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Alexa Live and the Future of Ambient Computing
July 26, 2021
Amazon last week held its Alexa Live 2021 developer conference, which would have been a lot more fun if during the event the Amazon Echo show in my office hadn't gone insane. Let's talk about the promise and some of the problems with the coming wave of ambient computing devices. Then we'll close with my product of the week, Amazon's 2nd Generation Echo Frames.
Tech Solutions To Beat the Heat
July 19, 2021
It's been a sweltering summer for those of us on the West Coast of the United States, and keeping power bills down when running air conditioning 24/7 is a challenge. This week, let's highlight technologies you can use to personally respond to the heat problem and deal with a world that is becoming too hot to handle. We'll close with the product of the week: Windows 365.
3D Printing and the Rise of Bespoke Products at Scale
July 12, 2021
Those of us who grew up with Star Trek might remember a device from the series called a replicator. This was a 3D printer of sorts that could create almost anything, ranging from food to weapons, at the touch of a button. Let's talk about our progression to the home-based replicator that could take us to that Star Trek future. Then we'll close with the product of the week from Strauss & Wagner.
What an Amazon Breakup Would Look Like and Why It's a Win for Brands
July 8, 2021
Amazon is on the brink of a possible breakup, and marketers should be ready to seize the opportunity. It's difficult to imagine life without Amazon -- as we know it. But with ongoing antitrust probes by Congress, there's a real possibility that Amazon's e-commerce dominance may soon end. Let's examine what a breakup of Amazon could look like -- and why it's likely a win for brand marketers.
Salesforce Season
June 28, 2021
There may be two Salesforce seasons in a year -- the one we're finishing and one that happens just before Dreamforce. Roughly speaking, these seasons happen when the company disgorges a raft of new technologies both to update existing products and to bring forth new ones. This season covers a lot of ground; everything from sustainability to workforce management and vertical industry CRM solutions.
Windows 11: The Beginning of a New PC Age
June 28, 2021
Windows 11 shows a massive change in focus from earlier significant releases, which pretty much assures that the Microsoft's mistakes of the past won't be repeated, at least not under the current leadership. It also suggests a path to the next version of Windows -- which for now we'll call Windows 12 -- that could be even more groundbreaking.
HP Sets Example of How to Prioritize Sustainability
June 21, 2021
HP this month announced the release of its Sustainable Bond Framework, which will be used to issue bonds to help the company finance projects for a more sustainable future. Let's talk about this move to sustainability. We'll then look at the product of the week -- a mobile workstation which appears to be the lightest so far released into the market.
Working From Wherever
June 17, 2021
It seems the digital disruption is being disrupted. If the original disruption was about leveraging company data to better understand customers and to meet them where they are, the new disruption depends on all that plus supporting worker efforts wherever their lifestyles take them.
Amazon Sidewalk and Why Marketing Expertise Matters
June 14, 2021
The problem with Amazon Sidewalk isn't the technology. It's the lack of clever marketing which is pervasive in the technology market. Let's explore one of the sustained weaknesses in tech -- the lack of critical marketing acumen. We'll then close with the product of the week, an alternative to the Ring doorbell camera that also might make a quick and easy Father's Day present.
Father's Day 2021 Gift Guide: It's the Thought That Counts
June 7, 2021
Gift guides can be tricky because they are written at a specific point in time -- and time moves on. But what is also often the case is that the gift buyer punts without putting in much personal effort to the endeavor. So this year, rather than highlighting products, let's focus on the process of coming up with a gift for Father's Day.
Microsoft's Open-Source Pivot Is Creating a Great Place to Work
May 31, 2021
Microsoft isn't just building for the future. The company is focusing on tools that will allow an ever-broader group of people to program for themselves. At the heart of this plan is Microsoft's pivot to open source; and while there were several benefits of that action highlighted at Microsoft Build last week, an important one was left out -- which is that Microsoft has become a far better place to work.
ARM vs. x86 Battle Royal: Why and How ARM Is Pulling Ahead
May 24, 2021
ARM and x86 have been doing battle for the last decade. ARM tried to move into the server market and failed; Intel, which carries most of the x86 burden, tried to move on cellphones and failed. The battle for tablets is ongoing with ARM in the lead, and the battle for notebooks continues with Intel mainly in the lead. Let's talk about how this is likely to play out, because the winner may end up with all of the chips.
Have Consumers Changed Character for Keeps? Not So Fast
May 17, 2021
Various CRM vendors have been issuing interesting survey results from the pandemic that purport to show the "new normal" in full flower. Salesforce did so recently, and now Oracle is getting into the act. While the data generated from these and many other surveys is interesting, and drives much discussion, the information content we intuit may not be everything it appears to be.
Apple Needs This New Hire to Be Heroic
May 17, 2021
For anyone that still believes that Apple can be more than an incredibly profitable company; but one you can also be proud of for how it treats its people and customers, incoming VP of worldwide communications Stella Low could be the critical remedy for what ails the firm. Let's talk about Apple this week. Then we'll close with the product of the week: the HP Elite Folio Notebook.
Dell Apex Sets High Bar for As-A-Service Offerings
May 10, 2021
Last week at Dell Technologies World, the most significant announcement was a massive as-a-service offering called Dell Technologies Apex. This promises to return the IT market to its long lost but fondly remembered IBM past. Let's talk about Apex this week. We'll then close with the product of the week, an impressive new WiFi 6E wireless mesh solution from Linksys.
Autonomous Cars + IoT, and Life or Death Decisions
May 3, 2021
An ecosystem is being created where cars and robots are autonomous and connected so they will be able to connect to other devices, sensors, and data repositories available to them. Let's explore some safety risks associated with this future connectivity on our roadways. We'll then close with the product of the week: a new tablet that is Amazon's first real effort to build a Surface-like laptop.
Three-Part Evolution
April 30, 2021
I've been writing about the importance of platform as a tool and as a strategy for a while -- and not only with regard to Salesforce. I'd say most CRM vendors have a platform story; others like Oracle and Zoho come up as examples all the time. The difference with Salesforce is that it's looking beyond the platform to what it does, not only for its customers but also for the company's own positioning.
AirTags vs. Tile and Apple's Antitrust Future
April 26, 2021
U.S. senators heading antitrust issues have flagged Apple's new AirTag effort as potentially anticompetitive after Tile CEO CJ Prober started complaining because Apple could put his company out of business. Let's talk about Apple, vendor lock-in, and antitrust. Then we'll close with the product of the week, the new AMD-powered Surface Laptop in beautiful black.
Nvidia and the End of Movies as We Know Them
April 19, 2021
GTC21, this year's Nvidia GPU Technology Conference, was terrific as always. The alleged focus was on AI and autonomous cars. But, as I watched presentation after presentation from folks out of the entertainment industry, I realized that if you started putting some of these various elements together, they effectively predicted the end of movies as stand-alone, costly entertainment.
A Cure for What Ails Social Media
April 12, 2021
Social media has become the home of fake news, unscrupulous advertising, places to dole out abuse, and disseminate alternative history. Let's talk about what is likely to happen to social media companies; and how they might work to prevent that outcome. We'll close with the product of the week, a category-busting new smartwatch from OnePlus.
Transitioning to Hybrid Commerce
April 9, 2021
Certainly, the pandemic has caused some upheavals in American business -- and it's true that the record of progress in economics is littered with creative destruction. But the absolutist prognostications about the future of digital commerce taking over the world made me think "here we go again." Trees don't grow to the moon, retrenchment is common.
Cisco, Microsoft and a Simulated Workplace Future
April 5, 2021
When technology is advancing very rapidly, the leading providers of an evolving class of products are on very different pages. I'm talking about Cisco and Microsoft -- and while neither's approach is wrong, neither is complete -- and together they can build what's needed for our hybrid workplace future. Let's talk about the advantages of a simulated workplace done right, and we'll close with the product of the week, a new graphics card from AMD.
CRM's New Normal: It's Complicated
March 29, 2021
As we slowly climb out of the Covid anis horribilis, advocates of the new normal (whatever that is) may wish to temper their prognostications about working from home or working from anywhere. While those are good ideas, and the new crop of CRM apps that support such hybrid work lives are genuinely cool, they might only demonstrate the deep functionality of CRM companies' platforms and not a social movement.
Intel CEO Gives Unwarlike 'Going to War' Speech
March 29, 2021
Pat Gelsinger's Intel is looking like the very different company it needs to be. It is more collaborative than combative, more strategic than tactical, with a far more effective plan than it has had since Andy Grove left the firm. Let's talk about how Gelsinger presents Intel as an execution and partnering powerhouse, and we'll close with the product of the week, a new set of headphones from Lenovo.
Once the Big Tech Battler, Open Source Is Now Big Tech's Battleground
March 22, 2021
A cadre of tech giants have created the Rust Foundation. This is neither the first nor largest contribution to an open-source project by private tech vendors. Still, the creation of this new body marks another noteworthy instance in which proprietary software companies took the initiative to found and steward a nonprofit project. It's not groundbreaking, but it doesn't happen every day.
Nvidia + Arm and the Challenges of Building a New Type of Tech Company
March 22, 2021
Nvidia is in the process of working through regulatory approvals to buy Arm from SoftBank -- a technology holding company with mixed success husbanding its acquisitions. Let's explore this acquisition, the most significant regulatory hurdles the effort needs to overcome, and what might result once the two firms are one. We'll close with the product of the week: Nvidia's GeForce Now.
Microsoft, Huawei Out-Innovating Facebook, Apple
March 8, 2021
Last week was particularly interesting. Microsoft had two big announcements with Mesh and Viva, while Huawei showcased a strategy for a universal OS that covers PCs, smartphones, tablets, TVs, and IoT devices to perfect integration across them all. Let's talk about both this week -- and work in Microsoft Mesh as the product of the week.
Get Your CRM Ready for Some Good News
March 1, 2021
There is budding optimism about the future. COVID-19 cases and deaths are in decline, financial indicators are decent and trending up, and forecasters are predicting a booming economy. This involves a lot of buying and selling at both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer ends of the spectrum. So now might be a very good time to take inventory on plant, equipment and employees through the lens of CRM.
An Update on the Fourth Industrial Revolution
March 1, 2021
We are in the midst of what many are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is a time of disruption, massive change, opportunities, and significant risks. Fortunes will shift, companies will fail, and new companies will rise from the ashes. Let's look at where we are in this latest Industrial Revolution, and where we'll likely be when this wave ends in 10 to 40 years. We'll close with the product of the week, a new conferencing camera/speaker from Poly.
The Evolving Future of the Office
February 15, 2021
I participated in a group analyst event several weeks ago about companies converting their offices into collections of meeting rooms. We couldn't picture people who have been meeting remotely for so many months suddenly concluding that the long commute to and from the office was worth meeting in person; given they are now okay with using solutions like Webex or Microsoft Teams.
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Which review rating influences you most when researching a business?
5 Stars - I want to know what others found amazing.
4 Stars - I want to find out why it's liked for the most part, but not without faults.
3 Stars - I want to understand why the business is neither loved nor hated.
2 Stars - I want to learn why the weaknesses outweigh the strengths.
1 Star - I want to know why anybody says they are completely dissatisfied with the business.
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