5 Technology Observations: 26 February 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news stories, insights, gossip, chatter and finely filtered noise to start your day for Thursday, February 26, 2015. 

Actually, today's update involves 15 items.

15. Got a Business Model?: YouTube apparently has 1 billion viewers -- and no profit. The lesson for you: Sometimes when you get folks hooked on "free" services you can never convince them to actually pay for your highly valuable offerings. You've essentially commoditized yourself before the game began.

14. Unwanted Guest: It looks like much of Lenovo's website is back online after going dark yesterday. A hacking group called Lizard Squad apparently attacked Lenovo after the PC maker spent the previous week apologizing for preloading spyware on some of its systems. Now, the bigger question: Did the attackers leave any malware behind -- or did Lenovo truly clean up the online mess before it turns into a Sony-type situation?

13. My Thoughts Exactly: HP may buy Aruba Networks to accelerate its push into enterprise networks and WiFi. But here's the thing: HP's SaaS revenues were flat -- yes, flat -- in the company's most recent quarter. And a growing number of skeptics are wondering exactly how HP is going move to the forefront of the cloud conversation. HP's buyout of Eucalyptus last year was strange at best. The Helion push sounds very promising. But HP's latest cloud czar, Marten Mickos, apparently isn't in the driver's seat anymore. CEO Meg Whitman and her leadership team deserve plenty of credit for stabilizing HP. But the next chapter -- actually driving growth through innovation -- seems far more difficult...

12. Leading the Conversation: During an email chat last night with a secret source, After Nines Inc. noted that FireEye CEO David DeWalt always seems to be ahead of the curve on public cybersecurity conversations. DeWalt proved that point again this morning, granting an interview about cyberespionage trends as well as the Sony and Anthem hacks.

11. Picture Perfect Endorsement: After Nines doesn't spend much time thinking about Pinterest. But maybe we should. A new eMarketer reports that Pinterest is smaller than other social network giants. But here's the thing. Pinterest has an attribute that other social platforms lack: Users willing share their product preferences, plans and aspirations on the platform, eMarketer says. That's certainly food for thought... 

10. Kill Reader Comments?: What a foolish move by Popular Science, Bloomberg and others. Heading in exactly the opposite direction, the New York Times is expanding its online reader comment capabilities. Smart move. Sure, 99 out of 100 comments may be generic. But all should be valued. And you never know when that one reader comment will prove the value of your community -- or spark your next business idea. Ahem... Pardon me for a minute. I've got to go jot down a few notes offline.

9. Data Center Analytics: Facebook data center veterans Amir Michael and Jonathan Heiliger have co-launched Coolan. The startup will focus on analytics culled from Open Compute Project hardware. If you're anywhere near the datacenter space, you need to track OCP -- which has grown beyond Facebook's nurturing into an industry movement. An OCP conference is set for March 10-11 in San Jose. 

8. Magic Quadrants - Hot or Hype?: Maybe the media and vendors -- rather than Gartner -- should be taken to task over all the Gartner Magic Quadrant noise. We all spend so much time celebrating specific vendors in a Magic Quadrant that we forget to actually READ the research behind the findings. A case in point: If you check the Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics, you'll actually find some great guidance about the BI capabilities you may (or may not) need.

7. Serious Setback: China apparently has dropped Apple, Cisco and other major US providers from its state approved purchase list. You don't care about IT on the opposite side of the world? Foolish. The ripple effect will likely spread globally, leading to missed growth opportunities and perhaps even job losses here in the U.S. While China's human rights record leaves much to be designed, the government also has legitimate concerns about U.S. spying activities, led by the NSA. Even US tech executives like Yahoo's Chief Information Security Officer are now confronting the NSA over the global spying concerns.

6. New Money: Zimperium raised $12 million in Series B funding. Zimperium protects Apple iOS and Android mobile devices against WiFi, cellular and host-based attacks.

5. Riddle Me This: Would you take a small business loan from a bank that was struggling to keep its business open? Obvious answer: No. So why would anyone take a loan from Staples' new small business lending service -- when Staples itself is struggling to stay relevant?

4. Seeking Startup Dollars?: If you're seeking funding to grow your business, then check out the Angel Capital Expo (May 1, Mountain View). Roughly 300 angel investors are confirmed to attend. To apply to present use this link.

3. Emerging Relationship: At first glance, Google Apps and independenceIT are potential rivals in the Desktop as a Service market. But independenceIT apparently surfaced at the Google Teamwork 2015 conference this week in San Diego. An new independenceIT offering allows you to manage user workspaces (virtual desktops and more) across multiple data centers. I wonder if that means it somehow supports workspaces running across multiple public clouds and private clouds... 

2. All That on a Mobile Screen?: That's the challenge we keep facing internally at After Nines Inc. Our latest closed-door discussion is set for later today. I suspect a few guests in the room will come armed with answers that are far beyond my expertise... More later.

1. You Don't Say: Got some chatter to share -- on or off the record? I'm all ears: Joe@AfterNines.com

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