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Data Sheet—Friday, April 3, 2015

April 3, 2015, 12:40 PM UTC

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Its shareholders are restless, so IBM is considering proactive defenses against activist investors. Facebook’s security chief now works for Uber. Plus, social media startup Banjo can recognize logos and images at specific locations—regardless of whether someone remembered to tag them. Read on for details about its new service for brand marketers.

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SurveyMonkey’s next frontier in feedback. Remember the $250 million round that the online survey company raised last December, boosting its valuation near $2 billion? Part of that investment is backing a big push into business analytics, through a new paid offering called Benchmarks.

Like the name sounds, SurveyMonkey's new data service helps companies understand performance against peers in their industry sector. There are four specific areas tracked (to start): employee engagement, customer satisfaction, net promoter scores (for a sense of loyalty), and website feedback.

This isn’t free: pricing starts around $799, for quarterly updates. But considering that the service uses information aggregated (and anonymized) from roughly 3 million surveys conducted daily, this could be a very rich source of data. And notable new revenue source for SurveyMonkey.


IBM prepares defense against activist investors. According to a Reuters report, some shareholders are losing patience with the technology giant’s turnaround plan and are trying to convince activist hedge funds to step in. This isn’t unusual or all that surprising, especially given IBM’s 11-quarter streak of revenue declines. So far, though, apparently no one is taking the bait. That’s partially due to IBM’s lofty stock price and partially due to CEO Ginni Rometty’s long-term strategic vision.

Facebook privacy, probed. The social network is feeling more heat in Europe. France, Spain and Italy have joined a Dutch-led investigation into exactly how it uses personal data to develop and deliver advertising services. Germany and Belgium are also involved. “We are showing a united front before a global actor,” one French regulator told The Wall Street Journal.

Does your company update its mobile apps often enough? Visual bookmarking network Pinterest releases new software for Android and Apple iOS every three weeks. This allows the company to add new features gradually, but requires far more discipline and automation when it comes to testing.

Here’s how much GM could earn from connected cars. The automaker anticipates $350 million in profit over the next three years from services that can build on the 4G wireless broadband in its new automobiles and trucks.

Facebook security chief defects to Uber. Joe Sullivan knows a thing or two about data protection, and the ride-sharing service could really use some help in this area. He’s the first person at Uber with this title. Uber’s big challenge: how to perform rigorous background checks that keep drives and passengers safe, while protecting personal information. Sullivan’s former colleague, Katherine Tassi, joined last year as privacy chief.

Trade group wants more time for card security upgrades. Come October, merchants that haven’t made certain post-of-sale equipment upgrades will be liable for fraudulent transactions. The Food Marketing Association, representing food stores and pharmacies, wants Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Financial Services to delay the deadline.


Why social media startup Banjo will strike a chord with marketers. Damien Patton knew about the late March building explosion on New York’s lower east side a full 58 minutes before it was reported by the Associated Press.

He was also among the first with detailed insight about the tragic Boston Marathon bombing and the recent shooting of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. His source—Banjo, a service that monitors billions of posts in real time across social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vine. (Those aren’t the only ones, Banjo also follows Russia’s VKontakte and China’s Weibo, and more networks are added all the time.)

“We have a great understanding of what ‘normal’ looks like in a given location. If something changes, we get an alert,” said Patton, founder and CEO of the Las Vegas-based startup.

Lots of other companies do this sort of thing, you scoff? Here’s the differentiator: Banjo doesn’t require the people posting content to worry about tagging them in the moment. Its analytics engine uses image-processing technology to parse photos and videos for certain characteristics, such as images of fire or smoke. It correlates those visuals with other public posts and comments emerging from the same location. For example, more posts with the words “explosion.”

The result, unprecedented context about planned and unplanned events specific to certain locations. “No hashtags or keywords required,” he said.

So far, Banjo has offered its services through free consumer-facing apps. But it is rolling out an enterprise service for brand marketers who want to keep closer tabs on where their logos or products are popping up in very specific places.

“More than 50% of videos and photos do not have meaningful text descriptions associated with them. By geofencing an area, creating an invisible fence, brands are able to see how people are interacting in real time,” Patton said.

There are already close to 30 companies paying for the service (he won’t say how much), including Budweiser. The beer company uses Banjo to drive social media feeds for the “House of Whatever” campaign (you might have seen it during this year’s Super Bowl). One of the brand’s spokespeople told Inc. magazine: “It also allowed us to become a customer service center. We could see what was working, what issues we had—‘This line is too long’ or ‘I love this concert.’ ”

To read the rest of my story, click here.


Elaborate bank fraud scheme. A ring of Eastern Europe programmers is duping people into giving out account information—over the phone. The operation has embraced unusually sophisticated practices to seem legit.

AMD can’t dodge shareholder suit. A federal judge has ruled that the chipmaker must face securities fraud charges related to the ill-fated 2011 launch of “llano.” It eventually wrote down $100 million in inventory for the microprocessor, which didn’t live up to performance claims.

IBM tops in mobile patents last year. That’s seems unusual for a company that doesn’t sell a smartphone. Apple, meanwhile, ranks No. 8 out of the top 10. That’s behind fierce rival Samsung and mobile wannabe Microsoft.

U.S. government super-interested in Snapchat posts. According to its privacy disclosure, the ephemeral-photo sharing service complies with law-enforcement data requests at a higher rate than Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

Mobile security investment for Check Point Software. It spent “tens of millions of dollars” to buy Lacoon, which focuses on protection for smartphones.


Who wants to be CEO? Not millennial women. by Kristen Bellstrom

The future of work: Say goodbye to HR? by Rick Wartzman

This hedge fund wants to profit off your tweets by Ben Geier

How Ellen Pao’s trial cloud affect these other sexism cases by Kia Kokalitcheva

Sony could win the virtual reality game. Here’s why by John Gaudiosi

Ted Cruz is attacking the Fortune 500, and that’s smart politics by Tory Newmyer


What percent was your raise? Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s bonus increased 67% last year to $2.82 million. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s boost was smaller (17%) but he took home a whopping $11.2 million in 2014.


AWS Summit. First in a series of cloud strategy briefings. (April 9; San Francisco)

Knowledge15: Automate IT services. (April 19 – 24; Las Vegas)

RSA Conference: The world talks security. (April 20 – 24; San Francisco)

Forrester’s Forum for Technology Leaders: Win in the age of the customer. (April 27 - 28; Orlando, Fla.)

MicrosoftIgnite: Business tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8; Chicago)

NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7; San Jose, California)

EMC World: Data strategy. (May 4 - 7; Las Vegas)

SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7; Orlando, Florida)

Gartner Digital Marketing Conference: Reach your destination faster. (May 5 – 7; San Diego)

Cornerstone Convergence: Connect, collaborate. (May 11 - 13; Los Angeles)

Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference: JP Morgan’s 43rd invite-only event. (May 18 - 20; Boston)

Signal: The modern communications conference. (May 19 - 20; San Francisco)

MuleSoft Connect: Tie together apps, data and devices. (May 27 - 29; San Francisco)

MongoDB World: Scale the universe. (June 1 - 2; New York)

HP Discover: Trends and technologies. (June 2 - 4; Las Vegas)

Hadoop Summit San Jose: Mainstreaming adoption. (June 9 - 11; San Jose, California)

Red Hat Summit: Energize your enterprise. (June 23 - 26; Boston)

Brainstorm Tech: Fortune’s invite-only gathering of thinkers, influencers and entrepreneurs. (July 13 - 15; Aspen, Colorado)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)

Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 - 18; San Francisco)

BoxWorks 2015: Cloud collaboration solutions. (Sept. 28 - 30; San Francisco)

Workday Rising: Meet and share. (Sept. 28 - Oct. 1; Las Vegas)

HP Engage: Big data, big engagement. (Oct. 4 - 6; San Diego)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 - 8; Orlando, Florida)

Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 - 29; San Francisco)