5 Technology Observations: 17 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, chatter, rumors, guitar riffs and plenty more to start your day for Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 13 items.

13. The Bigger They Are: Pinterest is now valued at $11 billion after the company's latest round of funding. Oh my.

12. A Lesson for All Of Us: Sometimes when men attempt to discuss gender equality we stumble badly and reveal just how much we still need to learn. Here's a case in point involving Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and US CTO Megan Smith -- a Google veteran.

11. Good Startup Zip Code: Want to raise venture capital? Sure, there's a lot of VC activity in California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas -- among other prime states. But an oft-overlooked location is... wait for it... Ohio. The number of active VCs in Ohio increased 567 percent from 2009 to 2014, reports CB Insights. Of course, some skeptics wonder how many VCs will survive if the current IT tech market is a bubble set to pop.

10. Everything Oracle: As we mentioned yesterday, Oracle is set to announce quarterly results after Wall Street closes today (Tuesday, March 17). Critics note that investor expectations are low, so Oracle should be able to deliver a positive surprise. The key sound bites to track: Sales of Engineered Systems (high-end hardware and software systems designed for data centers); recurring revenues for Oracle's cloud applications business; any signs of progress in Oracle's IaaS business.; and details for new application licenses -- always an indicator of Oracle's overall strength. 

9. LinkedIn Accelerates Career Push: The social network acquired Careerify. The value: Careerify's software essentially automates steps to help employees recommend job candidates to their employers. Here's the irony: The more LinkedIn pushes into the recruitment market, the less businesses may trust it for day-to-day communications since poaching could become a problem. That's where business-to-business social networks like ComLinked enter the picture. Employees come and go -- but ComLinked's B2B connections (between businesses, not people) are forever.

8. Amazon Is the New Microsoft Windows: Software AG is migrating its entire software portfolio to Amazon Web Services. It's sort of reminds me of ISVs and application developers that migrated their software portfolios from Unix to Windows NT in the late 1990s. Only this time, Amazon's cloud essentially is the underlying operating system.

7. SolarWinds Shines On: The IT management company has made multiple acquisitions -- and they're performing well, according to Investors Business Daily. Among SolarWinds' keys to success: Allowing IT managers to easily download, install and try software -- while rivals like CA Technologies and HP were often late to the "try it then buy it" software and cloud waves. Also of note: SolarWinds has a great "hands off" approach when buying companies -- allowing the acquired business to execute its strategy rather than stalling under new ownership.

6. More FinTech Startups: During our podcast with NY TechDay's founders (listen to Episode 24), we explored the growing market for Financial Technology (FinTech) startups. Former bankers are stampeding into the FinTech market. Want to learn more? Check out these eight niche markets within the broader FinTech sector.

5. Facebook Small Business Workshops: They're popping up across the U.S. -- and entrepreneurs are showing strong interest. One recent example: More than 500 small business owners and employees attended a Facebook Small Business Boost event in North Texas last week, according to the LewisvilleLeader. While intriguing, the workshops sound rather basic for anyone with a bit if social media experience. Facebook discussed four items -- how to create a Facebook page; how to create posts; how to promote businesses (i.e., "advertise with us") and how to manage and measure a page's performance.

4. Windows 10 Meets Internet of Things: Call me skeptical. Microsoft wants to put Windows 10 into embedded devices, appliances, robots and more. It sounds like there are four Windows 10 platforms on the way.

  • Windows 10 Industry for mainstream PCs and laptops;
  • Windows 10 Mobile for smartphones and smaller mobile devices;
  • Windows 10 Athens for compact systems; and
  • the NET Micro Framework for smart watches and more.

But when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), I wonder if businesses will trust Microsoft's code or simply embrace open source, various Linux builds, Android offshoots, Java and more.

3. Azure IoT: Putting Windows 10 IoT on the back burner for a minute, I'm much more interested in Microsoft's Azure IoT push. Microsoft North America President Judson Althoff (yes, the former Oracle Senior VP) described some of the Azure IoT vision in a blog. Microsoft's IoT cloud push comes one week after Amazon purchased an IoT startup.

2. Tune In: Qumulo, a storage startup, has raised $67 million in venture funding -- and just emerged from stealth mode yesterday. How does a startup raise so much cash -- and what's Qumulo's strategy? CEO Peter Godman shares his perspectives this evening in our latest Good Evening, I.T. Entrepreneurs podcast (Episode 26). 

1. Opposite Week: After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz has written a massive opus for a certain sector of the IT market. And I've been thinking about online monetization strategies -- especially in the mobile world. What the heck are we up to -- individually and together? As soon as we sort out the potential answers we'll share them here. If months were innings, we're still scoreless heading toward the bottom of the third.

Subscribe: Want to receive our blog headlines in your inbox each business day? Then subscribe to our enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.