Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Adobe To Buy Marketo

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TechCrunch reported late yesterday that Adobe is buying marketing automation company Marketo for $4.75 billion:

“The acquisition of Marketo  widens Adobe’s lead in customer experience across B2C and B2B and puts Adobe Experience Cloud at the heart of all marketing,” Brad Rencher, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Experience at Adobe said in a statement.

Adobe’s press release had this to say about the deal:

Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Marketo, the market-leading cloud platform for B2B marketing engagement, for $4.75 billion, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. With nearly 5,000 customers, Marketo brings together planning, engagement and measurement capabilities into an integrated B2B marketing platform. Adding Marketo’s engagement platform to Adobe Experience Cloud will enable Adobe to offer an unrivaled set of solutions for delivering transformative customer experiences across industries and companies of all sizes.

Marketo’s platform is feature-rich and cloud-native with significant opportunities for integration across Adobe Experience Cloud. Enterprises of all sizes across industries rely on Marketo’s marketing applications to drive engagement and customer loyalty. Marketo’s ecosystem includes over 500 partners and an engaged marketing community with over 65,000 members.

This acquisition brings together the richness of Adobe Experience Cloud analytics, content, personalization, advertising and commerce capabilities with Marketo’s lead management and account-based marketing technology to provide B2B companies with the ability to create, manage and execute marketing engagement at scale.

And why marketeers should care, according to Marketing Land:

Adobe’s Creative Cloud services has long been part of the marketing industry standard for creating and managing media-rich assets. Now with the addition of Marketo’s B2B marketing automation platform, Adobe will be able to deliver a full-scale marketing solution, allowing marketers — and their marketing technology teams — to unify costs within a single layer of their martech stack.

Written by turbotodd

September 21, 2018 at 11:20 am

Close Those Circles

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As goes Wichita, so goes Wichita Falls.

Reuters is reporting that one of America’s oldest and largest North American life insurance firms, John Hancock, will stop underwriting traditional life insurance and instead sell only interactive policies that track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones.

Reuters story indicates that policyholders score premium discounts for hitting exercise targets tracked on wearable devices such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch and get gift cards for retail stores and other perks by logging their workouts and healthy food purchases in an app.

Presumably that doesn’t include buying pints of Chocolate Häagen-Dazs.

Privacy and consumer advocates have already raised the alarm, wondering whether insurers like John Hancock could use the data to select for more profitable customers, and penalizing those who don’t close all their Apple Watch circles every day.

And you thought it was just a cool digital watch you could show off to your friends!

Written by turbotodd

September 20, 2018 at 10:16 am

Automation Feast or Famine

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Happy Wednesday. 

Now that we’ve gotten that whole new iPhone analysis thing out of the way, let’s get back to the smart stuff.

The Wall Street Journal CIO Journal’s “Morning Download” email has been a must read for me for a couple of years now, and they do a generally good job of keeping their fingers on the pulse of enterprise IT, software, etc.

In today’s edition, they cited a new report from the World Economic Forum report on the jobs impact of artificial intelligence between now and 2022.

The report suggested that 984,000 jobs would disappear, but that 1.74 million new jobs would be created. 

The survey was of chief HR officers and top strategy execs from 300 global companies.

Almost 40 percent of respondents indicated they expect to expand their workforce by 2022, but more than a quarter expect automation to create new roles in their companies. 

More than 50 percent of employees of larger companies will need to invest in significant training for their employees to remain relevant, and nearly 50 percent of respondents said they expect their full-time workforce to shrink by 2022 as a result of automation.

In terms of cadence, 29 percent of current workplace tasks will be completed by machines in 2018, 42 percent in 2022, and more than half — 52 percent — by 2025.

I guess the large and lingering question is, which half of which tasks?

We’ll find out soon enough.

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2018 at 12:34 pm

UiPath Raises $225 Million in Series C, Focuses on AI for Repetitive Tasks

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The AI venture capital wars continue to heat up.

VentureBeat reported early today that UiPath, a robotic process automation platform that helps companies automate repetitive tasks, has raised $225 million in a series C round of funding co-lead by Alphabet’s late-stage venture capital fund CapitalG and Sequoia Capital, with participation from Accel.

This follows on their series B round, which raised $153 million.

The company was founded in Romania, but is now headquartered in New York. VentureBeat writes that the platforms core selling point is that it brings automation to enterprise processes.

The company builds what it calls “intelligent software robots” that help businesses carry out what are often laborious and repetitive tasks using computer vision and rule-based processes.

UiPath’s tech sits atop business applications such as enterprise resource planning software and customer relationship management tools to emulate tasks usually carried out by a person manually pressing buttons at their desk.

The “robots” are trained to observe the interface to see and understand what is happening and then carry out the task as a human would.

Current customers range from NASA to Airbus to DHL, Equifax, Lufthanse, Autodesk, and 2,000 other companies around the globe. The company expects to use the Series C round to accelerate its product development and acquire more companies.

Robotic process automation…remember that category!

Written by turbotodd

September 18, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Posted in 2018, AI, artificial intelligence

Tagged with ,

About Those New iPhones

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If you’re in the market for one of those new iPhones, there’s plenty of reviews coming out. What you want may depend on who you read.

The New York Times’ Brian Chen starts his review by saying he’d been a naysayer on the growing size of smartphones. But after spending a week with the new iPhone XS Max, Chen seems to have come around to the idea of having a much larger phone in one’s hand.

One reason for the change was that Apple had managed to cram a bigger screen into a slightly smaller body, which meant that Chen could hold the XS Max in one hand and type messages easily. So, less bevel, more screen space.

Chen indicated that he also liked the jumbo screen for practical reasons, finding it beneficial for reading maps when driving, when writing longer emails, and even for reading recipes in the kitchen. Just try not to do all three of those things at once!

Yet even Chen encouraged those looking to buy a new iPhone to try before you buy, because there are several sizes for different prices and they’ll all be in Apple stores to see first hand soon.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern did us all a favor by providing a very simple to read breakdown of the three new iPhones introduced last week:

  • iPhone XS: An upgrade to the 5.8-inch iPhone X from last year. It still starts at $1,000 and begins shipping Friday, Sept. 21. (The original X is gone. RIP.)
  • iPhone XS Max: A giant version of the XS with a 6.5-inch screen— Apple Inc.’s biggest-ever phone display. It starts at $1,100 and also ships Friday.
  • iPhone XR: A new model that doesn’t have the two-camera system and vibrant OLED screen, but does have a slightly larger 6.1-inch LCD screen and apparently better battery life. It starts at $750 and ships on Oct. 26.

She called the XS and XS Max “fabulous phones,” then hedged by writing that “we’ve hit a point where every smartphone is great – it comes down to what you want and what you want to spend.”

For the XS Max, she explained that “if you want a ginormous screen on an iPhone, the XS Max’S beautiful 6.5-inch OLED display is here for you.”

Taking photos, watching videos, FaceTiming, Fortniting, even writing emails felt more immersive on the big phone. But two things hold me back from going to the Max.

However, she concluded that unless you are in an iPhone upgrade program or absolutely dying for that Max screen, she suggested not jumping from the X to the XS.

“Going back to last year’s model, I missed the speed boost a bit, but not enough to drop another grand or more.”

And she reminds us not forget that the new iOS 12 is expected to speed up certain elements, particularly on older phones.

In fact, I just upgraded a now ancient iPad Air (Gen 1) to iOS 12, and it already seems like it’s 40% faster with the upgrade.

As for those looking to go more down market for one of these new iPhones (if down market can even be ascribed to these categories and prices of smartphones), the iPhone XR is poised to do very well.

While it doesn’t have the two-camera system of XS and XS Max, it does have a 6.1-inch LCD screen and ostensibly better battery life, and costs several hundred dollars cheaper.

And if you’re on the fence and might be looking into Android land, don’t forget that the Google Pixel 3 is expected to announce around October 9th.

TechRadar provides some rumor, innuendo and leaked pics of the new Pixel just in case you want to hedge and build some anticipation. 

Me, I bought a 6 Plus off Gazelle earlier this year for less than $500, and it works beautifully on iOS 12.

But am I tempted…?!!

Written by turbotodd

September 18, 2018 at 10:33 am

Posted in 2018, apple, iPhone, iPhone XS

Tagged with

Mary Meeker Moving On

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Recode is reporting that “legendary” Internet analyst Mary Meeker is moving on from VC firm Kleiner Perkins, and in the process taking a number of her team with her.

Meeker was one of the first Wall Street analysts and cheerleaders of note during the dot-com boom, and has become renowned for her annual “Internet Trends” slide deck, which are must reads for those of us trying to keep track of the constantly changing digital marketplace.

So why the exit from Kleiner Perkins?

Meeker is leading an exodus of late-stage investors from Kleiner Perkins in its most dramatic shake-up since legendary investor John Doerr stepped back from his role more than two years ago. Meeker’s exit — she, along with three of her partners, will form a new firm — will undoubtedly deal a hard blow to Kleiner Perkins, given her high profile in the business community and her stature as by far the most senior woman in venture capital.

Meeker is expected to continue to produce her annual Internet Trends report.

Written by turbotodd

September 14, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Follow Florence

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Hurricane Florence has arrived, and while it may have dropped to a Cat 1 storm, it looks like an absolute monster on the TV radar.

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina around 7:15 AM EST with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph and a minimum central pressure estimate of 958 mb.

Following are a few resources for following Florence’s wrath via Twitter:

FEMA Region 4: @femaregion4

National Hurricane Center (Atlantic): @NHC_Atlantic

National Hurricane Center: @NWSNHC

National Weather Service: @NWS

The Weather Channel: @weatherchannel

Stephanie Abrams (Weather Channel Meteorologist): @StephanieAbrams

Folks who still have power and Internet can also follow the storm via the National Weather Service website, or the Weather Channel.

The latest Hurricane Florence Advisory (Number 61) was just issued, and here was the lede: 

…FLORENCE JUST INLAND NEAR CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA…
…LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGES AND HURRICANE-FORCE WIND GUSTS
CONTINUE…
…CATASTROPHIC FRESHWATER FLOODING EXPECTED OVER PORTIONS OF NORTH
AND SOUTH CAROLINA…

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION
———————————————–
LOCATION…34.0N 78.0W
ABOUT 20 MI…30 KM SW OF WILMINGTON NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 55 MI…90 KM ENE OF MYRTLE BEACH SOUTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…80 MPH…130 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…WSW OR 245 DEGREES AT 3 MPH…6 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…958 MB…28.29 INCHES

And the more specific details:

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
——————–
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

The Tropical Storm Warning has been discontinued north of Duck,
North Carolina, including the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point
Comfort.

The Hurricane Warning has been changed to a Tropical Storm Warning
from Duck, North Carolina, south to Bogue Inlet, including the
Albemarle Sound.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina
* Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico
Rivers

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* South Santee River South Carolina to Bogue Inlet North Carolina
* Pamlico Sound

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
* Bogue Inlet North Carolina to Duck North Carolina
* Albemarle Sound

Interests elsewhere in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states
should monitor the progress of Florence.

For storm information specific to your area, including possible
inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your
local National Weather Service forecast office.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
———————-
At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Florence was
located near latitude 34.0 North, longitude 78.0 West. Florence is
moving toward the west-southwest near 3 mph (6 km/h). A slow
westward to west-southwestward motion is expected today through
Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move
further inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and
extreme eastern South Carolina today and Saturday. Florence will
then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the
central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher
gusts. Gradual weakening is forecast later today and tonight.
Significant weakening is expected over the weekend and into early
next week while Florence moves farther inland.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from
the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195
miles (315 km). A wind gust to 75 mph (120 km/h) was recently
reported at the National Ocean Service station in Wrightsville
Beach, and a 72 mph (116 km/h) was recently reported at a
Weatherflow site just north of Cape Fear at Federal Point.

The estimated minimum central pressure based on surface observations
is 958 mb (28.29 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
———————-
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the
tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by
rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the
potential to reach the following heights above ground…

Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC…7-11 ft, with locally higher
amounts in the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers
Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC…6-9 ft
South Santee River SC to Cape Fear NC…4-6 ft
Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC…4-6 ft
Salvo NC to Duck NC…2-4 ft
Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC…2-4 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of
onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and
destructive waves. Surge-related flooding can vary greatly over
short distances. For information specific to your area, please see
products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast
office.

RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive
rainfall in the following areas…

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South
Carolina…an additional 20 to 25 inches, with isolated storm totals
of 30 to 40 inches. This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash
flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.

Remainder of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwest
Virginia…5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches. This rainfall will
produce life-threatening flash flooding.

Rainfall totals exceeding 14 inches thus far have been reported at
several locations across southeastern North Carolina.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina
today.

SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions
of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas.
These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip
current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather
office.

To all my friends and colleagues in the Carolinas and surrounding environs, be safe and be smart!

Written by turbotodd

September 14, 2018 at 10:02 am

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