Isaiah Thomas banned by the NBA after confronting fan for abusing him over a ‘Frosty’ Check out all the live commentaries coming up across our network this week… MAIN ATTRACTION LIVE on talkSPORT The I&I team found that some of the manipulation and deletion had occurred as recently as December 2018 and January 2019 – after reinstatement.Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015 when it was first declared non-compliant.Russia’s four-year ban was confirmed in a WADA statement.WADA president Sir Craig Reedie said: “The ExCo’s strong decision today shows WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and WADA’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the Compliance Standard which entered into effect in April 2018.“Combined, these strengths have enabled the ExCo to make the right decisions at the right time.“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today.”Reedie added: “Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.“As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts. Russia have 21 days to appeal WADA’s decision to ban them from major sporting events for the next four years AFP or licensors Steve Harmison says James Anderson will help Jofra Archer develop as Test bowler advisor Boxing schedule 2020, all major upcoming fights and results POWER Individual Russian athletes untainted by the scandal will able to compete independently under a neutral flag.WADA said the decision was unanimous, but Russia’sAnti Doping Agency (RUSADA) has 21 days to appeal against the ban.If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).However, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 next summer, which it has qualified for and is a tournament host with games due to be played at St Petersburg.The CRC made its recommendations based on evidence presented to it by WADA’s intelligence and investigations (I&I) team.The I&I team found there were inconsistencies in data handed over to WADA in January 2019 by Russia under the terms of its reinstatement to compliance in September 2018.The data provided was inconsistent with a copy of the database supplied to WADA by a whistleblower in 2017, in that positive findings present in 2017 were missing from the 2019 data. low blow Russia has been banned from major international sporting events for four years after being found guilty of manipulating laboratory doping data, according to reports.The World Anti-Doping Agency is said to have confirmed the punishment in Lausanne after considering recommendations from its independent compliance review committee (CRC).The judgement means Russia will be banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar. Steve Harmison picks his starting XI for first Test against South Africa Meet Russian brute Evgeny Romanov, the only man to knock out Deontay Wilder Hard to kill UPDATED Watch New York Jets quarterback get punched in the groin by opponent Sami Callihan: ‘once in a lifetime’ matchup with Tessa Blanchard STOPPED Tickets for McGregor’s UFC comeback fight sell out in only three minutes SHOCK ‘His punch power is 10 out of 10’ – What it’s like to take a Deontay Wilder punch 1 Red Bull Salzburg vs Liverpool (Tuesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2Leeds vs Hull (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2Dinamo Zagreb vs Man City (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2Derby vs Sheffield Wednesday (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2Bayern Munich vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORTStandard Liege vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2Charlton vs Hull (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2Liverpool vs Watford (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORTBirmingham vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2Chelsea vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Southampton vs West Ham (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT line-up “On behalf of the ExCo, and of the many WADA stakeholders that supported the CRC recommendation, I would like to thank the members of the CRC for their expert and considered recommendation, as well as WADA I&I and the forensic experts for their skill, diligence and perseverance in getting to the bottom of this highly complex case.”CRC chair Jonathan Taylor confirmed Russian athletes would be allowed to participate in competition by showing they were not involved in the doping programme.He said: “While being tough on the authorities, this recommendation avoids punishing the innocent and instead stands up for the rights of clean athletes everywhere.“If an athlete from Russia can prove that they were not involved in the institutionalised doping programme, that their data were not part of the manipulation, that they were subject to adequate testing prior to the event in question, and that they fulfil any other strict conditions to be determined, they will be allowed to compete.” Watch astonishing moment heavyweight out on his feet turns tables and floors prospect what? 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Taylor Swift‘s tour in support of her new album Reputation now has its first dates.According to Taylor’s website, the first round kicks off May 8 in Glendale, AZ, all of them stadium shows. Right now, she’s got the tour mapped out through October, and promises additional tour dates for the U.K., Ireland, Australia & New Zealand.Tickets for the trek go on sale December 13, which is also Taylor’s 28th birthday. She’ll be using Taylor Swift Tix, powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fans, for the tour. The program aims to get tickets into the hands of fans, not scalpers or bots. Registration for Taylor Swift Tix ends November 28.If the Reputation tour is anywhere near as big as Taylor’s 2015 1989 world tour, it could gross between $250 to $300 million.Here are Taylor’s first Reputation tour dates:5/8 — Glendale, AZ, University of Phoenix Stadium5/12 — Santa Clara, CA, Levi’s Stadium5/19 — Pasadena, CA, Rose Bowl5/22 — Seattle, WA, CenturyLink Field5/25 — Denver, CO, Sports Authority Field At Mile High6/2 — Chicago, I,L Soldier Field6/30 — Louisville, KY, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium7/7 — Columbus, OH, Ohio Stadium7/10 — Washington, D.C., FedEx Field7/14 — Philadelphia, PA, Lincoln Financial Field7/17 — Cleveland, OH, First Energy Stadium7/21 — East Rutherford, NJ, MetLife Stadium7/28 — Foxborough, MA, Gillette Stadium8/4 — Toronto, ON, Rogers Centre8/7 — Pittsburgh, PA, Heinz Field8/11 — Atlanta, GA, Mercedes-Benz Stadium8/14 — Tampa, FL, Raymond James Stadium8/18 — Miami, FL, Hard Rock Stadium8/25 — Nashville, TN, Nissan Stadium8/28 — Detroit, MI, Ford Field9/1 — Minneapolis, MN, U.S. Bank Stadium9/8 — Kansas City, MO, Arrowhead Stadium9/15 — Indianapolis, IN, Lucas Oil Stadium9/18 — St. Louis, MO, The Dome at America’s Center9/22 — New Orleans, LA, Mercedes-Benz Superdome9/29 — Houston, TX, NRG Stadium10/6 — Arlington, TX, AT&T Stadium
Tigers tied for third overall with three meets remainingBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterWAUSAU — The Marshfield boys golf team fell into a tie for third place in the overall standings with its second consecutive fourth-place finish at the fourth leg of the seven-meet Wisconsin Valley Conference Boys Golf Tournament on Tuesday at Wausau Country Club.Zach Hanson tied for ninth place with an 82 to lead Marshfield to a team score of 347, which was 12 shots behind third-place D.C. Everest. Stevens Point won the meet, its third in a row, with a 314, 17 shots in front of Wausau West.Derek Michalski had an 86, Brendan Schneider fired an 88, Joe Kirschnik shot a 91, and Grant Michaelis had a 98 to round out the scoring for the Tigers.Matt Tuman of Wausau East was the meet medalist with a 76, one shot ahead of Stevens Point’s Charlie Okray. All five Stevens Point golfers finished in the top eight overall.The fifth leg of the tournament is Friday at Stevens Point Country Club. Marshfield hosts the sixth meet on May 16, and the tournament concludes May 19 at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)2017 Wisconsin Valley Conference Boys Golf TournamentMeet No. 4, May 9, at Wausau Country Club (Host: Wausau West)Team scores: 1. Stevens Point 314; 2. Wausau West 331; 3. D.C. Everest 335; 4. Marshfield 347; 5. Wausau East 351; 6. Wisconsin Rapids 354; 7. Merrill 375.Top 10 individuals and Marshfield finishers: 1. Matt Tuman (WE) 76; 2. Charlie Okray (SP) 77; 3. Josh Yang (WW) and Mike Schmidt (DC) 78; 5. Evan Thomas (SP), Max Bancker (SP) and Max Hofmeister (SP) 79; 8. Drew Blair (SP) 81; 9. Russell Dettmering (MER), Zach Hanson (MAR) and Mike LaPree (WE) 82; 17. (tie) Derek Michalski (MAR) 86; 20. (tie) Brendan Schneider (MAR) 88; 26. (tie) Joe Kirschnik (MAR) 91; 29. Grant Michaelis (MAR) 98.Overall standings through fourth of seven meetsTeam standings: 1. Stevens Point 27; 2. Wausau West 25; 3. Marshfield and D.C. Everest 18; 5. Wausau East 10; 6. Wisconsin Rapids 9; 7. Merrill 5.Top 10 individuals and Marshfield golfers: 1. Evan Thomas (SP) 50; 2. Russell Dettmering (MER) 48; 3. Josh Yang (WW) 47.5; 4. Matt Tuman (WE) 47; 5. Max Bancker (SP) 46; 6. Charlie Okray (SP) 39; 7. Ben Langlois (WW) 27; 8. Derek Michalski (MAR) 24; 9. Ben Peloquin (DC) 19; 10. Drew Blair (SP) 18; 13. (tie) Zach Hanson (MAR) 14; 17. (tie) Brendan Schneider (MAR) 6.5; 24. Grant Michaelis (MAR) 1.
Pity the poor venture capitalist. Times were… well, so cushy. Money was flowing, deals were being done in record time, monetization was something one worried about later, and Silicon Valley was bursting at the seams. The sweet smell of wealth creation was everywhere. But suddenly, money got tight and the portfolio companies of many VC firms went on life support. So let’s hear from a couple of well-known early-stage investors, each with close to a decade under his belt, who we learned are largely undaunted by the current melancholia.We spoke with Jeff Clavier, founder and managing partner of SoftTech VC, Palo Alto, CA, and Dave Hornik, a partner at August Capital, Menlo Park, CA. Both have enviable records of successful investments, and both still find new startups worthy of their funds (though they agree the pace has slowed). We conducted the interviews by email after chatting with both gentlemen at the recent DEMO ’09 conference. (The questions for each are identical, though the interviews were conducted separately.)Question: How would you describe the current state of early-stage VC in general?Clavier: Early-stage technology investments have traditionally been made by a mix of business angels, which invest their own money, and venture capital firms, which invest from funds they raise. Over the past four years, a few seed-stage firms have become prominent players in early-stage investing: First Round Capital, Maples Investments, Baseline Ventures, True Ventures, Alsop Louie, KPG Ventures, and my firm, SoftTech VC. In the current environment, all of these firms are actively investing and so are “professional” business angels. More casual angels have disappeared from the market since October 2008, when the public markets started unraveling.Hornik: I think it is a very tough time for venture capital in general. The public markets are closed up tight as a drum. But more importantly, the financing environment is very tough. It is particularly hard to assume that a company you finance today will be able to remain financed in the future. So venture capitalists are being very careful about what companies they fund, with a particularly careful eye on capital efficiency.Question: What would you say about the state of VC investing specifically in the digital content or digital content technology space? Do VCs look on this space favorably right now?Clavier: VCs continue to invest broadly in digital content, technology, services, etc. The bar has just gone much higher on what companies have to demonstrate to show themselves worthy of an investment: traction, revenues, market potential, etc.Hornik: There is no question a number of exciting companies in the digital media space will have no problem getting financed. But many others will not be able to find backers. There is a general sense that online advertising is slowing down. Because a large number of the digital media opportunities are monetized with advertising, many of the companies coming up for funding will face a fairly skeptical venture community and have a tough time getting funded.Question: What have been your most notable deals in this space since you started investing?Clavier: I started investing in the consumer Internet space five years ago, at the very beginning of Web 2.0, and since then have closed more than 50 deals. Five of them got acquired: Truveo, Userplane, MyBlogLog, Kaboodle, and Maya’s Mom. In my angel portfolio, I have companies like Mint, Kongregate, and Buzznet. More recently, I invested in Tapulous, maker of the #1 game on the iPhone, as well as Circle of Moms, GetSatisfaction, and SocialMedia. All of these companies have millions of users, but it is still the beginning for them.Hornik: The partners at August Capital were the earliest investors in such companies as Microsoft, Sun, Compaq, Intuit, Symantec, Seagate, Skype, and many others. I have had the good fortune to invest in such exciting digital media companies as Evite, Tickle, Six Apart, VideoEgg, etc.Question: Have you done any digital content deals in the past six months?Clavier: I typically don’t talk about recent deals. Funding announcements are most often done when companies launch. In the past six months, I have invested in Outright, Foodzie, and TextDigger, and I am also about to close two deals in digital content infrastructure.Hornik: We have invested in a couple but, unfortunately, we aren’t talking about either publicly. Stay tuned.Question: Is now a good time to be a VC investor?Clavier: I personally consider the current environment a great time for investing. Opportunities I see tend to be stronger; there are stronger talent pools around companies; and the general focus is on building sustainable businesses, with revenues being part of the short-term plan, as opposed to an afterthought.Hornik: I think it is a great time to be a VC at August Capital. We have had the good fortune to invest successfully in a number of really interesting companies in past down economies. We believe that great entrepreneurs are undaunted by the challenging economy. And a number of things make it easy to build a company in these difficult times: plentiful talent, cheaper rents, less competition, etc.Question: What is the mindset of your investing partners right now, including other VC firms you often invest with? What percentage of them are positive?Clavier: We are all busy looking at deals and investing right now. It is, however, fair to say that the pace has slowed down a little bit compared to last year.Hornik: I certainly think that plenty of venture investors feel quite daunted by the market conditions. Not only is it harder to raise money for their portfolio companies, it is harder for them to raise money for their own firms. But plenty of folks out there have seen these up-and-down cycles before and remain enthusiastic about venture investing. I personally remain quite optimistic about the future of venture investing; so long as there is technical innovation, there will be great opportunities in venture capital.Question: Is VC investing more difficult in the current environment?Clavier: I would not say it is more or less difficult than it was in the past. The big question for us is, what type of companies are likely to be successful in these challenging times. There is a flight to quality in terms of management teams and a bigger focus on short-term revenue. But otherwise, it is pretty much the same.Hornik: It is definitely more difficult. If capital is the lubricant of markets, then we are facing some pretty serious challenges. But there will be opportunity to succeed despite the markets. And those firms that have a long history of success will be able to weather the storm far more easily.Question: What types of digital content solutions or tools are you interested in funding? What’s on your wish list?Clavier: I don’t maintain a wish-list of tools or companies, to be honest. My investment strategy is sector-based, within the realm of consumer Internet. That includes social media, gaming, search and discovery, monetization and ad networks, and consumer and cloud infrastructure. I am currently looking at mobile deals as well, on new platforms like the iPhone and Android.Hornik: I don’t really have a wish list. I’m always looking for smart, talented entrepreneurs who can tell me what is interesting. The entrepreneurs know way more than the venture community, so I have always followed their lead.Question: Has deal flow slowed down for first-round financing? And can we assume that requests for follow-on financings are way up? On which are you spending most of your time these days?Clavier: Deal flow has slowed down a little bit, but I find what comes my way is of higher quality. I have closed six follow-on rounds in the portfolio in the last six months: companies I had seed-funded that received capital from new investors in a subsequent round, and I see that as very positive. It was a lot of hard work; it took more time than in the past; and valuations were in line with market realities. But these deals got done. I have allocated 75% of my time to my existing portfolio, and 25% to looking at new deals.Question: Any further thoughts on the subject?Clavier: We’re in the most challenging economic and financing environment of the last decade. I have been an investor for nine years, but I’m certain that we’ll see fantastic companies emerge from these difficult times. And I am excited to be involved in the early-stage community that will help build them.Hornik: I joined the venture business in June of 2000, which was a challenging time in its own right. But I found some very interesting companies to invest in then. And I’m sure I will find some interesting companies to invest in over the next couple of years as well. I’m looking forward to it.Graeme Thickins is an independent writer, consultant, and blogger based in Minneapolis, MN, and San Clemente, CA. His main blog is www.Tech-Surf-Blog.com, where he recently posted some 23 interviews he conducted at the DEMO ’09 conference in early March. graeme thickins 1 Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Interviews#web Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot IT topic today, producing new and exciting results in academic research areas and across real-world deployments. So how do enterprises create value by implementing AI solutions? Many organizations are struggling to take the first step because the journey seems long and complicated. It doesn’t have to be. With some forethought, planning and good practices, you can implement a solution that will help you stay ahead of your competition without draining your expense budget.Building production-ready AI models and solutions brings unique challenges during the development and operation lifecycles. The solutions need to run effectively and predictably for a long period of time, with simplified update procedures when new data becomes available. Additionally, they need to play well with your software stacks of other applications.There are many approaches to incorporating AI technology in your business, from choosing automation tools built on AI technology to building a Data Science practice within your organization, and any mix in-between.By incorporating customized AI solutions, leveraging Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) models in your applications and business processes, you can improve efficiencies and data driven decisions within your organization. We’ll take you through how many organizations today are getting started with AI by combing software development processes with ML and DL models in a consistent application platform.Like any other business endeavor, starting with a solid plan is key to success. To help you start building a plan, we’ll take a look at a typical AI lifecycle from managing the datasets and the multiple stages of training, to deployment and integration into the application environment.Before You Get StartedHere are some key questions to ask yourself:Have we implemented a big data solution in the past or do I have access to large amounts of structured or unstructured data?What skill sets do we have as it relates to AI? Take inventory of your internal skill sets and consider the scope of what you can manage with internal talent. You may consider contracting some technical skills to business partners or bringing on additional internal talent with the appropriate skills needed to be successful.Does your use case involve a specific business unit? If so, you will need subject matter experts (SMEs) from the business unit committed to the initiative, as well as AI experts to architect and develop your AI solutions.Need to know more about what skills you may need? A good AI partner should be able to provide guidance based on the scope of your projects. Do we have budget and buy-in? Every worthwhile investment will have some initial cost. Ensure the projected cost fits within your available budget. Having executive and stakeholder buy-in is key for any initiative to be successful, and AI is no different. If you’re working on an AI project that involves a specific business unit, you will need buy-in from all the stakeholders from the business unit as well.Typical Stages in the AI JourneyChoosing the Right Use CaseChoosing the right use case for an AI application is critical to quickly prove the value to your stakeholders. It’s important to choose a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) or project that can rapidly deliver business value and has few roadblocks to implementation. The three determining factors used to evaluate use cases for fastest business impact are:Data Availability. Any AI application will only be as good as data used for training it. In the enterprise environment, data can be more important than the algorithms. Gathering and organizing a new collection of data can be a long and labor-intensive task. A project with readily available data, or easily collectable from existing processes, can save several months in the data preparation phase.Clean Data. After “Data Scientist”, “Clean Data” may be the second most common term that AI has added to the IT vernacular. Clean data refers to the accuracy and completeness of the dataset you’re working with. Imagine a use case in which you’re using customer data to predict which customers will be interested in a specific product. For an accurate prediction, it will require that all of your customer information is complete and up-to-date. By spot checking a few accounts in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database, you may start to get a sense of the cleanliness of your dataset and, for most organizations, a better sense of the health of your data. Dirty data simply means that the data is too unstructured, contains too many errors, or is incomplete and will not produce accurate results when used in model training. “Data Wrangling” is the term used for the process of analyzing and evaluating which data stays, which data gets cleaned up, and which data gets tossed out .Existing Technology. In order to deliver value in a short period of time, try to leverage already tested approaches that run well on your current technology. In many cases, you may have existing infrastructure to leverage for your PoC, but if you’re lacking the infrastructure to get started, there are plenty of options for you. Your hardware vendor may even provide access to infrastructure at no cost for an initial PoC. Everybody wants to work with cutting-edge technology and use the latest and greatest solutions, but wait for a later iteration when you have more resources and buy-in. You’ll save time and effort that can be used elsewhere.What criteria should be used to select an initial AI PoC?Time Saving Potential: The best candidate is a simple task that is executed multiple times across the organization. For example, answering simple questions in a call center, filling expense reports for internal employees, etc….Data Intensive Tasks: Look for tasks which rely more on data versus experience or intuition. AI can better execute tasks which have clearly specified data inputs.Monotonous Tasks: There are tasks which are not possible due to costs or diminishing effectiveness of people doing it. A common example is a worker visually inspecting every part entering a factory for flaws. AI will never grow tired of monotonous tasks and will deliver consistent results, improving the overall quality and consistency of the end product.Scalability: The AI application is usually high initial investment, with low operational cost. The best task to start with is the one which can be implemented once, and run multiple times to spread the initial investment across multiple tasks or departments.The right use case is critical to the success of the PoC. Remember to pick one that will deliver results quickly. In order to do that, the project must have readily available, clean data that requires little data wrangling and can run on your existing infrastructure. Try to target tasks that are repetitive, require only data to accomplish, not experience, and are difficult for people to do for any length of time. If the task is repeated across multiple departments, spreading the initial cost becomes easier.Collect Your DataMany AI algorithms being developed today are based on supervised learning and require a significant amount of data wrangling and pre-processing to ensure model accuracy. In supervised learning , the model is trained with labeled data, mapping a specific input with the expected output. For example, if you take a dataset of images of various vehicles, label all car images in your training, and, with proper tuning and enough data, you should be able to predict whether a new image is of a car or not. This of course requires clean and properly labeled data, which can be the most time-consuming stages in developing an AI model. For unsupervised learning, we do not have the data labeled for an expected outcome and the model is tasked to find patterns in the data.Once you have selected your use case and collected your data, you will need to organize, clean, and process your data. For supervised learning models, your training data will need to be labeled, which can be a time consuming task for your data wranglersProving Your Use Case (Pilot)Next, you will work through model development where your data scientist will build and test multiple models to identify the appropriate data science methodology that provides the highest level of accuracy. Once your data scientist has identified the appropriate model, they will perform hyper-parameter tuning to achieve the highest level of accuracy possible.There are a broad range of tools supporting this process, spanning from open-source machine and deep learning frameworks like Spark* ML, sk-learn*, Keras*, TensorFlow*, CNTK*, or BigDL to specialized training platforms like LICO* from Lenovo.Typically, it’s best to start with small chunks of data for initial model development. Once the accuracy of the model reaches an acceptable level, you can increase the amount of data you’re working with which will, in turn, increase the accuracy of the model. Of course, these larger iterations will require greater processing power, storage, and run times.ImplementImplementing AI into a production environment can be as challenging as the development process. AI inference may require changing business processes or modifying existing applications. The scope of operationalizing an AI model can be affected by the complexity of the use-case.To implement the inference of your AI model, it could be as simple as incorporating it into your BI tool for predictive or prescriptive use cases, or as complex as modifying your DevOps process to incorporate it into your business applications. With your first PoC, start small with a light application or plugin to an existing tool.OperationalizeThe work is not over after the solution is implemented and running in a production environment. To improve the accuracy of your AI application, you may need to re-train your model. AI applications generate new data which can be used for additional training to improve accuracy. Also, changes in your environment (new customers, new products, etc…) may require modifications of the model to ensure accuracy.In an ideal lifecycle, a fully automated pipeline, from data generation to deployment, is ideal, but may not be feasible. It’s important to find the right level of automation in your AI deployment that ensures the best accuracy for your model, without being cost prohibitive. This may require changes in your DevOps process to ensure you’re getting the best value from your AI models.Is it Time to Get Started with AI?Once you have completed a successful PoC, it’s time to get serious about your AI strategy. Keep in mind, your competitors are looking at AI technology today to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and, ultimately, become more competitive in the marketplace.Things to ConsiderConsider working with a technology partner that can provide end-to-end solutions from the edge to the data center, providing hardware, software and (most importantly) expertise to help you get started.At Lenovo, we’re taking a prescriptive approach to AI and working with clients to build solutions that address their unique business goals. We have expertise in Big Data, AI, and IoT, realizing the dependencies of AI technology within the data center. We provide access to AI Innovation Centers for our clients to experience the power of AI and build initial PoCs prior to investing in new infrastructure. We have made significant investments in developing new software platforms to accelerate AI development and provide AI consultants to assist customers along the journey. By partnering with leading technology providers, such as Intel and select business partners that have deep industry and AI expertise, we’re providing holistic solutions for our clients. Learn more at lenovo.com/AI.Intel technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer.
I learned about the concept of communal recreation. The core of this idea is that people often add their own twist on a story when they spread it. My research has shownthat savvy social media users are the most contagious viral users. When you release your ebook, make sure that it appears in the social sites that your target demographic visits often. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to do this. How to Generate Leads for Small Business Lead Generation for Small Business Webinar Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Learn how small businesses can level the playing field and generate leads efficiently by leveraging inbound Internet marketing strategies and tools. Topics: Viral Campaigns rumors From my research into urban legends Originally published Apr 9, 2009 8:28:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Another commonly cited viral motivation is “utility.” That is, people tend to share content they find useful. Giving your users utilitarian information they can use right away or how-to content will help your ebook spread. 6. Build social proof with testimonialsWhen you’re donewriting your whitepaper or ebook, pass it around to a few friends or”industry celebrities” that you know and ask them to comment on it.Then take these quotes and put them in the PDF itself, as well as on theblog post annoucing it. 7. Use viral calls to actionIn my research on ReTweetingI discovered that asking people (politely) to share your content works very well. Just as you use calls-to-action to drive visitors to your site to take actions, you should also ask your readers to share your content with their friends and social networks. 8. Get it out from behind the pay-wallIf you want people to share your ebook (or any other type of content) you have to allow them to access and distribute it feely and easily. Don’t charge for your best content, and don’t ask people to sign in to get at it. 9. Seed it into social media 1. Fill a knowledge gap 4. Provoke conversationWhen asked why they spread content, people often cite conversation as a primary motivator. Contradicting commonly held wisdom will typically lead to people starting dicussions about your content, as will including open-ended questions and asking for real-world applications of concepts you’ve covered. 5. Teach readers how to do something During World War II researchers in Britan and the U.S. studied how 2. Be timelyIs there some new trend in your space? Be the first to write about what’s happening, then emphasis the urgent and timely nature of your content. 3. Encourage remixing . Download our In every niche there are still areas where there isn’t much real information or data available. Find out what people in your industry want to know more about and give it to them. You should try to exploit this natural human urge in your content. If your ebook contains numeric data, consider releasing the information in a spreadsheet so others can do their own analysis. Make sure people can copy-and-paste text from your PDF and maybe even include specific quotable passages in the page or blog post where you announce the ebook. could be weaponized. They discovered that when something happened (like a big noise) and there was no “official” explanation for it, rumors proliferated in this information void.
Being an online authority essentially means you’re not only a thought leader on a specific topic, but that you’ve also taken the time to translate that knowledge in a meaningful way online. And if you’re a business owner, you’ve gone about it in such a way that search engines see it, your prospects and customers recognize it, and as a result, it helps you generate customers and revenue.It makes sense: People do business with the people they trust. And putting yourself out there, giving your brand a personality, and taking the time to present research, updates, and opinions that help your prospects and customers is how trust is earned. People used to do it in person; they still do, but now their reach can be extended by thousands and even millions by doing it online, too.As it turns out, one of the easiest methods of doing all this is through content creation. It’s how people and search engines find you and determine your relevance; over time, the cream rises to the top. If you’re trying to build your online authority — like most smart marketers are — these are the ways you can use content to get the job done.1.) Write and Optimize for Informational KeywordsA great way to gain authority status is teaching someone how to do something. And when your advice works, you’ll find you start getting repeat visitors, too. If you’re optimizing for long-tail, informational keyword phrases like, “How to train a unicorn,” you can also gain prominent placement in search engines to help solidify your authoritative status.2.) Create Niche ContentUnless you have a huge content creation staff with a wide array of subject matter expertise, focus your content creation efforts on a few topics about which you’re very knowledgeable. It’s better to do a deep dive into a small handful of topics than speak generically about everything under the sun. Your audience may be smaller, but they’ll reap far more benefits (and thus, so will you) from your content if you take this route. Once you have built a good foundation with your content, you can extend the subjects you cover as your audience grows.3.) Write About Timely Industry UpdatesAn authority stays up to date on what’s happening in their industry and is someone to whom people can turn to learn the newest information. Think of yourself as a journalist; listen to primary sources, research the important changes taking place in your industry, and tell your audience what news and changes mean for them. By filtering out the junk and reporting on the news that matters for your audience, you become the trusted source to which your audience flocks when they need to learn about critical information. And don’t forget, search engines favor the online content creators who report on timely information first.4.) Use Palatable LanguageThe smartest content creators don’t care about sounding smart. It’s all about clarity. Sometimes people think authority is gained by using confusing language, but often, it just comes off as business babble or, even worse, just makes no sense. Remember that authorities are resources, and your usefulness will be short-lived if readers don’t understand you.5.) Publish Case StudiesLet your customers do some of the work for you. Publish case studies that explain how your company helped solve a specific problem. Use data, stories, and show concrete results that speak to the problems your audience faces.6.) Host WebinarsPut a real, live voice behind your content by hosting a webinar. Not everyone consumes content in the same way, so for those who prefer audio learning, it’s a great way to present your expertise (and get leads!). If you’re not comfortable with live presentations, consider hosting a Twitter Chat instead. They let you have real-time conversations with your audience in a new format, but behind the safety of your computer screen.7.) Write Long-Form ContentGive your audience the opportunity to read more advanced content like whitepapers, ebooks, how-to guides, and use cases. These all lend themselves to more in-depth analyses than something like a blog post or a social media update. And more in-depth analysis gives you a greater opportunity to establish your thought leadership position. Plus, this type of downloadable content not only helps you generate more leads, but it is also a content format that is easily shareable on social networks, helping you extend your reach.8.) Contribute as a Guest BloggerBeing a guest contributor to other blogs presents many opportunities for solidifying your status as an online authority. You expand your reach. You align yourself with other influential industry thought leaders. You expose yourself to a new audience that may not know about you. And you have the ability to generate inbound links to your site, giving your site more online authority, too. Plus, as a content creator, you know how great it is to have a little relief once in a while from other thoughtful writers out there!9.) Generate Inbound LinksSpeaking of inbound links, they’re a crucial part to establishing the online authority of your site. Like, a huge part. The more inbound links you have to your website from other authoritative sites, the more search engines consider you an authority, too. It makes sense: if other great content creators think you’re writing content that’s so awesome they just have to link to it, search engines are going to consider your content some of the best to deliver to the SERPs.10.) Stay Active in Social MediaPeople are alerted to your content in many ways; some visit your website, some subscribe to email updates and RSS feeds, some are in your lead nurturing campaigns, and some find you in social media. It’s crucial you stay active in social media, engage in discussions around important topics in your industry, and share the content you create on the social media networks your audience frequents.11.) Be a Credible ResourceYou may be a marketer by trade, but never stop thinking of yourself as a journalist. When you’re researching content, filter out the junk your audience doesn’t need to know or doesn’t care about. And don’t make back alley deals with other brands to promote products and services that aren’t helpful. Just remain focused on providing the best information you can for your audience, and keeping your business on the up and up.How do you use your content to build your online authority?Image credit: Search Engine People Blog Topics: Originally published Jan 13, 2012 11:15:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Content Creation Don’t forget to share this post! 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Originally published Apr 20, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Earlier this week, Klout announced its own version of brand pages — Brand “Squads.” Klout calls these pages a “way of giving influencers a place to be recognized and have a direct impact on the brands they care about most.”And while influencers get excited for their potential to be recognized by top brands, social media marketers also have plenty of reasons to be excited for this cool new tool.This post will break down all the new features Klout Brand Squads will provide, and why they matter to marketers. But first, take a look at the Brand Squad of Red Bull — the lucky brand being used to beta test this new feature — so you can get an idea of what the layout might look like when this rolls out to all brands.1) Brand InfluencersWhat It Is: Klout’s new Brand Squads will showcase the top 10 influencers of that brand. These are the people who most frequently talk about that brand on their own social networks. You also have the ability to see the top 100 influencers.How Marketers Can Benefit: If someone loves you enough to be listed as a top ten influencer, you better be sure to convert that influencer into a customer (or leverage their influence in some other beneficial way if they’re not a prospect, such as a partnership of some sort)! The top influencers are a snapshot of your most loving and active fans. And if that influencer is already a customer, you better be sure to make them a brand loyalist! Remember, Klout connects to twelve different social networks (with more to come). Thus, this list is providing an aggregate grouping of people who frequently talk about you across multiple social channels.So what do you do with these people? If you have a list of loving leads and brand loyalists, you have a list of people who are willing to provide you with feedback about your business — people who genuinely care about your growth because it has an impact on their life. Make them feel like an integral member of your community, and ask them to write reviews, be beta testers on new product rollouts, and refer you to others that might like to use your products or services.2) Social Media ButtonsWhat It Is: The new pages will allow brands to include social media buttons for their various social accounts.How Marketers Can Benefit: These help users more easily find your social media presence. While marketers know the basic importance of having such buttons, there’s an added benefit of having them on Klout. Think about it — when you’re on a brand’s Facebook page, there’s no Twitter button that lets you find their username. So you go over to Google and do a search for the brand, click through a few accounts, and then decide which account is the right one for the brand you’re looking for.Right now, a user can only get a look at your entire social presence on your website. Klout’s Brand Squads would be one of the few social brand pages where users can easily navigate to a brand’s various social accounts.3) Latest ActivityWhat It Is: Think of it as Klout’s version of the Facebook ticker. The Latest Activity bar showcases all Klout activity related to your brand — when someone gives you a +K, when an influencer of your brand gives another influencer of your brand a +K, and when someone adds your brand as a top influencer.How Marketers Can Benefit: You can share any activity that appears in this list. By hovering over the update, a pop-up will appear next to it asking if you’d like to share that update. If you click “tweet,” Klout will automatically pull the Twitter username of the person giving you a +K. This provides the cool opportunity to not only easily thank users giving you a +K, but also follow people who are clearly brand loyalists. And as all social media marketers should know, it’s just as important to follow the people who care about you as it is to gain followers.4) Brand PerksWhat It Is: Klout released Klout perks last year. Essentially, Klout perks “are exclusive products or experiences that you earn based on your influence.” Red Bull is testing this feature by having three different perks available. One for the top 10 influencers, one for the top 100 influencers, and one for the top 1,000 influencers.How Marketers Can Benefit: You have a free and easy to way to reward people who care about your brand! B2C companies could offer free samples of their products. B2B companies could provide trials or discounts. There’s plenty to try — and you have the comfort of knowing the perks are going to people who already showed interest in your brand — you might just learn what offers incite leads in the bottom of your buying funnel to pull the trigger on a purchase. Here at HubSpot, for example, we’re preparing for our annual Inbound conference. We might use the perks feature to reward people with discounted tickets to our inbound marketing conference!5) Top Brand ContentWhat It Is: At the bottom of each page, there’s a showcase of content being shared about your brand. While you can see who has tagged you in posts on Facebook or who mentioned your handle on Twitter, Klout Brand Squads will highlight content from all platforms.How Marketers Can Benefit: You have an easy way to see the top content being shared about your brand. You can easily share or tweet that content by hovering over the post. Just like the top influencers and Latest Activity bar, you have yet another way to see who is talking about you and what they’re saying. The unique benefit here is you can see who was influenced by that post. So not only can you see that someone is talking about your brand, you can see who was influenced by that initial user.While this isn’t something to be staring at all day, if you’re hosting a particular campaign, it’d be helpful to see if people are talking about it and influencing others to talk about it. If HubSpot tweeted about the Inbound conference, for example, we would want to see not only if others started talking about it, but also who that retweeter influenced. It’s a way of watching how a piece of content travels from a business account to a user, and from that user to another user.Deficiencies of Klout’s Brand PagesWhile Klout Brand Squads will offer some beneficial new features for marketers, it’s hard to tie it all back to a business’ entire marketing package, because there seem to be no analytics tied to all of these new features. The next step to make these brand pages worth marketers’ time would be the addition of an analytics tool. Data from HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella proves that a Klout score is “a surprisingly effective measure of overall online marketing success.” And if that’s the case, we want to see that these Klout Brand Squads contribute to that success.The other drawback is that it’s not clear if your top influencers are actually influencing positive discussions about your brand. For all you know, someone in your top 100 followers could be sending very negative messages, and in return you could be rewarding them in some form such as perks. While it never hurts to show everyone some love, it’d be helpful to know the tone of what is being discussed — especially because negative feedback, while painful to take, is how businesses make improvements.Are you looking forward to Klout Brand Squads? What other benefits do you see for marketers from these new features?Image Credit: Lan Nguyen Topics: Brand Management Don’t forget to share this post! 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59% of marketers report spending six hours or more on it weekly Now, instead of sending mass email blasts, you can directly contact and information about the prospect they are calling, but not enough to start a meaningful conversation. The second call scripted in the role play is much more personalized and helpful. It shows that the salesperson isn’t just calling out of the blue. There is a clear reason, backed up by a clear action, and followed up with a clear benefit to the lead. Such is the power of According to social media database segmentation . It comes as no surprise that most marketers now understand the business value of social media. The question is, how do you take social to the next level? By Your email database consists of contacts who have subscribed to receive email communication from you. They have opted in to receive your marketing resources, announcements and promotions, and (if your email list is healthy) should be interacting with your content by opening, clicking, and forwarding these emails. , works in a similar fashion. It consists of followers and fans who want to engage with your brand online. They’re retweeting, resharing, and repinning your posts. Clearly, they have an interest in the things that you are saying and the product(s)/service(s) you have to offer. 3) Use Social Media Lead Intelligence in Sales Calls Social Media Marketing ! allows you to click on any social message you’ve sent and see exactly who clicked and/or shared it. (You can even dig deeper and explore the number of leads and customers that resulted from that effort.) Example Use Cases of This New Social Future That has all changed. Your social media followers ! Let me explain. Social Media Followers Should Be a Part of Your Marketing Database . But they’re still struggling to find a reliable way to use social to boost sales. It’s simple: use social media information to personalize calls. Examine the difference between these two phone calls: The future of social media and the key to expanding the size of your marketing database is contingent upon the growth of your social media database. The more followers you attract, the larger your pool of people to turn into strong advocates of your brand . The Future of Social Media Lead Management In this context, the interests and actions of your email recipients and social followers overlap. The act of opting in to receive email updates from a company is very similar to, for instance, hitting the ‘Like’ button on a Facebook Page. SEOmoz’s 2012 annual industry survey “Hi Anum, I noticed you work in HubSpot’s marketing department and thought you might be interested in learning about how our product that helps you do better marketing. When is a good time to chat?” Social Contacts tool Topics: integrating social media into the rest of your marketing database Social Media Examiner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report One seamless way to do this is by using the The problem with followers in social media is that you cannot measure the extent to which these fans are actually engaging with your brand. You don’t know the specific people interacting with your updates. Allocate a few hours weekly to discovering these people. Look at who is retweeting and commenting on your content, and cross-reference that with your contacts database. HubSpot allows you to do this automatically. Our new When it comes to Originally published Sep 21, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Think of Your Social Media Database Like Your Email Database This has been an adapted excerpt from our new ebook, . The social media sphere is constantly changing, and by figuring out how to effectively use social media and being on the front edge of how these channels will be used, you’ll find success on social channels before your competitors get around to finally investing time. , your boss most likely wants you to send communication about your product or service. Meanwhile, as a marketer, you likely want to email broader lead generation content in order to boost engagement. Fear not — there is balance between the two, and it comes down to download the complete, free ebook here Your marketing database is the key to incorporating social media information into the rest of your marketing efforts and overall strategy. As a marketer, your strongest asset is your database of contacts: email and blog subscribers, leads, customers, and evangelists. It’s the entire spectrum of your brand’s stakeholders. It’s the overall community of people who care about you in some form, regardless of how miniscule or extensive that care is. Your marketing database is the key component of your marketing — it’s the people you contact for every aspect of business. Interviewing fans. Converting leads. Contacting customers. Everything. And you know who has become an essential part of this list? . When you monitor the people who engage with your social media content, separate them into groups and allow those interested in your product/service to receive more communication about your special deals. Of course, make sure these users have already opted in to receive email communication from your company. “Hi Anum, Thanks for sharing our latest ebook on Twitter! We really appreciate the support. Did you enjoy the read? Do you have any questions still lingering after checking out our content, and if so, could I help clarify or provide further assistance?” nurture those leads . You can use the app to see which contacts from your database are talking on social media, and then send them customized email communications after seeing that they’re further down the marketing funnel. The first call sounds like an average lukewarm call: when the sales rep has who are actually interacting with your brand. And by interacting with them, you’re using their social media following to help extend your brand to a new audience. This constant, positive, and targeted sharing of information will ultimately help grow your pool of evangelists, which will ultimately help you in other areas of your marketing. HubSpot-HootSuite integration app some Marketers are increasingly invested in social media: According to And boy does this open a whole new bucket of opportunities for your marketing as a whole! email marketing The future of social media is here … are you ready for it? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack was once a shiny new toy. It quickly infiltrated the PR and B2C marketing space. But as more social networks began to appear, and more people began to adopt them, they became an uncontested space for all types of companies to be present in. At first, many businesses hardly knew what to do on social media — just that they needed to be using it. Now that you’ve learned why social following is critical in building up your marketing database and have seen some powerful examples of using social lead intelligence to follow up with leads in the sales process, it’s time to embrace the next generation of social media marketing vs. , By using one unified marketing database, you can add a layer of social media insights to your existing contacts, thus gaining valuable information to target messages, nurture leads, and attract new contacts to your business. Now how do you actually do this? 2) Send Product- or Service-Oriented Emails . To learn more about how to segment and nurture your social media followers, Social media ! social media intelligence in the sales process 44% of marketers self-professed either “advanced” or “expert” level social media ability. Your 1) Share the Right Content With the Right People