5 Tech Distractions to Start Your Day, Sept. 17

Good morning. So.... um... yeah... Here's the latest edition of After Nines Inc.'s 5 rumors, gossip and insights to start your tech day -- and maybe even distract you from work for just a bit. You can count on this blog being posted at 9:01 a.m. ET each business day. Here's today's edition.

5. No Deal: It looks like Rackspace (RAX) is no longer for sale. Reports last week suggested that CenturyLink would buy the cloud and hosting provider. Over on SeekingAlpha, I suggested at least four other companies were giving Rackspace a close look as well. Alas, the company now says it will remain independent, and a new CEO has been named.

My reaction? Utter disappointment. I have a small but longstanding stake in Rackspace. I should have sold on the sale rumors. Instead, I held the shares -- which will surely fall today amid the "no sale" announcement. Bummer, especially considering competition from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform will intensify. My strong hope is Rackspace goes back to basics: Preach and deliver Fanatical Support as your No. 1 differentiator.

4. Silicon Valley Losing Edge?: Assuming Alibaba goes public Friday, four of the world's 10 largest Internet companies by stock market value will be based in Asia, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Big Four also includes Tencent Holdings, Baidu and JD.com, the Journal said.

Sure, plenty of US investors are profiting from those companies. But ultimately, it looks like more and more IT profits are finding a home in Asia. And 45 percent of the world's nearly 3 billion Internet users are in Asia, the Journal estimated. And here I am blogging from my home on Long Island. Makes me wonder... what should After Nines be doing in, around and for Asia?

3. Meet Me In New York?: I will be in Manhattan on Thursday, Sept. 18, for a Golden Seeds angel investor gathering. (I'll be the low net worth guy in the back of the Shark Tank-like room.) If you'd like to potentially meet to discuss your IT business or the industry in general, I've got a few openings in the afternoon. Just drop me an email (joe@AfterNines.com). Side note: Golden Seeds invests in women-led, early stage companies. If your company fits that description, I'd be happy to make introductions at Golden Seeds.

2. Tech Investor Alarm Grows Louder: Yesterday, I mentioned that Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Bill Gurley is very concerned about lofty tech valuations (see item 2 here). Now, well-known VC Fred Wilson says he's worried about his portfolio companies spending cash far too rapidly...

We have multiple portfolio companies burning multiple millions of dollars a month. Thankfully its not our entire portfolio. But it is more than I’d like and more than I’m personally comfortable with.
— Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures

I don't know Wilson directly, but I worked with his former VC partner -- Jerry Colonna -- back when I was a cub reporter at CMP Media. Jerry and Fred together made some extremely big, extremely successful dot-com bets back before that bubble burst. Companies like GeoCities come to mind. If Wilson, Gurley and other VCs are starting to sound a cautionary alarm about burn rates and tech valuations, we should all be listening. And saving for a rainy day...

Side note: And for those CEOs who are trying to get their businesses and lives under control, check out Colonna's Reboot podcast and business retreat.

1. Behind the Curtains: When Amy Katz and I unveiled After Nines Inc. yesterday, plenty of folks reached out to us and asked for more information about the company. A few people even wanted a sneak peek at our operations. We appreciate the inquiries. Let me offer this two-part public reply:

  • More About the Business: You can find info about us and the business right here.
  • Sneak Peek at Our Operations: Today, Amy is finalizing several proposals and I'm trying to figure out how to launch the best, most concise daily enewsletter for those who want our corporate blog in their inbox. We've promised to launch that newsletter by Oct. 6. Early subscribers are signing up here. Also on today's agenda:  Amy and I plan to call each other and brag about our kids' latest achievements in swimming, football and more.

That's all for now. Visit this blog daily at 9:01 a.m. ET for the latest updates from After Nines. And don't forget to sign up for our daily enewsletter, delivering this blog to your inbox each business morning starting Oct. 6.

Thanks for stopping by.