5 Technology Observations: 16 January 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news nuggets, insights, political statements (not really) and stock tips (certainly not) to start your day for Friday, January 16, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 17 items... proving that I have way too much time on my hands while our R&D team somehow pieces together a bullet list of 30 project requirements that I don't know how to implement myself. Oh, and here are those 17 updates...

17. Collectors Item: Google has halted sales of its first-generation Google Glass devices. The search giant says it will develop a second-generation Glass offering behind the curtains, out of the limelight, and away from watchful eyes -- you get the picture. I wonder if the Glass 2.0 will ever see the light of day. In the meantime, anybody want to buy my 1.0 collector item?

16. Recurring Revenue KPI Dashboard: OK, this is way cool. If you run a subscription-based business or a recurring revenue business (surely, you must!) -- there's a new dashboard called ChartMogul that allows you to track recurring revenue activity. The company just raised $600,000 in seed money. Here's my spin on ChartMogul.

15. One Brick From the Wall: In a GQ interview, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason sounds off on the Apple iTunes/U2 debacle, and Spotify's rising star. Why should I.T. entrepreneurs care? Because the thought piece shows how a market disruptor (Apple in music) can eventually get disrupted itself. And the disruption cycles are getting shorter and shorter.

14. Wakeup Call: Marriott is finally coming to its senses, dropping a controversial plan to block personal WiFi access -- which would have forced conference hall attendees to pay for Marriott's own expensive broadband pipes. Microsoft and Google had been fighting Marriott and other hotels that were trying to nickel and dime hotel visitors that need broadband during conference gatherings.

13. Sluggish Recovery: No, I'm not referring to the US economy. Instead, I'm pointing to the PC market and Intel -- where the chip giant's latest quarterly revenues show demand for personal computers appeared to lose steam. That's a concerning statement, considering PCs were supposed to "rebound" now that the initial tablet hype cycle is over... Oh, and please don't ask Intel about mobile and communications businesses -- where the chip giant had a whopping $4.21 billion loss in 2014. Still, Intel's overall annual revenues rose 6 percent to $55.9 billion for the year -- reasonably impressive considering the market gyrations between mobile, desktop, cloud and more.

12. Special Financing: Google is set to offer low-interest loans to businesses that promote Google's business software. I may have about 1,000 more things to say about this later this year. It just depends on whether I can get my own finances in order. Thankfully, After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz oversees our business finances.

11. Speaking of Which: I just received my first check from After Nines Inc. The business already has positive cash flow each month. Though I suspect the board of directors will authorize heavier R&D spending in the next few months. Sounds dramatic, eh?

10. Flurry of Activity: Yahoo is reorganizing its advertising technology leadership -- giving mobile-focused Flurry executives more power. Yahoo will also host a mobile developer conference on Feb. 19. Yes, we'll get an update on the Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite at the conference. We'll be tuning in... but we're feeling a bit stretched as we try to navigate mobile SDKs and APIs involving Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Apple and more...

9. Speaking of Apple: The company's HomeKit SDK got a positive review from the Associated Press. If you're an I.T. entrepreneur focused on consumer products and/or the Internet of Things, it's impossible to ignore HomeKit and Google's NEST. The big question: When will those developer kits potentially begin to support more corporate facilities and business infrastructure -- including cooling and heating systems in major commercial buildings?

8. Deja Vu: The New York Times says Hackers are for Hire. Funny, but a mentor of mine -- Bob Violino -- wrote a similar story with the exact same title... back on June 21, 1993. It appeared in InformationWeek and won rave reviews. Apparently, everything old is new again. Alas, I couldn't find the original article... But it was a keeper.

7. Yesterday's Call: It went incredibly well. Thanks for asking. I'd tell you more but I'm an entrepreneurial guy looking to exit by about 2 p.m. today for a family trip. And that means I need to wrap up other work besides this blog pretty quickly.

6. Internet of Things Standards: The two  working groups to watch are The Open Internet Consortium and the AllSeen Alliance. It's like Coke vs. Pepsi -- but they're using a common sweetener: The Linux Foundation is helping both groups to develop software development standards.

5. Road to IPO: MapR, the Hadoop-focused big data company, is striving to IPO in late 2015 or so. Rival Hortonworks has already gone public. Another rival, Cloudera, also is worth watching. It's a bit like the Linux market in the late 1990s -- when players like Red Hat, Caldera and SUSE were vying for market position. Red Hat ultimately emerged as the dominant player. A similar shakeout will surely happen with Hadoop... though daily readers know I've been ranting about that for several months now.

4. Noteworthy Milestone: Cisco Systems' server hardware business is now larger than that of Oracle (Sun). In some ways it's not a fair comparison, since Cisco has been competing hard in the mainstream blade server market (among other areas) while Oracle has focused on the high end with engineered systems. Still, Cisco's progress is impressive -- especially since most hardware vendors are trying to compete in the converged data center market, where servers, storage and networking essentially blend into one integrated solution.

3. Tired of My Financial Rants?: U.S. companies in 2014 attracted the most venture capital since... 2000 -- or just about when the dot-com implosion arrived. I've been ranting in recent months about lofty Silicon Valley valuations. But I've also taken on some risk by investing in public companies like Splunk and Work Day. If the tech market corrects or implodes, please tell me to take my own advice next time around -- and head for more conservative waters when rising valuations seem too lofty. 

2. Contrarian View: Motley Fool has outlined three reasons investors should avoid Box's IPO -- including (1) commoditized business, (2) lack of profitability and (3) dual share classes. My spin? It all depends on valuation. At some price point, just about every company is a good buy. You just have to decide on the appropriate price point...

1. Creative Spark: Blogging had become heavy lifting for me. After quitting my previous job in May 2014, I wasn't sure I'd ever return to writing. But here I am. Mostly because of (A) this "five things" daily format and (B) the fact that you keep visiting. Did I mention that our newsletter open rates and click-through rates are through the roof? Double-digits on both KPIs... Again, thanks to you. So thanks for helping me to re-ignite my creative spark. Amy Katz and I promise to return the favor. Just give us some time...

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