Michal Lev-Ram is a senior writer at Fortune.
First, a little disclaimer: The connection between Reggie Jackson and technology actually isn’t that tenuous. After all, I met “Mr. October” last week at an event organized by SAP—yes, the enterprise software giant.
Jackson, a case study in reinventing oneself, recently launched ReggiesGarage.com, his one-stop shop for buyers of classic car parts and accessories. (Think rosewood steering wheels, vintage air filters and old radiators—a market surprisingly valued at $36 billion). The connection to SAP? The Hall of Famer’s new website runs on the enterprise company’s soon-to-be-launched software for small businesses, SAP Anywhere.
The event took place at Reggie’s real-life garage just outside Carmel, Calif. Even if you aren’t a gearhead who can tell the difference between an M20 and M21 transmission, Reggie’s place is impressive. The three dozen or so muscle cars on display include brightly colored Camaros, Corvettes, and Mustangs, primarily from the ’50s and ’70s. The automobiles are so shiny you could eat off them. When Jackson pops the hood to show off what’s inside, you realize you could eat off the engine too. It’s the inner parts of these cars that Reggie has turned into a business—his website connects anyone looking to fix up their ride to a slew of specialty suppliers.
The longtime auto-lover’s first car was a ’51 Chevy he bought from his brother for $15. “It could go 55 miles per hour downhill,” Jackson recalls. Throughout his decades-long career playing for the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees—which resulted in five World Series rings—Jackson collected old cars. Once he retired from the sport, he decided to turn his other passion into a more serious hobby, often buying and then reselling muscle cars.
He started working on Reggie’s Garage, the one-stop shop for classic car parts, a few years ago, but struggled to find a back-end solution for cataloging the countless bolts and gauges he tracks down and sells to his customers. A long-standing relationship with Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, led to Jackson trying out SAP Anywhere, which the company will launch at its upcoming customer conference later this month. The new software, a departure from SAP’s usual enterprise-level deployments, is geared at small businesses in need of web and mobile applications for tracking and selling (and even shipping) their inventory.
The real story here, however, is Jackson’s ability to turn his passion into a business—with a little help from technology. “Everyone’s got an old hooptie in the garage that they want to work on,” he says. “And I want to provide a solution to help them do that.”
BITS AND BYTES
More ado over Facebook political bias claims. Senate Republicans are investigating a report that stories about conservative issues are deliberately omitted from the “trending” list in newsfeeds on the social network. Facebook has denied the criticism that human curators have suppressed certain topics. The reality is that it has the right to edit for certain biases, just like newspapers or other media. (Reuters, Fortune)
Eric Schmidt takes the stand as Oracle-Google trial begins. Alphabet’s executive chairman, who worked at Sun Microsystems when the open source Java programming language was created, testified that Google used only what was freely available to other developers when it built the Android mobile operating system. Oracle disagrees. It wants compensation for the more than 3 billion “activations” of mobile devices since Android’s debut in 2008. It estimates related profits at $21 billion. (New York Times, Reuters)
HP Inc. starts corporate investment arm. The group, called HP Tech Ventures, will fund young businesses working on 3D technology, immersive computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of things. It will be headed by Andrew Bolwell, who has led a number of HP startup projects, including the MagCloud online publishing business. (Fortune)
Microsoft expands cloud turf. With the opening of two new Canadian data centers in Toronto and Quebec City, the software giant’s Azure cloud service now operates in 24 regions. Another eight are slated to come online soon, including a newly announced one in Seoul. (Fortune)
Salesforce goes Amazon. The business software company usually uses its own computer servers and other tech gear to run its applications (whoops, there’s an outage this morning). However, it plans to use Amazon Web Services to run its forthcoming Internet of things service, which will help businesses manage and analyze data collected by smart phones, wearable devices and industrial sensors. (Wall Street Journal)
Why Amazon could reach $1,000 a share sooner than later. Most analysts expect the e-commerce and cloud services giant to reach a milestone share price of around $810 over the next 12 months but Sanford Bernstein’s Carlos Kirjner has set a much higher target of $1,000. His rationale is that the company is poised to generate much larger profit margins as its operations scale. (Fortune)
Hitachi plans huge investment in Internet of things. The Japanese company has allocated $2.8 billion for acquisitions and R&D that will help it collect more data that can be used to manage the wide array of equipment made by the company, reports Bloomberg. The money will be spent over the next three years. Hitachi makes everything from power plants to elevators to bullet trains. (Bloomberg)
Fintech patent applications skyrocket. Over the past three years, big banks and credit card companies have filed at least 2,679 patents for technologies related to blockchain, analytics, and cybersecurity, according to an analysis by researcher Relecura and The Wall Street Journal. That was an 83% increase over the previous three years. (Wall Street Journal)
The video wars continue: Amazon vs. YouTube, Facebook vs. everyone. The landscape of digital video is shifting so constantly it can be hard to keep track of who competes with whom. At this point, it’s probably safest to assume everyone is competing with everyone else in an all-out war for your attention. In the latest moves on the video battlefield, Amazon has launched a head-on attack on YouTube, and Facebook’s live-streaming feature is becoming more like TV.
One dark horse is Snapchat. It isn’t seen by most as a competitor for services like Netflix or YouTube, primarily because its content is locked inside the Snapchat platform—videos can’t be shared anywhere other than Snapchat, at least for now—and because the content disappears automatically. Despite those caveats, however, the service is a massive video distributor, with video-view counts that rival Facebook’s (and yes, video-view counts are full of holes as a metric for attention). (Fortune)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Why Marketo may be motivated to find a buyer by Heather Clancy
Hyperloop Technologies gets new name, partners, and another $80 million by Kirsten Korosec
Silicon Valley titan Peter Thiel backs Donald Trump by Lucinda Shen
Big Canadian banks sign up to help Apple Pay expansion by Don Reisinger
Uber strikes deal to create drivers’ guild in New York by Kia Kokalitcheva
GitHub changes pricing plan by Jonathan Vanian
ONE MORE THING
Japan is home to more electric vehicle chargers than gas stations. There are now an estimated 40,000 of them on the island, 5,000 more than there are places to fuel up a car. The catch is that many belong to private owners. (The Guardian)