Simula Tries Plan C, Or Is It D?

Many companies go through several models before hitting success. Reporters need to allow for this.

One of the great things about the Internet is that it lets you track companies as they change, so you're not dependent on what some PR person tells you.

Take the case of Simula Labs.

Simula sent out a press release today positioning themselves as consultants to large enterprises seeking innovation from the open source model.

But Winston Damarillo (below, you may recognize him from Gluecodefounded Simula in early 2005 as an open source venture capital firm. Last fall Dr. Dobb's reported Simula was launching an open source marketplace. Recently Nat Tolkington called Simula's CoRE network "a clone of Spikesource."

The current version of the Web site says Simula is "Delivering Open Source Product and Process Innovation to Today's Enterprise IT," whatever that means.

Please don't take any of this as criticism. It's not. Many companies go through several models before hitting success. Reporters need to allow for this. All of which leads to a story, illustrated by the picture above and to the left.

The first software manual I wrote, back in 1984, was for a home shopping outfit called The Promise, which bombed so completely it was dead before its press launch was over. The founders went back, looked at what they had made, found they had a nifty EDI engine, and relaunched as Harbinger EDI.

When the company was finally sold in 2000, the merger was valued at $2.1 billion. The founder went directly into a new start-up. That's him at the top. The lesson is that Simula still has a fair chance of success, and should keep at it.

Yet I wonder how well Harbinger would have done had its every failure been trumpeted online, and immediately available to rascals such as you and I?


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