5 Technology Observations: 20 May 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology industry updates, insights, chatter, rumors, game plans to fix the New York Knicks, and so much more to start your day for Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 10 items.

10. A Cash Flow Solution?: You know the cliche... Within small businesses, cash flow is king. But sometimes, you can't control peaks and valleys as cash flow spikes and then dries up. A potential fix?: Fundbox -- a startup that offers you advanced payments for your business's outstanding invoices. Of course, you'll need to pay for the service...

9. LogJam Fix Could Cause Web Avalanche: All major web browsers apparently suffer from an SLL bug called LogJam, which apparently allows hackers to read communications that seem secure. Some pundits think the NSA used LogJam to crack VPNs. Fortunately, there's a fix for the bug. Unfortunately, the fix could block access to about 20,000 websites, The Wall Street Journal estimates. Fingers crossed, our platform provider (SquareSpace) is ahead of the curve on this issue.

8. Why Your C-Suite Needs A Shadow: First, the concept: Amazon veteran Maria Renz is now technical advisor to CEO Jeff Bezos. She's basically his shadow -- and a powerful one at that -- sitting in on all meetings and acting as a sounding board on all major decisions, notes Re/Code. A company of any size can benefit from the "shadow" approach -- assuming you've got the right talent to act as a trusted sounding board. One of the reasons Amy Katz and I have enjoyed building businesses together is because we're constantly sounding boards for each other in all areas of our business -- though certainly not at the scale of Amazon... ...

7. The Case Against Local Cloud Storage: You've heard the the conventional wisdom. Generally speaking, numerous governments want businesses to store cloud data on local soil to improve security and minimize international compliance issues. But ironically, Evernote CEO Phil Libin says that approach is "cumbersome and silly" and could actually make it easier for hackers to find and access data. Keep an eye on Safe Harbor laws, which allow companies to transfer data over the Atlantic Ocean by certifying that European privacy laws apply to the data, notes The Wall Street Journal.

6. Big Data for Farmers: When I heard Google Ventures invested in Farmers Business Network -- a crowdsourcing big data platform -- I instantly thought of Heartland Technology Solutions' history in the agriculture market. Heartland spun off HTS Ag -- a Precision Agriculture company -- in 2013 or so. Precision Agriculture is all about applying technology and data to the farmer's world. Arlin Sorensen is one of the key IT and agriculture minds behind HTS Ag. Farmers Business Network should call him... if they haven't already done so.

5. OpenStack Clouds vs Docker Containers: The OpenStack cloud crowd is opening its arms to Docker containers at this week's OpenStack Summit. But doesn't OpenStack actually compete with Docker in some cases, and vice versa? Here's my spin

4. Fresh Funding: Salesforce's venture capital arm is pumping money into a startup that can integrate all of your cloud and on-premises applications. (It almost sounds too good to be true.) Meanwhile, another startup is transforming Google Apps into a business phone system. Get the details on both deals here.

3. Nation, Rise Up: You've heard of SMB Nation, IT Nation, Red Sox Nation and Colbert Nation. Now, along comes Innovation Nation. I rather like the name and the concept. Wish I had thought of it. Back to the drawing board...

2. Tune In: Hardware and software companies have a hidden problem called revenue leakage. It involves your existing service contracts -- and their lack of future performance. Want to fix the leakage? Our latest podcast (Episode 36), featuring MaintenanceNet VP of Global Sales Justin Crotty, explains how proper data management and automation can plug the revenue leakage hole. And don't forget to check out all of our archived podcasts, which cover business building strategies, funding and plenty more.

1. Thought of the Day: Every business is now a technology business. After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz has been driving home that point to me in recent weeks. Or, perhaps it's more accurate to say she's been planting that seed in recent weeks. We'll let you know if or how that seed eventually takes root...

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