5 Technology Observations: 10 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, updates, rumors, gossip, observations and quotes taken out of context for Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

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

8. No Killer App: When the iPhone launched in 2007 it had two killer apps. First, it was something called a phone. You needed that capability to dial people or accept calls when you were mobile. Awesome. Second, it was an Internet device. You needed that capability to check websites while mobile. One device to do both phone and Internet? Awesome. In stark contrast, the Apple Watch -- officially announced yesterday and set to ship April 24 -- has no killer app (as far as I can tell...). It's main purpose, as a guest on Tech News Today stated, allows you to leave your phone in your pocket for a range of simple tasks that now occur on your wrist. 

7. But Two Killer Ideas: I was, however, impressed with Apple's new ResearchKit announcement. The new software development framework allows medical researchers to interact with iPhone users in a range of ways. At the same time, there are signs that Apple Watch could evolve into a sensor network for big data applications.

6. HP's Server Pivot: HP has unveiled Cloudline servers for telcos, cloud services providers and other types of hosting companies. The company also is promoting a service provider growth suite and datacenter support services for that market. HP says the Cloudline servers are optimized to run HP Helion OpenStack -- the company's own version of the popular open source software. The Cloudline systems leverage joint work with Foxconn.

5. Bubble Battle: Mark Cuban suggests there's a bubble in tech venture capital. Generally speaking, I agree. But AOL founder Steve Case doesn't go quite that far. He concedes that valuations for late-stage venture capital companies poised to go public might be a bit excessive. But Case claims "discipline is returning to the IPO market." Here's the problem with your reasoning, Steve: If early stage companies have sky-high valuations (my words) -- how can investors and entrepreneurs hope to earn decent returns during disciplined IPOs? Somebody during the investment process is going to get burned...

4. Timely Reminders

  • Catch up with me, Mike Elgan and surprise guests on Tech News Today (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT).
  • In our latest podcast (Episode 25, 9:01 p.m. ET/6:01 p.m. PT) Learn how a top entrepreneur has changed his approach to raising VC and angel dollars over the past decade.

3. Fresh Funding: Companies raising dollars include...

  • Do, a meeting management startup, raised $2 million and is plugging into Office 365. A Google Apps connection already is in place. Key financial backers include New Enterprise Associates.
  • Simplivity, which sells converged hardware infrastructure, has raised $175 million in its Series D round and the company's valuation now exceeds $1 billion. This could be a head-turning company to watch for Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM and Oracle -- any company that's striving to sell converged infrastructure for data centers.

2. Radical Thinking: So let me get this straight. Generally speaking, interest rates are hovering around historic lows. Crowdfunding websites are proliferating. Venture capital and angel investment transactions are near historic highs. Yet some folks are draining their retirement savings to fund their small businesses. It sounds like there are some creative, tax-free ways to tap into your 401k or IRA for small business funding. Am I missing something, or does that sound like an extremely risky move? 

1. Thank You, Gigaom: Plenty of folks are wondering how and why Gigaom shut down yesterday. I certainly have my theories. But I also have plenty of applause to share. Founder Om Malik and his team inspired a new generation of digital media and tech media entrepreneurs. We quit our jobs, built our own soap boxes, then stood atop them to reach new or emerging online audiences. In a sense, Gigaom lost its own business battle, but helped the overall IT media industry to win a war that required completely new business models. Goodnight, Gigaom. And thank you.

PS: I'm checking to see if Gigaom Structure Data (March 18-19, New York) is cancelled.

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