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Data Sheet—Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015, 12:00 PM UTC

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Salesforce is encouraging even closer ties between its sales and marketing cloud applications. Drones aren’t Amazon’s only unusual delivery scheme. Plus, is your organization prepared for the coming shortage of mobile apps experts? One research firm just issued a sobering wake-up call. Have a productive Wednesday!


The dark side of money ball. Did the St. Louis Cardinals steal scouting information, statistics and other proprietary data from the Houston Astros? The FBI is investigating what could be the “first known case of corporate espionage” involving two professional sports teams. The situation gives a whole new twist to the concept of intellectual property theft.


Planning to get in on the Fitbit IPO? The fitness wearables company is financially healthy, but here’s a primer on the unusual way it calculates profits.

Drones aren’t the only new form of delivery Amazon is testing. It would love to turn your neighbors into package couriers, using a mobile app to manage pickups and drop-offs. “There is a certain logic to the idea, but it seems there’s a lot that could go wrong,” one consultant told The Wall Street Journal. By the way, Amazon wants Congress to speed up national drone regulations.

What does Twitter really need in its next CEO? Some people have called for Dick Costolo’s departure since last fall, which makes the board's lack of a succession plan especially puzzling. Plus, interim CEO Jack Dorsey says he has no intention of leaving Square. That hasn’t stopped speculation, and Re/code offers up these potential candidates just in case he decides to change his mind.

How Snapchat is turning location information into a revenue stream. Advertisers can target branded stickers to users based on where they are, which is something other messaging services already do.

Is Yahoo a media company or a tech company? CEO Marissa Mayer embraces the uncertainty. “We may not be the biggest tech company, but we get media,” she said Tuesday at a conference in San Francisco. “And we might not be the biggest media company, but we are the biggest that understands technology.”

Better start hiring mobile app developers now. By the end of 2017, it will be really hard for corporate technology organizations to find them. "We're seeing demand for mobile apps outstrip available development capacity, making quick creation of apps even more challenging," said Gartner analyst Adrian Leow.


Are you in sales or marketing? For Salesforce, the distinction blurs

Philosophically speaking, it’s getting more difficult to tell where the Salesforce customer relationship management application stops and its fast-growing marketing applications ecosystem begins.

That’s by design, of course, and the latest update to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud makes the case for using the software giant’s two services side-by-side even more compelling.

There are two big changes in store. The first involves an update to “Journey Builder,” the dashboard used by marketing teams to define parameters for cross-channel campaigns. The second centers on the Salesforce “Active Audiences” service, which helps digital marketers coordinate advertisements across more than 100 networks. New partners include Krux, LiveRamp, LiveIntent, Neustar, and Viant.

The long and short of this morning's news: marketers can call upon CRM data from online and offline sources—everything from a person’s purchase history to recent customer service interactions—to make individual customer engagements even more personal. “We can use the CRM data to take the campaign down to an audience of one,” said Eric Stahl, senior vice president of product marketing for the Salesforce marketing business division.

For this capability, marketing teams can expect to pay at least $3,750 per month.

The notion that marketing teams want a single view of the customer “journey” from first touch to purchase to ongoing relationship isn’t really new for any of the vendors trying to claim share in this category. Accordingly, it's one of the big themes at the Salesforce Connections conference that starts today in New York.

Last fall, Forrester Research pointed to analytics and integration as one of the shortcomings of the Salesforce marketing cloud offering. This update addresses those criticisms, at least partially.

One of the better-known Salesforce technology integration partners, Bluewolf, figures that the cloud software giant has the opportunity to double the number of companies using its marketing cloud applications this year.

“Marketing is rapidly becoming the most data-driven and technology-dependent function,” the company writes in its annual report on Salesforce technology adoption trends, this year based on a survey of about 1,000 existing customers. “This year, a focus on mobile, data and analytics will separate the average marketer from those leading digital transformation.”

Increasingly, marketers are placing more value on retaining customers than acquiring them, the Bluewolf report shows. That makes closer CRM integration far more relevant.


Is this America’s most dangerous tech startup? The business model behind OpenBazaar, an e-commerce site that allows transactions via bitcoin and other digital currencies, is raising eyebrows.

Why you’re hearing about more early stage rounds from Andreessen Horowitz. The firm has created a new fund that lends startups $250,000 plus services such as operational expertise or help with recruiting. Incidentally, Microsoft is doing something similar: it offers up to $120,000 in free cloud services to startups.

Promising second life for electric car batteries. Here’s how General Motors plans to reuse the ones in Chevy Volts.

Digital marketing and media specialist Adobe beat expectations for its latest quarter, but reduced its forecast for the future.


EMC and Vodafone are building a Bluelight special for hospitals and ambulances by Stacey Higginbotham

Uber's Alibaba-like approach in China by Scott Cendrowski

College doesn’t prepare students for full-time jobs, internships do by Ryan Smith

How Adobe keeps key employees from quitting by Anne Fisher

Snapchat’s CEO just made this 4-minute video explaining his company by Kia Kokalicheva

Why 3.5 times more Apple users choose Apple Maps over Google Maps by Philip Elmer-DeWitt

How the NBA Finals are beamed across the globe without hiccups by Jonathan Vanian


New York City covets tech startups, and ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg just donated $100 million to the cause. That money endows The Bloomberg Center, Cornell University’s futuristic tech campus.


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)

LinuxCon North America: All about open source. (Aug. 17 - 19; Seattle)

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

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

.conf2015: Splunk's "get your data on" gathering. (Sept. 21 - 24; Las Vegas)

Cassandra Summit: Largest gathering of Cassandra database developers. (Sept. 22 - 24; 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)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: World's largest gather of women technologists. (Oct. 14 - 16; Houston)

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

TBM Conference 2015: Manage IT like a business. (Oct. 26 - 29; Chicago)

QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Nov. 2 - 4; San Jose, California)