IBM's startup guy: We're cracking new markets

Drew Clark expounds on IBM's prolific partnerships with vertical analytics startups -- and hints at new public cloud services from IBM

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That's what we think will be most interesting, when we start thinking about PaaS -- and maybe this will be our differentiator -- as an enabler for all kinds of services, not just a place to develop and deploy apps in a more leverageable way. I mean that's really what PaaS is today, right? It's development in the cloud. It basically seems like kind of a strange value prop. What we're trying to do is say: We want to push more services, call them cloud services, up into a PaaS so that you can get more value.

Knorr: One last question: With startups in general, are we in a bubble? Particularly with social media?

Clark: Just looking at social media ... I think any objective observer would say there's certainly a bubble there. I'm not picking on any particular company, but the whole space is crazy.

I think on the enterprise side, I don't see [a bubble] at all. I think that what's interesting is ... a lot of venture guys are coming back and embracing a lot of the opportunities in some of these Smarter Planet spaces. We're opening up and enabling new markets.

That rubs off on the enterprise also. Maybe that says that more attention will be focused further down where these things have to run. I think it's always healthy to grow the opportunity high up on the value chain because it trickles down to making sure the underpinnings are working. It's going to keep investment in cloud strong. I think it's going to keep pushing the envelope on performance of hardware and underlying systems. I think it'll keep pressure on security to keep up with all of this, if it can. I think that a lot of the areas in the food chain will continue to grow.

Knorr: I've always thought you had one of the best jobs in the Valley. It seems like you're enjoying it more than ever these days.

Clark: I am, because I get to meet all these great new entrepreneurs who have all of these great new ideas. The good news is that we have, we think, a good value prop for them. We actually have something that we think has a nice impedance match between their new thing and the enterprise, something that could help pull them through and get them to market.

Knorr: And you get to be right there.

Clark: Absolutely. It's fun to do.

This article, "IBM's startup guy: We're cracking new markets," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

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