hire one of them to fix your pricing. I doubt they have the time, because they just did something that is turning the music industry on its head. As you probably know the recording industry is in serious decline, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. The record companies stuck to high CD prices like stubborn pit bulls for so long, iTunes became the only interesting game.

    Pay attention to Radiohead’s new album pricing: users pay whatever they want from zero on up. I haven’t heard the album yet, but they deserve $25 for having the creativity and moxie to do this.

    What does this have to do with traditional software pricing? A lot. Although the software industry is in much better shape than the recording industry, it has never been the same since the bust of 2000 – 2003. Enterprise software sales is a fundamentally broken model: it’s too expensive. I met with friend, and fellow musician, Fred Harman at Oak Investment Partners this week, and Oak has avoided software startups for years largely due to this phenomenon. Oak concentrates on larger growth investments to avoid the high cost of sales inherent in most software companies.

    When I talk to experienced, traditional software sales and marketing people, invariably I get asked why Atlassian’s prices are so aggressive. “You’re leaving money on the table”, is the common refrain.

    But it’s the high price tags that invariably command a squadron of Suits whipping out their Powerpoint presentations and flying all over the place. That’s expensive, and customers are tired of it. Tired of the high prices, tired of the secrecy behind pricing on websites, tired of having to register to get a white paper or request a sales call, tired of the whole process.

    A new software company in the developer tools space approached us about a partnership recently. The CEO is a fantastic guy who I could easily see as a friend. When I asked what his software would cost, he said with big smile, “As much as possible”. I smiled back and said, “That’s exactly the wrong strategy.” Innovative companies like his will continue to struggle with faulty pricing strategies.

    “This is the industry’s worst nightmare.” said music industry writer Bob Lefsetz about Radiohead’s bold and brilliant move. Although we certainly don’t think of ourselves in these terms, we do think there’s a _very_ different way to do business, to price, and to treat customers.