Stratford boys basketball upends Loyal

first_imgFecker, Wrensch each nail three 3-pointers in victoryBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterLOYAL — Brenden Fecker had 22 points, and Stratford piled up a season-high in points as it defeated Loyal 70-66 in a nonconference boys basketball game Monday night at Loyal High School.Fecker made 6 of 9 shots overall, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and was 7 of 8 at the free throw line for the Tigers (8-5).Cole Hoffman added 12 points and six assists, and Okley Wrensch made three 3-pointers and added nine points for Stratford.The Tigers trailed 29-27 at halftime before pulling out the win with a 43-point second half.Stratford plays at Marathon on Thursday.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of 60, Greyhounds 66Stratford 27 43 – 70Loyal 29 37 – 66STRATFORD (70): Brenden Fecker 6-9 7-8 22, Cole Hoffman 4-7 4-8 12, Okley Wrensch 3-4 0-0 9, Paul Huther 3-4 1-2, Trent Heckel 0-3 2-2 2, Andrew Bargender 0-0 0-0 0, Vaughn Breit 4-7 0-0 8, Lance Heidmann 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Danen 3-5 2-5 8. FG: 23-39. FT: 16-25. 3-pointers: 6-17 (Wrensch 3-4, Fecker 3-6, Breit 0-1, Hoffmann 0-3, Heckel 0-3). Rebounds: 22 (Huther 4, Breit 4). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Breit. Record: 8-5.LOYAL (66): Statistics not reported. Record: 11-4.last_img read more

Madiba Music: Your 67-minute Mandela Day Mixtape

first_imgIn celebration of Mandela Day, here is an essential list of the best Madiba-inspired musical moments. Spend your 67 minutes doing something to honour the man and his life with this soundtrack of great local and international artists paying tribute to South Africa’s greatest citizen. Nelson Mandela dances on stage in October, 1995, with supporters in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Image: Reuters)• South African music• Nelson Mandela – a timeline • Watch: Salif Keita and Black Mambazo call for harmony in Africa• Remembering Mandela, one year on• Jazz trumpets the notes of freedom CD AndersonNelson Mandela called music the “great blessing”, and believed that it has the power to “unite us all to sing with one voice”, to give us all the opportunity to both dream and dance.Madiba inspired a diverse collection of musicians, from ska punkers to classical composers, world-beating rock stars and jazz greats, and they all responded with some amazing tributes.In celebration of Mandela Day, here is an essential list of the best Madiba musical moments, including some of his personal favourites, as well as songs that helped define his place in history and our hearts.While you spend 67 minutes doing something to honour the great man and his life, take a moment to listen to the songs below and join the celebration.Hugh Masekela – Bring Him Back Home One of South Africa’s jazz greats, Masekela spent much of his life in exile, and that longing to return home inspired this somber but powerful lament to both the African diaspora and Mandela himself, the guiding light for those returning home to a new South Africa. Masekela had the honour of playing the song live for Madiba on his release from prison in 1990.Simple Minds – Mandela DayA song celebrating an imprisoned African leader by a Scottish rock band makes for an interesting dichotomy, but it is an appropriate one: Simple Minds’ singer Jim Kerr was one of the more outspoken proponents of the UK’s anti-apartheid movement. This celebratory song is, naturally, the unofficial anthem of July 18th, but a more lasting legacy was its part in bringing the story of Mandela and apartheid South Africa to a global audience during the 1980s.Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Umqombothi According to Chaka Chaka, this song – an upbeat sing-along about traditional African beer – was Mandela’s favourite song of all time. With its bold African groove, catchy chorus and addictive rhythm, it is the perfect fit for our famous Dancing President.Abdullah Ibrahim – MannenbergThe quintessential sound of South Africa, instantly recognised by all its citizens by the rolling piano theme and dynamic tempo. Named after the vibrant District Six area scarred by forced removals during apartheid, the song’s uplifting coda also acts as a perfect motif for a returning hero to free his people.Brenda Fassie – Black PresidentMa Brrr was one of Madiba’s favourite singers, and she celebrated his presidency in 1994 with this impassioned pledge of allegiance to his leadership and his dream for a free South Africa. The song inspired a generation and made her one of the country’s greatest musical icons.Vusi Mahlasela – When You Come BackThe Voice of Mamelodi has enjoyed a long career as a musical storyteller at home and around the world. In 1992, he greeted Madiba and other returning heroes with the “ringing of bells and the beating of drums” in this joyful harmony that quickly become his signature song. The song, much like Mandela, calls for humanity to “give something to the world and not just take from it.”The Specials AKA – Free Nelson MandelaWithout doubt the most famous song about Madiba, this rollicking ska protest song inspired the youth-led anti-apartheid movement across the world during the 1980s. Today, the song’s lyrics still have resonance, highlighting the ideals of Nelson Mandela to overcome poverty through positive action.Johnny Clegg – Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)The live performance of this song says it all: a powerful performer with a powerful song, joined on stage by the most powerful icon in South African history. Asimbonanga is a joyous refrain to all South Africans to be inspired by the life and work of Madiba and use it every day to continue his legacy.U2 – Ordinary LoveWorld citizen Bono has always had a strong connection to Madiba and his ideals, so it was appropriate that U2 was asked to write the theme song for the “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” film in 2013. The song, released a week before Madiba died, is a touching final tribute to the great man and his life’s work.Some other great Madiba-inspired tracks to soundtrack your 67 minutes this Mandela Day: Zahara featuring Mzwakhe Mbuli – Mandela Youssou N’dour – Nelson MandelaSipho Hotstix Mabuse – NelsonKoos Kombuis – Madiba BayWilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann – Hommage a Nelson M for Cello and PercussionMiles Davis – Amandlalast_img read more

Apple and Google Alliance Just Got Stronger

first_imgYesterday’s Apple press event saw the unveiling of new iMacs and major updates to the company’s iLife and iWorks software suites. But it also provided further insight into the cosy relationship developing between Apple and Google, with greater integration between the two companies’ product lines.What’s new? iMovie 08 adds the ability to upload video direct to YouTube, and iWeb (Apple’s web page creation software) now integrates with Google Maps and YouTube, along with support for Adsense.Combine these efforts with the existing iPhone tie-ins — Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail — along with AppleTV’s recently added support for YouTube, and we can see how the Apple/Google alliance is strengthening.Read full story at last100… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Digital Lifestyle#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market steve ohear last100 editor 1 Related Posts last_img read more

Two Michigan Residents Injured in Fatal Indiana Police Chase after Retail Theft

first_imgTwo Michigan residents were injured, one critically, when their SUV was struck by a teenage driver being pursued by Indiana State Police after an alleged theft from a Meijer store. Miguel Linares Jr., 34, of Bloomfield Hills, suffered potentially life-threatening injuries in Saturday night’s collision in Warsaw, Indiana., police said. His passenger, Nora Linares, 35, also of Bloomfield Hills, suffered serious injuries.  Both were being treated at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. The incident began about 9:20 p.m. Saturday when an Indiana state trooper responded to a reported theft at a Meijer store in Warsaw. Authorities said the trooper saw a Pontiac Grand Am matching the suspect vehicle’s description and attempted to stop it, but it fled east on U.S. 30. It drove through a red light at the intersection of the highway and Parker Street, crashing into three other vehicles, including the one driven by Miguel Linares. The two occupants in the Grand Am both died. The driver was identified by police as Jacob Slone, 19. The passenger was identified as Paige Jefferson, 16. Both were from Warsaw. [Source: Mlive] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Will Data Collection on User Behavior Be Forced to End Soon?

first_imgTags:#Analysis#web Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting marshall kirkpatrick Harvard Business Review ran three interesting short pieces in this month’s magazine, under the misleadingly timeless title “Tackling Business Problems.” The three essays are actually guest submissions from business radicals, the final of the three being from social media luminary Doc Searls.Traditional Customer Relationship Management is dead meat, Searls argues. Companies should stop collecting data about their customers. Right now, before the customers revolt! This populist vision of revolt is balanced out a little by Searls’ vision of what’s likely to come next. You can get the picture from the title of his forthcoming book, The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge. It seems crazy, but his view of what the future will bring with regard to customer data is fascinating to consider.Writing about the massive collection of consumer data, Searls writes:“Customers naturally see this trend as a gross invasion of their privacy and are starting to resist providing accurate information–or any information at all.But the main reason for vendors to quit this practice is not that it’s bad manners. It’s that businesses soon will no longer own the data anyway–customers will. And when that happens, vendors will end up reaping greater benefits than they do now.”As someone fascinated by the possibilities for innovation, I am very hesitent when I read people cheering the revolt of users against the collection of their data. I hope that data collection will be done in a positive way and will lead to big wins for everyone. It’s not clear that’s going to happen though. Behavioral marketing trailblazer and Tacoda founder Dave Morgan once told me that no one had yet found a way to articulate the value proposition of aggregate data analysis to end consumers because there wasn’t one yet. No one had really built it, people were generally focused on sleazy short term wins at the expense of the consumer. It is the job of startups to build something compelling, he says. Searls believes this will happen when consumers are in control over their own data. He thinks that’s going to be a net win for the consumer and the companies that sell to them.“Here’s why,” he writes. “When customers own and control their own data, demand will drive supply more efficiently than supply currently drives demand.”By that he means that satisfaction of real consumer demand, demand felt my consumers in control in a market that strives to delight them, will be more efficient than demand that gets manufactured by manipulative advertising driven by supply that must be sold.center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Apple beats Wall Street expectations, offers strong guidance ahead of new iPhone

first_img Posted on 2nd August 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share HomeDigital MarketingApple beats Wall Street expectations, offers strong guidance ahead of new iPhone Related postsThe California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019Lytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019 This afternoon Apple reported quarterly revenues of $45.4 billion, which beat Wall Street expectations. Earnings per share also beat expectations by $0.10. Revenues were up 7 percent year-over-year, while earnings were up 17 percent.Most significantly for investors, the company offered higher-than-expected guidance ($49 – $52 billion) for the fourth quarter, anticipating the release of the new iPhone.Here are device numbers:iPhones: 41 million, $24.8 billion in revenueiPad: 11.4 million units, $4.9 billion in revenue (up 15 percent)Macs: 4.3 million units, $5.6 billion in revenueServices (including Apple Pay, Apple Care): $7.3 billion in revenueOther (including Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products): $2.7 billion in revenuecenter_img Apple said it saw growth in every product category. Mac, iPad and Sales of Apple Watch were up, the latter over 50 percent. The company also said that demand for AirPod earphones continues to exceed supply, getting 98 percent customer satisfaction scores according to third party surveys.Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the release of iOS 11, will make iOS the largest augmented reality platform in the world. It also claimed that the App Store generated 2X the revenue of Google Play. The company also said that “three out of four Apple Play transactions happen outside the US.”Apple said it has now more than $260 billion in cash and short term investments. Investors reacted positively to the news, sending the company’s shares up in after-hours trading.This year is the 10-year anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone, which together with Android changed digital marketing forever — Facebook recently reported that nearly 90 percent of its ad revenues were mobile — though many marketers were slow to recognize its impact. Indeed, many marketers are still adapting to a mobile-first consumer audience.Excerpts from the Q&A on the earnings call: Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company created 2 million jobs (mostly app developers) in the US and feels a responsibility to increase continue create American jobs.Cook addressed the VPN controversy in China (removing “unlicensed” VPN apps). “We would obviously like not to remove the apps,” said Cook but he added that Apple needed to comply with the law in China.Cook said it’s making a big investment in “autonomy,” and “autonomous systems,” which can be “used in a variety of ways; vehicles are only one.”Regarding AR Kit (augmented reality): Cook says that he thinks AR is “big, profound” and sees a variety of enterprise, consumer and small business applications. He said that Apple developers are embracing it.Services revenue is growing principally because App Store growth. Apple said it’s making it easier for consumers to pay around the world. In addition, the “quality and quantity of content continues to improve.” Apple Music is also growing very fast as is iCloud storage.CEO Tim Cook said he was “bullish and optimistic about India” and that he saw the market as a significant growth opportunity for the company, like China a few years ago.From our sponsors: Apple beats Wall Street expectations, offers strong guidance ahead of new iPhone Apple beats Wall Street expectations, offers strong guidance ahead of new iPhoneYou are here:last_img read more

What Lamar Smith Did – and Didn’t – Learn from SOPA

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts nancy scola Lamar Smith (R-TX), the mastermind behind last winter’s widely-disliked Stop Online Piracy Act, is back at it. His latest bill may not be the SOPA redux that some observers fear, but his legislative tactics are every bit as problematic. Fifty days.That’s the median time it took for eight legislative bills – on economic espionage, identity theft, abortion in the District of Columbia – to circulate in the House of Representatives before they were put on the agenda for Tuesday’s markup session by the House Judiciary Committee.Zero days.That’s how long the ninth bill on the agenda, a measure submitted by Judiciary chair Lamar Smith, existed before it was submitted for Tuesday’s markup. Unlike the other eight (H.R. 6029, H.R. 4362, H.R. 3803… ), Smith’s Intellectual Property Attaché Act didn’t even have a number. It had yet to be introduced into the House legislative system.That’s legislating the future of copyright, the Internet and creative content, Lamar Smith-style.The Smith WaySmith’s IPAA maneuver is of a piece with how he has run his tech and copyright agenda since taking the gavel of powerful Judiciary Committee in January, when Republicans gained control of the House. After 13 terms in the House, the 64-year-old Texas Republican is a copyright near-absolutist of the ‘theft is theft’ variety, a school of thought where, by all appearances, “fair use” receives less consideration than even MPAA and RIAA demand. Why Smith is so committed to that path is an open question. The TV, movie, and music industries havelongbeen among his top funders, but whether that’s cause or effect isn’t much worth debating.It’s the way that Smith goes about making legislation that makes one wonder if Smith learned anything meaningful at all from the recent fight over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that he authored and championed, and its cousin in the Senate, the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. There was an enormous swell of public interest in Internet policy back then, as well as the copyright policy to which it is inextricably linked. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a democrat, explained his take on the sales pitch made by the the bill’s supporters back in January, when nobody knew what a SOPA or a PIPA was. “This is noncontroversial,” Wyden said, channelling PIPA’s backers inside and (mostly) outside Congress. “Nobody is in favor of piracy. This is practically a gimme.”The line from Smith’s office this week on the rush to get IPAA through: Oh, this bill? This one’s really no big deal.Echoes of SOPAIn the end, SOPA got tripped up by process as much as anything. Smith, as chair of the Judiciary Committee, called a single hearing on a bill that would have had a sweeping effect on the functioning of the Internet. The panel was stacked with the bill’s advocates. One witness, an attorney for Google, raised an objection. But as that bill steamed along to markup, members of Congress got the feeling that they been sold a bill of goods.“This bill is not ready for prime time,” concluded Wisconsin Republican James Sensenbrenner, himself a former Judiciary Committee chair. One of the most pivotal moments in the SOPA debate, in retrospect, might have been when Ohio’s ultra-conservative Jim Jordan jumped off the legislative train, suggesting that the House “take a little extra time,” not rubberstamp Smith’s SOPA without knowing what it really would do. Certainly, the website blackouts, news reports, and email and tweet deluges drew Congress’ attention to the major Internet bill barrelling through its halls. That was something new. “Here you have a picture,” Wyden said in January, “of millions of Americans saying that this process has been flawed, [that] it only listened to one side.” The Oregonian’s takeaway? “In terms of communicating with government, America is never going to be the same.”Tell that to Lamar Smith.In a way, it’s not his fault. Judiciary chairs in both the House and Senate have enormous leeway to handle the business that falls under their jurisdiction. But add to that the fact that in the past few decades – as the online universe has expanded apace – nearly all things having to do with the Internet have been ceded to those same Judiciary Committees. What you end up with is very few people making policy on a medium of historic importance not only for us in the U.S. but for billions of people all over the planet. It’s a dangerous combination, all the moreso when the process seems sloppy and rushed. The working copy of the IPAA posted on Smith’s website carries a date stamp from the House’s bill-drafting Legislative Counsel Office of July 5th, meaning that the bill existed in draft form for just three business days before it was scheduled for markup. Two of those days were during a holiday week.The draft also lists the name of California Republican Darrell Issa, the leader of the House’s SOPA resistance, as an original co-sponsor. That’s not true, Issa’s office said this week. He’s not a co-sponsor of IPAA and never has been.Again, Smith’s office says that’s no big deal. “We often list bills for markup to give us the option to debate them if we get them ready in time,” a committee aide wrote in an email this week. With IPAA not yet properly introduced, Tuesday’s markup came and went without its formal consideration.Ministry of Openness & Transparency All of this is not to say that Lamar Smith took nothing away from the SOPA fight. His team seems to have picked up the language of its opponents. The Declaration of Internet Freedom rolled up by activists last week, largely in reaction to the SOPA/PIPA case, included near its very top a call for making the crafting of Internet policy a transparent and participatory experience. Smith’s aide: “We plan to circulate a new draft based off those changes to ensure that the development of this bill continues to be an open and transparent process.”That’s transparency-washing, Smith’s critics say. “He might say that he invites a transparent process,” observes Josh Levy of Free Press, which co-led the creation of the Declaration of Internet Freedom. “But he hasn’t done much to show it.” Levy continues, “I think Lamar Smith could use an education in what engaging the public means. It means something different from just reaching out to his fellow members of Congress.”The view from the House Judiciary Committee offices is that the Intellectual Property Attaché Act just doesn’t warrant the attention. The IP attaché program has been around since 1996, stationing liaisons in U.S. embassies in countries where CDs are regularly copied, Nikes knocked off and electronics reverse-engineered. There are attachés in China (both Beijing and Guangzhou), Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi and Moscow, and there’s a currently an ‘unfilled but established post in Cairo. Their mission, in part, is to “encourage strong IPR [intellectual property rights] protection and enforcement by U.S. trading partners for the benefit of U.S. rights holders.”Smith’s Legislative Trial BalloonThe IPAA is a narrow bill, Smith aides say, focused on streamlining the use of funds in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and increasing organizational efficiencies. A reshuffling, more or less. The bill would, it seems, bump up the program from its home in the somewhat beleaguered USPTO to a slot in the greater Department of Commerce bureaucracy. It would add an 11th full Assistant Secretary of Commerce, this one charged with overseeing “intellectual property” matters. And there’s a bit of job re-titling. The post now known as Administrator for Policy and External Affairs at PTO would become Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Policy and External Affairs. (RWW’s Brian Proffitt runs down more of the details.) IPAA is no SOPA, but it’s plenty robust to warrant some healthy consideration.Actually, in its modest scope and wonkish subject matter, IPAA makes a rather nice vehicle with which Smith can test the post-SOPA waters. Move around pieces of an overseas program that few people have ever heard of, in a bureaucracy few people care about, and see who freaks. It’s a juicy bit of lawmaking – certainly IPAA would be a nice win for the so-called content industry angered by the way SOPA and PIPA played out – but maybe just dry enough that it stands a chance of getting passed.As it turns out, people did freak. After Politico reported the planned inclusion of the bill in Tuesday’s markup, techblogs picked up the story and ran with the idea that IPAA was SOPA back from the dead, that IPAA was the first move in a plan to move the bulk of SOPA through Congress piece by piece. The response annoyed Smith’s staff. “This week, the House Judiciary Committee released a discussion draft of a bill that streamlines the IP attaché program to help safeguard American intellectual property abroad,” Smith’s aide wrote. “Unfortunately, some groups and blogs have misreported that this is a follow up to the Stop Online Piracy Act. That is not the case.”In other words, IPAA triggered an early-warning system that had been built and primed by SOPA/PIPA. The alarm bell’s volume might irritate Smith. That’s understandable. But he should also understand that his way of doing things is what set it off.How to Dislodge Lamar SmithSo what to do about Lamar Smith? He’s up for re-election in November, but there’s little chance that he’ll be relieved from his Judiciary Committee post through the ballot box. Smith’s opponents in the May Republican primary in Texas’s 21st district, a software engineer and a sheriff, banged him over the head with SOPA as hard as they could. More attention to the topic came from local billboards organized by the anti-SOPA group Fight for the Future and funded in part through online fundraising. “Don’t Mess with the Internet,” they read, with the footer, “Paid for by the Internet.” Yet Smith crushed the challenge, garnering 77% of the vote. His Democratic challenger works as a volunteer for the Texas Democratic Party, and either way, the district is heavily Republican. (For political numbers geeks, the Cook PVI on Texas’ 21st is +14 in favor of Smith’s party.)There’s a better chance that internal House wrangling will bring an end to Smith’s reign as Judiciary Committee chair. One possibility: The House Republican leadership, eager both to be seen as the party of the future and to have the favor of the tech world, will lean on Smith to stop being so reflexively retrograde when it comes to the Internet. There are signs that similar forces were at play in SOPA’s demise. Another: Smith will be done in by House rules. At the moment, committee chairs have to step aside after three terms, as required by the GOP’s bylaws. Smith has held the chair only since last year, but he was the ranking Republican on the committee for two terms before. Leadership can decide that both stints count towards the term limit. That’s what forced out Sensenbrenner in 2006. (Next in line in seniority after Smith and Sennsenbrenner is North Carolina’s Howard Coble, who seems to have been neither here nor there on SOPA.) The last possibility is the most revolutionary. House Republicans actually elect their committee chairs, and Smith could face a challenge from someone within his own party, a la the epic battle between auto-industry favorite John Dingell and environmentalist Henry Waxman for the chairship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2008, when Democrats were eager to get legislating against climate change and in favor of progressive energy policies. Waxman won.To save you the trouble of checking: Darrell Issa is indeed already on the House Judiciary Committee. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#politics#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Facebook’s Stock Has Never Been Lower: Here’s Why

first_imgGuide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts dave copeland Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… On its earnings call, CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg (yes, he did show up and shares rose slightly in after hours trading as soon as he started speaking before falling again) continued to talk about what the company can become. He reiterated previous statements that the company is in the early stages of developing its mobile strategy and that sponsored stories and other social ads were showing “an encouraging start.” He laid out a three-pronged strategy focusing on mobile, building high-quality apps and making its developer platform accessible for third parties.After a 10-minute introduction, Zuckerberg handed the call off to Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg who talked about Facebook’s “ability to create unique advertising opportunities.” She told listeners about Facebook’s potential to deliver “word of mouth advertising at an unprecedented scale.”In other words, same story, different over-hyped news event in the life of a public company. Zuckerberg and Sandberg gave no hints of new strategies, instead highlighting some recent success stories, reviewing some recent product launches and reiterating what most observers already knew about the company.What they didn’t answer were the tough questions. They offered little of the forward-looking guidance Wall Street was looking for. They didn’t address the stock’s lackluster performance since the IPO. And perhaps most telling, they didn’t give the concrete revenue numbers Wall Street was looking for. Yes, the number of mobile users was up from a year-ago, and Sandberg stressed that Facebook is “optimistic with our early tests around mobile.” She said people were “consuming their news feeds and sharing,” but she gave no hard numbers on how many of them were clicking on mobile ads.At the end of the conference call, Facebook shares were $24.12 in after-hours trading. Photo by Peter J. Rockwell A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Despite meeting analysts’ operating earnings estimates of 12 cents a share, Facebook shares were hammered Thursday, falling more than 10% in after-hours trading. Here’s why.Yes, Facebook tied earnings estimates and even eked out slightly better revenue of $1.18 billion. But in its first earnings release, earnings per share and revenue weren’t the numbers that mattered. As investors made their way through a sparse earning release, the more telling numbers were laid bare:Ad impressions and the number of ads delivered rose, but as CFO David Ebersman noted on the conference call, that was almost entirely attributed to year-over-year user growth of 29%.Ads delivered only rose 2%, in large part because U.S. user growth slowed and – here’s the key point – more than half of those users increased their mobile use where Facebook has no viable advertising model.During the second quarter, the number of daily active users in the U.S. and Canada, Facebook’s most lucrative market, remained flat from the first quarter.And even the 12 cents per share number was deceiving. As an average, it represented a wide range of estimates and was seen as being on the low side. Facebook, in other words, reached base on an error when it needed to hit a home run after a lackluster initial public offering and rough communications with Wall Streets in the weeks since shares started trading.Simply put, Facebook has saturated most of the world’s major markets. Now it needs to be able to show it can squeeze more revenue and higher earnings out of each user, and that is something the second-quarter earnings release did not demonstrate. Tags:#Facebook#web last_img read more

Stay Hungry: Helping Startups Commit to Improvement

first_imgRelated Posts Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Let’s say a startup has defied the odds and survived its first several years. The entrepreneur has found a niche market, launched a product, secured funding, and continued to assemble an effective team. The business is moving forward. As the business grows, and entrepreneurs feel they have a safety net where there was none before. But how to stay hungry? Helping startups commit to improvement at every stage has to be the goal.Staying Hungry: Helping Startups Commit to Improvement. When things are tough — a startups attitudes and sense of urgency often begin to change. A startups’ attitude changes when they feel that all is well. As the company milestones become less urgent, the intensity of their attention ebbs and start to diminish. This relaxing time is the period when it is most likely to see competitors swoop in and gain market share. Using an improved product offering, or a better customer service, or just a better market strategy might help.I’ve seen companies come out of the gate and tenaciously follow their North Stars, only to lose focus later on. They start to get comfortable — in some cases, too comfortable. The initial hunger subsides, and employees gradually become less motivated to make the extra effort to drive the company forward.I implore every company I work with to combat this kind of stagnation by identifying what they can do better at every stage of the company’s life cycle. The critical question is: How do some startups manage to avoid the pitfalls of complacency when others don’t?Two words: Continuous improvement.Continuous improvement is valuable at every stage of a company’s life cycle. While it is crucial to set a course for your employees by setting key performance indicators that will ensure the company meets or exceeds its goals, it is equally important to adjust those goals over time as market conditions and customer demands change. As those goals evolve, it is also critical to stay focused on the company’s best practices to provide a baseline for ongoing changes that can significantly improve growth, profit margins, and retention rates. A constant focus on continuous improvement also helps employees stay intrinsically motivated and challenged, making them less likely to feel stagnant in their current roles.Progress By the NumbersHaving a reliable way to track progress is key to continuous improvement. Each functional area of your company should have its own KPIs to strive for, each of which should align with your company’s central mission. Choosing the right KPIs is critical — not only will they provide a roadmap for your employees. But they will also help startups demonstrate to investors that the company is on the right track toward meeting its goals. Management should also ensure that each functional area has its own KPIs that will reinforce broader company goals that can be measured at the individual department level. Because your goals need to evolve as the company hits various milestones, a KPI dashboard, which show progress toward goals, is a critical way to help teams prioritize their work. For example, if a sales manager shows his team a P&L, balance sheet, and a statement of cash flow, it can be unclear what employees need to focus on next. But if he shows that the customer retention rate is 80 percent when it needs to be at 95 percent, the team can use its KPI dashboard to take action on that data.Customer needs and behaviors change regularly, but many companies only alter their approaches long after a problem has been identified. To avoid this pitfall, be sure to reexamine your standard processes continuously and to adjust your KPIs with a view to the future. It is always better to get ahead of a problem than to trail behind it with a quick — and potentially ineffective — fix.Keep an Eye on the Lag and Lead By documenting standard processes thoroughly and making sure all relevant data remains at hand, management should be able to determine more easily where changes need to be made. To help managers figure out what needs to change (and how), it is useful to turn to lag measures and lead measures.Generally speaking, a lag measure is retrospective data that is too late to change, such as the previous month’s revenue. A lead measure tells you whether you’re on track to hit a goal in the future. For example, if a company is trying to increase its conversion rates, the lead indicators might be the number of phone calls.Maybe the problem will be the number of demos that a sales team makes with potential clients. Later, the team would examine the lag measure of the number of demos that didn’t convert. Both measures are key indicators of a company’s progress, and they can inspire procedural changes to help teams meet their goals. When processes are standardized, a single small change can alter the course of an entire functional area. If everyone isn’t doing things the same way, change becomes more difficult. With thorough, up-to-date documentation, everyone from a new hire to a seasoned manager has something concrete with which to gauge themselves.At any moment, there can be a downward turn when unexpected obstacles emerge. More importantly, each person has documentation of what worked before showing them a precise roadmap of what needs to go right, which is crucial for continuous improvement.The Lifeblood of a Startup: Motivated Employees  Management needs the right data to make informed decisions on how to improve, but employees are the ones who truly move the needle. The manufacturing-era “carrot and stick” method of motivating employees, in which workers are given compensation for jobs done well and penalties for under-performing, no longer works—and it is especially ineffective with millennials. Extrinsic motivation, in the form of raises and promotions, is also unsustainable. Companies that rely on a purely monetary reward system run the risk of paying their people too much too soon and being unable to retain them as they continue to advance in their careers. Today’s employees need to be motivated intrinsically to do better.KPI dashboards are a fantastic intrinsic motivation tool. They not only allow employees to track their progress; they also will enable them to pinpoint areas in which they can do better. To improve employee performance at my old company, Affiliate Traction, we developed an online KPI scorecard. Each employee was given five goals to accomplish, and employees could view each other’s progress toward those goals in a live spreadsheet. This gamification of work caused a noticeable uptick in employee motivation and productivity —and it didn’t cost us a dime.The most successful companies I’ve worked with have been learning organizations — ones that take the time to figure out what makes them successful, to document those strategies and procedures, and to reassess them as the organization grows. Employees are far more likely to stay motivated if they are continually learning and growing along with the organization. As with any learning process, mistakes are inevitable. But in my view, mistakes are only failures if you cease to learn from them. Greg Shepard is a serial angel investor and startup growth consultant who has spearheaded 12-15 company exits throughout his career. His former company, AffiliateTraction, was acquired by eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions in January 2016 as a part of a cross-brand deal totaling $985M. How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culturecenter_img China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Greg Shepard What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star…last_img read more

The 5 Most Common PR Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

first_imgMany organizations see PR as free advertising. The assumption that PR is advertising is evident with the core PR success metric being Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE). It’s no wonder that more and more organizations are focused on telling their brand story through PR.US data even tells us that there are 6 PR Pros for every 1 Journalist. This statistic has been a 2x increase in 10 years all the while newsrooms are shrinking.These known metrics from the AVE makes it super important that organizations start to take PR seriously. Creating a press release and blasting it out via a news wire no longer cuts it. You need to strategize and be meticulous with your PR approach to ensure your company’s success.The discussion here points to the core PR mistakes that are made by companies regularly. I’ve also provided you with tips for improving your PR workflow.#1 Mistake: No Research or UnderstandingGetting PR for your organization can be a massive boost to business and awareness. You’ll need to focus your PR efforts where you can reap the fruits of your labor. Knowing where your focus must require a certain level of understanding and effort.Your level of understanding these issues is where things get out of shape. Smaller businesses especially make the mistake of chasing the public eye but fail at the most basic of hurdles. Where does the problem start? Researching and understanding both the journalist and the publication that you are reaching out to mark your beginning.Let’s role play. You wouldn’t reach out to a prospective buyer who you didn’t research first, would you? The same applies to get that media “buy-in,” which can be looked at in the same context as trying to arrange a sales meeting or converting someone. Let’s break these two core problems down and get some ideas going to help combat this.Not Understanding the Journalist.Journalists aren’t starving for stories; they are not waiting for the next big thing to appear in their inbox. These people have editorial calendars to maintain and accounts to research. Pitching a tech angle when a journalist covers health-care tech, for example, will not generate coverage. The added “health-care” detail ensures your latest productivity app won’t be a fit for the journalist.Imagine the stress you feel when getting a cold call that doesn’t even make sense to you. Imagine the same for a journalist, but instead of the wrong product pitch from one company, you get 10’s of pitches throughout the day that have zero to do with anything the journalist is looking for.Not Hitting the Right Publications.More on this later in the article but this is an issue that repeats itself time and time again. Hitting the right publication generally happens when a media list is purchased, and the spray and pray method is applied. Because there was a lack of research done, the outreach will be reduced and filled with gaps. Wasting your time, the journalists’ time and only adding to the negative sentiment that is felt with media relations these days is the end result of the action.Ideas to Consider.Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google are tools that you use on a daily basis. These three tools provide plenty of information to you in seconds so that you can run a gut-check without wasting anyone’s time.If you want that coverage, then allow yourself the time of day to do the research to help you better understand the journalist and the publication. If time is an issue and doing everything manually is off-putting, but you still want PR — then take a moment and spend it reviewing the PR software out there. PR software has already been designed that will help you improve in all areas of communications.#2 Mistake: Spreading No-NewsAs much as you may be proud of your business or accomplishments, it doesn’t always need a PR push. Many PR failures start with the basics, and having a story to tell is about as basic (necessary) as you can get with PR.Journalists want people to read their story. So they need something interesting that is going to drive conversation and eyeballs to their story. Is your news going to drive the conversation?Self-Promotion.When you are a small or lesser-known brand, product updates generally get shunned for the more prominent names. Why? Because bigger names equal more people, who use the product or have heard of it which has a net result of more readers.Generic and Common Angles.Generic and common angles stories are not going to drive readers or shares. If you want coverage, then you need to have achieved or accomplished something that few others have.For example, investment or funding generates news more or less every time. Why? Because people will have an opinion on the value of the company or funding. Pondering what they could achieve with the investment makes for good reading if you have garnered an angle worth reading about. A new idea or a fresh thought on an old story or issue will drive clicks and eyeballs to the story.Ideas to Consider.Writing a blog post for most small businesses is more than enough. Your blog can operate however you determine to run it. Get more readers by boosting posts on social media (again, the audience will tell you if the story is interesting or not via the number of click-throughs).Editorial calendars: create one, collect publication and journalists calendars, and align the two together. This list will give journalists a go-to source for future stories, and you know what to expect and when.#3 Mistake: No Media RelationsFocus on the word relation here. Having someone’s email address isn’t the same as having ties or relations. A relationship doesn’t appear by magic, out of nowhere; you’ll need to spend time and base the relationship on a mutually beneficial situation.The easiest way to think about media relations is to view it as strategic account management. Connections are created through building rapport, connecting with individuals, and understanding what it is they need and want for them to be successful.But there is a real lack of focus on relations when it comes to PR and organizations. Most forget about the basics and bombard journalists with all kinds of non-sense and expect instant replies and coverage.Too Many Follow-Ups.Follow-ups are an essential part of PR. People are busy, and sometimes a nudge can help to refresh their memory. That being said, there is no need to follow-up with journalists every day or wait a week and then try again. Most news is old by then and would have either been covered elsewhere or was not of interest.Keep follow-ups to about two to three times before calling it a day.Cold Calling.This is a tricky one. Many of my PR successes have come from cold calling and speaking to the journalist and building relations. That said, cold calling becomes a real issue when the caller has made no effort in understanding the publication/journalist.If you want to cold call, make sure you have done substantial research beforehand.Mass Email Blast.Mass email blasts of PR Releases such as these generally mean journalists are added to a media contacts list which is purchased online. Minor personal touches such as — %f_name% — are included, and that’s a wrap. This type of media is not good enough, and a journalist will see right through it — and be aggravated with you.  Volume does not drive results; it does the opposite in fact, which is why serious consideration needs to be taken when looking into media lists.Ideas to Consider.Start over with your approach and take time out to start to research the journalists and publications. Take the time to build relations by sending intro emails out, mention a journalists article on social media or link to it.Trying various account management ideas can provide some great tips on media relations too. Ultimately, take the time to review competitor coverage, industry coverage, and build a list of key contacts will be your best strategy moving forward.#4 Mistake: Lack of a PitchResearching your journalists and taking the time out to understand them is one part of the public relations puzzle. Next comes the pitch. The almighty pitch, as you already guessed it, is another issue for small businesses.Pitching is both an art and science. Both of these talents can be learned, but they require time, practice, and wisdom to be successful. The wisdom part comes through building and sustaining the relationship.Small business PR can at times seem like it is nothing more than a promotional sales document that has been added into the pitch and attached as a PDF. There can be too much or too little information given in a pitch, which for a journalist requires more time on fact-finding and checking.Ideas to Consider.When pitching, focus on delivering a short intro to the story, the main content with the critical information included, and a closing statement.Adding critical information that is key to the story being interesting, leave out the smaller details and link to files and documents rather than attaching to the email.Practice pitching by not pitching your business or product. Focus on pitching a piece of content you found that should be considered for inclusion in a journalists article or future pieces. Frequent conversations tend to make pitching far more effective as relations improve.#5 Mistake: Targeting Only Top MediaBig media outlets provide significant metrics that we all want to see — high traffic, high referrals, more business, increased brand awareness. It’s only right that all PR activities should be focused on top media. But, top media won’t matter if your audience isn’t there and your piece doesn’t apply to the nature of the publication.For example, a B2B organization will struggle to gain coverage from gossip newspapers. A B2B organization may be a great company and have large reader numbers. However, the customers and clients won’t pick up your information if you’re not where they get their information in the first place. You won’t see any benefit from getting coverage if your prospects are not there. Plenty of organizations are wasting resources trying to get coverage from publications which are not suitable for their intended targets.Ideas to Consider.Quality over quantity is vital here. You should only reach out to relevant publications that are suitable for your audience. If your clients and customer only happen to read three smaller publications — then you’ll need to focus all efforts on media relations.Start small with smaller blogs that are relevant to you and start building from there. If you can get coverage from multiple smaller outlets, and you have success, then pitching top media will become easier, and so will the angle that you can use. Related Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#Communications#PR mistakes Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… Dmitry Dragilev Dmitry Dragilev is the founder of – a SaaS which has helped 5000+ startups and businesses get featured in press on an ongoing basis. He is also the founder of course teaching entrepreneurs “how to do PR right” and occasionally takes on fun client projects through his consultancy, Criminally Prolific.Dmitry has spent over a decade in the world of marketing and PR and was previously a software engineer. He has published 1,500+ articles in the last decade and currently writes for Entrepreneur, Forbes, TheNextWeb, SmallBizTrends and as well as Moz Blog, Ahrefs Blog and many others. Dmitry loves working with customers looking to independently control their PR and is so proud of the entrepreneurs he’s taught to speak to journalists and focus on relationship building.When he’s not at his standing desk working beside his business partner and wife Corey, Dmitry can be found picking heavy things up and putting them down again at Crossfit or running alongside his toddlers scooting through the park. How to Make the Most of Your Software Developer…last_img read more