Halsey Minor founded CNET Networks and several other companies like Vignette, an Internet software maker, and the Internet portal site Snap. Businessweek writes,his latest company is Grand Central, a Web-services outfit that acts like a virtual train station, making sure various online offerings by companies like Salesforce.com (CRM ) and security specialist Oblix can work together. Excerpts from his interesting interview with edits and comments added:
- If the world is going to look like a bunch of Salesforce.coms, where applications are not being run inside a company but outside of it, there will be a need for a service that ties and integrates all those services together. Now the problem is: The Salesforce.coms of the world had to get traction before there was a need for a service like grandcentral.
- This is the year that there will be some real traction around Web services. We've actually entered the practical phase of Web services. The first phase was a bunch of people designing a whole bunch of standards - primarily those were a bunch of computer scientists. Now people are getting practical about what a Web service can and cannot solve.His predictions for web services success this year - "By and large you're going to see the technologies around Web services solve some real problems this year" .
- The number one problem companies have - they cannot get the systems integrated that they've purchased. As a simple example, it's very difficult for them when a salesperson sells something to get that sale recorded in the financial system. What we do is provide a very low-cost, low-risk way for companies to interconnect these systems without having to buy any hardware or software.
- We turn the Internet into an integration platform, so any application can talk to any application without requiring the complexity of hardware and software. Most importantly, what drives our business right now is our lack of complexity, and one of the great advantages of our model is we take away a significant amount of the risk.
The idea behind Grandcentral is very powerful and certainly looks promising - using internet as the integration platform is the ultimate proef of web services in action. Halsey as fOunder of CNet, Vignette, Snap.com definitely spots trends ahead and more importantly has tremendous insigths about building high volume internet centric business models and capabale of executing the model by building scalable infrastructure,powerful tools/applications/platforms - Surely grandcentral is an enterprise to watch.