5 Technology Observations: 27 May 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, gossip, chatter and plenty more to start your day for Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Actually, today's morning update involves 10 items to sip on.

10. Long Live the Desktop: Amid the mobile revolution, the overall time spent with desktop devices in the U.S. has remained relatively stable for the past two years. In fact, the numbers suggest mobile use is adding to desktop use -- not subtracting from it, according to comScore. That pretty much explains why After Nines Inc. abandoned mobile first and instead has a triplets first mentality.

9. Sony Stepping Into the Data Center?: Perhaps yes. The company has acquired Optical Archive, an optical data storage startup, from a former Facebook executive. Surely, this is related to Facebook's Open Compute Project -- which involves open source running on commodity data center hardware...

8. Tech Media Disrupting Itself: Vox Media has acquired Re/code -- the IT site led by former Wall Street Journal editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher -- in an apparent all-stock deal. No cash? To me, that suggests Re/code was struggling and needed (A) a financial backer, (B) a partner to help drive growth or (C) both. The move comes only a few months after GigaOm failed to pay its creditors and shut down -- though some sort of relaunch is now planned for August 2015. Also, TechCrunch is now owned by Verizon as part of the mobile giant's buyout of AOL...

7. It's About the Platform?: Dig a little deeper on the Re/code buyout, and you'll find that Mossberg and Swisher are very impressed with Vox Media's Chorus content management platform -- which is "beautiful, powerful and flexible" ... and "proprietary." As I've often said, to succeed in media you need to own the content AND the platform. The challenges? Write the platform from scratch and you can't leverage all the great open source components out in the market. Moreover, if your sales and content folks don't have a strong say in how that platform is built, you can wind up with a dead-end system.

6. Fertile Future: The AgTech market -- a.k.a. agriculture technology or the closely related precision agriculture sector -- is in growth mode. VitalFields, for instance, has raised $1.2 million to help fund its cloud-based software for farmers. The related mobile apps help farmers to track climate patterns, leverage growth phase modeling, perform plant disease forecasting and plenty more. The funding comes a few days after Google Ventures pumped serious money into Farmers Business Network -- a crowdsourcing and big data platform for farmers (May 20, Item 6).

5. Reinventing Himself: Congrats to former IT service provider Tyler Roye, now CEO of eGifter -- an electronic gifting platform that allows retailers to drive more transactions on social media. eGifter is based in my hometown, and just raised $3.5 million. Roye previous built and sold Invision to mindSHIFT, where he remained until launching eGifter in 2011.

4. Google Cloud Credits: The search giant's big developer conference kicks off today. Sure, Google I/O 2015 will have plenty of Android updates. But we'll also poke around for updates on the Google Compute Platform, which trails Amazon Web Services in overall mind share and market share. Here in New York, Google has been offering lucrative cloud credits (free compute offers and more) to convince startup to run on Google Cloud Platform rather than AWS. Even so, Amazon is still the leading platform for startups, according to New York angel investor sources in the know.

3. Tech Bubble Is Real: That, according to SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel. "I think people are making riskier investments... and their will be a correction... It's definitely something we factor into our plans," Spiegel said at this week's Code Conference.

2. Geek Squad 3.0: The 1.0 stage was when Geek Squad was independent. The 2.0 stage involved Best Buy's management of Geek Squad. And the 3.0 stage? It may occur elsewhere -- as market disrupters enter the home tech support business. For instance, keep an eye on HelloTech -- a startup that offers in-home service -- as well as in-home purchases.

1. In-memory Education: Not quite sure where in-memory databases fit into the big data conversation -- especially as platforms like NoSQL and Hadoop grab headlines? MemSQL CEO Eric Frenkiel describes the in-memory database advantage in our latest podcast (Episode 37). And don't forget to check out all of our archived podcasts here.

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