🗂 What’s next for 2019? Influencer marketing trends

> Technology is not favoured on Instagram, accounting for just one percent of posts. A quarter of all sponsored posts cover fashion, followed by food (12 percent) and entertainment (11 percent). [www.zdnet.com/article/w…](https://www.zdnet.com/article/whats-next-for-2019-influencer-marketing-trends/#ftag=RSSbaffb68)

🗂 Two-thirds of federal email is now in the cloud

> Quite a few departments have entirely moved their email to the cloud: Transportation, [HUD], Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the [GSA], Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and U.S. Agency for International Development. [www.fedscoop.com/two-third…](https://www.fedscoop.com/two-thirds-federal-email-now-cloud/)

🗂 Kubernetes, what it’s for

> The reason that Kubernetes is successful is because people look at it and they don’t understand why they need it until they see it do stuff. Then they say “Oh my God, I need that!”I can’t say how many talks and presentations I’ve done in front of skeptical audiences where they don’t understand what it’s for. Just by showing short and simple features like “let’s do a rolling update” I watch what happens. I stop it halfway through and then roll it back and they’re like ”that’s what I do by hand. It takes me a ton more energy than what you just did.” So I think it captures things that people really wanted.

On DevOps-oriented app teams vs. SREs:

> I’m a little bit sad how complex Kubernetes is right now. In some sense Kubernetes is not for end users, it’s for people who set up clusters and clusters are for end users. At Google, we’ve always separated the roles that were involved in cluster management into two very specific ones: the cluster operators and the application operators.
> The cluster operators know everything about Borg and they know a little bit about each application that runs on Borg in a profile they understand, but not the details. They’re able to keep the Borg clusters up and running and they have SLAs around that and so forth. The application teams (like Google search or Gmail) come in and they say “I know how to use Borg but I don’t know how Borg runs and I don’t need to.” They come in and they run their applications on top of Borg and that split gives people a really nice ability to focus. Kubernetes is really aimed at those cluster operators. [thenewstack.io/kubernete…](https://thenewstack.io/kubernetes-pioneer-tim-hockin-on-whats-real-and-whats-not/)

🗂 What’s wrong with Huawei, and why are countries banning the Chinese telecommunications firm?

> The focus of many security agencies and countries on Huawei’s involvement in 5G systems raises the stakes, too: The next generation of wireless technology is expected to fuel even more connectivity in the “internet of things,” linking smart cars, smart homes and smart cities together. Billions of devices will be involved, all communicating with each other, forming what could become a surveillance web over much of the planet, and exponentially expanding the number of potential targets for spying. As governments seek to ensure 5G is secure and trusted around the world, Huawei may find its prospects limited by its links to the Chinese government. [theconversation.com/whats-wro…](http://theconversation.com/whats-wrong-with-huawei-and-why-are-countries-banning-the-chinese-telecommunications-firm-109036)

🗂 Does terrorism work? We studied 90 groups to get the answer

> We found that only six of the 45 terror groups – that’s 13.3 percent – accomplished their broader goals; the others did not… Meanwhile, among the 45 groups that chose not to use terrorism, 26 – or 57.8 percent – achieved their objectives, while 19 did not. [theconversation.com/does-terr…](http://theconversation.com/does-terrorism-work-we-studied-90-groups-to-get-the-answer-109035)

🗂 Projects versus products, dependency avoidance ed.

> The project/product distinction is an important one for many reasons, so let’s touch on that here for a moment so we don’t conflate or confuse the two, especially since one is more productive than the other. Projects are delivered as one big monolithic thing, meaning that coordinating all the activities within a big release is difficult and slow. Projects create big batches of work that are handed off to others at the end of the project to deliver and maintain. Projects come and go and require extra coordination and communication to set up and organize temporary teams. Many issues can arise when maneuvering through a cumbersome, project-oriented process.
> In contrast, organizing and managing by product keeps the same group of people with the necessary expert domain knowledge consistently involved. Those who develop the product features don’t leave; they stick around to deliver changes to prod and maintenance. Project teams tend to be measured by vanity metrics (e.g., test teams within a project team are measured by the number of software bugs), whereas product teams are measured by the business value derived.

From _[Making Work Visible](http://a.co/0VnzWCf)_

🗂 Meanwhile, does tumblr just burn cash?

> The reality is that Tumblr is almost certainly a big money loser: the app was earning about $13 million in revenue on expenses of about $25 million when Yahoo acquired the blogging platform/social network in 2013, and while that is not necessarily reflective of how much the service might generate today (although it probably is — more on this in a moment), it is not hard to imagine that the risks outweighed the rewards for Verizon. [stratechery.com/2018/tumb…](https://stratechery.com/2018/tumblrs-app-store-ban-tumblrs-nsfw-deadline-verizon-writes-down-oath/)

🗂 Cloud Comfort Level is Growing, Survey Finds

> Cloud Foundry Foundation reported that more than 50 percent of companies it surveyed are developing at least 60 percent of their applications on cloud platform. That total is up sharply—13 percent—from the group’s last survey released in March.


> ClearPath Strategies conducted this wave of quantitative research as part of the Global Perception Study on behalf of Cloud Foundry Foundation from September 2 to 17, 2018. The survey consisted of 600 interviews of IT professionals and execs, covering 11 geographies (Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong (SAR), Ireland, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, UK, US) and was offered in five languages corresponding to those geographies. [www.enterprisetech.com/2018/12/1…](https://www.enterprisetech.com/2018/12/17/cloud-comfort-level-is-growing-survey-finds/)

🗂 You wait for one IT giant to show up with its sales figures, then two come at once: Red Hat, Oracle

Still swinging:

> “Jeff Bezos gave the command, ‘I want to get off the Oracle database.’ And they’ve been working on this for a few years to try to get off Oracle Database, and get on to the Amazon databases. It’s taken Amazon, which is dedicated to doing this, several years, and they are not there yet. Nobody else is going to go through that forced march, to get onto Amazon databases, if Amazon can’t even get there without this effort.” [www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/1…](https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/18/red_hat_oracle_calendar_q3_2018/)

🗂 COTS kills container cornucopia

> Where we are today, we have quite a bit of package software that we customize. And so we are paying license fee for a product that we can’t even get serviced on because it’s so customized. And so we have the worst of both situations and we have to work our way out of that…If you think about large companies making large scale transformations, you don’t make those buying package software. So, I wanted someone [as CIO] that had a skill set and a track record of specific design in this new age of cloud technology and open source arenas of technology.

Over the past year, I’ve been asked how the container bacchanalia helps with COTS. If the software can’t even be upgraded itself, there’s not much hope for savior-by-k8s. [diginomica.com/2018/12/1…](https://diginomica.com/2018/12/14/lowes-cio-hits-the-nail-on-the-head-with-550-million-diy-project-thats-do-it-yourself/)

🗂 Singapore Airlines to innovate at Silicon Valley startup speed with Pivotal

“Singapore Airlines (SIA) has collaborated with Pivotal Software to deliver what the two companies describe as innovative solutions while operating with the agility of a Silicon Valley startup.” [www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/s…](https://www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/singapore-airlines-innovate-silicon-valley-startup-speed-pivotal-1922858937)

🗂 Congress Votes For Better Government Websites, Digital Services

Make government apps that are actually useful on purpose: “Are designed around user needs with data-driven analysis influencing management and development decisions, using qualitative and quantitative data to determine user goals, needs and behaviors, and continually test the website or digital service to ensure that user needs are addressed.” [www.nextgov.com/it-modern…](https://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2018/12/congress-votes-better-government-websites-digital-services/153478/)

Verizon buying Yahoo!’s core businesses for $4.83bn, a third place .com contender?

Verizon is acquiring most of Yahoo! $4.83bn in cash, to be combined with their AOL purchase. As a wet finger in the wind reckoning, this feels like it’ll put Verizon as a distant third place in eyeballs and ad revenue: that’s probably what the business case is targeting.

  • Yahoo! was at ~$4bn runrate (based on $1.09bn in revenue last reported quarter). Revenue has been declining steeply, down 11% q/q.
  • Valuation here is tricky, since Verizon is only buying “core assets.” One back of the envelop analysis put the “core assets” at $1.7bn, suggesting a valuation of ~2.8x.
  • Combined with AOL and other Verizon properties, the company says this will result in “global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users — including 600 million monthly active mobile users.”
  • There’s fierce competition from Facebook and Google: “According to data from e-marketer in March, Yahoo’s worldwide net digital ad revenues will fall nearly 14% this year to $2.83 billion, from $3.28 billion in 2015. In contrast, Google will see a 9% increase while Facebook will be up by nearly a third year-on-year (31%).”
  • Despite this small pot of marketshare-by-revenue, at least in the US, the combined company will be in the top three of marketshare-by-eyeballs. If you were an i-banker looking at that in your spreadsheet, you’d think: we just need to increase eyeball-to-cash conversion productivity and – POW! – synergies!
  • As a reminder, AOL includes “The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS and AOL.com.” Yahoo! Mail has 225m monthly active users.
  • It keeps getting described as an “assets sale,” because Yahoo’s stake in Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba will stay with Yahol! As the NY Times puts it: “a 15 percent stake, worth about $32 billion based on its recent share price, in the Chinese internet company Alibaba and a 35.5 percent stake, worth about $8.7 billion, in Yahoo Japan.”
  • This will create some interesting post-deal structure for the numbers. The entire Yahoo! company is much bigger than that 1.1x valuation: “Yahoo! stock, which is up 18% this year, had a total market value of $37.4 billion at its close on Friday of $39.38.”
  • It’s pretty clear that the company wants to sell the remaining assets.
  • Rival bidders: “Suitors included Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, communications giant AT&T and private equity firms Vector Capital Management and TPG.” AT&T seems to have been the main competitor. More from Kat Hall: “The telco was one of 40 suitors rumoured earlier this year to be interested, including Google parent Alphabet, Time and even Daily Mail parent DMG.”
  • It increases Verizon/AOL’s advertising marketing share, but Facebook and Google still dominate: “Verizon with AOL currently holds 1.8 per cent of the $69bn US digital ad market, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo controls about 3.4 per cent, while Google and Facebook combined make up half of the total.”
  • Timing the sale of a declining asset is everything: “back in 2008, it turned down a $44 billion offer from Microsoft”
  • See some in-depth history and analysis from Timothy Lee over at Vox. The thesis seems to be: the company could adapt beyond it’s initial success in the 90s and never found a new identity beyond being a “media company.”

Highlight from: The Small Batches Principle – ACM Queue

Small systems are more flexible and malleable; therefore, experiments are easier. Some experiments would work well, others wouldn’t. Because they would keep things small and flexible, however, it would be easy to throw away the mistakes. This would enable the team to pivot, meaning they could change direction based on recent results. It is better to pivot early in the development process than to realize well into it that you’ve built something nobody likes.

Google calls this “launch early and often.” Launch as early as possible even if that means leaving out most of the features and launching to only a few select users. What you learn from the early launches informs the decisions later on and produces a better service in the end.


Highlight from: Why Continuous Delivery and DevOps are Product Managers’ Best Friends – MindTheProduct

I would need numerous hands to count the number of times I have seen product managers and clients add scope to a release, horde bugs, or refuse to deliver an MVP because they thought the next release was the only chance they had to complete a feature. Just last week a friend of mine at a well-known healthcare company said:

“We missed the May release train, so we go live in December. And that means January because of holidays, so we’re just doing some extra stuff until then.”


Highlight from: Redefining Agility in the Digital Age – Donna Fitzgerald

As PPM Leaders how can we expect other’s to deal with the profound organizational changes that will be required by life in the digital age if we aren’t willing to show the way by changing our own ways of doing things?

The second thing required of us on the road to achieving agility is a willingness to lead others through the change we ourselves have committed to.