As of 9:05 AM Pacific time, we started encountering difficulties in many Zoho services. The services affected are Zoho Mail, Books and Support, as well as some sporadic issues in other services. We have narrowed it down to network issues in our data center, and we are analyzing it. We will restore services as expeditiously as possible.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Update: as of 12 noon PST, we have restored Zoho Mail, Support and Books. We still are not completely out of the woods, and we are monitoring all services closely. Meanwhile, we are also looking at the root cause of today’s outage.
That scene above is from the suburb of Chennai (Tambaram) where I grew up, where my parents still live, but in reality, it could be anywhere in India. We get monsoons this time of the year every year, yet, every year this is how it looks for a few weeks.
I am in business because I believe there is really only one solution. We need 25x more businesses, 25x more jobs, 25x more infrastructure before India could be considered a livable country. I hope to live to see a day when one city, just one fucking city, in India will offer a world-class quality of life. Today, almost no city in India comes close to offering what would be considered an acceptable quality of life. That is why I wake up everyday and go to work, because my dream is to create sufficient profits to directly fund the infrastructure we need to live a decent life.
I have never shared this story in public before, but I wanted to do this after reading Hank Williams’ post (via Hacker News) on race in Silicon Valley. My post is not about race, but it is somewhat related, as you will see below.
First a bit of history. In 2003, our company’s only business was network management software. Our main product at that time was Web NMS, which continues to be a successful and profitable division for us to this day, but at that time, it was the only product line we had. Zoho was not yet born, in fact, we had not even conceived of the name yet. Web NMS had many large equipment vendors as customers, and among them was StorageTek, a multi-billion dollar back-up & recovery products company, which was later acquired by Sun. After a comprehensive evaluation over several months, StorageTek chose our Web NMS product to build remote monitoring capability into their storage equipment, and they also wanted us to set up a team to customize the Web NMS so it could talk to their equipment and provide the specialized reports needed.…
I read the cover story in Forbes on the success of Dropbox, which is set to do about $240 million in sales in 2011, with only 70 employees. As Forbes points out, that is about 3x the revenue per employee of Google, which is no slouch in the revenue per employee department itself. First, congratulations, Dropbox! This is the type of breathtaking number that makes the ordinarily successful companies like, well, Zoho, to wonder “What are we doing wrong?”
In our 15 year history in Zoho Corporation – which is bigger than the Zoho product suite itself – we have shipped over 70 products, of which we would say about 30 have been successful in the sense of being nicely profitable. Yet, even with that group of 30 products, we have seen the 10x effect: a set of two products that have taken approximately the same amount of effort to build, by similarly situated teams, yet one of them does 10x the sales of the other, with both of them being profitable.…
… dump the friend and embrace the enemy.
Several years ago, we had many rounds of meetings with Yahoo on ways to cooperate. It was very clear that Yahoo had lousy leadership. On the other hand, I was quite impressed by the Google leadership I met.
What did we end up doing at Zoho? We never pursued a Yahoo partnership, and we made our peace with Google. Yahoo just demonstrated, yet again, that we made a wise choice. Dumb friends are more dangerous than smart enemies.
Apple’s revenue now is at a run rate of over $100 billion dollars, a good deal higher than that of Microsoft. Apple’s profits also well exceed Microsoft’s profits. Yet, Apple has only about 50% of the headcount of Microsoft. These things were utterly
just 5 years ago. One way to visualize this is to imagine Yahoo overtaking Google in the search market and in terms of overall revenue & profits (Google does about 6 times the revenue of Yahoo), and multiply that difficulty by 10-fold, because Yahoo actually still makes money, but Apple was losing a lot of money when Steve Jobs came back in 1996.
I assumed that Apple grew steadily from when Jobs came back. I was wrong. Here is the revenue trajectory of Apple all the way going back to 1981. Focus on the years after 1997.
Notice the crisis in 96-97-98 when he came back – that was a stomach churning drop in revenue, which explains why he came back.
At first they ignored the iPod, and it looked plausible
Then they laughed at the iPhone, and it looked ignorant
Then they dismissed the iPad, and it looked ridiculous
Finally, the iCloud arrived
And the board woke up.
(OK, that last line was pure fiction).
It is a testimony to how far Microsoft’s stock has fallen – no I don’t mean just their stock price here – that no one seems to remember Ray Ozzie’s Software-plus-Services marketing slogan anymore. I was reminded of that when I watched Steve Jobs announce the iCloud and how that spells the end of the PC. I must say he didn’t just say the end of the PC – he helpfully added “the Mac” too, but he is just being polite and everyone knows what he has in mind. Of course, we at Zoho don’t have to tell you that the era of billions of cloud connected devices suits us very well, thank you.…