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The Big Tech Regulation Rigamarole
October 15, 2020
The Big Tech companies have arguably done what they want over the years, arousing consumer anger and distrust, and numerous complaints by privacy and consumer rights groups. That includes cocking a snook at governments. While all of the Big Tech firms have been hit with multimillion-dollar fines at one time or another, many argue that's a drop in the bucket for companies that rake in billions of dollars annually.
Cybersecurity Conundrum: Who's Responsible for Securing IoT Networks?
September 24, 2020
Surely spurred by the work-from-home necessities of 2020, people have connected a multitude of non-business devices to their corporate networks, making it progressively difficult to implement cybersecurity because every device is a potential weak point. So, who will ultimately be responsible for cybersecurity of an IoT network?
Nvidia + Arm Will Dramatically Change the Technology Landscape
September 21, 2020
Nvidia last week announced they are buying Arm, which will result in some exciting changes. This merger will open up opportunities for the company to create new, innovative, and compelling products across the technology ecosystem. Let's talk about that this week, and we'll close with my product of the week -- a new business class notebook from HP, the EliteBook 840 G7.
TikTok Enlists Oracle to Evade Trump's Executive Order
September 14, 2020
A proposal to avoid the banning of the popular social media app TikTok was submitted to the U.S. Treasury Department over the weekend. The plan submitted by ByteDance, which owns TikTok, calls for the company to enlist Oracle as a "trusted technology provider" in order to address national security concerns raised about the video-sharing software by the Trump administration.
Anatomy of Failure: Why It's Problematic That Zuckerberg Is the Least Trusted Big Tech CEO
August 10, 2020
Last week we ran a survey asking people which of the CEOs that were questioned by Congress last month is the most trustworthy. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg took the dubious prize for last place. Tim Cook of Apple was voted the most trustworthy. There shouldn't be any competition; Facebook has the tools and information access to assure it is beloved. Yet Apple, which doesn't have anywhere near that level of reach nor engagement, has a far better image. Let's talk about ironic incompetence.
Cisco and the Importance of Empathy in a Technology Vendor
June 22, 2020
Cisco Live was last week, and this was their first large scale virtual event. What made this event very different from the other games was the amount of effort they put into socially responsible projects. Many of the customer projects they highlighted are dealing with a variety of world problems, be they related to the pandemic or not.
HP's COVID-19 Response: There Should Be an Award for This
April 27, 2020
Some of the troubling reports of corporate responses to COVID-19 include forced work in unsafe areas, not enough -- or any -- protection gear, massive layoffs and furloughs, and the sense that a critical mass of well-paid CEOs and politicians don't get that many people live paycheck to paycheck. There are exceptions though, and HP stands out, thanks to HR VP Tracy Keogh and CEO Enrique Lores.
The Really Big Salesforce-Vlocity Deal
February 27, 2020
Salesforce just announced it would buy Vlocity -- a startup with all the markings of a unicorn including a billion-dollar valuation -- for $1.33 billion. Vlocity was cofounded and led by David Schmaier, who was executive vice president at Siebel Systems in its go-go years. When Oracle bought Siebel it made Schmaier a wealthy man. He promptly dropped out of the CRM business.
Rumblings in the Cloud
February 10, 2020
One of the old sayings is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics," with the implication being you really can't trust most reported numbers. Still, we've often thought, at least with major vendors, that you could trust rankings. One current set of rankings involves cloud providers. The general impression was that Amazon was first, Microsoft second, and Google third.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
The CEO of the Decade
January 20, 2020
Who is most deserving of the title "CEO of the Decade"? Historically the focus in choosing CEO of the decade has been on their financial accomplishments, but that approach has left us in a world lacking diversity and empathy in positions of power -- particularly noticeable in the tech industry -- and one where global climate change may end the human race.
Using Technology to Fix the Flawed Impeachment Process
December 23, 2019
When the U.S. president was impeached last week, it surfaced the fact that impeachment, and particularly the removal of a U.S. president, is a process that doesn't work. Throughout U.S. history, there have been 45 presidents, and given that no one trains for that job, you'd figure several would have been removed for cause. However, impeachment has been attempted three times without a removal.
The Human Problems Underlying Intel's Diversity Report
December 16, 2019
When Intel released its diversity report last week, it got pounded for the lack of diversity in its executive staff. Intel is one of the few companies being transparent about diversity. Given that lack of diversity is the problem we want to solve, the bashing is stupid. It is only going to make it harder to address the problem. In effect, Intel did the right thing and was punished for it.
Banishing Bias From the Leadership Selection Process
November 18, 2019
I'm spending a lot of time these days looking at the evolving market for artificial intelligence and the problem of bias. I think the problem in part is due to confirmation bias -- the need to look only at the information that agrees with a position already set. Another contributing factor is the lack of a set of metrics that we can apply consistently. AI systems will face similar problems.
Ballmer's Vindication: Microsoft Launches 5 Apple-Killer Surface Products
October 7, 2019
One of the last major initiatives former CEO Steve Ballmer launched before he left Microsoft was its Surface effort. It was designed to address the concern that the iPod would take over the PC world. During the Surface launch last week, it wasn't hard to see that Ballmer was right conceptually. It just took Satya Nadella to execute, showcasing that Ballmer didn't have a strategic problem.
How Committed Is Your CEO to a Great Customer Experience?
September 30, 2019
Consumers have been adopting disruptive digital technologies in their daily lives at a rapid pace. Customers went from being limited to brick-and-mortar stores to researching, comparing and buying a company's products and services online. Along with those shifts came a change in how customers communicate with companies, and the need for positive, consistent and engaging customer experiences.
What's Wrong With Apple?
September 16, 2019
Apple held its huge product announcement event last week, and what once had people besides themselves with excitement has become a near pointless program of copied features and missed expectations. It is a shame to watch -- much like it was when Apple fired Steve Jobs. It appears that the firm has forgotten what Steve did to turn Apple into a unique company.
Workers' Prime Day Strike Could Pose a Problem for Amazon
July 9, 2019
Amazon workers at a Minnesota, fulfillment center plan to strike for six hours on July 15, the first day of Amazon's Prime Day sales event. The strike threat reportedly is linked to unsafe working conditions at Amazon's warehouses, caused by low wages and pressure to meet shipping demands. Union officials also want a larger portion of temporary warehouse workers converted to full-time employees.
Cisco's Take on Making the World a Better Place
June 17, 2019
I attended Cisco Live last week, and one of the things that impressed me was how many amazing things the company has been doing that have nothing to do with products, services or revenue. Most companies have a philanthropic budget and donate, but they don't really seem to care if the money makes a difference. For most, philanthropy is more about uplifting their image than making a difference.
Trailhead, Salesforce's Not-So-Secret Weapon
June 4, 2019
Salesforce has used its Trailhead learning system to teach developers how to program on its Lightning platform for more than five years. The company last week completed its fourth highly successful TrailheaDX conference, which attracted 14,000 people to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There are plenty of good reasons for Salesforce to be in the software-coding-education game.
AMD Slam-Dunks Intel at Computex and It's a Good Thing
June 3, 2019
Like a lot of folks, I'm a tad sick of Intel. Last month we learned of its second big security scandal in as many years. Once again, the company not only neglected to disclose the problems in a timely way but also lacked a plan to recall the failed parts. Once again, buyers likely will have to cripple their Intel processors if they want to use them safely.
Where CEOs Go Wrong With Brand ID
May 24, 2019
Brand ID is key to every company's success and growth. Why then do so many senior executives at so many different companies screw it up? When you come up with a winning brand ID, it's OK to build on it and to change it for the better, but not for the worse. Customers buy from you based on your brand ID. If that changes, then customers may change their buying habits as well.
Is Nvidia Tesla's Kryptonite?
April 29, 2019
Tesla sure didn't have a good week last week, given the kind of press coverage it got. I'm not that worried about Tesla going away, though, as its products are far too popular for it to disappear. On the other hand, management clearly needs to be fixed. What got me started looking at Tesla last week was that it pretty much announced that Nvidia was its Kryptonite.
Following Protests, Google Cuts Temps, Vendors, Contractors a Fairer Deal
April 4, 2019
Google has unveiled new minimum standards for temps, vendors and contractors in the United States, in response to demands from an employee coalition that included full-time Google staffers as well as temporary workers and contractors. "Yesterday, we shared an update on some new initiatives to support our extended U.S. workforce," Google spokesperson Jenn Kaiser said Wednesday.
Apple's Path to Destruction
April 1, 2019
One of the things I mention very infrequently is that I was groomed to be a CEO from a very early age. My educational background and two programs at IBM gave me a unique view of what kills a company. One of the big company killers -- and Chrysler before Lee Iacocca is a leading example -- is excess product breadth. That is what we just saw from Apple last week.
Why Intel Is in Such Horrid Condition
January 28, 2019
Intel released earnings last week. It beat expectations on the bottom line, but it missed big on the top line and the outlook was dismal. Looking under the covers, the company is a mess. The expected CEO announcement didn't occur. AMD's earnings are expected to be very strong, and AMD just made some organizational changes that suggest an increase in its competitive attack.
Is Facebook's Five-Point Fix-It Plan Enough?
January 22, 2019
Many faithful Facebook users had the rug pulled out from under them during the last year. Both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the U.S. Congress and spilled the beans on how the company had betrayed its members. I don't think the company's leaders realized that Facebook was doing the wrong thing until recently. Now they have a five-point fix-it-plan. Will it work?
IBM Chief Sounds Cautionary Note on Deep Data, AI, Quantum Computing
January 9, 2019
Powerful technologies like deep data, AI and quantum computing should be introduced into society carefully, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty declared in opening remarks at CES. "These tools are so powerful they will solve some of the most enduring problems -- like food safety, waste," she said, "but like all powerful tools, we've got to usher them in safely into society."
2018: The Year of Fighting for Positive Change
December 24, 2018
When I think of corporate responsibility, one company tends to float to the top, and that is Cisco. With massive efforts to train people all over the world in the critical networking skills needed to secure and expand global communications, Cisco has been taking a major chunk out of joblessness. It has invested millions to reduce homelessness near its headquarters, for example.
Let's Create a TV Show to Fix Silicon Valley
November 12, 2018
Startups have been creating employee hell in Silicon Valley. That was on my mind as I read the book Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us. I think this book should be required reading for anybody who thinks working for a startup in Silicon Valley would be fun. Unless you are into humiliation and abuse you probably should avoid these startups like the plague.
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Digital River - Sell Like a Local
How will the pandemic influence your holiday shopping habits this year?
I will shop online exclusively, for my own safety and to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
I will do some shopping online, and some in-person because I want to support merchants in my area.
I will shop online definitely, and I will consider local retailers -- but only if they provide curbside service.
I will only shop in-person because the risks associated with e-commerce outweigh my chance of catching COVID-19.
I will not do any holiday shopping this year due to circumstances related to the pandemic.
Salesforce Industries Summit
Three top analysts have picked NICE inContact as the market leader.