Tag Archive | "Tech"

Sandip Bhagat, CIO at Whittier Trust On Why This Is a Good Time For Tech Stocks

“The scope of this regulatory oversight is changing. People used to focus on just consumer welfare and a price effect. That has now expanded to what harm you are doing to competitors and non-price effects. The scope is expanding, and some of these companies—this is Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook—they have engaged in kind of favorable treatment of proprietary products.”

Sandip Bhagat, CIO at Whittier Trust talks about why investors shouldn’t allow regulatory threats and investigations to scare them away from tech stocks, as well as his two top picks.

When you talk about regulation, you have to talk at two levels: privacy first and then antitrust. Privacy may not be such an issue, and in a very perverse way, the large players here may actually come out winners because they have the scale to absorb the cost of meeting that regulatory compliance. They’re also multi-national in nature, even today, so the experience in Europe where the GDPR is already in place will stand them in good stead should it come to the U.S.

Switching to the antitrust component of regulatory risk and one of the things that is being discussed is anti-competitive acquisitions, so I think they would come under attack. What happens in the worst case, there is a forced breakup. We put a very low likelihood for that outcome. But fines will come along the way. There will be rulings that say you give equal parity during search processes and displaying of third-party vendors and their products. All of those we think can be absorbed by these companies because of their free high cash flow margins.

On Buying Tech Stocks Under Scrutiny

Here are two really compelling reasons to think about technology stocks now and really for a secular future. One is macro in consideration, the other one is micro and fundamental.

At the macro level, what is the environment? We have seen slower growth than normal after the global financial crisis and, as a result of that, interest rates are lower. Slow growth and low-interest rates help growth stocks. When growth is scarce, growth companies get rewarded with a higher multiple and low-interest rates help growth stocks because they have a higher equity duration and sensitivity to interest rates.

On Microsoft’s Long-Term Value

If there is one take away, it’s a stock to own for the long-term. It’s a great way to compound wealth. It’s indeed a vehicle for inter-generational wealth transfer. The company has rediscovered itself, moved away from a licensing model to a subscription model. Satya (CEO Satya Nadella) has reformed the company. While they’re making inroads in cloud computing, they are actually very unique in that they can play in the hybrid cloud solution space with a foot in on-premise software along with cloud-based application deployment.

On Amazon’s Brand Loyalty

It’s economic mode is based on scale, convenience and brand loyalty, which doesn’t get talked about much. People talk about the technology backbone of Amazon. But that brand loyalty, they’ve been able to convert that into greater user engagement and adoption and then monetized it with more and more transactions to gain a bigger share of the wallet.

Sandip Bhagat, CIO at Whittier Trust On Why This Is a Good Time For Tech Stocks

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Zebra Tech Tracking Technology Integrating Deep Into Sports and Business

“We’ve learned this past year that the tracking system we have with the NFL is actually considered to be the best by the broadcasters, coaches, and the fans,” says Zebra Technologies CEO Anders Gustafsson. “Our type of technology works particularly well with football but it would also work for basketball, ice hockey, and soccer. With ice hockey, the challenge is the puck. How do you track the puck and put the tag inside the puck? We can do it but it’s more costly. With basketball, they have been more focused on the ball than the players.”

Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Zebra Technologies, discusses how their tracking technology is being integrated deeply within sports and business in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC:

Our Tracking Technology Works Particularly Well With Football

We’ve learned now this past year that the tracking system we have with the NFL is actually considered to be the best by the broadcasters, coaches, and the fans. The NFL owns the data so we can’t give (fantasy players) access to the data. I think they give access to some of the data but not all the data. Then you would have all the information you could possibly want to have about every player on all of the teams. 

Our type of technology works particularly well with football but it would also work for basketball, ice hockey, and soccer. With ice hockey, the challenge is the puck. How do you track the puck and put the tag inside the puck? We can do it but it’s more costly. With basketball, they have been more focused on the ball than the players. 

Zebra Tracking Technology Works Particularly Well With Football

We Are Becoming An Essential Part of Retailers’ Strategies

Savannah is our data platform. We can connect all sorts of devices or sensors on the south side and on the north side we can have APIs to all sorts of other applications. We can provide a lot of analytics around what’s happening there. We integrate with a lot of independent software vendors. If you look at large companies like Oracle, SAP, Manhattan, and JDA, they’re all partners of ours. We exchange data with them and we provide data that they use for their operations. We also have our own software capabilities. We bought a company called Profitect. It does any predictive analytics. This is a good example of this but we have other software capabilities also.

We are now becoming an essential part of retailers’ strategies for building omnichannel and ecommerce capabilities. Historically, we were probably viewed a bit more as a tactical device supplier. Today we’re much more of an integral part of enabling them to execute on their strategy. We moved ourselves up the solution stack to be able to deliver more value to them.

Companies are now tracking employees, patients, assets

Today, more and more things are being tracked and there are more and more efficiencies out of this. Companies are now tracking employees, patients, assets, all of these things. We said we provide the performance edge to the front line of business by having every employee, device, and technical thing being connected and optimally utilized and visible to the network. 

Tableau (a company recently bought by Salesforce) would more than likely integrate our data. We could be a source for data insight analytics for them. We aspire to get those kinds of valuations (and the higher multiples that Tableau got when they sold to Salesforce). We also overlap (with Honeywell) in a number of areas but we do quite a few different things also. We have our own strengths and we compete with them but not everywhere.

Zebra Tech Tracking Technology Integrating Deep Into Sports and Business – CEO Anders Gustafsson

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Is WeWork Really a Tech Company?

“The We Company’s business model effectively is pretty simple,” says EquityZen CEO Atish Davda. “It leases buildings and then rents it out in smaller pieces. That’s not a new business model, that’s a real estate company. What’s new about The We Company is that it’s pitching itself as a technology firm. The way it says it’s going to do that is by using machine learning and a lot of other software. It’s going to help folks optimize how they build and operate offices. They’re trying to turn our offices into an Amazon warehouse in order to get the tech valuation.”

Atish Davda, founder and CEO Of EquityZen, says that WeWork is just a real estate company positioning itself as a technology company in order to get a tech valuation, in an interview on CNBC:

Turning Offices Into An Amazon Warehouse To Get Tech Valuation

The We Company’s business model effectively is pretty simple. It leases buildings and then rents it out in smaller pieces. That’s not a new business model, that’s a real estate company. What’s new about The We Company is that it’s pitching itself as a technology firm. The way it says it’s going to do that is by using machine learning and a lot of other software. It’s going to help folks optimize how they build and operate offices. 

The worst-case scenario is that it gets pegged as a real estate company in which case it would be about 20 times overvalued than its last private round of $ 47 billion. The best-case scenario, the way I at least hear what they’re saying, is we’re going to put all these gadgets and sensors and we’re going to track what everyone’s doing. It sounds to me like an Amazon warehouse. They’re trying to turn our offices into an Amazon warehouse in order to get the tech valuation. That’s the best-case scenario. I just I don’t buy it.

Founders Have Already Taken $ 500 Million Off the Table

Their valuation in the private markets has continued to go up. What’s interesting about this is something we hear about with WeWork that we didn’t hear about with Uber and Lyft is the amount of capital that the founders have allegedly taken off the table in secondary sales. With every one of these rounds, the founders can take a few chips off the table. This happened when Snap went public also. 

The founders of Snap had taken tens of million dollars off the table. We’re talking about an order of magnitude more that has already gone in the pockets of the founders here, which is over $ 500 million dollars. That’s a lot of money that they are effectively just holding on to risk-free because they sold it on the ride up.

I Don’t See How WeWork Can Turn Itself Into a Tech Firm

I think they’re going to at least try and match that $ 47 million valuation in the IPO. We’ll see what the analysts today and Wall Street over the next three months actually decides to accept. You take a look at all of WeWork’s competitors, their price-to-sales multiples are between 0.5 and 1.3. The trailing 12-month multiple for the We Company is 26 times. You’re talking about something where its peers are being valued one way and this company is being valued 20 times greater. 

For the sake of all the people I know that I’ve worked at WeWork in the past and still work there, I hope I’m wrong. I just don’t see how WeWork by acquiring a few tech companies here and there turn itself from what’s effectively is a real estate firm into a tech firm.

Is WeWork Really a Tech Company? – EquityZen CEO Atish Davda Says No.

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Enough is Enough – Tech Companies Values Need To Change, Says Marc Benioff

“I feel so strongly that we are at a point in our industry where enough is enough,” says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “We need to get the values straight with these tech companies. There are some things going on in regards to the manipulation of their consumers, the misuse of the data, and serious issues with privacy. Those values need to change and some of those companies need to be held accountable for what’s going on.”

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, discusses how he supports the government investigations into the tech industry in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC:

We Are At a Point In Our Industry Where Enough is Enough

I feel so strongly that we are at a point in our industry where enough is enough. We need to get the values straight with these tech companies. There are some things going on in regards to the manipulation of their consumers, the misuse of the data, and serious issues with privacy. Those values need to change and some of those companies need to be held accountable for what’s going on. So I’m actually all in on this (DOJ review of big tech). I actually think it’s maybe too little too late. They should be more aggressive. We’re following behind what the European Union is doing.

The European Union are the ones who are the leaders in this area. Not just in privacy with GDPR but with their European action against these companies when they misuse data, misuse privacy, or take advantage of customers. There are things that have happened in our industry that are embarrassing to me. So let’s clean it up and let’s get back to where Facebook is not the new cigarettes. That’s what I’ve been saying to everybody. Let’s make it all great again if you will. Let’s make tech have the values that we all want it to have and let’s take care of our customers and put consumers first. This is what I think is important.

Absolutely, The Tech Industry Has Brought It On Themselves

Absolutely, (the tech industry has brought it on themselves). I think that now is the time for them to basically clean it up. It’s not too late, it never is. That is what has to happen. You can see companies who have not made these changes and their executives have walked out. They buy these huge companies and you’ve seen them (top execs and founders) walk out. These people are friends of mine.

I’ll say, why are you leaving this company? “Well, I don’t like the values. I don’t like what’s important to that CEO. That CEO said this to me so I’m leaving.” Wow. That’s amazing. Then you saw the customers leave and you saw advertisers leave. That has to change. I think that there needs to be corrective action and it needs to come from the government. I’m for the regulations that are coming in here.

Enough is Enough – Tech Companies Values Need To Change, Says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

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Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] One of the hottest business models in the tech startup world is anything with a recurring subscription business model, especially if it’s software based. Another hot online business model for talented individuals who want to make money from their knowledge, is […]

The post Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

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Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] One of the hottest business models in the tech startup world is anything with a recurring subscription business model, especially if it’s software based. Another hot online business model for talented individuals who want to make money from their knowledge, is […]

The post Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Microsoft Warns of Rising Tech Support Scams, Calls for Industry-Wide Cooperation

Incidents of tech support scams targeting susceptible PC users are increasing, Microsoft warned. The company received 153,000 reported complaints from consumers in 2017, 24 percent higher than the prior year, according to its detailed security report released on Friday.

Tech support scams reported to Microsoft

Image via Microsoft cloud blog

Reported incidents came from 183 countries, suggesting a widespread global problem. Of those who fell prey to the scam, roughly 15 percent lost money averaging between $ 200 and $ 400. There were cases of victims paying significantly more. In December 2017, Microsoft was notified of a tech support fraud in the Netherlands that resulted in the financial loss of 189,000, or about $ 109,000.

Called social engineering attacks, scammers use a variety of ways to initiate the fraud. Cybercriminals send phishing emails, display strategic online ads or full-screen error messages, install malware, or place unsolicited phone calls to convince victims that their systems or devices have been compromised.

Once victims contact the call center for help, a fake technical support specialist instructs them to install remote administration tools (RATs). This allows fraudsters to have complete control over the device and unrestricted access to sensitive information. They make changes inside the device and point out system errors to convince victims of the ‘problem’. This then prompts unsuspecting consumers to pay for the removal of fake or nonexistent malware.

According to Microsoft, the widespread problem is not limited to its platform but has affected users of MacOS, iOS, and Android systems as well. The FBI received 11,000 tech support fraud complaints in 2017 from 85 countries. Of these, claimed losses amounted to approximately $ 15 million, representing an 86 percent increase compared to prior year.  

The FBI also noticed an emerging trend: re-targeting past victims of tech support fraud. Scammers pose as government officials or law enforcement and offer assistance in recovering losses in exchange for fees. Other fraudsters act as collection services and threaten the victim with legal action for nonpayment of outstanding tech support fees. Some criminals use obtained personal information to commit additional fraud, such as unauthorized bank transfers or opening of new accounts for unlawful payments.  

Microsoft expressed concern over tech support scams that bypass secure platforms like Windows 10 easily and coerce users into giving unrestricted access to their devices. Because the problem is far-reaching, the company called for industry-wide collaboration and law enforcement partnership. Microsoft continues to form partnerships with web hosting providers, telecom networks, browser developers, antivirus solutions, and financial networks in detecting tech support scammers.  

The graphic below shows how the scam usual works.

Image via Microsoft cloud blog

Customers, on the other hand, can protect and empower themselves through education. Be wary of error or warning messages with phone numbers or emails with malicious attachments. Shut down your device once you receive a pop-up message or locked screen. If you have been a victim, notify your bank to reverse the charges and change all your passwords. Uninstall any application used during the tech support and run a virus scan for remaining malware.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Tech Titans Meet With Trump: Video, Pics and Opening Transcript

The tech titans of Silicon Valley (and a few other places) met with President Elect Donald Trump at his request today. Notably, Trump said that any of them could call him directly if their companies needed help. He said that there is no chain of command here.

“I’m super excited about the possibility that this could be the innovation Administration,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg added, “I’m excited to talk about jobs.”

The complete transcript of Trump’s opening remarks to the group:

“Well, I just want to thank everybody. This is a truly amazing group of people. I won’t tell you the hundreds of calls we’ve had asking to come to this meeting (laughter). I will say Peter (Thiel) was sort of saying, no those companies are too small, and these are monster screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-7-16-14-pmcompanies.

I want to start by thanking Peter because he saw something very early, maybe before we saw it, of course he’s known for that in a different way. He has been so terrific and so outstanding. He got just about the biggest applause at the Republican National Convention. He’s ahead of the curve and I want to thank him and (while shaking his hand) you’re a very special guy.

I want to add that I’m here to help you folks do well and you are doing well right now. I’m very honored by the bounce, everybody is talking about the bounce, so everybody in this room has to like me at least a little bit. We are going to have to try and have that bounce continue.

Perhaps even more importantly, we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There is nobody like you in the world. There is nobody like the people in this room. Anything we can do to help this go along, we are going to be there for you. You call my people, you call me, it doesn’t make any difference, we have no formal chain of command around here.

We are honored to have Gary, the President of Goldman Sacks, left Goldman Sacks to do this. And Wilbur, everybody knows Wilbur, they don’t call him Wilbur Ross on Wall Street, they just say oh it’s Wilbur (laughter). There’s nobody like him.

We are going to do fair trade deals, we’re going to make it a lot easier for you to trade. Across borders, there are a lot of restrictions and a lot of problems. If you have any ideas on that, that would be great because there are a lot of restrictions and a lot of problems. You probably have less of a problem than some companies because some companies have massive problems, but we are going to solve those problems.”

Who Was There?

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Progressive Tech Companies Want Trump to Protect Sharing Economy From Dem Attacks

Michael Beckerman, President & CEO at Internet Association which represents big internet focused tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Twitter, Lyft, PayPal, Salesforce, Rackspace and many more, sent a congratulations letter to the Trump transition team today. In it they sought to inform Trump how important the internet is to the economy and gave their take on issues dear to them.

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-5-22-52-pm

The entire letter is available here (PDF).

One very interesting area the group focused on is the sharing economy, which has been under severe attack by progressives and liberal Democrats around the country. Perhaps Trump isn’t Silicon Valley’s worst nightmare after all, considering he is likely to agree with them on these planks:

ON DEMAND OR SHARING ECONOMY
By harnessing the power of the internet and internet-based commercial cloud technology, sharing economy platforms allow individuals to use their free time and resources to earn significant supplementary income under a flexible working arrangement that allows people to earn money how, when, and where they want. Although still in its nascent stage, the sharing economy is projected to account for $ 335 billion in global revenue in 2025, up from $ 15 billion in 2013.

Offer Consistent, Smart Regulatory Approaches: The rapid rise of this new sector of the economy, however, has been met by piecemeal regulatory approaches at the local and state levels that often feature misguided or overly burdensome rules driving up costs for consumers and workers. By steering clear of burdensome regulations, policymakers at every level can ensure this rapidly growing sector of the economy sees its full potential.

Protect the Flexibility and Economic Opportunities of the Sharing Economy: On demand and sharing economy companies are driving new economic growth and opportunities by providing individuals with unprecedented flexibility and control over the decision of when, and how, they earn income. By attempting to apply the same static workplace regulations of the 20th century to this new economic model, policymakers could threaten the very entrepreneurial spirit that drives these 21st century earning opportunities.

One of their other key concerns is safeguarding platforms like Facebook from lawsuits because of things their users post which means not weakening current intermediary liability laws:

“Weakening intermediary liability laws would not only chill innovation and free expression online, but would also threaten investment in the next generation of ideas fueling our digital economy. If digital content intermediaries were responsible for the content uploaded by users, over 80 percent of investors would be less likely to fund startups. In addition, 85 percent of investors are uncomfortable investing in digital content intermediaries open to unpredictable legal action.”

Another major concern is copyright law safe harbors, such as fair use, exemptions, compulsory licenses and first sale doctrine:

“Threats to the flexible framework, such as weakening limitations or exceptions to safe harbors, would create barriers to entry for internet startups and creators, which would deny users the ability to access content
online.”

They also want policies that promote pro data innovation rules:

“However, new regulatory proposals on how data is used and collected threaten to reduce this value. U.S. policy must ensure businesses in every U.S. industry can keep a competitive edge by innovating with data. To do so, policies should champion data innovation by acknowledging the crucial role of data in the modern economy and promote pro-innovation rules. This includes taking a harms-based approach to consumer privacy, instead of a collection-based approach, and stopping data minimization efforts or other proposals that would inhibit innovation.”

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Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Cites Trade as the Main Reason He Supports Trump

Peter Thiel, the billionaire Paypal co-founder and apparent financier of the Hulk Hogan Gawker lawsuit, spoke at the National Press Club on why he supports Donald Trump for President.

Of course, this is only news because in Silicon Valley and especially the young tech and startup world of San Francisco, he’s really going against the tide.

Thiel’s most powerful argument for Trump is about trade, where even Bernie Sanders voters find agreement. The past strategies of all Republicans and Democrats has left us with a country that is on a direct path to manufacturing nothing, and this is killing the middle class and good paying blue collar jobs.

Here’s how Thiel puts it:

Why do voters still support Donald Trump even if they think the American situation is serious? Why would they think that Trump, of all people, could make it any better? I think it’s because of the big things that Trump gets right.

For example, free trade has not worked out well for all of America. It helps Trump that the other side just doesn’t get it. All of our elites preach free trade. The highly educated people who make public policy explain that cheap imports make everyone a winner, according to economic theory.

But in actual practice, we’ve lost tens of thousands of factories and million of jobs to foreign trade and the heartland has been devastated. Maybe policymakers really believe that nobody loses, or maybe they don’t worry about it too much because they think they’re among the winners.

The sheer size of the US trade deficit shows that something has gone badly wrong. The most developed country in the world should be exporting capital to less developed countries.

Instead, the United States is importing more than 500 billion dollars every year. That money flows into financial assets, it distorts our economy in favor of more banking and more financialization and it gives the well-connected people who benefit a reason to defend the status quo.

But not everyone benefits… and the Trump voters know it.

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