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Patti Payne's Cool Pads: Former Microsoft exec puts San Juan compound on the market (Photos)

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 7:11pm
Retired Microsoft executive Bob McDowell and his wife Lisa McDowell, a former teacher, are selling their West Winds estate at Friday Harbor on San Juan Islands.  Brokers Tere Foster with Team Foster at Compass, and Forbes Hansen with American Dream Real Estate Services have the $3.48 million listing. The McDowells bought the property in 1997 when Bob was still working at the tech giant. At that time the island property was a bed-and-breakfast on five acres. “It was compelling to us —…

Benchmark Electronics hires first chief revenue officer

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 7:00pm
Rob Crawford has been named to the newly created position as chief revenue officer of Benchmark Electronics Inc. (NYSE: BHE), a Tempe-based electronics component manufacturer. Crawford will direct Benchmark’s global go-to-market strategy, including executing vertical sector strategies, determining portfolio optimization, accelerating marketing and demand generation, and ensuring revenue realization to achieve growth objectives. He joined the company in July. Most recently, Crawford was the vice…

Looking to hire a programmer? Here are the 13 schools in the Americas that train the best ones

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 5:51pm
Companies looking to hire qualified programmers may want to overlook Stanford, Caltech and MIT in favor of UC Berkeley, the University of Southern California and Carnegie Mellon University, according to new data released by Mountain View-based HackerRank. The company offers employers a platform to assess job candidates’ skills. After compiling almost 1.5 million such assessments of new college graduates, HackerRank identified the 13 schools in the Americas where candidates ranked the highest on…

Ag tech company Biome Makers gets $4 million in VC funding from Europe

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 5:41pm
Biome Makers Inc. has closed a $4 million venture round from European investors. The soil biome health analysis company, which was launched in San Francisco in 2015, was the first tenant in early 2018 of the Bayer Crop Science CoLaborator co-working research and wet lab space in West Sacramento. Biome Makers is pioneering profiling soil microbe DNA so farmers and vintners can monitor and control the quality of their soil. The company examines the health of the soil's microbiome life rather than…

Barracuda Networks founder has a 1,200-HP, $1.25M supercar he wants to sell you

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 5:38pm
Barracuda Networks founder Dean Drako on Friday took the wraps off of a fully electric supercar at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in Carmel — a car that he is selling for $1.25 million and up. The Drako GTE is built on a chassis from Fisker Automotive, boasting 1,200 horsepower and rapid acceleration up to 206 mph. The limited production supercar was designed by Lowie Vermeersch and his Italian GranStudio team in consultation with veteran race car driver and Santa Cruz native Bruce Canepa,…

U.S. is preparing to sue to block Sabre’s planned acquisition, report says

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 5:11pm
Sabre may be heading to court over its proposed deal to buy Farelogix after all. The U.S. Justice Department is preparing to sue to block Sabre Corp.’s (Nasdaq: SABR) proposed acquisition of Farelogix over concerns the deal will harm competition, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter. The move would follow Sabre’s decision to inform the DOJ was planning to wrap the acquisition Aug. 21. The more-than-$300 million deal was announced last year – and had been expected…

Idea for protecting viral creativity wins latest PitchBlack prize

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 5:04pm
Before a sold-out crowd in Wieden+Kennedy’s famous bleacher-filled event space, Renee Allums explained the history of the term “on fleek” In 2014, black teenager Peaches Monroee posted a video on the now defunct short video service Vine declaring her eyebrows “on fleek.” The video went viral and Monroee’s term with it. Monroee got exposure, said Allums, who is a recent graduate of Lewis & Clark College, and the term quickly found its way into the pop lexicon. “But, corporations…

Tom Gibbons goes from video games to jet wings as head of Boeing supplier

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 4:55pm
After leaving Microsoft, Tom Gibbons started a second career as president of Aviation partners and CEO of its new data driven unit ApiJet.

Erise takes on patent trolls for tech consortium with hundreds of well-known members

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 4:03pm
The Overland Park-based law firm's work for a 200-plus-member tech consortium is growing as the desire to squash patent trolls grows.

Life in Balance: Akerna CEO Jessica Billingsley finds proper 'work-life ratio' through nature, meditation and tech

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 4:00pm
Jessica Billingsley, co-founder and CEO of Akerna, was the first CEO to take a cannabis compliance software company to the Nasdaq. The company (Nasdaq: KERN) serves clients that have reported $15 billion in sales in roughly 30 U.S. states and 13 countries. Billingsley and her partner, John Van Horn, and her 12-year-old daughter live in Denver. A transplant from Atlanta, Billingsley embraces Colorado’s outdoor lifestyle. She’s an alpine skier, a rock climber, a hiker, a mountain biker and a…

Starboard Value shrinks stake in Cerner

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:47am
Starboard Value LP has decreased its already small stake in Cerner Corp. after the activist investor agitated for two spots on the board and initiated a broader string of cost and structural changes at the health IT company. When North Kansas City-based Cerner (Nasdaq: CERN) filed its cooperation agreement with Starboard Value in April, the activist investor held a 1.2% stake, with 3.1 million shares. As of June 30, Starboard owns 3 million shares, equivalent to a 0.92% stake in Cerner — a 3.1%…

U.S.-China trade war hits Cisco, CEO Chuck Robbins tells investors

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:42am
Cisco Systems Inc. CEO Chuck Robbins told investors this week that the U.S.-China trade war has been hitting home: Chinese state-owned businesses have been snubbing the San Jose-based networking hardware company, he said. Robbins told investors in an earnings call that the Chinese market was “certainly not a major play for us, but it has just dropped precipitously in light of the trade discussions.” “For years, we’ve sold infrastructure to the large carriers in China, which has just —…

WeWork joins underperforming Uber, Lyft, Nio as biggest pre-IPO cash guzzlers

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:42am
WeWork this week, in announcing plans to go public, joined a group of pre-IPO cash guzzlers, a membership that has proven to be an ill omen for all previous members when they've hit the public markets. WeWork's parent, The We Co., showed a trailing operating loss of about $1.7 billion on the IPO prospectus it filed this week. That's topped only by ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE:UBER), which showed an operating loss of about $1.8 billion before it went public in May. All 10 of the…

Layoffs expected after Ziff Davis buys Spiceworks

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:40am
Spiceworks Inc., an Austin, Texas-based technology company that developed a marketplace and network for information technology professionals, is being acquired by New York-based Ziff Davis B2B, a global marketing company that operates brands including IGN, Mashable, Humble Bundle, Speedtest, PCMag and Offers.com. Financial details weren’t provided. The deal, which is expected to close in the coming days, will lead to layoffs at both companies, according to a blog post by Spiceworks founder and…

Bitcoin review: Is BTC like 'baseball cards' or 'schmuck insurance'?

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:36am
Here are this week's top headlines on all-things cryptocurrency and blockchain.

Amazon confirms plans to open a '4-star' store in Boston area

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:32am
Amazon confirmed the company is hiring for a new 4-star location in the Boston area after the Business Journal reported on job postings for Amazon 4-star positions in Natick, Massachusetts.

Latest challenge for Sprint/T-Mobile merger: public comment period

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 9:25am
Sprint Corp.’s proposed $26.5 billion merger with rival T-Mobile US Inc. has approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, but the long road to a union may get longer. On Thursday, the chairman of the House Antitrust Committee, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, called on the FCC and Chairman Ajit Pai to open the merger up for public comment, saying the deal “demands a thorough and transparent review,” Reuters reports. Cicilline lamented that Pai’s…

Nvidia shares rally as earnings fuel hopes for rebound

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 9:15am
Quarterly numbers show Nvidia is still on track, despite political and economic uncertainty.

How will Amazon deliver packages by drone in tricky places? A new patent offers a clue.

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 9:05am
Every once in a while, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) lets the world know what it might be planning — not in a public announcement but in a patent filing. The company has filed thousands of applications since its founding, and while many don't go anywhere, some go on to disrupt long-existing industries. This week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued about 50 patents to the company, many of which Amazon applied for a years ago. Here are some of the more interesting ones: Fly-by package…

Florida manufacturing giant announces plans to invest $42M, create 100+ jobs in New Mexico

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 9:01am
A large public company in the Sunshine State is set to make a significant play in the Southwest United States. St. Petersburg-based Jabil (NYSE: JBL) is set to make a $42 million investment in Albuquerque, New Mexico for technology and equipment as it makes the Duke City its "center of excellence" for 3D printing, officials announced on Aug. 15. The company said it plans to hire 120 employees in the next five years. "We have all the talent in the world right here in New Mexico, and when we build…

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