PowerTalk (general)
Exploding Demand for Big Data and Analytics at Financial Services and Healthcare Companies
Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits. I’m also the  portfolio manager of the Thematic Growth Portfolio at Fabian Wealth Strategies, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk as we'll as FabianWealth.com for more on my Thematic Growth Portfolio.
 
If you are like me, from time to time you hear a bunch of terms being thrown about. So far in 2014, I’m hearing the words “big data," “analytics” and “the Internet of Things” thrown about and I bet you are too. 
 
Big data and analytics are helping a number of companies make faster, smarter decisions about how to run their businesses. 
 
Here are two examples of what I am talking about
 
  • Anheuser-Busch — the home of Budweiser beer —  recently conducted a massive data-analysis project better understand the sales tactics of its most successful beer sellers among its 40,000 US retailers.
  • Did you know that every day Coca-Cola downloads all of the crazy soda combinations that have been made that day with each of its Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. Why? To see which combinations could be worthy of becoming the next big beverage from Coca-Cola.
 
It’s not just beer and beverage companies that are using big data to make smarter decisions. In 2013 an executive survey by NewVantage Partners with leading Wall Street firms found that: 
  • 96% of executives reported having a Big Data initiative planned or in progress, 
  • 75% of executives cited the need for improved cost performance as the most important driver of Big Data investment.  
And yes, those financial services firms are seeing meaningful results from these initiatives. 
 
Joining me to talk about this is Sheila Dalton, founder of Big Data Company Gray Matter Analytics  a consulting firm that specializes on Big Data and analytics for the financial services and healthcare industries. I had a great conversation with Sheila because she tells it like it is, she even shares which companies she thinks are doing it right and which ones are going about it all wrong. Wait until you hear it, I bet you’ll be more than surprised. 
Direct download: 03-18-14_GRAYMATTERPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03am EST

Privacy And Freedom in The Digital Age with Susan Morgan of GNI

 

Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits. I’m also the  portfolio manager of the Thematic Growth Portfolio at Fabian Wealth Strategies, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk as we'll as FabianWealth.com for more on my Thematic Growth Portfolio.

 

The Internet has led to many revolutions over the last few years and that’s particularly true in how we communicate and collaborate. It’s also shattered existing business models — just ask Barnes & Noble, Circuit City and practically any print newspaper you can still find. It’s also given rise to a number of freedoms - freedom of expression, freedom of information and so on. 

 

One of the potential drawbacks of explosive demand for connectivity and consumers desire for anytime, anywhere access is privacy. In other words, as we continue to shift toward an increasing digital society, there are concerns over privacy and your freedoms.

 

Joining me to talk on these issues as well as talk more about the Global Network Initiative (GNI) is Susan Morgan, the initiative’s executive director. As Executive Director, Susan is responsible for continuing to make GNI a leading voice in defending and promoting freedom of expression and privacy in the information and communications technology industry worldwide. With backers ranging from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to Websense and Yahoo, GNI is in the thick of it.

 

Susan and I also talk about the once secret NSA surveillance programs that former contractor Edward Snowden allegedly leaked. As Susan points out, even the fiercest critics and staunchest defenders of national security surveillance seem to agree -  more transparency from the U.S. government is required.

Direct download: 03-11-14_GNIPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:40pm EST

Where mobile is headed with Liam Griffin of Skyworks Solutions
Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits and portfolio manager of the Thematic Growth Portfolio at Fabian Wealth Strategies, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk as we'll as FabianWealth.com for more on my Thematic Growth Portfolio.
 
A few weeks ago we had a great conversation with Bill Davidson of Qualcomm (QCOM), which served as a precursor of sorts to Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile trade show/industry event. It’s an annual event and tends to be chock full of new product announcements and key note speeches that give one the heads up as to what is coming. If you tuned into the Qualcomm PowerTalk, you got a great sneak peak. If you missed it, I have another conversation to share with you this week that I am sure will be as illuminating and insightful.
 
Joining me on PowerTalk this week is Liam Griffin, executive vice president and corporate general manager, responsible for all Skyworks’(SWKS) business units. That makes Liam a key person to talk with when it comes to mobile today and getting insight as to where it’s headed. 
 
From smartphones and tablets to smart locks and thermostats and monitoring applications to medical applications such as portable glucose meters that are a part of upcoming Connected Home and mHealth markets, Skyworks’s RF solutions are enabling these applications. The same can be said about wearables and the connected car markets, as well as the company’s customer basewhich includes the who’s who in connected devices.
 
During the December 2013 quarter alone, Skyworks earned new design wins across a number of diverse applications, including 
  • 802.11 solutions in set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and LED/4K TVs, 
  • RF subsystems for Ericsson for 4G LTE base stations, 
  • power management devices within Philips wearable technologies and health and wellness applications, 
  • connectivity ICs supporting Nests suite of smart home products, 
  • switch models in Belkins wireless home lighting solutions, 
  • envelope tracking solutions within multiple 4G LTE platforms and 
  • connectivity ICs in Fitbits smart scale and connected wristband fitness systems
That’s right, this PowerTalk is another soup to nuts conversation on where mobile is today and where it is going. That makes my PowerTalk with Liam a great way to close out Mobile World Congress and discuss what’s ahead for both mobile and connectivitybut also Skyworks.
Direct download: 03-04-14_SKYWORKSPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28pm EST

 
Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits and portfolio manager of the Thematic Growth Portfolio at Fabian Wealth Strategies, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk as we'll as FabianWealth.com for more on my Thematic Growth Portfolio.
 
It seems that no matter where you look today, someone you know is on a smartphone or tablet:
 
  • Checking email, sending a message or a tweet on Twitter (TWTR) or taking a selfie to upload on Facebook (FB)
  • Trading stocks on TD Ameritrade (AMTD), paying bills or depositing a check or two to Bank of America (BAC) or Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA).
  • Streaming a movie on Netflix (NFLX),  shopping on Amazon (AMZN), downloading a game or getting directions
  • They may even be making a phone call or a video call via Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype or Apple’s (AAPL) FaceTime 
 
When you think about it, it is pretty amazing how mobile technology has transformed our lives.
 
What’s even more amazing is that the change we have seen thus far has really been due to three devices — the mobile phone, the smart phone and the more recently the tablet. 
 
When I take a step back and see how increasingly reliant we are on mobile technology , it looks more and more akin to electricity or water…it’s booming a greater part of out lives and you can’t live without it. That makes mobile a key cornerstone of my Always On, Always Connected PowerTrend
 
Joining me on PowerTalk to talk about the state of the mobile industry today and where it’s headed is longtime friend Bill Davidson from Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM), a key technology company in the mobile revolution. Bill is a Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Qualcomm Technologies and he also heads up Qualcomm’s Investor Relations. I’ve know Bill for more than a decade and I’ve found him to be a fountain of information and insight over the years. During our conversation, we talk about the existing mobile markets and why there is plenty of growth left in smartphones and tablets. We also discuss a number of the up and coming mobile markets — The Connected Car, The Connected Home, wearables, mHealth, mobile payments and more. With all of these new markets coming on stream, you’re right to think that this will put a huge burden on mobile operators like Verizon, AT&T and others, but as Bill shares Qualcomm is already tackling that particular pain point. 
 
After today’s PowerTalk that truly takes you behind the scenes and in the know when it comes to mobile and to Qualcomm, you’ll see that we are still only in the early innings of the mobile revolution.
 
Disclosure: Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) shares were recommended to subscribers of my investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits last April at $64.01
Direct download: 02-17-14_QUALCOMMPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33am EST

Live From The NYSE With Keith Bliss -- What's Next For Stocks Other Than Volatility?

 

Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits and portfolio manager of the Thematic Growth Portfolio at Fabian Wealth Strategies, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk as we'll as FabianWealth.com for more on my Thematic Growth Portfolio.

 

I think it’s very fair to say the start to the stock market in 2014 has caught many by surprise with its sharp move lower in late January. I talked all about with you last week when I shared my PowerTalk conversation with Lou Dobbs with you.

 

We’ve seen some life in the stock market since then and even though the stock market may snap back on a technical basis, economic and industry growth concerns remain and that combination will make for a more challenging stock market in 2014 compared to 2013. The strong stock market in 2013 meant it was hard for investors to go wrong, but as we are seeing 2014 is setting up to be a very different stock market….more of a stock pickers market. 

 

Joining me on PowerTalk this week to discuss the recent pullback in the stock market and where it is likely to head both near-term and longer term is my good friend Keith Bliss. Keith is a Senior Vice President at Cuttone & Company, the floor broker with the largest operation at the New York Stock Exchange. I've known Keith for many years now and this is the kind of conversation that he and I have on a more than periodic basis. It’s an inside baseball conversation about the stock market and I think you’ll find it very timely.

 

As Keith points out, investors will be dealing will volatility in the stock market as the Federal Reserve continues to taper its stimulative QE efforts. Alongside that…economic data, corporate commentary and other tea leaves will determine the direction of the stock market. After talking with Keith, I think you will be more than surprised by what he has to say.

 

That said, we both agree there are pockets of opportunity to be had -- pain points such as cyber security and the current drought situation as well as opportunities, such as the intersection of mobile, the Internet and computing that is reshaping industries and business models around us. Keith and I also discuss a looming pain point in the US  - this increasingly older US population that is looking like it will not have enough retirement savings to last its golden years. Data from a number of sources reveals 44% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, the average 401K balance is only 64,000 and the payroll to population ratio in January was just 42%. 

 

 

Make no mistake, there will be some long-term pain felt. The question you should be asking yourself is how do YOU profit from it?

Direct download: Square_PowerTalk_Logo.jpg
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EST

Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits and portfolio manager of the Thematic Growth Portfolio at Fabian Wealth Strategies, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk as we'll as FabianWealth.com for more on my Thematic Growth Portfolio.

It’s been a rough time of late - questions are being raised about growth prospects, both for the global economy and the stock market. We’ve had more companies issue negative outlooks than we have had in some time while the latest round of economic data has been weaker than expected. All of this has taken a toll on the major stock market indices leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average down over a 1,000 points from where it was just two weeks ago. Also down big are the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index. At times like these I’m looking at investment opportunities that solve looming pain points be it in cybersecurity, drought, or other areas. You can sit back and be frustrated or you can look at the situation with the glass half full and look for opportunities that will bring you long-term profits. 

Joining me today on PowerTalk is a person who really needs little to no introduction. He’s an anchor on Fox Business as well as a New York Times best-selling author. That’s right, today I’m talking with Loud Dobbs! 

Many of you know him from Lou Dobbs Tonight,  where he dissects the latest on politics, the economy, business and other topics. We’ll be touching on a number of those topics on PowerTalk today as well Lou’s new book - Upheaval. 

With the tag line “winning back the country with knowledge that empowers, ideas that matter and solutions that work” you know it’s going to not only be a timely read, but since its from Lou Dobbs it’s a great one as well. Full of facts and figures that will probably surprise you and challenge at least some of the conventional thinking that you’ve been programmed to believe. 

It was a pleasure talking with Lou, he’s both a gentlemen and a scholar. More importantly, his viewpoint is similar to the one I was talking about a little while ago — not just the glass half full, but one that looks for answers and solutions to the problems we face….solutions to the coming upheaval.

Direct download: 02-04-14_DOBBSPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm EST

Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits and portfolio manager of the Thematic Growth Portfolio at Fabian Wealth Strategies, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk as we'll as FabianWealth.com for more on my Thematic Growth Portfolio

Every so often there are key words and phrases that get big play around the media and before you know it they are in use almost everywhere. Irrational exuberance, outside the box, deliverables, skill set, metric, multitasking, bandwidth, selfie, spyware and a more than a few others.

I’m sure over the last few years, you’ve heard those words and phrases time and time again… so much so that the meaning behind those words became dulled if not lost. 

There’s another term that has been gaining in popularity over the last year or so and believe you me, it is one that will impact your very life — big data. 

I know you’ve heard those two words before — big data —  term before and it’s been used by companies like Cisco (CSCO), Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG), Oracle (ORCL), IBM (IBM) and others. In this age where more and more things are connected, monitored and captured, what is big data? How is it used? What does it mean for business and for the consumer? How will it change things?

These are the questions we need to understand and joining me today on PowerTalk to sort through all of it is Arnab Gupta, Founder and CEO of Opera Solutions. As Arnab points out, it’s not just you and me that are just figuring out what big data is, companies are in the same boat - they know they need to spend on it and they are, but how do they get value from it? How do companies use it to make better decisions, work more productively, and take better actions? How does a company go from spending on big data to making it a competitive advantage for their business?

Arnab and I not only discuss all of this, but he shares how he thinks big data will force companies like Oracle, IBM SAP and others to expand and change their capabilities lest they risk becoming the next Kodak. 

Direct download: 01-28-14_OPERAPOWERTALK_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:16pm EST

Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk.

Throughout this would be US economic recovery, job creation has not matched what it has been in prior recoveries. In fact, we’ve seen more people dropping out of the labor force, while companies complain they can’t find the kind of workers they need. At the same time, there have been two structural shifts in the economy - the migration to online businesses, which is only accelerating given the adoption rates of smartphones and tablets, but also the slow death of domestic manufacturing. Let’s face it folks, that is a long-term recipe for disaster for the American middle class when it comes to jobs and incomes. It’s not like it was when I was a kid and a family could support itself with one parent working a middle management job.

While many businesses and entrepreneurs are using the online world to enhance their businesses and profits, few are also setting out to return manufacturing and jobs to the US. One such company that is is American Love Affair, an e-tailer that deals exclusively in goods made here in the US. If you’ve listened to my PowerTalks with Abe’s Market about its online business model and Motorola Mobility about how and why it’s building its Moto X smartphone here in the US, then you’ll get exactly what American Love Affair founder and CEO Noelle Nguyun is doing. 

Noelle and I also talk about why she founded the company and how she can compete with not only some of the bigger retail companies  — The Gap (GPS), JC Penny (JCP), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Macy’s (M) and others—  but also with the growing online behemoth that is Amazon (AMZN). It’s a great conversation on many levels and it will have you seeing the opportunity and ability to not only save but  return both manufacturing and jobs here to the US.

Direct download: 01-21-14_AMERICANLOVEPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42am EST

Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk.

Ever since we started PowerTalk, I’ve spoken with a number of companies that are benefitting from the shift toward mobile as well as the productivity driver that is connectivity. Being able to share information is a driving force in this connected and increasingly mobile world, not only for the enterprise market, but also for the consumer. We’re seeing companies like Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), Dropbox, Box, and others bring collaboration services to market, but it also raises security concerns, particularly for the business community. On the consumer side, companies like Snapchat and Glide along with Facebook’s (FB) Instagram and Twitter’s (TWTR) Vine applications are riding the transition from voice and text to video and video chat. 

Imagine if there was one company that did all of this? And it worked no matter where your data was stored and no matter what device — Apple (AAPL) iPhone, Google (GOOG) Android or Microsoft Windows — powered smartphone or tablet. Well there is and it’s called Moxtra. In many ways, Moxtra is set to do to collaboration what Blackberry (BBRY) first did for email.

Joining me today on PowerTalk is Subrah Iyar is the former co-founder and CEO of WebEx Communications, which he founded, served as Chairman & CEO through its IPO and 2007 acquisition by Cisco Systems (CSCO) for $3.2 billion. Today, Subrah and I are talking about his latest company, Moxtra, a technology company focusing on productivity and collaboration solutions. 

Direct download: 01-14-14_MOXTRAPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:10pm EST

Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits, and these are my 1-1 conversations with the movers and shakers in the business world that take you behind the scenes and in the know. Be sure to check out ChrisVersace.com for more on PowerTrends and past editions of PowerTalk.
Since we started PowerTalk back in late 2012, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my 1-1 conversations with Steve Forbes, Dr. John Lott, James Debney, the CEO of Smith & Wesson, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and dozens upon dozens more with you. 
Looking at what we have coming up in the following months, I can honestly say we are just getting started. So sit back, relax and get ready to once again go behind the scenes and in the know.
As we get started today, let me share an interesting factoid with you
Internet backbone company Cisco Systems (CSCO) sees video being a key driver of Internet traffic and with more and more devices equipped with cameras it’s easy to see how. It’s not just smartphones and tablets, there is an increasing demand for video surveliance from retailers, banks and other companies and even law enforcement.
With this exploding amount of data in general and with all that video being created, uploaded and shared, a key question is how can consumers and companies harness that data?
Joining me on to talk about that opportunity today on PowerTalk is Al Shipp is the CEO of 3VR. 3VR provides value by enabling organizations to search, mine and leverage video to bolster security, identify and mitigate fraud and better serve customers.
A seasoned technology veteran, Al joined 3VR from Apple (AAPL), where he built a world-class sales and marketing group and led the Enterprise Division to be one of Apple’s most profitable business units. Prior to Apple, he served in senior leadership roles at Critical Path, Inktomi Corporation, BEA Systems, and IBM (IBM).
You may be asking yourself, who is using 3VR’s technology? Companies like Hilton, T-Mobile, Chico’s FAS, the Elk Grove California Police Department, Union Saving Bank and many more across a number of industries. 
After listening to Al and what 3VR is working on, you may think twice before walking out with that pen you just used to sign your name on the credit card receipt.
Direct download: 01-07-14_3VRPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39pm EST