Updated: Jan 19, 2020
If you heard of Google, and you heard of Microsoft, and you know more about technology than my 95 year old grandmother, this article would interest you. So if you read the headline, and went ... ah ??? the good new is that youre correct. Google would not in a million years, host its most expensive asset, its data, on the servers of Microsoft. And obviously that headline is false. But that brings us to one of the most incredible phenomena of the shipping industry. An industry that is known for its fierce chartering people, its brilliant S&P guys that buy a VLCC for Scrap for 10mm and watch it sell for 50mm two years later, and on and on. Every dollar made by someone in shipping, is a dollar lost by someone else in shipping. That is, in fact, a fact ! shipping as an industry is a zero (0%) return industry, so every time you see a $100mm yacht parked in the Astir Bay during Posidonia, be sure that someone lost $100mm somewhere in the industry, that the lucky or smart owner of that boat made.
So yes, we're a competitive bunch, aggressive at times, thick skinned often, but naive ?? would you ever use 'naive' to describe anyone in this business ? as it turns out, some of the most aggressive and paranoid companies, are rather naive when it comes to their data. We have witnessed recently a flood of shipping companies that decided to sell their ERP internally developed product on the market". Set aside the flawed logic of running a software business inside a shipmanagement business, with its array of conflicts, with almost nothing in common, on HR, on clients, on markets, on areas of expertise, thats more of an issue for the seller of the software. Set aside the lack of proper resources and funding all these companies put into it, due to the lack of knowledge in running a software business that requires 300 with 15 or 30 well intended folks.
The incredible disconnect is that ship managers actually buy a software from a direct competitor. So if you heard that Niarchos used to put all of his cash and accounts in a bank owned by Onasis, you would probably react similarly to the Google and Microsoft example. Actually, putting your cash in your competitor's owned bank is a thousand times safer than putting your data on their server. Cash is cash, a bank is regulated, you cant take cash and use it, cause it will be noticed and it cant be copied. But when you put your data on the servers of your competitor, how do you know that it's not being used ? because they promised you its safe ? because they promised you that they software business makes more money for them than their core business ? and you believed it ? What will happen when you lose a 5mm fixture to someone, do you have a way to know that CHRS took the other ship because they knew about your incidents ? or PMS issues and breakdowns ? or Capt issues with the office ? or your real TMSA situation ?
As the Americans say, if you believe that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell to you.