There probably is no “right way” to start a company.
But, if there WAS a picture-perfect, fool-proof method, it might look like Percolate.
Percolate, a SaaS solution for marketing managers, was founded by James Gross and Noah Brier in early 2011. Today it raised a $9 million Series A round and it has more than 30 Fortune 500 companies as clients. They’re each paying Percolate about $10,000 per month.
There are a few things Gross and Brier did in their startup’s earliest days that set them up for success.
- They each worked for marketing companies before founding Percolate.
- When they had enough knowledge and industry connections, they quit.
- They bootstrapped until they proved their model.
- The used outside capital to step on the gas.
Gross was a former sales executive for Federated Media and Brier worked for a marketing agency, The Barbarian Group. While they were there, they created a lot of contacts in the marketing and advertising departments of major corporations. They were also able to see inefficiencies and demands in the industry. Later, while the two were bootstrapping Percolate, everything they absorbed at Federated Media and TBG became very valuable.
Being employed also enabled the pair to save up money and bootstrap. They funded their startup themselves for one year, during which Brier ! and Gros s worked out initial kinks.
When they finally had a working model and paying clients, they sought outside capital. They used a $1.5 million seed round to accelerate growth; they didn’t waste it stumbling around and pivoting.
Of course, a lot of successful companies have been founded other ways. Zuckerberg never had a job before founding Facebook. Ben Silbermann initially set out to be a doctor, but he ended up founding Pinterest
It’s too early to guarantee Percolate’s success. But whatever Gross and Brier have done up until now, it seems to be working.
Ah, the perils of confusing coupons.
This coupon from Wendy’s recently caused quite a fuss when it was posted on Reddit. The general reaction was: what (or who) the heck is the “Redhead” that it’s selling?
No, Wendy’s isn’t peddling crimson-haired humans with any purchase.
Luckily, some of the more well-informed Redditors shared their knowledge:
“A “redhead” is their stupid coffee I got all excited when I saw the sign thinking it was a red, spicy buffalo sandwich (or a real redhead which I would have preferred ) But it is just coffee “
And now we know.
On Wendy’s end, it shows a disconnect in its marketing. Something like the Redhead, which obviously isn’t a commonly known brand, needs a bit of context.
Some products are so ingrained into the mushy greyness of our brains that we can spot their branding on just the shape of the product alone. It’s kinda sick, isn’t it? Within half a second, you already knew that that packet above was Heinz ketchup.
Why is that? Is it because we use it everyday? No, when was the last time you used Wite-Out? It’s just funny to have this reserve of knowledge about brands and shapes and have the ability to immediately draw from that useless knowledge tank.
The stripped branding of brands series is the brainchild of Andrew Miller. His project, Brand Spirit, is to strip 100 different products of their brands (by painting them white) for 100 days, basically reducing the object to its most basic form. The idea is to see if we still see the brands without the, you know, brand. Check ‘em all out here. [Brand Spirit via PSFK]
Who doesn’t love filling an idle hour with a good ol’ bit of TED? Now, the people behind those share-worthy ideas are bringing us TED-Ed: a new lesson-based YouTube channel. Aimed primarily at high-schoolers, the initiative invites teachers to submit their “best lesson” in a youthful mind-friendly ten minutes or less. If chosen, TED will ship out a “portable recording booth” — which look suspiciously like an iPad in a sound-absorbing flightcase. Once the knowledge has been preserved, it’s sent over to a team of animators to bring it to life. If you know a great teacher, or animator, you can also nominate them to the TED-Ed team if they’re too humble to put themselves forward. The TEDEducation YouTube channel is up and running right now, but the new original content won’t land until a dedicated site is launched next month. There’s a typically heartwarming and informative video about the project after the break.
TED launches ‘TED-Ed’, hopes to make lessons worth sharing originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Mar 2012 10:12:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Ryan Tate over at Gawker got his hands on some of Twitter’s financial numbers for 2010 and early 2011 — and they aren’t pretty.
In the first quarter of 2011, Twitter brought in $23.8 million in revenue and lost $49.2 million — with a net loss of $25.8 million for the quarter.
2010 doesn’t look that great, either: the company brought in $28.5 million and had a net loss of $67.8 million.
It’s important to note that this is all before Twitter really got serious about advertising. It’s revenue should have grown nicely through the year. But, the company doubled headcount, so it could still have serious losses.
Here’s the breakdown from the Gawker piece, according to Tate’s source who “has knowledge of the company’s finances”:
Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Revenue: $23.8 million
Cost of revenue: $18.7 million
R&D cost: $13.1 million
Sales and marketing cost: $5.4 million
General administrative cost: $12.0 million
Total costs and expenses: $49.2 million
Loss from operations: $25.4 million
Loss from interest and other: $404,000
Net loss (non GAAP): ($25.8 million)
Jan. 2010 – Dec. 2010
Revenue: $28.5 million
Net loss: ($67.8 million)
Assets: $221.5 million (as of Dec. 2010)
Liabilities: $221.5 million (as of Dec. 2010)
We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment, but haven’t heard back yet.
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It’s a clever technique…
There’s no getting around this: temporal noise reduction is tough to explain. That’s because it’s a complex process used to improve image and video rendering. This is very much a simplified explanation of what happens.
…that greatly reduces the noise of video…
When you record footage in low-light conditions, the resulting images are often noisy—speckled with pixelation that looks like a staticky TV screen. Why? Because there’s just not enough light hitting the sensor. In bright conditions, all the light provides a huge signal; noise—from electrical interference or imperfections in the detector—is still present, but it’s drowned out. In low light, the signals are much smaller which means that the noise is painfully apparent.
…by comparing what pixels actually move…
So, onto temporal noise reduction itself. Basically, it exploits the fact that with video there are two pools of data to use: each separate image, and the knowledge of how the frames change with time. Using that information, it’s possible to create an algorithm that can work out which pixels have changed between frames. But it’s also possible to work out which pixels are expected to change between frames. For instance, if a car’s moving from left to right in a frame, software can soon work out that pixels to the right should change dramatically.
…and guessing what is noise and what is actual detail…
By comparing what is expected to change between frames, and what actually does, it’s possible to make a very good educated guess as to which pixels are noisy and which aren’t. Then, the pixels that are deemed noisy can have a new value calculated for them based on their surrounding brothers.
…to make low-light video super-sharp.
So, the process manages to sneakily use data present in the video stream to attenuate the effects of noise and improve the image. It’s something that’s been used in 3D rendering for years, but it requires a fair amount of computational grunt. Clearly, the new iPad can handle that—and as a result, we’ll be fortunate enough to have better low-light video.
You’ve got to be kidding me. The US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Congress can remove works from the public domain and re-copyright them in order to bring the the pieces into compliance with international copyright schemes. Yeah, because that doesn’t run completely against the spirit of copyright law or anything.
For one reason or another, the American copyright protections of many famous, foreign works—including H.G. Wells’ Things to Come, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Peter and the Wolf, Shostakovich’s Symphony 14, Cello Concerto and everything by Igor Stravinsky—moved into the public domain despite still being copyrighted overseas. To “correct” this issue, Congress passed legislation in 1994 that would move the works in question back to protected status and comply with the Berne Convention, an international copyright treaty.
This week, the Supreme Court ruled on a case brought by a coalition of educators, performers, and film archivists who rely on public domain works such as these for their livelihoods. If these pieces are place back under copyright, this group (like everybody else) simply can’t use them. However in a 6-2 ruling—Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito dissenting—the Court ruled that bringing these works into agreement with the international treaty did not violate the First Amendment rights of those people using the works as they are now (no, those folks will just have to pay licensing fees to perform), nor does it set a precedent for Congress to eventually push for perpetual copyright protections.
In his dissent, Justice Breyer stated that the congressional legislation,
bestows monetary rewards only on owners of old works in the American public domain. At the same time, the statute inhibits the dissemination of those works, foreign works published abroad after 1923, of which there are many millions, including films, works of art, innumerable photographs, and, of course, books – books that (in the absence of the statute) would assume their rightful places in computer-accessible databases, spreading knowledge throughout the world.
As Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University commented, the ruling “suggests Congress is not required to pay particularly close attention to the interests of the public when it passes copyright laws.” Well, yeah, it’s Congress. They don’t need to read bills and amendments, they don’t need to represent their constituents. They jus need to ensure hard-working people like Igor Stravinsky gets the royalty checks he needs so desperately. Hey, a guy’s gotta eat—especially when he’s been dead since 1971. [ArsTechnica - top art: the AP]
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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