Shared publicly  - 
 
My motivation: when people write me and Rackspace Hosting off

What motivates you? For me, it's motivating when the press is against you, like in the below article from Motley Fool, which says Rackspace, my employer, won't survive. 

This is where mentors are so important. Mine is +Vic Gundotra, now a VP at Google. He told me about the dark days of Android when no one would believe that Google could beat Apple at the smartphone game. Today it seems obvious that Google would sell six out of every seven devices. But back when Google started it wasn't obvious at all. Apple was dominant. 

What do you do when everyone is against you and writing you off?

By the way. The analog with Android is apt. That's what the press and +Dana Blankenhorn is missing. Amazon's APIs are controlled by one company. Rackspace's are built on true open-source. OpenStack is what we've built our cloud on and that's a partnership of now more than 800 companies. 

Microsoft isn't built on open source. Google's cloud isn't built on open source. Amazon's cloud is totally proprietary. 

Just wait and see how OpenStack continues to bring real innovation that the other folks won't have. Here's one test. Can you run Amazon's cloud on your own datacenters? No. 

Can you fix bugs in Amazon's cloud? No. Can you add your own features to Amazon's cloud? No. Can you get fanatical support in Amazon's cloud? No. 

So, keep writing off me and Rackspace. In two years it'll look as stupid as writing off Android vs. Apple's iOS.
Browse by ▼. Sectors · Information Technology · Consumer Discretionary · Financials · Consumer Staples · Technology · All Sectors » · Tickers · NASDAQ:AAPL · NASDAQ:GOOG · NASDAQ:MSFT · NASDAQ:AMZN · ...
94
4
Denis Bulichenko's profile photoBalaji Srinivasan's profile photoJim Pirkle's profile photoMaa Niang's profile photo
46 comments
 
This is a great post, +Robert Scoble 
Very inspiring. 
I'm going through some dark days right now so this gives me some hope. 
 
By the way, as you probably know already I'm a big fan of OpenStack. 
 
Success is the sweetest revenge... ;-) 
 
did you get your Android phone yet or waiting to see what the SIV looks like?
 
+Robert Scoble I'd print it out poster size, place it on a wall somewhere in the office... Look at it everyday, for motivation... But that's just me... 
 
For me, it's motivating when the press is against you

It's especially true when they're that far off base. There will always be a place for large-scale commodity operations like Amazon, just as there will always be one for premium providers.
 
And Google is a services provider, not a platform provider, so they're not really in the same market space. Amazon now ...
 
It doesn't read as a question of relevance, but economics and pure scale.  I guess the real question is how disruptive and innovative RAX can continue to be when the value attempts to commodotized by others?
 
And don't forget this: Rackspace has posted Operating Profits EVERY quarter (by turning away revenue producing but unprofitable business) since Day 1. Take THAT, Amazon! 
 
+Robert Scoble Great post. Trouble is that two years from now RAX will be just one of many great OpenStack cloud choices out there. Assuming you're right, and it will be seen then to be better than AMZN, it will still be fighting a host of other OpenStack companies, many of them very well-capitalized. I can think of one just up I-35 from "Windcrest Mall" -- they're in the process of going private. 

Of course, these days I'm not supposed to evaluate technologies, to say open source or closed source or hybrid source is better. I'm supposed to help make readers money. And when it comes to money, cloud services in general are heading for a shakeout, as supply overwhelms demand and the price war continues unabated.
 
He left out all the current and upcoming OpenStack clouds, like Dreamhost and HP Cloud too. OpenStack also allows more players in the game, creating more competition, which is better for everyone. 

This is why you can get cloud storage from Rackspace with Akamai CDN for the same price as normal cloud storage from Amazon. It's a kickass deal. Or you can go dirt dirt cheap with Dreamhost for 7 cents a gig. Both with either feature or pricepoints that are great alternatives to S3 that Amazon doesn't offer.  
 
I have had the unique opportunity as an outside consultant over the last year to get to know the Rackspace culture firsthand and can say with a high level of certainty, that no cloud services company or any tech company for that matter is as dedicated to their customers as Rackspace and it's employees are.

Fanatical support is not just a catchy motto, it is a way of life, it is a mantra, it is a battle cry.

I was at Intuit for 7 years and saw that company go though a similar period of explosive growth and doubt from the street as to whether it was sustainable. Intuit had a very similar "Customer First" culture and believed that it's people were key to it's success. They not only survived, but have continued to thrive (much to the chagrin of those at Motley Fool and others).

Rackspace will certainly encounter growing pains along the way and may have to evolve the company and the culture to get through the next stages of growth, but I am highly confident that a few years from now we will all be laughing at the "analysts" who thought that cloud was simply a tech fad.
 
Well, I hope Rackspace continues to do well. I also wish they had a free tier like amazon :)
 
I think you can't really compare public cloud services with what is possible with open stack. Open stack is more like a private public cloud - you can scale like on a public cloud but you know where the data is stored if you host it on dedicated hardware. This is a huge privacy issue solved with the benefits of a public cloud. One more thing is the open platform - developers can code against that api. Unlike on Amazon you can take your Open Stack Infrastructure and roll it out on any datacenter. 
 
+Robert Scoble I still remember the days when Rackspace first moved to the West side of SA and no-one had heard of ya'll.  I've been watching the company grow and make major strides over 10 years now and it's been amazing to see the growth and innovation.

As we say on the West side...  Haters gonna hate.  :)
 
I think it is incorrect to assume that AWS cannot be spinned off.  It is likely to be incrementally profitable by now, that is every new customer is in the black.
 
A business will always need 1) good service support and 2) stable scalable solution on a cloud. Especially when this couple influences the business own service quality and operations. Hence its income. And definitely this couple is not a great friend of Azure or AWS. At least now. Those who tried to use both and have hands on would agree with me. It could be suitable for B2C free services that burn tons of money and need cheap solution to the prejudice of quality. May be. In other words, there will always be demand for RackSpace despite stock prices fluctuation. Of course, unless RackSpace deliberately would stop providing great service.
 
One thing I noticed while looking at Rackspace: the perception is that it is a follower not a leader. AWS has many years lead and charging ahead. Rackspace need to find ways to outflank them to reach out to underserved customers and offer services that AWS is not even dreaming about. It is not a rocket science: if I was not working where I work, I could have produced a list of such things.
 
+Robert Scoble , as a hands-on geek, I have to disagree on both points. The greatness of Android came from bold decisions they made to offer clean development model and overlay Java goodness on top of it. It was pure innovation, nothing like Symbian, Brew etc. And second point, when 800 companies come together nothing good come out of it. AWS goes with what they think is right, even when it is plain silly from market perspective. Believe me, I used to worked there and launched two new AWS services.
 
I think you hit a good point about customer service as well. I want to punch the phone every time I have to call EMC for support. And because of that reason alone, I won't even consider them when we're looking at upgrading our backup solution. Also, your pricing is very fair. If i was looking for a cloud solution, Rackspace is really my first thought.
 
WOW Good for you Robert! I am amazed how you now fully see the future potential of Android, that you even use it as analogy!
 
As a Rackspace evangelist I may say: 

It is indeed a superior service that allowed me to reach unexpected functionality levels with our infrastructure, the support teams were not only highly knowledgeable but would also get involved beyond the realm of "fixing" and would be enthusiastic and upbeat about my un orthodox proposals and methods, had they not intervened, I would have had a pretty standard product to offer to my client base, but thanks to this "we' re on the same boat" attitude we were able to concoct technical solutions that are currently unsurpassed in the online news industry.

Didn't even read the article, there s always nay sayers.
 
+Robert Scoble thanks for the insights. As Android user from day one (and not recent convert from i.. world :-) I do appreciate it's openness. I mentioned Java because, by going with Java, Google managed to pull incredible stunt: to get frameworks, libraries, decades of combined open-source wisdom, for essentially, free. That is, IMHO, one of the reasons for Android success, as I stated.
 
I'm sure you guys (Rackspace) are great and all - however for you to say you can't fix bugs/add own features/get fanatical support from Amazons stack, I'd say you're off the mark there by fair bit.  

I'm not writing you guys off or down in any way at all - just that in my experience, Amazon, whilst semiclosed, does provide a service that we use and can extend as we need to.
 
I am actually more left pondering the meaning of press. Is a stock analyst who puts a comments about current and podsible futures press? I am sure most reporters and even some op-ed guys staff would say no. Is it just semantics or does it make a difference in the greater sense of journalism?
 
+Robert Scoble I love OpenStack and I think Rackspace will do just fine. However... you can't simply compare Android to OpenStack at face value. Google absolutely controls Android and it's bridged by Google services (Yes, the Kindle Fire and others have their own Android fork which is not tied to Google but they are not the majority of Android users). Google will make a ton of ad revenue because of Google services which are embedded in Android. While Rackspace is the OpenStack champion (and controls the board) there is no service that bridges use of OpenStack directly back to Rackspace. Rackspace doesn't make revenue when HP builds a private cloud based on OpenStack. Any hosting service or hardware vendor can leverage and scale OpenStack. Rackspace will need to continue focusing on their unique value proposition and build core services which makes Rackspace a critical component to OpenStack such as an application ecosystem built for OpenStack and owned by Rackspace.
 
+Darin Simmons I was taught, at Northwestern 35 years ago, that a journalist is someone who works for someone who buys ink by the barrel. To that you can now add, bandwidth by the gigabit. +Robert Scoble is a journalist, and one of the best on our beat today. I don't know anything else to be but a journalist, and approach everything I do from that perspective, whether I'm writing for ZDNet or The Motley Fool. 
 
For someone not too into the know of aws vs rackspace as an option for hosting a new startup, where can I go read up on it?
 
+Raymond Duke I encourage you to check out http://www.rackspacestartups.com/    At Rackpace we love startups! In fact I just wrote a blog post on that very topic yesterday: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/top-5-reasons-startups-love-the-open-cloud/  The best part of Rackspace for startups is access to Fanatical Support. We have the expertise to help you architect and operate your app and we'll even manage your application environment for you. If you need help, let us know!
 
thanks +John Engates. That video kind of resonates with me - I'm from LA and I don't have a tech background. I majored in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication so I like to study how people interact with one another and how we communicate in organizations. I also have a thing for design and how we use technology. With that being said, I am working on the prototype for a web app right now - and it's all very exciting, but as far as what types of services I will need, who will code it, what can and can't be done, I am clueless...
 
My current hosting is up in may. I'm definitely studying my options to switch.
 
Rackspace by building on OpenStack cooperates with companies building their own clouds to "Fail to the sky" for local disasters or "Cloudburst" to capture unanticipated demand without disappointing the customer and losing the opportunity - maybe forever.

It's seamless, transparent, proven and painless.  It's vendor-neutral, legacy-free, and completely under your control without any tie-ins, lock-downs or lock-ins.  You pay for what you get, you get what you pay for.  There is no ulterior motive to get you committed to some ecosystem it's hard to extract from.  There is no incentive for them to force you into their browser, OS, mobile platform, office document editing package because they don't have one of any of those.

Cash on the barrelhead, service with a smile.  Uptime to die for and economy of scale makes for reasonable price.

What's not to like?

/No, I don't work for or invest in Rackspace.  But I know a good plan when I see one.
 
Open Stack may be different because it's open source, but it is API compatible with Amazon services. This was a smart move -- take advantage of the network effect from an established ecosystem -- but it also suggests that as the Open Stack user base increases it will improve Amazon's network as well.

Generally speaking, I like this. Remove friction from platform-switching and let the better service or innovator win (very Google Take Out). Still, it seems to me that the fate of the two offerings are inherently linked and will continue to be unless there is significant API divergence. Amazon will profit from the Open Stack community's growth and development.

...Perhaps the Amazon (Kindle Fire) vs Android comparisons are more apt.
 
Unfortunately open source doesn't always win.
 
I would use term "armada" (with the same effect in the future)
 
Great that you're advertising on TWiT now, too!  Does that mean every time you're on we have to open with a disclaimer?
Add a comment...