Sharing some thoughts on Seedcamp

I attended Seedcamp on Wednesday 5th September as a guest on one of the many panels they held – this one was around APIs.

Summary: Fascinating, a huge opportunity for Sun and the developers.

Seedcamp aims to bring together developers, venture capitalists, business mentors and technology partners to seed the next generation of network service businesses.

As someone who works for Sun I sometimes wonder more people don’t take advantage of our great technology especially as most of it, such as OpenSolaris, is free. I suspect that (a) people don’t know what we have, and/or (b) they can’t find anyone to talk to about it.

Like UNIX, we have an powerful box of tools but I think we too often leave it up to the ingenuity of the user to make the most of it. The opportunity is getting people to realise we have some great stuff and also how it can help them.

As for my time there … amazingly, “Web 2.0” wasn’t mentioned once.

I sat on a panel with various people representing Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Mozilla and BT. They were all working in web services in some fashion:

  • Google (Google APIs)
  • Microsoft (Windows Live API)
  • Yahoo! (YUI)
  • Mozilla (Firefox extensions)
  • BT (Web21C)

The panel was all about start-ups finding the best way to spend their hard-won investment capital. Facebook app? Firefox extension? Using YUI, Windows Live or Google? Desktop or web service?

Given that I’m a Solaris engineer which essentially means I’m a systems programmer I was the odd one out on the panel. Clearly Java is something we’d very much like to promote but that wasn’t the topic of conversation.

Where I think Sun can win is catching them as they grow by offering them scalability, DRAS and an open platform with all the tools they would expect from a UNIX-based OS. Renting a service from an ISP will take you so far but if you’re hitting exponential growth you need to get some solid technology in there.

To do that we need to do more to get {Open}Solaris on start-ups’ laptops and servers. The Mozilla guy (unprompted) advocated OpenSolaris as DTrace was such a powerful tool when it came to debugging, performance and scalability.

From a personal perspective I was amazed at the wild productivity of this group of people. Many were working on multiple projects at the same time and their personal networks were diverse meeting each other as they flitted from job to project to web community.

What struck me was that despite their focus being web based services they meet frequently in person. Foocamp, Barcamp, unconferences and just partying.

I was surprised that there was such a busy and diverse community of web developers in London and the UK. It’s not just the Bay Area.

Following the panel session I had a wide-ranging corridor conversation with a few people including the Yahoo! guy and someone working on multiple projects including School of Everything. Thanks for your time guys.

Inspiring stuff.

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  1. I do cross-platform development (mostly Qt based) so I have all major platforms in my office. I can choose any one of them as my primary platform. I tried using my Sparc 1500 as my primary platform but its too slow and lacks the high res. I get from my dual xeon box running Linux. I tried installing Solaris/Intel on my dual xeon but Solaris does not (as I recall) support the hardware as well as Linux. BTW: My 3 year old dual xeon with SCSI 320 is much faster at compiling my C++ code than even my recently purchased T61p… best $2000 I ever spent.

  2. s/T61p/T60p


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