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Facebook Tests New Button-Pushing Plan
October 8, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced a pilot test of "Reactions," a way to respond to posts on the network in a more nuanced way than its Like button allows. The new feature is live in Spain and Ireland. CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously alluded to the eventual landing of a Like alternative, although he said it would not be a much-requested Dislike button. Facebook had good reasons to resist a Dislike button.
Will Insider Trading Sideline Fantasy Sports?
October 8, 2015
The field of fantasy sports is faced with a fresh set of legal questions, following this week's allegations of insider trading on DraftKings and FanDuel. Having been validated by their skill component, fantasy sports have spilled across state lines and even into the world of collegiate athletics, a realm that has been closed to other forms of gambling.
App for Rating People Draws Withering Scorn
October 7, 2015
Canadian businesswoman Julia Cordray's plan to launch Peeple, a Yelp-like app that would let people post reviews about other people, has drawn fierce criticism in the tech press and the blogosphere, including a petition against the app's launch and a Twitter campaign to boycott it. "It's a legal and ethical minefield," said Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at 451 Research.
Leveraging Moments of Truth
October 7, 2015
eGain is touting a report from Forrester Consulting and my friend Ian Jacobs purporting to show that omnichannel customer service is stagnant or worse when it comes to delivering service that customers need and want. Ian does good work and I am in agreement with him on this, but I have trouble with some conclusions, specifically the implication that the problem can be solved with more software.
Many Product Searchers Skip Google, Go Directly to Amazon
October 7, 2015
Amazon has become the first stop for nearly half of online shoppers researching potential purchases, according to a report BloomReach released Tuesday. Nearly half -- 44 percent -- of some 2,000 survey participants said they go directly to Amazon to search for products. That's a substantial increase from a similar survey Forrester Research conducted in 2012.
EU Data Transfer Ruling Leaves Tech Companies in Quandary
October 6, 2015
Europe's highest court has ruled that a 15-year-old agreement regulating electronic data transfers with the U.S. was invalid, potentially striking a blow to thousands of U.S. technology companies that rely on a uniform legal standard do business overseas. The European Court of Justice ruled that the U.S. Safe Harbor agreement was inadequate to protect the privacy rights of ordinary citizens.
Stop Competing on Price, Start Competing on Customer Experience
October 6, 2015
Target may be implementing price matching, but there are other ways to compete. Customer experience is the new battleground in retail sales, and winning this battle requires winning over customers with truly personalized service. Despite all the advancements in technology, personalized customer service and efforts to build customer loyalty have all but disappeared.
Federal Cybersecurity Performance Gets Mixed Reviews
October 6, 2015
The spectacular database breach that affected nearly 21 million people highlighted the continuing vulnerability of U.S. government information technology systems, despite the expenditure of billions each year on cybersecurity. The breach resulted in the departure of the head of the agency and triggered widespread questioning about the adequacy of federal IT security by members of Congress.
Can Jack Dorsey Save Twitter?
October 5, 2015
Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, who has been running the company as interim CEO for the past three months, has taken the reins for good, the company revealed in a document filed with the SEC. Former CEO Dick Costolo has left Twitter's board of directors, and Adam Bain has stepped into the chief operating officer role. Dorsey will continue to lead Square, the mobile POS company he founded, as well.
3 Ways CRM Can Help Sales in the IoT Era
October 5, 2015
It's becoming increasingly clear that the nature of the sales profession is changing. Salespeople are no longer the ones who introduce products to their customers -- in most cases, especially in business-to-business settings, customers have done a lot of research on their own and are close to a decision before they talk to a salesperson. This trend has some people in sales panicked.
So What's Really the Best Smartphone?
October 5, 2015
The best smartphone on the market is the iPhone, right? That is the conventional wisdom. However, if I were to ask about the best shoes, shirt, car, boat or TV, the answers likely would be all over the map. When it comes to cars, for instance, I personally favor convertibles because they remind me of my youth when I could ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and they are just more fun.
Gadget Ogling: Eyes on Google
October 3, 2015
Chromecast helps people easily stream whatever they want through their TV via a simple dongle. Now Google's adding a splash of color to the device, along with a string of new features. Instead of resembling a USB stick, Chromecast 2 is more like a colorful button, and Google says it is easier to plug into an HDMI slot. Also, it apparently can stream videos faster and with less buffering.
Benioff Flees Facebook in Search of Peace
October 2, 2015
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has quit Facebook and shut down his account, sparking speculation as to his motives. Is Salesforce at odds with Facebook? Is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg no longer Benioff's BFF? Is Salesforce planning something with Twitter? "I'm on a FB pause," Benioff posted on Robert Scoble's Twitter account, in response to his query. "It was too overwhelming to keep up to date."
Microsoft and Google End Hostilities, Partner Up
October 2, 2015
There's strong, scientifically verifiable evidence indicating Microsoft's move to join the rest of the tech world in open source and collaboration was propelled by a compelling force: the Nadella effect. Since taking the company's helm, CEO Satya Nadella's message has been one of collaboration, and meeting consumers on their terms. For example, Microsoft pushed Office 365 to all major platforms.
Cloud Consulting Acquisitions Accelerate
October 2, 2015
The recent flurry of consulting company acquisitions focused on cloud computing is another clear indication of the accelerating shift of IT systems and enterprise applications to Software as a Service, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service alternatives. IT and business decision-makers are no longer asking why they should move to the cloud.
Warning: Think Twice Before Updating to iOS 9
October 1, 2015
Apple, you insensitive scoundrel, you made my bride cry. It wasn't tears of joy over your great technology, either. It was because you caused the loss of countless personal photos and memories, and all sorts of other personal information that we can never get back again. It's all because you simply didn't warn users not to upgrade to iOS 9 until the bugs were worked out.
Linux Foundation's Open Source R&D Worth $5B
September 30, 2015
The Linux Foundation has released a white paper that puts the estimated value of development R&D costs of its Collaborative Projects at $5 billion. The foundation has provided independent funding for the collaborative software projects since 2008 to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. Open source is changing the world in which we live, according to the report.
Flights of Fancy: The Multibillion-Dollar World of Fantasy Sports
September 30, 2015
Americans are expected to spend $4.6 billion on fantasy sports this year, while vying for a payout of around $107 -- the average prize for winning the biggest fantasy league games, according to American Express. Driving that spending and risk taking are a passion for sports, the promise of purses, the push of new platforms, and the pull of camaraderie.
Vertical Ventures
September 29, 2015
I'm always looking for emerging trends at Dreamforce, the kinds of things that are hiding in plain sight. They might never amount to much, but given that it's Dreamforce, many likely will bloom. A case in point is the emergence of vertical market CRM. Its time is now because application development tools have become so good, and because customers need fast, budget-friendly deployments.
BlackBerry Sees the Android Light
September 28, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday announced that it would introduce an Android smartphone later this year. The announcement came during the company's Q2 earnings call. The device will be known as the "Priv" and will be built around user privacy, said CEO John Chen. BlackBerry didn't offer any specifics about the Priv beyond the name -- nothing about pricing, U.S. carrier partners or any handset specs.
Two Risky Strategies Could Threaten Apple's Long-Term Survival
September 28, 2015
One of the ironies of my career is that when I first went to work for a tech company, I specifically wanted to work for a firm that was breaking the mold -- not representative of it. So, in my initial interview, I was concerned that IBM was going to buy the firm because it was the mold at that time. I was promised that there was a contract that said it couldn't. Then, six months later, it did.
Gadget Ogling: Pebble Goes Round, VR Hits Movies, and Smart Locks Lose Keypads
September 26, 2015
The latest Pebble looks a touch different from previous models of the smartwatch. Instead of a square screen with rounded edges, it bears a circular watch face. The Pebble Time Round also is thinner and lighter than its siblings, but it's not as water-resistant. More importantly, the battery doesn't last as long -- a couple of days rather than a week. That earns it a black mark.
OPM's Latest Bad News: 5.6 Million Fingerprints Lifted
September 25, 2015
The Office of Personnel Management on Wednesday revealed that the hackers who penetrated its records system stole 5.6 million fingerprints of federal employees -- five times the 1.1 million originally reported. The cyberattack, which came to light this spring, compromised the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of 21.5 million people.
Volkswagen's Fines - Billions; Lost Customer Loyalty - Incalculable
September 25, 2015
There's a rough road ahead for consumers strapped into Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars kitted out with software to fool emissions testing. Many of VW's loyal customers feel let down and even duped, said Agnes Huff, CEO of the Agnes Huff Communications Group. Many of them now question the brand's overall integrity. "Regaining customer trust will be an ongoing challenge."

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Do you want to live in an Internet-connected home?
Yes -- I have some smart things, and I want more.
Yes -- I'm looking forward to all the conveniences.
Not sure -- I have security and privacy concerns.
No -- the technology isn't good enough yet.
No -- it's a ridiculous waste of money.