Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Atoms Are More Profitable Than Electrons - $AAPL v $GOOG

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 29, 2015



Google failed to build an Apple-like business -- its costly smashed handset strategy in buying then selling Motorola

Google $[GOOG] today reported fourth quarter 2014 revenues of $18.1 billion and net income of $4.76 billion. Full year 2014 revenues were $66 billion.

Apple [$AAPL] this week reported first quarter 2015 revenues of $74.6 billion and net income of $18 billion.

Foremski's Take: It's a little shocking to realize that in 2015, well into this new century, Silicon Valley's most profitable and successful company is nearly 40 years old and makes its money selling tech hardware rather than web services. We're still living in the old world.

Story continues...

Wednesday: Autodesk Gallery Hosts 'Innovation by Design'

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 27, 2015

Untitled 45

Join me for "Innovation by Design" Wednesday, January 28 from 6.30 to 10.30pm at the Autodesk Gallery (above), 1 Market Street, San Francisco.

You'll be able to see a cast of interesting presenters over two sessions Wednesday evening: John Maeda, Yves Behar,  and many others such as Paul Elio from Elio Motors in the first session:

The Making of Elio: Rethinking the Car: Visionary Paul Elio of Elio Motors is introducing a gorgeous, 3-wheeled car, with 84 mpg, to retail for $6,800, and has a top grade supply chain from Lear to BMW. Housed in a previously shuttered auto plant in Louisiana. Elio Motors is a story of reimagining and reclaiming to create better future.

 The event is co-produced by Ixonos, a large Finnish mobile technology design firm, and  Now Labs, a novel idea and brand marketing agency founded by Christine Mason and Taylor Milsal. Christine Mason writes: "What's Worth Doing?"

Story continues...

US Civil Liberties Lawyers Outline Plan To Thwart 'Five Eyes' Mass Surveillance Worldwide

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 27, 2015

2015 01 27 13 04 30

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital civil rights defense group based in San Francisco, unveiled a multi-step plan to end mass surveillance of Internet users anywhere in the world.

Rainey Reitman, Activism Director at EFF, wrote:

Story continues...

Media Tech: DNN Launches Marketing-Enabled Enterprise Publishing Platform

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 27, 2015

Untitled 62

DNN today launched an enterprise-class content management system optimized for marketing allowing multi-format publishing and tracking visitors to a company's web sites.

The Evoq 8 system allows companies to manage and control every web page and sub-sections while at the same time assigning editorial controls and security. It is integrated with Marketo.

I spoke with Will Morgenweck (above) VP of Product Management at DNN, here's my notes:

Story continues...

Edelman Hires Outsider To Run Silicon Valley PR

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 26, 2015



Edelman, the world's largest public relations firm, has named outsider Kelly Schwager, General Manager, Silicon Valley. She replaces Maria Admundson, who was promoted to global chair of the Technology group. 

Schwager was the CMO and Senior VP at Streetline, a startup specializing in connecting cars with parking spaces. She also worked at Silicon Valley companies SAP, Symantec, Veritas, and Cunningham Communications. 

Predictive Technologies Of Commerce And The Native Human Experience

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 25, 2015

Intelligent Design

If we take our technologies of personalized commerce and predictive business analytics to their ultimate conclusion we won't need marketing or consumers. Brands' products will just show up at your door and it will all be perfect: a perfect fit, perfect timing, perfect style, and perfect price.

Perfectly tuned to you is the ultimate future of a personal customer experience. Your brand will know all about you, and know exactly when you need it, before you knew it — and all with frictionless auto-debit.

Story continues...

Strong First Day For Box Debut Signals A Strong Year For Enterprise IT IPOs

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 23, 2015

Shares in Box jumped strongly in their first day of trading reaching as much as 77% above the $14 initial pricing to $24.73 and a valuation of about $3 billion. It closed at $23.23, up 66%.

The strong showing confounded some skeptics who pointed to Box's very high marketing costs, which eclipse revenues by a huge margin resulting in a net loss of $121.5 million on $153.8 million in revenues for the nine months ending October 31, 2014.

Story continues...

Charlene Li: Engaged Leaders And Intimate Customer Relationships

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 21, 2015

Untitled 112

Charlene Li, founder of the Altimeter market research group, has a new book coming out in March, "The Engaged Leader." She spoke about the book and her views on social media's impact on marketing, at an event organized by the local chapter of the American Marketing Association, at Weber Shandwick San Francisco.

Here's my notes:

Charlene Li gave a presentation that focused on a message of engagement between brands and consumers. She argued that brands should seek "intimate" relationships with people. The theme of "engagement" in marketing is a signature idea at Altimeter. Li's colleague, Brian Solis also pushes this idea in his book, "Engage!"

Story continues...

Edelman: Global Loss Of Trust Is Bad For Silicon Valley Innovation

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 20, 2015

Edelman Churchill 148

CEO Richard Edelman (center) discusses "trust" at a Churchill Club event in 2013.

Public trust in business has plunged across the world and is harming consumer acceptance of innovation, according to a survey of 27,000 people in 27 countries by Edelman, the world's largest PR firm.

The 15th Annual Edelman Trust Barometer found levels of trust in business, government, media, and NGOs had sunk below 50% — a crucial marker — in the US, UK, Germany and Japan,  in two-thirds of countries surveyed. Public trust in business had been a rising trend in prior years and represented a recovery from the financial crisis of 2008/9.  

The release of the Trust Barometer report is timed to the same week as the World Economic Forum's Davos conference.  CEO Richard Edelman (above) is always very active at Davos as a speaker and presenter.

For the first time, the survey asked the public questions about their perception of innovation. Very few, (24%) accept the idea that innovation is making the world a better place. Arun Sudhaman at Holme's Report, called it a "blow to Silicon Valley."

Story continues...

The Dirty Politics Of Native Ads - Corrupt Media

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 20, 2015


I'm a fierce opponent of "native ads" because by their very nature they pretend to be something else, and that damages trust, not just in the publication that hosts them but in all trusted media.

So far, native ads have been sold to product companies such as computer maker Dell, publishing articles in the New York Times that resemble the style of the newspaper's stories. With election season starting up, will we see native ads masquerading as independent political reporting?

Story continues...

Clean And Cool SF: Meet 16 Of The Most Promising UK Cleantechs

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 18, 2015


Sunday evening I'm talking with 16 CEOs of UK cleantech startups in a "fireside" chat on the role of media in innovation. I love the subject and it'll be interesting to hear from them.

They are taking part in "Clean and Cool Mission 2015" and spending a week in San Francisco until January 24 making connections and showcasing their technologies. There are several ways you can meet them, one is to register for their meetup on Monday evening. More information here:

Clean and Cool Mission is run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs in partnership with the Innovate UK, UKTI, The Long Run Venture, CoSpA and private sector sponsors. 

Guest Post: Big Data From The Internet Of Everything Needs 'Chefs' To Mix It

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 17, 2015

Here's a guest post by Chris Knight, who recently returned from the International Consumer Electronics Show and he's convinced that Big Data needs to have some top chefs.

Guest Post by Chris Knight

With billions of smart devices coming online, the variety and volume of new data sources will require businesses to move from back-end IT and data science to hiring "top chefs" of data.

Delivering on big data's promise for strategic business edge is now far more daunting after a string of news and products coming to market to at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. As some pundits noted, big data was a "quiet star" at the mammoth annual gadget fest.

Story continues...

I'm Speaking At Churchill Club Panel: Trends In Journalism

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 16, 2015


I've been added as a speaker for the Churchill Club's "Trends in Journalism" event in San Francisco on Thursday, January 22 at Autodesk Gallery, 1 Market Street, 6pm to 9pm.

The other speakers are: Cory Johnson from Bloomberg, Sarah Lacy from Pando Daily, and Josh Quittner from Flipboard.

Churchill Club - Open Forum: Trends in Journalism: When Critics Become Capitalists

Story continues...

Showcase Of Women Entrepreneurs Under 30 At Stanford - Tuesday

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 16, 2015

Jan2015 FBV4 2

It's always great to see diversity at work in Silicon Valley. On Tuesday, January 20 VLAB will present an evening event focused on young women entrepreneurs.

[I wonder why the age limit? Ageism is another aspect of the diversity story that is very real in Silicon Valley.]  Here are the details of the Stanford VLAB event:

Story continues...

Datameer Says Hadoop Is Making Big Gains In The Enterprise

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 16, 2015

Untitled 19

Stefan Groschupf, CEO of Datameer speaking at a media roundtable at 25 Lusk.

I was at a media roundtable earlier this week hosted by Datameer, which runs business analytics on Hadoop databases hosted as a service. Hadoop is a fascinating story because its simplicity pays off in its speed and agility. It's very easy to spin-up new databases and you can run analytics on data that isn't structured in relational databases.

With more data analyzed, it means more chances of getting accurate predictions and insights.

Upcoming: Last Breakfast Dance Party At Supper Club

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 16, 2015

2015 01 16 12 45 56

The DAYBREAKER early morning dance parties are a loud way to jumpstart your Tuesday but it no longer feels like a Tuesday when you've been dancing for a couple of hours.

This one is the last one at the Supper Club and features Bradley P on the wheels of steel, Shannon Matesky on the microphone, plus Sita Devi "chanting kirtan, aerial dance, fresh coffee, delicious breakfast treats, and other fun surprises." Tickets here.

Edelman Announces Its First Senior Diversity Exec - Trish Smith

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 15, 2015

Trisch Smith

Diana Bradley at PR Week reports that Edelman, the world's largest privately owned PR firm, has appointed senior executive Trish Smith (above) to a new senior position: "Diversity and Inclusion MD."

Smith’s appointment is part of the agency’s plans to establish a diversity and inclusion leadership team. The group will be comprised of about 10 staffers who will set goals and develop strategies for improving diversity within Edelman’s workforce and culture, said Smith.

She reports to Edelman US COO Julianna Richter.

Smith will be very busy:

Story continues...

CES: A Look Back At 6 Years Of Odd Consumer Electronics

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 12, 2015

Silentium comfort shell

Intel Free Press takes a look at some of the oddest tech from the past six years at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

By Intel Free Press

Every year at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, we all get to see and hear about the best product debuts but we don't always hear about the weird and the odd. Here's a look at the past six years of CES. 

Story continues...

Box IPO Could Open Strong 2015 For Enterprise Tech

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 9, 2015

Box is again trying to IPO after several failed attempts in 2015. It has priced its shares at the bargain valuation of about $1.5 billion compared to its most recent private valuation of $2.4 billion. 

Reuters' Amrutha Gayathri reported:

Box expects to raise up to $162.5 million from the offering of 12.5 million class A common shares, according to a regulatory filing. (

Box's revenue rose 80 percent to $153.8 million in the nine months ended Oct. 31, while net loss narrowed to $121.5 million from $125.2 million, a year earlier. The Los Altos, California-based company has warned that it does not expect to be profitable in the foreseeable future.
Box, which rebuffed a takeover offer of over $500 million by Citrix Systems Inc (CTXS.O) in 2011, said it planned to use the proceeds of the offering for operating expenses.

Box received $150 million in funding in July from Coatue and private equity firm TPG. The deal valued Box at about $2.4 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

Story continues...

Is Obama’s #FreeCommunityCollege Proposal Viable?

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 8, 2015


Lester Lefton's message at Cengage education conference, "You have the power."

Chris Knight reports on the prospects for President Obama's offer of free community college courses.

By guest blogger Chris Knight 

Fixing education requires more than just broader access, according to a gathering of top academics, industry experts and student entrepreneurs in San Francisco earlier this week.

Thursday night on his way from Detroit, MI to Knoxville, TN for the last leg of his 3-city tour to preview his State of the Union address on January 20, President Obama announced on Air Force One that he plans to make community college accessible for everyone who’s willing to work for it.

He’s asking to pass new legislation for two years of community college for all.

Story continues...

Strong Secondary Shares Market Preps For 2015

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 8, 2015

Sharespost thumb

Secondary Shares market SharesPost provides liquidity for private companies.

The secondary shares market continued to prosper in 2014, with SharePost 100, an index fund of top late-stage private companies, reporting 17 IPOs and five acquisitions.

Here's SharePost's top performers:

Story continues...

SF Startups In The Shadows Of Big Brands At CES

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 8, 2015

Startups on Parade

Jamie Bezozo from New York based Sunshine Sachs writes that several San Francisco startups are at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. It's not just big brands.

Story continues...

Divorcing Personal Tech From Fashion —'Wearables' Need To Be 'Invisibles'

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 7, 2015

2015 01 07 13 13 04

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is featuring a lot of "wearables" reports Techcrunch (above) (which all seem to be smart watches).

Foremski's Take: All the fuss over Apple Watch will certainly help sell a lot of watches - regular and smart. I recently started wearing a normal watch.

Story continues...

This Digital 'Pencil' Has A Silicon Core - Intel's Smart Stylus

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 5, 2015


Near field communications chips (NFC) are used to create a smarter active stylus and make possible novel applications.

By Intel Free Press

Intel engineers are working to develop a next-generation active stylus, one that eliminates the need for a battery to power it and uses NFC as the core component.

Some of the issues surrounding active styli — according to Shwetank Kumar, director of touch engineering within Intel’s human interface technology group — are batteries running out of charge, lack of consistency between stylus manufacturers, and proprietary stylus technology tied to a single type of device.

Story continues...

Future Skies Will Swarm With Smarter Drones

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 18, 2014


By Intel Free Press

The word “drone” often conjures up images of autonomous, militarized technology. But in the context of small aircraft with multiple rotors that you often see carrying cameras, drones are more accurately associated with hobbyist sport and commercial applications.

They’ve begun attracting mainstream attention as drone makers such as Parrot introduced affordable models putting them in the hands of a broader range of buyers.

Story continues...

Media Disruption: Study Shows $6 Billion Stolen From Media Industry

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 18, 2014


Leslie Kaufman at the New York Times, reported on a study by the Association of National Advertisers into the problem of fake ad clicks:

Study Puts a Price Tag on Fake Ad Clicks -

Story continues...

Veteran Media Exec Dan Farber Joins Salesforce In Strategic Comms Role

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 12, 2014

DanFarber620  1 of 1

Dan Farber is one of the first tech industry journalists and in his thirty year career he has helped create many top publications and he has led many editorial teams. He "retired" from his senior executive position at CBS News in the summer and posted photos of his idyllic life in Sonoma County.

But I never believed he would be gone for long. After all, how can a dyed-in-the-wool newsman stay away when the world is changing so fast, and this small part of the world on his doorstep has so much to do with it?

This week he joined as Senior Vice President Strategic Communications.

He'll be working closely with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who is starting to take on more of a leadership position on local and regional matters, a much needed role given his history of philanthropy and his potential to inspire a tech community that seems a little lost.

I'm looking forward to seeing Dan more often and I congratulate him on this next phase of his career. It also gives me a chance to repost my interview with Dan from January this year:

Story continues...

Top Brazilian Startups Demo In Stormy San Francisco

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 12, 2014

IMG 0165

Photo credit: Chris Knight.

Rainy weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm shown by young Brazilian entrepreneurs at "Start-up Brasil Demo Day," reports Chris Knight.

Guest post by Chris Knight

It was a packed house earlier this week, for San Francisco’s first showcase of top startup talent being accelerated in by Start-Up Brasil and its government partners. The passion and elation in the air reminded me of Silicon Valley startups in the 1990s.

And judging by more than 100 VCs, bankers and corporate fund managers from the likes of Accel Partners, American Express, GE, Intel, Redpoint, Samsung and Silicon Valley Bank – many industry watchers had interest in hearing more from eleven of Brazil’s top startup founders. 

Story continues...

Huddle Raises $51m For Enterprise Collaboration Push

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 11, 2014

AlastairMitchell  8 of 18

Huddle, the UK founded enterprise collaboration service, has raised $51 million to finance a large expansion.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Huddle is experiencing a boom in business and says the capital will help it grow at a faster rate. In 2014 it won seven of its top ten customers and business tripled from 2013.

Alastair Mitchell (above), CEO and co-founder, said, "Enterprises are frustrated with endless rounds of emails,  and are discovering how Huddle lets them collaborate internally, and with external partners, and to do it inside a secure environment."

Story continues...

Analysis: InPowered's Bold Anti-Clickbait Strategy: Clicks For Free, Pay Only For Engagement

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 11, 2014


The future looks bright for Peyman Nilforoush, CEO of inPowered.

InPowered this week announced that its news story promotion service for large brands would not charge for clicks but only for engagement by readers.

The company is fighting against a massive flood of click-bait, fraudulent clicks and shadowy promotional tactics with its policy of only charging customers for engagement.

Story continues...

If urgent: send text or call 415 336 7547

Bacon's names Silicon Valley Watcher one of the
most influential blogs in the US.

Tom Foremski is a Founding Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research - a Silicon Valley based think tank focused on developments in media and PR.


The Holmes Report names Tom Foremski one of the top 25 Innovators of 2013.

Tom Foremski #28 on San Francisco - Silicon Valley
Top 50 Most Influential

Best Bay Area Blog

SF Publicity Club's ninth annual awards
celebrating excellence in media.