Former

Behind The Predictive Future Of Search

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3569684/google-now-android-4-2-knowledge-graph-neural-networks

For decades, visions of the future have played with the magical possibilities of computers: they’ll know where you are, what you want, and can access all the world’s information with a simple voice prompt. That vision hasn’t come to pass, yet, but features like Apple’s Siri and Google Now offer a keyhole peek into a near future reality where your phone is more “Personal Assistant” than “Bar bet settler.” The difference is that the former actually understands what you need while the latter is a blunt search instrument.

Google Now is one more baby step in that direction. Introduced this past June with Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean,” it’s designed to ambiently give you information you might need before you ask for it. To pull off that ambitious goal, Google takes advantage of multiple parts of the company: comprehensive search results, robust speech recognition, and most of all Google’s surprisingly deep understanding of who you are and what you want to know.

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 news No Comments

Sennheiser boasts anti-counterfeit efforts, unveils new authentication technologies

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/22/sennheiser-anti-counterfeit-china/

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You know Sennheiser’s pissed when it holds a press conference just to talk about its anti-counterfeit efforts. In Guangzhou yesterday, the German audio company brought along two executives to debut its new authentication technologies on its retail packaging: a shiny Tesa PrioSpot authenticity label plus a “fool-proof” online look-up system. For the former, President of Corporate Services Volker Batels claims it’s treated as securely as one would with cash money, in the sense that it has many visible and invisible features.

There’s also a QR code plus its corresponding label ID printed below the foil, and scanning the former or entering the latter on qr-sennheiser.com returns a virtual copy of the foil label plus a visual description. If what you have matches the label on the screen then hakuna matata. But if the code’s been looked up many times already, the website will also give you a warning like in the screenshot after the break — chances are the label’s been duplicated, so potential buyers should always check this before handing the money over.

Marc Vincent, the company’s President of Greater China, aims to have this “urgent project” covering most products by the end of this year. “We have been fighting counterfeits for five years with some result, but now we have officially declared war on counterfeiting,” Mr. Vincent said in a stern voice. “Manufacturers of counterfeit products are social parasites. They really damage our reputation.”

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Sennheiser boasts anti-counterfeit efforts, unveils new authentication technologies originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 22 Aug 2012 15:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

All Those E-mails From Pinterest Are Very Good For This Guy

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/all-those-e-mails-from-pinterest-are-very-good-for-this-guy-2012-3


SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin

SendGrid has sent 30 billion e-mails in the three years it’s been in business — and none of them are spam.

SendGrid is an e-mail cloud service hired by Pinterest, Foursquare, Hootsuite, Spotify, job sites, daily deal sites and many other companies.

About 40,000 Web applications use SendGrid, says its CEO  — and Boulder startup icon — Jim Franklin. And none of it is spam because users sign up these e-mails, such as job openings, friend requests and the like.

Franklin says it even coaches its customers on how to do e-mail so people don’t report it as spam.

“One person sending e-mail to another is easy. But an app sending out e-mail is hard. E-mail is a problem for developers,” explains Franklin.

So it’s no surprise that SendGrid is growing at 10% annually — it now sends out more than 3 billion emails per month — and it recently landed Microsoft Azure as a partner. SendGrid will now be the default e-mail service for any app using Microsoft’s cloud, Franklin says. New Azure developers qualify for 25,000 free e-mails a month.

The company is one of the shining stars of the blossoming Boulder startup scene. It began in Boulder’s TechStars accelerator program in 2009 and has boomed from there. It recently landed raised $21 million in Series B funding in January — for a total of $27 million raised so far

As SendGrid uses Rackspace, Web apps that also use Rackspace qualify for 40,000 free e-mails per month.

All who know SendGrid are expecting an IPO in as little three years. One of its VCs, Bessemer Venture Partners, has done over 100 IPOs, notes Franklin. That’s if the company doesn’t accept an acquisition offer before then, says Franklin. 

And if you’re interested in one of the 30 job openings at the company, you might also want to know that the company motto is the 4H’s: Honest, hungry, humble, happy.

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Thursday, March 1st, 2012 news No Comments

I Read 21 Books About The Financial Crisis And They Explained Nothing

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/andrew-lo-21-books-financial-crisis-2012-2


andrew lo

Ever thought you would have to read 21 books to get to the bottom of what caused the financial crisis?

Andrew Lo, an economist at MIT, has some bad news: it’s going to take at least 22.

Lo, a leading expert on hedge funds and financial engineering, has written a paper (h/t NPR) for the Journal of Economic Literature describing his experience reading 21 books on the crisis — nine by journalists, 11 by academics and one by a former Treasury Secretary.

His conclusion: In a field that prides itself on its scientific rigor (however dismal), the books reveal that alarmingly few facts about the crisis have been agreed upon. Was there too little or too much regulation? How much of a factor were low interest rates? No one’s been able to say conclusively.

“After each book, I felt like I knew less,” Lo told NPR’s Planet Money.

Economics, he says, has fallen well short of that standard when it comes to understanding the crisis:

“Many of us like to think of financial economics as a science, but complex events like the financial crisis suggest that this conceit may be more wishful thinking than reality.”

Read Andrew Lo’s Reading About the Financial Crisis: A 21-Book Review >

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 news No Comments

Former CP+B Digital Producer is Ready to

Source: http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/boutique-call-former-cpb-digital-producer-is-ready-to-supply_b28129

It’s been a little while since we’ve rolled out a Boutique Call post, but since the category seems somewhat wide open at this point, we’ll let you know that Shaz Sedighzadeh has started up a new operation called The Supply.

Sedighzadeh set up the new shop, which is being dubbed as a “a resource representation entity for digital and creative talent,” following a two-year stint as a digital producer at CP+B, where he helped produce work for Old Navy, Coke Zero and Microsoft Windows. Prior to Crispin, the new entrepreneur spent a few months on the digital production side at Tool of North America.

Want an explanation of what The Supply does? Well, regarding his new operation, here’s a statement from Sedighzadeh, who lives in Denver but shuttles between NY and LA often: “The world of traditional staffing, simply matching keywords on a resume, has been a working model for some time, and may continue to be in some capacity. But in the digital advertising world today, things are shifting way too fast to solely be supported by the standard candidate sourcing methods. Talent specialists and reps now need to think like experienced digital producers and strategists; they need to ‘get it’, knowing what the project/campaign consists of, what type/level of specific talent is needed, matching resources with the timeline/budget, identifying what design aesthetic needs to be applied, whether it’s a job for a vendor or a couple of freelancers, and the list goes on.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.


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Monday, January 16th, 2012 news No Comments

Spending Tons Of Money To Attract New Customers Is A Stupid Idea

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/spending-tons-of-money-to-attract-new-customers-is-a-stupid-idea-2011-11


If you’ve ever tried to explain the concept of “make new friends but keep your old ones” to a five-year-old, you have a pretty good perspective on how many high-growth businesses approach customer acquisition and retention.  Growing businesses tend to spend so much of their time and money acquiring new customers that they often overlook their best source of growth: retaining and growing their existing customer base.

One of our clients has more than 90 percent of its resources–people, marketing budget, etc.–focused on creating millions of new customers a year. Their business model is based on monthly recurring feeds, much like the cable or wireless industries. Customers come in and they stay…until they don’t. An analysis of the client’s historical data shows that the average customer stays for an average of 2.5 years. Because their customer acquisition cost is lower than their expected customer lifetime revenue, they reach a break-even point in less than two years. So it’s a great business, as long as they keep generating new customers, right?

Wrong. The problem is that as the management team’s growth expectations increase, it gets increasingly harder to acquire more customers. As a result, customer acquisition costs go up and the quality of customers, in terms of how long they stick around, goes down.

To solve this growth dilemma, the client needs to ask three key questions:

  • What revenue growth will we achieve if we keep our existing customers for just one additional month, on average?
  • What will it cost us to do this by, say, improving customer service or adding customer benefits?
  • How does this growth compare, both in magnitude and cost, to acquiring new customers?

The answer for our client will be the same as it is in almost all businesses. It’s cheaper, easier, and more effective to retain current customers than it is to acquire new ones. In fact, if this business can retain all of its customers by just one additional month on average, they can achieve an additional 3 percent of annual growth. If they can retain their customer base for four additional months, they can create double-digit growth–without adding a single customer.

It’s simple math–something that even a five-year-old might understand.

This post originally appeared on Inc.

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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