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

The Software Defined Megacorporation - Why IT matters

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 17, 2015

IMG_0470 (1).jpg

There's a new business reality that few companies know about. If you want to be a player in global markets you will need a top-notch IT department. It won't be the same as the current one but whatever you do, don't buy the hype that you can just use off-the-shelf technologies and that the cloud makes IT departments obsolete.

Business edge will be defined by IT edge. IT matters and the performance of your IT department matters a lot.

The following is from my ZDNet column: IMHO:

The IT department will be transformed from a slow changing cost center and into a vibrant, creative organization essential to every business competing on a global scale.

More than ten years have passed since the publication of the book, "Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage" by Nicholas Carr, the former Executive Editor of the Harvard Business Review.

Few people disagreed with Carr's argument. In a world where every large company has the same IT systems, the same ERP apps, the same IT infrastructure, the same commodity hardware, no one has a strategic advantage.

Carr was right but that was then...

Story continues...

Computer Pioneer Alan Kay Says Tech Industry Ignores The Future

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 4, 2015



I was at SAP in Palo Alto earlier this week to see computer pioneer Alan Kay give a talk and also to meet with him for an exclusive interview.

I’ll have more on the interview coming up. I just uploaded the video of his talk here: Alan Kay @ SAP - YouTube

Alan Kay is a computer pioneer, he was part of the the Xerox PARC team of about 30 researchers who developed many of the key concepts of the PC and notebook. Here he talks about the lack of forward thinking in technology design and innovation.

He advocates designing products for how we expect to use technologies decades from now instead of trying to replicate old technologies.

He also talks about system thinking rather than discrete products such as apps and hardware, the goal is integration and collaboration among our technologies because that’s what’s important for humans: more collaboration.

He also mentions that Steve Jobs missed a lot when he visited Xerox PARC and replicated the graphical user interface and mouse — he didn’t see the computers were all connected, used Ethernet, and they connected to the nascent Internet then called ARPAnet. Steve Jobs missed half of it and didn't see that the computers were all networked "because he's a visual guy."


Internet Archive Hero Award Goes To Viral Marketing Pioneers Grateful Dead

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 22, 2015

IArchive  1

John Perry Barlow accepts Internet Archive Hero Award from Brewster Kahle.

The Internet Archive (IA), the San Francisco based non-profit digital media archive, this week announced several new programs in collaboration with major US libraries and a new annual award: Internet Archive Hero.

The programs include partnerships with top libraries and music archive organizations. Music is a key focus for the IA which unveiled a "music locker" approach to enlarging its store of music without triggering copyright suits. It allows music collectors to upload digital copies of their libraries to their music locker stored on the Internet Archive. It will signal if a title has already been digitized and uploaded by another but it will still be available in the music locker. This should increase the size of the music archive by eliminating duplicate work and focusing on titles not yet digitzed.

Story continues...

Weber Shandwick: Not Much Future In Spirited 'Future Of Media' Discussion

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 14, 2015

SVW  1  1 copy

Weber Shandwick had a great turnout for its Future of Media event moving it to FAME on Broadway, a larger location in the heart of North Beach. And we had a rare all-woman panel after the lone male dropped out.

The moderator said it was a pleasure to be part of an all woman panel especially when the subject has nothing to do with women. 

SVW  1  4 copy

The moderator was Vivian Schiller Executive Editor-in-Residence at Weber Shandwick and the former Global Chair of News at Twitter, and a former CEO of NPR, did a good job including everyone in the conversation even if some panelists were way behind the times in their advice. For example: This is not a good time for journalists to strike out on their own, those days have come and long gone! Teams win.]

Story continues...

Churchill Club: Intel's Andy Grove Receives 'Legendary Leader Award'

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 30, 2015

Churchills 00159

From left: Saleem Janmohamed, Accenture; Andy Grove, Ben Horowitz and Geoffrey Moore, M.C.

Andy Grove was a founder, CEO and Chairman of Intel during a long career that saw the Silicon Valley firm grow to become the world's largest chip maker.

Story continues...

Weber Shandwick And The Future Of Journalism

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 28, 2015

Screenshot 2015 09 28 15 25 48

The San Francisco office of PR firm Weber Shandwick is hosting an interesting panel on October 13 with top journalists and corporate media execs titled: Journalism Disrupted, Journalism Reborn: The Future of Media in a Digital World.

Weber scores marks for a female-dominated panel with four of the five panelists: Connie Guglielmo, Editor in Chief at CNET News; MC Wellons, SF Bureau Chief for CNBC; Ann Grimes, Professor at Stanford University and a former Wall Street Journal SF Bureau Chief; Caroline Fairchild, New Economy Editor at LinkedIn; and Joaquin Alvarado, CEO for The Center for Investigative Reporting. 

Weber Shandwick has an active interest in the subject of journalism disrupted as do many PR firms because there’s plenty of new business opportunities. As the number of journalists continues to shrink, PR firms are offering businesses a wide range of editorial media services that includes: creating and publishing online magazines;  writing articles, columns and features; creating video news reports; etc.

Also known as “content marketing” it’s an attempt to try to plug the gaps in media coverage of companies that journalists once provided. It’s become a huge market. 

Weber Shandwick offers its media services through a business division called “Mediaco - We Help Every Company Become A Media Company”. [I worked with Mediaco last year on a client project.]

Foremski’s Take:

Story continues...

Jasper And The Connected Car

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 21, 2015

IoT Infographic

Jasper is positioning itself firmly in the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure sector where it already has a lot of customers for its technologies.

If you are interested in IoT and the "connected car" there is a panel and networking event coming up this Thursday September 24 at 6pm  in San Francisco and you can request an invite here. Panelists include:

Story continues...

Technologies For Understanding Human Sign Language

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 15, 2015

A report from Intel Free Press on the challenges in developing communications technologies for deaf people... 

By Intel Free Press

Adam Munder, a lithography process engineer at Intel, has been 100 percent deaf since he was 1 year old. He doesn't read lips, nor does he speak. His communication is primarily based on using American Sign Language (ASL) and using two interpreters, one who listens to conversations and converts the dialog into ASL and another who reads his responses in ASL and voices this to his audience.

Munder seldom uses technology to communicate, despite being immersed in an extremely technical environment within Intel. And these technical conversations about lithography, a process for etching geometric shapes on a silicon wafer, are what actually pose the biggest difficulty for him communicating.

Story continues...

Finn Partners Acquires Horn Group...And The PR Industry's Gender Barrier

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 10, 2015

Screenshot 2015 09 10 14 40 56

PRWeek’s Lindsay Stein reports that Finn Partners has acquired Horn Group for an undisclosed sum to boost its tech practice.

After more than two decades in the business, Horn said she started thinking about selling, and Finn Partners was attractive because of its fresh thinking, independent stature, and culture. She noted that the deal will also expand its reach both in terms of geography and services. Horn’s security software clients may be interested in Finn Partners’ lobbying practice in Washington, DC, for example.

In 2014, Finn had 370 staffers worldwide and more than $52 million in global billings. Following the Horn acquisition, the agency will have about $70 million in annual fees and 500 employees.

Finn Partners boosts tech practice with Horn Group acquisition | PR Week

Foremski’s Take: Sabrina Horn is one of San Francisco’s top PR industry mavens, (even though she has been spending most of her time in New York these past few years). I’ve worked with Horn Group’s San Francisco teams on many stories over the past 15 years. 

Story continues...

'Leaders aren't afraid to be wrong' Says LinkedIn's Head Designer Amy Parnell

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 2, 2015


Above, LinkedIn's Head Designer Amy Parnell interviewed by Adam Leventhal CTO of Delphix.

The recent Delphix Tech Talk series featured Amy Parnell, Director of User Experience at LinkedIn. Adam Leventhal, Delphix CTO interviewed Amy on several key topics that helped surface some of the best practices she has developed at LinkedIn over the five years she's worked there. She leads more than 60 designers.

Here's the link to the WebEx video recording of her excellent talk: Amy Parnell @Delphix Tech Talks

Some of the key points that stood out for me:

Story continues...

Computer History: The Wearables Are New But The Challenges Are Old

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 18, 2015


Clint Zeagler, co-curator and co-designer of the “On You: A Story of Wearable Computing” show at the Computer History Museum.

By Intel Free Press

While wearables may be the latest rising trend, the concept of technology that can be worn on one’s body has actually been around for decades. Some of those original concepts even faced the same challenges that current devices currently are up against. A new exhibit, “On You: A Story of Wearable Computing” at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, showcases how wearables have evolved and overcome many challenges during that time.

Story continues...

What's Next When Every Company Is A Media Company? MaaS Media...

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 11, 2015


I'll be speaking Wednesday afternoon at PR Summit in San Francisco on the topic "Every company is a media company." 

I coined that term nearly a decade ago. Now every company is exploring what it means to be a media company because it has to, it has no choice.

Ten years on, I'll now tell you what is next in this exciting, but badly misunderstood trend that is tearing up the media industry and reorganizing companies and industries.

Every company is a media company but media companies don't write about themselves all day long. Media companies provide a service, companies have to discover how to produce  Media as a Service (MaaS) otherwise it is self-serving.

MaaS media is the best media. Find out more Wednesday afternoon at my Master Class session.

Media Business Models: Paper And Electron? That's Creativ

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 30, 2015


I recently received this well written pitch from Kaitlyn Garcia at VSC Consulting:

Print is dead. Magazines are dying.

Not so, thinks Creativ.

This magazine did something unique. They launched on mobile first, thanks to a large but relatively under the radar startup known as issuu, a platform that helps content creators build long form content vs. the short-form stuff we’re used to on apps like Flipboard.

Story continues...

Super-Fast Energy-Saving Memory Chip Breakthrough Will Change Computing

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 29, 2015


We will all be using a new type of memory chip soon reports Intel Free Press, thanks to the fruits of a partnership between Intel and Micron.

By Intel Free Press

After years of research by Intel and Micron Technology, the first new memory technology in 25 years has been announced. Called 3D XPoint it combines the best of DRAM and NAND (Flash) and promises to change computer designs.

"This has no predecessor and there was nothing to base it on," said Al Fazio, Intel senior fellow and director of Memory Technology Development. "It's new materials, new process architecture, new design, new testing. We're going into some existing applications, but it's really intended to completely evolve how it's used in computing."

Story continues...

Twitter's Problems Could Harm SF Mayor's Re-Election

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 28, 2015


Twitter is cleaning up in the Tenderloin.
Twitter's second quarter financial loss was smaller than Wall Street estimates but it also reported a large slowdown in the number of users and shares slid about 6% in after-market trading.

It reported its slowest rate of growth with the number of monthly active users up by just 1% or about 2 million to 304m compared with Q1. The company has lost several senior executives this year including its CEO. Twitter's share price at $34 is well below its IPO debut of $45.10. 

Foremski's Take: Twitter has become better at monetizing its large numbers of users but the lack of new user momentum, and endless leadership problems have left investors exasperated with the lack of progress.

Story continues...

Analysis: The Nikkei Financial Times — Scale Matters

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 23, 2015

The Financial Times (FT) newspaper business has been sold by Pearson to Nikkei, the Japanese media group for $1.32 billion. The deal values the FT at nearly three-times the market valuation of other publicly traded newspaper groups.

Industry sources report that Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and Axel Springer had placed bids but late entrant Nikkei won it 15 minutes before the announcement from front-runner Axel Springer, which had been in negotiations for about a year. 

The FT has about 737,000 mostly digital subscribers. Nikkei is Asia’s largest independent media business group. It publishes newspapers, magazines, books, database services and broadcasting. The Nikkei newspaper, its flagship publication has 3.12m subscribers.

Foremski’s Take: The sale of the Financial Times was expected as Pearson, its owner has been shedding non-educational assets, and also as its core educational business has slid further into trouble.

Story continues...

Robots Will Still Need Humans In Factories Of The Future

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 21, 2015


Above, modeling uncertainty in human-robot interaction at UC Berkeley.

The good news is that humans will still be needed in the factory of the future; the bad news is that humans will still be needed in the factory of the future. A report from Intel Free Press:

By Intel Free Press

Contrary to what you may see at the movies, robots will not come to rule the world any time soon, experts say. Ken Goldberg, University of California, Berkeley professor of industrial engineering and operations research, and Otherlab CEO Saul Griffith, spoke at an event on factories of the future: “Bold Bets: Tomorrow’s Industrial Entrepreneurship.” 

Story continues...

Delphix Raises $75m Led By Fidelity And Wins Recognition In Top IT User Awards

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 13, 2015


 Delphix HQ in Menlo Park.

Delphix, (my employer) is building some excellent momentum with the announcement of $75m in funding led by Fidelity Management and Research, with new investors Credit Suisse and The Kraft Group. This follows recent recognition in two top IT awards from Computer Weekly and Computing (I used to work for Computing).

Story continues...

Beating A Path For Innovative Technologies

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 9, 2015


I came across a great interview by Danny Palmer at Computing, with Mike Lear the CIO of City Index, which provides spread betting services to tens of thousands of financial markets traders.

Faster delivery of apps is key in the competitive market for financial data that City Index provides but so is data accuracy. Testing is extremely important especially since customers can complain to government regulators.  

Story continues...

Report: Venture Backed IPOs Rising As M&A Deals Plunge To Lowest Since 2003

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 6, 2015

The National Venture Capital Association reported that the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) for VC-backed companies rose 59% in the second quarter of 2015 compared with the first quarter of this year.

There were 19 biotech and other life sciences IPOs and eight in the IT sector for a total of 27 IPOs raising $3.4 billion. Fitbit was the largest IPO raising $841.2 million.

Story continues...

Will IoT Turn Into 'Intel of Things'? Interview With Intel's Rose Schooler

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 6, 2015

Roseschooler caro

The world's largest chipmaker sees massive opportunities in IoT. Intel Free Press interviews Rose Schooler, head of Intel's Internet of Things Group.

By Intel Free Press

With the chance to connect “sensors to the cloud in every industry on the planet,” Rose Schooler,  vice president of the Internet of Things Group at Intel, says the Internet of Things (IoT) opportunity is massive. 

But interoperability, along with provisioning and managing these devices, are critical factors for success.

Her organization is responsible for delivering platforms for the networking and storage market segments as well as providing solutions for telecommunications service providers.

With so many emerging technologies and opportunities in IoT, how will everything be able to talk to each other?

Story continues...

Mobile News Site Circa Closes —Media Disruption Continues

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 24, 2015

Circateam  1 of 1

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.

Story continues...

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 cloud migration projects, a complex and risky move made far simpler with Delphix and it's great to get the recognition from Gartner.

Story continues...

The Challenge For Innovation In The Enterprise: No Category -- No Budget

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 23, 2015

Corporations spend a lot of money on IT and some of that money 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 when there is no category for what they have? Who holds the budget for something that didn't exist until a year or two ago?

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?

Story continues...

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.

Story continues...

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.

Story continues...

"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.

Story continues...

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.

Story continues...

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.

Story continues...

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.

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.