Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Russia and Web 2.0


When I was in Moscow last, a lot of the talk was centered around attracting foreign capital to tech investments in Russia. The pitch is - or should be - familiar: lower costs, big market, super-bright engineers and scientists. The downside is lack of transparency and a very unique business environment that is difficult (or impossible) to navigate as an outsider. Today's announcement that Facebook has taken $200 million at first looks like a kind of a reversal in this trend: tech oriented Russians still have capital to deploy and may be choosing to spend it on bargain opportunities in the US market, which remains preeminent in technology development.

A closer look, though, suggests this is a part of a trend that has been gaining steam. Russians have been developing and investing in Web technology for a long while. Yes, Google was co-founded by a Russian, but there has been a number of interesting developments based in Russia itself. The Russian firm Yandex is often described as the "Russian Google" and has picked up small Russian social networking companies like Moi Krug on the cheap (someday there long awaited IPO will happen). SUP, run by American-in-Moscow Andrew Paulson, picked up LiveJournal to support their Russian users, and now Yuri Milner's fund takes a position in Facebook. Milner is the founder of mail.ru, a former physicist, and Wharton alumn.

Watch carefully: the Russians are coming to Silicon Valley and it's been a largely under-noted trend. I've met some of these folks and they are very capable businessmen.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Events for SCA

InfoQ has a short synopsis of the event proposal that was released to add pub-sub style semantics to the SCA assembly model. The genesis of this lies in some ESB related work I had helped lead at Oracle back in the days when we first started to develop the SCA specifications - it took a long time to socialize this to the working group, but I'm very happy to see that that work has borne fruit. This fills an important gap in the specifications - previously, the wire driven semantics forced components to "externalize" pub-sub interactions in a way that was divorced from the SCA semantics - and is broadly applicable to many problem domains including Complex Event Processing, Queue/Pub-Sub style integration, and ESB scenarios.

I remain somewhat distressed over the way the channel abstraction has played out - the original idea divorced much of this from the assembly view and made it an aspect of system configuration. I think the current approach artificially mixes orthogonal aspects of the problem space. Having said that, this is a milestone for the specification and completes the basic assembly model nicely.

By the way, nice write up Boris!