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Startup lands ‘name’ CEO

Feb 17, 20062 mins
Enterprise Applications

Hey, have you heard what Paul McNamara is up to?

No, not me. And, no, not this blog.

I’m talking about another Paul McNamara — known hereafter as The Other One — a Silicon Valley veteran, most recently with El Dorado Ventures, who first crossed my radar back when he was an exec at Red Hat in the late ’90s.

The Other One has taken the CEO reins of an El Dorado-backed startup temporarily called Versai Technology, which is holed up stealthily in what the company’s new blog calls “an industrial section of Redwood City (one of the few remaining industrial sections in Silicon Valley).” Versai was founded by CTO Greg Olsen, whose previous venture, Extricity, was a B-to-B integration specialist that was acquired for $168 million in 2001 as part of a buying spree by Peregrine Systems, itself snapped up by HP last year.

The Other One sent me an e-mail a few days ago to let me know that his company’s blog was up and running. “We plan to use the blog to talk about issues in the software and Internet space and hopefully give people some insight into our thinking,” he says.

Naturally, I asked The Other One for details about Versai: 

“Regarding the new company, here’s what I can tell you: We are a software-as-a-service company with a twist.  We empower businesspeople to easily create and use custom-tailored SaaS applications.  In some ways we will be competing with Salesforce AppExchange, but our approach will be different and our appeal will be broader. I’ll need to demonstrate this last point to you once I can talk more expansively about the product.”

In the meantime, you can definitely get a sense of the angle from which The Other One is coming at the opportunity by reading his essay entitled “The Software Complexity Racket.” (The piece is so well written I don’t mind seeing my name on it.)

By the way, the first time I spoke with The Other One was in 1998 when he was at Red Hat and I was a reporter here writing a story that carried the headline “Linux cynics.” My byline and his quotes promised such confusion for readers that we felt compelled to explain the lack of any relationship in an editor’s note.

Hope everything is clear now.

News Editor

In addition to my editing duties, I have written Buzzblog since January, 2006 and wrote the 'Net Buzz column in Network World's dearly departed print edition for 13 years. Feel free to e-mail me at