Links 11/30: SAP - DHL problems not our fault; Dow finishes SAP ERP upgrade but may have different future plans

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SAP: Don't blame us for DHL's ailing logistics system (PC World)

Dow Chemical CIO Says Another 8-Year ERP Project Is Unimaginable (Wall Street Journal: CIO Journal)

When IPTV Isn’t OTT: Comcast’s Dilemma (Broadcasting & Cable)

Justice Dept. opens antitrust probe of Comcast cable-ad business (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Salesforce's New Segmentation Features Tread DMP Territory (Ad Exchanger)


Philly Tech People News 11/30/2015: New Greenphire CEO; Two join new investment firm backed by Comcast

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Two executives join new investment firm backed by Comcast -sources (Reuters)

Greenphire Appoints Jim Murphy as CEO (PR Newswire)

Tim Minahan Leaves SAP (and Ariba) For Citrix – A New Chapter Begins (Spend Matters)

Payment processor names new leaders for business unit (NJBIZ)

Clutch names Mark S. Pollock CFO to help shape its financial future and manage its rapid growth (Businss Wire)

Former Hulu Executive Andy Forssell Jumps to Fullscreen (Re/code)

NCCN Foundation Appoints Three New Representatives to Board of Directors (Marketwire)

Sunday Highlights: Why Watson can't be as great as IBM claims

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Why Watson May Not Quite Be the Great Civilizational Advance IBM Says It Is (The Healthcare Blog)
Nails it.

Why the Internet Could — But Probably Won’t — Land a Mega-Deal With the NFL (Re/code)

The End Of The Startup Gold Rush, Absurd Burn Rates And Tourist VCs (TechCrunch)

To one analyst, Virtustream's value seems to be less than zero, versus the $1 billion plus paid for it earlier this year
Was once SAP acquisition candidate

Tom Paine

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A report in Friday's Wall Street Journal cites one analyst who apparently questions the economic viability of EMC's Virtustream acquisition. The Journal piece was
based upon a Reuters article.

Virtustream, founded six years ago, was seen as extremely valuable in helping to implement SAP Hana applications, so much so that SAP offered to buy the company (though there are quetions about who walked first) before it eventually sold this past summer to the so-called "EMC Federation" for $1.2 billion.

But in a research note this week, FBR & Co. analyst Daniel Ives recommends that EMC / VMware shutter (not sell) Virtustream as part of a number of steps aimed at saving the Dell / EMC deal (which naturally leads to the question, why does it need to be saved?)

One issue revolves around simple financial engineering. By keeping Virtustream under EMC, rather than folding part of it into a planned JV with VMware, EMC/Dell could prop up the value of VMware's publically traded "stub", a key to the deal.

In addition, Ives evidentially sees Virtustream as a continuing cash drain. That is partly due to a planned ramp up in expenditures related to
a broader corporate cloud strategy. VMware Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Chadwick said on a conference call on Oct. 20 that Virtustream would have an operating loss of about $200 million to $300 million in 2016.

But it leads to the further question as to whether the technology and economics of cloud architecture has changed so much in a few years that Bethesda, MD-based Virtustream may simply not have the value it was percieved to have had by some not long ago. Which may bring up that dirty word, Amazon Web Services.

If EMC, by partially following Mr. Ives' logic, were to cut its losses and offer Virtustream to SAP at a fraction of the price it paid for it, would SAP even have an interest in it?

Links 11/27: LG ups OLED game, with talk of possible Apple usage; Universal Display may benefit

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Atlassian IPO to raise upwards of $370 million (Fortune)

EMC to keep majority stake in Virtustream - sources
Interesting move, though mostly for financial engineering rather than strategic reasons.
Virtustresm is an important implementation partner of SAP HANA; in fact, SAP passed on aqcuiring the Richmond-based company earlier this year before it was acquired by EMC.

Universal Display Up On iPhone Speculation (Investor's Business Daily)
Universal Display (NASD: OLED), based in Ewing NJ near Princeton, frequently bounces up and down due to various rumors and market reports. For example, I don't know how many times the Apple rumors have resurfaced. Yet if you believe in OLED technology long term, then Universal Display may not be a bad investment since its pretty much a pure play (dependng upon current valuation, your risk tol`erance and time horizon, all the usual caveats).

Japan Apple Suppliers Fall on Report IPhone to Use OLEDs (Bloomberg)

LG bets $8.7 billion you'll want a TV with rich OLED colors (CNET News)

Black Friday’s online sales look to hit $2.7 billion (Internet Retailer)

Witness: Gun pulled on Jahlil Okafor in October Old City altercation (CSN Philly)

NJ State gov't internet access restored after 7-hour outage (

Fraud Tech lab tracks dark side of online sales: theft, burglary, murder (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Turkey Links: Disney cable sub losses; Amazon's bold online plans

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Amazon Said Planning to Add Other Online Networks to Prime Video (Bloomberg)

Veeva Systems Set for More Growth (Barron's)

Veeva Announces Fiscal 2016 Third Quarter Results (Business Wire)

Disney's Cable Channels See Steep Subscriber Losses (Hollywood Reporter)

SAP shows it took Gartner’s warning seriously, but is it enough? (IT World Canada)

Road to SAP S/4HANA will be long, but many aim to get there (SearchSAP)

How Master Data Management Demand May Change in 2016 (Andrew White/Gartner Blogs)

Comcast update: The good, the bad, and the ugly?

Tom Paine

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Comcast Said to Face DOJ Probe Over Local Cable-TV Ad Market (Bloomberg)
The unit at the center of this inquiry, Comcast Spotlight, is based in Chesterbrook.
Comcast Spotlight / Chesterbrook

Comcast-backed CTI Towers nabs 120 towers from @VyveBroadband, remains small player in overall mkt (Multichannel News)
Comcast doesn't like to remain a small player in any market for too long.

Wall Street Journal: Comcast's previous agreement with YES Network was based on presumption of Time Warner Cable deal going through:
"But Comcast agreed to the higher rate while it was in the process of buying Time Warner Cable, the person close to Comcast said. After the merger fell apart, the price no longer made sense, the person said."
Here Are the Real Reasons Comcast Customers Won’t Get to Watch Nets, Yankees Games (WSJ)`

Comcast, Time Warner Cable get 71% of new Internet subscribers (Ars Technica)

Fox, Time Warner, Comcast Dragged Into Legal Mess Surrounding Daily Fantasy Sports (Hollywood Reporter)

FanDuel, Facing Opposition, Maintains Its Visibility in New York (NY Times)
Its hard to account for how much of the $361 million in venture funding FanDuel is reported to have received came from what sources, but Comcast Ventures snd NBC Sports Ventures (separately) have been major investors. bi-coastal area native Paul Martino's Bullpen Capital was an important early if smaller backer, and Rudy Karsan through his Karlani Capital also invested. Its a high stakes poker game, but for Comcast the number of chips it staked will be barely a small rounding error.

Stream TV: Comcast’s cable guys have ‘cracked the code’ for cord-cutters (Boston Globe)

Fun With Outages --- Xfinity Style

Links 11/18: Salesforce rising? Air Liquide \ Airgas merger marries conflicting ERP stratagies

Salesforce Outlook Shows Surging Demand for Cloud Services (Bloomberg)
Catching up to SAP?

Beyond Fidelity: Even More Mutual Fund Markdowns of Tech Startups (Fortune)

Square Pays $93 Million Penalty tiro Some Investors in IPO (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

Airgas founder: Air Liquide deal is right for shareholders
(Philadelpia Inquirer)

Airgas installed SAP a few years back. Wonder if that contributed to its success, and whether Air Liquide is also an SAP user?

Well, Airgas is a big believer, judging from this article appearing ealier this year in

Actualy, Air Liquide announced late last year that it was "standardizing the ERP system used by Air Liquide companies throughout North America, including Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean to Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2."

And no, as some Americans may think, Air Liquide is not one of those low-cost European airlines.

So how is this conflict going to be resolved?

Exclusive: What's behind the exodus from Rent the Runway? (Fortune)

FinTech Stock Research Firm Chaikin Analytics Relocates to Philadelphia to Expand Software Development and Quantitative Research Teams
(PR Newswire)

Links 11/17: EPAM buys Conshohocken firm Alliance Global; Liberty Global to Buy Cable & Wireless for $5.3 Bln in Stoc

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Liberty Global to Buy Cable & Wireless for $5.3 Bln in Stock (AP via CED Magazine)
John Malone strikes again.

NBCU Acquires Programming From Universal Sports Network (Broadcasting and Cable)

Time Warner Cable customers who bought modems may have to pay rental fee after Charter takeover (LA Times)

YES Network Tonight Could Go Dark On Comcast Systems In Northeast (Sports Business Daily)

EPAM Acquires Conshohoken-based Alliance Global Services (Globe Newswire via CNN Money)

EPAM Systems Acquires Again, Scoops Up Alliance Global

Salesforce needs to show Wall Street some big new customers to keep up its winning streak (Business Insider)
Earnings Day tomorrow.

SuccessFactors gears up to prove HANA multi-tenancy at scale (Diginomica)

Why Urban Outfitters Bought a Pizza Chain (Wall Street Journal: MoneyBeat)

Emergency hearing set for FanDuel, DraftKings (USA Today)

Philly Tech People News 11/16/2015

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Jeff Shell, a film novice, leads Universal Pictures into the digital age (LA Times)

Jon Litner In A Surprise Move Is Leaving NBC After Running RSN Group For A Decade (Sports Business Daily)

Former Verizon Cloud Chief Surfaces at IBM

Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Appoints James M. Lucania Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer (MarketWatch)

Ciright ONE Introduces a Patented, Re-programmable Smart Card and Wallet App: String Theory School Benefits with Donation

Ciright ONE Introduces a Patented, Re-programmable Smart Card and Wallet App:

String Theory School Benefits with $250,000 Donation

WHAT: To celebrate the November 18th launch of the ONE card, Ciright ONE is donating the technology platform behind the ONE mobile wallet app to the String Theory School.

ONE is a microprocessor electronic card “super smart” card that allows consumers to consolidate all credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards into one dynamic electronic card that communicates with the ONE mobile wallet app. The ONE card when combined with the ONE mobile wallet app gives the user access to all of their cards “on the fly” which provides the consumer the flexibility to pay with their ONE universal card or smartphone. In addition, ONE is powered by Ciright, which connects ONE to the cloud, then the cloud to the Ciright enterprise environment.

Ciright ONE is donating a license to use its highly coveted, infinitely scalable technology to help the students and staff at the String Theory School achieve their mission of growing the next generation of creative leaders. The total donation exceeds $250,000 and will empower students to efficiently design and develop mobile apps using the Ciright platform.

WHO: Participants in the donation portion of the event include:

- String Theory COO Dr. Jason Corosanite

WHEN: 10am Registration | Event 10:30-11:30am

WHERE: String Theory School, 1600 Vine Street Philadelphia


Ciright ONE LLC, an affiliate of Ciright, is a mobile technology solutions provider focused on simplifying everyday tasks for businesses and consumers. Ciright is headquartered in West Conshohocken, Pa., the “Liberty Valley.” For more information, visit

String Theory Schools: Philadelphia Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School, is a tuition-free, Philadelphia public charter school, open to all Philadelphia residents. Our mission is to educate each student according to age and development so that learning and growth are united; to integrate the developing mind and body of the student with academics and the performing arts and sciences; to ensure each student's excellence in core and academic skills; and to awaken and preserve the spirit of our students through the visual and digital arts, vocal arts, instrumental music, creative writing, classical ballet, foreign language and innovations in the field of science and technology. See more at

As Linode heads towards Philly, questions remain about best financial strategy to reach its potential

Tom Paine

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In 2003, when Amazon Web Services was still just a speck on a white board in Amazon's headquarters, Chris Aker, who had been working full-time in Nashville, decided he wanted to pursue the dream many people have, to create a self-sustaining business.

He realized that virtualization was going to be the next big thing, and the availability of open source software and cheap Linux servers would provide the building blocks he needed to start a low cost web server business. He opened for business in mid-2003 and it was largely a one man operation for a time. He called it Linode, a conjunction of the words Linux and node. Although Aker had a small server business in Nashville, he went back home to the Jersey shore, near Atlantic City, in a town called Galloway and grew the business there. A key early hire was Tom Asaro, who came on board in 2006 and is now chief operating officer.

During that time in the early 2000s, many people were eager to try out the newly available technologies that were making it less expenisive to start a business, but my guess is an overwhelming majority of them did not succeed. Aker was one who did.
Christopher Aker / LinkedIn
Aker bootstrapped Linode and never accepted any outside funding. "I've been extremely fortunate. The company is privately owned, stable, and 100% debt free", he told the website Virtual Strategy in an interview in February of this year.

Move forward to 2015, and Linode has kept up with the rapid pace of technology change in the virtual server business. Revenue should just about reach $70 million this year, up from a bit over $60 million in 2014, though revenue (though not volume) growth has been reduced by price cuts in the summer of 2014 to meet its most direct competitor, DigitalOcean. Linode now employs 81.

Linode invested $45 million in 2014 (funded out of retained earnings and a credit line, by which I assume is meant more than Aker's credit card) to upgrade its infrastructure. The biggest change was probably shifting to native solid state drives (SSD) over the previously standard hard disk drives (HDDs). RAM available to all plans doubled, and network throughput to each host server increased from 2Gbps to 40Gbps.

Data Center Knowledge described Linode's transformation as going from being a Linux Virtual Private Server hoster to a fully configured Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform.

It also opened up Linode to be more competitive in the enterprise market, rather than being dependent mostly on gaming hosters and indy developers.

Linode continued to invest in 2015, opening a second datacenter in Asia (Singapore); launching its second datacenter in Europe (Frankfurt); switched from Xen hypervisor to KVM and experienced significant user productivity gains; and opened a new office in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia.

But Amazon Web Services, its onetime would-be competitor, had exploded into something with a scale that I don't know even its own creators could have imagined. Building incredible momentum, AWS expects revenue of $7 billion this year, and is growing 81% over last year according to it most recent quarterly results.

So although AWS redefined the market with an enterprise 100x Linode's size, and the mega-public cloud providers have largely coalesced into a triumvirate consisting of Microsoft and Google in addition to AWS, there still remains a huge mid-market opportunity to pursue.

Perhaps it was a bit of a shock when a New York startup, DigitalOcean (not to be confused with Digital River, an ecommerce firm acquired earlier this year) announced in early July of this year that it had raised $83 million. Access Industries led the round with participation from existing backer Andreessen Horowitz. Though Access describes itself as "a privately held industrial group," it essentially looks like a VC firm. The valuation was estimated by sources cited by Bloomberg to be $680 million, which is a lot of money for some linux server farms.

DigitalOcean was founded in 2011 in Brooklyn by Alec Hartman, Mitch Wainer, Ben Uretsky, Moisey Uretsky, and.Jeff Carr. It had actually graduated from the TechStars incubator program in Boulder. DigitalOcean received its first institutional check in 2013, and raised its Series A of $37 million led by Andreessen Horowitz last year before raising its big Series B this year.

While there are certainly differences in IT architecture between DigitalOcean and Linode, I'm not sure thst I see any overwhelming technological edge that would constitute a sustainable proprietary advantage for either company.

“We’re not looking to steal the largest customers,” CEO Ben Uretsky said in a phone interview with Bloomberg News. “It’s really about the 20 million software developers that live in the world today and the 30 million that will be there by the end of the decade, for us to build a tool for them.”

DigitalOcean’s revenue grew 193 percent in 2014 after a 6,000 percent increase in 2013, though of course that's off a small base, and has more than 250,000 active users, the company says.

While Linode's capital investment last year was significant, it still pales in comparison to the $173 million Digital Ocean has raised since 2012. Not that cash makes all the difference, but its simply a matter of scale and having state-of-the-art technology, which are both important in this business.

So Aker faces some tough choices. By rejecting VC offers, as I'm sure he has done, he's maintained complete control of Linode, but perhaps is sacrificing the opportunity to maintain a leadership position in the middle market. Each round of capital is going to raise the stakes of the game. Linode can build a niche position, but risks falling behind the technology curve in terms of upgrades. Another option would be to wait until acquiring capacity becomes cheaper than buying, as smaller providers get squeezed. So there are options for Linode, and taking a large round of capital isn't the only one.

The other change Linode's been up to is its gradual migration from the Jersey coast north to suburban Philly and ultimately, it says, Philadelphia itself.

While working near the shore may seem idyllic (despite nearby Atlantic City's woes), Linode has found its current base in Galloway to be to restrictive in terms of conducting business and attracting and retaining talent. So they statrted a gradual process of moving towards Philadelphia. Incidentally, in the process of reearching this article I discovered that Galloway is the largest municipality in New Jersey in terms of land area.

The first stop along the way is in Haddonfield,NJ, at the Kings Hall coworking space, where it had originally hired 15 by the early summer toward a potential goal of 30. The second step is to establish a location in the city itself. A few long-time employees may remain in Galloway where they have roots.

Aker wrote a note in the comment section to a Philly article in July that he had already relocated:

I relocated myself to the Philly area a few months ago (woot!). FWIW, there has been no "throwing in" of towels or "changing of minds" - relocating Linode into the Philadelphia area has been our active plan for a while - even going back a few years. We're not just looking for any office space - we're looking for something great. Greatness takes time to find (and also finding buildings that aren't encumbered by banks and foreclosures, politics, and are really for sale. It's been a long road...). A great environment is important - life is too short. Anyway, we're looking forward to joining the tech and larger communities in Philadelphia. Hopefully we can secure a great space very soon.

I'm still not sure whether the intention is too move the entire company to the city or keep some of it in the Jersey suburbs, but company spokesperson Keith Craig told me the company was actively looking and that one area it liked was the N 3rd Street neighborhood. and I've already seen more of a Linode presence on the Philly Tech Scene.

In my conversation with Casey Smith, Linode's VP of Marketing, I got the sense that this company and its founder deeply value their independence, which enables its company culture to works the way it does. While Aker may eventually take outside money, at least the valuation and control issues should be favorable to him since he has not yet given up any equity outside the company yet.

One example of a company thats made it big without any VC money, no IPO or M&A is health database giant Epic Systems, whose revenue should exceed $2 billion this year. Though I think Linode's early needs are a good bit more capital intensive, however.

Links 11/12: S/4HANA -: Simpler ERP for all?; Liberty Media to Create Three Tracking Stocks Integration Gives Small Business Enterprise Capabilities (TechCrunch)

Simpler ERP for all! Well, if you're a SAP S/4HANA customer (The Register)

SAP CFO says confident about full year and mid-term guidance (Reuters)

Adiant Acquires Philly-based Solve Media’s TYPE-IN CAPTCHA Advertising Business (Adotas)

Snapchat Isn't the Only Startup in Fidelity's Crosshairs (Fortune)

IBM Wants To Be Your Cloud Moving Company (PC Magazine)

Liberty Media to Create Three Tracking Stocks (Hollywood Reporter)
John Malone continues to show his love for tracking stocks. Now you will be able to see Atlanta Braves financials broken out separately. TruePosition, however, is not effected by this move, since the Berwyn-based company is already contained in another of Malone's tracking stocks, Liberty Broadband, which also contains Malone's stake in acquisition vehicle Charter Communications.

Liberty Interactive To Spin CommerceHub, Expedia (Multichannel News)

Hulu Service Said in Talks to Sell Stake to Time Warner (Bloomberg)

Malone's biggest mistake: Not buying Netflix (Multichannel News)

Video A 'Melting Ice Cube," But Broadband A Savior? (Investor's Business Daily)

Links 11/11: Greg Bentley answers three questions; SAP S/4HANA expands from financials to other core ERP functions

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Sure, IBM Shares Have Gained 3,400,000% But Are They a Buy Now? (Bloomberg)

3 Questions about 3D Tech: Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems (Spar Point Group)

Pneuron Finds Itself at the Center of Containers and Microservices (Nate Lentz/Osage Venture Partners Blog)
Osage invested first in Pneuron, and was joined later by Safeguard Scientifics.

Independence Blue Cross and Jefferson Health Hack to Fuel Innovative Solutions to Pressing issues in Health Care Access and Delivery
(Globe Newswire)

Comcast 'Stream TV' goes live in the Boston area (Multichannel News)

Cox inks national X1 deal with Comcast (Multichannel News)

Public hearing set for Comcast deal with city (

DraftKings, FanDuel Go to War with Eric Schneiderman (Fortune)

SAP S/4HANA expands from financials to other core ERP functions (TechTarget)

Four Arguments in Favor of Analytics in the Cloud (ASUG News)

Links 11/10: Comcast resets 200,000 compromised email passwords; NY Attorney General cracks down on Fantasy Sports betting

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Enterprise Software Co Atlassian Files IPO On Sales Of $320M, Net Income Of $6.8M In 2015 (TechCrunch)

Attorney General Tells Daily Fantasy Sports to Stop Taking Bets in New York (NY Times)

Dell’s EMC Deal Could Fall Apart on Tax Rule (Re/code)

Verizon Denies Report It Is Selling Enterprise Business (But It Also Said It Wasn’t Buying AOL) (Re/code)

Verizon won't need more capital to build FiOS customer base (FierceTelecom)

Comcast Resets 200,000 Compromised Email Passwords, But Questions Remain (Information Week)

SAP combines info about full-time staff with external workers in SuccessFactors (FierceCIO)

The quest for growth: Cherry-Hill based AmeriQuest files for a $75 million IPO. (Renaissance Capital)

Rackspace Rises On Q3 Beat; Hybrid Cloud 'Not Dead' (Investor's Business Daily)

Square’s S-1: Of Ratchets And Unicorn Valuations (TechCrunch)

Life among the unicorns in their native habitat

Tom Paine

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The biggest layoff news in Pennsylvania this month came from Erie, where GE Transportation announced it would be laying off about 1500 of 4500 blue collar workers. The cuts had been expected due to a slow down in locomotive orders; in fact, one GE official says the cuts are not as bad as earlier expected. Nonetheless, considerable hardship is expected at the far end of the state.

Less of these / Source: GE website, Marc Lore's somewhat risky anti-Amazon startup, appears to have raised $500 million at a $1 billion pre-money valuation led by Fidelity, according to latest reports (though I'm not sure I've seen a confirmation that the round had closed.) But a Wall Street Journal report, citing a look at the startup's financials, said it was rapidly running short on cash and racing to close the round. Who allowed the Journal reporter to see so much of Jet's financials, and why, is a good question.

The Hoboken-based online retailer dropped its $50 upfront fee requirement in October, and I can only imagine what its breakeven projections might be now. Penn-related MentorTech Ventures, which made out well when Lore's previous venture, Quidsi, sold to Amazon, has a small seat on this ride too, although I would expect it to be a long and bumpy one. But MentorTech doesn't have much to lose, I would guess. did say last week that it had passed the one million customer mark, and a source told Fortune that’s total sales reached $20 million in September, and it beat its target for October by 11 percent, selling $33.2 million worth of items.

Alibaba, meanwhile, reportedly plans to invest $80 million in ecommerce retailer Boxed, which is sometimes described as a competitor to Jet. There is certainly some overlap betwwen the two, but Boxed concentrates on larger, bulky grocery store-type items. New York-based Boxed had already raised $30 million from investors including First Round Capital. Alibaba was already an investor in

What about the ongoing FanDuel/DraftKings saga? Well, FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles opened up in an interview with Bloomberg.

He admitted that people saw the same advertising for too long, and got sick of it. For now, he saw less ads, more regulation, no merger (with DraftKings), and no IPO for the forseeable future. Comcast Ventures owns a stake in FanDuel.

The Telegraph (UK) cites DropBox as its poster child for an overvalued unicorn. DropBox, which was privately valued at $10 billion 2 years ago, hasn't done a great deal to live up to that valuation, the Telegraph implies, asserting that parts of its product line have been commodizised.

And then there's Square, Jack Dorsey's other company and also in First Round Capital's portfolio. The payment processsing startup set its preliminary IPO target at a valuation of around $4 billion, well short of its last private valuation of $6 billion.

But to Marc Andreessen, who's not an investor in Square, this pullback is an indication that there's no tech bubble, since in real tech bubbles of the past the excesses of the private markets were eagerly lapped up by the public markets.

Link 11/9: SAP HANA Must Be Hurting Oracle; but bring bug spray

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Salesforce Volume Deals Add New Twist to an Old Story

Oracle's Amazon-killer might really be 6 months away (Business Insider)

SAP HANA Must Be Hurting Oracle (SAP Hana Blog)

Dangerous bugs leave open doors to SAP HANA systems (Computerworld)

Wizards, Capitals owner to get equity stake in Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (Baltimore Businsss Journal)

phillytechnews bytes 11/8

Philly Tech People News 11/8/2015: Eatroff joins Comcast as EVP, Global Corporate Development and Strategy.

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Robert L. Eatroff has joined Comcast Corporation as Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Development and Strategy.
He will join Comcast in January 2016 from Morgan Stanley in New York where he was Managing Director and Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for the Americas. He will report to Michael J. Cavanagh, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Comcast Corporation.

Mr. Eatroff will succeed Alexander D. Evans who will join Michael J. Angelakis, former Chief Financial Officer of Comcast, in January 2016 at the new strategic company Mr. Angelakis formed in partnership with Comcast that will focus on investing in and operating growth-oriented companies. He also succeeds Bob Pick, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, who is retiring at year-end and will consult for the company on special projects.

Mr. Eatroff earned his MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Bucknell University. He will be relocating from New York City to Philadelphia.

The word "Global" in Eatroff's title probably has particular significance.

Accolade, the Plymouth Meeting-based corporate health services firm, announced that Rajeev Singh has joined the company as chief executive officer and member of the company's Board of Directors. Singh most recently was co-founder, President & COO of Concur prior to its acquisition by SAP last year for $8.3 billion. Also, two other former Concur execs will join the company; Michael Hilton, another Concur co-founder, and Rob Cavanaugh will both be in senior operating positions. Along with their additions a dual headquarters structure will be established with a Seattle headquarters to complement the one in the Philadelphia area.

Quality Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: QSII), announced this week the election of Jeffrey H. Margolis as the independent chairman of the board of directors, effective immediately. Margolis succeeds Sheldon Razin, 77, founder, who has served as the chairman of the board since the Company’s inception in 1974.

Following his decision to retire as chairman, Razin will continue to serve on the board as chairman emeritus. Since founding Quality Systems more than 40 years ago, Razin has led the Company to its industry leadership position in the continually evolving healthcare information technology sector, with an installed user base that spans 85,000 providers across 4,000 clients.

Quality Systems' principal business is Horsham-based NextGen Healthcare.

Jim Brady, a former sports and executive editor at and currently the CEO of Spirited Media, is the new public editor at ESPN.

Brady will start on Nov. 15 and serve for 18 months in the role, which was formerly called the ombudsman. Brady will be charged with providing "independent examination, critique and analysis of ESPN's programming and news coverage on television, digital, print, audio and other media," ESPN said in a statement.

Brady has more than 20 years of experience in digital and print news at AOL, the Washington Post, Digital First Media (where he served as editor-in-chief) and currently at Spirited Media, which runs the mobile news platform Billy Penn in Philadelphia.

CoreDial, LLC, a leading cloud communications software and services provider, announced that Caitlin Clark-Zigmond has joined the company as Vice President of Product Management for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

Ms. Clark-Zigmond comes to CoreDial from Comcast Business, where she served as Senior Director of Product Management since 2013. Her core focus, among other responsibilities, was managing advanced voice solutions, specifically Comcast’s Business VoiceEdge platform. She also previously worked for companies such as unified communications wholesaler, New Global Telecom (NGT), and enterprise video provider, Level3. She now joins CoreDial with over 20 years of experience in the telecom and unified communications industries.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania announced Thursday Chris Satullo will be its new professional in residence for the 2015-16 spring semester.

Satullo was the former WHYY executive who was reportedly forced out recently over policy disagreements.

Sunday Highlights: Recounting what happened to GSI Commerce; Comcast responds to cap criticisms

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How Campbell is taking cues from tech to reorganize internally (Digiday)

Trade In, Trade Up (Joseph DiStefano / Philadelphia Inquirer)
On remnants of Ebay Enterprise / GSI Commerce. Amazing how closely Rubin's account of what happened with GSI Commerce and Ebay, as retold by DiStefano, is in sync with my account here written before the IMPACT event, though I've never discussed the matter with Rubin or any of his associates.

Comcast says it publicly outlined its usage-based pricing philosophy back in 2010 (FierceCable)

In the cloud, beware the sinking ships (David Linthicum/Infoworld)

The cloud wars explained: Why nobody can catch up with Amazon (Business Insider)

QVC: Usual pattern; Low overall US Growth, but higher mobile & web growth; Amazon's possible entry threatens status quo

Tom Paine

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QVC Group (QVCA) reported its results for the 3rd quarter 2015 on this past Wednesday.

QVCA (NASDAQ: QVCA) consists of West Chester-based QVC's worldwide businesses, about 38% of HSN, and 22% of the equity in TripAdvisor.

QVC US revenue increased 4% to $1.4 billion in the third quarter, while operating income grew 5%. revenue (originating from the website) as a percent of total US revenue increased to 48%; QVC US mobile penetration accounted for 52% of orders. Overall, QVC's US web sales grew 15%. The acquisition of Zulily closed at the completion of the quarter, so its results were not included in QVCA results.

However, due to unfavorable cuurency fluctuation, according to QVCA, QVC's consolidated worldwide revenue decreased 1% in the third quarter to $2.0 billion. International revenue decreased 10%.

While the growth in ecommerce and mobile transactions is important and necessary, some percentage of those orders are simply replacing busineess from existing customers rather than coming from new customers. Even if it were all new revenues, it would take quite some time before QVC might emerge as a growth company given the continued detorioration of its older (mostly telephonic) orders base.

"There's been no growth in the number of consumers shopping by television in three years. The majority of their business is repeat customers, but the number of new viewers isn't growing," said Britt Beemer, chairman and CEO of America's Research Group, a retail consulting agency, as quoted by the Tampa Bay Times.

Entrance to QVC headquarters /
Pennsylvania Center
for the Book)

But QVC has been on a well-orchestrated PR campaign recently, seemingly aimed more at the financial community. Besides the Zulily acquisition, they've also been touting a new QVC app on Apple TV , and there was also a well-timed feature in the Washington Post, among other articles.

But the news that sent the closely knit home shopping industry into overdrive was a well-substantiated report by Seattle-based GeekWire posted on October 28 outlining Amazon's plans to enter the market. Obviously Amazon sees TV shopping as one outlet among numerous ecommerce buying possibilities, but its unclear whether Amazon could bring either the technology or showmanship need to increase TV shopping's percentage of the overall ecommerce spend.

There has even been speculation, far-fetched at this point, that Amazon may eventually try to acquire QVC.

Despite its slow growth, QVC has been very good at generating cash flow. That has given it a current market valuation in excess of $19 billion. Actually, QVCA was created as one of Liberty founder & Chairman John Malone's tracking stocks, which help investors focus on a company or group of companies with distinct characteristics, and maybe gives management more freedom to manuever.

One thing executives emphasized in the earnings call - yes, QVCA has its own earnings call now (transcript courtesy of Seeking Alpha) - is the work its put into making its software more responsive and personalized. Personalization often refers to Monetate, though QVC has been working with Monetate for several years now.

Phorum '16: Call for papers open, deadline November 13

Tom Paine

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The sponsors and organizers of next Spring's Philly Phorum (think baseball season, with the tag line, "Its got to be better than last year") entitled "Systems of Insight", to be held on April l4 at the new Fillmore Philadelphia, are particularly eager to get as broad a range of inputs for the event as possible. See the full press release here .

It has opened its call for papers, looking for experts in new technologies, architectures, systems, processes and integration driving Systems of Insight. Proposals are being sought for conference sessions on topics including information management, Big Data platforms, architectures, machine learning, natural language processing, predictive analytics, IoT, security, governance, data-driven engagement and integration.

If the term "call for papers" sounds too academic, don't be put off by it. The Phorum people wants to hear what you've got to say, in a simple, organized manner. No particular degree level is required.

The deadline to submit proposals, which should include a speaker’s bio, success stories, failures and/or lessons learned is November 13.

So submit you proposal today (or soon). Please send your bio and a two to three paragraph subject brief. Email your information or request more details at

Links 11/6: PeopleLinx announces new release; Verizon weighs sale of enterprise business

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PeopleLinx announces new release as sales tech landscape takes shape (VentureBeat)

QVC’s U.S. web sales rise 15% in Q3
(Internet Retailer)
But QVC's total US revenue only inched forward 3.6%.
Forgot that since QVC now has its own tracking stock (QVCA), its got it own earnings call as well: ( transcript here on Seeking Alpha. )
QVCA, wich also includes a roughly 30% stake in HSN and a small bundle of ecommerce businesses, has a market cap today of over $19 billion.

Verizon weighing $10 billion sale of enterprise assets - sources (Reuters)
Since Comcast has said they would like to build a similar business, I wonder if? Actually, I doubt Comcast would care
to be encumbered with old equipment and long legacy contracts. I think they'ed rather start from scratch, with the
help of some small strategic acquisitions.

Square Inc IPO to value company at up to $4.2 billion (VentureBeat)

Comcast data caps aren’t about congestion, leaked memo shows (PC World)
Piling on: not a serious or thoughtful assessment of whether Comcast faces real capacity constraints. They do.

HR tech firm snags $2 million, hopes to shake up market (Philadelphia Business Journal) logs more than 1 million customers (Internet Retailer)
Nice news to put out while many ponder its possible demise.

Salsa, DonorPro Announce Deal (The Non-Profit Times)

Amazon to Launch its First Cloud Data Centers in UK (Data Center Knowledge)

SAP wins but did Oracle even bid?

Steve Brooks
Enterprise Times

Lloyds Register begins new dawn with SAP cloud ERP software

Lloyds Register has selected SAP SE to deliver a cloud based ERP and business management solution. This is a huge win for SAP as Lloyds Register has traditionally been an Oracle customer, even presenting last year at Oracle Openworld 2014 about a mobile application they had developed.

On Sunday (10/25) Larry Ellison, CTO and Executive Chairman of the Board at Oracle made his opening keynote at the event and was dismissive of SAP as he stated: “We now compete with and a new company called Workday in applications, those are the companies that we see most frequently when we sell applications in the marketplace. We virtually never ever see SAP, this is a stunning change. The largest application provider in the world is SAP, but we never see them in the cloud, and we sell a lot of applications in the cloud.”

This latest announcement by SAP questions not only the above statement but also one wonders what the Oracle sales team have been doing. Large cloud wins by Oracle and SAP have been, unlike Workday who seem to be gaining customers at both their expense, quite often.

What are Lloyds Register doing?

In the past companies announce wins that seem trivial once the actual detail is understood. While there is no revelation about the value of the deal itself and for how long it will be, there are several pertinent facts that are relevant.

Lloyds Register is not a small company. It has £1 billion turnover with 9,000 employees operating in 78 markets supporting more than 60,000 clients. Those markets are rapidly changing, each becoming digital at a different rate of change. To meet this challenge Lloyds Register has embarked on a major transformation program. They decided to look for a solution that would be part of that program and enable the changes required to the company’s finance, project management, project resourcing and human resources processes.

After an “extensive review of cloud technology vendors”, one assumes that this included Oracle, Workday, SAP and Netsuite but the actual names of the vendors were withheld, Lloyds chose SAP, as Andrew Punter, transformation director, Lloyd’s Register commented in the release:

“We are 255 years old, but standing still is just not an option. Today, businesses like Lloyd’s Register are global, we need the most modern, mobile, easy and user-friendly solutions possible to ensure we provide the right people with the right tools to make their jobs easier.

“SAP Business ByDesign and SuccessFactors can remove complexity and allow our team to focus on business innovation, not process.”

This will not be a small project, with a two year implementation plan one wonders exactly how much cloud revenues that SAP will be able to book during that two year period either.

The solution chosen, will be delivered using Software as a Service (SaaS) via SAP Business ByDesign and SuccessFactors on the SAP HANA platform. It will support the multi-language and multi-currency requirements that Lloyds Register has. More importantly Lloyds Register will be moving to a shared service operating model and this new solution will enable that.

It will be interesting how quickly the solution comes online as Lloyds Register are committing to a continuous release cycle for the solution updates. For SAP this is an important win though as Cormac Watters, Managing Director UK and Ireland at SAP commented: “Lloyd’s Register has a tremendous heritage of innovation which is why we’re so pleased to be collaborating with them on this major strategic initiative. We look forward to helping them transform the way they work and simplify their business processes.”

The SAP win is not just a blow to Oracle but as Lloyds Register were looking for new tools to support their full HR lifecycle, from “hiring to retiring” it will also be a loss to Workday. That SAP has won what appears to be an HCM centric opportunity will be a blow and one that SAP will hope to leverage in the future.


Whether Ellison, or his speech writers should have modified their tone a little in the keynote is worthy of note. The timing of this announcement by SAP seems rather opportune though, but despite that this it is a big win for SAP, SAP HANA and its cloud solutions. Lloyds Register has global brand recognition and SAP will no doubt hope to leverage that in the same way that Oracle did last year. With a two year implementation one hopes that the project goes well for SAP and Lloyds Register as this is clearly a major project.

If Oracle never see SAP in cloud bids, perhaps they need to enter more bids themselves. Ellison’s comments do bring into question how much cloud business they are actually going after. Perhaps this is one reason why they opened up their partner channel to all comers in another announcement at Openworld.

This article originally appeared in the Enterprise Times and is republished here by the permission of its author.

Links 11/5: Cask Data will develop sales team with $20M funding, led by Safeguard Scientifics; Tableau soars again

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Comcast brings data caps to more cities, says it’s all about “fairness” (Ars Technica)

Comcast's Past, Present and Future (Fortune)

Is $300m ARR the New $100m? (Enterprise

Software startup Cask Data will develop sales team with $20M funding, led by Safeguard Scientifics
(Silicon Valley Business Journal)

Tableau Software Soars 17% on 3Q Earnings (TechCrunch)

Google and SAP enter patent agreement, open door for other collaborations (Inside SAP)
Where the importance of a press release announcing a partnership is directly correlated to the level of the individuals quoted from each side.

Layoffs Hit Gumroad As The E-Commerce Startup Restructures (TechCrunch)
First Round had participated in both the seed and Series A for Gumroad. From reading this TechCrunch article I have absolutely no idea what is happening to Gumroad which leads to the following logical alternatives:

A) I am having my usual evening dip in reading comprehension (no mood-altering substance, just tired) or
B) The writer of this article also has absolutely no idea what is happening to Gumroad.

Links 11/4: FanDuel expects fewer ads, more laws, and no IPO anytime soon

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iPipeline hiring developers, analysts as sales jump (Philly Deals)

FanDuel CEO: Expect Fewer Ads, More Laws, and No IPO Anytime Soon (Bloomberg)

As we were saying: "Its too early to say, but there's a chance that DraftKings and FanDuel may have suffered irreperable damage from the alleged insider dealing scandal at DraftKings, Even if every one is cleared of wrongdoing, it still puts the spotlight on them and its unclear whether states and the federal government will continue to find their games legitimate." Philly Tech News: 10/25/2015.

Wi-Fi Alliance tries to win consumer support as LTE-U showdown looms (PC World)

EPAM Reports Results for Third Quarter 2015 (Globe Newswire)
Revenue increased to $236 million, up 22.5% over the same period last year. Quarterly diluted EPS on a GAAP basis was $0.44, up from $0.38 in the third quarter of 2014.
EPAM Systems, based in Newtown, now has a market cap of almost $4 billion.

MeetMe Reports Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results
Mobile Revenue Increased 73% Year Over Year
Like Facebook, MeetMe has almost completed its transition to mobile, achieving 81% of revenue from mobile in its last quarter.

Ex Comcast exec creates the "anti TV channel" (Press of Atlantic City)

Union leader: 'gutted' by layoffs (Philadelphia Inquirer)

CenturyLink Meets Q3 Earnings Expectations; Considers Selling Data Centers (CRN)

Jet: Clear sailing or desperation for ecommerce startup's next financing round?

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Actually, the Wall Street Journal's description of Jet's position is that it is much more tenuous than that, and that the $500 or $550 million has not actually been committed yet.

This is a shorter version of the WSJ article on Jet, carried by Dow Jones on another site, no subscription required.

From the Journal article:

"The new round of funding would value Jet, which began operations in July, at $1.55 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Mutual-fund giant Fidelity Investments is in talks to lead the round with a $90 million investment, according to these people. They said the financing wasn't yet closed.

When Jet began the fundraising effort in October, it had hoped for a $2 billion valuation, the Journal reported earlier. Over the summer, Jet discussed a valuation of $3 billion with investors."

Somewhat disparate views; perhaps tomorrow we'll get clearer picture.

Links 11/3: Ebay Enterprise sale completed, company carved up

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Zeta Interactive Acquires eBay Enterprise’s CRM Business (TechCrunch)

eBay Enterprise Business Taken Private, Broken Up (Fortune)

At Impact: Do Philly tech investors think too small? (Philly Deals)

While cable TV "unbundles," streaming services bulk up (Fortune)

Comcast CEO on Notoriously Bad Customer Service: 'Steady Improvements' (Fortune)

Comcast Seeks to Learn From Descartes (Light Reading)

UKISUG conference will help you understand how SAP’s future roadmap suits you (CloudPro)

Microsoft nixes unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 users, caps free space at 5 GB (Geekwire)

IBM Buys Gravitant, Aims To Create Default Cloud Broker Platform (CRN)