5 Technology Observations: 14 July 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, gossip, chatter and plenty more to start your day for July 14, 2015.

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

9. Commodity Content: Anybody else notice how social media networks are repositioning to cash in on commodity news? Twitter was always the land of real-time news headlines. But more recent efforts like Facebook Instant Articles and the Snapchat Discover news portal show "professional" content's continued importance. Sort of...

8. Bad Math: Two-dozen high school kids are attending a two-week "intro to game programming" course at a local college. One of the students is my niece. Of the 24 students in the room, she's the only woman. When it comes to Advancing Women in IT -- especially computer programming and data science -- we've all got more work to do. 

7. Well-Rounded Future: The milestone arrived yesterday around 2:00 p.m. ET. Amy Katz spotted it immediately. Somehow, I overlooked it until around 3:00 p.m. ET -- perhaps my news skills are "losing their edge." Hmmm... losing the edge is precisely the point. Amy and I have been contemplating a move that promises a well-rounded future for us. And you. Things are looking good. Stay tuned.

6. Join Me Today: At 1pm ET/10am PT for Tech News Today. Anchor Mike Elgan will host a range of surprise guests. I'll be onboard as co-anchor, weighing in with color commentary about the latest consumer IT news. 

5. Rackspace Evolution: Instead of trying to move all customer workloads into Rackspace's data centers, the cloud provider is becoming more of a cloud consultant. The latest case in point: Rackspace is helping customers to leverage Microsoft Azure's compute, storage and database infrastructure. You can pay a Rackspace bill that combines the Rackspace support and Azure service. Now that could be a game-changer. But... it also suggests that Rackspace can't compete on equal footing against giants like Azure, AWS and IBM SoftLayer.

4. Free Amazon Cloud Trial: Speaking of cloud giants, Amazon has been promoting AWS Activate -- a "free program" designed to get you started with Amazon Web Services. Free trials. Hmmm...

3. Death of MSRP: Amid the shift to cloud computing, some really savvy startups and fast-growth companies have completely (or largely) avoided the MSRP game. The result? No race-to-the-bottom price wars. That's all I can say about the trend. But poke around and ask around -- then emulate the trend in your own business...

2. Fresh Funding: Technology startups raising money to fuel growth include...

  • Crowdstrike (Irvine, Calif.), focused on endpoint protection, raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Google Capital.
  • Delphix (Menlo Park, Calif.), a data as a service platform provider, raised $75 million in funding led by multiple companies.
  • HackerRank (Mountain View, Calif.), which develops a technical recruitment and hackathon platform, raised an undisclosed sum from Recruit Holdings.
  • RedOwl (San Francisco), a risk management and security analytics upstart, raised $17 million in Series B funding led by Allegis Capital.
  • Signifyd (San Jose, Calif.), focused on fraud protection for e-commerce systems, raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Allegis Capital. 
  • TrapX Security (San Mateo, Calif.), a cybersecurity startup, raised $9 million in Series B led by Intel Capital and Liberty Israel Venture Fund.

1. And Join Me Tonight: At 9:01 p.m. ET for Podcast Episode 42. I can't reveal details just yet, but we'll have a surprise guest from the "container" industry, describing how to remotely monitor and manage Docker containers across on-premises and cloud infrastructure. That interview will also contain (pun intended) some major funding news...

Subscribe: Want to receive our blog headlines in your inbox each business day (except Fridays, when we're off the grid)? Then subscribe to our enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.