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Numbers, Volume 27

Travelodge Key

While we “don’t do numbers” at RedMonk, I come across many interesting numbers each week. Here are some:

Pharma Supply Chain

From a recent IBM study of “executives at pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and consumer health care industry companies who are responsible for planning, logistics, procurement and coordination throughout the life of a drug or medical device”:

  • 64 percent reported rising customer demands such as requests for designer drugs or specialized packaging as a major challenge
  • Monitoring risk to prevent counterfeiting, drug and device recalls, or even the loss of intellectual property, is a priority for 75 percent of executives, as margins become slimmer and supply chain complexity rises. Three-quarters have risk and performance initiatives such as surveillance programs, anti-tamper devices and specialized labeling, but with mixed results.
  • 46 percent consider vendor-managed inventory for their customers extremely effective but only 4 percent use it to ensure they are precisely meeting customer demands for products
  • 65 percent collaborate with suppliers on demand planning but only 31 percent do so with customers, often resulting in an overstock of supplies or missed sales targets

Seems boring, sure, but the thing to pay attention to here is the consumerization of IT in non-IT industries, namely, more closely linking the supply chain (getting products from factory to customer hands) more closely with customer demands, if not on a daily basis, much shorter. As a thought-exercise, how would a Facebook or iPhone application where you “click to refill” effect the drug supply-chain. If AT&T can’t take it (see below), I bet most pharma supply chains can’t either.

“The tubes are clogged!”

When thousands of iPhone owners descended on Austin, Tex., in March during South by Southwest, an annual technology and music conference, attendees were unable to send text messages, check their e-mail or make calls until AT&T installed temporary cell sites to amplify the service.

AT&T’s right to be the exclusive carrier for iPhone in the United States has been a golden ticket for the wireless company. The average iPhone owner pays AT&T $2,000 during his two-year contract — roughly twice the amount of the average mobile phone customer. [Man, I’m such a sucker! -Coté]

AT&T says that the majority of the nearly $18 billion it will spend this year on its networks will be diverted into upgrades and expansions to meet the surging demands on the 3G network. The company intends to erect an additional 2,100 cell towers to fill out patchy coverage, upgrade existing cell sites by adding fiber optic connectivity to deliver data faster and add other technology to provide stronger cell signals.

Another Hollywood Freak-out

Community at the video store

By December, there will be 22,000 Redbox machines in spots like supermarkets, Wal-Mart Stores and fast-food restaurants.

Redbox’s growth — it started with 12 kiosks in 2004 and now processes about 80 transactions a second on Friday nights — has Hollywood’s blood boiling. Furious about a potential cannibalization of DVD sales and a broader price devaluation of their product, three studios (20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Universal) are refusing to sell DVDs to Redbox until at least 28 days after they arrive in stores.

TechDirt’s Michael Masnick notes that Netflix is in the cross-hairs too.

Rendering Cartoons

Cloud computing was key in faster and more cost-effective production, enabling DreamWorks to build capacity for sustained demand vs. peak capacity, reducing compute requirements from 21,000 cores to 16,000 cores, he said. And cloud computing provided greater service elasticity than a server farm, subdividing a film sequence and sending it to 40 cores simultaneously, automating previously manual processes and cutting turnaround time from four hours to just minutes, he said.

“Server farms didn’t fit,” Chen said. “We needed to change the model and make compute services expand and contract automatically so we didn’t waste resources.”

The French are Serious

The French don’t take well to privatizing, down-sizing and belt-tightening, like us Yankees tend to. Things are getting a bit extreme:

France Telecom is struggling to deal with a wave of staff suicides which has seen more than 20 workers take their lives in the past 18 months – some leaving notes blaming job stress and misery at work.

However, unions have warned that the company’s entire management approach must be overhauled and some have called for strike action in Brittany on the same day. Trade union representatives at the company have blamed restructuring cuts, extreme pressure, bullying and poor management methods – which, they say, have worsened since privatisation.

And in another part of French society, there’s rebelling against government cut-backs:

[F]urious that the authorities were going to scrap a class and move a teacher away, a group of parents took over the school on the edge of the Pyrenees, blocking exits and taking the school’s three teachers hostage overnight.


The primary school had expected 50 pupils at the start of term and planned to divide them into three primary classes. When only 47 arrived for registration, the authorities decided to scrap one class and move one of the school’s three teachers elsewhere. Furious parents intervened before the teacher could be moved.

Whither the VC Business Model?

Capital Factory Demo Day, 2009

VC panels now-a-days are always interesting because the business model is a bit jonky compared to the past. The Capital Factory Demo Day (hear my thoughts in on the event) had a nice panel, with some interesting numbers:

  • Bill Wood: “Everyone needs to plan on things not getting a lot better…capital efficiency, things that don’t depend on a $500M exit.” The day I fund, I’m thinking of who the acquirer is, because there’s a 99% chance [the exit will be:] you’re acquired.
  • 99% chance VC funded deals will exit as a sub-$100m acquisition (quoted by Marc Nathan).

Apple stats

30 million iPhones sold world wide. Big number. App store 75,000 apps. 1.8 billion app downloads. Not includ[in]g updates. 3.1 OS Introduced


When VMware unveiled its cloud initiative for service providers last year, 100 vendors had signed up. Today more than 1,000 service providers worldwide are on board, providing cloud-based computing services based upon vSphere. AT&T, Savvis, Terremark and Verizon Business are just a few examples….The different approaches taken by Citrix and VMware may come down to simple market realities. VMware is the dominant vendor in the x86 virtualization market, claiming 970 of the Fortune 1000 companies as customers. If service providers find it easier to support just one virtualization platform, they are likely to choose the most widely implemented technology – VMware’s. Citrix is a much smaller player and must support multiple hypervisors, including its own, Microsoft’s, and VMware’s, to create a successful cloud initiative.

See even more number goodies on VMworld.

Disclosure: IBM is a client.

Categories: Cloud, Enterprise Software, Numbers.