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The Art of Manipulation and Misdirection
June 19, 2017
Last week, I listened to an economist talk about Apple's complaints that Qualcomm had charged Apple too much for access to patents. What was fascinating was that Apple had folks focused on the 5 percent Qualcomm had charged it instead of on the massive profit that Apple made on each phone. The price of the iPhone 8 likely will be well over $1,000 -- but it could cost well under $500 to build.
Dell's 'Alice' Will Guide Women Through VC Wonderland
May 15, 2017
One of the interesting things at Dell EMC World came from Karen Quintos, the most powerful woman at Dell. Karen is responsible for its Entrepreneur in Residence program, which focuses on equipping and helping woman entrepreneurs. Dell Technologies apparently has created "Alice," a female-focused artificial intelligence focused on helping support and drive innovative firms backed by women.
Nutshell CTO Andy Fowler: Good CRM Tools Stay Out of the Way
May 9, 2017
"CRM was originally created for the managers and bosses to report on the pipeline, and it was sold as a value proposition to the manager," noted Nutshell CTO Andy Fowler. "What's changing now is that CRM is becoming much more about supporting the rep -- giving them the tools they need to improve their performance. It's no longer just a tool for the boss to check in on the salespeople."
Red Hat Pilots New Program to Ease Digital Transformation
March 28, 2017
Red Hat on Monday announced a new Application Platform Partner Initiative at its North America Partner Conference in Las Vegas. The goal is to provide a more robust ecosystem for companies engaging in digital transformation. The company has started conducting tests in a pilot program with a small number of solutions-oriented consulting partners in North America.
ProsperWorks Adds In-App Comms to its Google CRM Solution
March 20, 2017
ProsperWorks, which provides CRM for Google's G Suite business tools, last week announced the addition of in-app cloud communications functionality. The new features are available through a custom integration with RingCentral, which provides enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions. The integration lets users make, receive and log calls without leaving the CRM solution.
HPE to Buy One-Time Rising Star Nimble for $1B Cash
March 9, 2017
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has inked a deal to acquire flash storage firm Nimble Storage, once viewed as a darling of Wall Street, for $12.50 a share in cash, or $1 billion. HPE also agreed to assume or pay out Nimble Storage's unvested equity awards, which are valued at $200 million. Upon completion of the deal, Nimble Storage will merge with a unit of HPE and become a subsidiary of the company.
GIT CEO Adriana Gascoigne: More Women in Tech Means More Problems Solved
March 3, 2017
Prior to founding Girls in Tech, Adriana Gascoigne was one of very few women working at a startup. "I'd look around the room every day and see that there was a huge problem of representation. I knew we needed to change the culture of the company to recruit more women and benefit more women, but we also needed diversity in product development ... to make a better product," she recalled.
Facebook Launches Paris Startup Garage to Promote Entrepreneurs in Europe
January 17, 2017
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday announced the Startup Garage, the company's first-ever business incubator, which will be located in Paris at the new Station F hub launched last year. The Startup Garage will provide a six-month program of mentorship and assistance for new companies. About10-15 data-related startup firms will occupy up to 80 desks at the Station F campus.
Zenefits Pays the Piper
December 1, 2016
The California Department of Insurance this week announced fines totaling $7 million against startup Zenefits, a provider of cloud-based human resources services. The company's former leadership "created an anything goes culture at the Internet startup, resulting in numerous violations of licensing requirements to protect consumers," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
Microsoft Trolls Small Biz With Outlook CRM Tool
November 18, 2016
Microsoft this week introduced Outlook Customer Manager, a new cloud-based tool that aims to help its small businesses clients stay on top of their customer relationships. The new service organizes everything from emails to meeting invitations, call logs, notes, tasks, files and other essential items. It comes just four months after the launch the company's Bookings tool.
Kobe Bryant Pours Energy - and Money - Into Tech
August 24, 2016
Kobe Bryant, the retired Los Angeles Lakers basketball champion, has expanded his burgeoning suite of business interests with Monday's launch of Bryant Stibel, a $100 million venture capital fund for technology, data and media companies. Jeff Stibel, the vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, is Bryant's long-time business partner. Bryant and Stibel plan to self-fund the new firm for several years.
Salesforce Gets a Grip on Quip
August 2, 2016
Salesforce has agreed to acquire Quip, Quip CEO Bret Taylor and Head of Product Kevin Gibbs announced Monday. Quip lets users manage live documents throughout the collaboration process. The deal is worth about $582 million, according to a Salesforce filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Quip provides a chat feature that's built into every document and spreadsheet.
Changes in Federal IT Spending Require Nimble Contracting
July 14, 2016
Federal agencies will continue to spend heavily on IT over the next five years, but the pace and direction of spending will be complicated by shifting priorities, congressional constraints and a presidential election. The bottom line is that the overall rate of IT spending will be above $98 billion each year for next six federal fiscal years, according to a forecast Deltek released last month.
Salesforce Wraps Up Demandware Acquisition
July 11, 2016
Salesforce on Monday announced it had completed its $2.8 billion acquisition of e-commerce cloud software platform Demandware. The deal "gives Salesforce the e-commerce piece to compete against Oracle, which already has e-commerce capabilities, as well as SAP," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research. "It also gives Salesforce a cloud transactional platform for B2C purchases."
The Traction Gap
May 26, 2016
My friend and a partner at Wildcat Venture Partners, Bruce Cleveland, along with his associates, has come up with an idea that helps explain why some early-stage companies thrive and thus raise more capital, while others die on the vine. As a venture capitalist, he is always trying to figure this out, trying to determine who gets another round of funding and who doesn't.
What SMBs Want From IT Services
May 16, 2016
When small businesses choose an IT and support service provider, the two most important considerations are the provider's ability to include all of the company's devices and provide a comprehensive IT service plan. More than half of small businesses that use professional IT services use two or more services. However, small businesses may have to rely on multiple vendors to address their IT needs.
Sugar 7.7 Aims for a Sweeter User Experience
May 12, 2016
SugarCRM on Tuesday unveiled Sugar 7.7, the latest version of its CRM package, with several enhancements. A custom tag feature lets any record in the application be tagged for better classification and sharing. A new search UI automatically expands upon selection. The Sugar 7.7 Knowledge Base has been enhanced with an intelligence panel that displays context-sensitive information.
Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 4: Homegrown Marketing
April 27, 2016
As a maker in an e-commerce world, you have to get the word out about what you're creating. Whether you're crafting candles or jewelry, marketing leads to sales. It's one thing to set up a booth at a craft fair and meet customers face to face, but it's another thing entirely to market online. Becoming comfortable with digital marketing techniques needs to be one of your primary priorities.
Taking DIY to the Next Level
April 26, 2016
While hobbyists, inventors and innovators have been experimenting and producing a variety of do-it-yourself projects, their world is expected to undergo a hard shift as DIY moves to the next level. 3D printing is the cornerstone of the coming shift, and its effect on our daily lives will be multiplied by several converging forces: the collaborative economy, the jobless economy and personalization.
Unicorn Herd Threatens Silicon Valley, Warns VC
April 23, 2016
The age of Unicorn investing has led to alarming overvaluations of startups that could result in an afterparty roll call not seen since 1999, Silicon Valley VC Bill Gurley warned Thursday. Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark, raised a red flag over the large number of tech startups valued at more than $1 billion, and suggested that the rise of Unicorn fundraising has put the financial health of the industry at risk.
Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 3: How to Get Paid for Your Wares
April 21, 2016
If you're just starting to sell your crafts or other handmade items online, one of the first decisions you'll need to make is how to accept customer payments. There are a variety of choices for payment processing, and many crafters use several. The methods you choose will depend on the needs of your business and your customers. One of the most common payment methods for small businesses is PayPal.
Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 2: Where to Sell What You Make
April 14, 2016
You're making soap or jewelry or handcrafted leather bags, and you want to sell them online. Where do you go? What spaces work best? How do you decide where to sell your wares? It's important to choose the right selling spaces for your products and business strategy. Selling on your own site lets you control how your products are represented, while third-party sites offer a network of customers.
Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 1: Which Wares Should You Sell?
April 7, 2016
If you like to make soaps, candles, pendants, pouches or any other crafts, you might be thinking of riding the wave of craftspeople who sell their wares online. Digital marketplaces are opening a wealth of opportunities for makers. Once you've decided to stake your claim in the world of online handicraft sales, however, what's the best way to determine what to make and sell? Here are some tips.
CPQ's Challenge
March 31, 2016
Virtually every CPQ -- configuration, price and quote -- software vendor on the planet has a credible solution for the processes from which the category gets its name. That's the good news. Unfortunately, the world has moved on. Most CPQ is effective for helping promote transactions, especially the sales transaction, in which a buyer or buying entity makes a one-time purchase of a bill of goods.
GoDaddy Offers Small Businesses a Place in the Cloud
March 23, 2016
GoDaddy on Monday launched a pay-as-you-go cloud platform along with applications powered by Bitnami. The tools, Cloud Servers and Cloud Applications, are designed to help small businesses -- individual devs, tech entrepreneurs and IT professionals -- quickly build, test and scale cloud solutions. Provisioning takes 54 seconds or less, GoDaddy said.
Mining the Customer Base
February 24, 2016
One of the biases inherent in CRM is its orientation toward new business. This might sound strange to most people, but really, I think of it as the startup echo chamber. It's a bias in part because CRM was invented by new companies for new companies. However, the "C" part, customer, involves more than simply acquiring new ones, especially for established companies.
Hats Off to Chapeau Linux's Better Fedora Concept
January 4, 2016
The Chapeau project's latest version arrived last month and is a good choice for enterprise users who want something a step above the traditional Fedora distro. An iconic Linux distro, Fedora is a very popular choice in enterprise shops, but it's less than ideal for home and SMB use without an IT staff to make it work. That is where Chapeau 23 comes to the rescue.
Surprise Success: What to Do When Sales Go Through the Roof
December 22, 2015
Success is a good thing. Sometimes, however, surges in orders and sales cause headaches for e-commerce companies. The key is to expect the unexpected. Planning ahead can help ensure that sales spikes are handled as smoothly as possible. "It's never too early to start planning for growth," said Marg Hyland, founder of Pegeen. "You need to be prepared."
Sage Live Launches on Salesforce AppExchange
December 11, 2015
Sage Software on Wednesday announced that it has launched Sage Live on the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace. Sage Live, built on the Salesforce AppCloud, gives small businesses real-time data connecting CRM, accounting and financial data, and can scale with a business. It works with thousands of third-party apps through real-time integrations and APIs so it can be completely customized, the company said.
End of Year Goodies
December 8, 2015
The end of the year brings out some interesting goodies from various workshops competing with Santa for big kids' attention. Some of it is pretty good stuff. Here's a sampling of the best end-of-year product announcements from the cloud community designed to put you in the post-holiday, already-back-at-work spirit. For starters, cloud sales compensation firm Xactly announced Xactly Inspire.
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What do you think of today's voice recognition technology?
It's great -- the tech has improved vastly in recent years.
It's the wave of the future, but quality is still hit or miss.
I like it for texting, especially when I'm driving.
I only use it when I have to, like with IVR systems.
I avoid using it, because most voice systems are still terrible.
It's an unnecessary frill that I can easily live without.