Archive for the ‘good fortune’ tag
If you’re interested in starting a new tree from seeds, like a citrus tree or an apple tree, you can always dig a nice hole, drop the seeds in, and hope for good fortune, or you can get creative with a seed starter to help the germination process take hold. This method uses a few old sandwich bags and some napkins to get the seeds started quickly and easily so you can plant them and nurture them later. More »
Tmura, an Israeli non-profit, is closing on its 10-year anniversary. In a decade’s worth of work it has contributed a whopping $6.3M+ to educational programs.
The extraordinary amount isn’t the result of efficient fundraising, rather, of having been allotted small amounts of options by early-stage startups. Tmura then exercises these options when the startups see a liquidation event.
Out of a portfolio of 240 companies, 40 saw exits, the most recent of which XtremIO’s acquisition by EMC netted Tmura $450,000.
Baruch Lipner, Executive Director at Tmura, attributes the good fortune these companies have seen to a combination of karma and an improved corporate culture in participating startups. Why argue with success, right?
Over 100 educational organizations have received contributions from Tmura in its 10 years of activity. These include:
- College4All: An enrichment program focusing on students with potential to excel.
- Krembo Wings: A national youth movement for children with special needs.
- Machshava Tova: Computer centers in peripheral areas aimed at ‘narrowing the digital gap’.
- Shiur Acher: Volunteers from the hitech industry delivering lectures in schools.
Participating companies can decide themselves to which project(s) funds from their exits are allocated, or allow Tmura to do the choosing itself.
Are there similar organizations in your area that make use of startup exits for good in the community? Share with us in the comments below.
Disclosure: I’m on the Advisory Board of Tmura.
Fuckers I am so sick of reporting on incremental tech news for fucking two years now, so sick I’m pretty much considering reverting fulltime to fashion coverage (Don’t believe me? Well, how amazing and beautiful is my “Clothing I Like and Want To Buy” Pinterest board, a.k.a. my greatest accomplishment in my life thus far).
But yeah, The New York Times took a step towards the future this blasted Sunday night and all of us tech press are expected to cover it like lemmings. Fine. Sure. It’s a big deal, in a business that is slowly dying, to show an understanding of 21st century distribution mechanisms. Kudos NYT. You’re still worth less than Instagram. Hahahahhaha, lol (drink).
But still you, The New York Times, are way more important than I am, because you convinced Flipboard CEO Mike McCue to work with you early on, which by the timing of this post you could probably figure out that I couldn’t do (in time). Fail. But we’re still covering because this is the first time Flipboard has offered a paywall option, and it shows a promising alternative revenue stream for both parties involved … Welcome to the future old media assholes.
So in between the downing of tonight’s second bottle of wine, I had the good fortune to ask new media visionary McCue the questions y’all are dying to ask, and here they are — Because he was cool enough to answer me …
Q: What are the exact terms of the paywall deal with Flipboard? What do you need to pay/where do you need to sign up to get NYTimes on Flipboard?
A: We are not disclosing the specific deal terms, but for readers this will work for all NYtimes subscribers with digital access. Readers can also subscribe to the New York Times App through iTunes, they can then use that authentication log-in to access all the stories of The New York Times right on Flipboard.
Q: What did you guys need to do in order to make this possible? Technically?
A: We worked closely with The New York Times technical team to integrate their content APIs and authentication back-end so it’s very easy to log-in one time then browse all the content from the Times by simply tapping the top logo to see all of the sections of the paper, magazine and blogs. We also enhanced our Flipboard Pages technology to faithfully re-create the visual experience of reading the New York Times. It’s a beautiful paginated experience with full page, print style advertising. Overall this was a ground-up build and our first authentication integration. It’s a breakthrough project for Flipboard.
Q: How was this the end goal of “two years of hard work” (direct Mike quote)? What are the terms of the partnership — revenue share on ads?
A: This is definitely a big step and a part of what we’ve worked together on for the past two years. But this isn’t the end, we will continue to innovate together and we will also work on an ad model together, although this isn’t something we have details on right now.
Q: Any other paywalled media outlets you plan on sharing stuff with in the future? What’s next for Flipboard?
A: We think this is a milestone for us and directionally important for the industry. We certainly believe there is a way for Flipboard to help publishers deliver premium content side-by-side with free, Web content and we will continue working with publishers to figure this out. We don’t succeed unless they do.
So there you have it. If both Flipboard and The New York Times were public companies and you asked me to convert my invaluable Aol stock into either right now, one and a half bottles of wine deep, I’d instinctually go with Flipboard. Suck it old media, and please die more slow from now on, because I (clearly) hate you.
How Beginner’s Luck Works and How You Can Reproduce It Anytime (Even If You’re Not a Beginner) [Mind Hacks]
At some point in your life you’ve won a game you’ve never played before or witnessed a young child say or create something with worldly depth. These are both examples of events we attribute to something called beginner’s luck, as if chance caused them to happen. The reality is that the effects of this supposed beginner’s luck have very real causes that can be reproduced under the right circumstances. Here’s how the phenomenon works and how you can use that information to incite good fortune when you need it. More »
TV is about to go through the biggest radical rethink in decades as it becomes connected to the internet. And who is going to help manage this process of change? You, the digital marketer.
When you work in digital marketing, mentioning TV in the same breath probably conjures up pictures of Don Draper fraternizing with women, long lunches, and drinking whiskey from a decanter in plush offices. So not much has changed, then?
Everything has changed. That heyday of the creative director as demi-god seems a far cry from today’s ROI justifications to squeeze every lost drop out of every cent before being allowed the good fortune to even look at a dollar bill. For all the advancements in digital media, one thing is certain — we are still not working remotely on Hawaiian beaches (fragmentation passed off as innovation, DSPs passed off as an answer to declining CTRs, and interaction passed off as consumer engagement has ensured this.)
The very fact that TV still commands 50 percent of the half-a-trillion dollar global media budget is that it unashamedly presents itself in the homes of each and every consumer and says “look at this, it’s beautiful and you know you want it.” And lo and behold, the resulting “ker-ching” of cash registers proves this to be true.
Meanwhile, digital marketers are adjusting knobs and dials trying to figure out if consumers did click and, if so, where. Marketers are trying to figure out how to de-dupe consumers when they clicked more then once, or what happened if they didn’t click at all. This translates to excel spread sheets, late nights, etc. (Um, no thanks.)
Yet with the rise of smart phones and tablets, something has happened in the last few years that followed the meteorological rise of social media. That is when you are sitting in front of high value entertainment and something piques your interest when presented imaginatively, the passion spills over into intrigue and sharing.
It is estimated that 25 percent of consumers go online after seeing a TV ad. That’s a huge spike right there. That’s not to mention that half of all TV watchers have a second electronic device in their hands, such as a smart phone or tablet, whilst in a comatose state on the couch engrossed in anything from “The Vampire Diaries” to “Mad Men.” But whether you are checking your email or talking on Facebook, the habit is now truly synced for TV watchers. So much so, the biggest topic of discussion on social media by far is TV content. We just love it and we can’t get enough, because with every wave of consumer technology — from video recorders to X-Box and Hulu — technology just drives TV viewing up and up, and with it the potential for advertising dollars and media measurement.
I like to ask the locals.
It goes something like this, “Hi, I’m not from around here. Can you recommend a good place to eat?” This always has led to good fortune and great meals.
So you would think that I would be OK with checking well-known restaurant sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon for food feedback. The truth is that I’m not great at it.
But what I found is that a great many of you are.
A Facebook poll of my pals found that many use Yelp either “a lot” or “all the time.” Urbanspoon was lesser known (and also lesser used). Some friends even reported frequently using both sites.
Specialty websites like Yelp and Urbanspoon garners a healthy chunk of visitors – 17 percent of those looking for food options, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project.
But beware – even those awesome sites come with snags. At least a couple people (one a restaurateur) informed me that sites like Yelp don’t always publish the best and shiniest reviews.
“Yelp is considered the whining platform,” said Josh Harcus, director of business development with Say It Social, a social media strategy agency that recently was acquired by CrushIQ. “Also with the ‘filter,’ Yelp removes positive reviews … at will.”
In December, Pew released the results from a national survey done with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The survey asked where people get information about restaurants and local businesses.
When it came to shopping for restaurants and bars, the majority of people (51 percent) went straight to the Internet, especially search engines (38 percent).
Newspapers — both printed copies (26 percent) and newspaper sites (5 percent) — run second behind the Internet as the source for information restaurants and bars.
Finally word of mouth was also listed as important source of information about local businesses. Almost one-quarter of visitors still relied on this method.
And then there’s my serious foodie friend, Cindy in New York, who takes eating out to an all-new level.
“I have heard of Urbanspoon, but I haven’t used it. I guess they need to do more marketing,” she said. “I eat out for every meal, every day and use MenuPages about 10 million times per day.”
Now that’s some food for thought.
Christine Cube is a media relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. You can follow her @cpcube.
[Image Credit: BigStock Photo]
In Buddhist monasteries, young monks are often made to practice the art of sutra copying. They’re given handwritten copies of sutras, or religious texts, and are made to copy the words and brushwork of master teachers onto new scrolls and books. These texts are often elaborate and beautifully written, sometimes in Sanskrit. Monks huddle over them and carefully replicate exactly what’s on the page so that the copy is as flawless as the original.
In the Western world, there are similar practices. I remember giving a friend a mezuzah as a housewarming gift once. Mezuzah are tiny scrolls with a portion of the Torah inscribed by hand on them. The scrolls are placed inside a blessed container and hung on the doorway of a house for good fortune or to ward off evil. These mezuzah are meticulously copied by hand, with the belief that an improperly copied one transforms energy into bad luck rather than good luck.
In both examples, there are far more efficient and effective methods to accomplish the same result, a perfectly copied text. Simply take a digital camera or a word processor that can output Sanskrit or Hebrew and start making copies. You could copy the entirety of the Heart Sutra flawlessly just by repeatedly hitting copy / paste on your keyboard. You could mass print mezuzah even at absurdly small font sizes and still have them be perfect copies of scripture.
Of course, that isn’t what’s done. In fact, the respective practitioners of these spiritual practices would find the idea laughable at best and repugnant at worst. Just as there are times when it is wholly appropriate to stop doing what you’ve always done for the sake of tradition, there are also times when it’s vital to dig in and keep the old way intact. In the case of scripture copying, there’s the esoteric argument that only through the human hand can you capture the flavor and energy of the original text, much in the same way that no audio system perfectly replicates the experience of hearing the music performed live.
The more practical reason that these traditions exist is that it’s as much about learning the scriptures by heart as it is replicating data. If you were to hit copy/paste on the sutra, you could mindlessly replicate it without ever learning it. In contrast, monks are forced to learn them word for word, every subtlety and nuance, in order to make a perfect copy by hand.
When it comes to any significant or important practice that you’re doing, whether spiritual or in business, investigate it and question it! Learn why the practice exists as it does and what the underlying reasons for “doing it as it’s always been done” are. Sometimes there may be a valid reason to change the practice and make it more efficient, but sometimes there may be an equally valid reason to leave things exactly as they are.
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Aaron Levie, the dynamic co-founder and chief executive of cloud-based file sharing company Box (until recently known as Box.net) doesn’t hold back when it comes to his competitors.
“If [Microsoft] Sharepoint happened to work, that’s what we kind of do,” said Levie at the 2011 CloudBeat conference.
Box claims about 77 percent of the Fortune 500 as its customers, though admittedly the integration is mostly department-wide, as opposed to company-wide. Proctor and Gamble, however, made a difference for the already successful company. P&G realized it had to do something different with its IT strategy, and Box stepped in. Like many of the Fortune 500 companies, P&G also started with a single department: Pampers.
“We brought diapers to the internet,” Levie jokes. “It was bottoms up.”
It was the start of large-scale adoption for Box. You have end-users who need a good interface, and then you have IT managers who need deep tools to control and, in essence, squeeze the file sharing software for all it’s worth. In order to stay afloat, cloud companies — particularly file sharing ones — need to develop for both kinds of customers. That’s what people in the industry refer to as the “consumerization of IT,” the ability to cater to both.
Levie’s company has had the good fortune to take advantage of a major shift in the way companies do business. According to Levie, there’s a shift away from the vertically-integrated company, like Apple, towards companies that specialize on the core parts of their business and spin off or outsource everything else.
“We think the world is moving away from the integrated vertical stack,” said Levie. “It drives complacency and cost increases.”
That plays well to Box’s strengths, since it can offer IT services that aren’t core to most companies’ businesses.
Perhaps more important than complacency is the fact that these vertical giants are starting to get more distracted due to the breadth of their offerings. Levie reminisced on venture capitalists in 2008 asking him, “Shouldn’t Microsoft just own collaboration in the enterprise?” And while at the time the answer was yes, today the leadership has changed hands to cloud startups with more focus, he said.
“Microsoft is so far behind that it’s not even relevant to talk to them,” Levie said.
Indeed, even Google is missing the mark.
“The best thing that ever happened for us is that Google got really distracted by the social networking wars,” said Levie. “They have not invested in enterprise offers as much as they could have, and I think that has left a massive amount of opportunities for startups.”
Box itself has seized on these growth opportunities. Recently, the company received an $81 million follow-on round that valued the cloud company at $600 million. Box announced its developer network titled /bin, or the Box Innovation Network, in addition to finally completing one of its hardest quests: Purchasing the box.com domain name and dropping “.net” from its own name.
Currently, the company has over 300 employees and has its sites on international expansion for the next year. International customers amount to about 20 percent of Box’s customers and 50 percent of its traffic.
Filed under: cloud
Several years ago I had the accidental good fortune to sit next to a flight attendant on a coast to coast flight as she was hitching a ride home. As we chatted, she mentioned that she far preferred working in the economy class part of the plane because travellers expected a lot less, so “you don’t really have to work as hard to be nice.”
Panels at conferences usually elicit the same sort of low expectations. Generally the speakers are chosen based on job titles and companies they work for rather than an ability to share insights – and moderators follow the boring formula of asking a question and letting everyone on the panel answer it (which leads to lots of agreement and very little real discussion). The sad truth is, most panels suck – and usually the problem comes down to having an inexperienced moderator.
The best moderators are the ones who know how to conduct an interview and shine the light on their interviewees. Johnny Carson, often considered one of the best interviewers, was famous for his philosophy of always making his guests look good. In our increasingly ego driven world – being a great moderator means putting your ego into the backseat and focusing on fostering a great discussion on stage. Here are a few tips that should help:
- Do your homework. You need to really know the issue you are talking about and who your panelists are, so you can focus the discussion and bring out their best points of view. This requires real preparation. Being a moderator doesn’t let you off the hook to prepare just because you don’t need to put any slides together. Know your panelists, their backgrounds and their companies – that is key.
- Help your panelists shine. When professionals agree to speak at an event, they generally have a point of view about something that they want to share. Maybe they are launching a new product, or trying to position their brand in a certain way. Knowing what motivates your panelists can help you to make sure they get to share their big burning issue, and are engaged in the discussion as a result.
- Never allow slides. Generally slides are conversation killers. If you want to moderate a great a lively discussion, force your panelists to lose their slides, and come ready to participate in a conversation instead.
- Use directed questions, not “down the line” question. This is perhaps the single biggest thing that separates great moderators from crappy ones. When you ask questions, tailor them to a specific panelist and ask for their point of view directly. Instead of asking them the same question, you might say “I know you have invested a lot of time in xxx, talk about whether you feel like that is working or not.” Doing this helps get to some deeper insights and lets you avoid having your panelists all agree with and repeat one another. Of course, doing it also means you need to be familiar with your panelists and what they have done – which comes back to tip #1.
- Offer direction, not a script. The best panels have an element of free flowing discussion. It is fine to share some starter questions with the panel, but be ready to follow the path of the conversation as you start to ask questions and guide the conversation in a natural way.
- Stay on topic. There is nothing worse than a panel which goes completely off topic and doesn’t talk about the issue which is promised in the program for an event. In many cases, your audience chose to be part of your panel instead of attending another talk in the same time slot. Respect your audience’s choice and make sure you do cover the topic promised in the description of your panel.
- Try to bring out different opinions. Part of doing this depends on your having some input in the selection of who the panelists will be … so as much as possible try to have a hand in selecting panelists for any panel you agree to moderate. If this is not possible, try to find some areas where your panelists have different philosophies so you can try to bring those out.
- Master the basics. There are some basic moderator tricks that you should learn and remember. For example, state your theme for the panel at the beginning, repeat all questions from the audience if they don’t have microphones to make sure everyone can hear, give audience members a warning for questions (ie – “in 5 minutes I’ll be asking for questions, so you should start thinking about what you want to ask now”).
- Be the voice of the audience. At various points, you will hear topics or statements that will surely have the audience thinking about the same thing (ie – a panelist shares that there are “only three brands that really use social media effectively.”) In this case, be the voice of the audience and follow up to make sure the panelist shares who those are and why. Everyone will be wondering, so you need to make sure you can empathize and ask those questions.
- Share a recap. After an on stage discussion, it is really important to recap the key messages that were shared during the panel and what the big takeaways should be for audience members. This is ideally done at the end of your panel, but can also be done through some sort of recap after the event itself (I love to do blog posts as recaps of events).
In case you’d like to see my best effort at putting some of these tips into action, I’d love for you to come out and join me at the upcoming Social Media For Customer Service Summit where I’ll be moderating two panels on Day 1. The team at Useful Social Media has kindly offered up a discount for readers of the Influential Marketing Blog to get 20% off registration by using the code “ROHIT11″.
I interrupt the normal flow of my ramblings about marketing to introduce you to two good causes. Both have to do with my son David (the Marine).
Cause Number 1
Yep, he’s crazy like his Dad! Dave is heading back to the States this fall after months of deployment in Spain, and he wants to attend the Marine Ball in November (Virginia Beach) with – well, Taylor Swift! So I said I’d help.
Here’s his invite via Twitter. I figure if he gets about 459 bajillion retweets then Taylor won’t be able to resist saying yes (November 4 does appear to be an open tour date, after all…). And who wouldn’t spend an evening with a handsome and talented Marine??
A U.S. Marine asks: May we dance, @TaylorSwift13?? bit.ly/MayWeDance @DaveWoodruff1
Cause Number 2
While in Spain, Dave and some of his pals have had the good fortune of working with a visionary Navy guy named Nick Mendoza III, who started a very special company/cause called Bands for Arms (B4A). In short, B4A was created to show support for those in the armed services, and provide tokens of remembrance, by creating custom bracelets made out of actual uniforms (all donated). Since creating the the first one in 2009 in remembrance of a comrade who died, B4A has taken off like a rocket, with much of its growth and grassroots organization being accomplished long-distance via Facebook.
David and some of his pals have not only kept busy creating bracelets, but in some cases are actually modeling as well for the photo shoots (which makes the old man feel a very strange mixture of immense pride and intense jealousy – I mean, what country music star wouldn’t want THAT hunk on her arm at a dance…..ooops, sorry, mixing up our causes here).
My wife and I had the chance to meet Nick in NYC during his recent tour promoting B4A and we’re quite impressed with this young man, his energy and vision. B4A supports many charitable organizations (see below), so if you wish to purchase one of the many hand-made designs it’s all for a good cause. There’s even one design called the Woodruff – yes, it’s my favorite! :>}
You can follow the B4A folks on Twitter at @BandsForArms.
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