Business, Cloud Tech, Communications Tech, Docusign, Social Media

Momentum 2014 Conference Signups Are Open

It seems that tech conferences give their attendees just enough time to recover before announcing a new get-together in San Francisco. Hot on the heels of Dreamforce 2013 last month, Docusign has announced their annual tech conference Momentum 2014 and signups are already available online.

The official website claims it will be “3 days of unparalleled networking and discovery” and it should live up to that statement if Momentum 2013 is any indication. Last year’s event gave Docusign a chance to showcase major advances in e-signature and cloud and the permeation of e-signature into almost every major industry. This year’s emphasis is on becoming 100% digital, and attendance promises “actionable strategies to cut costs, conserve resources and make your company truly unstoppable.”

Like any good technology conference, Momentum 2014 hosts numerous tech celebrity speakers. Docusign executives Keith Krach (CEO), Tom Gonser (CSO) and Roger Erickson (VP of Customer Success) will all have speaking events. The two guest stars this year are John Hinshaw (VP of Technology and Operations) from HP and Zach Nelson (CEO) from cloud software company Netsuite.

Momentum 2014 has two events March 4-6 event running in Docusign’s home in San Francisco and a London conference taking place on June 4. Early bird passes are currently selling for $795 (compared to a normal price of $995) with a 3-for-2 bundle going for $1,990 and an 8-for-5 at $4,975. Docusign has always had a strong tradition of content marketing, and the Momentum announcement combined with their recent 2014 Winter Release indicates a major effort to catch the tech community’s attention before the year closes out.

Cloud Tech

NSA Shifts Cloud Market In Security Companies’ Favor

The uproar over the NSA’s PRISM program is starting to die down as online forum fighters find new topics to rant about, but all of that might change as NSA’s MUSCULAR program starts to hit the mainstream spotlight. This second round of exposures could carry implications for the cloud industry, with analysts speculating a $22 billion to $35 billion loss from the PRISM announcements.

However, a particular branch of the cloud world is not only making it through unscathed but raking in a hefty profit.

Pravin Kothari is the founder and CEO of CipherCloud, a company that provides security for cloud-based information. When news about the NSA broke earlier in June, the requests for CipherCloud’s services came pouring in.

“If you ask any security enterprise customer what the major issues are with the cloud, they will tell you undoubtedly the two are loss of control of the data and lack of visibility,” says Kothari. CipherCloud’s primary mission is to give customers full understanding of where their data goes in the cloud, because only with full understanding of something can you be comfortable using it.As the public NSA outcry continues to grow, the importance of data security is coming into the spotlight and cloud customers are responding. Companies like CipherCloud seem well positioned to take advantage of digital privacy being a hot-button topic for months to come.

Cloud Tech

Dropbox Thinks It’s Worth 8 Billion

It looks like even cloud’s biggest names still have room to grow. Seeking funding for future business expansions, Dropbox is currently looking to raise $250 million in the next several weeks and bring its estimated valuation to around $8 billion.

Though CEO Drew Houston recently stated that they still have plenty of money left over from the last funding round, he is hoping to increase Dropbox’s presence with businesses in addition to your average consumer. Dropbox reported around 200 million users this year, and more than 4 million businesses now use their services compared to 2 million a year ago.

Moving into the corporate world will require a fairly major extension of resources, likely including new technology to accommodate a deeper corporate infrastructure and a dedicated sales team to market specifically to large companies. This move would put them in the arena with the likes of Amazon and Google, so even with a fantastic funding base Drew Houston has his work cut out for him.

Cloud Tech, Technology

5 Tip To Stay Afloat At Dreamforce 2013

Dreamforce 2013 officially kicked off yesterday, and if you’re a first time attendee odds are you’re still reeling from the 130,000 strong crowd trying to pack into the Moscone venue built for 60,000 people. Major keynote speakers include Salesforce leader Marc Benioff and Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer, who is making headlines with her rejection of the NSA.
The rising popularity of cloud computing has turned Dreamforce into one of San Francisco’s biggest annual business conventions, from humble beginnings in 2003 with a turn-out of 1300 people up to 92,300 attendees counted last year.
It has become the business event for cloud computing as a networking opportunity, speaking forum for tech celebrities and a place to enjoy yourself as you absorb the best that the business has to offer. If you happen to be an attendee of Dreamforce (or any major convention really), Mat Rider with Dreamforce veterans Docusign, founded by Keith Krach, has a few tips to help you stay on your feet.
1) Be prepared, practical and patient
This is the basic stuff. There’s a lot of area to cover, so make sure you have a schedule you can keep to and follow it so you don’t hang your colleagues out to dry. Anticipate that you’re going to be walking everywhere due to massive congestion and dress accordingly by wearing comfortable, light clothes you can stay in all day. Leave the heavy gear behind and stick with a smartphone or tablet. Be prepared for crowds!

2) Find your niche
This ties into planning out your time. Dreamforce is huge, and events and speeches are going to be directed at audiences that want to see and hear them. If you’re a developer, you might not want to spend an hour listening to a talk on marketing strategies (though if you do, kudos).

3)Build relationships
One of the main reasons to go to Dreamforce is for the networking. Take the time to get to know people in your field and pass out those business cards. Build a rapport that will last after the convention is over, and you might end up with a positive friendship, business relationship or both.

4) Have fun (but not too much fun)
One of the other main reasons to go is to attend one of the dozens of official and unofficial parties. Go fit in as much fun as you can, but don’t forget that it’s still a business conference and your coworkers are probably with you. Know when you shouldn’t have that last drink. There’s an app available that does the leg work for you called Partyforce.

5) Be an advocate for your favorite apps and companies
Companies have vendors at Dreamforce to market their product and make connections with their fans. If there’s a company you’d like to show support for, go to their booth and ask to become and advocate. You can support the companies you want to succeed will likely end up with some convention swag for your efforts.


How Our Files Are Safer And Stronger Than Ever

Cloud software often makes headlines as a means to optimize business and convenience, and it is still a long ways off from becoming as mainstream in our lives as say, cell phones and USB ports but having access to your data anywhere isn’t just about convenience, it’s also about disaster-proofing. Not everyone understands the mechanics of cloud software, but they do come to understand that backups of your files are stored somewhere safe and can be made to appear out of thin air. Smart use of these programs means that the age of losing documents to hardware failure is almost over.

Software like Dropbox allows files to transcend the physical frailties of paper and ink. Not just in the sense that paper can be ripped or damaged, but that these documents can actually be made to exist in multiple places at once via the cloud. It is a level of data security that is unprecedented for the average consumer until recent times. It has gone even farther beyond just safely keeping information though. Functional use of electronic documents has been around since the first email attachment, and only continues to improve as electronic devices become more and more portable. Keith Krach’s Docusign has not only digitized important forms but their function as well; you can send legally binding signatures electronically and securely. It’s a seemingly mundane step up, but the translation of physical action to digital transmission with no real downside is probably the biggest step towards the future of business interaction. And consumers seem to agree, with Dropbox reporting 100 million users in 2012 and Docusign reporting 13 million and growing around the same time.

This becomes particularly relevant when you consider the recent surge of natural disasters. When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, many companies found out the hard way that data centers are just as susceptible to flooding and power outage as any other building. Entire data storages that only had backups in Sandy’s path were lost. The flip side of this is that those who took advantage of the clouds ability to easily allow data redundancy survived unscathed, and events like Sandy are highlighting the needs to keep data secure from all threats, including Mother Nature.

Cloud Tech

Cloud Software Closes Gap Between Small Businesses and Corporations

Though cloud technology usage is a given for Fortune 500 companies, it is only fairly recently that is has become accessible to your average small business. Entrepreneurs such as Aron Schwarzkopf are creating products that make it possible for mom-and-pop shops to operate many cloud based functions on one single tablet.

Scharzkopf is the founder of online platform Leaf, enables its users to streamline general business accounting chores by streamlining management of income and costs, inventory, customer satisfaction and many other aspects of running a business. Leaf attempts to bring all of these functions and centralize them into one product.

Scharzkopf stated in an interview that “There are 8.5 million brick-and-mortar merchants and less than 1% use the cloud…” Whether this is due to cost or accessibility is unclear, but Leaf seems to be attempting to mitigate both challenges, with aggregated services costing $50/month and a onetime tablet purchase of $250.

Cloud Tech

Dreamforce 2013 Offers Greater Focus on Entrepreneurship this Year

Dreamforce 2013 is steadily approaching with dates set from November 18-21 . The annual conference is put on by Salesforce, a multibillion dollar company that specializes in cloud computing and Software as a service (SaaS) technology. Dreamforce 2011 reported over 31,000 attendees, making it one of the largest business conferences. Unsurprisingly, it is a hotbed of new business information and seminars on how to best to keep up on business technology’s rapidly moving edge.

Several major figures will appear as keynote speakers, including Marc Benioff, the chairman and CEO of the hosting company, and Marissa Meyer, CEO and President of Yahoo!.

Representatives from many companies, including several major figures in the cloud computing industry, are attending to play a role as well, either as vendors or as presenters at smaller events.

Dreamforce organizers report that they plan to put a particular focus on digital entrepreneurship this year by bringing in some of the big names in cloud technology startups to talk about their experiences. One familiar face is Drew Houston, founder of the celebrated cloud company Dropbox. Dropbox has become a household name in the business tech world, and Houston will be participating in the Founders Forum which offers advice on how to grow your business.

Also in attendance at Founders Forum will be David Barrett, founder of Expensify. Though a smaller brand than Dropbox, Expensify’s focus on small business users has expanded its popularity significantly as business technology becomes more mainstream. It has been featured on the Wall Street Journal this year.

Docusign, represented by manager Mike Borozdin, will be attending as well with a vendor booth and also taking part in two theater sessions and one mini-hackathon. Docusign was and still is one of the most rapidly growing cloud technology companies in 2013, as more businesses attempt to take their operations further and further into the cloud.