5 Tech Observations: 9 January 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, rumors, chatter, gossip and updates to start your day for Friday, January 9, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 11 items.

11. Potential Box IPO: The latest stats... Box hopes to raise nearly $190 million in its IPO -- which would value the company at more than $1.5 billion. The company's revenues jumped 80 percent to $153.8 million for the nine months ended Oct. 31 vs. the corresponding period last year. My spin: I'm not an investor in file sync/sharing businesses. For me to open my wallet I'd need to be convinced that third-party app developers were adding a ton of value and writing to the platform's APIs. Box is certainly making progress in that area...

10. Snow: It has arrived here on Long Island. Had to drive my youngest son to school. Hence, this blog entry is a little later than usual. Thanks for understanding my commitment to education -- oh, and picking up a coffee on the way home.

9. How About Some Healthcare?: Google apparently has a license to sell auto insurance. How about a push into healthcare, Mr. Schmidt? You already know about all of my online activities. And you give me the power of Google for free. For a similar low fee, I'll turn over all of my healthcare information -- if you agree to cover my medical bills.

8. On the Go: Former AVG VP Luke Walling has quietly engaged and advised a range of companies -- investing in QuickKey (where he is a board member, too) and joining Avast Software as GM and VP for SMB operations. It sounds like more Avast moves are coming soon...

7. The LinkedIn Challenge: LinkedIn has expanded its blogging platform capabilities -- basically transforming the digital Rolodex platform into a community for informed opinion sharing and soapbox discussions. Yes, Amy Katz and I are sorting out if, when and how to expand our presence there. Hardly revolutionary, I know. But a necessary step as we prepare to... um... you'll have to wait for it.

6. Avoiding the Apple Tax?: Apple App Store sales rose 50 percent to about $15 billion in 2014. Apple pocketed about $4.5 billion off those sales -- or about 30 percent of the revenue, leaving about 70 percent for the App developers. My question: Will there come a day when a third-party (or third parties) develop a Apple App Store clone that charges developers far lower fees on each sale? Surely, Apple has done everything possible to prevent such a store's development. But at some point, I wonder if/when developers will seek a higher return on their sales rather than the value of Apple's closed environment -- which is tightly managed for efficiency and quality.

5.Another Productized Service: After Nines Inc. already features a daily blog, a weekly podcast and, a newsletter and a range of consulting services that our clientele consumes. Next up? We're, ahem, researching that right now. You don't need to be an angel to know where we're heading. But it might help... More details sometime in Q1 2015, I suspect...

4. Steely Dan: I never really appreciated their work when I was a kid. But now, their music is a constant presence on Pandora throughout my day. I gotta catch Donald Faden live one of the these days.

3. Term Sheets: We've been talking up the fact that Seismic CEO Doug Winter spoke with us about raising $20 million in Series B funding this week. Among the gems in the podcast: Winter describes how he builds VC relationships before he needs them, and then how he manages the term sheet negotiation process. Don't forget to check out our growing podcast archive, where tech CEOs and leaders explain business building (finance, marketing, sales and more) to I.T. entrepreneurs. 

2. Reality Check: Some pundits say 2015 will be the year of "re-platforming" -- where businesses move wholesale to NoSQL and Hadoop for big data applications. Be careful of this "everyone is doing it" mentality. Often, when you ask around, "everyone" involves the vendor community telling customers that everyone is doing it... NoSQL and Hadoop are super-hot on the CIO priority chart. But everyone is never everyone.

1. Big Inflection Point: Several mentors of mine lost their jobs at InformationWeek this week. Total bummer. I grew up on the print edition in the 1990s. That job was the springboard that launched my career in IT media. I wish everyone the best as they explore the next chapter of their professional careers. And for those who are looking for jobs -- check out this blog about why it's ok to get lost in business and in life.

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