Link: Diversity in Tech Remains Elusive Due to Racism, Lack of Representation and Cultural Differences

‘As a self-proclaimed Black “nerd” and active social media user, Moore also cites cultural differences as one of the main reasons tech companies don’t hire more people from underrepresented minorities groups. She herself remembers laughing awkwardly alongside white college peers and classmates to jokes she didn’t necessarily find funny due to cultural differences in social cues and communications styles: “If you weren’t friends with a Black woman in your class partly because there were no Black women in your class or partly because your interests, maybe her interests aren’t the same, if you’re not even friends with those people, you’re definitely not going to start a business with those people. You’re not going to think about those people when you’re creating your technology.”’

Link

TrumpTech – survey on Joe Six Pack’s sentiment, telco predictions

I didn’t check the legit’ness of the survey, but:

When it comes to tech priorities for the next four years, the general public doesn’t have the same agenda as tech leaders. For example, only 8% of the general public cares about the Internet of Things and only 5% sees 5G development as a priority. STEM education is only a priority for 13%.

What they do care about is security and hacking, particularly of government data (43%) and consumer data (38%). So if Trump’s administration does come into conflict with the social media and cloud giants, he’s going in with the public’s backing.

There’s no majority belief among either the tech elites or the general public that Trump will make the tech industry more innovative than before (42% and 39% respectively). Among the general public, the largest percentage believes that no change is the most likely option (40%), while more tech elites than Joe Six Packs fear stagnation (28% v 21%).

And, labor-wise:

Some 37% of the general public sees technology as a job destroyer for the average American. The sector is accused of bringing in foreign workers to the US by 70% of the general public and of shipping jobs overseas by 60%. (To be fair, the tech elites go along with these two conclusions!) Over half of the general public (56%) believe that US citizens should be given preference for tech jobs.

Meanwhile, one of the outgoing administrators says there’s plenty of tech jobs, just not qualified candidates:

These efforts will founder if there isn’t a continuing supply of qualified recruits, so next up is to increase access to high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Underlying the importance of education, the OST noted that more than 600,000 high-paying tech jobs went unfilled in the U.S. in 2015, and the number has only grown since.

See also another outgoing letter that encourages continuing programs that ease IT procurement and shared, cloud services like cloud.gov. Seeing how the Truml administrators treat those programs will be a key litmus test. As I alluded to yesterday, these types of programs seem like ideal “do more with less”/”copy the private sector” programs that fit into Trump’s campaign rhetoric. But, hey: hypocracy ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Telco M&A and regulations

Also, see this extensive net-neutrality/telco prediction piece from Caroline Craig.  With more from 451, if you have access

Despite a very activist FCC under President Barack Obama and Wheeler – resulting in stringent net-neutrality and privacy rules, and a pro-competitive view of mergers and acquisitions – US telecom operators recently have been more than willing to push the envelope. Multiple operators have experimented aggressively with zero-rating. Verizon, in particular, has explored the edges of consumer privacy – from its so-called (and abandoned) ‘super cookie’ effort to its ongoing emphasis on mobile advertising, including customer-data-driven ad targeting. While some industry M&A has stalled, AT&T’s surprising bid for Time Warner pushed the boundaries of vertical integration. A Trump administration looks to be much more hands-off, likely accelerating industry M&A and encouraging telecom providers to experiment freely, with the forces of the competitive market (rather than regulators) reining in anti-consumer oversteps. As the mobile market is now constituted – with four highly competitive wireless operators and a slew of cable operators and other disruptors (e.g., Google and new IoT upstarts) ready to leap in – we’re okay with that. No one wants an anti-competitive industry structure or to see consumer privacy exploited, but overly harsh limits can be destructive, too. It’s up to mobile and broadband operators to not abuse their likely new freedoms, and up to their customers (and regulators) to punish them if they do.

Bonus! check out the huge uptick in digital advertising spend this cycle:

As a matter of fact, digital media spending for 2016 political campaigns was projected to top $1 billion, contributing 9.8 percent of media spend. Comparatively, digital spending during the last presidential election season in 2012 was $160 million. 

Link

Who’ll pay to “fix” trade, jobs, and wages?

“If he institutes a 35-percent penal tariff on every export from China, then most of what you buy at Walmart is 35 percent more expensive,” said Roger Entner, a wireless analyst at Recon Analytics.

The intention of plans like this is always to re-build the entire system and structure. That takes a long time, one assumes. So, what’s important is to describe how the transition phase works.

Another unstated assumption of such thinking is “corporations make too much profit,” that is, Apple and Wal-Mart should take the hit. I’d rather we be having a debate about that: how much money do individuals deserve versus corporate profits and how do we do anything about it?

Link

Prediction: “sub 10% growth” in 2017 at Indian IT services companies, Gartner

“[Gartner analyst Arup Roy] said Indian [IT services] companies, for example, should not expect double-digit sales revenue growth in 2017, adding that ‘a sub 10% growth for 2017 is certain.'”

But, the effect is likely to be on all large organizations who have been globalizing IT staffing:

“There is really no such thing as the Indian IT services sector. All companies would be affected. For example, Capgemini employs more people in India that in any other country. Legislation does not differentiate between Infosys, Capgemini or Accenture,” said Schumacher.

And:

In 2013, German car manufacturer Daimler said it planned to achieve savings of €150m a year by bringing IT services in-house and expanding IT operations in India and Turkey. In 2012, General Motors said it would insource around 90% of its heavily outsourced IT operations.

We talked about more “Trump’s possible effects on tech” in last week’s Software Defined Talk, with some extensive links and notes in the show notes if you don’t want to fill your ear-holes.

Source: Trump election win creates uncertain future for IT services sector

“De-graniting and de-brassing” – Austin’s downtown tech scene

Austin entrepreneur Campbell McNeill said WeWork’s “high energy environment, cool furniture” and location at Sixth and Congress in the heart of downtown allows his startup, Cocolevio, “to attract the young talent we need for our cloud business.”

“It would be considerably more expensive to set up a similar situation on our own as a new tech startup,” said McNeill, Cocolevio’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “We appreciate we may be paying a lot per square foot, but it is completely worth it when you consider the intangible WeWork benefits like networking with other great startups, making great friends, periodic presentations by industry leaders and WeWork Labs.”

Some more highlights from the piece:

  • “three out of four tenants looking for downtown space are likely to be tech-related, Kennedy said. ‘Ten years ago, it would have been less than half that.'”
  • “Rents for the highest quality office space in downtown Austin average $49.07 a square foot per year, according to Cushman & Wakefield. That’s 40 percent higher than top-tier space in the suburbs, where rates average $35.10 a square foot.”
  • “tenants can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $200 per month per space for unreserved parking. Reserved spots are as high as $300 per month.”
  • “The number of downtown tech workers — between 14,000 and 15,000, according to estimates from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce — is still tiny compared with the region’s overall technology workforce, which the chamber estimates at abou 130,000.”

Source: Austin’s tech scene heats up downtown

Betting on the Software Defined Business for growth

I had lunch with Israel Gat yesterday. Lobster bisque in a sourdough bread bowl, to answer your first question. We were talking about the concept of a “software defined business” (and I was complaining about how HEB needs more of that, if only to get digital Buddy Bucks).

The question came up, so will companies really do this “software defined business” stuff (that’s the phrase I like for “third platform,” “digital enterprise,” horseman style jabber-jargon)?

Well, over the next 3 years, I think much of the marketing efforts in tech will converge on exactly that. This is what tech companies will try to sell and the “thought lordship” they’ll try to deploy into the market. I think it’ll actually be to the tremendous benefit of customers, not just a hustle. Soon the egg will become a chicken, and the chicken will start making demands on the egg. Which one is egg and chicken? Indeed! One can never tell the causation directionality in these things.)

Why will tech companies focus on software defined businesses as a growth driver? Well, it’s kind of the only area for growth, at least interesting growth. Keep in mind that if you’re a big, publicly traded company, you have to grow, you need to find new money sources. Last year’s revenue can’t just sit there, staying stable. Otherwise you’re toast because investors will want to allocate their money in companies that are growing, not shrinking (they’ll dump your stock, and but another). This is true for any business, but very true for technology companies.

I'm sure you've seen this type of clipart before...
I’m sure you’ve seen this type of clipart before…

Here’s my rough sense of revenue streams tech companies will have:

1. Consumer churn.

You know, you get a new mobile phone ever 2-3 years. Instead of subscribing to a cable package, you subscribe to HBO Go. (You sort of end up paying the same amount, but who’s paying that close of attention when there’s so new Game of Thrones episodes to watch?) You buy subscription services. Games.

Basically, the “not enterprise” market. This is what most tech press covers and talks about; it’s (sadly?) what we think of as “tech” now.

There’s growth in here, but it’s a totally different space than traditional, let alone “enterprise” tech. Microsoft finally seems to have figured this out, but meanwhile Apple, Google, and Facebook are gobbling up all the revenue and growth…not to mention all the new companies that have come along.

From The Economist, April 2015.
From The Economist, April 2015.

2. How much more ERP can there be?

Businesses still need a lot of software, but I’d argue that “systems of record” are probably well saturated at this point and low growth. This used to be the fuel of the tech sector, but if everyone has a system of record in place…how much more more spend can there be there each year? (I’m sure we could look up some IDC or Gartner numbers about single digit growth in these markets.) Not much. One area of interest is shifting over to SaaS, or:

3. Rip-n-replace cloud.

VM migration from Thomas Bittman at Gartner, March 2015.
VM migration from Thomas Bittman at Gartner, March 2015.

“Well, I guess I need to replace all this ‘legacy’ stuff with cloud.” You know in storage, compute, and maybe networking. There’s lots of hardware and infrastructure software churn here. In the software category, I’d put migrating your on-premises ERP/systems of record stuff to SaaS here as well: moving to Salesforce, Successfactors, etc. In a squishy analogy, things like Adobe transforming from licensed sales to subscription sales.

This is a long term play with lots of cash; for businesses though: do they end up with anything net-new? Have you actually tried to use Salesforce? It removes the hassle of having the manage your own CRM instance, but you still have to manage how your company uses the application…otherwise it’s baffling what’s going on in there. My point is: the company ends up kind of back where it was before the great rip-n-replace, just more optimized IT, with hopefully HTML5 and native mobile apps instead of Flex.

4. Software Defined Businesses.

Here, companies are looking to create new custom written software that helps run their businesses in new ways or creates entirely new business models. It’s the thing we at Pivotal target, what you see coming out of the IBM/Apple partnership (mostly – some of it just the next step in the great rewrite the UI every decade journey of green-screen->HTML 1.0->Flex->HTML5->Swift), and it’s what will benefit us people most: companies get new businesses and, thus, growth themselves, us individuals get companies using software more to hopefully make working with them suck less. You know: Uber and all that.

There’s lots of “drag” (secondary spending) that gets to #3 above: you know, you’re gonna need a platform for all that stuff, and the hardware and services around it…but instead of just ending up with the same IT-driven capabilities, you’ll have new capabilities in your business.

Portfolio Management

So, if you’re a tech company, and you’re looking at the 4 sources of cash and growth above, the fourth option looks pretty good. #1 means competing with Apple, Google, and Facebook and then a dog’s breakfast of lower margin goods below the UI layer. #2 and #3 are good, known quantaties, but probably with single-digit growth, if not tricky waters to traverse in the lower cloud infrastructure layers.

Then you look at the other option: a wide open field of possibilities where you “go up the elevator” and avoid the Morlocks. Large tech companies have to do all of these, of course, but I suspect you’ll see most of the razzle-dazzle spread on the fourth.

Those cigar makers have nothing to do with this, but cool picture, huh?

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/178533977/stream?client_id=3cQaPshpEeLqMsNFAUw1Q?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

In one of the recently published thenewstack.io podcasts, Alex and I discuss the tech news world. If you want a really surreal write-up of the show, check out the awesome show-notes.

This episode is pretty un-representative of the show, but here’s the feed for the podcast if you’re interested in subscribing. And, there’s a video if you prefer that kind of thing.