5 Technology Observations: 12 May 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, updates, data points and observations to start your day for Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 14 items.

14. You've Got A Buyout: Verizon is acquiring AOL for $4.4 billion in cash. The deal is all about mobile video advertising. For the millennials out there, AOL was the poster child for the dot-com boom and bust more than a decade ago. As some pundits may recall, AOL and Time Warner merged back in 2000, creating a business with a market cap of $350 billion -- roughly $190 million of which involved AOL's market cap. That deal ultimately imploded as the world shifted from AOL's dial-up Internet connections to broadband.

13. Mobile Opportunities, Challenges: Facebook commanded 35 percent of the mobile display ad market in 2014, according to eMarketer. After Nines Inc. had zero percent (perhaps because we're not in that market). Hmmm... Another fast fact: 39 out of 50 major news sites now have more traffic comping from mobile users than from desktop users.

12. And Mobile Search, Too: Speaking of Facebook, the company apparently is testing a search engine inside its mobile app. Surely, Google isn't clicking the Like button.

11. Big NoSQL Numbers: MarkLogic, one of the company's behind NoSQL, has raised another $102 million in venture capital -- taking total funding to $173 million, The Wall Street Journal estimates. The big data company's total valuation is now more than $1 billion. MarkLogic CEO Gary Bloom is a familiar name to many corporate IT buyers. He previously spent more than a decade at Oracle and he also led Veritas Software leading up to that company's merger with Symantec.

10. Speaking of Big Valuations: Are CIOs on shaky ground when they adopt hardware, software or cloud services from startups that have sky-high valuations? Before you dismiss such concerns, does anybody else remember what happened to Exodus Communications during the dot-com implosion?

9. The Big Cisco Question: Cisco Systems is set to announce quarterly results on Wednesday (May 13). Some pundits will tune in to potentially hear about the forthcoming CEO transition from John Chambers to Chuck Robbins. That shift is set for this summer. I'm curious to learn if Rob Lloyd, who was on Cisco's shortlist of CEO candidates, plans to stick around now that Robbins is set to take the CEO seat.

8. The Odd Couple: Musician James Taylor was a guest on Howard Stern's satellite radio broadcast today. While Stern's raunchy broadcast alienates plenty of potential listeners, I'm drawn to his long-form guest interviews. At a time when we're all captivated by 10-second soundbites, Stern's typical guest interview runs a full hour -- poking and prodding to learn about each guest's life, influences, successes and setbacks. I didn't have time to determine if today's Taylor interview was a repeat or fresh content. But I do know this: It was timeless.

Podcast 034: New OwnBackup CEO Sam Gutmann.

Podcast 034: New OwnBackup CEO Sam Gutmann.

7. Cloud-to-Cloud Backup: How does it differ from PC- or server-to-cloud backup? New OwnBackup CEO Sam Gutmann provides the answers in our latest podcast (Episode 35). And don't forget to check out our growing archive of podcasts, featuring CEOs and investors describing how to build, manage, grow and exit startup tech companies.

6. Time to Sell?: I've had a good run with Rackspace shares over the years, but the cloud company delivered a weak growth forecast yesterday, sending shares down about 10 percent. I'm wondering if or how Rackspace can scale its business more rapidly at a time when Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure each seem to be solidifying their market presence. It might be time for me to sell my Rackspace shares... or maybe for Rackspace to sell its business...

5. Cloud KPI: By the way, Rackspace says it now generates more than $1,400 per month in revenue per server . But I think that key performance indicator (KPI) involves physical servers rather than all of the virtual machines running on each box. 

4. One Million Attempted Hacks Per Day: Worldwide? Nope that statistic simply involves Israel's servers that power and run the electric grid; they were ere attacked nearly 1 million times per day during last summer's Operation Protective Edge initiative, according to Israel Electric Corp. Chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal. Any single direct hit, he told the audience, would have shut the country's electric grid.

3. LinkedIn Shares Big Data: Yes, the social media giant is now opening its data set to third-party researchers -- mainly PhD students, professors and researchers. A team from MIT, for instance, will use the data to look at the economic health of specific cities, notes Re/Code. As additional, business-centric social media companies like ComLinked pop up in the market, I wonder what new data research projects will eventually emerge...

2. Want to Join a Startup?: Working for a startup can sound fun, glamorous and downright exciting. But before you accept a job offer from a startup, entrepreneur and investor James Altucher says you need to explore multiple questions:

  • Has the CEO built a business before?
  • Does the company have good funding -- enough money to last a year and people who are willing to write more checks?
  • Do you believe in the vision?
  • What's the valuation?
  • Can you learn new things in the position?
  • How does everyone get along within the company and with customers?
  • Do demographic trends favor the company?
  • What's the roadmap to IPO, exit and/or profits?

1. Traffic: After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz asked me a bit about traffic yesterday morning. Hmmm... The short answer: I don't commute so I'm not all that focused on traffic patterns at the present time. But my answer may change quite a bit later this year... I'm thinking about fueling up the old family truckster for quite a road trip...

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