5 Technology Observations: 13 February 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, rumors and gossip to start your day for Friday, February 13, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves eight items. Because eight is enough.

8. Here They Come -- Sort Of: Xiomi, a top Chinese smartphone maker, is moving into the U.S. market -- though not in a huge way just yet. The first move involves activating its mi.com ecommerce website to sell cellphone accessories to U.S. customers. At a time when Apple and Samsung seem to dominate the U.S. smartphone landscape, keep Xiomi on your list of potential market disrupters.

7. Next-Gen Monitoring Money: New Relic, a next-generation monitoring and application performance management company, says Q3 2015 revenues grew 69 percent to $29 million. This was the first earnings report New Relic has delivered since going public. Several emerging and potential rivals -- like AppDynamics and Boundary -- have been raising money toward a potential IPO down the road... 

6. Very Frothy, Too Hot?: The average price of a venture capital deal increased 115 percent in Q4, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sounds like a super hot market -- that's ultimately going to burn a few people once those valuations return to normalized levels...

5. Investor Mashup: InvestX Capital has launched a crowdfunding platform for private equity deals. A list of potential deals is here. Gotta admit: I'm getting a bit overwhelmed by all of the online tools now available for angel investors. That can only mean one of two things: I'm not cut out for this industry or a market shakeout is coming...

4. The Opposite View: Instead of getting involved in crowdfunding, The Wall Street Journal has been profiling a range of entrepreneurs who prefer minimal outsider dollars and/or a complete commitment to bootstrapping. David Ciccarelli, who bootstrapped his company to over $25 million in cumulative sales, is the latest entrepreneur to weigh in. Still, even this article has a bit of spin. "Cumulative" sales stretch on over multiple years. It's unclear how much revenue (and profit) his company actually generates annually...

3. Worst Cloud, Worst Digital Transition?: PlayStation Network has been down for maintenance. While I don't particularly care, I do wonder how customers feel. Sony's online gaming network seems to make far more headlines for its outages rather than its innovations... The issues don't stop there. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture, and it's absolutely amazing to see how poorly the Sony brand (as a whole) has performed in the digital age vs. Apple, Netflix, Samsung, Microsoft... and the list goes on.

2. Rules to Build By: AppDirect Co-CEO Daniel Saks says his company essentially lives by five core values -- regardless of business stage. Saks shared the list and described AppDirect's $50 million Series D funding round during a special mid-week edition of our podcast series, Good Evening, I.T. Entrepreneurs.

1. Holiday Weekend: After Nines Inc. will be closed Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 for Presidents' Day. Our blogs and daily enewsletter will resume Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. For those who are set to unplug for the extended U.S. holiday weekend -- remember to truly unplug.

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