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5 Reasons Jony Ive's Step Back Is Apple's Step Forward
May 28, 2015
There seem to be two major reactions to the "promotion" of Apple's Jonathan Ive to the newly created position of chief design officer: first, that he deserves the recognition and reward; and second, that this is the beginning of the end for Jony Ive's tenure at Apple. Apple released the news in the UK... on Monday, which was the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.
Subscribed 2015
May 27, 2015
There is no better company to look at to get a sense of the future of technology in business and society than Zuora. This might surprise many people, because companies like Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce might come to mind more readily. To one degree or another, those companies feature their products and services, which are very important, but Zuora talks about business models.
Gadget Ogling: A Mighty Little Amp, a Credit Card-Sized Phone and a Food Tray Keyboard
May 26, 2015
Tinny, terrible laptop speakers may be a relic of the past, but there are still occasions when the built-in audio from your portable computer's speakers or audio jack just doesn't quite cut it. Let's say you're an electronic music luminary traveling the world without the comforts of one's home studio but with an album deadline to meet. You need to hear what's going on. So here's the Apogee Groove.
Apple vs. Lenovo: Lenovo's Coming-Out Party
May 25, 2015
If there is one vendor on the planet that has the capability to fight Apple -- on paper, it is Lenovo. Lenovo this week will hold its annual Lenovo Tech World event in China, showcasing the company's new breadth. While it would be easy to position this as the U.S. against China, Lenovo is actually far more of a multinational company, with executives balanced between the U.S. and China.
Order Taker, Meet Undertaker: What Sales Pros Must Do to Survive
May 21, 2015
Within a few years, 1 million B2B sales roles will be eliminated, according to a recent Forrester Research report. That's 20 percent of them gone, thanks to the evolution of technologies like self-service and customers' increasing desire to avoid the hassle of speaking to sales reps. Personally, I think that's a bit overstated -- or rather, a mischaracterization of an ongoing trend.
Xactly: From Transaction to Process
May 20, 2015
It is subtle, but in the spring conferences I see a pattern emerging around the importance of process. Admittedly, my analysis in this case is less than scientific, and I have no statistics to support my idea, but I my instinct says a trend toward process is beginning. Two conferences that support my contention include Xactly and Zuora, both of which are taking place this week in San Francisco.
Will Apple TV Be Busting Out All Over?
May 18, 2015
I want to believe that Apple will launch a new Apple TV hardware device in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference -- but holy macaroni, it's been more than three years since Apple introduced the third-generation Apple TV. Of course, Apple made a barely noticeable hardware tweak more than two years ago, but I'm begging for an Apple TV that's far more than just a utilitarian tool.
If You Build a Structure, Sales Enablement Will Come
May 18, 2015
There's a lot of devalued sales jargon out there, but the phrase that makes me wince the most is "sales enablement." First, it's misleading -- there are lots of things that equip sales people to close deals, but when people say "sales enablement" they usually mean content, portals, playbooks and on-boarding. That only "enables" part of the sale. Second, most companies are abysmal at managing it.
The Future According to Qualcomm
May 18, 2015
I was at the Qualcomm Internet of Things event in San Francisco last week during what was a major IoT event in the city. What is kind of amazing is the larger event was just a small part of the applications show that used to go on at the same time. This year it is twice the size of that older show. Companies are flocking to this IoT concept like ducks to water.
Gadget Ogling: A Tracking Camera Drone, a Rockin' Speaker and a Water-Boiling Efficiency Expert
May 16, 2015
Camera drones certainly are growing in popularity -- or further polluting the sky, depending on your perspective. A new model plans to follow your every move, thanks to a tracker on your wrist. After you throw Lily, it will fly up to 50 feet in the air and 100 feet away from you, knowing where you are and keeping its lens focused on whatever you're doing.
Redesigning Products and Services for the Internet of Things
May 15, 2015
Nearly everyone agrees the Internet of Things will create unprecedented business opportunities that will dramatically change the way almost every industry operates. There is also universal agreement that the IoT will force organizations to rethink the fundamental nature of their products and services. One company that has become a leader in the rapidly evolving IoT market is PTC.
Sage and Salesforce Tie Partnership Knot
May 13, 2015
Sage and Salesforce put on a lovefest on Tuesday to announce their partnership, in which Sage has developed Sage Life, a product to enable small companies to connect their customer, accounting, payroll and finance data into one system, accessible from any device, anywhere. It's unclear whether the customer data is held in Salesforce's traditional CRM or if it refers more broadly to ERP data.
Customer-In, Not Seller-Out: 5 Realities of the Customer Journey
May 11, 2015
I was doing a little reading about the concept of the customer journey. I have distinct opinions about it, and I was looking for things that might challenge or validate those ideas when I stumbled across a blog post from a major CRM vendor that got my goat. The post proclaimed that 2015 was "the Year of the Customer Journey!" Really? This year? What about the many years before this?
3 SciFi Technologies That Are About to Get Amazingly Real
May 11, 2015
Lisa Su, the talented new CEO for AMD, last week gave a pitch on the future to get people excited about where AMD is going. Based on the stock performance after her talk, she and her team knocked it out of the park. They also got me thinking about some tech advancements that have been quietly percolating, which likely will form the basis for a revolutionary announcement in the next few years.
Gadget Ogling: Virtual Sensations, Radio-Wave Charges and a Bitcoin Keeper
May 9, 2015
We're edging ever closer toward a virtual reality boom, with Oculus finally promising its Rift headset will arrive in 2016. Yet what if there were a way to make VR even more immersive? Feelreal has come up with two devices -- a virtual reality mask and a helmet -- that aim to draw users almost entirely into a fictional world. The mask is an add-on, compatible with major VR headsets.
Wild Salesforce Speculation
May 8, 2015
The blogosphere lit up last week after rumors surfaced that Salesforce was working with unnamed bankers on a possible merger. It seemed Salesforce was in play, and my colleagues and I went into overdrive speculating about who the suitor might be, what the striking price would be, and whether it was a good idea to do the deal. Of course, as a public company, Salesforce in theory could be bought.
The Cloud's Threatening Legal Storm
May 8, 2015
With the ever-increasing use of the cloud by more and more businesses, there is good reason to be concerned about legal risks, which are an inherent part of the cloud. The term "cloud" may be relatively new, but the concept of remote computing started more than 60 years ago, when Dartmouth University first launched "time-sharing." The remote computing risks have not abated.
The Last Apple Watch Review You'll Ever Need to Read
May 8, 2015
If you're thinking about getting an Apple Watch and have been on the fence, this review is for you. Why? The Apple Watch, it turns out, is less about being the perfect smartwatch than about being a watch. For the fence sitters out there, these two questions are really where you should start: First, do you want a watch? Second, do you want a digital wearable device that can transform your life?
It's the Customer Experience
May 5, 2015
Bill Clinton won the presidency with the mantra, "It's the economy, stupid," and I think CRM could borrow heavily from that pithy bit of logic. If you can check your preconceptions at the door and actually perceive the information in front of you, there's no telling what you can figure out. Such is the case with the tired phrase "customer experience."
Holy Crap: Microsoft Is Building Tomorrowland!
May 4, 2015
One of the movies I'm really looking forward to this month is Disney's Tomorrowland. My first real job was at Disneyland, and I was so in love with the place I often would come back and work a second shift for free. Epcot, the city of tomorrow, was supposed to be Walt's final legacy but his untimely death ended that vision. That city of tomorrow never came to be.
Salesforce Jumps Into HR
April 30, 2015
I recently praised Salesforce for having the smarts to not get into enterprise resource planning several years ago. It was a good decision, I thought, because there was no upside for them to invade such a well-established market -- better for them to focus on a blue ocean strategy in which they went after new applications. I think the market's evolution has proven the wisdom of that approach.
IoT: Why Security Pros Need to Prepare Now
April 29, 2015
Have you ever heard of the Cullinan diamond? If you haven't, it was the largest diamond ever discovered: a 3106 carat diamond found in 1905 in South Africa. What's interesting about the Cullinan diamond isn't so much the discovery of the stone itself but what happened afterward: specifically, the cutting of the diamond. The Cullinan diamond was split into a number of smaller pieces.
Marketing's Next Act
April 28, 2015
Marketing continues to heat up as the next big thing in CRM. It's so big that I can see it splintering in multiple ways to accommodate all the permutations that are suddenly possible, thanks to big data, analytics, and a determination to get beyond using marketing technology as a glorified accounting system designed to limit "losses" due to marketing. You can't win by limiting your losses.
Can Microsoft Take Back Momentum From Google and Apple?
April 27, 2015
Microsoft is holding its Build event this week, marking the beginning of its major push to launch Windows 10. Build is in San Francisco this year, which effectively puts it right in the back yard of both Apple and Google -- a nice "in your face" move. I was the featured launch analyst for Windows 95 two decades ago and there, Microsoft ripped Apple a new rear orifice.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.