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Sunday Morning Tech Buzz 11/1: Does an 'army' run the business; Oracle vs AWS, The Weather Company & IBM; Rite Aid

Tom Paine

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(Where I somehow try to answer questions I haven't been able to answer the rest of the week, at a time when I'm least capable of doing so. And sometimes don't finish on time.)

I have a theory thst any business is run by an "army", the most significant part of a business that defines its culture and often its profits. In some organizations its the salesforce, in others its the engineers etc. In others it crosses functional boundaries, such as friends of the founder. In any event, this army sets the marching beat for the entire company, and anyone who crosses it does so at it their own peril.

For those of you who can remember Circuit City, its army was probably its highly commisioned salesforce. But Circuit
A Circuit City Store being decommissioned /
City failed to recognize that the salesforce was less needed, perhaps no longer needed at all, to sell consumer electronics to a more educated generation of consumers. And a company called Best Buy walked right over them. Of course, since then Best Buy has been walked over by the Internet, but so far has found ways to survive.

At its best, the army is a powerful machine. But at its worse, it bcomes a self-protecting mechansim that fails to let a company adapt to change

As Oracle proclaims its competitiveness with Amazon Web Services, I lsugh at the idea of a highly commisoned Oracle salesperson taking an order for a one server at $10 per month. Of course, that would never happen, but there are many other ways that Oracle salespeople, several of them senior executives, could take its own low-cost effort down.

The idea of splitting up the Weather Company (in which Comcast's NBC has partial ownership) and selling the data/analytice portion to IBM as in the deal announced this week, raised enough questions, such as "is this what IBM really needs to invest in to save its declining business". But the idea caught more fire on the Internet, where many people who didn't know as much about the details took potshots at it, such as, "IBM has finally found a way to buy into the clouds" etc. Read more in this Fortune article.

Rite-Aid, which announced this week its sale to Walgreens (leaving us with what, two national drug store chains), owned a company, atarted by an ex-Sunoco executive, called SASI, which provided in store point of sale (POS) systems that were considered innovative at the time. SASI, which stood for Stores Automated Systems Inc., was based in Bristol, Bucks County.

Couldn't find a trace of it after 1997, so if anyone knows what happened to it, reach me at @phillytechnews on twitter or email me at

Highlights 11/1: Ad Age tells story of SAP's, others' links with telco data

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SAP Chief Bill McDermott Embarks on Health Care Mission After Losing His Eye
(NY Times)

The $24 Billion Data Business That Telcos Don't Want to Talk About (Ad Age)

EMC May Float Pivotal in IPO Next Year in a Plan Blessed by Dell (Re/code)

Square breathes sigh of relief as Amazon discontinues its credit card reader (The Verge)

Android, Chrome May Become Single OS: Rumor Mill (Information Week)