Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This is a terrific opportunity to reflect over the past for all of us. As I review the past two years, I think about how I came to Digium. Internal debates at 3Com about Asterisk, open source, 3Com's voice products (NBX, VCX, and their own SIP phones) and how we might be better positioned in the future. A team of three people in the convergence business unit did some heavy lifting and voila - "hell day" presentation on 3Com and how Asterisk might be well suited for the future voice business. Then new management changes at 3Com led to my leaving along with some other key folks and in a matter of weeks meeting Mark Spencer, David Skok (the Matrix Partners investor), the rest of Digium's small team, and the rest as they say is history. Today, I give thanks for the sequence of events that brought me here.

I am challenged daily by the balance of open source vs. commercial business. A growing company, a young founder and his friends, a more traditional planning process and budgeting process, and a continued balance of "free" vs. "commercial" across products. This makes the career move here much more interesting!

Check out our free small business Switchvox at or; check our free Asterisk - pure code for geeks at and for the slightly less technically inclined, a distribution at (release 1.0 replacing beta 6 very soon).

Here is the type of thing we work with daily:
if that link fails, try this:

You tell me how you balance this with traditional strategic and operations planning as well as integration of two acquisitions. Yes, this is quite a period of life that I give thanks for today.

Moving to one last thing I'd like to mention that crosses my mind every Thanksgiving: High School Football. I will watch Pro football today as substitute for my younger days when I attended Needham High School in MA. The rivalry with Wellesley (yes, same town that Hillary attended college) has a history - the oldest in the nation for public schools. In checking out I found this today which made me smile. Check this out:

Reading this reminded me of the spirited rallys and pranks the week before this football game back in the 60's. I think my class was ahead of its time. Anyway, I give thanks today for many things but in this blog today wanted to share Digium and Needham stories. I am sure you have yours!

Happy Thanksgiving to all and enjoy your day!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

BAD Asterisk FUD

I had the benefit of getting some market feedback today re: Shoretel spreading FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) about some competitors but also Asterisk. In spite of their recent successes, it shows how ignorant some of their sales folks can be and obviously do not research Digium or Asterisk. We all do what we can to delay competitive threats in an account, but some do it with class some do it with FUD. Here is where they are so far off, it shows they are not concerned about open source Asterisk. Now we know they are targeting the big boys and that's good they are taking their eyes off the ball!

Shoretel: Asterisk Appliance.......

........."thousands of other small partners with little investment are trying to undercut you"

Response: Good for end users; low cost and as resellers package complete systems and services they will win the deal and make good margins and the customer will spend far less for the solution! Competition is good for buyers!

Shoretel: Asterisk Upgrades

.........."How does a customer who is sold an asterisk system upgrade if they want to grow?"

Response: Asterisk is SIP but also supports TDM-SIP and IAX (Inter Asterisk Exchange) allowing the customer to keep their phones and can easily connect to other SIP locations. How many Pizza places, Dentists, bagel shops, bakeries, real estate agencies etc need less than 50 phones? Simple upgrades - it's free for open source and the recent Switchvox Free Edition which can easily be upgraded with a SINGLE CLICK!

Shoretel: What happens if IBM, HP or Dell decide to sell asterisk (good for their servers and support business)What happens to your partners when IBM competes for the deals? Who knows, maybe we will see sooner rather than later?

Response: Shoretel might be afraid of competition, but the end user welcomes it as part of a healthy marketplace.

Shoretel: How baked is the solution? Open Source is still evolving How many features do you get?

Response: Asterisk comes from Digium, the world leader and inventor of Asterisk, and the benevolent owner of the Asterisk project (open source software are called projects). There are thousands of daily downloads of Asterisk software. Thousands of community members write, test and fix features daily. Imagine Shoretel identifying all the bugs found globally? Right. But open source users have eyes into every bug and every fix. However, the features are rich and continue to get richer. Asterisk is also the most interoperable IP PBX on the planet since it's the most ubiquitious.

Don't believe it? try it:
IP PBX: or (no technical knowledge needed)
Asterisk IP Telephony Platform: (little technical knowledge) or (highly technical knowledge required)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Digium Asterisk World

Its been a while since I posted here. I've been busy on Digium's corporate blog. Today, Malcolm responded to a TMC blog about Sangoma vs. Digium. Sangoma also hired our old PR firm. That is telling. We terminated them because they could no longer "cut it" with Digium but our board level competitors felt they could help them. Good for both.

So last week was Digium Asterisk World (DAW) at VON. It was incredibly successful! There were minor issues with content in the conference track, but we will fix that for Spring DAW in San Jose in March 2008. Partners and exhibitors seemed happy they took a booth there as traffic was best in years!

I was invited to join the VON Advisory Council which is a diverse group of people who all are trying to reinvent Pulver's VON for the masses and IP Communications! Stay tuned for more.

Digium is planning on some new campaigns for 2008. With Switchvox, 3Com as a partner, and NTT as a partner watch for some exciting new programs! We have some aggressive plans to proliferate open source Asterisk telephony in the mainstream. Follow and you will stay abreast of our efforts. Tell us how you like the new web site.

..the undisputable LEADER in Open Source Telephony....Digium, The Asterisk Company