5 Technology Observations to Start Your Day, Nov 6

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. I'm writing today's blog in real-time so keep checking back for updates. Here are five technology news nuggets, gossip, chatter, insights and observations to start your day for Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.

Actually, today's update involves nine news nuggets. Here they are.

9. Michael Dell Plays Catch-up: Dell is finally beta testing a cloud marketplace. More than a mall where you pick and choose from third-party cloud services, it looks like users can receive a single cloud bill for all of their cloud solutions, while also working through a single dashboard to monitor and manage all of the offerings. Back when I was with Talkin' Cloud, I covered a somewhat similar system call Ingram Micro Cloud. But while Ingram's platform is designed for "partners," the Dell system seems to be designed for end-customers.

8. Podcast Syndication: Now that we've launched our podcast series ("Good Evening, I.T. Entrepreneurs" -- www.afternines.com/ceo) we're preparing to syndicate the podcasts across iTunes and more. Similar to building a cable channel like HBO before distributing the content across cable networks, we wanted to make sure our own website and our podcast content were in good shape before opening the syndication pipelines. Stay tuned. Those pipelines are coming.

7. Big Numbers Across the Pond: Lenovo's quarterly profits jumped 19 percent amid strong growth in Europe, and strong demand across PCs and servers. Ironically sales in China we weak -- but demand in Europe was strong. The signal for I.T. entrepreneurs: Despite all the economic worries across Europe, demand for base IT infrastructure and endpoints remains strong. Now, go roll out the apps or extend your cloud services to those Euro endpoints.

6. Are You A Big Data Master?: Anybody else notice that colleges, universities and business schools are launching Big Data courses? Many involve one-year analytics programs for Millennials who already work as business analysts. At USC's Marshall School of Business, roughly 50 to 60 students are expected to enroll in the new Master of Business Analytics program next year. The one-year fee: $47,000. I wonder: Should you spend that money at a college -- or just go get certified on a popular Big Data platform as a power user?

5. Small Business Healthcare Glitches Continue: So, you've got an I.T. company with 50 or fewer employees -- and you'd like to give the federal government's new online health-insurance exchange (called SHOP) a try. Alas, reports about bugs and glitches continue to emerge ahead of the SHOP's official launch on Nov. 15. This is the third round of SHOP "glitch" reports we've spotted over the past week. Nobody is screaming "fire" but plenty of people smell smoke. As a small business co-owner myself, I don't think I'd test the exchange until at least late November. By that time, fingers crossed, hopefully the feds will have ironed out most of the problems.

4. Mom, Dad -- And Your Money: Financial advisors like Fidelity Investments and TIAA-CREF are offering an interesting spin on money matters for Baby Boomers, Gen X, and the Millennials. It seems like Millennials take lots of advice from their Gen X and Baby Boomer parents -- especially when it comes to funding new businesses or the basics like long-term savings and investments. While Fidelity and TIAA-CREF don't want to throw anyone under the bus, the investment firms are trying to step between parent (the Boomers) and child (Millennials), pushing for the new workforce to seek professional financial advice. My advice? Sure, seek out professional advice but investigate the advisor's compensation model. Stick with the low-cost offerings like Vanguard and check out emerging platforms like Wealth Front (I'm hooked), and speak with peer entrepreneurs to learn how they funded their businesses.

3. Two Potential M&A Deals: Heard a rumor that at least two M&A deals in the cloud market may be announced as soon as next week. One involves a publicly held anti-virus company... So where will the deals emerge? At Amazon's AWS re:invent 2014 conference? Apparently not. These deals, if completed, will likely surface at an Orlando, Fla. conference called IT Nation, hosted by ConnectWise. For daily coverage of that event, check out MSPmentor -- a site that I co-launched back in 2008 (I exited that business in May 2014).

2. Big Career Move: Ubersmith, which makes billing, monitoring and automation software for the cloud, has named Kurt Daniel general manager. Daniel jumped from MongoDB -- where he oversaw the NoSQL database company's cloud monitoring and backup services. Here's why I'm so intrigued. MongoDB is a super-hot company in the database and Big Data sector. By jumping to Ubersmith, Daniel could be signaling that something big or super-intriguing is set to unfold at Ubersmith...

1. Hello, Neighbor: Congrats to Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of Presidio. Bob and I have known each other for about 40 years. His company, Presidio, just announced an EMC-validated hybrid cloud solution. It's an interesting move, considering Presidio is balancing close relationships with both Cisco Systems and EMC. And we all know Cisco and EMC (essentially VMware's parent) are at war over software-defined networking. Perhaps Presidio will emerge as the IT equivalent of Switzerland in that digital war.

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