If the tech industry were a Western, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better name in Josh James, the erstwhile co-founder of Omniture and current CEO of Domo, his data analytics company.
Over shrimp fried rice and salt-and-pepper eggplant, James told me last night how his American Fork, Utah, company had grown to 800 people. The area, encircled by the Wasatch mountain range, is known as “Silicon Slopes.” I remarked that I was tired of all the plays on the name Silicon Valley, from my own New York “Alley” to London’s Roundabout to L.A.’s Beach to Austin’s Prairie. “Yeah, but it really helps with recruitment,” he explained.
Sure, it’s annoying to be derivative, James acknowledged. But for companies that include Qualtrics, InsideSales, and PluralSight, it can be challenging to woo top talent to a place known better for its Mormon population (James among them) and its red-state politics. A little California magic goes a long way, he said. And it’s working: What once felt like an outpost is now a 100-mile swath of big ideas and billion-dollar valuations.
As the evening progressed we ended up, inevitably, discussing this year’s presidential candidates. For the first time, James noted, red Utah was in play for the Democrats. It’s a testament to the unusual strategies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, sure—but it’s also a sign that the increasing diversity by the Silicon Slopes is beginning to move the needle. No prospects of gold necessary—just the promise of a competitive salary and an annual lift pass.
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BITS AND BYTES
Could Verizon pull the plug on Yahoo? It’s conceivable that the telecommunications and media company could use the Internet firm’s 500 million-person data exposure to back out of its $4.8 billion deal—after all, it could be material for Yahoo’s reputation. But the chance of that argument being successful are pretty slim because it would take so long to prove. By the way, what’s up with all these “state-sponsored” breaches? (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)
Facebook’s video viewing times are shorter than we thought. The social network acknowledged that it overestimated the average amount of time that visitors spend watching videos shared on the site over the past two years because it was only counting views that lasted longer than three seconds. Naturally, ad buyers aren’t too happy. (Wall Street Journal, Fortune)
Amazon’s stock hits big milestone. The cloud and e-commerce company’s shares closed near $805 on Thursday, an all-time high and up 19% year to date. (Fortune)
Airbnb raises another $555 million. The funding, reported to be led by Google Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures, is part of a new round that could eventually top $850 million. It boosts the home-sharing services company’s valuation to $30 billion. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)
Instagram more than doubles its advertiser base. More than 500,000 organizations are advertising on the photo and video-sharing app—not bad, considering it just started the program last September. (Fortune)
BlackBerry gets into the fleet-tracking business. The company’s latest device, called Radar, monitors the location of vehicles and can even tell you if there’s a trailer door open on a truck. (Bloomberg, Fortune)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Elon Musk Is Almost Ready to Unveil His Solar Roof, by Katie Fehrenbacher
Everything You Need to Know About Google’s Allo Privacy Backlash,
by Robert Hackett
Facebook Amps Up Fight Against Hate Speech, by Chauncey L. Alcorn
ONE MORE THING
This is how much bad data costs the U.S. annually: $3.1 trillion. That metric, which comes courtesy of IBM, accounts for both the money spent spotting and cleaning up errors and the time wasted by salespeople and marketers trying to drive revenue with flawed metrics. (Harvard Business Review)
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Summit: Exploring solutions for ad, health, and finance technology. (Sept. 22-25; New York)
Workday Rising: Talent management in the cloud. (Sept. 26-29; Chicago)
Microsoft Ignite: Product road maps and innovation. (Sept. 26-30; Atlanta)
Adapt or Die: Apigee’s #DigitalKnowHow world tour. (Sept. 27; San Francisco)
Structure Security: Highlighting best practices that security professionals are using to protect some of the world’s largest companies and institutions. (Sept. 27-28; San Francisco). Data Sheet subscribers get 25% off registration.
Dreamforce: The Salesforce ecosystem meets. (Oct. 4-7; San Francisco)
Atlassian Summit: Tips and training for developers and project managers. (Oct. 10-13; San Jose, Calif.)
Virtuous Circle: The future of the Internet ecosystem. (Oct. 10-11; Menlo Park, Calif.)
Gartner Symposium/ITexpo: A gathering of CIOs and senior IT leaders. (Oct. 16-20; Orlando, Fla.)
DellWorld: Dell’s annual global customer conference. (Oct. 18-20; Austin, Texas)
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: The world’s largest gathering of women technologists. (Oct. 19-21; Houston)
QuickBooks Connect: Intuit’s third annual customer and developer conference. (Oct. 24-26; San Jose, Calif.)
World of Watson: The power of data, analytics, and cognitive. (Oct. 24-27; Las Vegas)
AI World: Business applications for artificial intelligence. (Nov. 7-9; San Francisco)
TBM Conference: Manage the business of IT. (Nov. 7-10; San Diego)
DevOps Enterprise Summit: Develop and deploy software faster. (Nov. 7-9; San Francisco)
Drone World Expo: Commercial apps for unmanned aircraft. (Nov. 15-16; San Jose, Calif.)
AWS re:Invent: Amazon’s annual cloud conference. (Nov. 28-Dec. 2; Las Vegas)