16 December 2015
Things small business owners need to know in tech this month
The latest you need to know.
- Fairy lights could slow Wi-Fi speeds, that’s the warning from UK communications regulator Ofcom. Releasing a new app which tests Wi-Fi signals to see if data is flowing freely from your router to your device, the group stated interference could be coming from Christmas lights or even baby monitors. There’s more here.
- UberPool, the ride hailing app where users can share a lift if they’re going in the same direction, has launched in London. UberPool has been available in San Francisco for some time now and has grown to account for half the firm’s trips in the city. The rollout comes as Uber is reportedly raising another $2.1 billion round on a whopping $62.5 billion valuation. Uber is racing to expand globally and has embarked on an aggressive spending regime to win in markets like China. It’s also experimenting with services outside ridesharing with package and food delivery being tested in some regions. The private company is now more valuable than Ford, GM and 21st Century Fox. There’s an awesome chart here which puts the company’s massive valuation into perspective.
- Innovation challenge. There are a bunch of market conditions which have combined to form a world where companies are forced to either innovate or die. Technology has lowered the barriers to entry, data means information can be collected on almost any tiny little element and globalization has lowered the cost of doing business around the world. It means small businesses now operate in a world where location doesn’t necessarily define them – their competitors can be on the other side of the globe. It also means they need to innovate to stay competitive. There’s a great piece here which outlines how the business world is changing.
- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg became a dad this week. Congrats Zuck. On the day his daughter was born he announced, together with his wife Priscilla Chan, that they would allocate 99% of his Facebook shares to advance “human potential and promote equality”. In a letter to their newborn daughter, the couple outlined several areas they wish to make long term investments in, including education, connecting the world to the internet, disease research and building stronger communities.
- Renewable investments. Zuckerberg has already teamed up with fellow tech titans Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos to establish the Breakthrough Energy Coalition which will invest inzero-carbon technology to help address climate change. It’s a theme which tech’s elite are running with. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk this week also renewed his call for a carbon tax to accelerate the transition away from fossil-fuels and towards a world run by sustainable energy. More here.
- Data saving mode. Google has launched a new feature which reduces the amount of data you chew through when visiting a webpage. It claims by using the feature you could save up to 70% by removing images when you’re using a slow connection. The feature is being rolled out in India and Indonesia to start with but additional regions are expected to be added in coming months.
- Atlassian has smashed down the door for tech companies hailing from Down Under. The team collaboration software company listed on the NASDAQ this week, its stock quickly jumping more than 30% in early trade, from $21 a share to $27, giving the tech company a valuation of around $US5.6 billion. Atlassian has practically written the book for tech companies hailing from Down Under which want to reach the global market. Company founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar can safely say they’ve played a huge part in dragging Australia out of the mine pits by showing them just how profitable technology can be.
- Is this the guy who created bitcoin? Wired thinks it may know who created cryptocurrency, bitcoin. In a report this week Wired named Australian scientist Craig Steven Wright as its main suspect. You can read the full rundown of why they think he’s their guy, here.
- Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff recently told Bloomberg he would no longer be investing in private companies with a unicorn status. (More than $1 billion valuation.) His argument was that private companies don’t provide the level of transparency public ones do and that their valuations are unrealistic as they’re not marked to market each day. His comments have torn open discussion around the differences between private and public companies. “If you believe you’re worth a billion dollars or more, then get out in the public markets,” he said.
- Mobile commerce. Paypal CEO Dan Schulman says the payments company has noted a40% year-on-year growth in mobile transactions last quarter. More people are using their smartphone to make purchases, it’s a trend which small business owners need to use to their advantage. “What we need to do as an industry is to think about a world that is dominated by mobile and software,” Schulman said. “We need to think about how do we reimagine the management and movement of money in an era where everyone will have a smartphone.”
- Michael Dell’s big billion deal is a big bet on data. Dell’s $US67 billion acquisition of EMC, the largest tech deal in history, happened because the Dell founder is convincedtechnology’s next trillion-dollar market opportunity is data. “If you look at companies today, most of them are not very good at using the data they have to make better decisions in real time. “I think this is where the next trillion dollars comes from for our customers and for our industry.” Same goes for small businesses, having better access to actionable data can help you make more informed decisions and be more productive with your time.
- E-waste. As technology improves, many of us opt for the upgrade, shunning our old devices to the bottom drawer or throwing them in the trash. The New York Times this week had a great article on the world’s growing e-waste problem and how to better deal with the some 92 billion pounds of used electronics thrown away each year. It’s becoming more common now to see retailers run programs to help get rid of used electronics so you know you’re disposing of them thoughtfully. More here.