What’s Up at Tucows

by Joey deVilla on August 31, 2005


thought I’d use an old “Tucows Games” graphic to introduce this entry,

which is, as you might have guessed, about my place of employment,

Tucows Inc.

Exercising Our Options

The announcement was made yesterday, but in case you hadn’t yet heard, I’ll repeat it here:

Tucows Inc. completes closing of over-allotment option


Inc. (TSX: TC, AMEX: TCX) is pleased to announce that the

over-allotment option associated with its recent public offering has

been exercised in full, resulting in the issuance by Tucows of

2,889,250 shares of its common stock

at a price of U.S. $0.90 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of U.S.

$2,600,325. The offering was underwritten by a syndicate led by Desjardins Securities Inc., which included BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., CIBC World Markets Inc. and Clarus Securities Inc.

Ruby Spoken Here

Photo: Ruby gemstone.

The Ruby programming language is getting a considerable amount of

attention in the programming world. It gets a lot of love from a number

of “geek rock stars” including:

  • Dave Thomas: No, not the founder of Wendy’s hamburger chain nor the comic actor, but the author of the must-have programming book The Pragmatic Programmer, the software world’s equivalent of David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
  • David Heinemeier Hansson: Creator of the Rails web application framework, the application that put Ruby in the spotlight.
  • 37 Signals: The web design/usability consulting company that created the simple and useful applications Basecamp, Backpack and Ta-Da List using Ruby and Rails.

  • why the lucky stiff: This guy, who actually goes by that name (at least when he publishes) is a hero of mine. He’s the creator of Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby,

    which is a work in progress and the best candidate for the title of

    “Most whimsical-yet-useful programming book ever”. He’s probably Ruby’s

    greatest evangelist (and comic artist), promoting it in the blog RedHanded and probably the first person to do a presentation at the Free/Open Source Convention by rockin’ out.

    You’d never see Microsoft’s Visual Studio team or Sun’s Java team do

    this — at least not without turning it into a mostly-fluff

    Grammy-esque production. 

Now that you’ve met some of the cool people who work with Ruby,

let me point out one more: Tucows! As for seeing Ruby in action, as

implemented by us, you’re looking at it right now.

This blog is written and served out using our wholesale blogging tool, Blogware, is written in Ruby, as is our upcoming personal start page application, Start (written up here

under its codename, Skydasher). With a small development team and

schedule pressures like you wouldn’t believe, the developers behind

Blogware and Start chose Ruby because it helps you be more productive,

doesn’t require as much “scaffolding” as other languages and just

doesn’t get in your way.

I have to commend The Powers That Be here for actually trusting in the

developers to choose the language that they feel best for the job

rather than dictating it according to “what everyone else is using” or

following some manager’s dictum. I’m glad that I work at a place where

the culture is still willing to take some smart chances and follow Guy

Kawasaki’s advice: “Challenge the known and embrace the unknown”.

Yes, I’ve Heard

As part of a programming exercise to get myself more familiar with the

Ruby programming language, I have a little script that I constantly

refine that scours “the usual suspects” on the web for information

about Tucows. I also have a couple of investor- and biz-dev-type

friends who very kindly email me the latest “word on the street” about

this fine company.

So yes, I heard about the company that made the announcement that they

were going to buy us at nearly three times our current share price (my

response: “If it’s real, I have only two questions — How Much? and Give to it me!“). I am aware that Mark Cuban owns about 9% of us and a slightly larger fraction of one of our esteemed competition. I have heard all kinds of rumours.

However, I don’t know much else. I am privy to some of the

technological and product development plans, but I don’t get invited to

directors’ meetings. I can infer a lot based on the path our CEO takes

to his office — he’ll either zig-zag through the aisles and chat for a

little bit or make a beeline for his office (in line-of-sight of my

“office”) — but blogging that is probably a violation of his privacy,

common sense and my non-disclosure agreement.

My point: Sure, feel free to use this blog (as well as the other Tucows

blogs for which I write) as a data point in your investment research.

Disseminating information about the company falls under my job

description. However, it shouldn’t be your sole data point. I have no

special insight into the wheelings and dealings on the business side of

the operation, nor do I have any insight into Mark Cuban’s plans. I

most definitely do not get instant messages from him containing useful

investment tidbits…

Screen capture: Fictionalized IM with Mark Cuban.

Fictionalized IM chat between me and Mark Cuban. IT DID NOT HAPPEN, PEOPLE!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 31, 2005 at 7:45 pm

The Tucows resllers distribution channel is very effective in selling and providing domain names and web hosting(blogging) but I’d just like to ask about what other products these resellers are capable of potentially distributing. Is the sky the limit?

My point is that with such an effective network in place, it seems Tucows would attempt to exploit by offering a wide range of products and even new frequently added products.

Anonymous September 1, 2005 at 1:49 pm

Exactly our thining. We’re at the point in the development of the internet where the opportunities for resellers (and thereby, us) lie not in new customers, but in new services for the existing customer base. Hence the diversification of the services in our platform and introduction of new ones, such as the upcoming Tucows Start Service.

Anonymous September 1, 2005 at 1:50 pm

By the way, that’s “Exactly our thinking“, not “thining”.

Anonymous September 1, 2005 at 5:02 pm

we forgive typos don’t we? remember the last earnings report link and the big typo by IR. 🙂

really, my writing is plauged with typos on postings probably because we have all been spoiled with the instant spell check highlighters that exist on many word processors.

speaking of writing as a whole, there is a big movemen in education now away from handwriting and its importance. when was the last time you wrote a handwritten note? My guess it has been a very long time and my guess is that your wedding invitations will all be computerized.

So I hope tucows branches off into some cool resller junk. I see it now – “Mark Cuban chooses Tucows to distribute The Best of the Dallas Maverick Clips for 2005-6.”

That touches another idea. Has Tucows ever considered branching off into offering a digital library? You certainly have the backbone in place with the software library. I’m not saying a digital library would fly but certainly, the “library” aspect of Tucows should be exploited as well (JIMHO).

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