Technology Industry Trends & Insights * ABL Member News * January 3, 2018

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  • 1/04  -  Orange County Round Table

  • 1/05  -  Downtown Los Angeles Round Table

  • 1/12  -  West Los Angeles Round Table

    ABL's 15th Top Tech Trends, featuring Dave Berkus
    , Chairman of Multiple Portfolio
              Companies, Long Beach




Guest Blog by Dave Berkus:

How does your business time management
compare to Tech CEOs?

         Often, I am asked by young CEOs how much time should be devoted to various types of tasks by a good CEO in a small, growing enterprise. Of course, the response depends upon lots of variables, including whether the company is in a fund-raising mode (in which case the CEO may be spending up to 80% of his or her time on this alone).

         I am chairman of the Technology Division of the ABL Organization, a roundtable organization with multiple CEO roundtables of about twelve members each, meeting monthly. Each CEO is asked to make a deep presentation once a year in which he or she starts with personal and business goals for the coming year followed by concerns as to how to reach these goals. Much of the rest of the presentation is devoted to explaining to the group the causes for the concerns and offering information for the group to use in the feedback session to help the CEO seek solutions and to provide resources to the CEO for that purpose.

         The format also calls for the CEO to examine his calendar over time and report classes of activities by percentage of total time spent, so that the group may add comments about use of CEO time to the critique. It is from over a thousand of these CEO presentations over the years that I attempt to make these generalities.

         How much time do you devote to each type of activity?

         A good CEO spends at least 30% of his or her time dealing with customers, including meeting directly with customers and being involved in closing the largest deals, maintaining CEO relationships, and "sniffing" the attitudes of customers toward the company as well as exploring the needs of the customer that might be satisfied by new product development.  15% typically is spent on direct management issues such as supervision of next level subordinates.  15% might be spent networking with those in the CEO's relationship circle, including the roundtable organizations.  10% is typically spent networking with board members, usually with frequent phone calls, and preparing for board meetings.  10% is typical in exploring strategic concepts, reading about new developments in the industry and just spending quiet time contemplating opportunities.

         There are many other classes a typical CEO will list for that remaining 20%, some concentrating upon time spent in meetings of all kinds, lumped together as if all meetings are of some equal value. The group often pays close attention when this happens, since it is a sign that the CEO considers meetings of all kinds a drain upon available time, and few meetings of special importance.

         How many hours do you spend on business each week?

         Whatever, the spread of percentages to make 100% of a CEO's time, the CEO is asked to estimate the average number of hours spent each week at or on work. Most respond with between 60 and 80 hours a week, emphasizing what you already know, that CEO's are not often 40-hour workers. But then again, in this new world of always-on communications, who is?


"Tech is King" in LinkedIn's Emerging Jobs Report

Overall, job growth in the next decade is expected to outstrip growth during the previous decade, creating 11.5 million jobs by 2026, according to LinkedIn's recent 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, it's estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately hold jobs that don't yet exist. For its report, LinkedIn analyzed data from the last five years, as well as some survey data, to identify which jobs and skills are on the rise, what they're replacing, and what these trends indicate about the jobs market in the years to come.
     Among the findings: "Tech is king" - Jobs with the top growth potential are tech-focused, with demand coming from tech and non-tech companies alike. Machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data engineers rank among the top emerging jobs, with companies in a wide range of industries seeking those skills. Also, "Soft skills matter" - Not all of the emerging tech jobs require technical skills. Sales development representative, customer success manager, and brand partner rank among the top emerging jobs at companies where a technical background is not a necessity. Traditional soft skills like communication and management underpin all of these emerging jobs. And, "Low supply of talent for top jobs" - Data scientist roles have grown over 650% since 2012, and currently 35,000 people in the U.S. have data science skills. While hundreds of companies are hiring for those roles, the supply of candidates cannot keep up with demand. Meanwhile, "Future-proofing skills is critical" - Some of these emerging skills didn't even exist five years ago, and many professionals are not confident their current skill set will be relevant within the next 1-2 years. (, 12/7/17)

Ultra-fast 5G Wireless Service Declared National Security Priority by White House

The White House recently released its congressionally-mandated National Security Strategy report, and in a section on improving America's infrastructure was this action item: "We will improve America's digital infrastructure by deploying a secure 5G Internet capability nationwide." Other than natural gas, 5G wireless service was the only area of technology to get a specific calling out for infrastructure. 5G wireless isn't a specific technology per se, but rather a set of standards and technologies that interoperate in the millimeter wave spectrum to meet the needs of users today. That includes better performance around latency and bandwidth, as well as support for low-power, many-device contexts due to the rise of Internet of Things. In Washington D.C., these sorts of coordinated reports are designed to send a signal throughout the government on how a particular administration sees policy issues. As such, they are important for setting the guidelines for future actions of the federal government. By attaching wireless connectivity into national security, the Trump administration is putting its heaviest hand behind such a recommendation.
     The administration also lists what it says are the critical next-generation of technologies that will underpin the American economy: "To maintain our competitive advantage, the United States will prioritize emerging technologies critical to economic growth and security, such as data science, encryption, autonomous technologies, gene editing, new materials, nanotechnology, advanced computing technologies, and artificial intelligence." (, 12/19/17)

FCC Approves First Wireless "Power-at-a-Distance" Charging System

The Federal Communications Commission has approved the first wireless charger that works from up to three feet away. San Jose-based startup, Energous, recently announced that it has received the first such FCC certification for power-at-a-distance wireless charging with its WattUp Mid Field transmitter. The transmitter converts electricity into radio frequencies, then beams the energy to nearby devices outfitted with a corresponding receiver. This differs from the resonant induction method that the Pi wireless charging system relies upon and offers a greater range than the Belkin and Mophie chargers that require physical contact with the device. The WattUp can charge multiple devices simultaneously and should work on any number of devices, from phones and tablets to keyboards and earbuds, so long as they're outfitted with the right receiver. What's more, the WattUp ecosystem is manufacturer-agnostic, meaning that you'll still be able to, for example, charge your Samsung phone even if the transmitter is made by Sony or Apple. (, 12/26/17)

Mobile Data Usage Up 25%; Average Consumer Uses 31GB per Month

The average U.S. smartphone user now blows through 31.4 GB of data a month via cellular and Wi-Fi, representing a 25% increase over last year, according to NPD Group. Also driving consumption is the return of unlimited data plans, plus more expansive Wi-Fi coverage. Indeed, cellular data usage among consumers with unlimited plans is 67% higher than those with fixed data allowances, while the limited data crowd is upping its usage of Wi-Fi, which spiked 18% above unlimited-plan subscribers in October alone. The vast majority of that data is used for streaming video, which accounts for 83% of total data consumed, NPD said. But the increased consumption that came with unlimited data plans has been stressing some mobile networks, as reflected in reports of slower connection speeds for Verizon and AT&T customers. "Users on unlimited plans don't regularly seek Wi-Fi connectivity for data-hungry transactions such as video streaming, application updates, and downloads as they are not concerned about data overage fees," said Brad Akyuz, director, industry analyst for NPD's Connected Intelligence. (, 12/28/17)

Apple Apologizes for "Misunderstanding" Over "Batterygate," Will Replace Batteries for $29

Apple recently apologized for intentionally slowing down older iPhones, telling customers the company would offer battery replacements for $29 through 2018. Apple also plans to launch a new tool that gives iPhone owners a picture of their phone's battery quality. Last week's apology had its origins in iOS 10.2.1, which began rolling out to iPhones worldwide in late January 2017. Hidden in the update was software that gauged the phone's battery performance and slowed down certain features, like app launch times, to prevent the phone from unexpectedly crashing. Apple didn't publicly acknowledge the feature until December 2017, when an iPhone 6S owner published evidence suggesting their phone's performance was tied to its battery life. The feature has since prompted at least nine class-action lawsuits, and fueled a fringe conspiracy theory that Apple intentionally slows down old phones to get people to prematurely upgrade to the newest model. In its note to customers, Apple called iPhone batteries "consumable components" that become less effective as they age. That's new language for the company, which famously doesn't include an easy way for people to replace their phone's battery themselves. (Silicon Valley Business Journal, 12/29/17)
     Subsequently, following last week's announcement of a discounted $29 iPhone battery replacement program for users with iPhone performance problems, Apple has made a last-minute change. Apple Stores have started replacing customers' iPhone 6 and newer model batteries on request, even if Apple's battery tests would normally deny the customers service. And, although the latest iPhone battery replacement program was originally scheduled to begin in late January, Apple has now made the program available immediately. (, 1/2/18)


Sidebench Declared Among Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America

Entrepreneur has named Sidebench to its Entrepreneur 360 - The Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America list. Entrepreneur identifies 360 small businesses each year that are mastering the art and science of growing a business. They invited companies to apply and then evaluated them based on four metrics: impact, innovation, growth, and leadership. (Kevin Yamazaki, West Los Angeles)


Express Analytics on:  Improving Email Marketing Response Rates

In Improving The Response Rates of Email Marketing, Express Analytics' Hemant Warudkar suggests that you can segment your customers with whom you want to communicate into four categories: Persuadables; Sure Bets; Lost Causes; and Do Not Disturbs. In summary, *Persuadables are those that are likely to be seeking a product or service and are familiar with your brand and aware of your offerings. These customers are likely to welcome your email because it solves a problem they are trying to solve. *Sure Bets are those who are very familiar with your brand and offering, and may buy irrespective of receiving an email/ catalog/ sms/ coupon. *Lost Causes are those who are never likely to respond to marketing messages as they are either not interested in buying, or have been won over by your competition. *Do Not Disturbs are likely to be loyal customers but don't want to be disturbed by frequent emails. Hemant then delves further into these categories. (Hemant Warudkar, Orange County)

Nortridge Software on:  Keys to a Successful System Implementation

In Keys to a Successful Nortridge Loan System Implementation, Nortridge Software goes into detail about: *Scale - Size and scope.  *Objective of Consulting Services - Requires collaboration between consultants and company.  *Proactive - Planning is necessary, including gathering and documenting the requirements for the implementation, determining how best to meet those requirements, creating project timelines, and providing estimates.  *Collaborative - there must be a project owner on the client side to provide a single point of contact throughout the engagement and ensure effective communication.  *Efficient - The most efficient use of available resources would be in leveraging the features of the core software to meet your needs, since you have already paid for it. If your requirement can't be met by the core features, then perhaps employment of the rules and scripting engines will meet the need. Beyond scripting, the next level of consulting is the development of a custom interface, which can actually result in an increase in efficiency. (Greg Hindson, Orange County)

Taylor Digital on:  Switching from B2B to B2C Selling

In What Your Website Needs to Switch from B2B to B2C Selling, Taylor Digital's Randy Taylor shares a list of the top five things your website can't live without as you switch from the B2B into the B2C market. In summary, they are: 1. Responsive Design - 51% of Americans (and 77% of 18-29 year olds) make purchases on their phones, and 15% of those surveyed (24% of 18-29 year olds) say they have done so by following a link from a social media outlet. So, if you want your site to be an easy shopping experience for the consumer, it must be able to work seamlessly on mobile devices.  2. Product Videos - 54% of consumers want to see videos from their favorite brands, over social images (41%) and even social videos (34%). Additionally, videos are the most memorable content to consumers who were surveyed over a month period.  3. Visitor Modal Window - This is a non-intrusive window that provides a short questionnaire to determine who is visiting your site. Setting it up is easy and efficient and allows invaluable customization.  4. Email Marketing Campaigns - One of the best ways to keep a customer engaged is to set up both Drip and Nurture email marketing campaigns, aimed at grabbing the attention of your customer during their buying cycle.  5. Social Selling - Ensure that your social selling always drives customers back to your website and does so in a way that is user friendly. (Randy Taylor, Orange County)


Cigna Acquires Healthcare "Digital Engagement" Company

Cigna has acquired Brighter Inc., an innovative technology company working with leading health service and dental organizations to engage patients and providers in personalized and seamlessly integrated experiences to more efficiently deliver higher-value healthcare. The acquisition will accelerate the development of Cigna's mobile and desktop platforms and create new end-to-end experiences that connect health consumers and providers with the guidance, support, and incentives they need to increase quality of care and maximize cost-savings. (Chris De Rosa, Orange County Healthcare)

Covered California Announces Partnership with EaseCentral

A partnership with EaseCentral is the latest advancement for Covered California for Small Business, which has seen its enrollment steadily grow from 14,183 in 2014 to 40,000+ as of Dec. 1, 2017. Earlier in 2017, Covered California for Small Business announced its 2018 statewide weighted average rate increase of 5.6% for employers and their employees, which is down from the 5.9% increase in 2017. EaseCentral will include Covered California for Small Business in its integrated software platform, which will enable employees of small businesses across the state to log on and see plan choices. The automated system will lead to cost savings and an improved enrollment process for certified agents and the small businesses they work with. (Kathy Keeshen, Sacramento Healthcare)

iN2L Supplies Digital Engagement Solutions to Midwestern Senior Living Provider

New Perspective Senior Living has selected It's Never 2 Late (iN2L) to provide senior-centered digital engagement technology throughout its 21 communities in Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, impacting nearly 2,000 senior residents. New Perspective residents and caregivers will have access to the full breadth of iN2L systems, including iN2L Engage, which supports the company's continuously updated library of personalized engagement content, and iN2L Focus, a tablet that allows caregivers to reach seniors where they are, regardless of physical or cognitive abilities. In all, nearly 200 systems are scheduled for implementation, as gateways to iN2L's vast applied content library. (Tom Bang)

Kaiser Permanente Telestroke Carts Reduce Time to Treatment

Kaiser Permanente (KP) hospitals in Northern California are delivering clot-busting medication to new stroke patients more than twice as fast as the national average. This follows the regionwide adoption of an integrated telemedicine program, according to new research published Dec. 15 in the journal Stroke. This is the among the first peer-reviewed, published studies to show how the successful implementation of standardized treatment protocols and telemedicine for acute ischemic stroke in a large, integrated system of hospitals can dramatically reduce the time it takes to start critical treatment. With KP's Stroke EXPRESS program (EXpediting the PRocess of Evaluating and Stopping Stroke), all KP emergency departments in Northern California were equipped with telestroke carts, which include a video camera and access to scans and tests results, enabling the stroke specialist to conduct a patient's neurologic physical exam even when they are many miles away. (Walt Meyers, Bay Area Healthcare)

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