December 21st, 2012
With the publicity that Facebook, Groupon and Zynga’s weak IPOs garnered, a clear shift has become evident in the investment trends of institutional funds. Venture Capital firms have clearly begun moving their investments away from consumer applications and back into enterprise software, an industry that is currently valued at approximately $3.6 trillion.
For the past 5 years, technology headlines have been dominated by the rise of various consumer applications. While companies such as Twitter and Facebook garnered much of the national attention, thousands of startups leased office space in Silicon Valley and raised seed funding from various angel investors and funds.
However, the amount invested in consumer applications was down 42% through Q3 of 2012. Less than half of the 165 consumer applications companies that raised Seed rounds in 2010 have raised subsequent rounds, and overall, only 20% of companies that have gotten Seed funding will successfully raise Series A funding.
In sharp contrast to this downward trend is the amount of money flowing into enterprise startups. Investment Banker Sanu Desai, known for taking Amazon public in 1997, recently predicted a “trillion dollar transfer of wealth” in the enterprise space from the established players (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco) to fast-growing startups such as Box, Actifio and Zendesk.
A number of factors have prompted this shift of capital in the enterprise space. As mobile becomes the dominant trend in IT and low-cost cloud hosting becomes more accepted, enterprise SaaS solutions have been increasingly adopted in corporations both large and small. These cloud platforms cost thousands of dollars less than traditional, physical enterprise products and thus are more appealing to small cap companies, while the nimble nature of a startup’s structure allows these companies to respond quickly with novel solutions to their large corporate clients.
Additionally, the very public decline in the stock prices of major consumer application companies has driven investors to the enterprise, as the consumer base of enterprise products is much more stable than that of consumer apps. Whereas individual consumers start or stop using Zynga’s product daily, businesses generally choose an enterprise product and stick with it for a much longer period of time, generating large quantities of recurring revenues for the SaaS providers. Thus, investors recognize the stability that even enterprise startups provide as opposed to the fickle nature of the consumer app industry, resulting in VC firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, known for investing in companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, leading a $100 million round for GitHub. As we enter 2013, the consumer app bubble will grow closer to bursting while the enterprise industry will continue to strengthen.
Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog
December 18th, 2012
For the second year in a row, Talener Group LA celebrated the holidays at the Shangri La Hotel in Santa Monica. This time around, we rented out the private penthouse with rooftop access. We started the evening with a cocktail hour where both the drinks and the conversation were flowing freely. After a delightful dinner and decadent dessert, we reflected on the past year by sharing our favorite Talener moments of 2012. Our director Rory gave us a little taste of his DJ skills while everyone danced and laughed the night away.
Overall, it was the perfect way to ring in what we expect to be a fantastic new year with new people, new opportunities and new memories to be made.
Posted in Talener Blog
December 17th, 2012
Talener Group’s Boston office chose Smith and Wollensky as the location for their first Holiday party since its inception in July of this year. With its castle-like stone exterior and Fire-lit event rooms, the distinguished steak house provided a lively atmosphere for the Boston office’s pioneers to celebrate how far they have come over the last six months. Starting as a group of 4 employee transplants, the Boston office has grown into a team of 9 and is continuing to expand its footprint in the Boston software technology market.
After an evening of cocktails, decadent top-notch entrees and some inspirational words from several staff members including Henry Boulos, Talener’s VP of East Coast Operations, the group headed over to a local lounge named the Descent to enjoy a night out in Boston. Everyone in Boston has been working hard to help the newest office get off the ground and the company looks forward to great things to come in 2013.
Posted in Talener Blog, Talener Culture
December 17th, 2012
PHP stands for: PHP Hypertext Preprocessor. Yes, the P in PHP stands for PHP. It’s a “recursive” acronym, but this isn’t terribly important to know. More important than what it stands for, is what it actually is. PHP is an open-source, server side scripting language. There are three components to that definition, and it’s important to make sure we have a general understanding of what each of these mean.
First, the development and usage of PHP is open source, as opposed to private and licensed, like Java. This means that the source code for PHP is available to the public, essentially allowing anyone to modify and use it without paying any sort of associated fee. PHP is developed and maintained by The PHP Group, but developers or companies do not need to pay a licensing fee to that organization in order to utilize the language.
Second (and jumping out of order a bit) PHP is a scripting language. A scripting language is similar to any other programming language both syntactically and semantically, insofar as they are generally derived from more robust programming languages. The difference is that a scripting language is used specifically to write scripts (hence the name…), which are automated commands designed to carry out specified tasks that a human would otherwise do manually. This makes a scripting language ideally suited for development on dynamic webpages, which is what PHP is predominantly used for. Scripting languages are run on scripting engines, with the Zend engine being the primary engine for PHP5, which is the most current version of PHP, originally introduced in 2004.
And Finally, PHP is a scripting language that operates on the server side. We speak often of front end languages and back end languages, but in reality the languages themselves operate in the middle of these two “ends”. The distinction comes with which end the language interacts with, so server side and client side, or browser, might be a more appropriate classification. PHP retrieves data from the server on the back end of a system, and then returns that information to the browser, imbedded in HTML code so the browser can interpret and display it.
So this is essentially what PHP is. But when building a new website, a developer is presented with a variety of languages as potential options, many of which could fit the same above definition. So what are the pros and cons of using PHP? The pros of using PHP are that it is considered to be the cheaper alternative. (And it is cheaper, for reasons mentioned earlier.) Its source code is available free of licensing fees, so it is inherently cheaper than, say, Java. But it would be a misconception to assume that using PHP is free. The server on which you actually run the program costs money regardless of the language used, and maintenance fees would still apply. So the cost factor is a plus for PHP, but not a major one. PHP can also be run on any modern server, making it versatile and therefore a valuable language to learn.
By and large, the major pros and cons for using PHP revolve around the same observation: PHP enjoys extremely wide usage, both because it is comparatively simple to learn and there is an abundance of available information to reference online. On the plus side, this means there is a lot of modified code ready to use and available to the public, and it is easy to research solutions to any number of problems. There is a vibrant and active PHP community that attracts developers looking to play an impactful role in something bigger than themselves. On the flip side, this means that there is a lot of bad code available, and a lot of sub-par programmers using the language. There is a stigma that because it is easy to learn, and because there is so much information readily available, the language attracts programmers that aren’t quite as serious or formally trained than programmers of other languages. Also, the negative side of there being so much information available online is that some of the information is unreliable (Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!). Of course this isn’t always the case, but the stigma persists.
A special note should be made regarding security. PHP is generally considered to be less secure than Java. This seems to be a function of the negative stigma associated with PHP developers in general. In reality, there is nothing inherently insecure about the language, but code written clumsily by inexperienced programmers can be very insecure, according to Keith Casey, interviewed by Mashable.
Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog
December 13th, 2012
The most valuable tool in our line of work is information. While we are not able to predict the future, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on recent trends in the market place. I recently read an article from Mashable.com (Check it out here: http://mashable.com/2012/12/06/tech-trends-2013/) about the top 11 trends of 2013. So last Friday I presented the article to my office we came up with ways these trends might affect our business this upcoming year. Here is what we came up with:
1. Second Screen Revolution – Why be entertained with one screen when you can have two? We discussed how it is rare when we are only watching TV and aren’t on our phone/tablet/computer at the same time. I think that we are going to see software engineers in higher demand in the advertising industry. I personally have already seen many advertisers capitalizing on the additional “screen”. We also discussed how gaming companies may also be in a higher need of software engineers. I have seen some commercials about some game systems expanding onto a second screen platform. As we head into 2013 advertising and gaming companies will be some great source material.
2. Big Data – The internet isn’t getting any smaller and neither is the information we can access. This is a trend that we are already seeing in our office. Clients that both teams have been working are asking for candidates that have some type of big data experience, in fact it is so important, we are see quite a few candidates pass between both teams. I bet most of our clients in the upcoming year will have that as a plus if not a must have.
3. And 4. End of Anonymous Trolls/End of Privacy – People are being more open on the internet and the whole idea of personal branding is really taking off. Instead of screen names like “PastPerfect1232” (mine from a LONG time ago) people are posting with handles like LGoldberg. People want to have their voices heard and take ownership of their positions. Maybe that trend is to combat the fact that it’s also becoming harder to remain anonymous, it is amazing the information you can find online. We spoke about how this will make cold calls a little less “cold”. It will be easier to see what our hiring managers and clients are interested in and posting about. New and creative entry points galore!
5. Rise of reporting – This past year a lot of articles have been posted and then had to be retracted due to poor background checks. There was such a push to break the story over the past year, that sometimes it seemed like any lead would get reported. For us that means that the information we are reading about our clients is probably going to be more accurate. That being said, you should still probably double check the source if you can.
6. Death of the Desktop – Well we all knew they already had one foot in the grave. As an office we even discussed how those of us with tablets hardly even use our laptops any more. As an office we talked about how we will probably be seeing a lot of mobile developers in demand.
7. and 8. 3D Printers and Flexible Devices – As an office we didn’t really talk about how it would affect us as a business but more about us personally. How neat would it be to scan and image then have a little plastic figurine of it? Or have a tablet that could bend and stretch? Pretty awesome! But the technology that those devices are use isn’t very relevant to what we work with currently.
Which leads to me my next point…
9. Embedded Software – Sensors are going to be the wave of the future. According to the article they will be everywhere from door knobs to tablets. I know I have recently been running into a lot of embedded software jobs that might just be due to poor sourcing though. Either way it is definitely a shift we are seeing on the market. We talked about how as our offices grow and expands it could be a good idea to open a new team that focuses on embedded software.
10. Crowdfunding Mania – New companies have been entering the market the help other startups get their funding. What this means for us as a company is be wary of startups this next year. These companies will make it easier for other new companies to get the ball rolling, but will it be sustainable? Only time will tell. Hopefully we won’t have to find out the hard way if these crowdfunded companies will be able to sustain their income.
11. Robots – Other than being very cool and potentially useful (like those robot vacuums) we weren’t exactly sure how this could change our business in the future. We will probably be seeing a rise in robotics companies which could also be some great source!
After working in the technology space in Boston for the past 6 months I feel that our office has a pretty solid grasp on the market conditions. A few of these trends I am sure that we could have come up with on our own but it nice to have broader idea of what is going on in the technology space across all boards. Whether you are working in the technology space of not all of these trends do affect us in some ways. Whether it is the latest product, a database of information or just reading the news we use technology every day. Can you think of any other ways that these trends might be affecting you?
Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog