vrijdag 29 juni 2012

TED: Elyn Saks: Seeing mental illness - Elyn Saks (2012)

"Is it okay if I totally trash your office?" It's a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn't a joke. A legal scholar, Saks also suffers from schizophrenia, and here she shares her powerful story of suffering and treatment, humanizing mental illness in a talk that is both thoughtful and passionate.

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/PUsMHqPh0cc/elyn_saks_seeing_mental_illness.html

donderdag 28 juni 2012

TED: Don Tapscott: Four principles for the open world - Don Tapscott (2012)

The recent generations have been bathed in connecting technology from birth, says futurist Don Tapscott, and as a result the world is transforming into one that is far more open and transparent. In this inspiring talk, he lists the four core principles that show how this open world can be a far better place.

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/Q6GPhWqJRwQ/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html

Why Nasty Gal Landed Venture Capital Funding

This is a guest post by Danny Rimer of Index Ventures.

It seems so appropriate now, given the nature of the company’s success story, that I first heard about Nasty Gal through word-of-mouth—as Martin Mignot, a colleague based in Index’s London office, told me about them. Martin’s girlfriend, Therese, frequented the site. Intrigued by the company’s brand appeal, Martin set up a call with Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal’s founder. After that first meeting, Martin told me that I really had to connect with Sophia myself—as soon as possible.

I vividly remember our first call. Sophia was in the middle of a hectic day. Speaking from her car, en route to Nasty Gal’s distribution center to check in on the status of some important shipments, she was also about to fire a senior member of her team.

I was struck by how measured her tone was as she recounted her day. When I asked for Nasty Gal’s financials, I was blown away, again struck by how matter-of-fact she was in delivering the numbers: $28m in revenue in 2011, up from $10 million in 2010, all without outside financing or marketing. I set up a follow-up meeting with her the next week on her trip to the Valley.

We met in the lobby of the Rosewood Hotel and Sophia talked me through her approach to e-tailing. The origin of the Nasty Gal brand was an eBay store that Sophia started in 2006, and I listened to how Sophia’s views about the intersection of e-commerce and fashion had evolved over time, as well as what drove her now.

It became very clear that our views about what was likely to work in the online fashion space were closely aligned. We agreed that e-tailing businesses are predicated on the best of what an offline business has to offer: great product, great brand loyalty, and a space to be social as well. There are a lot of business model innovations in e-tailing right now, like flash sales, daily deals and celebrity endorsements, but the most successful ones have the same attributes as the most successful fashion brands—built purely on the quality of supply and the customer experience. By the end of the meeting, Sophia agreed that I, along with Martin and another colleague Tony Zappala, should spend a day at Nasty Gal’s offices.

I had seen similar types of offices when we first invested in Net-a-Porter and ASOS. But what jumped out at me, visiting Nasty Gal, was how everyone I met with knew what the priorities for the next twelve months were; how hard-working the staff was; and how convincing Sophia had been to bring them on board from retailers with bigger brands.

Afterwards, there wasn’t much of a debate between Tony, Martin and me. Nasty Gal is a great opportunity for a venture capitalist to discover: a clever and dedicated entrepreneur, a straightforward business model, and agrowing market filled with opportunity. Incredibly, the company was built on the organic relationship that Nasty Gal cultivated with its audience. Girls visit the site for content first—a characteristic that major e-tailers aspire to, but one that few have been able to achieve.

We’ve been working with Nasty Gal for close to a year now, and the process has been a new experience for everyone involved. Since Sophia bootstrapped much of the business, many aspects of the next stage of scaling are new to her. On our end, we have committed to a more active form of investment. My colleague, Tony, moved his family to Los Angeles and is temporarily helping her build out a framework for scaling the business. And Sophia is ensuring that the business is growing in line with her vision—which is at the heart of Nasty Gal’s past successes, and which will be just as critical as the company charts its future growth.

from Upside Potential http://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriabarret/2012/06/28/why-nasty-gal-landed-venture-capital-funding/

woensdag 27 juni 2012

TED: Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination - Massimo Banzi (2012)

Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that's inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine -- from toys to . Because, as he says, "You don't need anyone's permission to make something great."

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/8eb751kcPGg/massimo_banzi_how_arduino_is_open_sourcing_imagination.html

vrijdag 22 juni 2012

NASCAR’s New Marketing Magic: A Behind-The-Scenes Look

NASCAR's marketing engine

NASCAR is a marketing phenomenon. On the track, drivers gulp their sponsor’s sodas enthusiastically. Thanking a sponsor, say Home Depot, is right up there with kudos to wives and kids. But NASCAR is aiming to take this even further, and really, to the Web via the bevvy of “social” conversations that happen every race day.

It’s a grey day in downtown San Francisco and 250 brand managers and procurement folks from the biggest players of their industries, including Coca-Cola, Sprint, and Toyota, are gathered in a hotel conference room. Posters of NASCAR drivers and fans line the walls.

This happens four times a year. NASCAR brings top sponsors together and basically says: Do business. Deals are expected to happen between phone-service providers, say, and auto-companies. By one attendee’s count, Ford has done some $200 million in sales thanks to hand-shakes made at past events.

Today’s NASCAR “Fuel For Business” Council Meeting has a particular focus. NASCAR is making a hard press to take its uniquely loyal, large fan base into the social media era. Ford’s director of social media (who is championed as a thought leader in the space), Scott Monty, steps on the stage and kicks the morning off with a daunting observation: People don’t trust government and they don’t trust big brands. It might be considered a caffeine buzz kill given the audience and the hour.

Who do they trust? “People that matter to them,” Monty says, adding, “People are bombarded with 2,500 brand messages a day. Think of all those cars going around a track. So how do we break through the clutter?”

For NASCAR and the sponsors in the room, the answer is in part creating more places to connect with the fans that are aimed at rising above the clutter.

Earlier this summer NASCAR partnered with Twitter in a one-of-kind way. Twitter has created a NASCAR landing page of sorts where the sport’s tweets are aggregated. It isn’t all based on hashtags, though. Twitter has a small editorial staff curating the tweets that end up on the NASCAR page. It’s a mix of driver’s tweets from the tracks, fan observations, blog links and photos. The hope is that the NASCAR site makes Twitter more accessible to those who don’t trade regularly in hashtags.

So far this is purely an “experiment”, per a Rachael Horwitz, a Twitter spokeswoman, to see if the company can somehow make more of a sweet spot: People are on Twitter while they’re watching live events. Engagement levels on the site jump especially during big sporting events.

What’s in it for Twitter? No funds. The NASCAR site is being run free of charge. “This is about attracting more people to Twitter. How and if we monetize it is a question mark,” says Horwitz. Twitter today announced a similar partnership with the European Football Championship.

NASCAR, of course, can command terms more easily than most. The sport has 75 million fans tuning in regularly. But it has lacked “one-on-one communications” with those fans, says NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps. The venture with Twitter is aimed at improving that area.

A little history here helps. Until roughly a year ago, NASCAR didn’t have the rights to its own social media content or the league’s Web site. An antiquated rights deal gave that to Turner Broadcasting. This began to shift on the social media side months ago, and the Web site will be revamped at the start of 2013.

“Our sport is about community,” says Phelps. And with that, NASCAR is launching a new “war room” of sorts to keep track  the community — fan tweets along with the news stories and related comments. It is a physical place in NASCAR’s Charlotte, North Carolina headquarters. NASCAR is working with Hewlett-Packard to perfect a new software tool that monitors the sport’s noise across the Web. The idea is to make sense of it, for both the league and those precious sponsors NASCAR brought together in San Francisco.

The opportunity is large. Right now the sport and sponsors have a single, united medium in television. If they can nail the Web, and bring those fans to the same place on a regular basis, there’s potential for getting in front of the fans on two screens — your TV and your iPad, let’s say — in the same day, even at the same time.

If anyone can get fans to love their advertisers more, it’s likely NASCAR.

Follow me on Twitter @VictoriaBarret




from Upside Potential http://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriabarret/2012/06/22/nascars-new-marketing-magic-a-behind-the-scenes-look/

TED: Wolfgang Kessling: How to air-condition outdoor spaces - Wolfgang Kessling (2012)

During the hot summer months, watching an outdoor sports match or concert can be tantamount to baking uncomfortably in the sun -- but it doesn’t have to be. At the TEDxSummit in Doha, physicist Wolfgang Kessling reveals sustainable design innovations that cool us from above and below, and even collects solar energy for later use.

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/UNsSwwss4PU/wolfgang_kessling_how_to_air_condition_outdoor_spaces.html

donderdag 21 juni 2012

Facebook Gets A “Buy” On Untapped Revenue Opportunity

Brian Nowak at Nomura Securities is bullish on everyone’s favorite bear: Facebook. He issued a report today titled “Facebook – Don’t Stop Believing”.

His reason for optimism isn’t shocking. Despite the stock’s lackluster debut, this company still has tremendous reach — at 55% of the world’s online population. A huge chunk of online activity is happening on social networks, 15% of our online time at 369 minutes per month, according to data from Nomura and Comscore (entertainment, as a category, is next with 12%, followed by news at 5%). Nowak figures just a little strategic tweaking could put Facebook on track to grow advertising revenues at a 21% CAGR through 2016.

Nowak offers up one specific change that he figures would instantly double sales: charging for branded pages. Just a $1 charge per fan, as in when someone “likes” a page of company or product, could yield $1.8 billion additional revenue in 2014 by his analysis. It seems so obvious a revenue-generator, which makes one wonder why Facebook hasn’t already done this. Is the company still pursuing reach over revenue? And if so, when and can it make such a big switch without it feeling like a bait and switch?

Other new moves could push the company from 8 to 13% of the online display market, with $8 million in display sales by 2016. Last year display advertising made up 85% of Facebook‘s revenues. The company is the largest player in display, with revenues 1.5 times that of the industry’s next largest, Google. Facebook could place advertisements more prominently, recommend ad-sponsored products alongside “likes”, and do more data-mining that brings together the unique information it has on each of us everyday, writes Nowak.

This is to say, he believes Facebook‘s very low CPMs (cost per thousand views), currently stuck right next to email at .50 to $1, is a temporary, fixable phenomenon.

But there’s a nettlesome problem just after that, which Nowak points out. People don’t click on Facebook ads. Web-wide 1 in 1,000 ads get a click. On Facebook, it is one in 2,500. Is that discrepancy because the ads aren’t perfectly placed? Maybe, but more likely it is because Facebook, like email, is a place people are going to communicate with friends, not advertisers.

Nowak’s target price on the stock is $40, 25% higher than the current price.

from Upside Potential http://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriabarret/2012/06/21/facebook-gets-a-buy-on-untapped-revenue-opportunity/

TED: Peter Norvig: The 100,000-student classroom - Peter Norvig (2012)

In the fall of 2011 Peter Norvig taught a class with Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence at Stanford attended by 175 students in situ -- and over 100,000 via an interactive webcast. He shares what he learned about teaching to a global classroom.

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/F7k5mqPy5nU/peter_norvig_the_100_000_student_classroom.html

woensdag 20 juni 2012

Survey Says: Companies Are On Facebook, But Missing The Point

A recently released survey by InSites Consulting details what is perhaps obvious to most of us. Companies are on Facebook, but not necessary using it effectively — or “engaging” successfully, in marketing-speak. This is an untapped opportunity for both companies generally, as well as the social network.

A few of the results from the survey, which polled 1,222 managers in the U.S and Europe:

-Eight out of ten U.S. companies are on Facebook. A little under half are using Twitter and LinkedIn. A third use YouTube.

-Six out of ten American companies listen to consumer conversations happening on social networks.

-But this high usage is missing a key link to general management. Only 11% of companies using social networks incorporate that into their overall strategies.

-Companies already spending on social media plan to increase that spending. Companies that aren’t currently spending have to plans to in the future.

One of the surprising results is that eight out of ten companies answer client questions and address complaints using social media. That hasn’t been my experience, and in my conversations with marketing executives, it’s  clearly an area companies are afraid to touch.

Does addressing one complaint mean you have to do something about the other 500? What’s the difference between a nag and a justified criticism? Who gets to do the talking online? What does a brand’s voice sound like if it isn’t jargon-laced corporate-speak?

These are tricky areas that require careful curating and a willingness to let employees speak for the brand –  big brands generally get very nervous about that. But the Web rewards honesty.







from Upside Potential http://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriabarret/2012/06/20/survey-says-companies-are-on-facebook-but-missing-the-point/

TED: Marco Tempest: The electric rise and fall of Nikola Tesla - Marco Tempest (2012)

Combining projection mapping and a pop-up book, Marco Tempest tells the visually arresting story of Nikola Tesla -- called “the greatest geek who ever lived” -- from his triumphant invention of alternating current to his penniless last days.

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/sgHehkSU7SA/marco_tempest_the_electric_rise_and_fall_of_nikola_tesla.html

TED: Karen Bass: Unseen footage, untamed nature - Karen Bass (2012)

At TED2012, filmmaker Karen Bass shares some of the astonishing nature footage she's shot for the BBC and National Geographic -- including brand-new, previously unseen footage of the tube-lipped nectar bat, who feeds in a rather unusual way …

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/OMGXCOs098c/karen_bass_unseen_footage_untamed_nature.html

dinsdag 19 juni 2012

TED: Ivan Oransky: Are we over-medicalized? - Ivan Oransky (2012)

Reuters health editor Ivan Oransky warns that we’re suffering from an epidemic of preposterous preconditions -- pre-diabetes, pre-cancer, and many more. In this engaging talk from TEDMED he shows how health care can find a solution... by taking an important lesson from baseball.

from TEDTalks (video) http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TEDTalks_video/~3/tnArN16iJaI/ivan_oransky_are_we_over_medicalized.html