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Are You Ready for a RoboCEO?
October 5, 2017
Here's a disturbing thought: A RoboCEO powered by artificial intelligence -- possibly based on IBM's Watson -- could be running some companies within the next decade. Not every company will warm to the idea, to be sure, but it's conceivable that the practice could begin. This idea has started to bubble to the surface, with leaders like Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma apparently taking it seriously.
The New iPhones: Apple's Strangely Wrongheaded Pivot
September 18, 2017
It fascinates me that succession from a successful CEO to the chosen successor almost always goes badly. This phenomenon isn't limited to the CEO level -- I've seen highly successful CMOs followed by handpicked successors who also seem to have no clue as to why their predecessor did so well. I think it comes down to a lack of mentoring combined with misconceptions.
As New Turnaround King, Is HP Better Than Apple?
August 28, 2017
HP is the new turnaround king -- but is it better than Apple? IBM was the king of tech in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it was the king of turnarounds, after almost going under but coming back from a negative brand equity, which occurs when folks will pay more for a no-name product than one with a negative brand. Apple, at the end of the 90s, was in much the same shape IBM was at the beginning.
Tech Leaders Urge UN to Ban AI-Based Lethal Weapons
August 23, 2017
A group of the world's top technology leaders have published an open letter urging the United Nations to ban the use of AI in weapons systems, amid growing concerns that autonomous killer robots could wind up taking control. The group of 116 companies, most of which specialize in robotics or AI, argued that its growing use could revolutionize modern warfare in irreversible ways.
What Will Rise From Uber's Ashes?
August 12, 2017
There has been quite a bit of churn in the waters around Uber during the last few years. Now that founder Travis Kalanick is no longer CEO, what does the future look like for the company, workers, drivers, investors and customers? Will Uber continue to grow and lead, or has it seen its best days? Most people connected to the company probably would say the same thing: They want calm but rapid growth.
HP Is Back: Should It Rename Itself Compaq?
July 17, 2017
HP just took over the PC market lead worldwide. You probably don't get how incredible this is, so here's an analogy: It's as if a crooked referee put a bunch of lead on a racer who already was overweight and shuffled him to the back of the pack, but in the end, the guy finished first. You'd seriously want to look under his T-Shirt to see if you'd find Superman's costume.
Trustify President Jennifer Mellon: Diversity Is Good Business
July 8, 2017
"My team has always, from day one, been 70 percent female," said Trustify President Jennifer Mellon. "You know, we're not a flower delivery service -- we're doing private investigation. It's not a space women often lead in, so I'm really proud of that. ... Over 45 percent of my team identified with a protected minority population -- including LGBT, race, ethnic and religious minorities."
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
Rivals Rev Up as Uber Hits the Skids
June 23, 2017
As Uber reels from the fallout of a sexual harassment scandal that led to this week's ouster of Travis Kalanick and several of his top executives, the company faces twin dilemmas: how to clean up its corporate work environment and restock its executive ranks; and how to maintain credibility with its customer base and core team of street level drivers.
Chastened Uber CEO Takes Leave of Absence to Work on Self-Improvement
June 14, 2017
Uber Technologies CEO Travis Kalanick said he will take a leave of absence, as a company review led by Eric Holder was made public. The review sketches out a plan to make radical changes to diversify Uber in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Kalanick accepted responsibility for widespread company problems that led to the investigation.
Uber Ousts Top Deputy as Fate of CEO Kalanick Hangs in Balance
June 13, 2017
Uber Technologies on Monday lost its second-most-important executive in a shakeup stemming from an internal investigation into sexual harassment charges. The changes at the top reportedly could include the temporary loss of Uber's founder and chief executive, Travis Kalanick. Emil Michael -- who served as the company's senior vice president of business and a key lieutenant to Kalanick -- is out.
Uber Boss Practices Brinksmanship With Apple
April 24, 2017
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has a reputation of playing fast and loose with rules, but it appears that a maneuver his company performed on iPhones took his ride-hailing outfit to the brink of ruin a couple of years ago. When Apple discovered Uber was planting code on iPhones that persisted on the devices even after the ride-hailing app was removed, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave Kalanick a warning.
Why Is It OK to Abuse Customers?
April 17, 2017
I don't know about you but I can't seem to get out of my head the image of that poor Asian doctor who, seemingly unconscious, was dragged off that United flight. The fact that the airline did that to a 69-year-old doctor just so it could save money moving employees around is nearly as unbelievable as the initial tone-deaf response from United's CEO, who blamed the passenger.
Now World's Second-Wealthiest, Bezos Travels to Different Drumbeat
April 3, 2017
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has entered more rarefied air, having leapfrogged billionaires Amancio Ortega and Warren Buffett to become the second wealthiest person in the world. Bezos -- CEO of the e-commerce retailer and cloud services provider -- last week enjoyed a jump of $1.5 billion to $75.6 billion net worth, after his company announced a deal to acquire Souq.com.
EquiSeq CEO Lexi Palmer: Act Like You're Not Scared and Go at It
March 31, 2017
Lexi Palmer is CEO of EquiSeq, a biotech firm that does genetic testing of horses. Palmer met the company's founder, genetic researcher Paul Szauter, in 2015. "I was just finishing up my degree in interpersonal communications ... and he told me about the company he'd started," Palmer recalled. "I told him I knew everything about horses and said I could learn everything he did and market it."
A Solution for the Uber CEO's Anger Problem
March 31, 2017
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has earned a reputation for having a short fuse. In addition to his apparent personal anger management issues, there are the stresses that come with running a giant company -- and Uber recently has been losing executives. When it rains, it pours. What's happening with Kalanick, and can Uber recover its mojo? Many people have issues with anger, but few are in the spotlight.
Why Tech Can't Help Donald Trump and Most CEOs
March 20, 2017
The new president is making almost the identical mistake President Obama made during his first two years. Trump has picked a major entitlement to hang his hat on -- the same major entitlement, healthcare -- and shortly will discover what most CIOs know: You don't mess with anything that touches everybody. The likely outcome will be that like Obama, Trump will lose the house in the next election.
GIT CEO Adriana Gascoigne: More Women in Tech Means More Problems Solved
March 3, 2017
Prior to founding Girls in Tech, Adriana Gascoigne was one of very few women working at a startup. "I'd look around the room every day and see that there was a huge problem of representation. I knew we needed to change the culture of the company to recruit more women and benefit more women, but we also needed diversity in product development ... to make a better product," she recalled.
GE Digital VP Beena Ammanath: For Most Women, STEM Is an Uphill Battle
February 23, 2017
Beena Ammanath is VP for data and analytics at GE Digital. She has worked in the data analytics field for more than 20 years and serves as board director at ChickTech, a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting girls and women into the tech workforce and retaining them once they're there. Ammanath also serves on the Cal Poly Computer Engineering Program Industrial Advisory Board.
Uber Wants Fleeing Customers to Know It's Hurting
February 23, 2017
Uber has been responding to recent requests to delete customer accounts with a statement that claims "everyone at Uber is deeply hurting" and "it's everyone's number one priority to create change in the coming months and years." The pop-up statement, which Twitter users began circulating on Wednesday, appears to be Uber's latest effort to stem the flow of customers from the company.
Toshiba Plunges on Massive Nuclear Writedown, Earnings Delay
February 15, 2017
Toshiba shares fell 8 percent on Tuesday as the company took a $6.3 billion writedown related to its struggling nuclear power business and delayed the release of its fiscal Q3 earnings. Shigenori Shiga, Toshiba's chairman and representative executive officer, resigned effective Wednesday. His resignation in part reflects management taking responsibility for the Westinghouse fiasco.
Facebook Taps Barra to Push VR to the Next Level
January 27, 2017
Facebook has announced that Hugo Barra will be onboarding the company to head up its virtual reality business, including the critically important Oculus team. Barra just days ago announced his departure from Xiaomi. Barra will fill the void left last month, when Brendan Iribe stepped down as CEO of Oculus to head up a new Facebook unit that will develop the PC side of its VR business.
Barra Leaves Post as Xiaomi's International Point Man
January 24, 2017
Almost four years after being poached from a critical post at Google to join Chinese upstart Xiaomi, Hugo Barra on Monday announced he will return to Silicon Valley in February. Barra, who led the Xiaomi's overseas expansion as vice president, international, explained the move largely as a desire to reconnect with his family and restore a sense of normalcy to his life.
New CEO to Guide FinancialForce's Ambitious Growth Plans
January 9, 2017
Cloud-based ERP firm FinancialForce has named a new CEO, Tod Nielsen, who previously served as EVP of platform at Salesforce. Nielsen takes the helm from FinancialForce founder Jeremy Roche, who remains a major shareholder in the company. He will stay on as special advisor to the management team and work with FinancialForce investor Unit4 in an executive position. Roche's home base is in the UK.
Facebook Investors Slam Zuckerberg, Andreessen
December 14, 2016
Facebook investors have accused director Marc Andreessen of secretly coaching CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding a major sale of shares he held. The structure of the sale enabled Zuckerberg to refocus on philanthropic activities while maintaining lifetime control over the company. The suit alleges that Andreessen secretly tipped off the CEO about concerns raised by other members of Facebook's board.
Twitter Shuffles Deck as COO Bain Steps Down
November 10, 2016
Twitter COO Adam Bain is leaving the company, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week. The news comes just weeks after Twitter's attempt to find a buyer failed. Bain ran the company's entire revenue business. CFO Anthony Noto will step into his vacated spot, meaning the company will need to find a new financial chief.
Apple vs. Microsoft: Remixing the Magic
October 31, 2016
What I think is funny in this market is that most people can look at two companies, see the difference in their performance, and not learn the fundamental lesson. The core magic is this: having someone who is running the company who both understands the technology and understands either the customer's current needs -- or how to manipulate customers to need what you make.
Cyanogen's Android Alternative Goes Modular
October 12, 2016
Cyanogen on Tuesday announced that it was going modular. Future releases of its open source Android alternative will not support a full stack of the Android OS. The new modular setup will bring a slew of benefits to phone makers and developers, according to Cyanogen. "The new partnership program offers smartphone manufacturers greater freedom and opportunity," noted Cyanogen CEO Lior Tal.
Dell + EMC: History Is Made
September 5, 2016
I've been involved in mergers and acquisitions for decades, and I used to run an acquisition cleanup team while at IBM. I've seen so many bad acquisitions that it is generally far easier to point out the good ones. What is somewhat ironic, given my background, is that the best largely have been executed by Dell, using a process initially developed by IBM.
Tim Cook Devotes a Lot of Words to Saying Very Little
August 16, 2016
Tim Cook talked about his five years at the helm of Apple in a wide-ranging interview published Saturday. Apple fans looking for juicy morsels about new products won't find them in the Q & A, however. Among other things, Cook discounted the bleak claims of those analysts who maintain the smartphone market is in decline -- and Apple's fortunes with it.
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Which form of smartphone security do you rely on most?
Face ID or Fingerprint
Strong Password
App Locks
Storage Encryption
VPN with Public WiFi
I don't use any smartphone security tech.