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English: The Hill in Boulder, Colorado.“I’m not interested in working on this unless it’s going to be a multi-billion dollar idea. If I thought this would be a hundred million dollar company — what’s the point?” – Anonymous entreprerneur discussing his startup. Overheard in front of Ozo Coffee, Boulder, CO.

I’m in Boulder, Colorado for a few days this week to attend Big Boulder, a conference devoted to the social side of “big data.” Gnip, the company hosting the conference, is one I’ve written about before. They’re doing the plumber’s work of connecting all the firehoses of raw, public user data from social media companies like Twitter and Tumblr up to clients that want to derive insights from the wisdom of these online crowds.

A quick note on the definition of “big data.” Generally speaking, it’s the sort of data set that’s so huge, even running a simple report on it won’t tell you anything interesting. For example, if you could ask the IRS for a list of all the 25-30 year olds in the U.S. that paid taxes last year, you’d get back a list, alright. But what would be useful about it? On the other hand, if you could filter that list by several other factors: did they pay capital gains, did they owe over six figures in taxes, what is their self-reported job title, and so on, you might end up with a list highly correlated to young, dot-com millionaires and billionaires, like Mark Zuckerberg. And you might cross reference that list against all the other data sets you can find on them: where they live, where they shop, where they travel, what they watch, eat and listen to. It’s all out there.

Social media companies have woken up to the idea that their user bases are throwing billions of data points that have huge potential value, in aggregate. But to get to the point where big data is useful, the tooling around asking and getting the answers to those sorts of questions has to be very, very good.

That — getting to the point where insights are derived from huge firehoses of content — is where data science comes in, and where Big Boulder attendees get wildly excited about the potential for big data to change the way the world works. There are plenty of skeptics on the other side of the coin too, that wonder if the phrase “big data” has simply become the latest marketing jargon in the tech industry, even as it has yielded insights in unsexy fields, like milk production, for decades now.

via Entrepreneurial.

Strange Random Entrepreneur Quote:

“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” – Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr


Maybe Your Employees Are Too Stupid For Social CRM

Seriously, how dumb are your employees?

I mean, God forbid you open up their ability and time to converse on social media networks with actual customers! What good could come from that?

One of the resistance maneuvers I hear all the time when talking with businesses regarding the internal shifts necessary when implementing a social business structure and Social CRM system, is that they’re not sure how much trust they have in their employees interacting online freely, and that it would be too difficult to train everyone.

“But what about what happened to GM?”

“But what about the Kenneth Cole thing?”

Aside from the fact that this same argument was used with the implementation of the phone, computer, fax machine, email and Internet and all those turned out to be not only helpful, but necessary for business, the real problem here is simple and I tell it to every company I’ve ever worked with that had these fears:

You don’t have a social media problem, you have a hiring problem.

There are truths regarding people and one of those is that people don’t purposefully sabotage groups and organizations they enjoy and respect.

Another truth is that when given clear and understandable guidelines within a system they respect, those guidelines will be followed.

Within those two statements there are 3 important terms to note for your company:

  • Respect
  • Guidelines
  • System


So, if it’s true that people aren’t going to ruin something they respect, it becomes your job as an executive team to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect between employee and C-Suite. While this shouldn’t come as some giant shocker to anyone whose been in business for more than, let’s say, 5 minutes, it doesn’t appear to be common practice in the business world. According to the American Psychological Association, half of all employees who said they feel like they’re not respected at work said they intend to look for a new job in the next year. The same study went on to show though that 90% of workers who reported feeling respected said they are motivated to do their best work and comply with company policies and regulations. So, when you openly show employees they are respected by the company, they respect you back and are motivated to comply with your policies and guidelines (keep reading). That’s step one.

via Maybe Your Employees Are Too Stupid For Social CRM.

Strange Random Customer Quote:

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends. – Walt Disney

Knights, Pirates, Trees Flock to Facebook

Captain Morgan

Mascots and Other Embodiments of Corporations Make a Comeback in Order to Tweet and Interact

A new marketing campaign for StubHub, the ticket-resale website, stars a 25-foot-high animatronic talking tree with tickets as leaves. In commercials, the tree, known as the “Ticket Oak,” lives in a suburban backyard and doles out tickets to neighbors.

It is quite a departure from StubHub’s last ad campaign, which showed people dreaming about getting a ticket to a concert or a big game. But with the Ticket Oak character, StubHub hopes to make a splash on Facebook and other media.

StubHub, a unit of eBay Inc., (EBAY +2.67%) is just one of a number of marketers that have turned to characters—both live action and animated—to help sell their products in the past year. Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL +0.96%) now has a little cartoon knight named Sir Can A-Lot. Diageo (DEO +2.01%) PLC launched an ad campaign for its Captain Morgan rum last May that starred a live-action Captain character. It is the first time the character has appeared in TV ads, although the rum’s label has long included a drawing of the pirate.

Ad executives say consumers on Facebook are more likely to bond with a character than the traditional company page on the social-media website.

“Consumers are less likely to have a conversation with a logo or a PR guy on social media,” said Jeff Charney, chief marketing officer for auto insurer Progressive Corp. (PGR +1.36%).  Since 2008, Progressive’s TV ads have centered on a perky sales clerk named Flo, who touts the insurer’s rates. She now has 3.5 million fans on Facebook, where she posts comments about new Progressive products.Characters also offer a softer way to sell a product, which is important on social media where executives fear that blatant selling or promotion can turn people off.

via Knights, Pirates, Trees Flock to Facebook – WSJ

Strange Random Mascot Quote:

“Did anybody notice that the NCAA made the ridiculous ruling banning American Indian mascots from its headquarters in INDIANapolis, INDIANa? … Just wondering.” – Mike Bianchi

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McDonalds pulls ad after pit bull owner outrage – Yahoo! News

LOS ANGELES AP — McDonald’s has apologized and pulled an ad that came back to bite it.

The ad said eating a Chicken McBite was less risky than petting a stray pit bull, shaving your head, naming your son Sue or giving friends your Facebook password. It enraged pit bull owners and their supporters.

The radio ad for Chicken McBites only ran for a few days in the Kansas City area before the complaints started. The campaign against the ad circulated on social media sites, and the apology was delivered the same way. People who called a well-publicized toll-free number got a recorded apology.

“The ad was insensitive in its mention of pit bulls. We apologize. As soon as we learned of it, we tracked the source and had the local markets pull the ad immediately. We’ll do a better job next time. It’s never our intent to offend anyone with how we communicate news about McDonald’s,” Ashlee Yingling, spokesman for McDonald’s Corp., said Monday, quoting from the apology.

“I found it extremely offensive and reckless,” said Rachele Lizarraga of Sacramento. “Why would you try to promote the safety of food?”

via McDonalds pulls ad after pit bull owner outrage – Yahoo! News.

Strange Random Pit Bull Quote:

Pit bulls are the least likely to be human aggressive. On the whole, you have to do a lot of work to make them aggressive to people.” – Sue Frisch, Dessin Animal Shelter manager

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Social Media Trends Spawn Sentiment Analysis – Bloomberg


The torrent of posts on Twitter Inc. last year about Netflix Inc. (NFLX) might have tipped off investors to stock swings that erased about $8 billion from the movie-rental company’s market value in three months.

Topsy Labs Inc., a site that searches data on the microblogging service, analyzed tweets during a period around Netflix’s decision last September to split its DVD and streaming businesses. By examining posts such as “just canceled my Netflix subscription,” Topsy was able to pick up signals of a coming drop. Now, it’s taking those results to help build a new service to aid investors in predicting other stock moves.

“Information dissemination is now largely not through publication, but through conversation,” said Rishab Ghosh, co- founder and vice president of research at Topsy, based in San Francisco. “We’ve actually been able to show that you can take that data, put it through processing, and relate it to the market return for a specific stock.”

Topsy is one of several companies, including WiseWindow and Derwent Capital Markets, that use so-called sentiment analysis, a cutting-edge field where companies examine the chatter on Twitter, Facebook Inc. and blogs to help them predict stock movements, market trends and the success of new products.

Social media’s growing influence throughout the world, such as the protests in the Middle East during the “Arab Spring,” has made sentiment analysis an important tool in other areas, such as the measurement of political risk. It also may have broad applications in gauging voter attitudes during, for instance, an election year.

via Social Media Trends Spawn Sentiment Analysis – Bloomberg.

Strange Random Media Quote:

“We are so cleverly manipulated and influenced by the media and establishments on both the right and left, that the truth has become hopelessly lost in semantics.” – Jules Carlysle (Author of the book “Dumbass” –  Canadian Author and Humorist, b.1970)

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