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Sibling rivalry

A question to Eric about competing.

Eric, many would agree you and Joel are kindered spirits. You both seem to share common roots, and generally seem to get along fine. You accepting this task (or Joel giving you a platform, depending how you look at it) at least confirms that suspicion.
At the same time, you both seem to operate more and more in the same market. Dragnet http://software.ericsink.com/item_10191.html and FogBugz are undeniably fishing in the same pond: Simple bugtracking for small ISV's. I suspect Dragnet will not be the main focuss of SourceGear, but still, its existance will impact FogCreek.
Now in times a'plenty this is no problem. Friendly jabs and sibling rivalry can even cement the feelings of kinship. But when the going gets tough, as I suspect there must at least in spirit have been moments of insecurity in light of the developments at Microsoft over the last year ( http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/vs2005/teamsystem/ and http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnvsent/html/vssmap.asp ), the mood can change. Most small ISV owners I know are extremely committed to their business. Most I know also can not separate their business form their personal life. It is just too intense.
So what is it like. What is your secret? You're not going to tell me this whole camaraderie is just a facade and you two have gone to the point of casting voodoo spells on each other, pasted each others mugshots in the urinalls or have taken body casts of each other to the shooting range just to "calm down and not do something stupid"?
Is there a secret sauce?
Just me (Sir to you) Send private email
Friday, September 03, 2004

There are lots of possible explanations:

Maybe Joel doesn't see Dragnet as a threat because I told him about it a year ago and we still haven't managed to ship the @^&!%^# thing.

Maybe Joel and Eric both know that in an ultra-fragmented market like bug-tracking, both products will have no trouble keeping their own niche.

Maybe Joel and Eric both know who the real enemies are.

Maybe Joel and Eric have no idea what the secret sauce is, and are simply exploring partnership in small steps to see what happens.

Maybe Joel and Eric are actually the same person, and this whole thing is an elaborate astroturfing scheme.  Think about it -- have you ever seen both of us in person at the same time?  ;-)

You ask some interesting questions.  I wish I had smarter answers.

Eric Sink Send private email
Friday, September 03, 2004
Having waited till Eric answered (because I may not to talk to my mother but she beat politeness into me), I'll upchuck how it appears to an outsider.

Ray Noorda coined the term coopetition, for when there are companies fighting for similar markets but who, in cooperating, grow the existing market base beyond the current size and that a larger market overall is better than a larger piece of a smaller market.

Second, there's the NAM (Non-aligned Movement), which is the association of non-aligned countries in the world banding together to help protect themselves against the really big countries and blocs out there.

And I guess Fogcreek and Sourcegear could form a reasonable nucleus of a software version.
Simon Lucy Send private email
Friday, September 03, 2004
Forensic grammar & style analysis has shown chances of you and Joel being the same person to be < 2%. Of that remainder, more than 80% would have you as a splitt personality so profound that it would be difficult to run your own bath, let alone two companies, so I think we can safely assume there are more than two legs to the pair of you.

Whatever it is, nice to see the two of you "in sinc" ;-).
Just me (Sir to you) Send private email
Friday, September 03, 2004
>>Whatever it is, nice to see the two of you 'in sinc'"

Don't make fun of Eric's name.  I did and three days later I found myself involved in an SCO copyright law suit involving some VB code I'd written back in '97.  The paper trail leads back to Eric; he has major influence in the industry.  In fact, his code name is "Heat Sink" (the dot net redneck thing is a smokescreen).  Don't mess with him, he's bad news.
Friday, September 03, 2004

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