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February 24, 2017

Joel Hyatt is a rare breed in Silicon Valley, a fourth-time entrepreneur whose first efforts had nothing to do with technology. Hyatt Legal Services was a nationwide discount law firm, eventually sold to Met Life, that let companies provide lawyers to their employees. Current TV, his pioneering broadcast venture with business partner Al Gore, lived long enough to get sold to Al Jazeera.

Hyatt is at it again with a company with a great name, a good idea, and a thin track record—Globality. (Heather Clancy wrote about it at length at its launch.) Though Hyatt will shrug at the small-bore comparison, it is like a Thumbtack for high-end service providers. In theory, big companies will use Globality to find service providers like lawyers, ad agencies, and environmental consultants outside their own country. Globality lines up the service providers, typically small firms with big-firm expertise, and then plays matchmaker for the multinational trying to complete a project. If all goes well, the law firm or ad agency pays Globality a commission on the work they do, essentially a finder’s fee for having identified a client they never would have known.

I say “in theory” because Globality is just getting going. Hyatt says it worked for two years on its technology platform, a buzzword-friendly mélange of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural-language processing that helps put together vendor and customer in a marriage of global bliss. He wouldn’t name any of the “small handful” of multinationals that have agreed to try the platform. He says this is because he hasn’t asked their permission. I suspect he hasn’t asked because these “charter partners,” which will receive some equity in Globality if they meet certain purchase targets, haven’t proven the new service’s value yet.

Globality isn’t exactly a “gig economy” platform. It targets firms with 20 to 500 employees who won’t accept engagements for less than $100,000. Hyatt reckons the world’s biggest law firms, ad agencies, and management consultants will be threatened—he says disrupted—by Globality. His track record suggests that’s at least a possibility.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com
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BITS AND BYTES

Meg Whitman blames one big customer for HPE's not-so-great quarter. Hewlett Packard Enterprise posted steep declines for its computer server and storage revenue during the quarter ended Jan. 31, with sales off 10% and 12%, respectively. Like other tech hardware giants, the company is struggling with the shift to cloud computing, because fewer companies are buying their own data center equipment. On her call with analysts, HPE's CEO repeatedly cited lower demand from an unnamed "service provider" as the culprit. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Reuters)

Google's self-driving car project and Uber are fighting over trade secrets. A lawsuit filed Thursday by Waymo, recently spun into a separate company at Alphabet, centers on light detection and ranging radar (LiDAR) technology used to map the "space" around a vehicle as it's driving down the road. The issue is whether former Google mapping engineer Anthony Levandowski, who co-founded Uber's Otto self-driving truck division, took more than 14,000 confidential design files when he left Google in early 2016.  (Fortune, Wired)

Tech giants decry Trump's move to revoke federal protection of transgender bathroom rights. Apple, Microsoft, and Salesforce are among those speaking out against a new policy that kills an Obama administration rule that allowed transgender public school students to use the bathroom of their choice rather than forcing them to use ones matching their gender assigned at birth. The new rule leaves the decision in states' hands. (Reuters)

Samsung promises to be more careful in wake of bribery scandal. The company's board adopted a new policy requiring board-level approvals for financial payments of more 1 billion won (around $880,0000). Vice chairman Jay Y. Lee faces an indictment over donations that prosecutors say were made to gain favor for a 2015 merger. Meanwhile, two other high-ranking executives may resign. (Reuters, Reuters)

Amazon's personal assistant is getting really busy. There are now more than 10,000 apps (a.k.a. "skills") that work with Alexa, the voice-control technology in Amazon's Echo automation device. For perspective, that's 2,000 more than the number it shared in January. (Fortune)

Expect cuts in federal spending on software, computers, and the like. The budget for government investments in information technology currently stands at $81.6 billion. But the Trump administration plans to slash spending by 10% across the board. The proposal is expected in mid-March, but it will almost certainly bring an end to the 1-3% annual increase in spending the sector has enjoyed since 2014. (Computerworld)

Tech mergers reached record levels in 2016. The value of deals reached almost $467 billion as companies snapped up startups and emerging players in cloud computing, smart mobility, social networking, and big data analytics. (Fortune)

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THE DOWNLOAD

50 companies leading the AI revolution. Research firm CB Insights recently selected the "AI 100," a list of the 100 most promising artificial intelligence startups ­globally. The private companies were chosen (from a pool of over 1,650 candidates) by CB Insights' Mosaic algorithm, based on factors like financing history, investor quality, business category, and momentum. Right now, the U.S. is leading the way. Here's a Fortune infographic about the 50 biggest companies on the list. 

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Amazon Argues Free Speech in Alexa Murder Case, by Jeff John Roberts

Cisco's John Chambers Bets on Voice Security Startup, by Robert Hackett

Lyft Makes Its Biggest One-Day Expansion Into More U.S. Cities, by Kirsten Korosec

Nintendo Switch Won't Have a Key Feature at Launch, by Don Reisinger

Google Challenges Apple's Siri in Dictating Messages, by Jonathan Vanian

Spotify Adds 3 New Original Podcasts on Music and Pop Culture, by Rachel King

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ONE MORE THING

This smartphone may last an entire weekend on a single charge. South Korea's LG claims that its new LG X power2—which it will show off next week at the Mobile World Congress—can run for up to 15 hours. Plus, get ready for new gadgets from Samsung, Huawei, and BlackBerry. (The Verge, Ars Technica)

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR

CIO Leadership Forum (West): Strategy in the age of digital disruption. (Feb. 26-28; Phoenix)

Mobile World Congress: The world's largest gathering for the mobile industry. (Feb. 27-March 2; Barcelona)

Humanity.AI: Ideas for keeping humanity at the forefront of AI advancements. (Feb. 28; San Francisco)

Marketing Nation Summit: Marketo's annual event for digital marketers. (April 23-26; San Francisco)

Pure//Accelerate: The future of data storage. (June 12-14; San Francisco)

Gartner Data & Analytics Summit: Strategies for generating business value. (March 6-9; Grapevine, Texas)

Google Cloud Next: Products and perspectives for developers and customers. (March 7-10, 2017; San Francisco)

CIO Leadership Forum (East): Strategy in the age of digital disruption. (March 19-21; Hollywood, Fla.)

IBM Interconnect: Tap into advanced cloud technology. (March 19-23; Las Vegas)

Oracle Industry Connect: Thought leaders share domain expertise, insights, and best practices. Invite-only. (March 20-22; Orlando, Fla.)

Enterprise Data World: Become a data-driven business. (April 2-7; Atlanta)

AppianWorld: Accelerate your digital business transformation. (April 3-5; San Francisco)

Magento Imagine: Strategies and technologies for digital commerce. (April 3-5; Las Vegas)

Open Networking Summit: The future of open source communications. (April 7-9; Santa Clara, Calif.)

MuleSoft Connect: Connect apps, data and devices. (April 18-20; San Francisco)

JiveWorld: Strategies and technologies for workplace collaboration. (May 1-3; Las Vegas)

Apttus Accelerate: Perspectives on automating the "quote-to-cash" process. (May 2-4; San Francisco)

Collision: A tech conference created by the organizers of Europe's Web Summit. (May 2-4; New Orleans)

Knowledge17: ServiceNow's annual customer gathering. (May 7-11; Orlando, Fla.)

Gartner IT Operations Strategies & Solutions Summit: How to accommodate cloud services and other "digital" technologies. (May 8-10; Orlando, Fla.)

Outperform: The PROS annual conference about omnichannel commerce technology. (May 10-12; Chicago)

Build: Microsoft's annual conference for software developers. (May 10-12; Seattle)

Google I/O: Alphabet's annual developer conference. (May 17-19; Mountain View, California)

Signal: Twilio's annual developer confab. (May 24-25; San Francisco)

MongoDB World: A gathering of the world's fastest-growing database community. (June 20-21; Chicago)

Cisco Live: Education for technology innovators. (June 25-29; Las Vegas)

Microsoft Ignite: Hands-on learning and industry insights for business leaders. (Sept. 25-29; Orlando, Florida)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.
Find past issues. Sign up for other Fortune newsletters.

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