Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Welcome to the final business day of February 2015. Here are five technology observations, insights, chatter and carefully crafted rumors to start your day for Friday, February 27, 2015.
Actually, today's update involves 13 lucky items...
13. Lobbying Washington: Amazon has hired ex-White House Spokesman Jay Carney to drive its public policy initiatives -- a super-important role as Amazon deals with ecommerce taxes, privacy, security, drone, and other hot-button political issues. If you can't afford to hire someone like Carney for your lobbying efforts, I've got some sound advice: Work closely with CompTIA -- one of the best IT organizations focused on public policy.
- Too many startups focus on scaling the business but scale is not enough; revenue generation can't be an afterthought.
- Focus on early majority and late majority adopters to survive downturns.
- Don't worry about being cool. Attract solid, dependable team members -- rather than rock stars -- for the long haul.
(I like Myers' advice, but I hope you'll forgive After Nines Inc. if we eventually build something reasonably cool.)
11. Watch This: So, the big Apple Watch launch apparently is March 9. My thoughts remain unchanged: Whether you're a potential buyer or partner, keep an eye on WatchKit -- the software development kit for Apple Watch. Track app developers that leverage WatchKit, and you'll get a much better feel for innovations (or lack thereof) on the smartwatch. Naturally, an Apple Watch app store must also be in the works. A side note: Can Apple transform the watch market into an upgrade cycle market -- and how frequently will you actually buy a new watch to replace your antiquated previous watch?
10. Key Changes: Andrew Higginbotham, senior VP of cloud and technology, has exited CenturyLink. Sounds like Aamir Hussain will succeed him. Congrats: To Jared Wray -- founder of Tier 3 -- as he takes on more responsibilities as part of the CenturyLink changes. CenturyLink acquired Tier 3 in 2013.
9. Don't Chase Dollars: Serial Entrepreneur and Ampdesk CEO Alex Rowland schooled me yesterday on a range of digital media and startup issues -- including funding. Instead of working a business plan and chasing seed money, Rowland thinks it's far wiser to spend your first months as a company building your product or service and chasing customers. Once you have revenue, investors have a habit of finding you. We'll publish the entire conversation in an upcoming podcast.
8. Going Vertical, Update: Yes, we all know Box is trying to work more closely with vertical market customers. But what are the details? Here's a look at how Box's encryption key management capabilities could attract financial services firms to the file sharing platform.
7. Letting Go: After Nines Inc. is letting scores of URL registrations expire this year. The big question : Which ones do we plan to keep? Hmmm...
6. See You There?: GigaOm Structure Data conference, March 18-19, New York. I've always been an unstructured type of guy. Maybe a little structure will serve me well -- so I'll be attending. To potentially meet there send me an email with the subject line "Structure."
5. Funding and Acquisitions: The latest moves we're tracking include:
- Emailage has raised $3.8 million for email fraud prevention.
- Exablox has raised $16 million in Series C for storage management applications.
- Kochava acquired InferSystems for mobile ad optimization involving beacons.
- LeadDesk, a cloud-based platform for call centers, inside sales and telemarketing, reportedly has raised some dough.
- VirtaCore Systems -- focused on virtual infrastructure as a service -- apparently has raised some money, too. We don't have details yet.
4. We'll Spend Billions: When your business is struggling -- or at least working really hard to transform itself -- the fastest way to shift the conversation from negative to positive is to shout a dollar figure. The latest example: CEO Ginni Rometty says IBM will spend $4 billion on initiatives to drive mobile, cloud, big data and security initiatives. Translation to Wall Street: Pay no attention to IBM's top-line revenue declines for the past 11 quarters. (Despite the challenges, I do remain upbeat about IBM's potential turnaround.)
3. Box Score: This is the final business day of February. Inning two is now in the books. But what game is After Nines Inc. playing? Sometimes you don't get a complete view of the field until after the final out...
2. What's Brewing?: Matt Weinberger (pictured) is a fast-rising tech journalist who just jumped from IDG to Business Insider. Matt worked with us from 2009 to 2012 before he moved on to new opportunities. Matt's blend of the day is French Roast from Arizmendi Bakery in San Francisco, Calif.
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