5 Tech Observations: 6 February 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, and perspectives to start your day for Friday, February 6, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves a dozen items.

12. Twitter, Google Search and Promoting You: Twitter's user base grew only 1.4 percent in its latest quarter -- ouch -- but investors are impressed with the social media network's financial strategy. Among the things to watch: Tweets will start to show up in Google searches -- a pretty big development for media-savvy folks looking for the right eyeballs...

11. Losing Touch With Customer Data: How's this for ironic. The larger Twitter becomes, the less analytics and user information it's sharing with employees. One example: It sounds like data about monthly active users (MAUs) is only available on a need-to-know basis -- which represents a recent policy change, according to re/code. So much for data transparency...

10. In the Clear (Unfortunately): Surely, you know that Anthem Hack involved millions of user records. Now comes word that the records weren't encrypted. I'm not a fan of government regulations, but we do need some sort of encryption regulation at this point because the private sector isn't moving fast enough to truly safeguard its data... and our privacy.

9. Great Idea. Steal It: I bumped into Verizon's Adam Famularo back in December. At the time, you could almost see the wheels turning inside Adam's head as he formulated a number of moves to push Verizon's various telecom services forward. Now, Famularo is pulling back the curtain on a few of his ideas -- describing his first 90 days at the company while also offering up the simple thought: Why Verizon. Memo to all I.T. entrepreneurs: Write a blog with the headline "Why [Your Company Name]." It will help you to clarify your business's value proposition -- to you and your customers. 

8. Deja Vu: Funny, but the less we do... the more certain folks are emulating our every move. We're flattered. Stay tuned for a whole lot less -- and more -- later this year.

7. Congrats: To former Dell Enterprise CTO Sam Greenblatt, who has jumped to Nexenta Systems -- a software-defined storage startup. Keep an eye on Nexenta's relationship with VMware... ...

6. Congrats, Part II: Salesforce and Engine Yard veteran John Dillon has joined Aerospike as CEO. Aerospike is a NoSQL startup that competes with MongoDB, DataStax and Couchbase.

5. Can't Split Fast Enough: Symantec shares fell on a sales miss and weak revenue and profit guidance. The company will soon break into two businesses -- Veritas (storage) and Symantec (security). The breakup is expected by October. Ironically, maybe the company should steal a page from its former CEO -- John Thompson, now chairman of Microsoft, where mobile- and cloud-first initiatives are accelerating.

4. Hardware Is Sexy Again: As the world waits for Apple Watch (launch date: April 2015), business accelerators like Y Combinator (YC) are trying to spot -- and invest -- in the next great hardware developments. But this is more than a mobile and wearable strategy. YC points out that the accelerator has funded companies "building things like nuclear reactors and rockets." As the late Casey Kasem would say: Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

3. Software Testing Attracts Dollars: Sauce Labs, a cloud-based testing startup, has raised $15 million in a Series D (yes, D) round. True believers include Toba Capital, a VC firm led by senior software executives. The "software testing" niche looks pretty darn hot. In addition to Sauce Labs, we also keep close tabs on uTest... an online community featuring 150,000 testers and QA (quality assurance) professionals. 

2. No Kidding: Small business spending shifts may curb Staples-Office Depot growth as the two retailers merge, according to Reuters. Gee, thanks for the tip. Does anybody really think a Staples-Office Depot combo is going to "grow"? This is all about consolidating two businesses faster -- hopefully faster than the retail market consolidates around them... Less won't be more. Less will be... a lot less.

1. Thinking About 2025: I think After Nines Inc.'s business ideas will have long legs and staying power. But it all depends -- heavily -- on the IT platform foundation we pour later this year. Right now, we're busy trying to find and mix the right cement. I think the blueprints are looking pretty sharp, tho.

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