5 Technology Observations: 19 February 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, updates, predictions and rumors to start your day for Thursday, February 19, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 12 items.

12. Going to Pieces: HP is doing it. Symantec is doing it. And now Sony is doing it -- breaking up the underperforming company into multiple underperforming companies. OK, maybe Sony didn't phrase it that way. But I sure did. Just last week, we mentioned (see item 3) that Sony's near-complete failure in the age of digital entertainment, cloud and mobile is nothing short of spectacular. 

11. Rise of the CDO: Now, even the White House has a Chief Data Scientist -- naming Dr. DJ Patil to the post. Fully 61 percent of Chief Information Officers want to hire CDOs (chief data officers) within the next 12 months -- typically to oversee data gathering, management, privacy and monetization strategies. Now, if only I had seen the CDO and big data waves coming... the way After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz did. But that's a story for another time.

10. Cha-Ching: Samsung has acquired LoopPay to compete with digital wallet technologies like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Apple Pay seems to have serious momentum in the U.S. -- though it's too early to say if the iPhone maker is setting another de facto market standard.

9. Social Marketer: Ello, the aspiring ad-free alternative to Facebook, has hired Rene Alegria as chief marketing officer. Details are expected today, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yes, I've got an Ello account but I haven't used it much. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ keep me plenty busy. Moreover, I've been spending ample time in ComLinked -- which allows businesses to network up with one another...

8. Irrational Exuberance 2.0: Pinterest's latest VC engagements apparently value the company at $11 billion. Moreover, roughly 73 privately held startups are now valued at $1 billion or more. Anybody else raising the caution flag?

7. Waiting for the Call: Fortune magazine editor Andrew Serwer is the latest journalist to jump to Yahoo -- joining Yahoo Finance as editor in chief. Gotta admit, I'm a Yahoo Finance junkie. Yahoo has emerged as a safe haven of sorts for high-profile journalists who want a massive digital platform upon which to stand. Still, it's unclear how long Yahoo's infatuation with editors will last -- especially since Wall Street is constantly pressuring CEO Marissa Mayer to speed growth and boost profits. PS: Yahoo has yet to reach out to me... and People.com has yet to reach out to Amy Katz. So we're stuck with each other here at After Nines Inc. -- a pretty awesome business fate, I must say.

6. Micro Business Automation: Call it PSA, CRM and Sales Quoting for tiny businesses. 17hats has raised $1.25 million in seed funding to enhance a business management app for so-called solopreneurs. The offering includes CRM, project management, quotes, contracts, invoicing and more. Here's a closer look at the solopreneur app trend.

5. Our Podcasts on iTunes: Yes, you can listen to all of our podcasts (or download them) right from our website. Or, subscribe to our iTunes feed for the latest conversations featuring tech CEOs and investors educating I.T. entrepreneurs.

4. Congrats: Ingram Micro and NetEnrich veteran Justin Crotty has joined MaintenanceNet as VP of worldwide sales. We reported the career move via our Facebook page and Twitter handle yesterday. During my previous career stint (covering the IT channel at the time), Crotty helped to shape my views on managed services, cloud computing and small business development strategies. His team at Ingram laid the foundation for that company's cloud platform. More recently at NetEnrich, Crotty pieced together a closet-to-cloud strategy for end-to-end IT management. At MaintenanceNet, he'll help customers to maximize profits through a proven SaaS platform... Stay tuned for more details... 

3. Somewhat Related: Need to manage customer contracts -- and make sure they don't expire? Cloudtract, a startup, may have the solution for small business owners -- though we haven't given it a close look yet.

2. Coming Soon: Pilixo, the cloud platform funded and built by several Kaseya veterans, is starting to take shape -- from what we've heard. Want some clues about the company's direction? Think "awareness and all-knowing" as a potential mantra. Then check which Twitter handles that Pilixo follows; they may foreshadow the company's direction... If you dig deep enough, you may even find some good news for the Apple ecosystem. We've got more to share... when the time is right. 

1. Now the Fun (Nearly) Begins: After Nines Inc. has largely completed a request for proposal (RFP) process to snap some secret Lego pieces into something bigger for you... 

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