News Roundup: The Spread of Technology

Between cloud-centered processes, platform expansions, and inspirational success stories, this week’s news centers around the spread of technology.

Monitoring the Health of a Backup Drive

When backing up files on a hard drive, most people set them up, put them in a cabinet, and forget about it for months or years, until the time comes when they need a file or image from the drive. Yet hard drives are like any other piece of hardware: eventually, they get old, run down, and have the potential to break.

A better option? Incorporating the cloud into a backup plan, or even replacing the hard drive altogether with a cloud-based storage solution. Whether it’s iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box, saving files to the cloud is the best way to have peace of mind that data is safe.

Online retailers go offline in China

Today, it’s possible to walk into a grocery store, pick up a bag, and walk out with a week’s worth of groceries in all under five minutes. Known as O2O (Online to Offline), this market is booming, and many people, especially in the Bay Area, think of Amazon when they hear this description. There’s another competitor, and a large one, Alibaba, who is the size of both Amazon and eBay combined, who is now expanding this concept of using digital tools to buy from physical businesses in China.

Alibaba has had their eye on this market for a while as 85% of Chinese consumers still buy their products from in-person locations versus the online platform that Alibaba provides. From acquiring a food-delivery platform to buying larger shares in China’s biggest private supermarket, Alibaba continues to explore new ways to increase their influence in the day-to-day lives of customers.

Benioff: Every VC in Silicon Valley turned us down

Marc Benioff, CEO and co-founder of Salesforce, along with Parker Harris, co-founder and head of product strategy, told the story of how every venture capital firm in the Bay Area turned them down for funding. From working out of a rented apartment on computers that Benioff bought with his own money to building the tallest tower in San Francisco’s downtown, the company has come a long way. While Salesforce eventually raised funding from private individual investors, Benioff and Harris shared the story of having a vision for something different and the challenges they faced along the way getting other people to share that vision.

Benioff spoke of the importance of making sure he had the right people around him, noting that the continual rejection in the beginning can be difficult and creating a support system of people who did believe in the project was vital for success. With so many people telling him the idea wouldn’t work and his business wouldn’t succeed, perseverance and staying positive were two factors that helped Salesforce scale to the impressive corporation it is today. Benioff’s vision, both from a philanthropy perspective (Salesforce is committed to equal pay, diversity, and employees giving back to communities through volunteering) and business innovation (he coined the term Platform-as-a-Service), has certainly set itself apart within Silicon Valley. Small startups and large companies alike can learn from the example Salesforce sets in its do-good mission as well as the dedication, passion, and perseverance behind the platform.

The growth of technology continues to increase, whether it’s through more reliable security, better grocery shopping, or giving back to the world. One common theme follows each of these stories: technology is moving fast and keeping up is essential to survival.