Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft – The Internet of Things

Posted Posted in Visionary

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, talks about CGI Innovation with The Internet of Things

This is a demo of the innovative CGI work Microsoft did with ThyssenKrupp elevators. This uses Azure, ISS and a very innovative Cloud based Monitoring system built by the team at CGI.

“Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft – on Internet of Things” is also available on 4thWEB’s Facebook Channel

Vine is Blowing Up for Brands – Why?

Posted Posted in Random Acts of Progress

Vine Blowing Up for BrandsVine is the latest social video marketing platform and it’s taking off like wildfire. CNET reports Vine has 40 million users. And this is even after Instagram decided to copy Vine’s short video concept and use it on its social photo site. Twitter hit the nail perfectly with its six-second, looped videos. And brands are climbing on board to take advantage of their own efforts. And courting prominent Vine users to create videos featuring their brands.

Vine – Six Seconds of the Right Stuff

WebProNews reports Twitter users are just as likely to watch Vine videos as they are YouTube. The short videos match perfectly with the short message platform that Twitter provides. And brands need to learn how to show a concise, visually compelling method to catch attention. There are a variety of industries taking advantage of Vine. Although those that can be condensed into a short visual medium are doing the best. Examples include Urban Outfitter’s clothing selection. As well as Next’s furniture and the “Wolverine” movie. Stop motion is also a commonly used technique to fit more into a single clip.

Going Viral with Vine

You have only a few seconds to catch your customer’s attention. Vine’s six-second limit makes you work within a strict framework. You literally only get those few seconds to figure out how to attract the customer. And keep them watching and get your brand message across.

Humor is always one of your best bets for getting your Vine video to go viral. For example, Dove created a Vine video that shows people bowling with their soap and bath gel products. That’s a cute and clever way to show off their products. If your marketing message isn’t conductive to humor, try using visually distinctive techniques. And don’t forget to take advantage of the endless looping in Vine.

Also, don’t forget the appropriate hashtags. Since you do want to reach as much of your target audience as possible. Lowes has a particularly good Vine account. According to Adverblog, they utilize hashtags very effectively. The home improvement store uses brand specific and general tags, such as #Lowesfixinsix and #Howto. Vine videos are simple to share on other social networks. So don’t skimp on spreading them around and leveraging your existing audience.

Bring in the Vine Experts

Vine has only been out for seven months. But that’s more than enough time for some users to truly figure out what makes Vine tick. Some of these users are brands you can draw inspiration from. And some are budding Vine celebrities who are enjoying their Internet fame. The top Vine users include Jethro Ames. He produces household and how-to videos. Also, Khoa makes his videos out of construction paper. Also, Meagan Cignoli plays up the celebrity angle by posting behind the scenes fashion model Vines. Some of them are also more than happy to take money in exchange for creating custom Vine videos for your business. And promoting it to their entire social network. If you don’t want to go through trial-and-error to figure out exactly what you’re doing on Vine, this is one of the best ways to spend your marketing dollars.

Vine – Great for Slow Internet

YouTube has certainly generated plenty of brand awareness and money for businesses. But there’s one area it has a hard time penetrating. Rural areas of the United States suffer from limited Internet access. Those areas aren’t able to easily watch YouTube videos and other high-bandwidth content without the help of satellite Internet services. The Vine format is fast and quick-loading, whether you have a satellite Internet service such as or not. Essentially, Vine provides a similar marketing experience to YouTube without cutting off this massive user demographic.

The World Without You (The Internet) – Infographic

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Random Acts of Progress

So, what would the world be like without you … the Internet? Almost everything we do has some connection to the internet. Aside from the fact that we wouldn’t be writing or reading this post, can you imagine life without it? Well, the following Infographic does and here are some highlights:

  • Since 2002, the number of internet users has quadrupled to 2.3 billion people worldwide.
  • The internet allows us to connect with virtually anyone.
  • The internet gives us access to an infinite amount of information.
  • There are 550 million websites (300 million added in 2011)
  • $6.3 trillion – the cost of stamps to replace emails (US alone).
  • Each internet job supports 1.54 additional jobs.
  • There are 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook PER MONTH.
  • The fall of the Berlin wall took 4 months.
  • It took just 1 week for 90,000 Egyptians to organize a revolution.
  • And only 18 days to overthrow 30 years of dictatorship.

The World Without You (The Internet)

Infographic Source

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The World Without You (The Internet) - Infographic

NEW Facebook Timeline — A Billion Channels of Reality TV?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Random Acts of Progress
NEW Facebook Timeline

NEW Facebook Timeline? This is your life.

We all know the phrase. It’s a throwback to a 1950s television show that walked through the life stories of its guests in front of friends, family… and a national television audience.

The odd part about the original This Is Your Life, the part many people don’t realize, is that the show was oddly, awkwardly personal in a way that modern-day reality TV doesn’t even come close to. There was the episode, for example, when one of the men who flew the plane that dropped The Bomb over Hiroshima was greeted by a surprise guest: A Japanese survivor. It was a tense television moment, to say the least.

Now, as the Facebook Timeline officially rolls out, users argue loudly amongst themselves over whether or not the social media version of “This is your life” is a good thing – another social networking innovation from Facebook – or a bad thing – another invasion, or potential invasion, of our privacy. Some people are saying that Facebook Timeline is just too personal, too convenient for online stalkers, too creepy to publicly lay out your entire life, together with all its best moments, its missteps, and its mundanity.

NEW Facebook Timeline? Am I About to Be Owned? Do I Care?

Our tendencies towards compulsive voyeurism and unabashed curiosity about the personal lives of others – not to mention the compulsiveness with which we pour over, analyze, and revisit our own life experiences — have never been so easily fulfilled. However, thanks to Facebook Timeline, not only can we visually conceptualize our life as a series of interconnected events, we can also see, within the Facebook Timeline, what our friends are listening to, cooking, reading, watching, and what their latest running route was.

Our ability to see what our friends are cooking and where they’re running, of course, are all conveniently provided to us through free apps by the brands that want to sell to us. The question for Facebook users becomes, “Does it bother me that all these apps have subtle marketing messages behind them?”

The answer Facebook suggests is that, no, it shouldn’t bother you at all. It’s natural to want to see what your friends are up to. It’s natural to want to know what movies they’ve seen recently and what books they’re reading. Facebook is wagering that the majority of their users will favor convenience and connection over philosophical issues with Facebook Timeline.

NEW Facebook Timeline? No, I Don’t Care.

Facebook is almost definitely right. Consumers have been using brands as a form of self-expression for decades; Facebook Timeline just makes that self-expression easily accessible in real-time. Facebook users who sympathize with Occupy Wall Street might complain about Facebook Timeline and its emphasis on integrating brands and our personal lives for a while, but sooner or later even Occupiers will want to share with their activist friends what brand of sleeping bag they’re using to keep warm as they protest the meteoric rise of big business.

Speaking of brands, there’s another question Facebook Timeline raises: Once the majority of Facebook users have adopted Timeline, how will it impact your own social media marketing? Here are a few things to keep in mind.



1. Be Included in the App Revolution

For just a moment, take your sales hat off and put your connectivity hat on. People use Facebook to connect, relax, and have fun. How can your brand create an app that helps them to do that?

Netflix, for example, has just about gotten Congress to allow them to launch a Facebook app that will use people’s friends’ movie preferences to make movie recommendations. In other words, it will be exactly what Facebook has been trying to accomplish with its advertising, but since users will voluntarily share their information, these apps might just clear the “privacy issues” hurdle.

2. Expect Facebook Timeline to Come to Brand Pages

Facebook hasn’t yet rolled out Facebook Timeline for brand pages, but once they do – and they probably will – that is one bandwagon you’ll want to jump on right away.

Why? For starters, Facebook Timeline puts a huge photo right at the top of the profile page. The 849 x 312 pixel cover photo of a Facebook Timeline page gives brands a chance to feature the perfect product shot or clever banner in a way that the existing Facebook pages do not.

3. You’d Better Get Interesting

The new Facebook Timeline format increases the likelihood that a brand’s self-promoting posts will never be seen by fans. Anything Facebook algorithms deem uninteresting will get relegated to the Ticker. Posts such as videos, photos, links, and content that earns lots of likes are far more likely to reach to reach the eyes of fans.

* * *

Facebook, along with the Internet in general, have rapidly changed how we think about and interact with our friends and our world. Back in the early days of blogging, some people asked, “Why in the world would anyone want to make their private thoughts available for everyone to read?” Today, sharing private moments as encapsulated in photos or posts is so second-nature that almost no one questions it any longer. Facebook Timeline is just the latest evolution in this trend of making our personal lives increasingly public. Though consumers might complain now, brands who want to succeed will find smart ways to use Facebook Timeline to tell their own stories and offer help as fans tell theirs.

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What do you think about the new Facebook Timeline? Share your thoughts below.

Google vs. Facebook: What Your Business Needs to Know

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Innovation, Random Acts of Progress, Visionary

Google vs. Facebook: What Your Business Needs To Know

Two emperor-warriors, each restlessly probing for the other’s Achilles’ heel. Brilliant field commanders and generals, making sacrifices and sometimes falling in battle. A recently deceased king, with a potential power vacuum left in his wake. Is it Greek history? No – it’s Silicon Valley, with their own epic story of the Clash of the Titans. It’s Google versus Facebook, Page versus the Zuck, search versus social media. It will be a great story one day for history books and memoir writers; in the meantime, as marketers we need to know how to work with both of these superpowers without offending either.

Google vs. Facebook: Two Competing Paradigms for Gathering Information

Google and Facebook represent far more than two powerful companies fighting for market share. Rather, their two business models represent two dramatically different paradigms of what the Internet should be or should evolve into. To understand these two paradigms, it’s helpful to briefly review the life stories of the two emperor-warriors of the online world: Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg.

Larry Page is a computer scientist and math guy with two computer scientist parents. He visualized the Internet as being one huge graph, and with his fellow Stanford Ph.D. student, Sergey Brin, Google became the ultimate calculus equation. Google’s strength still lies within the mathematical precision of its algorithms.

Then there’s Mark Zuckerberg, eleven years Page’s junior. Whereas Page was the son of two computer scientists with one older brother, Zuckerberg was the son of a psychiatrist and a dentist and grew up surrounded by three sisters. Though the book Accidental Billionaires would later portray Zuckerberg as a cold-hearted, socially isolated computer geek, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Computer geek, yes, but socially isolated? Zuckerberg was a frat guy planning to double-major in computer science and psychology before he dropped out to pilot Facebook. He is, and always has been, a very smart, very geeky, but also very social guy.

Zuckerberg and Page’s orientation towards gathering and parsing information are reflected by their two different inventions. Page created a mathematical formula to sort that which was worth knowing from that which was not. Zuckerberg, the computer geek frat guy, created something totally different – a way to sort what was worth knowing from what was not based on what your buddies thought. For Page, the Internet was a fascinating robot, a machine. For Zuckerberg, the Internet was a newly discovered life form, a living, breathing, ever-evolving organism.

Google Plays Catch-Up

It turns out that other people like Zuckerberg’s paradigm of what the web should be. Like the Blob, Facebook has spread itself relentlessly across the web, quietly oozing into places like Yelp, Spotify, and on every blog and news media site known to man. Its presence is now inescapable; as a result, many of its 800 million users spend more time at Facebook than at any other corner of the online universe.

Just as Microsoft realized it had miscalculated the importance of search and tried desperately to catch up with Google, Google is now in the position of desperately trying to catch up with Facebook when it comes to social media. The new Google+ is trying hard to grab a bigger piece of the social media pie for Google and is proving that Google hasn’t become so big that it can’t still evolve.

While Google+ might just give Facebook a run for its money, Facebook launched its own set of aggressive changes at its recent f8 developers event. From the new timeline feature, to verbs other than “Like,” to relegating uninteresting bits of news to the ticker, the f8 event sent a tidal wave of changes across the social web. Just when it thought it was gaining on Facebook, Google+ is once again two steps behind.

Three Takeaways for Your Business

Those of us who rely upon the might of Google and Facebook to market our products and services may not care who ends up as Silicon Valley’s undisputed ruler; we mostly just want to know how to use the two companies’ battle spoils to boost business. Here are three takeaways from the Clash of the Silicon Titans that you can apply to your own marketing:

1. Zuckerberg’s paradigm is probably going to win, but that doesn’t mean that Page’s paradigm is going to go away. Search and social media are eventually going to live in symbiotic harmony. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to use Google as the primary means to look up phone numbers, get directions, find the closest pizza joint, and learn the final score of last night’s football game. However, once we click on the pizza joint’s site or visit our favorite football blog, we’ll immediately see which of our Facebook friends have already been there and we’ll be influenced by what they have to say about it. Who finds your content is now just as important as – and influences — if your content is found in the first place.

2. Pay-per-click is still best left with Google, but not for much longer. At the moment, Google is poised to conquer a whopping 41% of the US online advertising market. This is still one arena where Facebook is playing catch-up to Google. However, they are catching up fast. Ad analytics are still stronger with Google, but Facebook has social media and word-of-mouth on its side. For the time being, ROI with Google’s AdWords is stronger, but sharing your PPC budget with Facebook isn’t a bad idea.

3. Online video will be a field commander in both armies. Google owns YouTube; Facebook shares videos. With the new f8 changes, videos are weighted more heavily than other types of content, meaning that a video you upload is more likely to make it into your fans’ news feed. Whether you’re trying to dominate the search engine results page or get your message to spread on Facebook, online video will be an increasingly important part of your efforts.

This war between Google and Facebook probably isn’t going to end in a clear victory for either side. For now, Facebook will continue to rule social media, but Google will continue to rule search. While we still need both, as a marketer, you can’t afford to neglect either one. Caught in the middle of these Titans, make sure you are paying due homage to each — unless you want your business to become collateral damage.

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