5 Technology Observations to Start Your Day, Nov 21

Good (Friday) morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five new technology news nuggets, insights, rumors, gossip and chatter to start your day for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014.

Actually, today's update features 10 items.

10. Party Like It's 1999: In a bid to win the talent wars, tech companies are offering yoga classes, Jell-O Shots, whiskey tasting events,  and other tempting perks. And the "office manager" position has transformed into a "worker happiness" position that involves party planning and more. Those insights surfaced in The Wall Street Journal. To me, those perks sound a lot like 1999's Silicon Valley -- right before the tech bubble burst. Enjoy the party, folks. But act like the designated driver. Meaning: Don't let the perks intoxicate you. Focus on the sober reality that most privately held IT companies don't survive to go public...

9. Kill All The Ads (For A Fee): Google is the latest company to test a subscription service that makes ads go away. For $1 to $3 per month, you can visit various sites that will be presented ad free. Early test participants include The Onion and Mashable. For anybody in the content or online community markets this is an interesting model. Just sayin'... ...

8. Password Management Reconsidered: Everkey has developed a wristband that manages your passwords. The wristband uses bluetooth technology to unlock smartphones and apps. Lose the wristband and you simply call Everkey or visit Everkey.com to disable the device. Here's a question: Why "buy" yet another device to manage your passwords? Why not just embed the same technology right in your smartphone -- reducing you to a single password to manage: The one that allows you into your smartphone. 

7. IBM's Cloud Advantage?: When IBM launched yet another cloud service this week (called Bluemix Dedicated), the company's spin actually caught my attention. IBM says the new PaaS (platform  as a service) gives each customer a private, dedicated cloud using dedicated servers in SoftLayer data centers. IBM says the approach is ideal for customers that demand high levels of security, privacy and corporate compliance. Now, the race is on to get software developers to optimize their applications for Bluemix Dedicated.

6. Server ARMs Race: So Qualcomm is preparing to enter the ARM server chip market, sparking rumors that the company may acquire AMD along the way. Sure, the server market remains massive -- and dominated by Intel processors. But the question is: Who is going to buy ARM servers amid the shift from on-premises data centers to third-party clouds? And for I.T. entrepreneurs, remember the advice we mentioned yesterday: You shouldn't care about the underlying hardware any more. If the hardware fails, let your cloud provider shoot it and rapidly fire up a new server for you.

5. Opposite Day At Amazon: The massive online store has leased a 470,000 square foot property in Manhattan. But this won't be yet another Amazon warehouse and shipping facility. Yes, it could be Amazon's first customer-facing physical store. Proving once again to all I.T. entrepreneurs: At some point, your business likely needs to offer face-to-face customer engagements.

4. Facebook's Seven Tips for Business: The social network has shared seven page posting tips for the holidays -- in an effort to help businesses promote their services through Jan. 1, 2015. The seven-tip list goes something like this:

  • Advertise on Facebook
  • Really, You Need to Advertise on Facebook
  • Uses pictures in your Facebook ads
  • Refresh your ads
  • Post those ads frequently/consistently
  • Target your ads
  • Review your ad campaign
  • I'm still waiting on bonus tip No. 8: Want to start a new Facebook campaign based on a review of your previous campaign?

Gee, thanks for the advice,  Facebook. I humbly concede... After Nines Inc. may actually follow your shameless list of tips as we market our own services...

3. Shameless Transition: Now that you've read my rant about Facebook's shameless push for more advertising, please tune in my shameless request for your time. After Nines Inc., Voxox and a few surprise guests will host an SMB Strategy tweet chat on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 2pm ET. Find early details here. I suspect Voxox marketing wizard Tristan Barnum will be on hand for the conversation. Loyal After Nines Inc. visitors heard about Tristan's rather incredible business journey in this podcast. More panelists and details will be announced soon.

2. Can You Ship ME for Free?: Amazon apparently is preparing a travel service featuring curated hotel options around New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. My question: Can Amazon actually disrupt other hot travel sites like AirBnB?

1. Happy Thanksgiving: An early "Happy Thanksgiving" to our readers, site visitors and clientele. I'm on vacation the week of Nov. 24 and will be plugging back in on Dec. 1. But don't worry: Our blog will be updated daily, with a few surprises in my absence, during the Nov. 24-28 business week.

BONUS: if you're looking for a Thanksgiving Dinner Invite: After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz will be hosting her family at her house. She has a first-floor guest suite. And a view of a lake. And there's a lifetime supply of Legos for your kids. And her husband (name removed to protect the innocent) is kind enough to remain the designated driver for guests... Bring an extra bottle of red if you'd like to request a late checkout.

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