Sunday Highlghts: What you need to know about home IoT standards at CES; Linode: back at last after ten days of hell

 Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to Philadelphia Tech News by Email

What you need to know about home IoT standards at CES (PCWorld)

Lenovo adds OLED displays and Yoga folding to X1 laptop line (The Verge)

With Startup Pileup, 2016 Tech IPOs Will Face Tough Investors (Bloomberg)

Linode: back at last after ten days of hell (The Register)

SAP takes steps to ensure IoT security is top priority: the future of IoT in business
(Computerworld UK)

LiquidHub acquires pure strategic digital agency in Atlanta's THINK

Tom Paine

 Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to Philadelphia Tech News by Email

Wayne-based LiquidHub has struck again on the acquisition front, though the point of emphasis for this one is somewhat different from the four others it has acquired in late 2014 and earlier in 2015. In a transaction announced in early December, it acquired THINK (formerly THINK Interactive), a digital strategic agency based in Atlanta. Terms were not disclosed. The December release did not explicitly state the nature of the transaction, but LiquidHub's management confirmed to me it was a straight up acquisition.

THINK was founded in 1994, originally as part of a larger online agency, and has been an independent agency since 2003. It has 17 employees on LinkedIn, but LiquidHub tells me the actual number is slightly north of that.

Size isn't the important thing here to LiquidHub, but rather the level of expertise and skill that THINK offers, LiquidHub CEO & co-founder Jonathan Brassington and Partner & co-founder Rob Kelley told me in an interview. That expertise isn't so much at the implementation level, but in setting strategic expectations for digital transformation at the highest level of a client's organization. The abilities to speak that language are rather rare.

"Earlier this year, a commissioned Thought Leadership Paper by Forrester Consulting revealed the need for a different breed of Digital Agency partners who can deliver integrated customer journey solutions," LiquidHub said in its press announcement about THINK. While LiquidHub has some talent of that level both internally and through its prior acquisitions, it needed more.

Horses for Sources, the amusingly named firm that competes with Forrester to an extent, also has some interesting perspectives on the evolving role of IT services buinesses as they make similar digital transitions.

THINK is led by William duPont, who co-founded the original Atlanta agency branch, and Chris Wilson, who joined later and co-founded THINK with duPont when it was reborn as an independent agency. It doesn't particularly have Salesforce-specific expertise in its background, which is LiquidHub's chosen direction, but THINK's digital DNA is strong enough that it is not considered an issue. And Kelley says that THINK has seen the demand for Salesforce solutions among its own client base and is enthusiastically on board with LiquidHub's strategy.

And of course, its on Peachtree Street (not Peachtree Road or any other derivative).

There have been several similar examples of such mergers recently, such as EPAM with Empathy Labs and Publicis with Rosetta and then Sapient, on a much larger scale. Marrying a tech strategy firm with an implementation firm can be difficult. Talent can walk out, though I assume LiquidHub has either earnouts or employment contracts in place with key personnel (though earnouts can be notoriously difficult to manage).

When I asked what was next, Kelley replied "execution", suggesting that the M&A spree might be over for now. Brassington said that LiquidHub would soon have a nationwide footprint. He also described its goal as being a market leader in the second tier, below the Accentures, Deloittes, etc., serving somewhat smaller customers. Kelly emphasized that LiquidHub was doing business across each of Salesforce's Clouds - I think there are seven now. He also said that they were seeing demand for very complex, multichannel and multiplatform solutions.

I didn't ask for a financial update but was told in October that the company was on track for more than $200 million in revenue for the year, roughly doubling over the past two plus years. Total employment is in the 2,000 range, about half in Asia.

While the 'stay the course' with what's in place mode makes sense for a time, eventually the pace of market change may require LiquidHub to consider other moves.

Philly Tech People News 1/3/16: Digital director to handle Philly mayor's social media ; Philadelphia CIO resigns ahead of mayoral transition

Subscribe to Philly Tech People News by Email

Evolve IP signs Villanova coach as new internal spokesman (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Digital director to handle Philly mayor's social media (Newsworks)

Philadelphia CIO resigns ahead of mayoral transition (State Scoop)

Gabriel Stricker Goes Back To Google To Lead Communications, Policy For Fiber (Holmes Report)

BUONO has joined Comcast's Washngton office, reporting to David Cohen.

Uber Is Said to Be Shaking Up Policy and Communications Team (NY Times)

Michael Pessina of Lutron (Philadelphia Inquirer)

phillytechnews bytes 1/3/16