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The Virus and Podcasting
March 7, 2020
The coronavirus scare is working its way through the economy -- even affecting CRM. At this point some vendors are canceling events rather than taking the risk of having thousands of customers, press and analysts descend on a city, swap microbes through the air for a few days, then go home and likely further spread the microbes, some of which could be the virus.
Building the Salesforce Franchise
March 5, 2020
Franchising is a tried-and-true business model with numerous permutations that benefit all participating parties. For the vendor it's a great model for expanding without all of the downside risk associated with building a business, like finding all the financing and hiring people. The franchisor generally sells licenses to willing partners who agree to uphold the standards of the brand.
Amid Disaster, COVID-19 Presents Opportunities
March 5, 2020
The coronavirus presents the biggest threat to the global economy since the Great Recession of 2008 -- not to mention the threat to human life. The outbreak already is decimating the travel and leisure industry, and forcing trade shows to scale down or cancel. It threatens many sectors, and it will have a negative impact on consumer sentiment and purchasing patterns.
Shifting Our Global Problem-Solving Focus From Symptoms to Cause
March 2, 2020
IBM's latest effort to solve global problems has evolved from a focus on catastrophic events, which increasingly are caused by climate change, to climate change itself. It is a huge jump to go from dealing with the symptoms of a problem, which generally is relatively easy, to dealing with the causes, particularly global scale. However, it is critical for a sustained impact.
The Really Big Salesforce-Vlocity Deal
February 27, 2020
Salesforce just announced it would buy Vlocity -- a startup with all the markings of a unicorn including a billion-dollar valuation -- for $1.33 billion. Vlocity was cofounded and led by David Schmaier, who was executive vice president at Siebel Systems in its go-go years. When Oracle bought Siebel it made Schmaier a wealthy man. He promptly dropped out of the CRM business.
Getting Autonomous Car Technology Right
February 24, 2020
Autonomous car efforts aren't looking very good. It is becoming clear that the five-level ranking system for autonomous cars is stupid. The reality is that the definition of "autonomous" is binary: Either the car can drive itself or it can't. The fact is that car makers don't want to take the final step to autonomy -- Level 5 -- because they are afraid of liability.
Some Android Malware Can Break Your Phone When You Delete It
February 21, 2020
Since Android's unveiling in 2007, the platform has stayed true to its commitment to provide open and free source code. The source code is freely available to developers and device manufacturers who can, at their own discretion, install the software without worrying about the hassles of licensing fees. Android not only delivers cheaper smartphones -- it is the largest mobile OS in the world.
Viewing the 2020 Presidential Race Through a Competitive Analysis Lens
February 17, 2020
Back in the 1980s, I was a competitive analyst for IBM, and it was one of the most interesting jobs I ever held. The practice largely has died out, but at the time we were like the corporate version of the CIA. Since I'd been an internal auditor as well -- which is somewhat like the corporate version of the FBI -- I was a rarity. Few people serve in both agencies.
It's Time for a Social Media and Disinformation Reckoning: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 6
February 13, 2020
Can social media be saved? Can democracy be saved? The first question may seem less compelling than the second, but to some very worried observers, they are intimately entwined. Social networking -- on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other online networks -- is the root of all current cultural evils, in the eyes of some critics. Undeniably, social networks offer positive experiences too.
Customer Retention Blooms Again
February 12, 2020
Brightback recently published a report on customer churn and what more than 400 subscription companies say they're doing about it. Its findings are in line with many other sources, and the data deserves an examination. First of all, we're way past the point where subscription companies can expect to sign all of the new customers they need to replace those that decide to end their relationships.
Rumblings in the Cloud
February 10, 2020
One of the old sayings is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics," with the implication being you really can't trust most reported numbers. Still, we've often thought, at least with major vendors, that you could trust rankings. One current set of rankings involves cloud providers. The general impression was that Amazon was first, Microsoft second, and Google third.
The New App Dev CRM Model
February 5, 2020
CRM is an industry that's been full of turning points, and I think it is at another. There have been many smaller turns, like the additions of analytics, social media and process flows. However, to get a sense of this point in time, I think you have to go all the way back to the turn of the century and the rise of cloud computing. The cloud was important as an economic marker in some unique ways.
Bridging the IoT Innovation-Security Gap
February 4, 2020
There is a problem with the Internet of Things: It's incredibly insecure. This is not a problem that is inherent to the idea of smart devices. Wearables, smart houses, and fitness tracking apps can be made secure -- or at least more secure than they currently are. The problem, instead, is one that largely has been created by the companies that make IoT devices.
Coronavirus Pandemic: 6 Things We Should Be Doing
February 3, 2020
As I write this, the first studies of the Coronavirus outbreak are coming in. The count now exceeds 17,500 cases in 24 countries. There have been more than 360 deaths, almost all in China. Most at risk are older males with pre-existing chronic diseases that weaken their immune symptoms. Women appear to have a higher natural resistance to viruses. WHO has declared it a global health emergency.
In Praise of Clayton Christensen, a Revolutionary Thinker
January 29, 2020
Clayton Christensen died last week, and we should care. He was the Harvard Business School professor who wrote The Innovator's Dilemma and changed the world, certainly the part we inhabit in CRM. Christensen did more than anyone to plant the idea of disruptive innovation in the minds of people in the tech industry. When I stumbled upon his book decades ago, it was eye opening.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
Retention, Retention, Retention
January 25, 2020
It's hard to say with any specificity where the CRM market will move this year, but I'm a pundit so let me try anyway. After more than two decades, CRM has landed in the business landscape and spread out in impressive ways. When CRM emerged in the late 1990s social media didn't exist, and the idea of social networking was confined to a few papers from Harvard and other places.
Is Congress Finally Ready to Take On Cybersecurity?
January 23, 2020
The United States Congress made some significant progress this session when it comes to data privacy, but cybersecurity remains a blind spot for lawmakers. Congress currently is considering a national privacy law that mirrors legislation enacted in the European Union. It would allow people to access, correct and request the deletion of the personal information collected from them.
The CEO of the Decade
January 20, 2020
Who is most deserving of the title "CEO of the Decade"? Historically the focus in choosing CEO of the decade has been on their financial accomplishments, but that approach has left us in a world lacking diversity and empathy in positions of power -- particularly noticeable in the tech industry -- and one where global climate change may end the human race.
Business/Customer Sweet Spots: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 2
January 16, 2020
If you're a small business owner or a key member of an enterprise executive team, you want your firm to succeed. If you're a customer, you want to be treated well. Those goals are not diametrically opposed, but very often it seems that companies and customers are at cross-purposes. ECT News Network recently gathered together five technology experts who did some hard thinking on the subject.
What's in Your Containers? Try an Open Source Tool to Find Out
January 14, 2020
As most security pros know, application containers -- Docker, rkt, etc. -- and the orchestration elements employed to support them, such as Kubernetes, are used increasingly in many organizations. Often the security organization isn't exactly the first stop on the path to deployment of these tools. If it was in your shop, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
The Most Important Autonomous Car Announcement at CES
January 13, 2020
Getting around Las Vegas during CES is a nightmare. One evening I wanted to go to the In-N-Out Burger place, and even though it was only a mile or two from my hotel, the traffic was so bad that I doubted I'd make there and back before midnight -- and it was only 6 p.m. I used to try to walk CES, but the miles of fast walking on concrete ripped the soles off both my feet one year.
Tech Strides, Tech Worries and Tech Visions: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 1
January 8, 2020
If you're turned off by the mere thought of talking heads vying to speak the loudest or the longest in a TV "discussion" of some pressing issue of the day, read on for a refreshing dose of sanity. ECT News Network recruited five smart people with plenty to say about the state of technology, and we gave them plenty of time to say it. The result is a far-ranging intercourse.
CES 2020: Prepare to Be Amazed
January 6, 2020
Every year I look forward to CES being over. That's not because it isn't interesting -- it is. It's because the place is a nightmare to get around, thanks to some incredibly stupid decisions that turn Las Vegas into a gridlocked mess. Coming right after the holidays, it destroys more family vacations than any other event short of a long driving trip with very young children.
Don't Expect Too Much From Electric Trucks
January 4, 2020
With the rise of electric cars, it was only a matter of time before electric trucks hit the market. Several electric vehicle startups -- including Bollinger, Lordstown Motors, Rivian and Workhorse -- have been working on developing electric pickup trucks for several years, but none have come to market yet. However, it was Tesla's announcement of the Cybertruck that ignited interest in the market.
2010 - 2019: Product of the Decade
December 30, 2019
As we get to the end of December, I typically pick my product of the year, but this is also the end of the decade, so I'll go back and look at the prior products of the year, name my pick for this year, and then pick my product of the decade. 2010 was an easy choice as the iPad came out and scared the hell out of the entire PC market. Its release made the whole "PC is Dead" thing real.
Is Privacy Possible in 2020?
December 27, 2019
The California Consumer Protection Act goes into effect in 2020, and other state and federal laws are on the horizon -- but is it possible that these state laws will really provide us privacy? How many readers take the time to read the privacy policy, or click agreement, when they download a new version of an app on their smartphone or tablet? Probably none. What are the consequences?
Using Technology to Fix the Flawed Impeachment Process
December 23, 2019
When the U.S. president was impeached last week, it surfaced the fact that impeachment, and particularly the removal of a U.S. president, is a process that doesn't work. Throughout U.S. history, there have been 45 presidents, and given that no one trains for that job, you'd figure several would have been removed for cause. However, impeachment has been attempted three times without a removal.
Shield Healthcare: Serving the Poor, Poorly
December 23, 2019
Sometimes when you tug on the thread of a small customer service failure, you unravel a big skein of much knottier problems. That happened when Shield Healthcare didn't send "Great Aunt Nelly" her shipment of medical supplies on time. There are many people like Nelly in the U.S. -- elderly and disabled folks who depend in part or entirely on government assistance to get by.
Is Your Health Data at Risk?
December 20, 2019
We've recently seen much breathless news coverage of the Nightingale Project, Google's half-secret partnership with Ascension, the second-largest healthcare system in the U.S. The details of the project -- which involves sharing the healthcare data of tens of millions of unsuspecting patients -- have raised significant concerns. The concerns have centered around issues that by now are familiar.
See More Articles in Tech Blog Section >>
How concerned are you about the coronavirus threat?
I'm very worried about the health risks for myself or others close to me.
I'm very worried about the global economic impact.
I'm concerned that officials are not managing the threat well.
I'm concerned that misinformation will cause people to panic.
I believe it will go away on its own with few major consequences.
I believe the U.S. will contain it better than other countries have.

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