Musings on a June morning!

Here in Silicon Valley, every day brings some new tech. news that gets your attention. A sample of current news:

  • Uber starts helicopter service in Sao Paolo, Brazil. That city of 20 million people gets horrific gridlocks that can stretch for hours. Hence people are taking advantage of a quick helicopter ride, say to the airport to catch a flight on time. Apparently there are plenty of helicopters sitting idle and are taking advantage of such a service. Uber is really disrupting the transportation industry.
  • Elon Musk wants to combine two of his companies – Tesla and Solar City. Actually Tesla is acquiring Solar City for $3 Billion. Musk argues that the combo would be good, as Tesla is looking for future solar-powered batteries for its cars.
  • There are still questions on the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal from last week – a $26.2 Billion price tag. Big mergers in the past decades have not shown great results. Remember Compaq+DEC ($9.6B in 1998), HP+Compaq ($19B in 2002), HP+EDS ($13.9B in 2008), Oracle+Peoplesoft ($10.3B in 2004), AOL+Time Warner ($181B in 2000), and Symantec+Veritas ($13.5B in 2005)? Then there are the big write-offs such as Microsoft+Nokia or HP+Autonomy. Only a few were winners. The rest resulted in depressed share prices, corporate confusion, and layoffs. So we will have to see how both Dell+EMC ($67B last fall) and Microsoft+Linkedin perform in years to come.
  • Nikesh Aurora quits Softbank after two years, because he is not going to be the CEO as expected. Masayoshi Son, the founder/CEO said he is going to stay for another 10 years as CEO. The truth seems to be board members questioning Aurora’s investments and some conflict of interest as he advises Silver Lake, a competitor. He invested heavily in Indian startups like Ola (Uber competitor) and Snapdeal.
  • Video messaging is becoming a hot technology future item. Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter are all jumping into that field. But the leader seems to be a Berlin company called Dubsmash which has gained over 150 million users over last couple of years. They seem to lead in the content and delivery game and now have a new release emphasizing the video messaging platform.
  • Digital Advertising is gaining ground big time by the media companies. The shift to video ads in platforms like Youtube and Facebook is growing fast. I am  advising a company called Strike Social which is leading in the Trueview ad campaign buying and management business. I do see how fast it is growing. Using technology as a differentiator to provide cost optimization is the key here.
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