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3 Things That Will Change Electronic Entertainment Forever
June 22, 2015
E3 -- perhaps the biggest and most important gaming conference in the world -- took place last week. Sony and Microsoft came ready to do battle, Nintendo showed up, and we were up to our armpits in little companies doing amazing things with virtual reality. However, companies that weren't at the event likely have more to say about the future of gaming than those that had a big presence there.
Gadget Ogling: Wrist-Saving Keyboards, Resource-Saving Smartphones and New Angles on Reality
June 20, 2015
Here to save all our wrists -- or at least those of the populace with a spare $299 to spend on a computer accessory -- is a lovely, wood-finished keyboard called "Keyboardio Model 01." Taking its cue from a long history of ergonomic keyboards, the device splits an atypical keyboard in two, dedicating half the keys to each of your hands, and it's set in a gorgeous maple wood construction.
Correlation, Causation and CRM
June 17, 2015
If you read a lot, like me, you might notice almost daily there's a new study that contradicts some earlier research. Something causes cancer -- then it's good for you. You know the drill. What's going on here? Do we simply not know what our research is saying? Can nobody correctly interpret the data? None of this would mean much to CRM if not for the advance of big data and analytics.
Anatomy of a CEO Failure
June 15, 2015
Much to Apple's dismay, I cover Apple events. One of the questions that frequently came up during its recent developer conference centered on Tim Cook. Was he becoming Steve Ballmer? The implication was that Steve was a failure at Microsoft, so the comparison didn't reflect well on Cook. I think this idea is wrongheaded, although Tim Cook's situation bears some similarity to Steve Ballmer's.
Gadget Ogling: Equalized Eardrums, Holographic Pyramids and Live-Streaming Ovens
June 13, 2015
Aumeo is an attachment that's all about fine-tuning your earphones to better hear anything you listen to on your smartphone, tablet or other audio-emitting gadget. Using a smartphone app, it tests how well you can hear a number of different frequencies and provides you with a personal equalizer attuned to each of your ears. The sound fidelity supposedly is far better.
What Buyers Want
June 12, 2015
Technology is giving companies an unprecedented view of their customers: demographic data; buying preferences; behaviors that signal the intent to buy; and analyses that enable them to develop expectations about how customers are likely to act during the buyer-seller relationship. Those abilities are new, and they hold a lot of promise. However, customers have changing expectations as well.
Early Franken-Cloud
June 10, 2015
What happens when you have a lot of a good thing, like cloud computing? You might get a "Franken-cloud." Basically, a Franken-cloud is what happens when you have multiple cloud-based systems that need to share data and run processes in your business. As recently as a few years ago, the same issues would have come from buying multiple best-of-breed applications and trying to knit them together.
Turning 'Shadow IT' into 'Better IT'
June 10, 2015
Sometimes things happen that seem undesirable, but they actually can turn out to be advantageous when viewed in a certain light, when approached in a certain way, or depending on circumstances. For example, this can be true when it comes to "Shadow IT" -- specifically, the adoption of technology without the involvement or knowledge of the IT organization.
Gadget Ogling: A Speaker-Stuffed Tablet Case, a Soothing Wearable, and Earbuds for the Real World
June 9, 2015
Asus' new ZenPad 8.0 aims to end the scourge of tablets with terrible sound. Its interchangeable cover design gives users several functional options. One is the Audio Cover, which bumps up sound quality by tucking a 5.1 surround-sound system inside. Its six speakers, including a subwoofer, promise to significantly improve the tablet experience of watching video and listening to music.
The Perils of Employees' Trade Secret Plundering
June 8, 2015
Sometimes before new employees leave their jobs to join your company, they copy valuable company secret information onto portable thumb drives or they send that information to their personal webmail accounts. As the new employer, you may be hiring those employees because they have valuable information -- yet you don't want to be targeted by a lawsuit, along with the employees.
The Best Unsung Features of Windows 10
June 8, 2015
There are things about working with large companies that can be really frustrating. For instance, when both Windows Vista and Windows 8 were coming to market, a number of us pointed out that things needed to be fixed before the product was released, but we were ignored, with catastrophic results. This time, however, Windows 10 is looking better than any OS I've ever reviewed.
Dodging Disorganization: Showing Sellers a Sharper Image
June 4, 2015
Despite vendors' claims, CRM is not all about technology. Technology helps it scale, but CRM is really a discipline. It's the discipline of creating relationships that benefit both buyers and sellers. CRM is really great at organizing the data that makes it possible to build relationships. However, many things that aren't driven by your CRM technology can have a major impact on relationships.
It's Hard to See WWDC Through My Apple TV Tears
June 4, 2015
By the time you read this, I'll have finished swearing in the privacy of my office, and likely will have entered the acceptance stage of grief. Already, realization is dawning that I was right to withhold hope that Apple would reveal a new Apple TV at its WorldWide Developers Conference on Monday. I hate it when pessimism wins. But how can I know that Apple isn't going to introduce a new Apple TV?
5 Modules That Will Rock Your Business
June 3, 2015
Zuora two weeks ago announced its first acquisition, Frontleaf, and a new product, Z-Insights. This marks an important moment for both Zuora and what it has called the "subscription economy." The subscription economy has spawned a culture in which people have been conditioned to expect subscription-like performance from all their vendors -- even the conventional ones.
Docker and Containers: An Ecosystem in Motion
June 1, 2015
The community around Docker and containers is drawing interest from large enterprise and service provider end users, as well as involvement from dozens of vendors, including those pursuing various container alternatives. 451 Research has published some new research and analysis on this nascent open source software community in its latest long-format report.
Message for Marketers: Always Be Engaging
June 1, 2015
In sales, we know customer retention is critical for success in the subscription economy. For many tech companies in the SaaS space, it takes three years to break even. In insurance, which has toiled in the subscription economy for more than a century, the average break-even time is an incredible seven years. Because of that, sales compensation is starting to change.
HP vs. Apple: The Contrast Is in the Turnaround
June 1, 2015
I was at Dell's analyst conference last week and HP Discover is this week. As I was considering the contrast between the two companies, I started to think the contrast between Apple and HP is greater. There is a lot of cross-pollination between the firms -- and given how often Apple has embarrassed HP in the market, you'd think HP would have learned from its mistakes. Apparently, it hasn't.
Gadget Ogling: Casting Discs, Scent-uous Sunrises and Surfing Without Waves
May 30, 2015
Media streaming is becoming an ever-crowded market thanks to players like Chromecast, Sling, Apple TV and Roku. We can add another player to the mix with Lenovo Cast, which will become available in August. The puck-shaped accessory can stream 1080p video to your TV from your smartphone, tablet or computer. What's compelling about this is it can display just about anything you have on your smartphone.
5 Reasons Jony Ive's Step Back Is Apple's Step Forward
May 28, 2015
There seem to be two major reactions to the "promotion" of Apple's Jonathan Ive to the newly created position of chief design officer: first, that he deserves the recognition and reward; and second, that this is the beginning of the end for Jony Ive's tenure at Apple. Apple released the news in the UK... on Monday, which was the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.
Subscribed 2015
May 27, 2015
There is no better company to look at to get a sense of the future of technology in business and society than Zuora. This might surprise many people, because companies like Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce might come to mind more readily. To one degree or another, those companies feature their products and services, which are very important, but Zuora talks about business models.
Gadget Ogling: A Mighty Little Amp, a Credit Card-Sized Phone and a Food Tray Keyboard
May 26, 2015
Tinny, terrible laptop speakers may be a relic of the past, but there are still occasions when the built-in audio from your portable computer's speakers or audio jack just doesn't quite cut it. Let's say you're an electronic music luminary traveling the world without the comforts of one's home studio but with an album deadline to meet. You need to hear what's going on. So here's the Apogee Groove.
Apple vs. Lenovo: Lenovo's Coming-Out Party
May 25, 2015
If there is one vendor on the planet that has the capability to fight Apple -- on paper, it is Lenovo. Lenovo this week will hold its annual Lenovo Tech World event in China, showcasing the company's new breadth. While it would be easy to position this as the U.S. against China, Lenovo is actually far more of a multinational company, with executives balanced between the U.S. and China.
Order Taker, Meet Undertaker: What Sales Pros Must Do to Survive
May 21, 2015
Within a few years, 1 million B2B sales roles will be eliminated, according to a recent Forrester Research report. That's 20 percent of them gone, thanks to the evolution of technologies like self-service and customers' increasing desire to avoid the hassle of speaking to sales reps. Personally, I think that's a bit overstated -- or rather, a mischaracterization of an ongoing trend.
Xactly: From Transaction to Process
May 20, 2015
It is subtle, but in the spring conferences I see a pattern emerging around the importance of process. Admittedly, my analysis in this case is less than scientific, and I have no statistics to support my idea, but I my instinct says a trend toward process is beginning. Two conferences that support my contention include Xactly and Zuora, both of which are taking place this week in San Francisco.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.