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Technology

Roku IPO Reminds us Tech is an Oligopoly

September 3, 2017



Roku is a company that defied the odds - competing in a market with Apple, Google and Amazon and somehow persevering by making superior products in what is without a doubt a highly commoditized space. To make matters worse, Google and Amazon really don't seem to care too much about profitability - Amazon in general and Google/Alphabet for its businesses beyond search.

Still, despite the challenging competitive environment, Roku has persevered and done well.

The company's investors are about to partially cash out via an IPO and in its filing documents it tells us that two of its most popular services, YouTube and Netflix pay them virtually no money.

Tech is an oligopoly of sorts. In 2015, Om Malik wrote about the winner-take-all nature of Silicon Valley.

Here is an excerpt:

This loop of algorithms, infrastructure, and data is potent. Add what are called network effects to the mix, and you start to see virtual monopolies emerge almost overnight.











Watch out Slack, Here Comes Flock

September 2, 2017

There is no shortage of competition for the enterprise messaging customer. Slack is the acknowledged leader but Cisco, Microsoft and everyone seems to want to get in on the market. The latest is Flock, a cloud-based team collaboration service, which has attracted 25,000 enterprise users and customers including Tim Hortons, Whirlpool and Princeton University.

According to Bloomberg: 
A teenage entrepreneur who became a millionaire by 20 before sharing a billion-dollar fortune at 36, Bhavin Turakhia isn’t afraid to think big. Now he’s putting $45 million of his own money into building a rival to Slack and other office messaging platforms.

The bottom line is the price Flock will charge is more than $3 per user less than Slack.


Does This Stat Show IBM was Wrong about Telecommuting

August 31, 2017

7% or less than 2 out of 25 workers feel productive in the office during normal business hours According to a recent FlexJobs survey on remote work. 66% of professionals believed that they would be more productive if they worked remotely.

The reasons cited in favor of remote work? 76% wanted "fewer interruptions from colleagues and fewer distractions," 70% sought to "reduce stress from commuting," and 69% preferred to avoid "office politics."

How do these stats square with the strategy changes by companies like Yahoo! and IBM to move people back into the office? Without passing judgement - in both of these cases the companies faced tough competition and weren't performing up to expectations so maybe a change was made in the hopes of an improvement.

Perhaps these two cases are outliers.

When we look at the stat regarding 76% of people wanting less interruptions and distractions, how does this align with the move to the open office environment?







Lack of Cybersecurity Training Just Cost 8 Million Dollars

August 31, 2017

The Cybersecurity problem gets worse by the day and as we have covered before, there is an increase in attacks targeting money-transfer. In fact, while ransomware isn't going away any time soon, the sheer amount of money which can be scored from a wire transfer scam is so enormous that ransomware pales in comparison.

As we just wrote:

  • Money transfer attacks occur when company employees are tricked into wiring money to a hacker account through what looks like a legitimate email from their boss or other authorized authority. By hacking mailboxes, malicious users can learn patterns and terms used by an organization and subsequently use these terms against them. Tens or hundreds of millions of dollars are lost by corporations each year through such attacks.

Some time back we wrote about Portnox and how they add visibility and control to help secure networks.

Burning Man Live Stream

August 31, 2017

Coinbase: Killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Cryptocurrency

August 31, 2017

How Bitcoin and the Free Market can Screw up Bitcoin and the Free Market

The beauty of cryptocurrencies and ICOs is there now a way for tech to take on governments and allow consumers access to an alternative to government controlled “money.” Bitcoins and related currencies are a libertarian dream – allowing people from repressed countries such as Argentina, China and others to take their money out of these financial prisons if they so choose.

In 2013 we detailed the 15 reasons bitcoins were better than gold, we then reiterated it is Gold 2.0.  In January of this year we charted Bitcoin according to the Tech Hype Cycle and predicted the price would break out based upon how technology adoption works.

Google Could Lose it's Trademark

August 21, 2017

Is Google a generic term like KleenexDumpster and Realtor- unworthy of protection with a trademark symbol? The case is pending.

Dr. Wikipedia tells us:

A trademark is said to become genericized when it begins as a distinctive product identifier but changes in meaning to become generic. This typically happens when the products or services with which the trademark is associated have acquired substantial market dominance or mind share, such that the primary meaning of the genericized trademark becomes the product or service itself rather than an indication of source for the product or service. A trademark thus popularized has its legal protection at risk in some countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, as its intellectual property rights in the trademark may be lost and competitors enabled to use the genericized trademark to describe their similar products, unless the owner of an affected trademark works sufficiently to correct and prevent such broad use.



Ellen Pao and California Senate Point to a Huge Valley Harassment Problem

August 21, 2017

Ellen Pao has a new book coming out "Reset." you might recall she was a poster child for Silicon Valley sexual harassment a few years ago in her lawsuit   against Kleiner Perkins which she ended up losing.

But back to her book. A fascinating excerpt follows:

Once we were airborne, the CEO, who’d brought along a few bottles of wine, started bragging about meeting Jenna Jameson, talking about her career as the world’s greatest porn star and how he had taken a photo with her at the Playboy Mansion. He asked if I knew who she was and then proceeded to describe her pay-per-view series (Jenna’s American Sex Star), on which women competed for porn-movie contracts by performing sex acts before a live audience.

“Nope,” I said.




Intermedia Anti-Phishing Tools for Small Business

August 21, 2017



Large companies generally have IT teams to deal with phishing attacks but really, there is no perfect defense from a determined phisher who wants to get you to click on a link. Once you click, they could install a backdoor which gives them access to your passwords or perhaps they could start installing ransomware.

All a company can do is be as protected as possible. One way to achieve this is with strong anti-phishing tools - similar to the ones rolled out by Intermedia last week.

The company says they have unveiled Enterprise-grade anti-phishing protection, designed for SMBs - otherwise knows and small and medium businesses.

The new Intermedia Email Protection features include:

  • Similar domain check: Spear-phishing campaign authors will typically register an email domain that looks 'similar' to a company's email domain (e.g., iintermedia.net with two i's instead of intermedia.net). Intermedia's domain check feature uses a similarity algorithm to confirm that the sending domain is in fact is someone from within the organization.
  • User impersonation check: Spear-phishing attacks target specific employees within an organization, by impersonating someone they know – most typically the CEO or other high-profile individuals.








Maybe Net Neutrality Needs to Apply to Silicon Valley

August 21, 2017

In the debate for net neutrality, its been left versus right for about a decade. Silicon Valley, and Democrats are for net neutrality while conservatives are for free markets with minimal government regulation.

The biggest argument advocates of net neutrality use is they fear for a world where unregulated ISPs are able to throttle and block content they don't agree with or that which is competitive.

Last month, Google, Facebook and Spotify among many others worked together to participate in a June 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action in support of net neutrality.

Organized by Fight for the Futurefreepress, and Demand Progress, the event precedes a July 17 deadline for public comment on the FCC's proposed changes to net neutrality rules, originally designed to prevent huge internet service providers from creating internet 'fast lanes' that deliver content from some owners at higher speeds (and potentially higher costs) than that of others. In his new role as head of the FCC, former commissioner and Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has quickly mobilized efforts to roll back the Obama-era protections, among other things, arguing that the regulations will inhibit investment and innovation in the field.

Interestingly net neutrality proponants are generally associated with the antifa movement - the communist group which says it represents anti-fascism.

So there we have it - the left wants net neutrality rules so the government can ensure corporations can't keep sites they don't agree with, off the internet.









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