5 Tech Observations to Start Your Day 120814

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology observations, news nuggets, gossip and other insights to start your day for Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.

Actually, today's update involves eight items.

8. Mobile Payments: Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, says 54 out of every 100 payments made with Alipay this year came from Mobile devices -- that's up from 22 out of every 100 payments being mobile in 2013. The figures are mostly related to China. But surely, the Apple Pay and Google Wallet folks hope to see similar data in the U.S. soon. Also, I.T. entrepreneurs focused on beacon technology see plenty of opportunities related to mobile payments.

7. Data Centers Across the Pond: IBM, Google, Amazon and others have all announced plans for new European data centers -- even as new data protection laws near launch. The big questions: How many businesses will halt future data center buildouts and simply move workloads to the cloud giants? 

6. Private Dollars vs VC Money: As an I.T. entrepreneur, you read about startup funding every day. But are venture capital dollars really necessary? Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff points to private dollar funding -- the way Larry Ellison pumped money into Salesforce -- as one potential alternative, especially if VCs can't add value (beyond the dollars) to your business.

5. Twitter, IBM and Business Intelligence: When IBM and Twitter announced plans to work with one another, I viewed the deal as a potential publicity stunt. IBM, faced with 10 consecutive quarters of flat or declining revenue, needed some sexy Big Data news. Twitter, faced with investor concerns about the company's business strategy, needed to show it was serious about next moves. So the duo partnered in October 2014. Fast forward to the present, and this spin from B2C offers some interesting benefits for SMBs. Consider me intrigued.

4. Career Negotiations: A few weeks ago, I mentioned that quite a few sources were mulling career moves ahead of the new year. Now, a few of those sources are nearly ready to confirm new titles, employers and career goals. We'll share the stories... soon.

3. Loosely Translated: I don't speak French but here's a rough attempt... bon anniversaire, joyeux anniversaire and/or bonne fête to Renee Bergeron.

2. Earnings Season: Oracle, Red Hat and BlackBerry each announce earnings next week. We'll be watching each company this week for early clues about how they're performing.

1. Small Businesses Flex Their Muscle: Roughly 7 million of the 10.9 million jobs added during the economic recovery come from... small businesses and entrepreneurs. And for 15 straight quarters, small businesses have contributed to employment growth -- accounting for as much as 80 percent of job gains in any given quarter, according to Huffington Post.

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