Rami Alkarmi builds lean startup Ecosystems

Geek. Investor. Growth Strategist.

A proud geek, investor, and widely recognized advisor and expert in strategy, lean startup ecosystems, business models, growth & distribution through big data and viral marketing, and corporate venturing.

In 2013, he founded Arcoten Holdings as his advising/investing vehicle where he partners with corporates, accelerators, and incubators to build lean startup ecosystems, and helps companies through providing expertise in growth, hands-on mentorship, access to capital, and helps companies iterate product and grow fast. From time to time, he also likes to build companies with friends and partners inside Arcoten.

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Posts tagged "sillicon alley insider"

ipad air 2

To the surprise of few Apple watchers, the company delivered its third straight quarter of declining iPad sales.

The reason why sales are shrinking appears to be pretty obvious. There isn’t a good reason to own three Apple gadgets — a Mac, iPhone, and iPad — when a combination of just two of them will do. And now that iPhones come with larger screens, there’s even less of a reason to buy an iPad along with it.

This is not to say the iPad is a bad tablet. It’s a wonderful tablet, the best you can buy. And it’s likely the primary computer for a lot of people who don’t need to do much beyond checking Facebook and some light emailing. But keep in mind the modern tablet space is only four and a half years old. We’re still learning how people use them and how often they upgrade.

Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted as much on today’s earnings call.

"People hold onto iPads longer than they do a phone," he said. "We’ve only been in this business four years. We don’t know what the upgrade cycle will be."

If you have a third-generation iPad with Retina Display (which launched in early 2012) or later, there’s no reason to upgrade to one of the new iPads Apple introduced last week. Yes, the new models are faster, thinner, and have better cameras, but even iPads that are two and a half years old are more than capable and plenty thin and light.

iPads either need to learn how to do more in order to entice people to upgrade, or we should retool expectations for how often people should upgrade them. The iPhone may last about two years for the typical user, but the iPad might be a four- or five-year upgrade.

One interesting question Cook dodged regarding declining iPad sales: An analyst asked if Apple would consider making some sort hybrid iPad that can double as a regular computer. Cook ignored that part of the question. But as Bloomberg reported this summer, Apple is working on a giant iPad with a 12.9-inch screen that could launch early next year.

SEE ALSO: What Tim Cook thinks of the iPad

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Satya Nadella Microsoft CEOMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella has always been vocal about his “cloud-first” strategy, and on Monday, made it clear that Azure, Microsoft’s cloud service platform, is a serious player in the field.

At a press event held in San Francisco, Nadella gave a bunch of figures that show Azure’s rapidly growing business. He said more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies use Azure, resulting in a revenue run rate of nearly $4.4 billion. 

Although the revenue run rate is not the actual sales amount — but what it would get if it extrapolated its current sales over 12 months — it’s still a good indication of where the business is headed in the future. Just to put that in perspective, Salesforce.com, which is one of the largest cloud software companies, had a little over $4 billion in revenues last year, while Amazon Web Services, one of the most widely used cloud platforms, is estimated to have roughly $4 billion in annual sales.

Nadella said Azure is also adding 10,000 new customers every week to its 350 million active directory user base. Those users have stored more than 30 trillion objects in total so far, according to Nadella. Moreover, in a sign that it’s really diversifying its sales channel, Nadella said almost 40% of Azure’s revenue came from startups and third-party independent software vendors (ISVs).

Microsoft Azure growth figures

Scott Guthrie, executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, also joined the presentation and emphasized how fast Azure has been scaling compared to other competitors. He said Azure now has 19 regional data centers in total, which is 2x more than Amazon’s and 6x more than Google Cloud’s. Each data center has the capacity to run up to 600,000 servers in every region, or 11.4 million servers across all regions, he said.

“This enables customers to use Azure to deploy and run their applications close to their own customers, as well as their own employees than ever before,” Guthrie said.

Because of its scale, Azure will be able to “continually cut prices,” Guthrie added, saying, “Ultimately, there’s really only going to be three vendors in the market that are going to be able to provide this level of hyper scale footprint: Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.”

John Rymer, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, told Business Insider that he agrees with Guthrie’s assessment, adding that Salesforce.com might be a distant No. 4. But he said today’s numbers were “certainly impressive” and it showed Nadella is doing a good job with Microsoft’s cloud business.

Aside from the growth figures, Rymer said Microsoft’s new partnership with Dell was what really stood out from today’s event. The new “hybrid computing” platform allows the enterprise to move applications back and forth between its own private data centers and Microsoft’s cloud, and that could be what really sets apart Azure from its main competitors like Amazon and Google, Rymer said. 

SEE ALSO: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella On Equality In The Workplace: ‘This Is A Real Issue That We Want To Make Real Progress On’

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Audi RS7 Driverless

Audi’s RS7 driverless concept car turned its first hot laps on a German racetrack over the weekend. The event was so popular that the live broadcast crashed Audi’s website. 

The RS7 equipped with Audi “Piloted Driving” technology uses a series of sensors, cameras, and GPS to precisely maneuver the car — accurate down to the centimeter, the carmaker claims. This is no Prius. Audi mounted its driverless technology inside of a 560hp sports sedan, powered by a twin-turbocharged V8.

Audi RS7 Driverless

The test car, nicknamed “Bobby” — perhaps after former Indy 500 winners Bobby Rahal or Bobby Unser — took to the track as German soccer star Bastian Schweinsteiger waved the green flag. Bobby reached speeds upwards of 140 mph on its fastest lap and concluded the demonstration by stopping centimeter-perfect in a predetermined parking spot. 

A second RS7 Piloted Driving prototype was on hand as well, but didn’t challenge Bobby for speed. The second RS7 is nicknamed “A.J.” — in reference to 4-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt. 

SEE ALSO: Amazing Things Happen When Texans Get Their Hands On Ferraris

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apple tim cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the third straight quarter of declining iPad sales during the company’s earnings call Monday.

Apple sold 12.3 million iPads during the September quarter, which is down 13% from a year ago.

Cook repeated the argument that Apple has sold more iPads in four years than iPhones sold during the first four years. He also said Apple reduced channel inventory for iPads in anticipation of the new models (iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3) that were introduced last week.

Still, Cook said he recognized the declining sales and wanted to reverse the trend.

"I view it as a speed bump, but not a huge issue," Cook said. "That said, we want to grow. We don’t like negative numbers."

This chart from Business Insider Intelligence shows how iPad sales have declined:

iPad Sales

He also doesn’t think the iPad market is saturated, pointing out that in many markets, up to 70% of iPad buyers were first-time owners. But Cook still seemed unsure about how often people upgrade their iPads.

"People hold onto iPads longer than they do a phone," Cook said. "We’ve only been in this business four years. We don’t know what the upgrade cycle will be."

He also said Apple’s own products could be cannibalizing iPad sales.

"I’m sure some people look at the Mac and the iPad and decide on the Mac," Cook said. "And I’m fine with that by the way. I’m sure some people look at the iPad and iPhone and decide to get an iPhone."

But in the long run, Cook said the iPad can still be successful.

"Over a long arc of time, the iPad has a great future. I’m very bullish on where we can take the iPad," Cook said.

SEE ALSO: Apple beats expectations in September quarter earnings

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tim cook

Apple announced during its earnings call Monday that it will change the way it reports product sales moving forward.

Instead of its own category, devices like Apple TV, iPods, and Apple Watch will be lumped together in one category. Apple will continue to report iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales separately.

That’s pretty shocking, especially because it means we may never know how many Apple Watches Apple ends up selling after the launch in early 2015.

The Apple Watch will be the first major Apple product to launch under CEO Tim Cook. In a way, it’ll be a test for whether or not Apple can make innovative new products people want to buy following the death of Steve Jobs.

But now, we may never know the answer to that critical question.

SEE ALSO: Apple posts record earnings for September quarter

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Apple on Monday reported earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter that ended Sept. 27, 2014. And with the exception of the iPad, Apple beat Wall Street’s estimates across the board: Revenue, earnings per share, and even unit sales of the iPhone and Mac surpassed expectations.

As you can see from the chart below, which was provided for us by BI Intelligence, Apple’s $42.12 billion in revenue is a big 12% jump from the same quarter a year ago. It was Apple’s best September quarter ever — thanks in large part to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which continue selling like hotcakes; the iPhone in general accounted for 56% of the company’s revenue this quarter. But the real surprise is the Mac, which had its best quarter in Apple’s history with 5.52 million unit sales; the Mac accounted for more of Apple’s revenue than the iPad (16% versus 13%, respectively). Apple expects an even bigger December quarter, projecting $63.5 billion to $66.6 billion in revenue for the holiday season — that would make it the company’s most successful quarter in history.

Tech_COTD 1020

SEE ALSO: This One Chart Explains Why eBay Is Spinning Off PayPal

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In 2012, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison — who stepped down from his position as CEO on Sept. 18 — bought a 97% stake in the Hawaiian island of Lanai for a reported $300 million. 

His enormous purchase includes pretty much everything on the island — small businesses like local restaurants, shops, and galleries, and large businesses like the two Four Seasons hotels on the island. He owns two golf courses, the community swimming pool, the water company, and a cemetery. He also owns nearly a third of all of the island’s housing. 

Ellison’s plans for Lanai are still rather mysterious, and the transition of ownership to the Oracle billionaire has been controversial among residents.

Lanai has played a number of roles in a fascinating history stretching hundreds of years, and there’s plenty to see here.

Lanai is 140 square miles of land, the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian islands and the smallest that’s publicly accessible.

The island has 47 miles of gorgeous, dramatic coastline.

Lanai has some fabulous beaches, like this secluded spot on the northwest shore called Polihua Beach. Located just across the channel from Molokai, this beach is frequented by endangered green sea turtles and humpback whales.

Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

alexa dell sean rad

In November, matchmaking app Tinder is going to charge users for a premium service. Premium accounts will be the startup’s first attempt at monetization.

According to Forbes, which interviewed Tinder CEO Sean Rad at its 30 Under 30 Summit, paid features could include extended location settings. Currently, Tinder only shows users profiles of people who are within a few miles of them. Premium accounts could lift this restriction.

"We are adding features users have been begging us for," Rad told Forbes. "They will offer so much value we think users are willing to pay for them."

He declined to offer specifics but said the free app will continue to operate the way it always has. It’s not clear how much Tinder is going to charge for freemium accounts.

Tinder users are currently swiping through 1.2 billion profiles per day. More than 15 million matches are made per day on Tinder.

"Revenue has always been on the road map," Rad said at the conference. "We had to get our product and growth right first."

Indeed, Tinder had a revenue model baked into its first investor pitch deck. Then, Tinder imagined charging users to see more than two profiles, as well as for stickers and promoted profiles.

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Satya Nadella talking

Microsoft is turning to Dell to create a new computer server.

The new computer is called the “Microsoft Cloud Platform System” and it will be a mini-version of Microsoft’s cloud, Azure, that enterprises can install in their own data centers. By using this server, enterprises can easily move applications from their own private data center to Microsoft’s cloud and back again. (In geek speak, this is called “hybrid computing”.)

This growing love for Dell shouldn’t be surprising. Microsoft loaned Dell $2 billion last year to help Michael Dell finance taking his company private.

Plus Dell and Microsoft launched a partnership late in 2013 in which Dell sold Microsoft’s cloud to enterprises.

Meanwhile, Microsoft didn’t have many other computer server vendors to turn to.

The biggest in the world are HP and IBM, according to IDC. Both of them are out selling their own clouds to compete with Azure.

HP is pushing its own hybrid cloud, Helion, with servers that aren’t running Windows but a cloud operating system called OpenStack. Plus, it also announced plans to build an entirely new computer for the cloud called “The Machine” and to write its own new operating system (not Windows) to run it.

Meanwhile, IBM recently dissed Microsoft when it cuddled up to Apple with a new partnership that will help Apple sell lots of iPads to enterprises.

The Microsoft Cloud Platform System, from Dell, will be available Nov. 3, Microsoft says.

SEE ALSO: In 2 Sentences, Satya Nadella Explains How Microsoft Will REALLY Take On Android, iOS

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iPhone 6 buyer apple store

Apple earnings for the third quarter of 2014 are out.

The big number everyone has been waiting for: iPhone sales, especially since these numbers reflect the first few weeks of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales. This is Apple’s most important and profitable business.

Apple sold 39.3 million iPhones last quarter versus the 38 million analysts were expecting. That’s a solid beat, likely due to record iPhone 6 sales.

This chart from Business Insider Intelligence shows iPhone sales growth:

iPhone Sales

As for iPads, Apple sold 12.3 million, versus the 13 million analysts were expecting. It’s another miss for the iPad. It’ll be interesting to hear Tim Cook’s explanation for the declining sales during the earnings call at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Here’s a look from Business Insider Intelligence at the iPad sales decline over the last few quarters:

iPad Sales

Meanwhile, Mac sales are growing, which would’ve seemed crazy a few years ago following all the talk that the iPad was poised to cannibalize the Mac. Apple sold 5.52 Macs last quarter, which is up 21% from a year ago. 

SEE ALSO: Complete coverage of Apple’s Q3 2014 earnings

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4505 meats sfEating amazing food doesn’t have to break the bank. 

In San Francisco, there are some amazing restaurants that you can enjoy on any budget. 

We asked our friends at The Infatuation, a restaurant review site, to compile a list of the best “cheap eats” in San Francisco. 

From super burritos to pho, there’s plenty of delicious stuff you can get on the cheap.

Ike’s Place has an incredible menu of 200 sandwiches.

3489 16th Street

Each of the sandwiches has a funny name, like “Pastrami-Charmed Life,” “Nacho Girl,” and “Going Home For Thanksgiving.”

The original Ike’s opened in the Castro in 2007, but they’ve since expanded to locations in Oakland, Santa Rosa, Salinas, Cupertino, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Monterey, Danville, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Tempe, and Mesa, Arizona.

Read The Infatuation’s review of Ike’s Place here » 

Arinell Pizza is as close to New York-style pizza as you’ll get in San Francisco.

509 Valencia Street

The restaurant itself is nothing fancy, and it’s cash-only, but Mission locals love the pizza’s thin, crispy crust.

Plus, the $3-a-slice price tag makes it the perfect late-night indulgence.

Try some amazing pita wraps at Souvla in Hayes Valley.

517 Hayes Street

Pair soft and chewy pita with your choice of either pork, chicken, lamb, or veggie. There’s also four types of frozen Greek yogurt, with unconventional flavors like olive oil topped with sea salt and another served with baklava crumbles and honey.

The food is affordable, too, with entrees that range from $9 to $12. 

Read The Infatuation’s review of Souvla here »

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

jan koum whatsapp

Jan Koum — CEO of WhatsApp, the company Facebook bought for $22 billion in February — is apologizing for harassing an ex-girlfriend who got a restraining order against him in 1996, according to Bloomberg’s David de Jong and Sarah Frier

Koum’s college ex accused him of verbally and physically threatening her, according to Bloomberg.

The ex said he lingered outside her class and frequently called her house, according to court documents from the civil restraining order, granted by a San Jose, California state court. She also said he used her social security number and “ruined records at the school,” according to the court documents.

“I feel I was irrational and behaved badly after we broke up,” Koum said in a statement to Bloomberg. “I am ashamed of the way I acted, and ashamed that my behavior forced her to take legal action. I am deeply sorry for what I did.”

Koum also allegedly harassed his ex-girlfriend at work, calling her constantly and showing up numerous times and causing her to hide in the bathroom. Her coworkers walked her to her car at night because she feared for her safety, the ex-girlfriend claimed in court documents.

“Over the years, I have thought a lot about that difficult period of my life,” he said. “I have many regrets and things I wish I could go back and change, but I have also worked hard and tried to improve myself.”

Facebook released a statement saying that Koum’s response “demonstrates the sincerity of his remorse over what happened nearly two decades ago.” Koum is on Facebook’s board of directors.

SEE ALSO: Here’s What A Former Facebook Employee Learned About His ‘Soul-Crushing’ 45-Minute Commute After He Quit

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EyeEm app

Smartphone cameras keep getting better.

Luckily, photo apps have kept up, making it possible to tweak and tune more than ever as you turn a raw photo into a polished photograph.

From newcomers like “Manual,” which give you unparalleled access to your camera’s inner workings, to age-old favorites like “Camera+,” your photos will never look the same.

Just make sure to keep your thumb off the lens.

EyeEm gives photographers the chance to get paid and published.

Founded by Flickr’s former VP of product, EyeEm gives you the chance to win prizes, money, and even have your photos published in prominent news websites or photo agencies like Getty through creative missions. A recent mission, for example, asked users to take a picture that represented “peace” to them, for the chance to see their photo in a Huffington Post article.

Price: Free (iOS, Android)

Cycloramic uses your iPhone’s vibrations to magically rotate for perfect panoramas.

Cycloramic wowed audiences on ABC’s “Shark Tank” with its unique hands-free mode, which uses the iPhone’s built-in vibration motors to rotate the app to capture smooth panorama. If you have an iPhone 5 or 5S, the hands-free mode will rotate the phone while it stands vertically, but since the iPhone 6’s corners are curved, a new version for the iPhone 6 (not the 6 plus, unfortunately) cleverly uses the iPhone’s charging block as a stand instead.

Cycloramic for iPhone 5/5S: $1.99

Cycloramic for iPhone 6: Free

Manual gives photography experts full access to all of your camera’s settings.

Manual lets you open up the hood of your iPhone’s camera, giving you full independent control of advanced settings like shutter, ISO, white balance, focus, and exposure compensation. When you’re done editing, all of your photos save directly to your iPhone’s Camera Roll.

Price: $1.99 (iOS)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

It’s a common cliche that older men chase much younger women, but charts from the book “Dataclysm" provide real evidence that men at every age are consistently most attracted to women in their early 20s.

"Dataclysm" author Christian Rudder uses numbers from OkCupid to show how women and men differ in the ages of the people they’re attracted to.

Men, regardless of their age, tend to say women in their early 20s look best, while women are most attracted to men their own age.

Dataclysm_35Dataclysm chart

To make these charts, Rudder looked at the preferences of OkCupid users. As you can see, a woman’s taste in men typically evolves as she ages, while a man’s taste in women stays the same no matter how old he gets.

But there’s another layer to this data. Although men at every age seem to be attracted to very young women, they most often message women who are closer to their own age.

The age range of women men say they’re most interested in tends to fall within their own age range:

Dataclysm chart

The same goes for the women men message the most: 

Dataclysm chart

And hardly any men in their 30s message 20-year-old women:

Dataclysm chart

Still, it’s harder for women to find a mate as they get older. Rudder wrote in a blog post for OkCupid in 2010: “a man, as he gets older, searches for relatively younger and younger women. Meanwhile his upper acceptable limit hovers only a token amount above his own age.”

Charts reprinted from “Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking.” Copyright © 2014 by Christian Rudder. Published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of Random House LLC.

SEE ALSO: Your Chances Of Getting A Job Interview Greatly Increase If You’re An Attractive Woman

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Some Apple Pay locations

Apple Pay, Apple’s answer to mobile payments, was finally released on Monday. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users will be able to use Apple Pay in stores once they upgrade to iOS 8.1.

Apple Pay connects with your credit and debit cards and allows you to make payments by touching your phone to an NFC-enabled terminal, and holding your thumb to the fingerprint sensor, called Touch ID, to authenticate your purchase. You can also use Apple Pay for online purchases and for purchases within apps.

At launch, the app is only available for credit and debit cards issued by American Express, Bank of America, Capital One Bank, Chase (Visa only), Citi, Merril Lynch (credit only), U.S. Trust, and Wells Fargo. Apple says more than 500 banks have signed up to use Apple Pay. 

So far the app works flawlessly. But only if you know where to use it. 

You can use Apple Pay at 220,000 locations in the US so far, including:


  • McDonald’s
  • Panera Bread
  • Subway
  • Whole Foods
  • ExtraMile
  • Wegmans


  • Chevron 
  • Texaco

Clothing and sportswear:

  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Champs
  • Macy’s
  • Aeropostale
  • Sports Authority
  • Six:02


  • Foot Locker
  • Lady Foot Locker
  • Kids Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • House of Hoops
  • Nike
  • Run by Footlocker


  • Petco
  • Unleashed

Drug stores:

  • Duane Reade
  • Walgreens

Office supplies:

  • Office Depot


  • Toys R Us
  • Babies R Us

Big box stores:

  • BJ’s Wholesale Club


  • RadioShack
  • Apple Store

Coming later this year:

  • Anthropologie
  • Disney Store
  • Free People
  • Petsmart
  • Sephora
  • Staples
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Walt Disney World

You can also use Apple Pay with the following apps:

Apple Pay apps

Eventbrite, Starbucks, Levi’s Stadium, Sephora, JackThreads, and StubHub are adding Apple Pay support “later this year,” Apple says.  

SEE ALSO: A bunch of people aren’t interested in upgrading their older-generation iPads

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