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News: JBoss Interview: Thoughts from Marc Fleury and Gartner

  1. SD Times has interviewed Marc Fleury of JBoss about the recent $10M investment, and the future. After Marc explains his business model (training, support, etc) a Gartner analyst comes in to say that it is a tough way to grow.

    Marc Excerpt
    “We think we’re inventing the new open source. It’s not the pony-tailed faction on the communist fringe,” Fleury said. “There needs to be professionalism and credibility. There needs to be sales and marketing, and all the things that make a business. People say you’re either a company or a starving poet. Why can’t we be both?”
    Yefim Natis, Gartner Analyst
    “There are two problems with the business model,” he said. “The first is scalability. They now have hundreds of users calling for support. When they have thousands, they’ll have a problem.” Hiring will be expensive and won’t fit the engineering culture, Natis said.

    The second problem, he said, is that the business of providing support by itself just is not that lucrative. “JBoss can only get a fraction of BEA’s support. BEA runs massive, mission-critical systems.”
    Read JBoss Goes Corporate For Credibility

    Threaded Messages (27)

  2. 1) Yet is a word, meaning nevertheless. Mr. Natis has not adopted it as his given name. Yet.

    2) Mr. Natis would be surprised to see where JBoss is installed.
  3. Yet[ Go to top ]

    Thanks Corby! The evils of cut and paste ;)
  4. Corby Page: Mr. Natis would be surprised to see where JBoss is installed.

    So would you ;-)

    However, I have never been surprised at why JBoss is installed. Same reason why people use Tomcat instead of Resin: It's free.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  5. My bet...[ Go to top ]

    Mr Natis has a point and a very valid one.

    My bet , If JBOSS is able to survive for the next two years. Its Busines Model at the end of 2006 is not going to be what they are saying it be right now.

    IMHO:
    1. The whole scalability thing needs to be solved as a traditional company and not as a hack.
    2. The Product development model will require some changes and will have to look at traditional ways of hiring people on a full time mode.
    3. there is only so far you can go with a model of CODE , CONTIBUTE , REWARD.
  6. "Other projects include JBoss Hibernate, an object-relational data mapping tool, and JBoss Nukes, the company’s take on the PHP PostNukes content management system"

    Jboss Hibernate ? What a lame joke :-)
  7. Incorporated != Credible[ Go to top ]

    "We think we’re inventing the new open source. It’s not the ponytailed faction on the communist fringe,” Fleury said. “There needs to be professionalism and credibility.[..]"

    IMHO whatever credibility Marc and his buddies had before, they still have now. Maybe now Marc can go on a golf course with a CIO who is maybe not very technical, and be more credible to him, but that's not his credibility, it's the credibility of ten million dollars.

    My advice: if you want to have credibility than you already have, then be even more open and more focused on performance and testing. That's how you get more credibility with the people who count. It's not the money.
  8. “We think we’re inventing the new open source."

    Where is the new business model? Offering a wide range of professional services on top of an open source architecture is clearly not a new one. And I agree with the first Gartner comment: a services based company will always have a problem of scalability. More customers you have, more employees you need. But nothing new here again. If you know it, you can live with it and create a great services company. Usually investors do not like them as they can not leverage their investments... Seems that they find some of them that accept it. Great!

    But the important point the Gartner forgot to say is that you have no exclusivity on the services you offer. So at the beginning you can easily leverage your business based on the key lead architects you recruited but after a certain time, you just have some "standard" java/j2ee developers like any other system integrators on the earth may propose to you and that you recruited in a hurry to answer to your urgent market needs. But in opposite to all these competitors, JBoss Inc will still have to support most of the costs related to maintaining, upgrading, enhancing, debugging, marketing, evengelizing,... the Jboss software. Otherwise speaking, they will bill their services at an higher rate to support these hidden software development costs (...or they will underpay their employees).

    You can hide a lot of things behind an open source business model but finally someone will have to develop the future new releases of the program and to finance them. Do not tell me that this will be freely done by the community. This is ok for a small open source project. For a full J2EE enterprise platform with hundreds of thousands of lines of code, it seems to me that you will need a full team of dedicated employees. If they make customer support the day, do they will have to code for free the night?

    OSI based projects will always have this dilemna: selling services or hardware to cover the costs of maintaining and upgrading some open source initatives. This is ok for universities (projects indirectly sponsorized by your taxes) or for large software vendors (included in their marketing effort), not for small and mid-sized software companies. You need license revenues. I must say that hidding them behind some higher hourly rates, some yearly subscription fees or some commercial documentation is not the way to go. This is not transparent at all. It is difficult to explain to the customers. It it difficult to market towards partners (usually system integrators that suddently became your main competitors)... That is why we launched the Collaborative Source Initative some weeks ago (http://www.collaborativesource.org) in order to try to enforce a real quid pro quo philosophy with the users, to tax technology free riders and to keep a "partner" neutral attitude. That is perhaps a new "invention"...

    Stéphane
    Jahia.org
  9. The problem with your approach is that you lack the existing codebase that is licensed with terms that would guarantee such royalties, you lack the developer mindshare to get any new software licensed under terms that guarantee royalties and you have zero existing businesses to demonstrate this model is a success, and better than the OSI services model. You certainly have your work cut out for you.
  10. Cygnus all over again[ Go to top ]

    *Yawn* This smells a lot like the Cygnus/gcc story all over again (as well as some others I don't know about, I'm sure). Cygnus was formed some years ago to sell services around the free compiler gcc. They got a big injection of cash after a couple of years, were bought out by Redhat for ~$500 million... the rest is history.

    Despite what Marc says, it isn't a new model, or a "new open source". People have been there, done that, in more than one occurrence. The market will decide.
  11. Quality of people[ Go to top ]

    I think that not the cost model or the small market will be a problem, but the quality of people. JBoss is what it is because they have awsome people with a lot of talents. Actually they are not really ín competition with BEA, IBM etc. because they are too good in there market. If they grow they will have to deliver the same quality. If they don't they will be in competition with BEA etc. and it will be hard to survive.
    As I see Marc is doing ia good job in choosing the right people with the right technology (Hibernate, javaassist, JavaGroups). I wish him and JBoss that they will survive so the market will have such a innovating company in the future...

    Mirko
  12. Gartner[ Go to top ]

    I don't understand why anybody pays any attention to anything from Gartner. They're great at making headline-grabbing pronouncements, but that's about it. If they had any kind of credibility, their pundits wouldn't be given titles like "vice president and distinguished analyst".
  13. Looking back on Gartner[ Go to top ]

    I would love to read the great papers of Gartner from 1998...

    I think we will all have a laugh.
  14. Gartner[ Go to top ]

    Gartner predicted that by the end of 2004 there will be a $28 billion market for Itanium based servers, yeah, $28 billion, so I take things from them with a graint of salt.
  15. I think Yefim and Stephane summed up the problems with Marc's so-called "new business model" fairly well. As a services company they compete with any other service company providing support for JBoss, or any other OpenSource product, but they have the added overhead of developing the new releases, which is going to be costly. Unless, of course, the idea is to maintain a steady stream of blue-eyed students who will code for a pat on the back, and let the "core" developers do all the consulting and for-pay support.

    As a product company they have the problem of not having any product. Sure, they "own" some of the core contributors to these projects, and as they get to decide who gets CVS access they can maintain some kind of product-ownership. But there's not much to gain from this, besides the possible effects of reputation. It will also be tough to compete with other similar projects which do not have these limiting aspects to them.

    I suppose one of the key issues here is, as has been pointed out, that the whole plan hinges on the idea of "credibility". If the "worth" of JBoss Inc. is the credibility they have, then some of their recent moves make sense. Hibernate rocks, so go get the lead developer. AOP is hip, so get with the program. JBoss is a well-known name, so why not use it for the company name.

    The problem with these possible gains in "credibility" is that they are of an "easy come, easy go" nature. Hibernate is neat, but what if Gavin leaves? AOP is hip, but what if the implementation isn't up to scratch? JBoss is a well-known name, but what if using it for company name annoys more than it buys you?

    There are more issues with this whole "professional OpenSource" propaganda, but I suppose those who have seen through Marc's antics before will do it this time as well.
  16. I think you guys are missing some of the key economic value issues that are in Open Source. Your still thinking in the "product margins" mindset. Every one of the arguments you've made applies to IBM as well, yet they've shifted huge amounts of resources to service delivery for Open Source projects, and they're making a hefty profit off it too.

    More to the point, there are other economic gains to be had in the Open Source model that you don't often see in the proprietary model. I wrote this Blog up on economic value that I see every day in Open Source, and the important differences between that economic value and accounting value: Economic v Accounting value in OSS

    As people ralize those economic drivers are often greater than the accounting value, they _are_ willing to pay for services, complementary products and other value added economic drivers that are part of all software but are cheaper in Open Source. They are cheaper somewhat because of the complementary product effect (they don't have to pay the licensing fees) and they get other economies.

    This is true for both the JBoss group and their customers. JBoss group gets to sell services for a package that they didn't entirely write. Ditto for IBM selling Linux services.

    As you mentioned, credibility is one of the key issues. But even deeper than that, it's execution and differentiation. MCI was thought of as a joke in the early years because there were already operators with a lot of market power. They made it big on execution more than products. Execution is important equally to any company regardless of their development model.

    If the JBoss company can continue to execute well for their customers, and differentiate themselves from others, it is quite likely they will succeed as long as the services are of value (and they seem to be)

    Jason McKerr
    The Open Source Lab
    "Open Minds. Open Doors. Open Source."
  17. I think you guys are missing some of the key economic value issues that are in Open Source. Your still thinking in the "product margins" mindset. Every one of the arguments you've made applies to IBM as well, yet they've shifted huge amounts of resources to service delivery for Open Source projects, and they're making a hefty profit off it too.
    Jason, they're not talking about open source as a generality, they're talking about JBoss. Remember, the 30 person company, with the developers mostly telecommutters?

    Please keep in mind that IBM's headcount is estimated at 330,000 people. From what I hear global services is >100,000. IBM's forays into open source have also been extremely deep - the contributions to Java, Linux, and Apache have been extremely involved and in some cases innovative. The complexity and cost of implementation of their Linux contribs alone dwarf the entire JBoss codebase.
    Plus of course IBM hasn't abandoned their hardware and software products, not hardly.

    IBM clearly has the resources with 330,000 people to throw several thousand people at on-going open source development and still dedicate 100K or so to go after services revenues. The question is: what are 30 people going to do? Can the company make significant contributions to the JBoss code base and still maintain enough services revenue & support revenue for a sustainable model?

    Please Jason, I know JBoss PR makes it difficult, but you're talking about the smallest of small companies here. Don't make the mistake of comparing them to global-10 companies.

          -Mike
  18. Mike,

    I think probably that's exactly what IBM said about Microsoft 20 years ago. Well run 30 person companies have a habit of becoming behemoths. SuSE just got bought out by Novell, as did Ximian, now they'll likely grow with the resource backing of a behemoth. Larry Ellison read a paper by a guy at IBM, that IBM basically rejected, and now we've got Oracle. Nokia, Eriksson.

    Small companies regularly turn into big companies. Sure, there are bunches that doesn't make it. But plenty that do.

    JBoss may or may not be one of those, and my points were more to discuss failings in earlier postings' logic on value driven economies and service economies. Even if JBoss doesn't become a big timer, someone will because those economies still apply. Even more, small companies tend to react to economy changes more quickly which is their one big advantage. There have been global companies that got complacent about those things and ended up the worse for their complacency.

    Jason McKerr
    The Open Source Lab
    "Open Minds. Open Doors. Open Source."
  19. I think probably that's exactly what IBM said about Microsoft 20 years ago. Well run 30 person companies have a habit of becoming behemoths. SuSE just got bought out by Novell, as did Ximian, now they'll likely grow with the resource backing of a behemoth. Larry Ellison read a paper by a guy at IBM, that IBM basically rejected, and now we've got Oracle. Nokia, Eriksson.
    Jason, what you're saying flies in the face of reality. You say "Well run 30 person companies have a habit of becoming behemoths". Huh? Well run or not, most 30 person companies either quietly sink below the waves, or else are bought out for a very modest sum when they start floundering. You're focusing on the very small number of successes - for every success, you're ignoring the literally thousands of companies that never go anywhere, or get bought out for a song.
    Small companies regularly turn into big companies. Sure, there are bunches that doesn't make it. But plenty that do.
    Um, no - small companies regularly cease to be companies. There are not "plenty" that do. When companies are this small, there's so much that can go wrong. A couple of key defections, delaying releases indefinitely (JBoss 4.0, anyone?), a dry spot in revenue, a bad judgement call in what to focus on, a competitor turning up the heat - any of these and more can sink you. Keep in
    mind, we don't even know where the $10MM went or is going. For all we know most of it could have went directly into buying out shares from existing management. This was the case in a company I worked for a while back - out of a massive investment, only about 14% went into the company.

    Honestly I'm still struggling with you comparing JBoss first with IBM, now with Microsoft and SuSE. You're making a huge mental leap which appears mostly predicated on Marc Fleury's energetic PR, not the reality of the company.

        -Mike
  20. Mike,

    You seem to have some real bitterness, but more than that an inherent lack of understanding of value creation. 80% of current wealth in the United States today was created in the last 20 years in new ventures. New venture creation, education, and productivity drive the market place (although finance people liek to say earnings drives the market, same thing really).

    And 30 person companies DO regularly become huge companies and don't go under the waves. I would suggest you do some more research on how companies like Microsoft, Dell, Apple, RedHat, Google, Yahoo, and a whole bunch of others got big and started with a lot less than 30 people. It DOES happen all the time.

    Again, I'm not referring to JBoss specifically, I'm referring to the fact that new venture creation drives a vast portion of wealth in this country, that small companies (the successful ones) regularly do become big companies. The things I was referring to, again, were lack of understanding of these things and service economy values.

    Really though, I doubt it's entirely a lack of understanding economics on your part. It seems like you have personal issues with JBoss and maybe Marc Fleury which may be clouding your commentary.

    Jason McKerr
    The Open Source Lab
    "Open Minds. Open Doors. Open Source."
  21. Jason - I think our only difference of opinino here is where you say things like "that small companies (the successful ones) regularly do become big companies". This is just plain absolutely false.

    You mention here Microsoft, Dell, Apple, RedHat, Google, Yahoo. Let's stick with those 5. Now - for those 5 companies that made it, how many companies do you think failed and sunk under the waves? Perhaps you don't realize it, but those companies are numbered in the _thousands_. Graduating to the big leagues is not a regular occurence, but an exceptional event surrounded by many other failures.

    The problem is distinguishing, say, a Yahoo from the 5,000 or so companies that will fail. Finding the one guy who will make it out of the hordes that do not. This has nothing to do with open source - it's just general business. The vast majority of businesses fail. Businesses with vague business plans or unscalable ones are just more likely to fail.

        -Mike
  22. Sure Mike, and I acknowledge that. But people still keep starting small companies. And occasionally they grow into big ones. It does happen often enough. And there are plenty that succeed without becoming behemoths. I helped a startup company that is now profitable, has over 50 employees, and growing rapidly. That qualifies as a success to them, me, _and_ the investors.

    And sure, not many become the monsters like Dell and the other 4, but it still keeps happening. You seem to be saying, "Don't bother trying, you won't make it."

    Man, if people had your mentality of economics, there wouldn't be any startups or big companies!

    And you're right it's general business! I'm not disagreeing with you. Open Source has not change finance or economics one bit. What it has done is shifted the place where financial value ends: the end user more than a proprietary developer/product developer. Products and services that create value for customers are the ones that get paid for. In this case, Open Source companies use the Open Source product as the horse, and the services as the cart. It's working, and people are paying for services and creating value. The more value it shifts to the customer, the more people will pay for it.

    Like I said, will JBoss succeed? Who knows. But someone will, and someone likely will become a big company. That's the point here. In fact, I think about 40%(!) of high-tech workers work in small businesses, small business represent 99% of employers, and 75% of net new jobs in the US. But if everyone doing startups here quit per your mentality, there'd be a lot less new venture, wealth creation, and a lot fewer jobs.

    Jason McKerr
    The Open Source Lab
    "Open Minds. Open Doors. Open Source."
  23. I think you guys are missing some of the key economic value issues that are in Open Source. Your still thinking in the "product margins" mindset. Every one of the arguments you've made applies to IBM as well, yet they've shifted huge amounts of resources to service delivery for Open Source projects, and they're making a hefty profit off it too.
    One key difference is that IBM is not using OpenSource as their only strategy. Yes, they got services for OpenSource stuff, but also hardware and for-pay software. The OpenSource parts are there to complement, not replace. Even Eclipse is a base for their own for-pay WSAD IDE, not to replace it. To put it into one catchphrase: they are leveraging OpenSource, not exploiting it.
    More to the point, there are other economic gains to be had in the Open Source model that you don't often see in the proprietary model. I wrote this Blog up on economic value that I see every day in Open Source, and the important differences between that economic value and accounting value: Economic v Accounting value in OSSAs people ralize those economic drivers are often greater than the accounting value, they _are_ willing to pay for services, complementary products and other value added economic drivers that are part of all software but are cheaper in Open Source.
    That's a bold statement. Let me be equally bold then and compare with my present situation. We are doing a CMS, which typically competes with other OpenSource CMS's out there. Ours is not OpenSource, although it uses roughly 30+ OpenSource projects, which brings down the cost for the end-customer radically. We have done almost the opposite of JBoss Inc.: the software is licensed, but the support is (almost) free. We do charge for support, but it's a yearly cost and it includes software updates. But after that the support is free, so there are no per-hour costs. This means that our customers will know exactly what their use of our CMS will cost, and it also means that we will do our best to keep those phones silent. In other words, we have incentive to make our product so easy to use and self-explanatory that they won't need support in the first place. In contrast, since support is what JBoss Inc. is making a living off of they have little to no incentive for making it easy to use. Heck, they even use it as a reason to buy support from them:
    "JBoss is a very complex software: hundreds of thousands of lines of code mixing transactions, security, persistence, class loading and clustering. Only the developers of these features can truly provides high quality support and fixes in a timely manner." The goal is, it seems, to make the customers dependent on their developers. Otherwise, they have no business.

    Also, looking over their pricing for support it seems like those costs will be greater than the TCO if compare to, for example, OrionServer.
  24. Hi Jason,

    I will tell you a little story: Once upon a time, there was a small company called MySQL AB focused on providing services on top of a nice open source database released under LGPL. They received external VC funds. They grow rapidly leveraging the open source buz words and market opportunities. But offering a wide range of services is good but this was not financing their product costs (cf. thread from Rickard or me above). So they began dual licensing the software. However in order to do that they had to lock the public CVS and to require to all third party contributors to provide some unlimited exploitation rights to reuse, distribute, sub-license, etc for all their modifications under another specific license agreement. Not a very open collaborative process! But nobody was still really interested by buying the commercial license. Why buying a commercial license when you can use the same product for free without any impact! So as soon as they reached a critical market share, they decided to migrate to the GPL. To earn more license revenues, they enforce a strong viral effect (= something like: if you have a class, a script or whatever containing a direct or indirect reference to mysql, you should buy the commercial license excepted if your whole program is 1) open source too and 2) released under a compliant GPL license). Ok they now reached the point where they now have some product revenues that can cover some of the costs of developing and maintaining the MySQL programs. They now turned into a classical software company. What's coming next: probably a MySQL 5.0 Professional or Enterprise Edition released under a commmercial license only... And I must say that I have no problem with that while I can still freely access to the MySQL source code. That is for me the key advantage of open source. Not the fact that I have to pay a certain license fee under certain circumstances.

    What will be the future of JBoss Inc do you thinK? Don't you think that they will use the 10 millions to rewrite all the third party external code they could not sub or dual license yet? Do you think they have not carefully studied before the MySQL experience? Come on! VCs do not invest 10 mio in a start-up if there is no plan to make at least some 40 or 50% ROI and I must say that services companies have not such huge ratios.

    This has nothing to do with the "overall macro-economic" advantages of open source for the whole human beings. This is just good sense for a small commercial company. You have recruited employees, you need revenue streams, you need benefits and finally you need to keep some kind of competitive advantages. Period. Communism proved to not be a good business model and I do not think it will be good for software too.

    IMHO, free (like in a free beer) software is a non-sense and is today killing the open source spirit (excepted for certain underlying libraries where everybody share a common interests - I'm speaking here for ready to use finished products). There are more and more technology free riders that just want to passively reuse what others have contributed without agreeing (or having the time) to contribute anything back in the community. There are more and more system integrators that are now opening "open source departments" to provide more affordable "solutions" to their customers but without being interested to contribute and to assign staff on a long term basis. They have consultants that are assigned for one month on such a framework for such a project and the other month they are just assigned to another customers. That is normal. That is their business: integrating technology, not developing it.

    But on the other hand, there are more and more lead committers in the open source world (and beliwev me I know quite alot of them) that are beginning to be fed up to see other large companies leveraging their worldwide subsidiaries and reusing for free all their code without contributing anything back. This is perhaps not the case for everybody (thks IBM for your 1 billion Linux investment) but not all of them have such an ethical position.

    So the only way to not have people "exploited" while others may freely "benefit" from the system is to enforce a strong quid pro quo philosophy. And you only have one manner of doing it: Enforcing a strong Contribute or Pay paradigm! And in order to do that and to keep it simple (no dula licensing schema or such tricks) you need to be able to ask for certain charges for your software on certain type of use (e.g. for production servers).

    Ok guys, I can speak from hours about it but I should go now. I have some services and license to sell to finance some of our Apache initiatives ;-))

    Stéphane
    Jahia.org
  25. VC expectations[ Go to top ]

    Stephane: What will be the future of JBoss Inc do you thinK? Don't you think that they will use the 10 millions to rewrite all the third party external code they could not sub or dual license yet? Do you think they have not carefully studied before the MySQL experience? Come on! VCs do not invest 10 mio in a start-up if there is no plan to make at least some 40 or 50% ROI and I must say that services companies have not such huge ratios.

    VCs would go out of business immediately if they only made 40 or 50% ROI on an investment. If you knew how much they were actually looking for, it would turn your stomach. I'll give you a hint, if you multiplied your suggestion by 100x, you'd be on the right track.

    If VCs put $10MM into JBoss Inc., with a three year exit anything less than $100MM is a waste of time. If it takes two more rounds to get there, they'll have probably around 10% by exit, which means they're shooting for a $1MMM market cap at IPO or (assuming they can sell it sooner to another company) a $350MM purchase two years (i.e. only one more round) out.

    In the VC world, it's called "swinging for the fences." To provide a handsome return, they only need one out of 100 companies to actually make it big time (i.e. a home run.) Most of the rest just go out of business, and they couldn't really care less.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  26. VC expectations[ Go to top ]

    I know Cameron, I know, my previous company received some VC funds, I was on the Board of Directors and I was myself in charge of making the 5 yr business and treasury plan ;-).

    Perhaps things are a bit different here in Europe but let's say that they wanted some 80 or 90% ROI in order to have an average return on their portfolio of 30-40%. Perhaps they even require less right now with the current economical situation.

    This does not explain to me how you can make such a high ROI with a services company that will perhaps make at max 20% or 30% sales margin (that they will use to finance their open source initiatives).

    So 1) they have a clear plan and vision to move to a software company that can resell 1 USD CD-Rom for 10'000 USD per CPU (leverage effect necessary to reach a 80% ROI) 2) they already plan a M&A with another large software vendor that might want to rapidly acquire additional market share in the J2EE area in order to leverage his own worldwide consultancy department (Did I mentionned SUN! ;-) ), 3) their VCs have not learned their lessons from the NetEconomy and are still investing on hype and buzz words (and in such a case, Marc, please take the money, keep control of JBoss and turn your company into a profitable one before having spent all your 10 Mio, because there will be no second round, that's for sure).

    My 2cts,
    Stéphane
  27. VC expectations[ Go to top ]

    Stephane: 3) their VCs have not learned their lessons from the NetEconomy and are still investing on hype and buzz words

    Greed is the universal constant. ;-)

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  28. VC expectations[ Go to top ]

    Stephane,

    I'm not entirely sure if you mean, by sales margin, Gross Margin or Net Income. I have seen startup companies in service sector technology making 23% Net Income. It's rare, but it happens. More to the point, a startup companies value (from a VC's perspective) has a whole lot more to do with Cash Flow than with Earnings.

    Outside of the OSL, I also consult with startup tech companies get funding, build plans, etc. In every case I can think of, company valuations are done with some cash-flow based methodology (sometimes in conjunction with earnings base, but always including a CF base). Some companies use straight CF methods, some discounted multiple of Cash Flows. But the life blood of small companies is CF, more than NI. Not only that, but from what JBoss has said, they have strong cash flow and positive earnings, which is usually a good starting point for private placement investors of any kind.

    Jason McKerr