Don Dees IT and Business Strategy School

Good morning, class.
Good morning, class. Class? Class!?
SHUT UP!!!!!
Thank you.

As you know your regular teacher Father Dick Carrión is on a small vacation. However he does send his love, at least fingerpaintings, and dust clothes he`s making. I am your substitute teacher, Sister Mary Elephant.

Class, attention. Attention, class! Class? SHUT UP!!!!!
Thank you.

Who knew, right? Who knew when I called bullshit, so many people were listening. A couple of days ago I commented upon a recent announcement by Banco Popular and got in return, my most poplar post. For everyone who has participated, thanks.

After the suffering the slings and arrows my post caused, I can't help but respond to some of the comments made. First let me clear up a few misconceptions:

  • Several of you misunderstood the point I was making when I used a three person team to illustrate how an accounting department could over-inflate the "rates" for an employees. As I mentioned in one of my responses it certainly sounded as if I were debating something with senior management, because clearly those of you who made this comment did not read carefully, a notoriously bad habit of senior executives. I clearly state that based on my calculations, if would take a team of 15 people to rack-up personnel costs of $2M. Of course some of you mentioned that legal was involved, and that certainly explains a lot. Anything involving lawyers always takes 10 times as long. Want to know how I came up with that number? Well someone show me first where BPPR came up with theirs.
  • Ok I cede your point that the sarcastic estimates I used of the number of forms was kind of a joke, so the app had more forms. Big deal, any development shop worth it's salt would create an initial template for a form and then essentially re-use that template for n+ number of forms. The first form takes the most time and then they decrease in time required with each completed.

    Obviously there is no way I could know how many forms were involved, I choose to give my business to another bank, because I refuse to support the unhealthy monopoly that BPPR enjoys. So I've never seen, nor will never see this new masterpiece of Internet development. But why don't you tell us how many? Then we'll know.
  • And while we are on misconceptions, I appreciate your comparison of DondeEs.com to, how was that? Oh yeah, "it's the second coming of Jesus Christ when it comes to Web 2.0 in Puerto Rico." You're much too kind to compare us to Jesus Christ, but we're not the Beatles, thank you very much.

    But I ask you then. If we are NOT the leading Web 2.0 company in Puerto Rico, who is? ....coqui, coqui... What web site includes more aspects of Web2.0 then ours? Here's what I claim makes us Web2.0: 1. Consumption of multiple web services integrated into one application. (the Internet is the new application development environment, don;t you know?). 2. Inclusion of user generated content (events, ability to map locations, reviews). 3. Integration of data within other web properties (Facebook). 4. Production of a relevant business blog from the company). Oh yeah, in case you're confused about what Web2.0 definition is, here is Tim O'Reilly's post on Web2.0. Oh did I mention to you that I've met Tim, Nat, Alison, Chromatic, Steve Mallet, Doc Searls, Michelle Baker, shall I go on? But I digress...)
  • Before I forget, I want to thank whoever said that this smells like a first year Comp. Sci student. I know I be 'chillin' and all that, but no, that's not the case. But I am flattered to know you think I sound young. You want to know what I smell, besides your smoldering egos? I smell a lot of mid-level programmers, stuck within their own little geeky worlds who really haven't challenged themselves to learn what business is always about (profit and pleasing shareholders) or what marketing and public relations is really about (spin).

    Let us count the number of Facebook applications BPPR has produced? Counting this new enterprise application, that makes 0. Funny how a couple of guys can out innovate a company that can afford to invest $2 million in 1997 technology. Oh yeah and I like that whole glass house thing. Especially coming from a company which has most of their code base in Cobol and Java. I'd say you really shouldn't be talking about using cutting edge technology. In addition, if using the Google API is so simple why doesn't the BPPR corporate site use it? Microsoft MapPoint, teehee, really?
Don Dees IT and Business Strategy School

All righty then, let's start class. As I mentioned in one of my responses, I didn't really want to play the IT, Software Development, Business Strategy card, but
  1. Why did the public relations department put in the $2 Million amount in the article (press release)?

    As a contrast, here is what one of your competitors, Citibank, released just yesterday. If you had left out the figure, think of the fun we'd be missing now, because I wouldn't have said boo.

    I'll tell you why the number was included, because senior management thought it sounded impressive. (I agree Luis, saw your post after I wrtoe this) For 99.9% of the people reading the paper, it was like ohh, ahh, Banco Popular is awesome. It was driven by vanity, just like when the majority of people on the island care about the brand of car they drive because it means we are supposed to think they they are more important because they drive an x. This number was used to make the company feel good about itself. "Our customers should feel better because we are spending money on them." How about not announcing stupid shit like having to increase your ATM rates because the 'ATH brand' is in jeopardy.

  2. The $2 Million application is the best use of the money? Is BPPR in the banking business or the software business?

    There are at least a couple of ways to dissect this issue. First of all before I forget, kudos to everyone involved, I know it was a lot of hard work and now you're defending that effort. You should! You had a job to do and you did it well and now it's almost finished. Seriously, as having been on many development projects, there is nothing like launch day. But let's take a step back, before the decision came down to invest in a new system. First, was there any way BPPR could have gotten the same result for less? The uncomfortable answer is yes, they could have outsourced to developers in India. You cry foul right? But isn't that what the executive leadership of the company needs to answer? Believe me, having studied the issue it is extremely sensitve, but as was mentioned many times in the comments. This is a free market society driven by capitalism. Tell me how paying $2 million for something you could have gotten for much less is in the interest of shareholders and profitability, because that my friends is the name of the game. Put your jingo-ism aside, this is about making money not keeping employees happy. Ask any CEO and he'll say they are both important, but they won't get canned if ex-emplyees are unhappy, they will if shareholders are unhappy.

    What is BPPR's core business? Banking or software development? Since, and I really don't mean to offend, I'm merely observing, the best programmers in the word reside elsewhere wouldn't you, if you were in the banking business wouldn't you want them working for you? If you then factor in they can cost up to 80% less to complete the same tasks, the logic behind developing in house becomes muddy VERY quickly. Does it suck for those affected? Yes! Can it be the right business choice? Most probably, results vary.

  3. Then there is the question, what was the money used for? An excellent question, wait a minute, let me check the ENDI.com article to see what it said about the figure. I quote: "A partir del 21 agusot, los usuarios de banca por internet de Banco Popular realizarán sus transacciones en linea a tráves de una nueva y rediseñada páagina web, realizada a un cost de $2millones..." So let's agree that there was not enough detail for me to gauge my guess. So I chose to focus on what it takes to build a redesigned web page, typically development.

    There were many comments about servers, maintenance, support, blah blah blah. I'm sorry, are you saying that this new app is so demanding that Evertec had to build a whole new control center? (BTW, including that other vanity addition to the control room, that little lead crystal windows that can be opaqued and then ta-daa look how awesome we are(. Build a whole new server room? Acquire 50 T-1's? Hire more techs to babysit the app. No, BULLSHIT, no! Come on. I've been there. As the article says, BPPR has been offering online banking for 8 years. Did they fire everyone associated with the old app and trash all of the existing back-end? Pleeeeaaaase!

    Let's take a minute to talk about the cost of hardware and software development. I'm going to use two examples to prove my basic point, the cost to develop (and support) applications has been trending down for a long time. In a 2004 Wired Magazine article Bill Gates was quoted as saying:
    "Ten years out, in terms of actual hardware costs you can almost think of hardware as being free -- I'm not saying it will be absolutely free -- but in terms of the power of the servers, the power of the network will not be a limiting factor."
    Sure you think little of Bill Gates, but let's compare his net worth to yours. Yeah, that's what I thought so. Let's also consider what Joe Kraus pointed out back in 2005, "It's a great time to be an entrepreneur". Joe was the founder of Excite, JotSpot, and DigitalConsumer.org, so I think he knows how to deliver on technology. All I'm trying to say about the hardware is, relative to what it used to cost and to manpower, it's dirt cheap.

  4. Starting from scratch and Standard n-tier application development

    Several of the comments left claim the new web page was redesigned from scratch. First, the article DOES NOT say that, and even if it did I would again say BULLSHIT. Seriously, what is the business logic of starting from scratch? I'm so sure that 1) none of the back-end cobol systems were touched. You don't risk fucking up your core business for a minority of your customers. If BPPR owns 60% of banking business, and there only 1.3 million Internet users, divide that by half for families instead of individuals, and you get around 380K accounts. If BPPR has more than 2 million accounts, you're telling me that senior management is willing to risk it for less than 20% of it's customers?

    Since we both know that your using a lot of Java to back-end this new web application, that means you are most definitely using many of the readily available libraries, frameworks, etc for Java to support the middle end of this system. Of course we both know it doesn't hit the big-iron directly. So you're saying that you decided to build all of that "in-house" instead of using the enterprise-level software available to do application development in Java? Or that middle-ware that already existed to support the existing application?

    Seriously, you can try to feed that to the general public, but I know it's BULLSHIT. In fact, to support my previous point, it is the easy access to such enterprise level Java software that 1) made Java the choice of many shops, and 2) significantly reduces the cost and time to program n-tier applications in Java.

    Finally, another of the hallmarks of a "world-class" software development shop is code re-use. So either the previous code-base sucked so badly it had to be scrapped or your code management repository is non existent, so you were not able to re-use the complex "insert transaction" code used in the previous Internet app. Neither possibility bodes well for any of the claims made.

  5. There are several comments applauding this investment as a shining example of innovation for the world to behold.

    Really? Really, really? There are hundreds of banks that offer this service (yes, none in PR). Specifically what is the innovation? Internet banking has been around, like we all agree for 10 years. A newly re-designed web page is not innovation. I've gone to some effort to defend my comments with facts, personal knowledge of how this works. Of course I couldn't initially put more than 2,000 words to make my point, this is the web, no one would read it. Stuff was left out to make the post short, concise, and focus on my point, not the supporting evidence. I would appreciate that within any responses to this, which I openly invite, provide facts, not generalities and innuendos. So I ask, what exactly is the "world-class" innovation that this new work demonstrates?

  6. So BPPR is too good to consider building a Facebook application?

    I think this is indicative of one thing. A lack of understanding of Internet Marketing, circa 2008, and there for the Internet. Or were you unaware of the "EL BANCO POPULAR NOS ESTA CLAVANDO" group on Facebook? There is a serious discussion there happening and BPPR HAS to be involved, if as many of the comments indicate they are sooo concerned about their customers. Over 440K Puerto Ricans are using Facebook, that's almost half of all Puerto Rico Internet Users. I think every company that wants to engage it's Puerto Rican customers needs to go where they are, and not demand they come to you. That's what monoploies do.

  7. Finally, as to what is holding back the Internet, and whether it is behind 10 years or not.

    First, check out this post, where I tell you what is holding the Internet back, and I totally agree that Flash sucks and contributes to the problem. And is the Internet really 10 years behind, now in this case I have to speak in generalities, we are talking the entire market here (aggregated as a whole), you can check this post and this post.

    Once again, I'll be the first to claim that BPPR and Evertec are the vanguard of technology on the island, however, I would not concur that that makes BPPR qualified to talk about the Internet industry or the IT industry in Puerto Rico. When we still have major companies running their business on FoxPro and MS-DOS, as was a company I was introduced to back in 2004, then as a whole, don't tell me we lag significantly behind. Puerto Rico is notoroisly late technology adopters. Check Geoffrey More's 'Crossing the Chasm' for more proof. Again if we are not 10 years behind are you claiming that we are on par? Wait for it, one last time, BULLSHIT.

    I'll tell you what! I challenge anyone, well besides my good friend PJ Cabrera, to a debate to see who knows more about the Internet industry in Puerto Rico. And to convince me that we are not significantly behind in Internet technology and the reasons why.
That concludes today's lecture. The professor will be in his office if you have any questions.

Flickr Creative Commons Contributor: Foxtongue

18 comments:

Gil C. Schmidt

14 de agosto de 2008, 12:33
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dijo...

Mr. Professor, sir? Well done! I will not debate you on the Internet issue, seeing as how I'm merely a Jenius, but it warms My heart to see your expertise validate My inchoate thoughts.

Now, uh, about My grade on the last test...

Reynaldo E.

14 de agosto de 2008, 16:13
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dijo...

Wow... I was sent a link to the previous article yesterday and was anxiously waiting for the schooling MC was about to unleash upon the Poppyheads. I thought the commenters from the other article were right, but that somehow I was missing something and I would see the light today. I was confident MC would give us something to wave in front of the Poppyheads and be able to say "Aha! Gotcha! Now what you gonna say!".

As a third party observer to this whole debacle, I have to admit... I am dissapointed. Guess I'll have to disagree with you Mr. MC. All you've done with today's post is discredit yourself. I also work in the IT industry, am a PE and have been in the local industry for 8 years. It is my professional opinion that all you have shown us today is your total lack of understanding of the real world of business and IT.

I am looking forward to all the responses that will surely come in today as a result of your latest article. Hopefully you will be able to prove me wrong, however my expectations have been shattered already.

G' day mate.

Rafi Torres

14 de agosto de 2008, 16:21
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dijo...

I read the previous article/discussion and this one, and most of it seems centered around the notion that BPPR paid too much for the in-house development of the application when they could have gotten a preexisting solution for much less. But what if that's not the case? What if preexisting solutions are more expensive? (I think someone mentioned that this was the case)

I honestly don't know much about the volume of IT spending in financial institutions, but I do know a little about it in the telecommunications sector. Big telco's in Puerto Rico won't think twice about investing literally millions of dollars in operations support stuff like billing and provisioning systems, let alone core business systems like central office switches (which, interestingly, are all software these days). Take, for example, the implementation of PRT's Ushacomm billing in 2000; from what I've heard this was way more than $2 million, and this was just the billing system (also heard it never worked that well).

I've evaluated operations support software like this for years at the company I work for (a very, very small enterprise phone company in PR) and a lot of times I've had to pick my jaw off the floor when we request a ballpark figure and the answer we get is something like "for your volume we're talking about $1 million minimum plus a 10% annual support contract". Heck, we even recently bought a Cisco core router that cost more than $100k. One router. When they told me the price I thought "this damn box is worth almost as much as my house mortgage!". I didn't steal it, though (ha ha!).

Here's a quick experiment I did: I thought I'd investigate how much a bank pays for a prebuilt Internet banking solution. First I went to my bank's (Doral Bank) portal login page and found out that the product they're using is Information technology Inc (Fiserv), most likely the Premier Core product described here. From what I gather, Fiserv is one of the most recognized providers for this type of software.

I then tried to find out how much a product like this typically costs. Of course none of their customers divulge this information, and every contract will be very, very different, but I did find some hints. Check out this one, for example. Here's a 650k-customer bank that paid a "multimillion" 3yr service contract with Fiserv for their Core system. Note that this is only a service contract, not the product itself (service contracts are typically 10-20% of the price of the product). I bet if a bank like BPPR (which I believe has more that 650k customers) were to implement a software product like this, it would be very well within the "multimillion dollar" range.

All this is why a $2 million price tag really doesn't seem like much to me (and, I suspect, to the people that said the same). When you get into the large enterprise software market you quickly learn to adjust (through sticker shock after sticker shock) your notion of what "expensive" and "cheap" is.

Great discussion.

MC Don Dees

14 de agosto de 2008, 16:52
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dijo...

Reynaldo,

Thanks for the comment, however in order for us to get any where in the discussion, you're going to have to back up your opinion as I have done.

What facts and proof can you provide that: "...all you have shown us today is your total lack of understanding of the real world of business and IT?" Demonstrate to me through links and facts that your opinion is defendable.

MC Don Dees

14 de agosto de 2008, 16:59
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dijo...

rafi:

Great comment. Thank you for providing some facts to back up your opinion. I appreciate the effort. Actually to confess, I hadn't even considered buying a solution. So I have to admit, you're right.

But one thing is leasing software and another is building it yourself, which is always the classic dilemma any company faces. However, one of the reasons you build it yourself is because it should be significantly "cheaper." Isn't it?

But wouldn't you agree if you were going to build it yourself, you could get it down probably faster and cheaper outsourcing it?

Gabriel

14 de agosto de 2008, 17:26
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dijo...

Let me throw something out something for you guys.
I have two clients who are implementing large scale core business systems solutions. Both using "preexisting packages". The level of customization required is astounding.I am not talking about just reports or putting in logos. There's workflow stuff and compliance and a whole host of other things. Implementing software like SAP and Trizetto is as hard as building it from scratch. What you gain is (in theory) access to knowledgeable consultants. And you gain some level of accountability.
I don't get why people get offended by the columns and respond with such hostility. Its not like MC is pissing on Muñoz Marin's grave or something. I am also not that impressed by the anonymous comments. Lack of bawls?

Anónimo

14 de agosto de 2008, 18:42
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dijo...

Lo unico de estos blogs que veo es que el autor le esta haciendo la publicidad de gratis a BPPR y Evertec con su nuevo site. El banco te estara agradecido por crear la curiosidad en las personas de ver como es el nuevo site de 2 millones que tanto hablan jajaja...

Luis Benitez

14 de agosto de 2008, 19:20
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dijo...

Rafi,

I can guarantee you that existing solutions are more expensive!! That's why I proposed getting together with Mc who can build something in 1-2 months. Banks would be all over this, and we could be rich! :). And you are right too, $2 million is not that much.. that's what I said in a comment to the first entry. Love GuerrillaPop!

Mc,

now you've opened a whole new can of worms: outsourcing vs developing here! ... First, I'm really against outsourcing, especially outsourcing from Puerto Rico... I would rather inject $2 million into the PR economy than $1 million in the Indian economy (just to throw out numbers).

Additionally, while outsourcing may work for some things (call centers???), I haven't seen it done successfully when it comes to software development. Before my current role at my company, I used to be a consultant working with big enterprises as they tried to outsource software development to India. What they found out was that the savings were minimal, if any! Why?

Well, it turns out that these outsourcing companies require a lot of management. They literally ask companies to write the pseudo-code for them, then they'll write the actual code. When I first heard this, I was like WTF ?? If I'm giving you pseudo-code with the whole system designed and architected, I might as well write the darn code!!!

Oh and it gets better.. when you outsource software development, you are expected to do the testing, end-to-end! And this happened time after time. That's why you probably don't hear the word outsource anymore (at least I don't.. maybe it's an industry thing).

Just my 2 cents... Anyway, sounds like you now have material for another schooling! :)

Mauricio Pujals

14 de agosto de 2008, 20:11
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dijo...

Luis tiene razon en cuanto al outsourcing hacia la India. Ellos literalmente necesitan que le entregues pseudo-codigo de todo lo que les pides. Lo unico que hacen es traducir el pseudo-codigo a la linea de codigo final, compilarlo, y comoquiera te toca a ti hacer las pruebas, y volver a modificar el pseudo-codigo porque el programador en India, que solo lleva 3 meses en la compania, lo siguio al pie de la letra y no puede identificar errores de logica (que se podrian resolver con un e-mail, pero no, estas situaciones surgen durante las pruebas luego del delivery del software).

Esto es asi con todas las companias grandes utilizadas por los americanos. Por eso es que el outsourcing de codigo permanece siendo un sueno dorado en las mentes de la alta gerencia, pero es la maldicion del ingeniero a cargo del proyecto.

Lo barato sale caro! Aunque el outsourcing te habrá costado 25,000, eso no incluye los 6 meses de re-codificar el software inhouse comoquiera. Inicialmente lo pudiste haber hecho en 2 meses y costarte talvez 35,000.

De hecho... ahora que mencionan por que BPPR no hizo outsourcing... yo pensaba que BPPR era solo un banco y hacian outsourcing del codigo con Evertec.

Anónimo

14 de agosto de 2008, 20:57
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dijo...

Wow, conociste a Tim O'Reilly...te puedo besar los pies? Y si yo conoci a Rossello, que me hace eso, Dios?

Corporate America

15 de agosto de 2008, 00:43
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dijo...

First of all I have no vested interest in this matter and therefore have no interest in debating technical specifics as to what is better, or more efficient, or any of that crap when it comes to something that is comparing Apples to Oranges and therefore completely useless. I came across this blog while visiting my family in Puerto Rico and a close friend of mine told me about it.

I'll leave the specifics of my company out and I'll also spare you most of the details, after all, business is business so don't ever expect for an enterprise to lay out the numbers for you unless you are at the other end of the bargaining table, and besides as I said before, I'm not interested in debating the technical costs, etc. I'll just stick to what actually amazes me about your posts. So here are my 2 million (2 cents is pocket change) of what I see while working closely with my boss (CTO) in a Fortune 100 company that has over 17 million customers handling extremely sensitive information.

Forgive me for being frank at times, but it's just something I picked up while buying companies (including start-ups) for a competitive advantage and developing most of our software even though we are not a technology nor a software company, and no, my name isn't Frank. Don't worry, your line of business is irrelevant to our company and I won't make you and offer, but don't get me wrong, I applaud you for efforts and sacrifices. I love small businesses. Many fail to see that as small businesses go, so goes the economy. My company even started out many years ago as a small business provided through a mail catalog (way before your time).

No, it's not a bank, and I'll be damned if someone tells me what our mainframes, blade servers, switches (which someone has already mentioned) and processing centers cost, etc. Not to mention the building floor with miles of cables and wiring and another entire floor dedicated to cooling the entire center. Also multiply this by 2 to include our offsite disaster recovery center. We have an annual budget of $2-5 million alone just for technology related expenses, and this doesn't include our development. Trust me, those millions can be drained quickly. Just a few years back we spent tens of millions migrating and re-writing all legacy software we have from cobol to objective cobol, C++, you name it. Financial institutions easily spend that type of money as well due to their line of business and management of such sensitive information.

Don't get me started on the languages we use, etc. As a software developer, when a client asks for something specific, you do whatever is necessary to fulfill your client's needs, and I would be very shocked if Evertec, Inc. didn't take the necessary steps to fulfill BPPR's needs.

By the way, I'm sure you've never been near inside my processing centers or even Evertec's processing center(s), so you'd have no idea of everything that takes place behind the scenes every time you use your ATM or credit card. Just as I've never been to your business to see how you work behind the scenes. Therefore I'd never comment and lie about knowing someone else's business, accounting, and development costs and practices. Serious companies refrain from doing so anyways as a level of respect (and to avoid legal disputes). Also, you never know when your enemy can be your friend down the road. Just like resigning from a job. You leave on good terms because you just never know. It's just common sense.

Another thing. I need a little bit of clarification first. I honestly don't know if you are aware of what the new BPPR application is referring to since you keep mentioning forms and you link to Citibank's announcement of their website. The announcement talks about loan comparisons, tools, financial education, and a branch locator. From what I see, BPPR already has a site like that, a corporate site, and that hasn't changed in a while and seems simple enough. I should know, my parents actually have an account there (not to mention with 3 other banks as well). But that's not what cost $2 million. It's the online banking system they have changed and I'm actually anxious to see what they have in store.

Their online banking system is already incredible, if not the best, in the entire Caribbean, so therefore that already proves that, contrary to what you think, that Puerto Rico can compete extremely well in the era of e-enterprise, and as a fellow native Puertorrican from Santurce, I am proud of the fact that BPPR/Evertec's main resources are local talented developers. How do I know this? Already a couple of their managers have said so. Why do I believe them? Managers/executives that lie about their business are sniffed out easily, and that would instantly scare many business partners away. Share holders would not be pleased.

You don't like how they do business? Welcome to globalization and the expansion of world markets, and don't think that you should make a distinction between Puerto Rico and the rest of the world as you alluded to in another post. Business is done the same way with costs and everything, all over the world. You don't like capitalist points of view? Try doing business in China. And until you actually have a multi-year partnership in China and/or in India, I suggest you lay off the notion that they are cheap when it comes to dealing with them. They'll milk you for your money just as much as anyone else in the world.

I find it quite odd and hypocritical, with you being who you are with the knowledge you have, that you make the ridiculous assumption
(and I say ridiculous because with your knowledge you too should be able to put 2 and 2 together and know there is more to it) that those $2 million were wasted on a few forms and building a website. There's no need for the nitty gritty info. It's a regular newspaper for the general public and not a technical review. It served it's purpose. Otherwise how was it able to stir such emotions upon you?

Ultimately you probably won't care what I have to say, but you probably should because since you claim to know so much about business strategy then I'm sure that you know that public perception means everything to one's business. Otherwise why the hell spend millions on public relations with advertising, charitable donations, scholarships, and political correctness. I'll comment a little more about perceptions in my second and final post

Corporate America

15 de agosto de 2008, 00:44
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dijo...

And here my continuation post...

Another thing that amazes me. How is it that you being in the technology business, or any business for that matter, refuse to believe that a financial institution or any other business scrap their legacy applications and/or renovate/re-write/whatever their infrastructure? I thought you said you took risks? Big businesses take huge risks. They invest millions of dollars, at a loss, just looking at the long run. Examples? Microsoft with their x-box, Sony with their playstation, Ford/GMC/etc cutting rates at a huge loss for years to come just gain market share. Even the semi-conductor business is usually for a huge loss. They usually make it up offering something else. It's all up to their strategy. Just as you, nor I have no idea about BPPR's/Evertec's strategy, nor do I know, nor do they know your strategy, I'm pretty sure there is a good strategy behind it all. Otherwise shareholders will have their heads. All businesses are here to make money, and many times you have to restructure and take risks to pull it off. Heck, HP took a very huge risk acquiring Compaq! Look at the criticism they got, whether it was good or not is not the point. You should know this.

Web 2.0 you say? ..Facebook application? I'm sorry, but when business people go into their bank accounts online, they expect to see and do one thing in particular; and that is to see and manage their money as accurately and efficiently possible. They also want to make sure that their money is as secure as possible. I bet that no financial institution is interested in creating a facebook app since it serves no purpose to their line of business nor does it serve their clients' needs.

You were very quick to comment and dismiss other's work as useless junk without even contemplating what was at stake. Therefore you obviously struck a nerve with quite a few people. It seems as if your writing really had only one objective: push your ideological agenda and views and at the same time be very outright disrespectful with your words (saying it's bull**** and stating that Banco Popular programmers suck anyway). After saying comments like these, I am not surprised (as you shouldn't be either) by the backlash. Afterwards you continue to add insult to injury by saying they hide behind the security of a desk while you took great risks with your ideas. Once again I applaud you for your risk taking, but maybe you should have thought about those employee's sacrifices to get where they are before insulting them in the first place. You aren't the only one to risk everything, so don't think that you are that special. As the founder of your own company, you have one luxury (depending upon the circumstances of course), and that is if you make a mistake, no one will fire you. On the contrary, if you have any employees beneath you, they'll be the first to ask Uncle Sam for benefits in those extremely long lines if the economy turns harsh on your business. Those who have someone above them in the food chain don't have as much leeway as you do. 125,000 people were unemployed in Puerto Rico in the month of March and as being a member of a family of professionals that has unfortunately been a part of that statistic at one point for over a year and for no apparent reason other than "the company taking appropriate steps in hard economic times", your comments are a slap in the face. So please be mindful of the things you dish out.

I actually went and saw your website. It's nice, but if you allow me to critique it, it has a little disregard for 'human interface' standards. Not to mention that your site has problems running in Firefox (so much for claiming to take the lead in Puerto Rico). You should clean it up a little, as I'm sure you will, after all, everyone upgrades their websites. And I'm sure it won't cost even 10G's from all your expert cost estimation. But then again, there's not much to upgrade since it simply struck me as another advertising based website with good local info search capabilities and albeit, a nice intereactive map. Sort of like PRWOW.com on performance enhancement drugs. Oh but wait, my smartphone already does that with GPS. And get this, it actually fits in my pocket and makes phone calls.

This is all I have to say and all I'll ever say about all this since I do not care to know more about you or your blog. The way you carry yourself insulting others, especially those people that studied plenty just like you and work so hard in your field of work tells me much about your persona and leaves much to be desired. We base many of our decisions on principle, and trust me, you could offer me the best deal in the world, but with the first impression you just made, if I were someone dealing with you, I'd take my money elsewhere. That my friend is a dose of reality in the business world, and if you can't take the heat, then get out of the kitchen. Stop insulting people because it's so unprofessional on your behalf. Good luck in all your ventures.

rubyfanboy

15 de agosto de 2008, 01:13
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dijo...

you had me at "shut up". that school is badass, but can we get an abridged version next time? that required way too much reading.

i do have to admit that that other dude had a point. those enterprise software companies sell you the expensive software package, but they really give you the shaft with the consulting fees, licensing per user, and support fees. in that case it makes some sense that the suits are eating their own dog food rather than paying someone else for it.

better yet, pay the same amount to a certain ror freelancer to do it in half the time. i can even move to sweden so you guys can call it offshoring.

Francisco

15 de agosto de 2008, 08:00
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dijo...

"I clearly state that based on my calculations, if would take a team of 15 people to rack-up personnel costs of $2M. "

Still wondering what led you to assume $2M covered only personnel costs. Oh yeah, you are a Web 2.0 evangelist, all it takes to develop a website is some hours of coding, the rest will be taken care of by the cloud.

"any development shop worth it's salt would create an initial template for a form and then essentially re-use that template for n+ number of forms. The first form takes the most time and then they decrease in time required with each completed."

You are going about this problem from a HTML designer perspective. This is not a group of forms where your biggest hurdle is to design the look and feel. These forms have actual business functionality and require coding to interact with various backend systems. Forms aren't even the real problem here, those are taken care of by the frameworks; you can't copy/paste functionality across forms.

"... professor gets sidetracked defending his Web 2.0 weekend project ..."

"I smell a lot of mid-level programmers, stuck within their own little geeky worlds"

Good to know. You still sound young and inexperienced.

"Let us count the number of Facebook applications BPPR has produced?"

What for? Who needs Facebook banking?

"I'd say you really shouldn't be talking about using cutting edge technology."

What do you suggest? Ruby on rails - which still hasn't been deployed on an enterprise level, hasn't been proved in the industry, and only has a fanboy level following yet so far? I love Ruby, any programmer does and appreciates the innovative and time saving features - it just is not ready for primetime, nor is scalable. Try handling thousands of requests per hour... see Twitter for a good example of how badly RoR scales.

"In addition, if using the Google API is so simple why doesn't the BPPR corporate site use it? "
BPPR Corporate site? You insist on using web pages for comparison against web applications.

"Citibank, released just yesterday. "
Here you go again. Comparing a corporate web site to a web application. Credibility: dwindling.

"increase your ATM rates because the 'ATH brand' is in jeopardy."

Whereas if you visit the USA, no one uses debit cards anymore. Only in PR you can use your debit card anywhere, and get your money at an ATM without withdrawal fees - oh yeah, if your non-BPPR bank charges you and blames BPPR for the fee, then your bank is lying to you.

"the best programmers in the word reside elsewhere wouldn't you, if you were in the banking business wouldn't you want them working for you?"

For all the outsourcing comments you make, you don't seem to actually have experience working with programmers in India.

"to build a redesigned web page, typically development."

Again, you chose to comment about something totally different... that is no simple web page. This is why you fail.

"hardware is, relative to what it used to cost and to manpower, it's dirt cheap."

With $10,000 for each server (cheap!), having multiple of them, multiply by two to clone the setup in a remote location, then factor in data center costs, you've looking at a $20,000 OTC plus $15,000/year just to keep it powered, cooled and networked. That's just one server. BPPR must be using much more than just one... oh yeah, I forget, you're a Geocities/DreamHost/GoDaddy user and don't seem to know about real data centers.

"you decided to build all of that "in-house" instead of using the enterprise-level software available"

No one said anything about writing from scratch every single middleware and framework. That was only said about the web side of the equation. Same goes for code re-use.

"There are several comments applauding this investment as a shining example of innovation for the world to behold."

Shut up. You're not even going to sign in to the new application. Don't waste your breath.

Calvin and Hobbes

15 de agosto de 2008, 17:23
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dijo...

Here's a business concept utilized by everyone. As you ask for next to your blog, I'm donating a few bucks and writing it off as an business expense in my income taxes next year.

Cheers.

Corporate America

15 de agosto de 2008, 18:09
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dijo...

My second post for some reason didn't get the time of day. So once again, I'll re-post part 2 of my discussion with modifications... Yes, executives do read and proofread.

Web 2.0 you say? Facebook application? I'm sorry, but when business people go into their bank accounts online, they expect to see and do one thing in particular; and that is to see and manage their money as securely and efficiently possible. I bet that no financial institution is interested in creating a facebook app since it serves no purpose to their line of business nor does it serve their clients' needs.

You were very quick to comment and dismiss other's work as useless junk without even contemplating what was at stake. Therefore you obviously struck a nerve with quite a few people. It seems as if your writing really had only one objective: push your ideological agenda and views while being very outright disrespectful (saying it's bull**** and stating that Banco Popular programmers suck anyway). Backlash should be expected.

Afterward you say they hide behind the security of a desk. Once again I applaud you for your risk taking, but maybe you should have thought about those employee's sacrifices to get where they are before insulting them in the first place. You aren't the only one to risk everything, so don't think that you are so special. You have one luxury (depending upon the circumstances of course), and that is if you make a mistake, no one will fire you (unless you are a public company). On the contrary, regular employees will be the first to ask Uncle Sam for benefits if the economy turns for the worst. Having someone above you in the food chain keeps you on your toes. 125,000 people were unemployed in Puerto Rico in the month of March. My family's been down that road before due to "...company taking appropriate steps in hard economic times". So please be mindful of the things you dish out.

I actually visited your website. It's nice, but it has a little disregard for 'human interface' standards. Not to mention that your site has problems running in Firefox. How about upgrading it? Then again, scratch that plan since it simply struck me as another advertising based website with local info search capabilities and albeit, a nice intereactive map, i.e. PRWOW.com on steroids. Oh but wait, my smartphone already does that with GPS (the little green dot actually follows me around in real-time). And get this, it actually fits in my pocket and makes phone calls.

Speaking of upgrades I am shocked that you refuse to believe that BPPR/Evertec or anyone else, would be willing to take risks or scrap/replace/rewrite/redo/whatever their legacy and existing codebase and/or infrastructure. You do this to stay ahead (or catch up to) of the competition. Taking losses are part of the game. My company did it. Other examples?
a) HP hooking up with Compaq. Forget if it was right or wrong. That's not the point.
b) Microsoft losing money on every xbox sold for the first few years.
c) Sony with their playstation.
d) Ford/GMC/etc tacking on billions in losses for the next few years with rebates just to gain marketshare.
e) The semi-conductor business is almost always for a loss.
All have SECRET strategies and intend to recoup their losses in some manner.

Well this is all I'll ever have to say. The way you carry yourself insulting others, especially those people that studied plenty just like you and work so hard in your field of work tells me much about your persona and leaves much to be desired. We base many of our decisions on principle, and trust me, you could offer me the best deal in the world, but with the first impression you just made, if I were dealing with you, I'd take my money elsewhere. That my friend is a dose of reality in the business world.

Cook up something tasteful next time around besides a so called smack-down. If you'll excuse me I have a flight to catch.
Good luck in all your ventures.

Anónimo

19 de agosto de 2008, 16:53
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dijo...

Dude, you have been owned by Corporate...

MC Don Dees

21 de agosto de 2008, 18:05
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dijo...

LOL, I think Corporate America owns us all!