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SpikeSource practicing what it preaches

spike_logo.gifWe recently ran a profile here about Kim Polese, CEO of the open source start-up SpikeSource. (It's also here). In researching our story, we were struck by tussle she had with the media, being called everything from the "It Girl" by Time Magazine to the "Beauty of Hype," by Fortune (a piece that enraged local female entrepreneurs). She's back, though, and determined to move beyond that all.

Investor Ray Lane summed it up for us: "I think I'm a really, really good-looking guy, I stay in shape," Lane said. "Yet the press doesn't say anything about me being good-looking. I just don't get it."

Also, here's the accompanying Q&A, which is a longer version than the one in the newspaper -- although still an edited transcript, and some bio info, and things to know about her.

As usual, there was noteworthy stuff we couldn't fit into the print edition. One is the policy at SpikeSource to use only open source software for its own business, something Polese said she is proud of. Below we list the stack SpikeSource is using:

They run their whole website using OSS. Features include:
- discussion forums - PhpBB
- trouble tickets - OTRS
- Naming directory - Open LDAP
- Web Server - Apache
- Servlet container - Tomcat
- Database - MySQL
- Search - Nutch

They use OSS on intranet. Here is the list:
- MoinMoin wiki for capturing processes, policies, feature requirements, evolving design etc.
- Bugzilla for bug tracking
- Subversion for source code versioning
- Intranet Portal - JetSpeed
- Web email client - SquirrelMail
- Naming Directory - OpenLDAP
- email server - Courier-IMAP

- Operating System and desktop - RHAT, SuSE
- email client - Ximian Evolution
- desktop productivity tools - Open Office
- Browser - Mozilla, FireFox
- Source code editor - Eclipse

Customer relations:
- SugarCRM


Given the very significant problems that a couple of the largest MySQL sites recently had during power failures (e.g. Livejournal), why aren't they going with a database capable of write-ahead logging, such as PostgreSQL?

MySQL maintenance knowledge is much more widespread and easy to come by, but still: If SpikeSource wants to be seen as providing robust reliability, then why aren't they using a database with write-ahead logging?

Anonymous Techie on March 15, 2005 10:30 PM
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Puh-leeze! Spare us the stories about Kim Polese. She was THE cover girl during the whole dot com era. And when I say THE, I mean ONLY. Where were stories about less attractive women who were building companies -- oh, let's say Meg Whitman? Go back to your story file and see the percentage of stories on Kim Polese in 1999 versus Whitman. Or any other women building companies in the Valley.

One of the reasons women get such a small percent of venture capital funding -- though certainly not the main reason -- is that the media concentrates its energies on a few photogenic women (usually with hired PR agents), but these women often head relatively meaningless companies (as was Marimba). Meanwhile women who don't spend as many hours a week at the gym or dance studio as does Kim are number 1, 2, or 3 at companies really building value.

Why not dig around for the women who are also building companies who aren't as pretty as Polese, but might be smarter or at least building companies with as much if not more impact?

There's a huge group of women entrepreneurs in the Valley -- check fwe.org -- and during the late 1990's we all had more than our fill of Kim Polese. Please spare us another round.

Anna on March 20, 2005 1:22 PM
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Responding to the comment on SpikeSource supporting PostgreSQL:
First, thanks for your interest in SpikeSource. We are currently in the process of certifying PostgreSQL and will likely include it in the next release of SpikeSource Core Stack. We will continue to support MySQL as well. We will also make the performance/scalability test results information for each of these components, available, so that users have information to decide on which component best suits their application needs. There is no "one size fits all" type of solution. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to post it on our discussion forums on website www.spikesource.com. We welcome any feedback.

Sastry Malladi on April 1, 2005 5:21 PM
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[OffTopic] Anna, I think you may have missed the point. The harsh reality is that we are working in a male dominated industry. I too am a female working their way up the corporate ladder, and I face sexism and prejudice at every rung. Is it wrong? You bet, which is why we need our champions and our hero's that can prove that this is not a single-sex industry.

Of course there many unsung hero's like ourselves Anna, but if that's the price we have to pay to tip the balance then more power to the Kim's and Carly's of the world.

Megan on April 1, 2005 6:05 PM
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