The President ended his first address to Congress last night on a markedly optimistic note. It got me thinking about the power of optimism and some of the hopeful things that might happen in the technology industry:
* I’m optimistic that when Snap goes public it gets the valuation it deserves. For Snap’s sake, lower will be better. A low valuation will seem like a disappointment. But it will give the young company room to grow and to address the serious competitive threats its faces without needing to deliver the impossible to demanding investors. More, an IPO that doesn’t pop isn’t a disaster. Facebook got off to an awful start, and it didn’t matter. People forget that Microsoft took years for its stock to catch fire. But it did.
* I’m hopeful that Jay Y. Lee will get justice in South Korea. The vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the third-generation scion of the family that has led it for nearly 80 years is a good man who may or may not have broken his country’s laws. What’s certain is that he’s being prosecuted in a highly politicized environment, which must be frightening.
* I’m optimistic that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will learn and grow from the very bad year he is having. Customer desertions, accusations of institutional misogyny, and now his insensitivity to drivers have rocked Kalanick’s world. He’ll either adapt to the circumstances or someone else will lead Uber. Yes, I’m publishing a book about Uber this spring; I’ll have a lot more to say soon.
* Underdogs everywhere should find inspiration in the quiet redemption of Advanced Micro Devices, the semiconductor industry doormat for years that has made a massive comeback against longtime foe Intel. In the technology world you can be down for years without being out.
* Apple is having a moment and has found itself a new fan in Warren Buffett. Wouldn’t it be great if Apple surprises the world one day with a product as breathtakingly new as the iPod and iPhone once were?
Have an optimistic day. It beats the alternative.
BITS AND BYTES
Uber CEO says he needs to “grow up.” In footage obtained by Bloomberg, ride-hailing boss Travis Kalanick verbally spars with one of his company’s contractor-drivers. Kalanick angrily tells his chauffeur that “some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit.” After the video surfaced, Kalanick apologized and said that he intended to seek “leadership help.” (Fortune, Bloomberg)
Amazon’s cloud causes outages. Amazon Web Services recovered Tuesday from technical issues affecting its US-EAST-1 data center region, which denotes northern Virginia. The problem impacted the company’s “S3″ service,” which companies use for online cloud storage. Some services from customers such as Slack, Trello, and Dropbox temporarily failed during the outage period. (Fortune)
Snap’s imminent IPO. The maker of Snapchat plans to price its initial public offering after U.S. stock markets close later today. On Monday, the company disclosed that it expects a quarter of its shares to be subject to a one-year lockup period, preventing investors from quickly selling them. Rumors have also surfaced that the company has been experimenting with a consumer drone. (Reuters, Reuters, New York Times)
The latest on upcoming Apple and Samsung phones. Apple’s upcoming iPhone redesign, referred to as the iPhone X or iPhone 8, will feature a curved display, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, an image purportedly revealing Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 has leaked. Samsung’s launch date is apparently set for March 29th. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal, The Verge)
YouTube, the new cable? The Google-owned video site debuted a new subscription service called YouTube TV on Tuesday. For $35 per month, people can watch live television from more than 40 TV networks. (Fortune)
Foxconn wants Toshiba’s chips. Terry Guo, CEO of Hon Hai Precision Industry (aka Foxconn), Taiwan’s electronics manufacturing giant, said he is “very confident” that the company can buy the chip business that Toshiba is looking to sell. Guo did not say whether his company had officially placed a bid. (Reuters)
Here are Tim Cook’s plans for Apple, per his remarks at Tuesday’s shareholder meeting. Although he didn’t offer up any secrets, Cook did deliver some hints about the future and where Apple stands on some key issues. Here’s a brief recap of what he had to say, ranging from politics to products, as well as direct quotes snagged by several reporters who were in attendance at the meeting. Fortune‘s Don Reisinger has the scoop.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
A Driverless Car Startup That Puts Humans to Work, by Kirsten Korosec
Boston Dynamics Reveals New ‘Nightmare-Inducing’ Robot, by Lucinda Shen
Don’t Ask Einstein About Salesforce’s Latest Quarter, by Jonathan Vanian
Pokemon Go Creator Teases Updates Coming Later This Year, by Aaron Pressman
How the Secret Service Protects the President Against New Cyber Threats, by Jeff John Roberts
ONE MORE THING
Intel achieves pay and promotion parity for employees. According to the chipmaker’s latest diversity report, the company has closed the pay and promotion gap for women and minorities, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans. (Fortune)