5 Technology Observations: 20 August 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, perspectives, cryptic statements and plenty more to start your day for Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 11 items to sip on.

11. LinkedIn Corporate Directory: So, you want to connect and communicate with a peer at work -- but you don't want to use your corporate email or directory service. One emerging option could be LinkedIn Lookup, which is striving to replace the traditional corporate directory service. The upshot: Neither HR nor corporate IT can control employee-to-employee communications anymore. But words -- no matter where they're communicated -- can still come back to haunt you...

10. And LinkedIn Shrinkage: Twenty-five percent of US adults now use LinkedIn, down from 28 percent in 2014, according to Pew Research Center. Facebook remains dominant, with 72 percent of US adults on the social network, the researcher said. Twitter, by the way, is holding steady at 23 percent, while Pinterest (31 percent) and Instagram (28 percent) enjoy continued growth.

9. Facebook for News: Facebook has somehow become the preferred social platform for consumer AND business communications... And that's quite a mind shift from my think about two or three years ago, when I essentially ignored Facebook for business... Skeptical? Parse.ly says Facebook has overtaken Google as a traffic source for news. That doesn't mean you should go chase "Likes" in a shameless effort to raise your Facebook visibility. Instead maybe you should... actually, hold that thought for a few weeks...

8. Women Thriving Amid Struggling Startup Market: Conventional wisdom says there are more and more business startups because cloud, mobile and social computing lower the barriers to entry. But conventional wisdom is wrong. The total number of U.S. businesses with paid employees fell by 5 percent from 2007 to 2012. (Still, I wonder if the figure improved as the economic recovery improved from 2013 to the present.) By the way, women now owned 36 percent of businesses in 2012, up sharply from 29 percent in 2007, the census data found, according to The Wall Street Journal

7. Help Desk Acquisition: FreshDesk, which develops SaaS-based customer support software, acquired 1CLICK.io, a live video chat and co-browsing platform. Hmmm... ...

6. Big Data In Banking: Several large banks -- JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- are forming a data company to clean and maintain reference data. Memo to the healthcare industry: Can you do something similar in a safe, secure way?

5. Hadoop on Amazon: MapR now offers its Apache Hadoop distribution on Amazon Web Services -- though the cloud market is now filled with dozens of hosted Hadoop and big data options. The key takeaway? Many software startups won't host applications on their own and will instead depend on big, reliable public clouds like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Google and IBM...

4. Big Cloud Growth: CTERA, which specializes in storage as a service, says its first-half 2015 sales exceeded all of its 2014 sales. Impressive... but the privately held company hasn't disclosed cash flow and profitability information (nor does it have to do so).

3. Fresh Funding: Technology startups raising money to accelerate growth include...

  • AirWire (Reno, Nev.), a mobile wireless company, has embarked on $10 million in Series D financing. At least part of the money has been raised, Finsmes reported.
  • AlienVault (San Mateo, Calif.), which develops unified security management technology, raised $52 million in Series E funding from multiple backers. Generally speaking, I've never heard of a tech company pushing to Series F... so I suspect the next step is IPO or M&A...
  • Filament (Reno, Nev.), which makes smart technology that links existing industrial infrastructure to IP networks, raised $5 million in Series A funding from multiple backers.
  • Kahuna (Palo Alto, Calif.), focused on communication automation for mobile, raised $45 million in Series B funding from multiple backers.

2. Samsung Counters Apple Watch: The latest Samsung smartwatch, called the Gear S2, departs from the earlier S1 design. It runs Android Wear -- a tip of the hat to Google's fledgling wearable operating system. Apple sold somewhere between 3 million and 6 million smartwatches in its most recent quarter, according to analyst estimates. Many Wall Street observers are disappointed by the estimates. But... it's a safe bet both Samsung and Apple will try to keep one-upping each other in a bid to make a smartwatch that actually gains critical mass...

1. Reminder: After Nines Inc. doesn't blog or publish a newsletter on Friday, freeing us up to focus on R&D or retro gaming. We'll be back Monday with fresh content.

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