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

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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Laura Locke Profile On Flipboard...

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 20, 2015


Laura Locke, a long-time San Francisco based journalist for Time magazine and the BBC, is profiled in an interview by Flipboard as part of its promotion of its recently introduced curated magazine format. 

Here is an extract from: What I’m Reading: BBC News Reporter Laura Locke | Flipboard

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'Growth Hacking' Makes Me Twitch - 5 Lessons For Enterprises

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 20, 2015


Erin Steinbrugge is COO of, where she authored the Growth Hacking 101: Rookie Template; and is a contributor to the Accelerate St. Louis startup ecosystem. 

Guest post by Erin Steinbrugge

If there is one area where marketers excel, it’s continually redefining and rebranding the role of marketing itself. As a marketer at heart, I appreciate the continual innovation yet sometimes cringe at the latest and greatest buzzwords and emerging new job titles. The latest title that has caught my fancy and that of Silicon Valley over the last couple years is “growth hacker.”

What exactly is a Growth Hacker?

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Bloomberg: How Silicon Valley Back-Room Deals Make Unicorns And Decacorns

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 18, 2015

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Startup stories rarely focus on the product or service but on the valuation and funds raised, as if that's what's most important about a company.

Valuations are a trend story but on an individual basis, it says little about the viability of a startup business, or the innovations it is pioneering.

Many people get excited or upset about valuations of startups, even though it does not reflect any actual value — as in a public stock company — it simply reflects the views of a very small number of private investors in a private company.  

Startup valuations are manipulated in one way or another, and for a variety of reasons; some of those reasons are reported in this excellent Bloomberg Business story by Sarah Frier and Eric Newcomer: The Fuzzy, Insane Math That's Creating So Many Billion-Dollar Tech Companies

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Divino Group Launches

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 17, 2015

DivinoA shout-out to my friend Chris Knight, co-founder of a brand marketing and PR agency: Divino Group, which launched today! Chris was Global Technology Lead at Ruder Finn and in senior positions at Cohn & Wolfe and GCI Group.

Chris and his six co-founders, want to reinvent the traditional PR agency model. It's a tough job and I wish them the best of luck reinventing PR. Many have tried but the important thing is to keep trying until someone succeeds. Maybe it'll be Divino Group.

Tech + Community: SAP Opens HanaHaus Coffee Shop/Co-Working Space In Palo Alto

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 17, 2015


SAP, the giant German enterprise software company, today unveiled "HanaHaus" a 15,000 square-foot coffee shop and co-working space located on University Avenue inside the historic Varsity Theater.

SAP has a large research center in Palo Alto. The idea for HanaHaus came from Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP,  who's interested in the process of innovation and how people collaborate to create new ideas. 

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Angelpad Tops National Accelerator List As Y Combinator Drops Out

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 17, 2015

Rice University, MIT and the University of Richmond, today at SXSW unveiled their annual list of ranked startup accelerators. Y Combinator was top last year but this year it reclassified itself as a seed fund. 

The top 20:

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From Round To Square To Round About Again -Trends In Gadget Designs

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 16, 2015

Michael Sheehan and Marcus Yam from Intel Free Press show their smart watches at IDF 14. 

Intel Free Press has noticed that square designs are becoming too square and the world is moving to rounded shapes for its wearables and other gizmos... (Why can't we have triangular?)

By Intel Free Press

Take a casual survey of personal technology and electronics on the market today and you will notice the majority of them are rectangular in shape. But there is a rising trend, or perhaps a return, to more rounded design.

The smartwatch is the latest area of debate of round versus square. The circular screen of the Motorola Moto 360 Android Wear watch makes it stand out among competitors with more traditional, rectangular screens, such as the Samsung Gear, Pebble and even the upcoming Apple Watch. Just revealed at the 2015 Mobile World Congress (MWC), the LG Watch Urbane and Huawei Watch smartwatches both also have perfectly round displays.

Why round?

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Embargoes And The Rebirth Of Trade Media

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 13, 2015

Embargo Twitter thread 

In this Guest Post, PR industry veteran Mike Maney makes a strong case for embargoes. I work with embargoes because publishing a press release before its time is not a scoop. If I'm smart enough, I can come up with an original and exclusive angle on an important story, from having time to ask the right questions. 

By Mike Maney

A common complaint among the media is that embargoes are the spawn of Satan. An unnecessary evil foisted upon reporters for the sake of squeezing every last drop of digital ink from a marketer’s jargon-filled pitch.

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Congratulations! Ubergizmo's Eliane Fiolet Awarded French 'Knighthood'

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 12, 2015

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Eliane Fiolet in a Paris subway train on the superb Traveling Geeks trip that she helped organize in December 2009.

Congratulations to Eliane Fiolet, co-founder of Silicon Valley's Ubergizmo news site for being awarded France's  Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite!

The award recognizes exceptional service in the public sphere. Eliane has worked with many French startups, providing advice and sharing her Silicon Valley connections. She also helped the French Embassy Trade Office with a variety of projects. There will be a presentation ceremony on March 17 in Paris. 

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