Who are Indias Lowest Paid Executives

first_imgThe top executives of Indian companies appear to be offered less remuneration than MNC’s, even after the companies are listed in BSE top 100 list.According to an analysis by Mint, Chief Executive Officers of Cummins India, Shriram Transport Finance and Federal Bank were among the least paid bosses at ₹24.5 lakh, ₹48.17 lakh and ₹84.99 lakh per annum, respectively. However, the top executives who were also the companies’ promoters were not included in the list.Cummins India’s chairman and managing director Anant J Talaulicar earned around ₹24.5 lakh in FY 2014, which is said to the least remuneration. Cummins is a corporation that designs, manufacture, distribute and service diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies.Shriram Transport Finance’s Managing director Umesh Revankar is the second least paid executive with an annual remuneration of ₹48.17 lakh in the financial year ended in March 2014.Federal Bank’s MD Shyam Srinivasan is in the third position who had an annual salary of ₹84.99 lakh.Of the 20 lowest paid CEOs, about 25% of them were from banks and financial institutions. Ironically, chief executives of banks earn the highest compensation all over.In 2012, The Reserve Bank of India published the guidelines on compensation of whole time directors and chief executive officers. The report said that the policy should cover all areas of compensation structure such as fixed pay, stock, pension plan and so on. The report also added that variable pay should not exceed 70% of the fixed pay in a year.”If you add the long-term incentives paid to bank executives, their compensation levels improve sharply to take them to the top bracket of pay in the country. About 70% of companies have long-term incentives by way of employee stock options or restricted stock units,” Anandorup Ghose, consulting practice leader at Aon Hewitt told Mint.Among the 100 companies included in the survey, salaries of top executives in India ranges from ₹24 lakh to ₹30 crore.Infosys CEO and MD Vishal Sikka, who was appointed in mid June this year, has been offered $5.08 million (₹30 crore) with an additional stock options worth $2 million as an annual compensation. Currently, he is the highest paid CEO of an Indian company.Besides Cummins, Shriram Transport Finance and Federal Bank, names of seven other companies with least paid remuneration to top executives are Sesa Sterlite, Ashok Leyland, Nestle India, Tech Mahindra, Tata Global Beverages, M & M Financials and ABB India.last_img read more

Google CEO Sundar Pichai poses with cricket idol Sachin Tendulkar

first_imgGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, US October 4, 2016Reuters fileGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai posed to click a picture with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar at the Edgbaston cricket ground during the India vs England ICC Cricket World Cup clash on June 30. The picture of the two was tweeted by BCCI on their official Twitter page which was appreciated by netizens.Google CEO @sundarpichai along with the Master Blaster @sachin_rt at the game today pic.twitter.com/jKZKFgelUF— BCCI (@BCCI) June 30, 2019Sundar Pichai was one of the eminent personalities present at the Edgbaston ground to see the match on Sunday. He claims to be a huge cricket fan and at an event organised by the US-India Business Council, he mentioned that he is backing both England and India to reach the finals. He also mentioned his dream of becoming a cricketer and how he idolised Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar during his growing up phase.On Sunday, one of his wishes got ticked but India lost to England in the much-anticipated fixture of the World Cup by 31 runs. The hosts won the toss and decided to bat first. They put up a formidable total of 337 for the loss of seven wickets with Jonny Bairstow scoring a magnificent century leading the attack and Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler chipping in with quickfire half-centuries. File photo of Sachin Tendulkar at Lord’s.Ben Hoskins/Getty ImagesThe pick of the Indian bowlers was Mohammed Shami as he picked up five wickets though he was a bit expensive, continuing his brilliant run in the World Cup. Chasing a mammoth target of 338, India lost KL Rahul early for a duck. The Men in Blue were in the chase with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli playing magnificently. Rohit scored yet another century in the tournament, but with his dismissal, the Indian innings started to crumble as the English bowlers tightened the screws in the death overs.The Indian middle-order lost their grip of the game with the likes of Dhoni and Kedhar Jadhav not connecting the ball and Rohit’s century went in vain. India will next face Bangladesh on July 2 at the same ground and are one win away from confirming a semi-final berth.last_img read more

Communal attacks aimed at destroying relations with India Quader

first_imgObaidul QuaderRuling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) general secretary Obaidul Quader on Sunday alleged that a certain communal force carried out attacks on the Rangpur Hindu community in a bid to destroy Bangladesh’s “good relations” with India.“An evil force launched the brutal attack ahead of the next general elections. The communal force launched the attack on Hindu community and looted their property. They want to destroy good relations with India,” said Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister.The AL general secretary made the allegation while talking to newsmen after visiting the Hindu people who came under attack of local Muslims on 11 November following a Facebook post by a Hindu man which, the Muslims claim, contained derogatory remarks about Muslims’ prophet Muhammad.A man was killed when police opened fire to ward off the angry mob that turned violent and launched arson attacks on Hindu homes in Rangpur’s Gangachara upazila following the Facebook post.“Those who want to destroy relations with India are living in a fools’ paradise,” said the AL leader.He said those who were involved in the attack must be brought to justice no matter how much powerful they are.He said the incidents of Nasirnagar, Ramu and Rangpur are all connected. “This is a part of a plot.”The road transport minister handed over Tk 25,000 to 11 affected Hindu families each, Tk 10,000 to ten affected Hindu families each, and gave Tk 10,000 for a Hindu temple.last_img read more

Masihuzzaman made Air chief

first_imgAir marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat. Photo: UNB Air marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat will take over the command of the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) from 12 June, said a release from the directorate of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Tuesday.He is set to take over the command the BAF for three years as the defence ministry issued a notification in this connection, the release added.“Air vice marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, BBP, OSP, NDU, PSC, GD (P) has been promoted to the post of air marshal for three years as chief officer of Bangladesh Air Force. This order will come into effect from 12 June,” the release reads.last_img read more

UPDATE Emails Show Trump Jr Knew Russia Was Working To Support Trump

first_imgDarron Cummings/APDonald Trump Jr. speaks at a campaign stop with his father, then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, in April 2016 in Indianapolis.Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday posted online an email exchange that seemed to show the president’s son entertained an offer of Russian government help for his father to be elected president in 2016.“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” said the text that Trump Jr. posted on Twitter.In the messages, an intermediary for Russian business allies of the Trumps offer what they call incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. That eventually led to a meeting between a Russian attorney and Trump Jr., then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.Trump Jr. did not seem bothered by the offer, which brought him and the campaign into a questionable legal area.“If it’s what you say,” Trump Jr. replied, “I love it.”Trump Jr. said in his Twitter post on Tuesday that he was posting the messages “to be totally transparent” and that the Russian attorney with whom he met, Natalia Veselnitskaya, ultimately did not provide Trump Jr. with any opposition research about Clinton. Sharelast_img read more

Full Show City Council Considers Layoffs And Political Roundup April 17 2019

first_imgListen 00:00 /50:44 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: On Wednesday’s Houston Matters: As the Houston Professional Fire Fighter’s Association and Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration continue negotiations over voter-mandated pay raises, city council members today are scheduled to consider and vote on laying off 220 firefighters in order to pay for it. That comes as the city has already laid off dozens of firefighters and municipal employees. We check in on the latest out of city hall.Plus News 88.7’s Elizabeth Trovall tells the story of a husband and father who was nearly deported and the effect on his family.Also this hour: Our experts discuss the latest developments in government and politics. Then, Marcia Milgrom Dodge talks about bringing her 2009, Tony Award-nominated revival of Ragtime to Houston.And we learn how nearly crashing a plane helped Daniel Peña write a novel about the border and immigration.We offer a daily podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Sharecenter_img X last_img read more

Interfaith Health Network Serves Baltimore Communities

first_imgThis month, Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations in the Baltimore area began rolling out a program meant to capitalize on the connection between faith and healing.The Maryland Faith Community Health Network brings together health care providers and faith leaders to help foster health among congregation members through formalized information-sharing and patient support. The pilot program is currently a collaboration between the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, almost 50 congregations in Baltimore City and Baltimore and Carroll counties, and LifeBridge Health facilities comprising Sinai, Northwest and Carroll hospitals.“It is a natural connection because they (health care providers and faith leaders) both have the well-being of congregants at heart and this initiative brings them together to support each other,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative and initiator of the program. “We think this will help reduce disparities, improve overall health and enhance communities across the state.”Under the guidelines of the initiative, congregations sign memorandums of understanding with LifeBridge and MCHI. Members of the churches, temples or mosques are then encouraged to sign up, giving permission for hospital staff to contact their congregation liaison whenever they are checked in with an illness.“The immediacy with which you find out a member is being hospitalized hastens the time in which you can respond to provide pastoral and congregational care,” said the Rev. Cleveland Mason II, pastor of Perkins Square Baptist Church in Baltimore, and president of the United Baptist Missionary Convention of Maryland.“One learned through the ministry of Jesus, who healed many, that health is important, and this provides the church with a concrete way of encouraging good health,” Mason further said of why he is pushing for the program’s adoption throughout the state. He added, “This program is the practical application of biblical principle. It goes along with that loving-your-neighbor-as-yourself aspect of the Christian faith. It creates stronger bonds between members [and] it fosters a greater sense of compassion and caring that is needed in our communities and across the world.”As part of the network’s functions, hospital staff help the congregation liaison come up with an at-home plan for the patient, including potentially-needed services such as pet care, yard care, picking up prescriptions, food, spiritual nurturing, etc., which congregation volunteers would help provide.Rev. Dellyne Hinton, pastor of Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church, which launched its program on April 3, said she was excited about being able to better serve its members and also to extend their compassion ministry beyond the walls of the church. That excitement, she said, seemed to spread to her congregation as 80 percent of those in attendance signed up on the spot.“It is not just about seeing to patients’ spiritual welfare—having prayer with them or bringing them communion—it is about meeting their other living needs,” she said. “It is those kind of things that takes stress off healing so you don’t end up back in the hospital because you could not be compliant.”Reducing that kind of recidivism was one of the reasons LifeBridge Health was motivated to join the program, said Rev. Domanic Smith of LifeBridge’s Population Health Department. “What this does for LifeBridge is it helps us to help prevent patients from returning to the hospital for the same illnesses within 30 days,” he told the AFRO. “Cutting back on recidivism to the emergency room provides doctors with the opportunity to really do health care with patients instead of just emergency care.”DeMarco said it was concerns such as those that spawned the idea of implementing this program in Maryland. The health advocate said they will be seeking to sign up other hospitals and faith communities in the network with an eye to spreading across the state.“This project originated because of substantial changes happening in the health care system in Maryland. Hospitals now have tremendous incentive to keep people healthy and out of their hospitals and they wanted the help of the community to do that,” he said.The program is modelled after a successful program in Memphis, Tenn., where about 600 congregations and 20,000 individuals have signed up for the network.DeMarco said, “Their data showed substantial benefits to this program. By giving support to people in congregations everyone is better off—the individual, the congregations, the hospitals and the state.”last_img read more

ER achieves growth rate of 608 passenger count earnings increase

first_imgKolkata: Eastern Railway has achieved a growth of 6.08 percent in suburban passenger earnings for the period — April to December, 2018 — in comparison with the corresponding period of last year.Eastern Railway secured the first position in suburban passenger earnings among all zonal railways in the country and the growth rate is the highest achievement in the Indian Railway System. It has earned a mammoth additional amount of Rs 29.59 crore by inducting additional suburban passenger traffic of 3.45 crore in this period. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe overall growth of passenger earnings of Eastern Railway has also achieved a remarkable figure of 6.32 percent for the period from April to December, 2018, in comparison with the corresponding period of last year. In absolute figure, the additional earnings amount to Rs 127.59 crore from carrying additional passenger traffic of 3.83 crore. ER has achieved huge success in passenger traffic and earnings through a number of passenger-friendly initiatives resulting in the increase of purchase of journey tickets. Passenger awareness campaigns towards usefulness of ATVM, POS, and mobile ticketing etc. are constantly and continuously going on. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseEastern Railway has installed 232 ATVMs in the period from April to December, 2018, in addition to the previously existing 178 ATVMs and looks to introduce another 148 at different stations shortly. Besides reducing the waiting time, the intending passenger can get journey tickets from these ATVMs with 3 percent bonus. For providing easier access to purchase journey tickets, ER has also appointed 154 more JTBS (Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks) up to December, 2018. For extending the facilities of cash less transactions, ER has installed 596 POS machines at the PRS and UTS counters in different areas up to December 2018. Purchasing of unreserved tickets through mobile phone from any station to any station has also been implemented. QR based mobile-ticketing facility has also been implemented through which passengers can easily purchase journey tickets after reaching the station.last_img read more

Local first responder joins Rep Pagel at Sept 11 ceremony

first_imgPHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Dave Pagel, of Berrien Springs, today was joined by Berrien Springs/Oronoko Township Police Officer Rick Smiedendorf as his guest for the Michigan House’s annual Sept. 11 Memorial Service at the Capitol. The ceremony remembers members of the military from Michigan and first responders who died in the line of duty in the past year. 07Sep Local first responder joins Rep. Pagel at Sept. 11 ceremony Categories: News,Pagel Newslast_img

This years IBC will feature a kenote session cele

first_imgThis year’s IBC will feature a kenote session celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema featuring iconic actor Amitabh Bachchan and Bombay Talkies producer Ashi Dua.The IBC Convention Keynote will take place on Friday 13 September at 09:30 in the Forum, at the RAI Amsterdam. This session, titled “100 Years of Indian Cinema: Creative Evolution and Global Markets” will feature what IBC desribes as a star-studded and action-packed review of the brilliant, diverse and extraordinary living history of Indian Cinema.The event marks the 100th anniversary of the release of Dadasheb Phalke’s film Raja Harishchandra.The session, which will be open to all attendees, will be chaired by Mohinder Walia, managing director of Mumbai Media City, India’s largest studio, broadcast, content management and media school facility.Panellists will discuss an industry which today sees 1,000 films released each year and turned in box office receipts of US$2.6 billion (€2 billion) in 2012.“There are certain set perceptions about Indian cinema, beyond Indian shores,” said Bachchan. “The truth is that it is the breadth of styles and genres that makes the Indian cinema industry so vibrant and so culturally exciting. I am delighted to have been invited to take part in IBC 2013, a global event at which we can share our knowledge, our experiences and our enthusiasm with our peers from all around the world.”last_img read more

Here are my last two plant photos  The first was

first_imgHere are my last two plant photos.  The first was taken at The Alamo.  It’s a papaya bush/tree—and this one was about a meter and half high—and that’s 4 feet and change in American!  When fully grown, they’re much taller than this, of course.  The second photo was taken on the resort hotel grounds—and it goes by the name American beautyberry.  You can eat them, but their astringency will pucker your mouth up real quick. For the Friday trading session, gold got smacked for 1.94%—silver for 1.40%—platinum was creamed for 3.24%—and palladium 1.57%.  Nothing free market about this, as da boyz pulled out all the stops.And, as always, not a word in protest from the precious metal miners or the two organizations that purport to represent their best interests—the World Gold Council and The Silver Institute.So—are JPMorgan et al done to the downside yet?It seems like I’ve asked that question every week for the last two or three weeks—and they keep surprising us to the downside.   Considering how ‘in your face’ and extreme these engineered price declines have been in all six key commodities this time around, it’s hard to accept the fact that the ensuing rallies may be cut off at the knees before they really get anywhere.  But I suppose one should be prepared for any eventuality.That’s all I have for today, but before heading out the door I want to remind you one last time about the 40th Annual New Orleans Investment Conference from October 22-25, 2014.  That’s less than three weeks away!  If you’re interested, you can find out everything you need to know by clicking here.That’s it for the day—and the week.I await the 6 p.m. open in New York on Sunday evening with great interest.Enjoy what’s left of your weekend—and I’ll see you here on Tuesday. So—are JPMorgan et al done to the downside yet?The gold price got sold down a few dollars as soon as trading began in the Far East on their Friday—and another five bucks or so got carved off the price shortly before the London open.  From there it traded unchanged until the release of the job numbers at 8:30 a.m. EDT in New York.  The HFT boyz used the opportunity to put the boots to gold once again—and the low tick came around 12:45 p.m. EDT.  After that, the price didn’t do a lot.The high and low ticks were reported by the CME Group as $1,215.70 and $1,190.30 in the December contract.Gold finished the Friday session at $11,90.70 spot, down $23.60 from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was 174,000 contracts.Here’s the 10-minute gold chart going all the way back before the Comex opened at 6 p.m. EDT in New York on Thursday evening—and you can see that the two small declines before the London open didn’t have much volume associated with them—and JPMorgan et al saved the heavy lumber for the Comex trading session, as volume exploded when their HFT boyz worked their magic starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT.  Don’t forget to add two hours to the Mountain Daylight Times shown on this chart.It was more or less the same price pattern in silver, except the low tick came at 10:30 a.m. in New York—and the subsequent rally got capped around noon, and then sold down a bit.  Silver traded flat from the 1:30 p.m. close of Comex trading into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.The high and low prices were reported as $17.155 and $16.64 in the December contract.Silver finished the trading day yesterday at $16.855 spot, down 24 cents.  Net volume was 45,000 contracts.The pounding of platinum continued again yesterday, as the HFT boyz took two 20 buck slices out of the salami—once in early morning trading in the Far East—and again starting at, or just before, the London a.m. gold fix.  The beating stopped around 11 a.m. EDT—and the metal traded flat into the close, finishing down another 41 bucks.  Platinum has never been this oversold—ever.It was similar for palladium, as da boyz peeled another 12 bucks off the price—and it finished off its low by around five dollars.You’ll note that the HFT boyz only went after gold and silver at the 8:30 a.m. EDT job numbers report.  Neither platinum or palladium even twitched during that time.Of course it’s almost superfluous to point out that all four precious metals set new lows for this move down.The dollar index closed late on Thursday afternoon at 85.61—and rallied quietly starting almost immediately after the 6 p.m. EDT open—and was at the 86.00 level when the jobs numbers released.  The NASA space launch in the index that occurred at that point took the dollar to its 86.75 high shortly before 11 a.m. EDT—and it gave up 10 points of its gain by the close.  The index finished that up 103.4 basis points—and closed at 86.65.The gold stocks got pounded—gaping down at the open—and hitting their lows around 1 p.m. EDT—and never moved off the floor from there.  The HUI got smacked for a breathtaking 4.47%—closing at 189.77.And even though silver only closed down 24 cents, the shares got slammed even harder, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 5.36%.The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 13 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that 327 contracts disappeared from the October delivery month, leaving 1,913 contracts still open.  The silver contracts still open in October rose by 78—and the contracts open now sits at 291.There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—and as of 6:24 p.m. EDT, there were no reported changes in SLV.There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, they reported that 16,075 troy ounces of gold were received—and 22,364 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that activity is here.There was much more activity in silver, of course, as they received 899,995 troy ounces—and 371,102 ounces were shipped out the door.  Most of the activity was at Brink’s, Inc. and Canada’s Scotiabank.  The link to that action is here.The Commitment of Traders Report, for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday, was not quite what I was hoping to see—and I’m wondering out loud if all the data from the big down day on Tuesday made it into this report, which was something I mentioned as a possibility in my Wednesday column.  Anyway, the numbers are what they are.In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by only 1,306 contracts—and the new Commercial net short position now stands at 77.3 million troy ounces.Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, the Managed Money category increased their short position by 3,924 contracts, which is understandable considering the price action during the reporting period.  But the non-technical traders on the long side of the Managed Money category actually increased their long position by an impressive 2,458 contracts.  Almost all the selling came out of the Nonreportable/small trader category.The Managed Money on the short side is now at a new record—and it’s a good bet that, as a group, they don’t hold a single solitary Comex long position in silver between them.  So the question begs to be asked—who are the non-technical fund traders in the Managed Money category that are quietly adding to their positions on the long side—and why are they doing it and what do they know that we don’t?Ted Butler said the it appears that JPMorgan decreased their short position by around 500 contracts during the reporting week—and that brings their short-side corner in the Comex silver market down to 11,000 contracts, or 55 million troy ounces.  That amount represents about 70 percent of the total Commercial net short position.In gold, the Commercial net short position only declined by 3,590 Comex contracts, or 359,000 troy ounces.  The Commercial net short position is now down to 6.07 million troy ounces.The shorts in the Managed Money category only added 43 contracts to their combined short positions—and the non-technical traders in that category added another 837 contracts to their huge long position.  As in silver, all the selling came from the Nonreportable/small trader category—and the Commercial traders were buying everything they were selling.Ted said that JPMorgan reduced their long-side corner in the Comex gold market by 2,000 contracts during the report week, and they’re now down to 23,000 contracts, or 2.3 million troy ounces.There was a big improvement in copper as well, as the Managed Money traders added another 9,324 Comex contracts to their collective short positions, while the non-technical traders in the Managed Money category added a small amount to their huge long position.Platinum and palladium improved as well, but we won’t see the full effect of what happened in those two precious metals until next Friday’s COT Report, as most of the engineered price decline this week didn’t start until Tuesday—and has continued for the last four trading days—and it’s a good bet [looking at yesterday’s COT Report] that not all the trading data from Tuesday for platinum and palladium made it into Friday’s report, either.The big revelation for me from this COT Report was the fact that monster long positions in all four precious metals, plus copper, are being held by these unblinking non-technical funds in the Managed Money category that have been increasing their long position regardless of whether prices are rising or falling.  Opposite them in the Manged Money category are short positions held by the technical funds, who will run for cover like scared rabbits on the next rally.If the Managed Money non-technical funds longs—and the traders that are massively long in the Commercial category decide to put their hands in their pockets on the next rally, how high will the Managed Money shorts have to bid the price in order to get the long holders to sell so they can cover their short positions?The last two times this year, the Commercial long holder have let the short-side holders in the Managed Money category off easily.  Will they do so this time???The answer to that question is all that matters—and how high we go in price and how fast we get there will be 100 percent determined by how the long holders react when the short holders rush to cover.  That applies to copper and crude oil as well—plus the opposite in the dollar index, where the technical funds are massively long.And, without doubt, the positions held by all parties, short or long, has become even more extreme since the cut-off on Tuesday.So we wait.Here’s a chart Nick Laird sent our way yesterday.  It’s the live spot gold price going back five years—and with the spot price close of $1,191.30 on Friday, JPMorgan et al have set a triple bottom.  But since they’re capable of printing any chart pattern they want, you have to ask yourself if this really means anything.I have a fair number of stories for you today—and I hope you can find enough time during what’s left of your weekend to read the ones you like.Of course, I must be open to the possibility (some would say probability) that this might not be the final sell-off because the commercials could once again sell aggressively on the next rally and let the technical funds off the hook with minimal damage.This year alone, in February and June, the commercials sold aggressively on sub-par silver rallies of around $3 when they could have extracted from the technical funds much, much more. Worse, I still don’t fully understand why the commercials let the technical funds off the hook so lightly on those two prior (and other) occasions. The best I can come up with is that the commercials knew they were in firm price control of the COMEX and knew that they could dictate what the technical funds would do in advance; that the commercials knew they could put the technical funds back on the short side whenever they wanted to. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 01 October 2014Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ is another iconic piece that needs no introduction—and neither does the American jazz rock band that performs it.  The link is here—and while I’m at it, here’s another one of their big hits.I’m going to watch/listen to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra perform tonight—and today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is one of the reasons I’ll be there.  It’s my 66th birthday present to myself.  It’s Edvard Grieg‘s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, which he composed in the summer of 1868—and is, without doubt, one of the most popular piano concertos ever written.  It’s for a very good reason that audiences all over the world just eat this thing up every time its scheduled to be performed—and I know that for a fact, as I was on the programming committee of the ESO for 11 years.Here’s the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra performing under the baton of Thomas Dausgaard—and world renowned pianist Alice Sara Ott does the honours.  The link is here.  Enjoy!You don’t need me to tell you what happened yesterday, as JPMorgan et al—along with their HFT buddies and their algorithms—used the jobs numbers and the dollar rally to do the dirty across the board.  They started quietly in Far East trading—and then really hammered gold and silver at the 8:30 a.m. EDT job numbers.  Then later they put the boots to platinum and palladium.  Much to my surprise, they didn’t set new lows in either copper or crude oil.Here’s the carnage in the four precious metals—and it’s ugly.last_img read more

By Doug Casey Its an unfortunate historical ano

first_imgBy Doug Casey It’s an unfortunate historical anomaly that people think about the paper in their wallets as money. The dollar is, technically, a currency. A currency is a government substitute for money. But gold is money. Now, why do I say that? Historically, many things have been used as money. Cattle have been used as money in many societies, including Roman society. That’s where we get the word “pecuniary” from: the Latin word for a single head of cattle is pecus. Salt has been used as money, also in ancient Rome, and that’s where the word “salary” comes from; the Latin for salt is sal (or salis). The North American Indians used seashells. Cigarettes were used during WWII. So, money is simply a medium of exchange and a store of value. By that definition, almost anything could be used as money, but obviously, some things work better than others; it’s hard to exchange things people don’t want, and some things don’t store value well. Over thousands of years, the precious metals have emerged as the best form of money. Gold and silver both, though primarily gold. There’s nothing magical about gold. It’s just uniquely well-suited among the 98 naturally occurring elements for use as money…in the same way aluminum is good for airplanes or uranium is good for nuclear power. There are very good reasons for this, and they are not new reasons. Aristotle defined five reasons why gold is money in the 4th century BCE (which may only have been the first time it was put down on paper). Those five reasons are as valid today as they were then. When I give a speech, I often offer a prize to the audience member who can tell me the five classical reasons gold is the best money. Quickly now – what are they? Can’t recall them? Read on, and this time, burn them into your memory. – — The Secret to Investing in Gold Like Doug Casey After the longest bear market in gold stocks in 40 years…Doug Casey just revealed how he plans to make a killing on gold’s massive rebound…and why 99% of investors don’t have what it takes to try this gold strategy. See more here. Recommended Links Shocking Footage From Outside the Door of Our Affiliate’s Building You’ve got to see this… It’s footage from Baltimore, MD, right on the front doorstep of our affiliate’s headquarters. And you won’t believe what they caught this woman (named Charro) doing on camera… It’s really one of those things you HAVE to see with your OWN two eyes. Click here to see the UNCENSORED CAMERA FOOTAGE. Money If you can’t define a word precisely, clearly and quickly, that’s proof you don’t understand what you’re talking about as well as you might. The proper definition of money is as something that functions as a store of value and a medium of exchange. Government fiat currencies can, and currently do, function as money. But they are far from ideal. What, then, are the characteristics of a good money? Aristotle listed them in the 4th century BCE. A good money must be all of the following: • Durable: A good money shouldn’t fall apart in your pocket nor evaporate when you aren’t looking. It should be indestructible. This is why we don’t use fruit for money. It can rot, be eaten by insects, and so on. It doesn’t last. • Divisible: A good money needs to be convertible into larger and smaller pieces without losing its value, to fit a transaction of any size. This is why we don’t use things like porcelain for money – half a Ming vase isn’t worth much. • Consistent: A good money is something that always looks the same, so that it’s easy to recognize, each piece identical to the next. This is why we don’t use things like oil paintings for money; each painting, even by the same artist, of the same size and composed of the same materials is unique. It’s also why we don’t use real estate as money. One piece is always different from another piece. • Convenient: A good money packs a lot of value into a small package and is highly portable. This is why we don’t use water for money, as essential as it is – just imagine how much you’d have to deliver to pay for a new house, not to mention all the problems you’d have with the escrow. It’s also why we don’t use other metals like lead, or even copper. The coins would have to be too huge to handle easily to be of sufficient value. • Intrinsically valuable: A good money is something many people want or can use. This is critical to money functioning as a means of exchange; even if I’m not a jeweler, I know that someone, somewhere wants gold and will take it in exchange for something else of value to me. This is why we don’t – or shouldn’t – use things like scraps of paper for money, no matter how impressive the inscriptions upon them might be. Actually, there’s a sixth reason Aristotle should have mentioned, but it wasn’t relevant in his age, because nobody would have thought of it…it can’t be created out of thin air. Not even the kings and emperors who clipped and diluted coins would have dared imagine that they could get away with trying to use something essentially worthless as money. These are the reasons why gold is the best money. It’s not a gold bug religion, nor a barbaric superstition. It’s simply common sense. Gold is particularly good for use as money, just as aluminum is particularly good for making aircraft, steel is good for the structures of buildings, uranium is good for fueling nuclear power plants, and paper is good for making books. Not money. If you try to make airplanes out of lead, or money out of paper, you’re in for a crash. That gold is money is simply the result of the market process, seeking optimum means of storing value and making exchanges. Editor’s Note: We just alerted readers to an extremely rare opportunity to quickly make a lot of money in the gold market. In short, a unique type of gold investment is set up for 500% or 1,000% gains in the coming years. This setup has only occurred a handful of times in the last 20 years. But every time it occurs, some investors see gains as large as 1,700%, 4,300%, and 5,000%. If you’re interested in this idea, please act now. With gold prices up 19% this year, the window of opportunity is closing fast. And once it’s closed, we likely won’t get another chance like this for at least five years. Read more here.last_img read more

The Biggest Trends in Business for 2013

first_imgEnergy-Drink Market Gets a Boost From Young ConsumersEnergy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers. Goofing off: Designer Beau Bergeron at Ideo.Photo Courtesy of Ideo Whether it’s synthesized caffeine in a mass-produced beverage or a naturally occurring jolt in an organic snack, energy products are lifting off.Since flying in on Red Bull’s wings in the 1990s, energy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers. Sales for the industry’s largest segment–drinks and shots–surpassed $8 billion last year, an increase of 124 percent since 2006, according to market research company Mintel.Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director for Datamonitor, a business information and market analysis firm, estimates that the energy drink category will grow 8.9 percent from 2010 to 2015, while the food and beverage industry overall will increase by just 2.9 percent. He notes a recent survey in which nearly 30 percent of U.S. consumers said they are highly influenced by energy-boosting benefits when choosing a soft drink.Supercharged food products are also on the rise. A PricewaterhouseCoopers market report on functional food divides the $20 billion-plus industry into categories according to health benefit, such as weight management, heart health and memory improvement, but the largest segment (29 percent) is made up of products claiming to boost energy.”Looking toward the future, you’re starting to see companies getting outside the beverage area and [talking] about energy as a viable benefit for food products,” Vierhile says. But he isn’t referring to novelty items like caffeinated waffles. “One of the trends we’re seeing in food these days is [that] consumers are seeking out products on the basis of what they naturally contain,” he says.YouBar, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of customized energy bars, has been filling that need since its 2006 launch–and has grown every year since. At YouBars.com, users build bars from scratch by selecting from a variety of natural, healthful ingredients (including those with intrinsic energy enhancers); a nutritional label on the page automatically updates to reflect their choices. Owner Anthony Flynn says sales increased 100 percent in 2011, and he expects them to double again this year.Other companies are pursuing the all-natural energy path, too, even if it means diverging from their core business. Pyure Brands, a Naples, Fla.-based supplier of organic stevia products, branched out from the natural sweetener industry after founder Ben Fleischer saw an opportunity in energy shots. “We found a niche in the marketplace,” he says. “Our product is the first certified-organic, sugar-free [and calorie-free] energy shot.” Six months after introducing Pyure’s Organic Energy Optimization shot to distribution channels, Fleischer anticipates selling 250,000 to 500,000 units per month.Whatever the reason–staying awake to complete a business plan, cramming the night before a presentation or just remaining alert throughout the workday–clearly, says Datamonitor’s Vierhile, “there is an interest in energy.” Using Transparency to Build Consumer Trust Add to Queue Remember when virtual reality was all the rage? What about the daily-deal explosion?We love a good story and a quick cash infusion, but when it comes down to it, we’re far bigger fans of businesses built on a solid foundation — those that can weather the economy’s fits and starts; that can embrace what’s trendy but don’t crash when kids move on to the next big thing; that address the wants and needs of America’s increasingly diverse population.Our list of the trends we’ve got our eyes on will help anchor your business, present or future, in reality. From cooking up goodies that satisfy America’s growing taste for all things spicy — a sign of our shifting demographics — to helping workers who are locking the door on traditional office setups, these trends are built to last (at least for a while). Consider this a jumping-off point as you envision new products and services — and look at it as a heads-up on evolving ways to manage your current business. Now, to your future. Health Technology can’t cure all ills, but doctors (and entrepreneurs) are working on it.Market research firm Parks Associates reports that the digital health technology market will be worth $5.7 billion by 2015–up from $1.7 billion in 2010–with chronic care, wellness and medication management leading the charge. Meanwhile, consultancy ABI Research estimates that sales of wearable wireless health-monitoring devices will grow from less than 3 million units in 2011 to 36 million by 2017, pushed by rapid growth in the senior in-home care market.Early players in the mobile-health space include Happtique, an app-management company that helps healthcare professionals integrate digital technologies into their treatment programs, and Proteus Digital Health, inventors of a sand-grain-size ingestible sensor that monitors physiological and behavioral metrics from within a patient’s body.Startups, of course, want in. “Regulatory challenges still pose a problem, but the ability to scale healthcare absolutely has to happen,” says Leslie Ziegler, chief evangelist at San Francisco-based health-dedicated accelerator Rock Health, which is nurturing promising ideas like Cardiio, a $4.99 touchless biofeedback app that uses mobile-device cameras to measure pulse via light reflected off the face (changes correspond to the flow of blood underneath the skin), and Podimetrics, maker of Wi-Fi-connected mats that can detect burgeoning foot ulcers in diabetics.”Technology has finally caught up to the need, and the solution finally fits into people’s lifestyles,” Ziegler says.The money has caught up, too. According to Rock Health, nearly $1.1 billion has been invested in digital health startups this year, up from $626 million last year, marking an 84 percent increase in deals.In November 2011 Chris Hogg, co-founder and CEO of 100Plus, raised a $1.3 million seed round from big-name investors like Peter Thiel of Founders Fund and John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla. Hogg’s company is developing an app that uses large data sets to assess behavior and spur healthier living habits–only now possible because of a sea change in the way people collect and share their own data.”People are hungry to learn more about themselves. They haven’t had this power and access to the tools and services to make it possible before,” he explains. So don’t be surprised if, in a few years, your (virtual) doctor’s visit ends with a prescription for both pills and apps. December 3, 2012 This story appears in the December 2012 issue of . Subscribe » Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Beverage Next Article Manufacturing Magazine Contributor Using Transparency to Build Consumer TrustWeary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust. Beauty Seekers Favor ‘Cosmeceuticals’Consumers take a shine to advanced personal-care products. Photo Courtesy of hotsauce.com Energy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers.By Katherine Duncan Illustration © Chris Philpot Customer Service Illustrations© Chris Philpot Domestic Production Makes a ComebackFactors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs, a better financial climate and a surge of homegrown innovation mean the U.S. manufacturing startup universe is experiencing a renaissance. Consumers take a shine to advanced personal-care products.By Jennifer Wang By keeping production close to home, companies reap benefits on the connectivity front, translating into better products and systems. Case in point: San Francisco-based Everlane, which makes luxury apparel and sells it directly to consumers online, manufactures half its product line in the U.S. Founder Michael Preysman believed staying stateside would give him speed and more control over his inventory. He was right–over the summer, an endorsement on the popular lifestyle blog A Cup of Jo caused a flash sellout of 2,000 black V-neck T-shirts in a single day. If the tees had been sourced from overseas, rapid restocking would not have been possible.”It can take a minimum of 12 weeks to get something shipped from overseas, but we can do it in a month,” Preysman says. “It’s maybe a buck more for a T-shirt, but here you can sit and go over the design details and touch the product.” Unique Vending Machines Drive Stagnate Industry Forward Creative Financing Grows in Popularity Move over ketchup, hot sauce is now one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S.By Jason Daley Management Vending When high heels start to rub, consumers today can take the edge off with a visit to a vending machine–and not just for a soul-soothing candy bar. “Our customers love that they can walk right up, put money in and instantly get a pair of shoes,” says Ashley Ross, who sells ballet flats out of four Rollasole machines in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. “There’s no hassle or sales pitch. It’s simple, and they can go on their way.”Last year Ross and business partner Lindsay Klimitz bought the U.S. rights to Rollasole from its U.K. founder, Matt Horan. They plan to place seven additional machines in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Chicago in the coming months.The size of the U.S. vending machine industry has stayed steady over the past few years, pulling in about $42 billion last year, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA). And while nearly 95 percent of that revenue came from traditional options such as beverages and snacks, NAMA president and CEO Carla Balakgie believes recent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic payment options and unique products could drive the industry forward.Savvy entrepreneurs are engaging the always-open kiosks to offer everything from $5 works of art (artist Clark Whittington’s Art-o-mats, which utilize retired cigarette machines) to fresh-cut flowers (Raleigh, N.C.-based 24-Hour Flower).The U.S. is still a ways away from the vending machine dominance of Japan–where more than 5.2 million machines generated about $65 billion in 2009 from sales of everything from eggs to pet rhinoceros beetles. But new companies are bringing new products to stateside machines all the time. Enroll Now for $5 Health Care Goes Digital Healthcare Goes DigitalThe digital health-technology market will be worth $5.7 billion by 2015, with chronic care, wellness and medication management leading the charge. Technology Creative Financing Grows in PopularityTraditional business lending is still faltering, but more people are starting businesses, which means borrowers and lenders are getting creative. The Rise of Big Data The Workspace of the Future Traditional business lending is still faltering, but more people are starting businesses, which means borrowers and lenders are getting creative..By Michelle Goodman The Biggest Trends in Business for 2013 Assembled at home: The Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, Calif. Domestic Production Makes a Comeback Foodcenter_img Elon Musk of Tesla Motors Entrepreneur Staff Botox, schmotox. When it comes to anti-aging solutions, beauty seekers are starting to thumb their noses at injections in favor of “cosmeceuticals,” personal-care products with supposed skin-enhancing ingredients.Market research group IBISWorld estimates that cosmeceuticals accounted for 13.4 percent of the $54.9 billion wholesale cosmetics and beauty-products market in 2012–a whopping $7.4 billion. Another research firm, Freedonia Group, predicts that demand for cosmetic chemicals will jump 4.9 percent per year to reach $9.4 billion by 2016.This growth will be driven by products advertising “active and natural” ingredients like rice-enzyme powders and rainforest plant extracts, such as those from Lily Herbceuticals–which uses exotic ingredients like the Tibetan Snow Lotus, a flower that survives in the Himalayas at 21,000 feet above sea level and 70 degrees below zero–and Personal Cell Sciences’ U Autologous, a skincare line that incorporates customers’ own stem cells in the service of anti-aging.Lindsey Guest, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based BeautyArmy, a year-old tech company that uses algorithms to match individuals with personalized beauty samples, says the number of skincare lines on the market has quadrupled over the last five years. It’s an especially lucrative category because of an urban and affluent customer base willing to pay a premium for the latest innovations. “They don’t want to use what their mothers and grandmothers used, and a new algae or deep-sea ingredient really resonates,” she says.Dan Obegi, CEO of Los Angeles-based DermStore, the largest e-tailer of physician-strength skincare products, agrees. “There’s new demand as beauty influencers and tastemakers get older and become more interested in these types of products,” he says. DermStore has seen annual growth of 50 percent for the last three years. Its parent company, Intelligent Beauty, which expects 2012 revenue of $450 million, has introduced a cosmeceutical slant into other verticals, such as shampoos that treat split ends.Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox, a New York City-based discovery shopping service for beauty, grooming and lifestyle products, says that no matter the age of the consumer, spending is trending toward higher-performance products. A recent company survey revealed that BB creams–all-in-one products that work as a serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock and were originally developed to protect skin after cosmetic surgery–are now finding mainstream use as a daily skincare option and are most popular among the under-21 set. And let’s not forget the ever-growing opportunities in the ethnic and male-grooming markets, worth $3 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively, by some counts.Beauty may only be skin deep, but consumers’ desire to chase it offers endless potential for companies’ bottom lines. The digital health technology market will be worth $5.7 billion by 2015, with chronic care, wellness and medication management leading the charge.By Jennifer Wang It’s no surprise that creative financing is on the upswing. More people are starting businesses than before the economy tanked–but traditional business lending is still faltering.”The majority of small businesses don’t need to borrow $1 million. They need to borrow $25,000 to $50,000,” says Charles Green, executive director of the Small Business Finance Institute, a nonprofit that educates entrepreneurs about financing. Little wonder that alternative financing methods–crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending sites, online pawn shops, you name it–have become so popular.Take microlending. In 2011 Accion East, a leading U.S. provider of $500 to $50,000 microloans, granted 19 percent more loans and lent $2.2 million more than the previous year. According to Accion East CEO Paul Quintero, it’s the same story at the four sister organizations in Accion’s national network: more entrepreneurs applying for loans and more microloans disbursed.Also gaining in popularity is revenue-based financing (RBF), which is repaid based on the lendee’s monthly sales. Since forming in 2010, Seattle-based RBF lender Lighter Capital has gone from making three investments per year totaling $250,000 to 13 totaling $1.5 million, says CEO BJ Lackland. HireAHelper.com, a booking site for moving and day labor, got a $200,000 business-expansion loan from Lighter Capital a year ago. “It ended up being a pretty important catalyst for our growth,” says Mike Glanz, the site’s co-founder.Entrepreneurs are also flocking to collateral-free loans, particularly short-term ones. Consider merchant cash advances, in which restaurants, retailers and other businesses doing a high volume of card transactions receive a lump sum in exchange for a cut of future credit or debit card sales–often about 25 percent. This year these advances will total $1 billion, up from $800 million in 2011, says David Goldin, president of the North American Merchant Advance Association.All this is good news for entrepreneurs seeking capital. “Alternative lending is becoming more mainstream,” says Rohit Arora, co-founder and CEO of Biz2Credit, an online credit marketplace. “And as it becomes more mainstream, the cost of those products is going down.”  Image: Shutterstock Factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs, a better financial climate and a surge of homegrown innovation mean the U.S. manufacturing startup universe is experiencing a renaissance.By Jennifer Wang These days more CEOs are getting the memo on the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line. The prevailing wisdom is that a spirit of playfulness builds teamwork by bringing employees together in a collaborative setting. Just look at one of Zappos’ core values:”Create fun and a little weirdness.”Southwest Airlines has been the poster child for playfulness in the workplace since its founding in 1971 by fun-loving Herb Kelleher. More recently Cartoon Network CEO Stuart Snyder–named the “Most Playful CEO” of 2012 by Playworks, an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit–can be seen gliding about company headquarters in Atlanta on an oversize tricycle.”For me,” says Playworks founder and CEO Jill Vialet, “it’s a constant effort around getting the message out that work is not the antithesis of play–by no means at all. The opposite of play is depression.”Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, says a positive spirit should start from the top. “The key to leadership is being flexible and open and playful … in a way that is really natural to your own personality,” Brown says. “When work and play can be joined in a way that works and is sensible, that, to me, is an ideal.”Each spring Brown teaches a course at Stanford University titled “From Play to Innovation” with Brendan Boyle, a partner at Ideo, the Palo Alto, Calif., design consultancy known for promoting play to inspire imagination. Boyle touched on this idea during a presentation at the 2011 Creative Innovation conference in Melbourne, Australia. “If you can incorporate [play] into your innovation process,” Boyle told the gathering, “you’re going to make it more enjoyable, and you’re going to be better at it.”These days playful leadership may be most famously reflected in the businesses of Silicon Valley–but not just in the grand, in-house gaming arcades and bowling alleys of the early internet days. Fun-based leadership has gone in a decidedly more grown-up and community-anchored direction. At Thumbtack, a San Francisco firm that helps consumers find and hire local service professionals online, employees sit down to lunches prepared by a professional chef. “Eating all our meals together is a great way to build camaraderie,” says co-founder and CEO Marco Zappacosta.The company culture grew organically from Thumbtack’s origins, Zappacosta notes, when most of the founders all lived–and worked–in his brother’s house. “We keep things casual,” he says. “We work hard and care about what we do. But at the end of the day we’re not so wrapped up in it that we can’t joke about it.”  Photo Courtesy of momentimages Managers Who Understand the Importance of Goofing Off Beauty Seekers Favor ‘Cosmeceuticals’ Managers Who Understand the Importance of Goofing OffCEOs get the message about the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line. Data Hot Sauce Goes MainstreamMove over ketchup. Hot sauce is now one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S. CEOs get the message about the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line.By Christopher Hann Beauty Machines in Las Vegas, New Jersey and New York peddle pieces of 24-karat gold under the name Gold to go. The Semi-Automatic machine at New York City’s Hudson Hotel is stocked with a rotating array of quirky items, such as copies of The Catcher in the Rye, designer threads and a rental agreement for a Ferrari 599 GTB. The Sandbox’s Beach Shop in a Box dispenses essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, beach balls and towels. And Greenaid’s seedbomb vending machines–part of the company’s “guerrilla gardening efforts”–dispense balls of clay, compost and seeds that can be thrown into sidewalk cracks or barren parking lots to grow a little green.”Gen-Y, who has grown up with technology that allows them to define their own experiences, is driving much of the innovation in the industry,” Balakgie says. “They love the anonymity and to be able to get what they want, when they want it.” The office is getting a new look–or being phased out altogether.By Matt Villano Experts agree: Weary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust.”In most categories, products are essentially the same and offer the same rational benefits,” says Jim Joseph, branding expert and author of The Experience Effect for Small Business. “It’s the emotional benefits that make you a brand and get you into people’s lives so they come back time and time again.”Jim Gregory, CEO of New York- and Los Angeles-based CoreBrand, a full-service brand consultancy that works with corporations, says, “Trust is a critical component of overall brand reputation today. People are more likely to do business with a company they trust, which means [trust] generates revenue and increases the enterprise value of the company.”A survey conducted by Concerto Marketing Group found that when people trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend it to others; 82 percent will use its products and services frequently; 78 percent will look to it first for the things they want; and 78 percent will give its other products and services a chance.How do you earn that trust? Start with a brand story containing a human element to which consumers can relate, says Mark Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of SpotHero, a Chicago-based online parking reservation provider. “A lot of people associate negative feelings with parking, and we started this company because we’ve had those same feelings and wanted to make them positive,” he says. “We’re building a brand based on a personal problem of ours that others also identify with.”Once an emotional connection is made, it’s important to stay true to that brand promise to prolong the sense of trust. “Authenticity is coming back as an emotional connection that people want to make with their brands,” Joseph says. “It’s about speaking truthfully; doing what you say, saying what you do and not exaggerating who you are.”For Lawrence, a big part of that delivery comes in the form of 24/7 customer support–which has paid dividends for SpotHero. “We want our customers to feel comfortable, so if they have questions, if they’re lost or if they want to get a hold of an actual human being, they can call us,” he says. “We take that engagement very seriously, so parking is not scary or frustrating, and we’ve found that in doing so, our customers get so excited about their experience they tell their friends all about it.” The Rise of Big DataCutting-edge entrepreneurs are stepping up to crunch the vast (and ever-growing) stockpile of information too large for companies to store and analyze in-house. The Workspace of the FutureThe office is getting a new look — or being phased out altogether. 15+ min read Hot Sauce Goes Mainstream Grandpa can stop complaining: “Made in the USA” is making a comeback. Early this year a New York Times poll revealed that 52 percent of the public thinks it’s “very important” that products they buy are made in America. This past summer Starbucks generated all sorts of feel-good headlines for its Create Jobs for USA Fund. In one instance the corporation chose one of the last remaining U.S.-based pottery manufacturers, American Mug and Stein, to create merchandise for its new “Indivisible” brand, which donates a portion of sales back to the fund.Same deal on the mass-production side. In September a PricewaterhouseCoopers report alluded to a “renaissance” in U.S. manufacturing stemming from factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs and a better financial climate–and the fact that “re-shoring” (returning production stateside) could mitigate $2.2 billion in losses from supply-chain disruptions in 2011. Also helping the cause: a surge of homegrown innovation in the manufacturing startup universe, including Tesla Motors’ release of the world’s first all-electric luxury sedan from its Silicon Valley headquarters earlier this year. (Robots help keep operational costs down.)”One of the things we learned in the downturn is how to do things leaner and greener than we used to. We can get the same kind of revenue figure with less cost,” says Karen Burns, co-founder of Oakland, Calif.-based East Bay Manufacturing Group, an organization that counts startups and multifactory operations among its members. A recent group survey revealed that 69 percent of members were “very positive” about the current business outlook, with 38 percent expecting sales growth of more than 10 percent in 2013. –shares Weary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust.By Paula Andruss Sites like Etsy and Kickstarter also have made it easier to buy and promote local goods and services. For example, Susan Sarich, founder of SusieCakes, a self-professed “All-American Bakery” with eight locations in California, sourced hand-sewn holiday aprons from a Portland, Ore.-based Etsy artist. The relatively high price point for the aprons–$49 for a set of two–reflects the use of organic cottons, incorporation of thoughtful design elements and the labor of custom embroidery, done in San Francisco. “I could have gotten it done for 3 cents an apron,” she says. “But customers appreciate the quality.”Indeed, customers who appreciate “Made in the USA” tags are in good (and historic) company. In 1815 Thomas Jefferson announced, “I have come to a resolution myself as I hope every good citizen will, never again to purchase any article of foreign manufacture which can be had of American make, be the difference of price what it may.” Illustration © Chris Philpot Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Recent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic payment options and unique products could give the vending machines industry a boost.By Kara Ohngren Unique Vending Machines Drive Stagnant Industry ForwardRecent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic-payment options and unique products could give the vending machines industry a boost. Cutting-edge entrepreneurs are stepping up to crunch the vast (and ever-growing) stockpile of information too large for companies to store and analyze in-house.By John Patrick Pullen Take it to go: Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, Calif.Sprinkles photo © Joy Cho of Oh Joy! Photo Courtesy of Veer/Corbis and Shutterstock Wondering about the office of the future? It might take more imagination than you think. “Who says there’ll be an office at all?” asks Tom Austin, vice president at Gartner, a Stamford, Conn.-based technology research firm. “Already we work from Starbucks, in the car and at our kids’ softball games.”Sure, experts like Austin have predicted the obsolescence of the workplace for years, but as technology empowers people to work from any place with an internet connection, it’s starting to look like more small- and medium-size businesses could very well decide to go without on the physical office front.Take, for instance, Floor64. The media and consulting company maintains a brick-and-mortar space in Sunnyvale, Calif., but also runs a bunch of Skype-powered chat rooms for remote workers–many of which are buzzing for most of the day.”These [chat rooms], more than anything else, represent our ‘office,'” says CEO Mike Masnick, “and they don’t exist in physical space.”Several developments have facilitated the rise of a virtual workplace. Nearly 6 million Americans work from home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Cloud computing enables data backups and remote collaboration in real time. And group video chat–videoconferencing 2.0, if you will–has become dirt cheap (or, in the case of Google Hangouts, free).Even traditional back-office departments are moving toward virtualization. Recently a number of third-party companies have popped up to provide services such as human resources, payroll and benefits. Some of these providers, including Algentis and Insperity, offer customizable online portals for each employee.Of course many companies–big ones, especially–won’t give up on physical offices entirely. But experts say that in order to succeed, these firms should completely rethink their layouts, creating work environments that provide employees with a range of options.Gartner’s Austin predicts that rather than the cube farms and conference rooms of yore, workspaces will come to evoke areas of the typical home–open floor plans with couches and soft rugs; cozy, kitchen-like spaces with waist-high countertops; and covered outdoor patios with chaise longues.Or, says Kevin Kuske–chief brand advocate and general manager for Turnstone, an office-furniture company in Grand Rapids, Mich.–office planners will start to think more like city planners, clumping purpose-built spaces into distinct portions of a building. “Urban centers have entertainment zones, dining zones, even residential zones,” Kuske notes. “For an office to work it needs to take this approach, too.” Office Space Hot sauce has caught fire. In April research firm IBISWorld declared manufacturing of the spicy condiment to be one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S., with average company revenue jumping 9.3 percent per year over the last decade.Even though the segment is small–roughly 5,500 people employed by 218 sauce companies, an industry valued at $1 billion–it packs an entrepreneurial punch. Beyond established companies, thousands of kitchen and garage cooks have begun decocting their own spicy blends, with dozens of new sauces hitting local shelves and mail-order catalogs each year. A quick survey of recent entrepreneurial sauciers included a 13-year-old boy from North Carolina, a formerly homeless veteran who used sauce to rebuild his life and a Palo Alto, Calif., firefighter who grows his peppers behind the station. Even the industry’s largest player–Avery Island, La.-based Tabasco, which has an estimated 34 percent of the market–has been privately held by the McIlhenny family since 1868.Dave DeWitt, producer of the annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show held in Albuquerque, N.M., and the authority on all things spicy, likens the hot-sauce explosion to that of craft beer. “It’s similar because it’s an industry in which people have a vision of a product that they want to create,” he says. “So just like in microbrewing, people are using innovation as much as they can.”So what has transformed Americans from ketchup slaves to salsa-swilling heat addicts? IBISWorld and DeWitt both point to the increasing popularity of and exposure to international foods. With that comes demand for zippy condiments like Vietnamese sriracha, Korean chili paste and more complex versions of Mexican salsas. Research firm Mintel reports that sales of sauces and marinades–including hot sauces–jumped 20 percent between 2005 and 2010 and are expected to increase another 19 percent by 2015, mainly because people are increasingly cooking at home to save money and want to re-create those international flavors they have come to enjoy while eating out.At the same time, DeWitt says, hot sauces are maturing. Instead of focusing on extreme heat or crude names like Slap Your Mama and Blow It Out Your Ass, companies are doubling down on flavor, experimenting with fruit-based sauces and toning down some of the heat to appeal to a wider consumer base. “The micro-hot-sauce industry and all the new brands are slowly eroding Tabasco’s market position,” DeWitt says. “These new chili-heads are trying to come up with a line of products that will appeal to people who like all kinds of cuisines.”Blair Lazar, who founded Highlands, N.J.-based Blair’s Sauces and Snacks 23 years ago (and holds the Guinness World Record for the hottest product on Earth), believes technology is a major driver of the sauce boomlet. “When I started it was hard to even find bottles. Now people can order bottles and get labels off the internet,” Lazar says. But the most important reason for the trend, he contends, is that Americans, like much of the rest of the world, have simply fallen in love with heat: “We’re not a bland society, that’s for sure, so why not turn it up a bit?” Step right up: Rollasole ballet flats.Photo courtesy of Rollasole Energy Drink Market Gets a Boost From Young Consumers A massive abstraction with a cute little name, Big Data is the vast (and ever-growing) stockpile of information too large for companies to store in-house–let alone analyze. All that info offers potential to cutting-edge entrepreneurs willing to step up and do the crunching.According to IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are born every day (enough to fill more than 531 million DVDs), and 90 percent of the world’s digital information was produced over the last two years. “For so long, we’ve focused on human-powered businesses, and now we’re transforming into data-driven organizations that are bringing a level of customer centricity that we’ve never seen before,” says Graeme Noseworthy, marketing director for IBM’s Big Data Solutions Software Group.And this is just the Cro-Magnon stage of the info boom. By 2020, the annual data-generation rate will balloon 4,300 percent to 35 zettabytes of intelligence, according to Falls Church, Va.-based Computer Sciences Corporation. (That’s 7.35 trillion DVDs, in case you’re keeping track).From yesterday’s Dow Jones industrial average to a GPS tag on today’s Instagram image to tomorrow’s pollen count, every bit of information will be collected, cataloged, distributed, stored and analyzed by a rapidly evolving segment of companies. According to Reuters, venture capital firms invested $2.47 billion in fields around big data in 2011, nearly 10 percent of all money distributed. That’s up from $1.53 billion in 2010 and $1.1 billion in 2009.”Big Data represents a transformation of the entire IT industry and a $300 billion to $500 billion wealth-creation opportunity for entrepreneurs,” says Matt Ocko, co-managing partner at San Francisco-based investment fund Data Collective. “It’s as sound a bet for us today as investing in PC-related technologies in 1981 or in internet-enabling technologies in 1994.”Entire funds, like Data Collective, have popped up to support the category, using technology to inform investments in startups like Palo Alto, Calif.-based Continuuity, which helps developers make data-based cloud applications, and Portland, Ore.-based Cloudability, a cloud-computing dashboard that enables companies to monitor their online computing expenditures. And these investments appear to be solid bets. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the potential value of big data, if used creatively and effectively by the U.S. healthcare industry, would be worth more than $300 billion in that sector every year. Currently healthcare providers throw 90 percent of that information away.And that’s just one of many market segments Big Data will revolutionize. In June Ford Motor Company opened a Silicon Valley lab to process data from more than 4 million cars currently spitting out information. Twitter recently hooked 12 partners up to its massive fire hose of 340 million tweets per day, allowing fledgling firms like New York-based Dataminr to sell global event predictions and Boulder, Colo.-based Gnip to parse and resell post-related data.No matter how you look at it–as a consumer, marketer, investor, administrator or inventor–the numbers don’t lie. Big Data isn’t just changing business; it’s changing everything. Lendinglast_img read more

6 Dating Apps That Are Putting a Fresh Spin on Finding Love

first_imgNews and Trends February 14, 2015 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Next Article –shares Entrepreneur Staff Nina Zipkin Image credit: Wyldfire via Facebookcenter_img Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. 6 Dating Apps That Are Putting a Fresh Spin on Finding Love Wyldfire app For something so abstract, love has a ton of industry around it – not so romantic, right? But it’s true. While February is bound to be a good month for florists, card companies, candy makers, and restaurants, it’s also bound to be a good month for dating apps.Everyone knows about Match.com, Tinder and OKCupid, but what else is out there? We’ve rounded up some of the latest and emerging apps on the market, many of which want to put the power in female user’s hands and make the dating experience a little more like it could be IRL.Related: 5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Online DatingThe League Image credit: The LeagueRecently launched in San Francisco, The League is positioning itself as the option for high-achieving folks who are looking for the other half of a potential power couple – the tag line is “Date intelligently.” The company was founded by a Stanford grad named Amanda Bradford who worked for Google, Sequoia Capital and Evernote before moving into the love game.Bradford thinks that what sets The League apart from others on the market is that it presents more information right up front. “The League combines data and social graphs from both Facebook and LinkedIn to offer separation between your work and personal life and much more context about a potential match…[which] allows young professionals to more easily connect on a less superficial level.”The app has roughly 80,000 registered users. 30 percent have advanced degrees, 18 percent are executives, VPs or founders and the user base is split 50/50 men and women. Even though the company is pulling info from Facebook and LinkedIn, it promises your profile will be hidden from your friends and colleagues, so no run-ins on the app will result in awkward in-person explanations later.Related: This Tinder-esque Dating App Allows Users to Swipe Right Based on a Potential Match’s LinkedIn BioTheCatchImage credit: TheCatch”We are different because we are gamifying the process,” says founder Shannon Ong, who describes TheCatch as a digital upgrade on a cross between The Bachelorette and The Dating Game. The app allows a female user to invite a group of men to answer a question about topics ranging from best Halloween costumes to the strangest place they’ve ever visited. The woman’s profile is invisible during the Q&A portion and narrows down a field of four to the one guy they want to chat with.TheCatch launches in beta on Feb. 14, with an iOS release expected in March, and plans to expand to other cities around the country. Ong says that ages of users range from 21 to 38, and so far the user base is slightly skewed towards women. “It’s not about what school you go to or what job you have… stop staring at just looks and start looking into other interesting things like chemistry.”Related: The Biggest Dating Problem Entrepreneurs HaveDapper Image credit: DapperThe free New York-based Dapper launched in November and co-founder Alexandra Partow says its user base is in the several thousands, the majority of whom are college educated professionals ranging from 25 to 40.Partow and co-founder Josh Wittman posit that a lot of online dating is something of a time suck – so in their app, you’re not allowed to talk with your matches before the first date. Instead you tell Dapper when you’re free and it figures out a time for you and your prospective date to meet. The Dapper team also chooses the location of the meeting — and your first drink is on them. The app also places a premium on old-school chivalry – the woman gets to choose the neighborhood where the first date takes place, and the guys have to take a Gentleman Pledge before joining the app.Given your interests and personality traits, Dapper assembles a small group of matches to choose from. “We are offering Dapper for free whereas a matchmaker charges hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Dapper is unlike traditional dating sites and apps which mostly act as chat rooms for people based on mutual interest in profile pictures,” says Partow.Related: The Bizarre Ways Niche Dating Services Are Pairing People OffHappn Image credit: Happn via iTunesHappn first launched in Paris last February and in a year it gained 1.6 million users in cities all over the world – Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Madrid and New York. Madrid. Ideally, the app is meant for the person who sees the same attractive guy or girl on their commute every day, but hasn’t worked up the courage to talk to them yet. Founder Didier Rappaport is the co-founder of video platform Dailymotion.Marie Cosnard, the app’s head of media relations says what sets Happn apart from other apps is that the experience begins offline. “Thanks to real-time geolocation, the app shows you a timeline of the people you have really crossed paths with. They are the people you have seen and that you would like to talk to and meet in real life once again.”Every time you run into someone, say on the street or at a coffee shop, their profile pops up. If you like them, you can hit a heart button, but they won’t have any idea unless they like you, too, at which point you can start talking. If you want to get their attention, you can send a “charm” notification.Related: New Dating App Startup Aims to Be the ‘Thinking Person’s Tinder’The Dating Lounge Image credit: The Dating Lounge via iTunesMatchmaker Samantha Daniels launched her iOS app The Dating Lounge at the end of January. She says her user base started with “several thousand invitations” to a list of “high-end affluent influencers” she had in her existing matchmaking database, and that there is a sizable waitlist. The Dating Lounge is invite-only – but new members can also join if they get approval from other users of the app. “I have recreated my high-end matchmaking service on the phone,” she says.Daniels says one of the things that she think sets her venture apart from the rest is that members can “play matchmaker” for one another. Users can refer one of their matches to friends if they feel there may be potential for a connection, and can ask mutual friends on the app for a reference on the man or woman they are talking with to take some of the guesswork out of the proceedings.Related: Hinge, the Less Random Tinder, Raises $12 MillionWyldfire Image credit: Wyldfire via FacebookWyldfire is all about decreasing the admittedly high creep factor for women in the online dating world, describing itself as “the dating network where ladies are the gatekeepers.” The women are the ones who vet and vote on the men that get to join the network through the app’s “Election” feature.Each profile includes info about the user’s job, education, height and their Instagram account. There is also a 20 message limit per person to start. The app launched in July 2013 and has had a predominantly West Coast focus, but co-founder and CEO Brian Freeman says a national campaign is in the works for 2015.The average age of women on the site is 23 and 28 for men, and Freeman says that daily active users have increased by 450 percent and monthly active users have tripled since last November. The site only allows users to sign up once as either male or female, and the profile is required to sync with Facebook (hence the Instagram) and have a “clear face photo.” Just no bathroom selfies, please.Related: So, You Want to Marry a Tech Mogul? Apply Now » 7 min read Add to Queuelast_img read more

Slack Raises 200 Million Boosting Valuation to 38 Billion

first_img Add to Queue Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Next Article Slack Reuters 2 min read Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuterscenter_img Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Image credit: Slack | Enhanced by Entrepreneur Slack has raised $200 million in venture capital financing, boosting its valuation to $3.8 billion, the messaging software startup said on Friday.The latest funding round comes in spite of a contraction in venture capital investing for technology startups, amid widespread concern about high valuations. The market rout among tech stocks earlier this year caused some venture capitalists to further tighten their purse strings.Late-stage investments — series D or later — dropped 71 percent in February from a year earlier, according to venture capital database PitchBook.Slack’s $200 million round is its largest yet, the latest sign that some companies are still able to attract wary investors, many of which are flush with cash. In another instance, Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app, raised $175 million last month.Investors boosted the Slack’s valuation by $1 billion, up from $2.8 billion a year ago.The latest funding, which brings Slack’s total venture financing to $540 million, was reported in recent weeks by multiple news outlets. Slack on Friday confirmed the round, which was led by Thrive Capital and included GGV Capital and Comcast Ventures, as well as existing investors.San Francisco-based Slack makes messaging software for businesses, designed to help teams collaborate and communicate more effectively. The company says it has 2.7 million daily active users, although many of them access the free version of the software. About 800,000 are paid users. Slack’s customers include media companies such as CBS and BuzzFeed, tech companies such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. and Salesforce Inc., retailers, universities and the U.S. government.(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn) April 1, 2016 Slack Raises $200 Million, Boosting Valuation to $3.8 Billion –shareslast_img read more

Tech Moguls Such as Musk and Bezos Declare Era of Artificial Intelligence

first_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Tech Moguls Such as Musk and Bezos Declare Era of Artificial Intelligence Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Reuters 3 min read Artificial Intelligence –shares Image credit: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg | Getty Imagescenter_img June 3, 2016 Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant “neural laces” in their brains to keep up, Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told a crowd of tech leaders this week.While Musk’s description of an injectable human-computer link may sound like science fiction, top tech executives repeatedly said that artificial intelligence (AI) was on the verge of changing everyday life, during discussion at a conference by online publication Recode this week. It is no secret that tech companies are diving into AI analytics research, an industry that will grow to $70 billion by 2020 from just $8.2 billion in 2013, according to a Bank of America report citing IDC research.AI, which combs through large troves of raw data to predict outcomes and recognize patterns, is already used in web search systems, marketing recommendation functions and security and financial trading programs. The technology will spread to driverless cars and service robots in the future, the Bank of America report said. Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, said he sees a “huge opportunity” in AI. Google first started applying the technology through “deep neural networks” to voice recognition software about three to four years ago and is ahead of rivals such as Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in machine learning, Pichai said. But he and others acknowledged that the work of building machines that teach themselves is still in its infancy. Microsoft, for instance, apologized and went back to the lab after an AI chatbot talking on Twitter “learned” to make racist comments.Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted a profound impact on society over the next 20 years.”It’s really early but I think we’re on the edge of a golden era. It’s going to be so exciting to see what happens,” he said. Amazon has been working on artificial intelligence for at least four years and now has 1,000 employees working on Alexa, the company’s voice-based smart assistant software system, he said.Big tech companies including Amazon have an edge at present because they have access to large amounts of data but hundreds of AI startups will hatch in the next few years, he said.IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said the company has been working on artificial technology, which she calls a cognitive system, since 2005 when it started developing its Watson supercomputer.”I would say in five years, there’s no doubt in my mind that cognitive AI will impact every decision made” from healthcare to education to financial services, Rometty said.But it was the comments by Tesla’s Musk, on how he would potentially develop the technology to implant humans with technology to augment brains, that captured the imagination of attendees, according to Adam Burrows, senior vice president of emerging businesses at HomeAdvisor, a unit of IAC/Interactive Corp. “It got people thinking on a philosophical level and away from what Google or Tesla will come out with next year,” he said. “It brings up the question, are we human anymore if we are part computer?”(BY Liana B. Baker; Editing by Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis) Add to Queue This story originally appeared on Reuters Next Article Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

UberOwned Startup Otto Wants to Ship Your Stuff With a Truck That

first_img 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Self-Driving Cars Next Article August 18, 2016 Add to Queue Uber-Owned Startup Otto Wants to Ship Your Stuff With a Truck That Drives Itself Lydia Belanger –shares The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 15+ min read Self-driving cars and ridesharing services are starting to get serious about each other. Uber will launch a fleet of human-supervised self-driving Volvo SUVs in Pittsburgh later this month, and Ford plans to have autonomous cars ready for hailing by 2021.But Uber, who has raced to be first to market, isn’t just seizing opportunity for self-driving passenger vehicles. Today, the company announced that it has acquired Otto, a self-driving big-rig truck company. Otto creates kits that can be installed in freight vehicles to make them drive autonomously, with minimal human intervention.Ex-Googlers Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron founded Otto in January of this year. Ron was previously product head for Google Maps as well as Motorola. Levandowski led the development of Google’s first self-driving car and has pioneered self-driving technology throughout his career.Related: Entrepreneurs Are Working to Uber-fy the Trucking IndustryLast month, Entrepreneur sat down with Ron to learn about how his background led him to found Otto and get a glimpse of what an autonomous trucking future might look like.Why did you decide to found Otto and focus on self-driving trucks?Anthony and me have known each other for the past almost decade. We came together and realized, there’s no other technology that excites us more and has more promise to impact society and benefit society in the next couple of years. It really has the potential to reshape how cities are built, reshape how transportation is made, to reshape many of the issues that we have in society today, from safety to environment to productivity.We started talking about the future of self-driving and what can we do to accelerate the future and reap some of those societal benefits sooner than later. And we realized that while there was so much activity going on on the passenger side and all of those great minds and projects, including Google, there wasn’t a lot of attention being given to something as important as that, which is commercial transportation, and how we move goods, not just people.And if you think about that, really, moving goods is the backbone of economy. Everything around us, except us, was on a truck at some point, at some time. A truck touched it. Seventy percent of all of the cargo in the U.S. is being moved by trucks. We all live in an on-demand era, and there are more and more demands on the shipping and logistical network of the U.S., but just not enough supply of truck drivers, of capacity, in freight.By showing we can deploy autonomy and technology in this market, we hope that will unlock a lot of the societal challenges and opportunities, the regulations, public adoption and comfort with the technology.The challenge of bringing the technology to market is not just a technological challenge. It’s also a business, product challenge, of how can we constrain the problem for something that can be solved in the foreseeable future. The nice thing about the logistics and commercial transportation market is, if we can constrain the market to really be around highways, and on highways exit to exit, that’s 95 percent of the commercial transportation in the U.S.How did your background lead you to Google and, ultimately, Otto?I came to Google after business school at Stanford. And before that, I had the pleasure of serving seven years in the Israeli military. As part of that, at a very young age, I was given a lot of responsibilities and a lot of opportunities around building an applied technology to solve intelligence problems. It had to do with knowledge, and machine learning and GIS systems.So that’s where I got my love for geography and geo-information systems and applying data at scale to solve a problem.Google Maps was a natural transition for me to really take all of that understanding of how those technologies happen in a more closed setting in the military and apply them in a much wider scale with consumers. I joined Google Maps in 2007, the very early days. It was really a very special time, because it was a small team, and we had basically an unlimited opportunity in front of us to really map the world and build the most precise, most advanced, most comprehensive map of the universe.Anthony joined Google after his startup was acquired. He helped kickstart and accelerate the Streetview development in technology. We did a lot of work on how to entice users to contribute and enhance the map.That was all Map 1.0, I would call it. We built Google Maps, we scaled it from a couple of million users to over a billion users in the course of those five years. Then Map 2.0 is really taking that to the next level and really moves to a more real-time nature of the map. As you move to real-time, you really have to have more of a user contribution, because things are dynamic. I would call Waze, which I was helpful in integrating to Google, probably the best example of that Map 2.0 wave. And really, self-driving vehicles are Map 3.0, which is a highly accurate, super dynamic, real-time, super high-detailed representation of the world around us, which requires new sensors and new way of thinking about how to build the map.Anthony was always more on sort of the robotic, self-driving side. He also, essentially, was involved in starting the self-driving car project at Google and one of the founding team members. We just had a great partnership along the years. And it’s time to take that vision of deploying autonomy to society in other spaces and start doing that.Otto co-founders Lior Ron and Anthony Levandowski.Image credit: OttoWe both left Google in January to start Otto. We started with two of us in a house in Palo Alto with a truck, and fast forward five or six months after, we have over 70 people in a nice, big warehouse in San Francisco.We have four trucks driving 24/7 on the highways. They’re mostly driving in California, but in other states, such as Nevada, the ability to test completely driverless with complete autonomy is a bit easier. We’re in the process of starting to test and drive in more states.And you two self-funded Otto from the start.There’s a lot of advice on how to bootstrap businesses. We are just fortunate to be successful in our careers so we can afford to bootstrap, but bootstrapping gives you wings, and gives you freedom and gives you flexibility of how you want to build the business, and how fast you want to move and what culture you want to build early on. We were able and fortunate to use that self-funding to move very fast and hire a team very fast without stopping to raise outside capital.We were able to grow the team from two of us in a small garage in Palo Alto to over 70 people in San Francisco. A big group followed us from Google. A group of Apple engineers that were excited and left Apple to join us. A couple of key engineers from Tesla.The flexibility allowed us to be faster and move faster and create a lot of options for us of how we wanted to carry the business forward, talk with partners and build the company.I highly recommend it if you can afford it and you have the confidence in the business to build.Right now you’re really focused on highway trucks, but do you foresee applying your self-driving kits to other types of vehicles involved in the shipping and distribution industry?The kit choice is part of that accelerating the future, and how can we bring the technology to market as fast as possible. The way to do that is by taking existing trucks and not waiting for a very long cycle of replacing the entire fleet.Of the 2 million long-haul trucks in the U.S. today, it takes almost five years for a big fleet to replace the trucks, and then the truck stays on the road for another five, six years with smaller fleets. Those engines can run a million miles, which means 10, 11 years of livelihood on the roads. So, we really wanted to bring that change as soon as we can. And to do that, the best way is to build an aftermarket kit. So that’s what we’re focused on.The other benefit of the kit is, in terms of time, in terms of cost, you don’t have to buy a completely new vehicle. You can just take your existing investment and convert it into a much more productive, much safer truck by deploying the kit. And it allows us to test and deploy much faster.The same approach could be applied to other types of vehicles as well, whether it’s cars, or agriculture, like tractors, or a host of other vehicles. We’re just very focused on commercial transportation and trucking. It’s a big enough problem and space for us to try and change and solve.In the passenger market, it’s really about minimizing the cost and trying to do a lot of things that would fit our appetite as consumers and our willingness to spend on that new technology. There are a lot of commonalities, but there are also many differences between those markets.How much do the kits cost?We don’t have a specific price point in mind. It’s too early. We’ve mentioned, I think, in passing, some example number, but really, at scale, that technology shouldn’t cost anything close to the cost of the truck.So a truck would cost today, a new Volvo truck, off the lot, with all of the amenities and latest-and-greatest, like, $160,000. We really aim for the price point to be affordable because we want to drive that future and see those societal benefits unlocked as soon as possible.We’re starting with an aftermarket kit, but there’s no reason not to integrate that into vehicles leaving the production line, so new trucks come equipped with the technology from day one.Have you thought about a separate lane, or other kinds of infrastructural changes — or limitations on this — if it really proliferates? Would this technology enable more trucks to be on the road?The future is exciting! I don’t have a crystal ball on the future, but I know it’s going to be different.The drivers are going be in the cabin for the foreseeable future. We’re not trying to replace them. They’re basically getting a co-pilot, and they’re elevated from having to be in the loop 24/7 to really just be like a pilot, where 99 percent of the “flight” is being done by the computer, and the driver, or the “pilot” is there to just lift off and land. The driver is still there, but he can sleep a little bit while the computer is basically driving on the vast, thousands of miles of empty highway.Image credit: OttoSo that’s really what we’re aiming for, and when we get to that, then a lot of new opportunities arise. You can route those trucks very efficiently. You can be thoughtful about combining loads more effectively to get the number of trucks smaller, not bigger, because there’s more predictability of where those trucks are.You can start driving at night and use the nighttime, which is mostly empty now, because truck drivers try to maintain sleeping patterns, and they prefer to drive during the day. And potentially, rather than those folks having to be away from home 300 days a year, they can really see their family much more because they can complete the same route more than double as fast because the robot is doing more of the driving for them, which means they can get to the destination and back much faster and actually have the ability to build a local family.You can think about different ways to deploy distribution centers. Right now, distribution centers are being built very close to the destination. But you can think about building bigger distribution centers in farther away places, because you can get to places faster.Stepping back, innovations in transportation have always been, for me, about finding time and space. It’s like a Star Trek-like warp-hole “engage” button. Because every time you redefine basic transportation, you redefine space and time. When the car was invented, it was really the predicament to start expanding cities. When there became common households, that was really the start of suburban communities. When flights and the plane were invented, it redefined geography. Same here, applied to commercial transportation. Once that network is in place, our whole definition of what it means to ship goods, how to do that is going to be completely transformed.What types of partnerships are in store?Shippers are interested in shipping more goods on the road and making their fleets safer and more sustainable. We can drive trucks in a much more thoughtful way. We don’t have to constantly accelerate or decelerate. We can move in the same route at the same constant speed, controlled by the computer, which means less pollution and a much more sustainable footprint. Trucking companies are excited for the same reason, OEMs [original equipment manufactures] are excited about the potential to embed the technology into the vehicles.Related: Never Fear, Uber Is Here! Crime and Fatal Accident Rates Fall Since Company Launch.There have been a lot of discussions of how to apply the technology in the real world, that’s what I’m psyched about as a business and product leader, is how can we take technology and really use it to transform society. We see that transformation happening now by talking with shippers on how to integrate that into the logistical network, by talking with couriers about how this will impact and change their business, so that has been very refreshing.What do you have to do to convince truck operators to adopt this technology? In theory, it may sound like a great idea, but what are some of the concerns that they have?I would say, at large, everyone in the industry that we spoke with is very excited by the promise. They see, day in and day out, the issues and challenges that we’re trying to solve. Everything from safety on the roads, which manifests for them in costs. There are thousands of unnecessary fatalities. Maybe 1 percent of the vehicles in the U.S. are trucks, and they’re driving 5 percent of the miles and they’re responsible for 10 percent of the fatalities. So they experience more and more and more demand, which, in turn, translates to more and more and more pressure on those truck drivers to drive longer and longer and longer. And they’re craving for a safer solution that will allow them to fulfill that demand while still being safe.They see the productivity issues of basically having a fleet of trucks laying around only driving nine, 10 hours a day, because that’s the limit of the truck driver. Because after that, every additional 30 minutes doubles the chance of accident. That’s just our ability to stay attentive as humans. So they see the potential to utilize their assets, their trucks, much better.We got super positive response from everyone, from the big shippers, to the big trucking fleets, to the medium ones and even the small, what’s called owner-operator, which is basically a mom-and-pop shop, owning like one, two, five trucks. They’re excited to equip their trucks with the self-driving kits so they can, again, be more productive and drive almost more than double what they’re driving today, and be twice as productive and have twice as much revenue per truck. So we’ve gotten hundreds of emails and letters and support from, even just single truck drivers, eager to get the safety technology on their trucks.That being said, the challenge is, first and foremost, seeing is believing. I think we as people, many times, are fearful of the unknown, and it sounds great, as you said, in theory, but in practice, people really want to touch it, sense it, feel it, understand what it is. And I think the more we can collaborate with partners and test in more and more states, and really have as many people understand the technology, experience it, see one of our self-driving trucks on the highway, slowly but surely, people will start feeling more and more comfortable with the technology.In your video, the truck has the Otto logo on it and imagery. Is that something that you foresee, it being a brand and the trucks being branded?We are very thoughtful about the brand. We wanted the brand to stand for technology, for innovation, for the brave new world for automobiles — “auto, Otto.” We see that as an integral part of the story, not just, “Here’s the technology, good luck.” It’s, “Here is a new way to think about commercial transportation.” So the brand is front and center.Image credit: OttoThere are many ways to then define and express in the market. Could be Otto trucks, could be partner trucks powered by Otto. The brand is gonna be there, we’re excited about the name, we’re excited about the meaning, we’re excited about the reception and the visibility.We want the other inhabitants of the highway to know there’s an automated truck driving. We want them to understand what it means, so part of the name and brand is also important just for the product on its own, to communicate what it stands for and how it’s gonna behave.Anything else you’d like to add?From an entrepreneur perspective, I would say two things:I was just fortunate to get my basic education in how to use technology to disrupt problems in the military, then be able to apply that at scale on Google Maps and really think about how to get technology into the world as sort of a network problem: Maps, self-driving. At Motorola, I learned the joys and wonders of building physical objects and how can that transform our world and lives, and to not be afraid of constraining myself to just software, but also having the appetite to build physical stuff. All of those paths led me to take on this challenge, and that has been a joy.I encourage entrepreneurs to really aim for the moon. The amount of effort you put into going and doing something very ambitious, vs. opening a grocery shop is the same. You have to be a laser-focused on the problem you’re solving, you have to build your customer base, you have to develop your differentiator, you have to raise capital. It still applies. So I encourage people that they might as well try and solve some of the societal problems that we face.Related: VCs Share 3 Secrets for Mastering Any NicheThe Valley and technology has its ways. Lots of entrepreneurs tend to do stuff that they know, which them leads them to choose the 100th company to do the same thing in a slightly different flavor, a slightly different take. I encourage people to go out of their comfort zone, and really to step back and think, from a societal perspective, “How can I lend my skills against a problem that really needs to be solved and will have a major impact?” vs. “How can I lend my skills to something that I might be slightly more familiar with but doesn’t really move the needle in the grand scheme of things?”Learn a new domain. Whether it’s maps or mobile handsets and the mobile industry or the truck industry, disruption always happens from the outside. You don’t have to have 20 years of trucking experience to be able to help and provide value in the trucking industry. Go out of your comfort zone and seek opportunities to really bring innovation to new things.This interview has been edited. Image credit: Otto Apply Now »last_img read more

How Video Technology Is Changing the Face of the Web

first_imgWhile content strategies come and go with each passing year, we are now witnessing a rapid shift in the infrastructure of how marketers craft and deliver messages to their audiences online using video technology. Moving away from the text-based, static platform designed by members of Generation X, the internet as a delivery platform is finally adapting to the needs and inherent expectations of its younger, more prolific users of Generation Y and Z.The 30+-year-old e-commerce and online marketing systems were designed for desktop computers with large screens and slow processing capabilities, and catered to users with attention spans more robust than many of today’s users. The vast majority of early-stage digital marketers simply used the tactics that worked in the offline world and digitized them to fit on websites. It’s no wonder that banner ads, classifieds, and the odd, high budget commercial were the extent of digital marketing for the past few decades — a time when customer ad recall surveys were about the best ROI metrics marketers had access to.And while the scale of visitors and money changing hands has exponentially increased, the legacy of these marketing tactics lives on in even the biggest e-commerce ecosystems. While visiting a site like Amazon today feels and looks better than it did 10 years ago, it’s still operating on a content model that predates a unified Berlin.The Small Screen Younger buyers have grown up as digital natives, and as a result, are much more aware of the courting tactics brands use online to capture their attention and dollars. Those who have grown up being bombarded by ads and messages their entire lives have adapted by shortening the time they are willing to engage with content and by raising their expectations for engaging media.A majority of the internet is still not optimized for browsing on a smartphone. And yet, the vast majority of e-commerce dollars flows through mobile devices. Sites that have gotten it right, like the most popular social media platforms, engage Gen Z/Y audiences in a way that is customized, compelling and convenient. Social media platforms, especially visually driven ones like Instagram, have become so engaging and sophisticated, shopping on a comparatively lackluster e-commerce platform can feel like a chore. E-commerce and online marketing need an entirely new buyer experience.Recommended : Brightcove and FORA.tv Partnering to Provide Full-Scale Live Video Technology and ProductionThe new rules (and opportunities) of the internet  Digital marketers have found themselves in a situation where complacency is the worst option on the table. Younger generations are influencing both their tastes and preferences on the market, and they have consistently demonstrated and rewarded content that they find valuable and/or engaging. Video content has consistently proven to outperform static text across all markets and mediums, and marketers have been aware of it for years.The problem lies in the perceived barriers that have kept marketers and brands from utilizing video at the scale needed to reach their customers. For many years, producing (quality) video content was something that could only be contracted out to an agency or paid for in-house in an expensive and time-consuming process.The time, cost, and complexity of traditional video production simply are not scalable. And although these barriers are still perceived by many, technological advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have been clearing these hurdles for years, allowing access to a simple, affordable, and a scalable video solution.Read More: Video Technology Company Shootsta Secures Partnership with CarroVideofication  Artificial intelligence is rewriting the paradigm of video creation for the entire internet. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, new A.I. algorithms can generate stunningly creative videos from static visual and textual content. A.I. videofication is a process that automatically gathers text and images (think logos and products) and generates short videos that capture shoppers’ attention and allow for a more natural engagement with the site.Videofication doesn’t operate in units of hours and thousands of dollars, but seconds and cents.The new form of content creation simply analyzes what is written in a product description, for example, and uses that data to guide a process that produces a highly polished and effective video.By effectively removing the manual processes involved in producing the most engaging content on the web, videofication is a scalable solution for the new internet’s biggest content challenges. Early adopters are gaining access to personalized videos, quickly adapting or multivariate testing, and a real reason for picky users to engage with them.Already, in videofication’s early stage, we are seeing adoption in a number of industry verticals, from travel experiences, to e-commerce sites and advertising platforms. Small players who adapt to this new way of communicating and reaching audiences have the opportunity to dethrone the leaders who are unwilling to replace their legacy systems of engagement. Right now, it’s truly anyone’s game, and its rules are yours to write.Also Read: DoubleVerify Acquires Digital Video Technology Company, Zentrick AIArtificial IntelligenceContente-commerceGeneration Zonline marketingvideo technologyVideofication Previous ArticlePushSend Launches All-in-One Marketing Platform That Brings Enterprise Capabilities to SMBsNext ArticleTriton Digital Integrates with Google Display & Video 360 How Video Technology Is Changing the Face of the Web Oren BoimanMay 8, 2019, 2:31 pmMay 8, 2019 last_img read more

Email Verification Company Kickbox Announces Release of New Partner Portal

first_imgEmail Verification Company Kickbox Announces Release of New Partner Portal PRNewswireJune 3, 2019, 3:52 pmJune 3, 2019 Kickbox, a world leader in email address verification trusted by top ESPs and brands since 2014, is announcing the launch of its new Kickbox Partner Portal. Designed with feedback from its long-standing partners, the portal is designed to give brands, agencies, and ESPs the ability to proactively provision and holistically manage Kickbox accounts for their teams and customers, eliminating any friction of traditional onboarding.Marketing Technology News: New iPad App for Food and Beverage Professionals Takes Menus from Paper to Fully Digital in Less than an HourMarketing Democracy, a search consultancy focused on assisting enterprise brands with the ESP RFP and migration process, is among the list of inaugural users of the portal. Its president, Chris Marriott, spoke on the value of the portal for his organization:“The partner portal will allow Marketing Democracy to offer our Clients the opportunity to easily import, verify and export validated email addresses as they migrate from their prior ESP to their new ESP. Even if they are using someone else for email verification, this provides another level of confidence that a brand’s emails will continue to get great inbox placement in the new platform.”Once an account is onboarded, the platform provides organization-level email data insights by identifying deliverable, undeliverable, disposable and risky, and role-based email addresses across multiple accounts for clients or subsidiary companies while maintaining security of email address data.Marketing Technology News: Digital Shadows Reveals a 50% Increase in Exposed Data in One Year“Your contacts are your currency,” says Dan Stevens, CEO of Kickbox. “The health of your email list affects the performance of marketing across the board, but we’ve consistently heard from our long-standing enterprise and agency partners that maintaining sender reputation is much more challenging at scale, with several clients or subsidiary companies to monitor. I’m excited to launch this new portal because it will finally give our partners a single source to visualize and influence list verification data while reducing friction of on-boarding new accounts and monitoring critical email health data across a larger organization.”Marketing Technology News: Lightspeed POS Inc. Announces the Acquisition of Chronogolf Dan StevensemailKickboxNewsonboarding Previous ArticleWorldRemit Raises $175 Million in Series D FundingNext ArticleTechTarget Integrates 1st and 3rd Party Intent Data within Priority Engine Platform to Help Companies Make Faster Sales and Marketing Progress with Best Fit Accountslast_img read more

Issuu Launches Adobe InDesign Extension with New Issuu Story Cloud

first_imgIssuu Launches Adobe InDesign Extension with New Issuu Story Cloud Business WireJune 13, 2019, 2:33 pmJune 13, 2019 Adobe InDesignInDesign extensionIssuuIssuu Story CloudJoe HyrkinMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleWibbitz Expands its Product Line to Include Fully Customizable Video Creation Interface for Web Products and Mobile ApplicationsNext ArticleIX Open Highlights: Index Exchange Drives New Programmatic Industry Leaps in Identity, Speed and Partner Value Integration Offers Creators and Marketers the Ability to Directly Share InDesign Content as Social Media Stories at ScaleIssuu, the world’s largest digital discovery and publishing platform, announced a new digital suite of solutions called the Issuu Story Cloud, which includes an integration with Adobe InDesign. The Issuu Story Cloud is an end-to-end suite of distribution, discovery and monetization solutions, and the InDesign extension allows creators to easily format brand-approved assets directly from InDesign into social media Stories that can be shared across any social platform to maximize reach and marketing capabilities.“The congruent rise in mobile consumption and Stories usage has caused brands to rethink the way they create their content – from marketing materials to catalogues to magazines – and the platforms to which they distribute it,” said Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu. “Until now, taking a Stories idea from concept to publishing for multiple platforms has been time-intensive and often results in many rounds of revisions and approvals. We’re looking forward to seeing how Issuu and InDesign users maximize their new sharing capabilities and improve Story creation and distribution workflows.”Issuu’s Story Cloud extension for Adobe InDesign has made social Story sharing a quick and seamless process for all users, whether they be creatives, marketers, social media managers or designers at established companies or budding startups. InDesign and Issuu users can now upload their InDesign content directly to the Issuu Story Cloud, which automatically transforms the text and image assets into Story formats adaptable for all social platforms.Marketing Technology News: Esri Software Powers Location Intelligence in Microsoft’s Defense System Demonstration“Issuu has made creating and sharing beautiful content an easy process through its extension in Adobe InDesign. We’re excited to see Issuu empowering marketers and brands with the ability to publish on any social platform through InDesign,” said Anubhav Rohatgi, director of product, Adobe InDesign.Issuu’s Story Cloud is comprised of a suite of products that enable brands and creators to transform any type of content (images, animations, articles or ads) into a professional-quality social media Story, share on their favorite social channels and even monetize it. It delivers beautiful spreads and slick scrolls in a variety of formats including online articles, flipbook digital publications, website embeds, GIFS, Instagram Stories and downloadable video stories assets to share on Snapchat Stories, Facebook Stories, Google AMP Stories, Pinterest, Twitter, WhatsApp, Apple News and more.Marketing Technology News: IBM Infuses Db2 with AI to Bring Data Science and Database Management Under One Platform“Bang & Olufsen has been creating innovative and iconic audiovisual design experiences since 1925, and storytelling is key in connecting people to our brand – there are so many stories that we can tell, almost too many! Issuu helps us reach the people we want to engage with our brand content, presenting our editorial with integrity. The Issuu Story Cloud will help further rationalize the decisions we make about our content, enabling storytelling using our brand approved assets and content to a high visual standard without requiring entire production teams,” said Nathaniel Robert Budzinski, global editorial manager, Bang & Olufsen.“The Issuu Story Cloud offers us a seamless process to create and share The Red Bulletin magazine by using Issuu Stories on our site and social channels. This allows us to capture new audiences and increase distribution of our magazine in an exciting and interesting way,” said Andreas Kornhofer, general manager, Red Bull Media House Publishing.Marketing Technology News: Merkle Named 2019 Pegasystems’ Partner Excellence in Digital Transformation Recipientlast_img read more