5 Tech Observations: 30 January 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five recipes for the weekend... er, five technology news updates, observations, rumors, gossip, chatter and insights to start your day for Friday, January 30, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves nine items.

9. Box Going Vertical: The cloud storage and file sharing giant has hired Bain & Co. veteran Josh Chernoff to build the company's retail vertical, consumer goods and hospitality verticals. Yes, I've been critical of file sharing platforms -- calling them commodity offerings. But the more I write that, the more Box, Dropbox and others prove me wrong by adding value to their offerings...

8. Watching But Not Chasing, Part I: BuzzFeed certainly generates a lot of buzz -- thanks to about 300 to 400 quick-hit posts per day. Our strategy is decidedly different: Two updates daily, with a lot of vague references about where we're going... while mixing in quick observations to help I.T. entrepreneurs understand market trends. For now, less is more. And down the road: A little bit more (with market stats mixed in) will be just right...

7. Searching for More Revenue: Google's latest quarterly revenue figures disappointed investors. My bigger concern involves Google Cloud Platform. Improvements arrive every day -- that's for sure. But it's unusual for Google to be a "No. 3" player -- certainly behind Amazon Web Services, and also very likely trailing Microsoft Azure in terms of true enterprise and business deployments. I'm not sure how Google can close the gap, given Microsoft's growing commitment to cross-platform and open cloud services (Linux, Hadoop, etc.). I doubt Google will respond with Windows Server support... but a Google-VMware cloud relationship is worth watching.

6. More Cloud Enablement: SolarWinds has purchased Librato, a cloud monitoring company. The $40 million cash deal will allow IT experts, DevOps managers, developers and other folks to manage "all things IT in a hybrid world." So, will SolarWinds "enable" Librato to integrate with other platforms? Educated guess without speaking with anyone: Yes.

5. Feeling Her Pain: Nearly half of small business owners say bookkeeping is their least favorite task, according to a TDBank survey. I've worked with Amy Katz on various businesses since 2008 or so. As CEO she's never really complained about the bookkeeping task -- perhaps because she and I are like 96 percent of other small business owners who love flexibility and control, according to the survey results.

4. Worth Attending?: Anybody else heading to Strata+Hadoop World  (Feb. 17-20, San Jose)? The big theme, predictably, is "designing and building big data applications." Training for Apache Spark is sold out at the event...  

3. Watching But Not Chasing, Part II: Business Insider's value doubled in less than a year? The entrepreneur in me says, "Awesome... Media Ain't Dead." But the realist in me says, "Even digital media is now part of the tech bubble." Either way, After Nines Inc. is preparing for a marathon -- not a sprint.

2. AWS Numbers: Amazon is finally disclosing its cloud revenues -- at least, that's the plan for future quarters, according to the company's earnings call yesterday. In the meantime, AWS Leader Andy Jassy describes Amazon's cloud goals in this interview.

1. Microsoft Android?: Speaking of cross-platform (item 7 above), Microsoft is investing in Cyanogen -- which is building its own version of Android, according to the Journal. Cyanogen's Android effort doesn't bow to Google's various app and search demands. It's a safe bet future Microsoft phones will depend heavily on both Windows and Android -- with Android perhaps even being the preferred approach.

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