Archive for the ‘half’ tag
I recently heard from a TED speaker who was able to quote, verbatim, truly nasty comments people had posted about her talk.
And yet, I’ve never once met an author who said, “Well, my writing wasn’t resonating, but then I read all the 1 star reviews on Amazon, took their criticism to heart and now I’m doing great…”
There are plenty of ways to get useful and constructive feedback. It starts with looking someone in the eye, with having a direct one on one conversation or email correspondence with a customer who cares. Forms, surveys, mass emails, tweets–none of this is going to do anything but depress you, confuse you (hey, half the audience wants one thing, the other half wants the opposite!) or paralyze you.
I’m arguing that it’s a positive habit to deliberately insulate yourself from this feedback. Don’t ask for it and don’t look for it.
Yes, change what you make to enhance delight. No, don’t punish yourself by listening to the mob.
Less than a month after taking over Yahoo, Marissa Mayer is already sending strong signals of leadership to investors. Yet, the announcement of a new financial strategy led to a 5.37 percent downturn of YHOO today as the company played down dividend expectations.
Yahoo filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the strategy review “may lead to a re-evaluation of, or changes to, our current plans.”
In particular, following the announcement in May that Yahoo would sell half of its 40 percent stake in the Chinese company Alibaba for $7.1 billion, investors believed that the after-tax cash proceeds — $4.2 billion — would go back to investors in the form of dividends.
Shareholders rejoiced, but with another CEO came another plan. Mayer has just scrapped the plan of distributing dividends in order to “enhance long-term shareholder value” as she wrote in the SEC filing. According to Reuters, the board of directors still backs Mayer’s long-term plans.
In addition to the new dividend plan, the French news agency AFP reported that the business review could lead to “revaluating or rethinking our current plans, including our company reorganization and our share buyback program”.
Once again, Mayer is borrowing some ideas from Google, her previous company. Google is known for not issuing dividends to its shareholders. By doing that, she gives the impression that she is in charge of Yahoo and ready to take bold decisions. But investors seem to value short-term returns over a long-term vision.
Now, we are left wondering what Yahoo will do with this cash on hand. It could acquire some companies, invest it or keep it for a while.
Pinterest has removed their invite requirement! Now everyone who wants a Pinterest account can sign up and get one instantly. Exciting news, right?
At least half of you are now scratching your head saying, ‘funny, I didn’t know you needed an invite to get on Pinterest.’
Technically, you did. But unlike other soft launches, you didn’t have to get one from a friend on site or wait weeks to have your request approved. You requested, you were approved – no muss, no fuss. Now, I’ve heard from others that this wasn’t always the case. I’ve heard reports of waiting weeks for an approval and that might have been the case when I built my first Pinterest site. Honestly, I don’t remember, so the process couldn’t have been too painful.
Still, to the average person hitting the page, there’s a bit difference between “Sign up now” and “Request an Invitation.” A large portion of interested visitors wouldn’t have bothered to ask for the invite, and even more wouldn’t have followed through on the approval. (I wonder how many approvals landed in the spam folder?) By removing the invite, Pinterest has allowed for the drive-by signup. The, I heard about this place, I’ll check it out, signup. And since you can register using Twitter or Facebook, the process truly does take under a minute.
After you signup, you’re given a waterfall of images to choose from. Pick the ones that catch your fancy and Pinterest automatically populates an opening page for you to match your choices. The test run I did was spot on. So kudos to whomever designed their recommendation engine.
Once I was in, I noticed another change. Pinterest used to start you out with five default boards: “Products I Love,” “Favorite Spaces and Places,” “Books Worth Reading,” My Style” and “For the Home.” This clearly defines who they saw as their average user at the start. Now, they’ve removed the defaults, giving you four empty board templates that are easily customized.
Pinterest was already coming on strong, but the removal of the invite requirement and the open template should not only boost their numbers, but it should bring in a more diverse crowd. That’s great news for any marketer using this graphical wonderland to promote their brand.
Are you on Pinterest yet?
In May of this year, Yahoo agreed to sell half of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for about $7 billion. At the time, Yahoo’s chief financial officer Tim Morse planned to return the cash to shareholders — a feel-good quick hit, perhaps, but hardly something that would revive the company.
But new CEO Marissa Mayer, who is already bringing a new product focus to the company, may have different plans.
In an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Business Insider noticed today, Yahoo states that it is re-evaluating those plans as Mayer restructures the company and looks for acquisitions.
Here are the relevant excerpts from the filing, titled “New Chief Executive Officer and Review of Business Strategy:”
Ms. Mayer is engaging in a review of the Company’s business strategy to enhance long term shareholder value.
As part of that review, Ms. Mayer intends to review with the Board of Directors, among other things, the Company’s growth and acquisition strategy, the restructuring plan we began implementing in the second quarter of 2012, and the Company’s cash position and planned capital allocation strategy.
This review process may lead to a reevaluation of, or changes to, our current plans, including our restructuring plan, our share repurchase program, and our previously announced plans for returning to shareholders substantially all of the after tax cash proceeds of the initial share repurchase under the Share Repurchase and Preference Share Sale Agreement we entered into on May 20, 2012 with Alibaba Group Holding Limited.
Judiciously spent, $7 billion might be the ticket to help the once-proud internet giant regain some of its former glory. That may only be seven Instagrams, but there are plenty of other startups available for significantly less money. Super-angel Dave McClure has already suggested buying properties around fashion, shopping, and women.
The only problem?
Yahoo is not great at creating lasting value from acquisitions. Talk to Flickr or Delicious. Or Broadcast.com.
One thing I will say: If anyone can figure it out, Mayer can.
Image credit: Gl0ck/ShutterStock
VYou launched a year and a half ago to let users ask each other questions, with answers posted by video. Since then, it’s and rolled out an iPhone app for answering questions on the go and attracted a fair number of celebrities to answer questions through its platform. (Hello, Oprah!) It’s also received more than a million video responses to date.
VYou’s been great at building its community to date and letting users interact with each other. Users could see a feed of videos from the people they were following, ask and answer questions of each other and the like. The thing it’s not been so great at is helping users to search the whole site’s content and find interesting users or groups of users they might not know about. With that in mind, VYou just launched a major site overhaul designed to make it easier for users to find users and answers to interesting questions.
One of the ways that VYou is doing that is by showcasing popular videos on the home screen. So you’ve got the obvious celebrity contributions (Hello Oprah on my home screen!), as well as those that the community found interesting. There’s also a running feed of public questions on the left side of the screen, letting anyone jump in and answer.
VYou has also redefined its search functionality in a big way. For one thing, there’s a big old search function at the top of the screen, letting you search for answers from individual users (or groups!), and refine the search by topic. So if you searched for “Deepak Chopra talking about love” you’re met with a whole wall of videos with him talking about that. It also works for groups, so you can do a search of NYC Ballet Dancers, for instance. Or if you just wanted to know what the whole community thinks about a certain subject, you could just search for it, leaving it open the everyone.
In addition to searching for content by group, users will now be able to ask questions of a group. So rather than asking a ballet-related question to the global community, you can pose the question just to members of that group.
VYou founder Steve Spurgat tells me that the site has pretty high engagement and a good return rate for users, but that most viewers will get stuck on a single user’s page and just watch multiple answers from that one user. The new design, and the groupings of users are meant to help nudge them to check out other users. Speaking of, have we mentioned Oprah? Other celebrities to recently join include TechCrunch nemesis Arianna Huffington, designer Nicole Miller, author Cheryl Strayed, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Congressman Keith Ellison.
VYou has raised $3 million in funding from RRE Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, High Peaks Ventures, Broadway Video Ventures, Kevin Wall, David Tisch, and Rick Webb. The company, which is based in New York City, now has 12 employees.
Samsung struggled to market its Galaxy Tab as distinct from the iPad, noting in internal documents that over half of viewers seeing its TV commercials assumed the ad related to Apple’s iconic iPad.
With summer in full swing and Facebook more top-of-mind with consumers than years past (for a variety of reasons), I thought it would be timely to look at one area where marketing on Facebook has been particularly impactful — the travel industry, especially as it relates to influencing summer travel decisions.
Recently, eMarketer released a report called “Social is the new normal for travel marketers.” The report validated the great degree to which travel marketers are now leveraging social media, with the majority of travel brands rapidly increasing their social media marketing budgets. This report echoes a poll from a U.K. based flight comparison website in which, remarkably, more than half (52 percent) of Facebook users stated “that seeing friends’ holiday pictures had inspired them to book a holiday to the same place.”
A picture’s worth 1,000 words — or $1 billion
Though it may seem hard to believe that such a high percentage of people would book travel plans based on what they’re viewing on Facebook, this behavior indeed jives with recent trends in social media data. Look no further than the explosive success of Pinterest. Pinterest has proven the “power of the picture” to engage users for hours on its site. The average Pinterest user spends over an hour a month on the site — way behind Facebook at six and a half hours a month — but still impressive. No site approaches Facebook in terms of hours spent — Americans spend over 100,000 years each month on Facebook, with a majority of that time flipping through photos. Why? Image-based social media can connect with us in a powerfully emotional way that text simply can’t. As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth 1,000 words” (Or, in the case of Instagram, $1 billion.)
Friends “like” friend’s travel recommendations
But, it’s more than just beautiful images of, let’s say, the Cayman Islands that is driving us to book a trip to a particular destination. While striking photos are often core to getting us to choose a destination on social media, recommendations from other consumers usually play a critical role. The travel industry recognized the potential of user recommendations years ago with Trip Advisor being the most obvious example. Certainly, many of us have checked that site to gauge what other travelers have said about a particular destination or hotel before making a purchase decision.
And yet, while websites catering to the “wisdom of the crowds” have shaped travel decisions online for well over a decade, social media sites such as Facebook represent much more powerful opportunities for marketers to reach and engage with new travelers. In fact, today it’s often trusted recommendations from our Facebook friends (via their Facebook news feed) that make us aware of a destination in the first place. And, when it comes to sharing stories about one’s favorite vacation spot, “like” often turns to “love” (i.e., purchasing airplane tickets and booking hotel rooms).
Facebook sharing: A sunny forecast for tourism
In spite of Facebook’s rocky IPO, the company’s user base is still growing at a rapid clip. In fact, based on the activity we’re seeing on our clients’ Facebook pages, it seems apparent that travelers are embracing the platform like never before. But, how does this all work?
By way of example, my firm recently partnered with Innovation Norway, a group responsible for the development of the official travel guide to Norway, to create a few campaigns that have inspired and connected many with the arctic lights. The Visit Norway U.S.A. Facebook page is dedicated to promoting nature-based travel to the country. Recent campaigns have been designed – through contests and pictures — to reveal lesser-known, “sharable facts” about this beautiful Scandinavian country. For instance, a daily interactive quiz, accompanied by beautiful imagery, has resulted in a significant increase in fan engagement (and a 195 percent increase in the number of fans).
While the Facebook campaigns are only one component of Norway’s current multi-platform campaign (you’ve probably seen the posters at bus stops, train stations, etc.), the social network provides a way to “connect” with consumers that these traditional media can’t.
Another example of a socially-savvy destination is the Cayman Islands. Similar to Innovation Norway, the tourism board for the Cayman Islands is finding that quizzes and comments — along with beautiful photos — leads to material fan engagement and travel bookings (a 182 percent increase in the numbers of fans, and a 400 percent increase in fan engagement). The Cayman Islands conducted a “Sweepstakes-Discovery” where Facebook fans can cycle through an array of activity choices, comment on their favorite, and then enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to the Cayman Islands. As is the case with many of these successful campaigns, consumers are drawn to a tantalizing photo within one of their trusted friends’ Facebook feeds, click on the “like” button, engage further via an interactive game (e.g., a sweepstakes or quiz), and ultimately purchase a vacation package.
The summer of travel has taken flight
The 900 million hearts and minds of Facebook users are increasingly welcoming social media-inspired travel recommendations. So consumers, grab your sunscreen and get ready to be enticed with more perks and contests online. As for travel marketers, your industry is well suited to continue to lead the social media curve. Remember — when it comes to travel — while the wisdom of crowds is important, the advice of friends is golden. Who knows what you’ll love best, after all?
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
Google recently commissioned a study with 800 CFOs and other top financial executives at companies with 500 or more employees in the U.S. and Europe. The results are a little startling, given the typical reputation of finance wonks as perhaps just a little behind the times, technologically speaking.
According to the study, conducted by Vanson Bourne, 96 percent of chief financial officers believe that “cloud computing provides their business with quantifiable benefits.” A similar 94 percent said that the cloud will be important to the success of their companies, and just over half believed that cloud computing “offers better value” than traditional outsourcing.
French and UK companies were particularly bullish on cloud.
A majority of executives in those countries said that the cloud offers increased flexibility, greater capacity, better scalability and — yes, these are finance geeks — the ability to move technology purchases from a capital expenditure budget, which must be amortized, to an operating expenditure budget, which offers more flexibility and less risk.
In the U.S., execs were confident that cloud technologies would help companies get more done.
“Almost 81% of our U.S. respondents say that they think completely implementing cloud technology would improve employee productivity,” Google’s Alandha Scott wrote in a blog post.
And, even among CFOs who say their company has no current cloud computing plans, over three quarters believe that the technology is important to their business success. Business benefits that the executives cited included:
- 59% – latest version of applications instantly available
- 58% – reduced IT costs (fewer servers, less software, fewer staff)
- 58% – more flexible costs
- 58% – more reliable IT services
- 56% – more mobile-friendly technology
- 55% – improved collaboration
One little caveat: Google provides cloud-based services, such as Gmail, search (if you want to think of it that way), and Google Apps. The last page of the report, ominously titled “The Threat of Being Left Behind,” plays a little shamelessly on executives’ fears of missing the next big thing.
There’s no question: The report is a little self-serving. However, it’s probably also correct.
Image credit: HappyDancing/ShutterStock
Data scientists are like the supermodels or football players of the enterprise world: highly in-demand and earning sky-high salaries in their prime, but insecure about their future prospects.
Business Intelligence provider SiSense found that 59 percent of data scientists move on after less than six years in the industry. About half of them reported they were seriously concerned about their job security, despite an escalating salary.
The survey found that the annual earnings of a data professional can range from an average of $55,000 for a data analyst to an average of $132,000 for a vice president of analytics. Almost 80 percent reported that they expected a salary increase in 2013.
Data scientists have been touted as the elite group that are posed to capitalize on the hype surrounding Big Data. A recent report by consulting firm, McKinsey & Co, found that there is a major, global shortage of data scientists. Those with the skills to take a large data-set, model it and glean insights, are proving impossibly difficult to recruit.
Still, the glamour and mystique that surrounds the data scientist is relatively recent, and it’s easy to understand their misgivings about the future. As Irfan Khan, Sybase’s CTO explains in ITWorld, the newly-minted data scientist’s role will be jeopardy if companies don’t hire the right management team.
The study also found that data scientists tend to work in groups of 5 or more. This is a practice that is routinely encouraged by Silicon Valley’s tech companies: LinkedIn is known for its team, formerly head up by D.J. Patil (featured above), that developed features like “People You May Know” and “Jobs You May be Interested in.” Facebook’s pack of 12 researchers is led by “in-house sociologist” Cameron Marlow.
The survey results are based on responses from over 400 data scientists and analysts from around the world, collected online in July 2012.
Top image via Joi
Filed under: enterprise
For most of the second half of last year, my only sister (I also have four brothers) kept asking me if I was on Pinterest yet.
Not needing yet another addiction, I kept telling her no. So, when I was home for the holidays, not only did she make me get on there, she got me completely addicted.
I’m pretty sure I spent at least 30 hours on the site, getting my boards set the way I wanted them, following people, and adding images.
And now? I LOVE PINTEREST (I know; shocking)!
But I also became quickly disenchanted, particularly with the recipes, because – while beautiful images – they just didn’t taste good.
So I began to use my “must make” board as inspiration, but by creating my own recipes around the ideas.
Well, it turns out it runs in the family. Because my only sister – whose name is Laney Namanny – has created a blog called Pintology, which tests things she finds on Pinterest and tells you whether or not they actually work.
She has four kids (four of my 14 nieces and nephews) so you can imagine she’s time-crunched and her ability to focus is spread thin.
Her goal is to save other moms time by providing a rating (pins up or pins down) on things you’ll find on Pinterest. Things such as homemade Febreeze, ointment, bath paints, nail polish remover, candles, recipes, and more.
The rating system includes ease, effectiveness, cost, time, and practicality. And she loves the dollar store so you know if she ranks it low in cost, it really is cost-effective.
Yesterday she was on The Daily Dish in Utah (where I grew up and she still lives) showing how easy it is to make bath paints, Febreeze, and ice packs.
Not only am I super proud of her, but I think you’ll find her tips extremely useful.
I know it’s not typical of me to do reviews here, but she’s my sister and she rocks.
So check out Pintology and save yourself time when using Pinterest!