This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala's blog.

In honor of today being Halloween I thought I would write a blog dedicated to the horror and grim nature that the day brings. Here are a few people and companies -past and present – that make the “all Halloween” list of technology names.

Born in the mid 90s, was a real pioneer in marrying job search with the Internet era. Monster has now become the de facto standard for job searching and has created almost unlimited job opportunities to people who would have had no way of finding jobs previously. I think back to the early 90s when I moved from Victoria, BC, to Baltimore MD, the only reason I knew about the job was because a friend of mine at UUNet managed to fax me the job postings from the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. Oh, how changed the world. 



An oracle is defined as a person capable of predicting the future, providing wise advice or prognosticating wars and such, all of this knowledge, of course, having been inspired by the Gods. Now, this in itself isn’t scary. What is scary is that the leader of Oracle and the company as a whole kind of acts this way. Anyone who’s “lucky” enough to interact with Larry Ellison or others knows the company views itself as the software version of the definition of the term Oracle. Scary!


Ghost Software

Ghost was is one of those “must have” tools for any IT department. Ghost is actually an acronym for “General Hardware Oriented System Transfer” and is used to create identical images of disks. Ghost was so popular at one time that it became a standard part of IT lingo with phrases like “We’ll just Ghost a new image onto the PC.” Symantec acquired Ghost in 1998 from a little company called Binary Research. After Symantec acquired Ghost it had a parallel project called “Phantom” to re-write Ghost. 


BLADE Network Technologies

The name BLADE itself is scary enough. Imagine a big knife being wielded around a data center. What’s scarier about BNT, though, is that Nortel didn’t know enough to keep the maker of blade switches. Instead, it spun the company out and it was later acquired by IBM. The rest, shall we say, is history, as BLADE is one of the most widely deployed rack switches on the market.



This creepy sounding company was one of the first, if not the first, web search engine to provide full text search. It was developed at the University of Washington in 1994 and then bought by AOL in 1995. Excite later bought it from AOL, but then Yahoo and later Google proceeded to make it and every other competitor irrelevant. 


Caliper Life Sciences

I don’t actually know a lot about these guys but I’ve passed their building a few times as they’re located in the heart of EMC land in Hopkinton, MA. According to the website the company builds innovative products for the life sciences industry. The name itself isn’t scary. What’s spooky, though, is that they’re located on the infamous Elm Street, home of Freddy Krueger!


Acme Packet

The fact that Acme needs to rely on the ingenuity of telcos to be successful is scary enough. However, anyone who grew up in my era knows that the real Acme Corporation supplied the Coyote with an unlimited arsenal of ammunition to kill off the Road Runner. Unfortunately, the only one that got hurt through all of this was the Coyote himself, and once in a while Daffy Duck.


Lotus 1-2-3

What’s so scary about Lotus?  How about the fact that it owned the corporate productivity market and then somehow lost it all to Microsoft? That’s pretty scary, but that’s not why they make the list. They make the list because Lotus 1-2-3 is the ultimate KILLER application. Prior to 1-2-3 the only “Windows” apps were really DOS or Mainframe apps dressed up to look like a Windows Application. Lotus 1-2-3 was so killerish that I’ll credit it for putting an end to the Wintel era.


Cisco and Microsoft

The ongoing battle between these two companies might warrant them a spot in this blog, but I was focused more on the names of the leaders. John “toss that sales guy who didn’t make quote into the” Chambers, Padma “the night” Warrior, Bill Gates “of Mordor” (see below) and Steve “The Em” Ballmer.

Anyway, I’ve sure I missed a few. I had thought about putting in Shiva, Woven and Captaris because they’re just scary sounding names, but decided they didn’t quite make the cut. 

Happy Halloween!

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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