Notes by Tim Sutton

Here are the notes from the day Steve Anderson from Viathan spoke.


Look for a market discontinuity to exploit. In the case of Viathan, what is the market discontinuity being exploited?

- internet - the number of users (a huge number of users)

- type of data on the internet.

Is this a big idea?

- there are many companies that could use the storage needs

Questions from the Audience:

- is this optimized for Reading or Writing - Steve: definitely optimized for writing.

- what kind of traffic will be on the fortune 1000 business sites?

Is the problem well defined? - Yes, many sites spend significant portions of their resources on building scale

Are People already doing this? Yes, but not in exactly the same way with the same architecture

What stops competitors from doing this? Nothing, really. Therefore, speed is the key critical success factor.

Where does their revenue come from? Site license fees, ASP hosting and Direct sales.


Issues with scale are HUGE. A site may have 1,000,000 users and grow to 4,000,000 users. In some cases (hotmail), there are 14,000,000 users and growing.

Personalization (which requires significant data) is the key to stickiness.

Most web sites have a three tier architecture (web servers, application layer and data layer) where they spend 60-70% of their time managing for scale.

With their product, they insert a level between the application layer (with an easy API) and the data layer that makes the data layer highly scalable. They also include export and backup functionality and redundant storage on relatively low cost NT boxes.

Scale is the major part of their value proposition.


It is very hard to find good developers. This product can save developer time therefore it is highly valuable to customers (they believe).

Madrona was not initially blown away by the team. They had a solid plan and did a good job of defining where they were going and why they were right. They (Steven and Chris) had a spark, a passion -- the intangibles are very important.

They liked the distribution through VAR and Consulting Group channels - almost a "check the box" type of relationship.

Over all, the jury is still out on the company, but Madrona believes they are well positioned to succeed.