5 Technology Observations: 4 May 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, updates, observations, rumors and plenty more to start your day for Monday, May 4, 2014.

Actually, today's update involves eight items.

8. The Next Tech Shakeout: Last week, social media stocks like LinkIn, Twitter and Yelp all crashed after each company posted weaker-than-expected financial results. Another tech correction could be coming -- this time in the smart device market, where everyone is trying to put a chip or a sensor in all sorts of appliances, sometimes without much practical benefit to customers.

7. Those Salesforce Buyout Rumors: It sounds like SAP and Salesforce.com discussed a potential merger about a year ago. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff allegedly sparked the discussions by dialing SAP's executive leadership. But most media reports say SAP has no plans to buy Salesforce. Rival Oracle has publicly stated it has no interest in buying Salesforce. Still, Salesforce continues to generate M&A chatter, allegedly hiring a financial firm to manage an inbound takeover offer and any other potential suitors...

6. Tragic Loss, Impact Remembered: SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, 47, died suddenly over the weekend. He was married to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In. By pure coincidence, I was writing a blog about executive succession planning when the news broke. Someday, I'll publish that blog. In the meantime, many tributes to Goldberg mention his commitment to equal opportunities for all. For example, six of SurveyMoney's 16 executive team members are women -- a far better ratio than most startups valued at $1 billion or more, The New York Times notes.

5. Back In the Air -- Sort Of: I flew JetBlue for business for about a decade, took a year off from business travel, and then returned to the air yesterday. Yes, JetBlue has finally rolled out WiFi (called Fly-Fi) to most of its fleet. Too bad the WiFI service was down for 80 percent of my flight yesterday. I certainly value the greater mission -- getting passengers safely from point A to point B. But I'm not sure how JetBlue fell three to five years behind every other major US carrier on the WiFi front.

4. Say Less About Data Breaches?: While the IT industry rethinks its approach to security and corporate compliance, new legislation could allow businesses to say less -- or nothing at all -- about certain data breaches, based in a risk of harm analysis. If companies believe there's no reasonable chance that a breach will hurt customers, proposed legislation would allow those businesses to keep the breach under wraps, The Wall Street Journal suggests. 

3. Theme of the Week: I expect to hear plenty of chatter about so-called Data Lakes this week -- especially during the EMC World 2015 conference in Las Vegas. Data Lakes, in theory, can store all sorts of structured and unstructured content, allowing data scientists, business analysts and analytics experts to quickly gather and crunch the right information at a moment's notice. In many cases, Data Lakes are built using Hadoop -- the low-cost storage grids known for their big data capabilities. But EMC also wants its EMC Federation offerings to serve as the foundation for Data Lakes. Stay tuned...

2. Cisco's Next CEO: Sales ecosystem guru Chuck Robbins will succeed CEO John Chambers, according to a company announcement this morning. Robbins has been on my radar as the top candidate to succeed Chambers since at least 2012. There's a back story describing how Chambers and Robbins each helped me far earlier in my career. More on that a bit later.

1. On the Road: I'm shaking off some rust this week, returning to the road and trying to spot some key trends in the IT market. In a previous business life, I traveled just about every week. After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz was a road warrior as well. I doubt we'll return to the weekly grind on the road, thanks to a different business model vs. our previous endeavors. Still, it's good to be back on the road. Listening. Learning. And listening some more. With a bit of luck, we'll gather the right data, gain some business intelligence -- and evolve After Nines Inc. in a way that serves you even better. Stay tuned.

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