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Let's Create a TV Show to Fix Silicon Valley
November 12, 2018
Startups have been creating employee hell in Silicon Valley. That was on my mind as I read the book Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us. I think this book should be required reading for anybody who thinks working for a startup in Silicon Valley would be fun. Unless you are into humiliation and abuse you probably should avoid these startups like the plague.
IBM Dons Red Hat for Cloudy Future
November 9, 2018
IBM's deal to acquire Red Hat caught everyone by surprise when it was announced less than two weeks ago. While concerns spread quickly about what it would mean for the largest enterprise Linux platform, IBM and Red Hat executives assured employees and customers that Red Hat would continue to operate independently -- at least for now. Intel made a similar acquisition of Wind River in 2009.
HBO Fires Back at Dish in Blackout Tussle
November 9, 2018
HBO chief Richard Plepler has issued a response to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen's claim that the ongoing impasse between the companies was the result of a purely anticompetitive play on AT&T's part. It was Dish that dropped HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on Oct. 31, blacking out programming for subscribers, Plepler said. That was the first time in HBO's nearly 50-year history that any pay-TV service dropped the premium channel from its lineup.
Can Sprint Get Out of Its Own Way?
November 7, 2018
There has been so much water under the wireless bridge. Sprint has tried to keep up with the big players, but even though it has a good quality mobile product and plenty of spectrum, it seems it just can't catch a break, win market share, and become more relevant. Based on its latest earnings report, Sprint is in better shape today than it has been in recent years, but it is still struggling.
How to Protect Your Online Privacy: A Practical Guide
November 7, 2018
Do you take your online privacy seriously? Most people don't. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it. The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that's why there's been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017, often resulting in loss of reputation or financial woes.
$34B Red Hat Acquisition Is a Bolt Out of Big Blue
October 31, 2018
The cloud computing landscape may look much different to enterprise users following the announcement earlier this week of IBM's agreement to acquire Red Hat. IBM plans to purchase Red Hat, a major provider of open source cloud software, for $34 billion. IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190 per share in cash, under terms of the deal.
Crisis in Tech: Who Can Save Companies When Execs Go Off the Rails?
October 29, 2018
"Too many digital leaders have lost their minds," Kara Swisher recently wrote, citing some frightening examples of poor leadership. She pointed to the solution adopted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who hired a chief ethical officer -- but I think that would just repeat the mistake we made with chief risk officers around a decade ago. The risk managers had responsibility but no real authority.
Oracle OpenWorld: Margin Lab
October 24, 2018
Markets grow at the margins. This bit of sage advice was given to me at the start of my analyst career, and it has kept me in good nick for nearly two decades. Of course the focus has drifted over time but that's the point: The CRM market has evolved, and the job of an analyst is to make sense of the evolution. Oracle OpenWorld 2018 held in San Francisco this week is a laboratory for the margin.
The Rise of Activist Employees in the Tech Industry
October 22, 2018
Things have been changing at an almost unprecedented rate with regard to power structures. The last time I saw this happen was in the 1970s, when the EEOC took off. Suddenly a lot of the off-color, sexist and racist jokes that many executives regularly told could get them fired. A surprisingly large number of people got reassigned, fired, demoted, or otherwise punished.
The CRM Oligopoly
October 4, 2018
As markets mature, they trend toward oligopoly or even outright monopoly. There isn't much difference, because an oligopoly has several members instead of just one. Examples include electric power generation, an oligopoly made up of vertically integrated monopolies in most areas, and the airline industry -- an oligopoly made up of many airlines that may have monopolies in regional hubs.
Oracle's Growing Pains
October 3, 2018
People at Oracle must sometimes feel like they're living in Mark Twain's reality. After hearing that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal, Twain published a quip for the ages when he wrote, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." So too with Oracle. Ever since its earnings miss for its first fiscal quarter, a chorus of financial analysts have predicted doom.
Dreamforce 2018
October 1, 2018
Salesforce has been very good at skating to where the puck will be, to paraphrase the great Wayne Gretzky. As a result, the company has a long line of firsts, beginning with its initial disruption and continuing through its early adoption of social media and analytics. So it's no surprise that it is pursuing some very different issues now than it did almost 20 years ago -- or even five.
How AI Could Fix What Seems Unfixable
October 1, 2018
I watched last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and I was struck by the fact that they seemed to be more about the Democrats fighting with Republicans to see which party could corrupt the Supreme Court more effectively than they were about senators doing their jobs. What bothers me most about that is if you corrupt the highest court in the land you effectively destroy the country.
Why Is Wireless Caller ID So Often Wrong?
September 24, 2018
I have a gripe with the way Caller ID works -- or in fact, increasingly doesn't work -- on wireless phones. I've noticed that most very stinking time I get a call on my wireless phone, the Caller ID information is wrong. Sometimes the number is correct, but the city is wrong. When Caller ID was introduced a few decades ago, it was great. It started on the landline phone, either providing a name or number.
Women as CEOs: The Problems and the Promise
September 24, 2018
I've followed several female CEOs over the years. Most failed, largely because they were both unqualified for the job and their boards didn't back them up. In several cases, the board and the CEO seemed to be in conflict, or the board failed to act. That has created the impression that female CEOs are a bad bet. However, I believe the real problem is that boards haven't been doing their jobs.
Oracle's Earnings Angst
September 22, 2018
OK, this is looking somewhat predictable. Oracle reported $9.20 billion in Q1 revenue, or $0.03 per share, against consensus estimates in the $9.24 to $9.29 range. In other words, it missed its number. How concerning is this? Excuse me while I yawn. It's important all right, but no reason to get crazy. Still, some representatives of the widows and orphans who own the stock went into a tizzy.
Poor Website Designs Could Trigger Legal Actions
September 21, 2018
Internet marketing has become so popular that e-commerce retail sales in the United States are on pace to double between 2009 and 2018. The transaction value of e-commerce service industry contracts reached $600 billion in 2016. Despite the rush to digital commerce, the rules for business transactions are still the same, whether they are concluded on paper or electronically.
In Technology We Trust... But Should We?
September 20, 2018
Since the industrial revolution, technology has changed society continually. Largely due to innovations in semiconductor electronics, software and computer technology, the pace of technological development has continued to accelerate over the past 50 years. Personal computers now fit into your pocket. You have access to people and information all over the world through the Internet.
ACLU Sues Facebook for Facilitating Gender-Biased Job Recruitment
September 19, 2018
The ACLU has filed charges of unlawful gender-based discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 employers accused of targeting job ads at males only. The ACLU, Outten & Golden, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and the Communications Workers of America brought the class action. The complaint alleges that Facebook delivers job ads selectively.
Despite Emmys, Road Ahead Is Bumpy for Streaming Services
September 18, 2018
Netflix had a very good showing on Monday, winning 23 Emmy Awards and tying longtime Emmy-winning powerhouse HBO. Netflix, an over-the-top streaming service, claimed 112 nominations this year, four more than its premium pay-TV channel rival HBO, which had dominated the Emmys for nearly two decades. Although the Emmy wins were good news for Netflix, other recent news has been far less rosy.
Blockchain (Re)Emerges
September 17, 2018
More often than you might think, disruptive innovations travel in pairs -- at least until they are separated by the markets, which decide one is useful and the other no so much. Sometimes they're symbiotic. Both may be useful or even necessary -- like hardware and software -- but that's not always the case. Consider the strange pairing of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
Death Watch Begins for Google
September 17, 2018
The EU has been stretching its wings. In the shadow of Brexit, it apparently has decided it has the real enemy of the people in its sights: social media companies and Google. France is even more aggressive, suggesting that the EU's "right to be forgotten" law should apply worldwide. Given that it actually does fall within the legitimate purview of government, it is hard not to agree.
Facebook Goes Into High Gear to Fight Election Meddling, Fake News
September 14, 2018
Defending against foreign interference in American elections is one of the priorities Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he has been focusing on this year. The issue is highly sensitive, and it is one that has garnered a great deal of discussion in media reports and on the Web. Special counsel Robert Mueller warned in a court filing this spring that foreign interference efforts were still going on.
Google Digs In Heels Over Global Expansion of EU's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
September 14, 2018
Google took on French lawyers at the European Union Court of Justice this week, in an effort to fend off expansion of the EU's "right to be forgotten" judgment. The EU's attempts to broaden the scope of that judgment would be "completely unenvisagable," and it could result in impositions on the values of different countries around the world, Google argued.
EU Copyright Directive Advances Despite Worry Over Breaking the Internet
September 13, 2018
The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a directive aimed at protecting the intellectual property of copyright holders on the Internet. It would require online platforms to scrutinize content their users post online and enter licensing agreements with rights holders. The Parliament approved the copyright directive with a vote of 438-226, with 39 abstentions.
ShipBob Gets $40M Injection to Fuel Growth
September 7, 2018
ShipBob, which offers Amazon-type fulfillment services to small and mid-sized businesses, on Thursday announced it had raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Menlo Ventures. ShipBob's end-to-end fulfillment solution involves a drop-ship model that lets clients deliver packages in one to two business days. Partners include Amazon, BigCommerce, Shopify and other e-commerce platforms.
Human Rights Groups Amplify Call for 'Killer Robot' Ban
August 30, 2018
Leaders from Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic last week issued a dire warning that nations around the world haven't been doing enough to ban the development of autonomous weapons -- so-called "killer robots." The groups issued a joint report that calls for a complete ban on these systems before it becomes too late to act.
Software Providers Scramble to Satisfy World's Largest IT Customer
August 28, 2018
In the competitive IT world, vendors must be alert to major changes within the potential customer base. The U.S. government increasingly has been using its status as the world's single largest IT customer to acquire products and services at competitively favorable costs. U.S. government spending for a combination of legacy IT operations and new projects has reached some $90 billion annually.
Mobile App Financing Startup Gets $6M Helping Hand
August 23, 2018
Braavo Capital announced it has raised $6 million in Series A funding, and converted $2 million in seed capital from investors, bringing the total equity raised to date to nearly $8 million. Braavo, which claims to be the first company to offer Capital as a Service to mobile app entrepreneurs and developers, will use the funds to add personnel to further its mission.
Oracle's Bad Boy Image
August 21, 2018
No one at Oracle will ever be nominated for sainthood, and that's probably OK with them. Over the years the company has developed a bad boy image that in some cases is richly deserved, while in others it has been embellished by events. Much derives from the brash doings of founder and longtime CEO (now CTO) Larry Ellison, who may be a charter member of the "never explain, never complain" club.
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salesforce commerce cloud
How do you feel about Black Friday/Cyber Monday this year?
I'm excited to find great deals and plan to do some serious shopping on BFCM.
I'll watch for BFCM sales, but I intend to drastically curb my spending this year.
BFCM has become a season -- I no longer feel driven to look for bargains on those specific days.
I plan to have most of my holiday shopping done *before* BFCM.
I detest the holiday sales hype and will avoid shopping on BFCM.