5 Technology Observations: 24 February 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, rumors, gossip, chatter and background noise to start your day for Tuesday, February 24, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 15 items...

15. You Don't Say: Marketers are questioning the quality of ad-targeting data providers. In my mind, that means there will always be room for niche online communities that provide a true conduit between marketers and their target audiences. The big question: Who's qualified to convene those niche audiences in an engaging, informative -- perhaps even whimsical -- manner? Hmmm.... Let me mull that for a few months. 

14. About Your Corporate Video: Is it a logistical and political nightmare to have your corporate video reviewed and approved by all parties before you share it publicly? Enter Wipster, an emerging platform that allows you to share a video for internal review and comments -- ensuring everyone has their say before you unleash a final cut to the public. Wipster, based in New Zealand, just raised $1.2 million in angel funding.

13. B2B Renaissance: Some folks think the B2B renaissance is waning -- shifting to B2C or C2C or C2B (yada, yada, yada). I say: Nonsense. Two examples I'm watching closely are ComLinked (gee... why does Joe keep mentioning them?), and now NewCo -- which just raised $1.7 million in seed funding. NewCo's face-to-face gathering model -- where companies literally open their doors to each other -- sounds extremely compelling. And once you're done with that F2F engagement, perhaps the conversation and business relationship can spill onto ComLinked. Just saying.

12. We're Not Amazon: IBM's Hybrid Cloud push accelerated yesterday -- with a range of technology and partnership announcements. The core message: IBM wants to help customers manage data regardless of where the compute engines reside (on-premises or in the cloud; public or private; shared or dedicated, etc.). Generally speaking, I think IBM's overall cloud efforts are dramatically stronger today vs. only a few months ago -- helping to differentiate the company from Amazon's mostly public cloud efforts.

11. Vertical Market Security: Wall Street and law firms are launching a "cooperative body" to bolster cyber security. The move comes only a few weeks after President Obama called for industry leaders to share more security information across vertical markets. Keep an eye on the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center -- which could help Wall Street to share early warnings that mitigate attacks before they propagate. 

10. Have You Heard?: Keep a close eye on Twilio -- a fast-growing provider of API software that allows you to embed phone, voice and messaging capabilities into web, desktop and mobile software. The company has just acquired Authy -- which develops a two-factor authentication app. Basically, Twilio is preparing to harden its apps for mission-critical business use.

9. HP Breakup Update: Expect some updates during the company's earnings call today. Q1 2015 results should surface after U.S. markets close, and HP will host an earnings call at 5pm ET/2pm PT. CEO Meg Whitman will be on the line with CFO Cathie Lesjak and VP Jim Bergkamp. The breakup, announced in Oct. 2014, is expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2015 -- organizing HP into two companies: HP Inc. (PCs and printers) and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (servers, switches, storage, data center, etc.).

8. Big Media Meets Big Data: Our previous employer, Penton, hired a chief data officer in late 2013. Fast forward to the present, and Conde Naste has hired Ky Harlin away from BuzzFeed -- where he was director of data science. This is actually quite interesting considering BuzzFeed has been one of the media industry's hottest disrupters over the past three years or so. Harlin's new title at Conde Naste: VP of growth and data science. At some point, I may need to get my arms around this data thing...

7. Next-gen IT Management: BigPanda's IT management platform, now lets IT teams customize how they monitor any application, team, or data center -- or so the company claims. I don't know if it works as advertised but the larger trend is clear: IT management innovations are increasingly shifting from endpoints (PCs, etc.) toward applications and data center infrastructure. The core reason: It's not all that bad if an individual PC is running poorly. But if a centralized cloud app is misfiring, the entire world knows it...

6. Got Money? Really?: If you're an I.T. entrepreneur seeking money from angel investors or other funding pipelines -- be sure to read this warning. It only takes a few financial metrics -- and no real training, by the way -- to be an accredited angel investor. But sometimes, aspiring angels don't really meet the criteria. Consider yourself warned.

5. Going to Pieces: Austin Ventures, one of the best-known venture capital firms in Texas, is breaking up. Find some excellent analysis of the breakup here -- but don't blame me for the article's poor font/design choice. Bad design should never get in the way of great content like that.

4. New IoT platform?: You know ARM for its mobile chips. Now, the company is working with IBM on an Internet of Things (IoT) starter kit. No surprise, the initiatives include mbed OS -- a new ARM operating system for "IoT devices and is especially well-suited to run in energy constrained environments." It includes built-in security, connectivity and device management capabilities.

3. Tonight: Join us at 9:01 p.m. ET to hear how 17hats CEO Donovan Janus raised $1.25 million to develop business automation apps for Solopreneurs and Micropreneurs. This is the latest in our ongoing podcast series -- Good Evening, I.T. Entrepreneurs. Each week, a new CEO or entrepreneur shares business, technology and financial guidance to help peer entrepreneurs drive their businesses forward.

2. Get Started: Well, I almost made it through this blog entry without mentioning a major downer. A friend from my high school days died yesterday. I don't know the details other than the most important fact of all: She was a loving mother of two. The clock is running... for all of us. Don't wait for a starting gun to chase your dreams. Just be sure your family is onboard for the ride.

1. Bill Us... Forever: Well, After Nines Inc. signed up for a new recurring service yesterday. It's about $29 per month. It's the next step in a long-term plan that... um... stay tuned.

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