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

Mobile News Site Circa Closes —Media Disruption Continues

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 24, 2015

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Circa CEO Matt Galligan in 2013 in the San Francisco office

Circa, a news aggregation service for smartphone users has closed, a further casualty in the ongoing disruption in the media industry.

Jason Abbruzzese reports: News app Circa says it cannot survive as a viable business

News app Circa, once a media darling for its mobile-first approach, has announced that it is going on an "indefinite hiatus" after it was unable to find someone to buy the company.

In a Medium post entitled "Farewell to Circa News," CEO Matt Galligan admitted that while they had succeeded in their goals of making a high-quality mobile news platform, Circa had failed to become a viable business.

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Delphix Boost From Gartner IT Cloud Migration Report

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 23, 2015


Delphix received a big boost today recognition from Gartner, which placed Delphix in the top Leader's quadrant in its latest Magic Quadrant for Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement. It's key in t cloud migration projects, a complex and risky move made far simpler with Delphix and it's great to get the recognition from Gartner.

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Business Agility: Where Are The Budgets To Pay For Innovative Technologies?

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 23, 2015

Corporations spend a lot of money on IT globally and some that is spent on new products from innovative IT startups.

But it's a hard slog for those startups when they have something truly innovative to sell because who do they sell it to? Who holds the budget for something that didn't exist until a year or two ago? And there's not even a category to label the technology?

There's budgets for databases, servers, for networks, and hundreds of other IT components. But where are the budgets for as-yet unknown technologies that could be transformative across the entire business?

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An Ode To Hoarders — Archivists Of Historic Tech Treasures

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 23, 2015


Technology moves fast and today's tech products become outdated faster than the seasons change and are thrown out. Hoarders (such as Freda Clark, above) are unconscious archivists of our digital age and are now sitting on some iconic treasures. Here's a report from Intel Free Press...

By Intel Free Press

Hoarders who are finally clearing out their stashes are finding that some of their trash is actually treasure

Forgotten items sitting in the dark corner of garages or hidden away in attics are often just old clothes and household items. But on the rare occasion, there could something worth tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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The $10K Search For 'Moore's Law' Magazine

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 10, 2015


The chip industry is governed by 'Moore's Law" and it has been an incredible innovation platform delivering ever cheaper digital devices. Intel Free Press takes a look at the original article in the original magazine...

By Intel Free Press

Amid all the fanfare around the 50th anniversary of Moore's Law this year, there will be multiple references and notations from a brief article written by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in the April 19, 1965 edition of Electronics magazine, which ceased publishing 20 years ago.

It was the early days of the integrated circuit, and Intel was not even born yet when Moore, who was still at Fairchild Semiconductor at the time, was asked to contribute an article for the 35th anniversary of the magazine. In it, Moore pointed out that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention. But, more importantly, he predicted that the trend would continue into the foreseeable future.

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"Free Press" For Startups During A Time Of Crisis In The Media

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 10, 2015

I'm looking forward to speaking tonight at a Lifograph event in San Francisco, to executives at startups on the topic of "free" communications. It's "free" in that startups get to do it themselves because they can't afford a PR firm on retainer.

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Actian And The Search For The Enterprise Hadoop User

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 4, 2015


I attended a very worthwhile roundtable this week, organized by Actian, a Big Data business analytics company. It was a very good mix of analysts, investors, media and users.

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Here Is Why Software Engineers Should Start Blogging...

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 4, 2015

It's a pleasure to be working at Delphix with such a world-class engineering team. Our CTO is Adam Leventhal, one of the authors of DTrace, a truly revolutionary application. It allows engineers to monitor the performance and troubleshoot very complex IT systems.

It is like having X-ray vision into the heart of the data center. To put it bluntly, DTrace is one of the key technologies that enables the modern digital world that we take for granted.

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Startup Voodoo Keynote: Prospering Female Entrepreneurs

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 1, 2015


I'll be at the Startup Voodoo conference in St. Louis on June 18. Here is an interview by conference co-founder Aaron Perlut, with one of the keynote speakers: Maxine Clark, who pioneered crowd-sourcing in 1997 to build a very successful business. 

By Aaron Perlut

Veteran retail entrepreneur Maxine Clark is one of our keynote speakers at the 2nd annual Startup Voodoo innovation, entrepreneurship and startups conference in St. Louis June 18.

Not familiar with her name? Well, you should be. Because while crowdsourcing is today all the rage as a means of corporate engagement with customers, Clark’s Build-A-Bear Workshop – with more than 400 locations worldwide — has been at the forefront of the concept since 1997.

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Editorial Communications Is Not 'Brand Journalism' -It's 'Media as a Service'

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 25, 2015

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Loren Maxwell revisits the strange world of "Brand Journalism" and content marketing in his recent post: Traditional Journalists, Brand Journalists Divided In Controversy Over Brand Journalism

2010 marks the beginning of the Content Marketing Institute, which recognized that throughout hundreds of years, one thing was consistent, “Brands have been telling stories for centuries”.

True, brands tell stories and journalists tell stories — but storytelling is not journalism.

What has emerged is a world, where journalism is split between traditional journalism (predominately news, reporting, and gathering of facts and information), and brand journalism (corporations telling stories to engage with their markets). The lines of journalism are becoming blurred. 

Maxwell makes a grave error in his post: Journalism is most certainly not split "between traditional journalism" and "brand journalism." There are not two lines of journalism.

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Delphix Makes Its 1st Acquisition: Axis Technology Software

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 21, 2015

It's been an exciting week, here at Delphix. The company made its first acquisition, Axis Technology Software, a Boston-based startup that has become the leader in data masking technologies.

[The news release is here: Axis Technology and Delphix Partner to Address Data Masking Dilemma]

App development teams need their own clone of the production database — which includes terabytes of sensitive data — for rapid testing and updates. The rush to produce apps creates a security nightmare as each new clone of the database also clones the risks of losing control of that data.  

After highly publicized security breaches at Sony, and Target, it's not surprising that data masking is one of the most requested features by enterprise IT departments.

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Coca-Cola's Chief Innovation Officer "Cracks The Code" On Startup Success: Storytelling

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 20, 2015

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Alan Boehme, CIO and Chief Innovation Officer at Coca-Cola Company, spoke at IDG's CIO Perspectives conference in San Francisco. Maryfran Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of CIO Magazine, introduced him by saying he had "cracked the code" on startups.

I was skeptical there would be much from Coca-Cola after the fallout from the innovation of "New Coke" in 1985 but I was wrong. It was a surprisingly interesting presentation and refreshingly frank in places.

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Employers Bank Valuable Productivity Gains From Meditating Tech Workers

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 19, 2015

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Above, Lindsay VanDriel and Qua Veda are the co-founders of Awake@Intel

Meditation boosts productivity so when it comes to expensive tech workers the gains are very valuable. And so are the lower healthcare costs. 

By Intel Free Press

What started as a grassroots effort among a few colleagues  to meditate during the lunch hour has now grown into an officially supported 10-week long program at Intel.

Now in its third year, the Awake@Intel program imparts on participants concepts such as mindfulness, intention and relational intelligence. Intel is among a growing list of companies, such as Google, General Mills, Ford and LinkedIn, to offer classes on mindfulness.

It may seem paradoxical that taking a moment to slow down and be mindful would be beneficial to environments where agility is paramount, but elite athletes such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter practiced mindfulness techniques.

Intel employees Lindsay VanDriel and Qua Veda are the co-founders of Awake@Intel

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Why I Chose Delphix...And The Future Of Corporate Media

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 11, 2015

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I pursued a job at Delphix for a simple reason. It is awesome. I rarely use that word and when I do, it is in its awe-inspiring original meaning.

When I first met Jedidiah Yueh, the 40 year old CEO and founder of Delphix, more than two years ago, I was blown away by the potential for Delphix' virtual database technology, by its leadership, and by its deep bench of IT engineering talent, such as Delphix CTO Adam Leventhal, one of the authors of Dtrace -- an extraordinary performance analysis technology that is crucial to making our digital world work so magically.

And Rick Caccia, Chief Marketing Officer, and other senior Delphix executives are all valley veterans with long and proven careers in IT markets.

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More On Delphix ... Corporate Media ... And The Dark Side

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 10, 2015

Just over ten years ago I jumped from one of the best jobs in my profession, Technology Correspondent at the Financial Times, into the curious world of "blogging."

I had no idea what I was doing, how I would make rent or what "blogging" was, and how it related to journalism. Remember, this was mid-2004, it was a brand new medium.

When Intel heard of my move, I later found out, it held an emergency meeting of its corporate communications teams to determine how they should work with bloggers. Is Tom Foremski still a journalist?

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Delphix Adds Strength To An Already Strong Executive Team As It Preps For IPO

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 8, 2015

[Please note: My new day job is Editorial Communications Manager at Delphix, a fast growing IT startup based in Menlo Park, in the heart of Silicon Valley.]

Delphix this week named two key additions to its executive team as it prepares for an IPO.

- Stewart Grierson was named Chief Financial Officer. He rejoins former ArcSight colleague Rick Caccia, Chief Marketing Officer at Delphix.

Grierson was awarded "CFO of the Year" by the San Jose Business Journal in 2009: “Grierson helped lead ArcSight, valley's only IPO of 2008.” 

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Salesforce Sale — Will Microsoft Tower Over San Francisco?

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 5, 2015

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A billboard at the construction site for the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco

Microsoft is evaluating a bid for Salesforce, reports Bloomberg, as a response to an acquisition offer from an unnamed company.

Foremski's Take: Salesforce has a market valuation of about $49 billion so it will be an integration challenge and a detachable jaw might be required to digest it. There's only a few possible suitors.

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I've Joined Delphix...

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 1, 2015


(Above) I was speaking at FutureComms14 conference in London last summer.

I have some exciting news to share! I've joined Delphix, a hot Menlo Park based IT startup, in a senior editorial communications role. 

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Jabil Opens Blue Sky Innovation Center in San Jose For Showcasing Gizmos And Gadgets But The Story Is In The Supply Chain

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 1, 2015


A demo of the "Capabilities Wall" at Jabil's Blue Sky Center in San Jose.

Jabil, the nearly $20 billion manufacturer of a huge range of electronic gadgets, unveiled its Blue Sky Innovation Center in San Jose this week. I learned a lot about this outsourced electronics manufacturer and I was especially impressed by the sophisticated IT systems that it developed to manage incredibly complex supply chains and model the future performance of its global business operations.

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Google Apologizes To Euro Publishers And Offers Money And Developer Help

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 28, 2015


As the European Commission considers punitive measures against the US search giants business practices, Google offers to help eight European publishers develop new digital media products and announced it will fund new media projects from a $165m three-year "Innovation" fund.

Glyn Moody at Ars Technica reports that the offer is an attempt to mend bridges with the European Commission as it considers measures to crack down on Google's business practices.

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Event: 'Rethinking Technology As If People Matter '- Sunday In SF

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 23, 2015

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Please join me for this fine event, this Sunday, April 26, 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm in the Presidio. It's organized by Tom Mahon, a Silicon Valley veteran and sponsored by Ahimsa, the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, plus other interfaith organizations.

"Rethinking technology as if people matter," is a topic that is missing in our current discussion of tech yet it used to be a subject area that was very much in the fore for many people in Silicon Valley, for many decades. I don't think interest in this topic has gone away — it's just hidden by the current media fascination with startup valuations and billionaire millennials.  

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Cotopaxi: Largest Series A Funding For B Corp Startup

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 21, 2015

Davis Smith - CEO Cotopaxi

I recently met with Davis Smith, founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, an e-commerce startup that recently raised a $6.5 million Series A round, for a total of $9.5 million --the largest amount ever raised from institutional investors by a Benefit Corporation.

A "Benefit corp" or B Corp is a legal designation that differs from the normal "C corporation" whose fiduciary obligations are to maximize shareholder profits or risk lawsuits. B Corps have a legal duty to fund a humanitarian mission from their profits.

Cotopaxi does good from the profits in selling outdoor gear.  Each backpack, jacket, or water bottle is linked to a specific humanitarian project.

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Birst: Business Analytics Starts With Clean Data—GIGO

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 16, 2015

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I had an interesting media roundtable meeting with Birst, the cloud-based business analytics company that recently raised $65 million in a Series F, and a total of $156 million.

Major VC firms such as Sequoia Capital and Hummer Winblad, are backing the company as it seeks new customers and battles for a dominant position in cloud-based analytics.

Jay Larson, CEO (above) is 25-year industry veteran of SAP, Oracle, SuccessFactors, and Jive Software. He says the business opportunities for Birst are extraordinary.

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Smartphone Sensors Sense User's Needs

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 15, 2015

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Intel Free Press reports on moves to harness smartphone sensors to help apps better personalize their services based on context...

By Intel Free Press

The 2013 film “Her” featured an operating system that could personalize itself to the user to the extent where the intelligence appeared anything but artificial. By taking cues from user data and its environment, the OS was able to respond to the user’s needs, even on an emotional level. While “Her” was science fiction, progress in the area of contextual computing is bringing such intelligent systems one step closer to science fact.

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Silicon Valley And God — Can Churches Solve Local Problems?

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 9, 2015

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Pat Gelsinger (left) greets SiliconValleyWatcher at a VMware event in February 2015, next to John Furrier of Silicon Angle.

The Silicon Valley/San Francisco region has one of the lowest church attendance populations in the US, 30% below the national average

Silicon Valley's culture is often described as Libertarian and heavily influenced by the thoughts of Ayn Rand, an outspoken atheist. But there is room for everyone and in 2015 we might begin to see some signs that Unicorns and a belief in God, are not mutually exclusive. 

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Intel Capital Leagues Ahead In VC M&A Exits

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 8, 2015

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Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of microprocessor chip giant Intel, had 252 exits by M&A in the ten years since 2005 — a stunning 82 more deals than second placed New Enterprise Associates with 174, and Accel Partners with 148. 

Pitchbook's ten year analysis can be seen above. It has also looked at healthcare IPOs because they have had strong post-IPO gains in 2014.

Newer "Micro-VCs" such as Dave McClure's 500 Startups and Jeff Clavier's Softech VC did well, with 68 and 54 M&A exits respectively. 

Silicon Valley Investments Nearly Quarter Of Global VC

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 7, 2015


First quarter 2015 Silicon Valley venture capital investments totaled $5.4 billion in 327 deals, representing nearly one-quarter of all VC investments globally. [Source: Pitchbook]

The median pre-money valuation of a startup jumped by 35 per cent in just one quarter to $40.7 million. Industries funded: $2.1 billion in IT  $1.2 billion in healthcare; $1 billion into B2C. A regional breakdown of VC investing: Visualizing VC activity in 1Q ’15 by geography | PitchBook Blog

The Enormous Energy Demands Of The Internet of Things

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 7, 2015

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Intel Free Press reports that wireless power could become the best way to supply energy to billions of connected devices. If a solution is not found then IoT won't happen...

By Intel Free Press


With 25 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices expected to come online by 2020, finding an adequate and efficient way to power each device is critical to the success of this emerging technology.

A “connected thing” could be anything from a smartphone and laptop, to a wireless sensor network, medical and military equipment. Connected things are also found in electronic signage, digital merchandising and even inventory tagging. And each of these “things” can contain a multitude of sensors.

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Intel's Pocket Avatars App Ignored By Millennials...

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 31, 2015

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Intel Free Press writes about a discrete Intel project aimed at Millennials that is having problems reaching millennials because it looks too much like a children's app...[Advice to Intel: If an app flops it never gets a second chance — keep the underlying tech but rework the UI. And use your brand.]

By Intel Free Press

In 2014, Intel navigated into new waters when it released Pocket Avatars, a messaging app available for iOS and Android, which is aimed at the millennial demographic and allows users to send expressive, short video messages using preselected characters or avatars.

While there are an abundance of messaging applications for mobile devices, Pocket Avatars differentiates itself by allowing users to map their facial gestures to a chosen 3D avatar, including the likenesses of Katy Perry, Lego, Annoying Orange and even President Obama.

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Ideas Can Be Funny: From Ridiculous Color To Meerkat Love

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 25, 2015


Meerkat, a live video streaming smartphone app, is the startup of the month judging by screen upon screen of media love for all things Meerkat. But Color, a very similar smartphone app, was ridiculed four years ago.

Color Labs, founded by serial entrepreneur Bill Nguyen (above), raised a $41 million round in March 2011— and triggered a cacophony of clueless criticism in the media.

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