A cou­ple of months ago, I got asked at  the last moment to con­tribute an essay to a book­let on Small Busi­ness and Tech­nol­ogy, with mine to focus specif­i­cally on the Cloud. I’ve put the entire book­let up on our site for down­load. The first essay is one of the best quan­ti­ta­tive descrip­tions of small busi­ness that I’ve ever seen. The expe­ri­ence helped me under­stand what an amaz­ing world we now live it, where the ben­e­fits of com­plex IT can be had with­out any oblig­a­tion to invest in IT com­pe­tence or infra­struc­ture (think of an iPad appli­ca­tion with a com­plex back end in the Cloud), In  many ways, mar­ket oppor­tu­ni­ties are now inverted: it’s eas­ier for a small busi­ness to take advan­tage of new IT than it is for a larger busi­ness, because the small busi­ness has lit­tle or no exist­ing IT invest­ment to worry about or inte­grate with. For exam­ple, Cloud­Flare pro­vides Web site pro­tec­tion and accel­er­a­tion to small busi­nesses.  When asked whether Cloud­Flare com­petes with Aka­mai, CEO Matthew Prince says “No” point­ing out that Aka­mai has roughly 4,000 enter­prise cus­tomers while Cloud­Flare has more than 120,000. Akamai’s cus­tomers all have com­plex spe­cific needs; CloudFlare’s use a stan­dard and auto­mated product.