Unicorn Awareness 7 of 149: ForeScout

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and now we are at 149 again so the venture capitalists are clearly back into their optimism or flush with cash.

ForeScout

ForeScout is in the red hot hype cycle of IOT and Cyber Security. However, Mike Decesare is former McAfee and he sees a need for the Enterprise to “manage all the devices on their networks. Companies used to just worry about their employees’ computers. Now they need to prevent phones, tablets and even IoT devices like fitness bands and Smart TVs from providing vulnerabilities into their networks. ForeScout enables companies to scan for and track these devices. Its CounterACT product gathers information about the device and its behavior and monitors it.”

Counteract the Forescout product has a plug in that monitors the entire enterprise network and has the ability to quarantine unrecognized devices. It does a clever job making the point with this video Forescout has a lot of videos on YouTube that explain the product (perhaps to simply).

Fundamental to the perspective of Forescout is that legacy firewall and antivirus systems are not appropriate solutions for the explosion of connected devices and the cloud.

Unicorn Awareness 6 of 149: SMS Assist

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and now we are at 149 again so the venture capitalists are clearly back into their optimism or flush with cash.

SMS Assist

SMS Assist seems to be so new that the Wall Street Journal has very little information of value. It did not break through the Fortune list, but CBInsights has the following information.

SMS Assist provides a cloud-based multisite property management software to clients with more than 120,000 service locations. Using the company’s platform to manage networks of more than 20,000 affiliate subcontractors, the company offers a suite of property management benefits including leveraged pricing of products and services… On the website is a dashboard that shows managing properties from the perspective of a centralized location.

SMS Assist is Chicago based and its investors include Goldman Sachs, Insight Venture Partners and Pritzker Group.

Unicorn Awareness 5 of 149 (gain of 2 (again)): Cylance

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and now we are at 149 again so the venture capitalists are clearly back into their optimism or flush with cash.

Cylance

Cylance is one of the newest member to the billion dollar start up club and competes with Palo Alto Networks and some other on doing security via machine learning systems. While Cylance Inc. focuses on file malware they join CloudFlare Inc., ForeScout Technologies Inc. and Tanium Inc as cyber security Billion Dollar Startup Club members.

However, it is not a new company, it was started in 2012.

Per the Wall Street Journal ” the company was also recently credited with identifying the malware that caused the 2015 breach at the Office of Personnel Management, which left more than 21 million Social Security numbers vulnerable.”

Stuart McClure is the CEO, President and Founder and is former McAfee.

Unicorn Awareness 4 of 147: Zoox

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and are back to 147 again so lets assume that some funding goals were made which brought the outliers back into the herd.

ZOOX

Zoox is one of thirteen companies that have permits to test autonomous driving vehicles. There is a website Zoox.com but candidly it just gives you an email link. Perhaps this is a smart strategy when you have a dozen other competitors. This is is the best place I can find with information about the company.

If I had money invested here, I would want to keep a tight watch on the team. Already there are some market assumptions that I would wanted tested. The use of a sports car for the taxi prototype appeals to a limited market.

This is a bet on pedigree plain and simple. If Steve Jurveston made money with you in the past or you were taught by Kentley-Clay you probably are on board.

All Hands on Deck with Roger Von Oech

I believe I am a very creative thinker, but candidly, I get a lot of help. Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping techniques have added to my retention. I find it incredible how often I draw a strategy using a mind map and find new links.

However, when it comes to creativity, I give a lot of credit to Roger von Oech. Roger got his Interdisciplinary Doctorate from Stanford on the History of Ideas. He also ran conferences on Innovation and created the Whack Pack and the Innovative Whack Pack.

There have been days when I have brought my decks out to a meeting to get a group thinking outside the box. There have been other days, when I have used the decks like a tarot reader working on a question.

The one that I randomly chose a few days ago to carry with me says…
“Those who approach life like a child playing a game moving and pushing pieces possess the power of kings.”

For me this translates into not accepting the status quo easily. Since the King can barely move in chess the question has to be asked what if the king could knight any piece.

Who do I wish I could give more power and resources to in my organization?

Rogers latest contributions have been in 3 dimensional “puzzles” that allow structure to be played with. For today, I will stick with the decks, but if I ever start to build something, I will take advantage of his physical guidance.

Unicorn Awareness 3 of 147 (gain of 2): WeWork

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and are back to 147 again so lets assume that some funding goals were made which brought the outliers back into the herd.

WeWork

WeWork is the rarest of Unicorns in the fact that it is only one in its space and with its business plan. It maybe that it also is doomed as it tries to build a market for flexible office space by taking on the assets and parsing them out. Unlike Uber and AirBnB, which it gets compared to it has the problem of needing to provide an acceptable work space.

Besides the workspace comes, other dorm like facilities per the journal’s Lindsay Gellman. “Young startup strivers feel at home in WeWork’s sleekly designed spaces in rising urban neighborhoods, with perks ranging from IT support to affordable healthcare to free beer. The Israeli-born Mr. Neumann looks more like one of his startup tenants than a traditional landlord, and is reportedly in the process of expanding his vision. In the works: living space near Washington, D.C.’s city limits that would function as a high-end dorm for 20-something workers, according to people briefed on the company’s plans.”

As of this article is has a $16B valuation on a $5B investment.

So it truly is a unique unicorn.

NONE TO S.W.I.F.T.

Whenever I read an article, my father’s advice always comes to mind. Ask yourself who wanted the article written before thinking that the article is objective. The article about cyberattacks on worldwide banking is a case in point.

The Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications [SWIFT] has suffered from three successful cyberattacks. Given the trillions that go through the system the attacks were small, remote and isolated. In fact the network (which relies on mainframe non Internet connections) was not successfully attacked. Instead hackers in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ecuador found end user computers they were able to use to penetrate the system.

The resulting fraud was direct point to point and not part of a network breach.

Now if I were SWIFT, I would want the article written to show the network is safe and secure.

If I were someone who wanted to replace swift , I would want to suggest that the problem is not in the edge, but at the core.

So I think this article was written by friends of SWIFT. However, I think this will be used by everyone looking to replace SWIFT with modern technology.

Block chain transactions are the bright shiny technology and has been successfully used to transfer monies internationally. Expect to see more about these alternatives written about as a result of this latest news.

Unicorn Awareness 2 of 145: Kik Interactive

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’t the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and assume that some funding goals were not made which culled the herd.

KIK Interactive

This is the second of the two associated with the Rest of the World, which is an interesting way to described Canada, but what the hell.

Here is how KiK describes itself.

We believe the smartphone era represents a transformation as big as the rise of the PC or the creation of the Internet. Your smartphone is actually part of you: always on, always connected, and always with you. And your smartphone puts the world in your pocket, wherever and whenever you want it.

We believe that chat is at the core of the smartphone era.

Kim claims to have 40% of the US market and with a market cap of $1B (they just made the cut ;<)) they have lots of opportunity.

Unicorn Awareness 1 of 145: Ironsource

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.
It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’t the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and assume that some funding goals were not made which culled the herd.

Ironsource

Since there were only 2 that were not from the US, EU or Asia, we will look at IronSource from Israel first.

The Wall Street Journal Billion Dollar Startup Club has them listed this way.

Some of the highlights in the WSJ read out is as follows.

    IronSource Ltd. has grown immensely since then by taking a central role in a world in which software is distributed mostly over the Web.
    The software is now in over 2 billion computers, helping IronSource generate more than $260 million.
    IronSource is bolstering its mobile products like MobileCore, a mobile-ad distribution platform. A growing share of the company’s clients comes from China.

It’s Time for a Serious Reboot.

Lately I have been meeting a lot of old friends and they have reflected on the past. Some think that there were good old days, some feel like we have not progressed.

Back in 1996, I started working for a large carrier on the Internet Strategy and how to deliver dial up that was the equivalent of a private line circuit.

It was a fools errand, but I did not realize it at the time.

I had calculated that if I charged for the circuit at about 70 dollars, I could deliver a pre -switch interface that would protect the central office switch from blockage.

As we were progressing on our effort to create the service, AT&T declared they were offering a dial-up Internet service for under $20 “unlimited”.

And the congestion continued.

But so did the effort to reinvent the central office, which had the consequence of reinventing the carrier.

When I was working on the strategy, my boss reminded me that 70% of the company worked on Voice Grade Switched services (AKA POTS). And maybe 10% understood private line.

Likewise the cable operators had a team that as a friend put it, was the equivalent of a sprinkler installer. They could cut a pipe and put in another valve, but that was about the level of their network sophistication.

Both communications operators have come along way. Today as Verizon manages the strike it has reduced the union workforce to 20% of what it used to be when I first made my Internet pitch.

The cable operators have not only made a triple play to compete with wireline operators but delivered a viable Wi-Fi service that goes beyond the home.

All while the customer base has found shown a willingness to abandon old business models for services that are more convenient. David Walsh the CEO of Genband points out that Amazon has become so powerful a brand that you have go to page 5 in a Google search to read about the River and not the company.

And with Facebook’s announcement of messaging bots and IBM’s Watson exemplifying machine learning we are about to go through another shift in knowledge work.

Whether we like the speed of change or not it is in motion.