Philly EnterpriseTech Roundup 11/27: BuzzFeed CEO proposes industry mergers; Technical glitch screws up 'The Match' revenue; FT profiles SEI's Al West

Tom Paine

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The FT did an excellent profile of Al West and his Oaks-based business, SEI Investments . It explains how SEI started as a systems house and moved to become a major funds manager in addition to third-party systems management. (The FT seems to give non-subs a one time-limited read.)

Vanguard cut its minimum investment from $10,000 to $3,000 , adjusting in one area it was considered behind much of the industry.

In a New York Magazine interview , BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti floated the idea of a merger between other digital publishers such as BuzzFeed, Group Nine Media, Refinery29, Vox Media and Vice Media. And its more than a float; actual discussions between some of these parties are reportedly already occurring.

Most of these firms have historically relied on paid content for revenue. A few years ago the paid content market's potential seemed limitless to some, but the law of big numbers started kicking in and showed the market is ultimately finite. Thus the pressure from VCs and corporate investors to rationalize costs, starting with cutting duplicate overheads among the firms. At the same time the combined companies would have more leverage in dealing with online ad giants Facebook and Google (and an oncoming Amazon).

No one has any idea how these things might work out, but a merger between BuzzFeed and another Comcast-backed venture, Vox Media, could be a logical first step.

In a somewhat related item, the made for TV (well, isn't everything?) "The Match: Tiger vs Phil" bombed out commercially because of a malfunctioning sign-in page at the source of the broadcast, AT&T's Turner Media's Bleacher Reports' website. Many could get in for free while the sign-in feature did not work, leaving those who actually paid $20 furious. Comcast and most everyone else who carried the broadcast agreed to refund all paying customers. It was not, as some thought, Comcast's error.
But the actual viewership numbers were outstanding - several times what At&T expected. Of course, too much traffic may have caused the systems failure.

The non-partisan website notes that with a new state law on the books , Pennsylvania is aiming to be a vanguard of autonomous vehicle technology. The recently signed Act 117 0f 2018 establishes a number of guidelines and practices for the use of automated vehicles in work zones and platooning of motor carrier vehicles. Bill sponsor Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Camp Hill, said even more proposals related to autonomous vehicles should be expected in the next legislative session as the state looks to stay on the cutting edge.

“We already rely on machines,” Rothman said. “And most of our cars you're driving today are operated by computers. So, the question is, can you respond as quickly? Can you react as quickly as a computer? And the answer is no, you can't.”