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

Guest Column: The Complexities Of Governance In The Age Of Data 2.0

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 26, 2015

Man lost in data lake  WEB

A data lake...

The following is a guest column from Sharmila Mulligan, CEO and founder of ClearStory Data.

By Sharmila Mulligan

In the late 1990s, organizations struggled to solve the problem of who gets access to more information, more applications and more data. As enterprises began amassing more data and making it available to employees, partners and customers, security considerations escalated.

We saw rapid innovation in security technologies. The first single sign-on applications emerged together with many other authentication technologies.  And we saw the first appointments of Chief Security Officers (CSOs), helping these essential applications to proliferate in the enterprise with beneficial results.

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Twitter CEO Wants More Readers - No Tweets Needed

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 25, 2015

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Golden doors of Twitter HQ - Twitter says it is gentrifying the Tenderloin

The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo, interviews Twitter CEO Dick Costello. He discusses some of the misconceptions about Twitter such as having to "Tweet." He says you don't have to. 

He also recommends improv comedy lessons to managers so that they can, "Be in this moment." Plus, there will be "varying degrees of severity" in dealing with harassment on Twitter.

Please see:Christmas Day On Twitter's Street - The Not-So-Sunny Side Of SF's Tech Boom -SVW



HP hosts 1st 'Women in Tech Festival' - SVForum March 7

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 24, 2015

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SVForum CEO Adiba Barney.

This upcoming SVForum event comes at an excellent time for the gender discussion in Silicon Valley. Sooner than later, Silicon Valley investors and startups will realize that it is silly to compete on a global scale with one arm tied behind your back. 

Here's details on SVForum's March 7 Women in Tech Festival at Hewlett-Packard's Sunnyvale campus with the theme "Empowering Women, Enhancing the World":

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A Profile Of Women In Engineering: Designing Emotionally Tuned Wearables At Intel Labs

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 23, 2015


The writers at Intel Free Press have prepared a fascinating profile of Ramune Nagisetty, one of Intel's top engineers. She's developing wearables with abilities for emotional communications. [It's designed not just for men.] 

By Intel Free Press

Ramune Nagisetty is a principal engineer within Intel Labs designing wearables that monitor biometrics as well as provide an emotional connection to others. 

Q: What are you working on?

Ramune Nagisetty: For the last couple of years, I have been specifically focused on wearable technology. When I say wearable, I’m talking about wrist-worn form factors and also things like rings and badges.

I’m starting a new project that has to do with maintaining an emotional connection between people through wearables. Every time technology has evolved, one of the first usages for technology has been for people to communicate with each other. 

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Cybereason: A Reason To Watch Cyber Attacks In Real Time

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 19, 2015


Cybereason is a Boston based security startup that offers clients the ability to reveal a cyber attack in their corporate networks in real-time and not shut-it down — at least not right away. 

The company's approach to security is based on the assumption that hackers will find a way into the corporate network someway anyway, so any attacks have to be detected in real-time otherwise once they are inside they can lurk for months or years.

The three founders worked together in Israel's military cyber espionage Unit 8200, which is the single largest unit in the Israeli Defense Forces and performs similar activities to the National Security Administration (NSA) in the US. 

Here are some notes and observations from my conversation with Lior Div, CEO of Cybereason:

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Intel's Smart Toy Startup

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 19, 2015


We now have Barbie dolls connected to the Internet and new types of"smart" toys being introduced. The writers at Intel Free Press recall the time when Intel wanted to be in the toy business. 

By Intel Free Press

In the late 1990s Intel and Mattel forged a unique relationship that led to a series of connected toys, which also provides some interesting insight into early thinking around smart toys and user experience.

Mattel Inc. and Intel Corporation went beyond collaborating on devices; the two companies actually created a startup and gave it a brand of its own.

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Redefining Public Relations: Are You Persuaded By 'Earned Influence'?

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 17, 2015


Paul Holmes (center) gives an award to Inner Circle Labs in early 2014.

Paul Holmes of the Holmes Report, writes that, "The importance of defining public relations has never been greater than it is today."

That’s because as various communications disciplines converge, as corporate reputation and brand image begin to blur, as clients seek solutions that encompass paid and earned and owned and shared media and engage multiple stakeholders, PR people find themselves competing with rivals from advertising, from digital, from other disciplines to offer critical insights, develop truly differentiated strategies, and to provide multichannel execution.

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Helmet IT: Motorcycles Get Smarter And Safer

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 10, 2015


The following article is by Intel Free Press - a small team of writers working at Intel.

By Intel Free Press

Riding a motorcycle is an amazingly freeing experience. The strong connection the rider has to the road is due to the minimal barriers between themselves and their surroundings. But the trade-off, especially when compared to cars, is in creature comforts and high-tech gadgetry.

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The Crunchies' Bitchgate: High Horses With Fake Unicorn Horns Ignore Decades Of Silicon Valley Misogyny

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 8, 2015

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Cromwell Schubarth reports on Silicon Valley Business Journal that comedian TJ Miller won't be coming back next year as MC for The Crunchies awards following complaints about his "bitch" remark.

Miller started the show edgy and then went headlong over the edge after getting into a verbal joust with Uber founder Travis Kalanick's date, during which he called her a "bitch" more than once. Gabi Holzwarth, Kalanick's date, forgave Miller in a tweet right after the show.

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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.

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

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 27, 2015

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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:

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Media Tech: DNN Launches Marketing-Enabled Enterprise Publishing Platform

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 27, 2015

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Charlene Li: Engaged Leaders And Intimate Customer Relationships

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 21, 2015

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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!"

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

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 20, 2015

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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."

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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?

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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.

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Showcase Of Women Entrepreneurs Under 30 At Stanford - Tuesday

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 16, 2015

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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:

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Datameer Says Hadoop Is Making Big Gains In The Enterprise

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 16, 2015

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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

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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:

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Strong Secondary Shares Market Preps For 2015

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 8, 2015

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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:

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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.

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

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 7, 2015

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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.

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