Tag Archive | "Really"

Is WeWork Really a Tech Company?

“The We Company’s business model effectively is pretty simple,” says EquityZen CEO Atish Davda. “It leases buildings and then rents it out in smaller pieces. That’s not a new business model, that’s a real estate company. What’s new about The We Company is that it’s pitching itself as a technology firm. The way it says it’s going to do that is by using machine learning and a lot of other software. It’s going to help folks optimize how they build and operate offices. They’re trying to turn our offices into an Amazon warehouse in order to get the tech valuation.”

Atish Davda, founder and CEO Of EquityZen, says that WeWork is just a real estate company positioning itself as a technology company in order to get a tech valuation, in an interview on CNBC:

Turning Offices Into An Amazon Warehouse To Get Tech Valuation

The We Company’s business model effectively is pretty simple. It leases buildings and then rents it out in smaller pieces. That’s not a new business model, that’s a real estate company. What’s new about The We Company is that it’s pitching itself as a technology firm. The way it says it’s going to do that is by using machine learning and a lot of other software. It’s going to help folks optimize how they build and operate offices. 

The worst-case scenario is that it gets pegged as a real estate company in which case it would be about 20 times overvalued than its last private round of $ 47 billion. The best-case scenario, the way I at least hear what they’re saying, is we’re going to put all these gadgets and sensors and we’re going to track what everyone’s doing. It sounds to me like an Amazon warehouse. They’re trying to turn our offices into an Amazon warehouse in order to get the tech valuation. That’s the best-case scenario. I just I don’t buy it.

Founders Have Already Taken $ 500 Million Off the Table

Their valuation in the private markets has continued to go up. What’s interesting about this is something we hear about with WeWork that we didn’t hear about with Uber and Lyft is the amount of capital that the founders have allegedly taken off the table in secondary sales. With every one of these rounds, the founders can take a few chips off the table. This happened when Snap went public also. 

The founders of Snap had taken tens of million dollars off the table. We’re talking about an order of magnitude more that has already gone in the pockets of the founders here, which is over $ 500 million dollars. That’s a lot of money that they are effectively just holding on to risk-free because they sold it on the ride up.

I Don’t See How WeWork Can Turn Itself Into a Tech Firm

I think they’re going to at least try and match that $ 47 million valuation in the IPO. We’ll see what the analysts today and Wall Street over the next three months actually decides to accept. You take a look at all of WeWork’s competitors, their price-to-sales multiples are between 0.5 and 1.3. The trailing 12-month multiple for the We Company is 26 times. You’re talking about something where its peers are being valued one way and this company is being valued 20 times greater. 

For the sake of all the people I know that I’ve worked at WeWork in the past and still work there, I hope I’m wrong. I just don’t see how WeWork by acquiring a few tech companies here and there turn itself from what’s effectively is a real estate firm into a tech firm.

Is WeWork Really a Tech Company? – EquityZen CEO Atish Davda Says No.

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It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does, Says Slack CEO

“Whatever Microsoft does we’re still going to do the same thing that we would do for customers,” says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. “If the performance of our applications, like the number of milliseconds it takes to startup, is an important thing for customers, we will do that. If shared channels are an important feature we will develop shared channels. It doesn’t really matter what Microsoft does. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it.”

Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, discusses the potential impact of competition with Microsoft in an interview by FORTUNE at Brainstorm Tech 2019:

It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does

First, Microsoft is an incredible company. I’m a big admirer. They also have been a great partner for us. There are 500,000 active developers on the Slack platform and Microsoft would like them using Azure. Azure has also been a great partner. We just launched Office 365 calendar integration and a bunch of other stuff. So they’re big enough that they end up working with and competing with all kinds of people around the world. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it (Microsoft competition with Slack). 

Whatever Microsoft does we’re still going to do the same thing that we would do for customers. If the performance of our applications, like the number of milliseconds it takes to startup, is an important thing for customers, we will do that. If shared channels are an important feature we will develop shared channels. It doesn’t really matter what Microsoft does. But having said that I think the emphasis has been a little bit different. Our emphasis has been really broadly on interoperability because we would like to be the two percent of your software budget that’s a multiplier on the value of the other 98 percent. 

There are 1,600 apps in the app directory but there are also 450,000 different applications developed internally by our customers that are actively used every week on the Slack platform. That can be things like notifications flowing in or workflow approvals or purchase orders. It’s really varied from teams in finance, legal, engineering, sales, and customer support. That activity is really important to us and is where we see Slack going.

Size Doesn’t Matter, Real Traction With Customers Does

Five years (from when Microsoft was still in Albuquerque) they kind of pulled the rug out from under IBM which was at the time the biggest, most powerful, and most valuable company in the world. Go forward about 17 years and this one is kind of mind-blowing. Microsoft has a 95 percent share of operating systems with Windows. It has 90 plus percent share of internet browsers with Internet Explorer. It bought Hotmail, had MSN, and had probably the biggest engineering presence for stuff online.

It literally controlled almost all of humanity’s access to the Internet and they saw this little company in Mountain View starting to make a real business around search. Over the next couple of decades, tens of billions of dollars into that, and their (Bing) market share is now 9 percent or something like that. 

You might think that’s special because the people at Google are real geniuses. But the same thing happened six or seven years later. In 2007, Google sees Facebook where people are spending a lot of time on social networks and that might be a good medium for advertising as well. If you wanted to comment on a video on YouTube you had to use Google Plus. I think the only time that Google ever promoted anything on its home page it was Google Plus. It was also promoted in Gmail and it didn’t matter. The fact that they had a thousand times more engineers and a thousand times more resources (didn’t matter). 

They had access to maybe over a billion users even by that point and it just didn’t make a difference. The lesson that we take from that is that a smaller company, if it has real traction with customers, in some cases, has a bit of an advantage against a large incumbent with multiple lines of business. This is like the first 40 or 50 pages of The Innovators Dilemma. There are plenty of companies that have been crushed as well. I think that it’s hard to maintain a real focus on quality and on user experience and the bigger you get the harder it is. 

If the competition was based on the quality of user experience and that’s where all the effort is that would be probably more daunting for us. If it’s based on their bigger distribution I don’t think that’s really a threat.

It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does, Says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

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Are your DSAs really outperforming standard ads? Find out with this ad copy length performance analysis script

Here’s a script that pulls a report on ad performance based on copy length.



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Can "Big Content" Link Building Campaigns Really Work?

Posted by willcritchlow

There’s a lot of material out there, on this site and others, about the importance of link-building. Normally, its effectiveness is either taken for granted or viewed as implied by ranking factor studies — the latter of which doesn’t necessarily show that correlated factors actually drive performance. The real picture is one in which links clearly remain important, but where their role is nuanced.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to dig a little deeper into an individual link-building campaign that takes place over a relatively short period of time. I wanted to see what results (besides just link-based metrics) could be attributed to it.

In this post, I will try to pin down the effects that came from the campaign and show that yes, getting a bunch of links from the success of some highly visible “big content’ can drive improved rankings

The reason you don’t see more posts like this one is noisy data — so much goes on with a website’s performance that it can be difficult to draw a hard and fast connection between a campaign and its results for a business’s bottom line. This is especially true for link-building, for three reasons:

  • Websites are naturally accruing links anyway — both the target of the campaign and their competitors
  • To some extent, we anticipate a domain-wide effect, which will as such be proportionately small and hard to pin down vs. noise from the algorithm and competitor activity
  • Links do not have such a step-change impact as technical fixes or creation of new landing pages

However, at Distilled we recently had an opportunity with a particularly strong piece on a niche site to analyze a situation where the impact of our work ought to be more clearly visible among the broader noise. Take a look at these graphs, which show the linking-root domain acquisition of a client of ours over the last two years, as measured by Majestic and Ahrefs respectively:

See what I mean about noise? And I’m saying this is an unusually clear cut case. We actually built nine creative pieces, with link acquisition as one of the goals, for this client, over a two-year period. We’ve talked before about the campaign as a whole, here. There’s one that stands out in both graphs, though which is the one that launched in March 2018.

This gives us a rare, valuable opportunity to see which other metrics, which might have more direct business value, had noticeable changes around that time.

What might we expect to happen?

The theory is simple: Links remain part of Google’s algorithm, and so more links to a site mean better rankings. However, the reality is more complex — in our experience, creative pieces as link-building assets tend to result in two types of links:

  • Links to the creative piece, which in turn links, typically, to the site’s homepage
  • Links directly to the homepage of the client site — e.g. “Research by client (client.com) indicates that…”

The interesting thing here is that for many sites, the homepage is not a core landing page. I’ve written before about how it’s almost impossible to have a good mental model for internal link equity flow, which makes the actual impact of the piece on core pages almost certainly not zero, but otherwise hard to predict. On the same subject, I’d also recommend this video by Dixon Jones at Majestic.

In a similar vein, we also know that the complexities of PageRank are themselves only a part of the unknowable complexities of Google’s ranking algorithm, meaning we can’t guarantee that adding links always moves the needle. I recently recorded this Whiteboard Friday where I mention some recent research by my colleague Tom Capper, which shows how unpredictable these effects can be.

The particular client example I’ve been referring to in this post had two things going for it which, again, brought unusual clarity to these effects:

  1. The homepage was, in fact, a core ranking URL
  2. It was struggling to make its way onto page 1 for many reasonable target terms

Both of these ought to make it an ideal candidate for clearcut benefits from high-quality link building. (This isn’t to say link-building cannot work if these criteria are not met — just that the results will be harder to analyze!)

1st order results

Precisely because of the difficulty in analysis mentioned above, we find clients normally prefer to assess the performance of link-building campaigns in terms of 1st order benefits — by which I mean the performance of the actual creative piece, rather than their commercial landing pages.

The particular piece that stands out in those link acquisition graphs above earned the following 1st order benefits (and I’ve included graphs from our internal tracking platform so you can get a feel for the pace of acquisition):

228 LRDs peak (204 “fresh” index shown below), of which ~145 within a month of launch:

2,140 Facebook shares at the peak, of which ~1,750 within a month of launch:

82,584 landings in Google Analytics, of which ~67,000 within a month of launch:

I mentioned above that not all links tend to be directed at the piece itself, with journalists instead often referencing the homepage. 145 (domain-unique) links were directed at this piece by mid-April, but you’ll notice that March beat an average month by ~200 LRDs, and April also outperformed by ~100. By my back-of-the-envelope maths, you might want to claim as many as 300 LRDs driven to the whole domain by this piece, but your opinion may differ!

Showing the ways it worked

Right, I did say I’d link this at least to rankings, didn’t I?

Remember: This was part of a campaign of 9 pieces, and it launched mid-March, with most 1st order metrics, or leading indicators, coming through within a month (and no major technical changes around this time). There is some signal in among the noise here. Check out this graph, showing the number of keywords ranked for, according to Ahrefs:

Notice that change in gradient after the launch? (And, for the cynics among you, the piece itself only ranks for 20 keywords itself according to this same data source — that wasn’t a primary goal with this content).

Here are the rankings for the client’s (fairly ambitious!) target keywords:

I’d particularly draw your attention to the movement from the “11–20” to “4–10” group, which is consistent with the research by my colleague Tom Capper that I mentioned above. (Sidenote: it was nice to see the client’s Domain Authority increase relative to their competitive set in the recent update. The improvements to DA, aimed at making it better at predicting ranking ability, appear to have worked in this sample-size-one case!).

You can see this pattern more clearly in this graph, which we presented to the client when the campaign concluded late last year:

This effect is surprisingly clear-cut, but it might well be that to continue moving up the SERP, from positions 4–10 to positions 1–3, a very different type of work is needed — perhaps one emphasizing brand, or intent matching.

How can I do this for my site/client?

Here are some useful resources to help when starting on your creative campaigns:

Mark – How to make sticky content

Hannah – What is content strategy

Leonie – How to make award winning creative content – Part 1

Leonie – How to make award winning creative content – Part 2

Conclusion: Big content for links can work

As I mentioned above, it’s surprisingly unusual to see such a clear and obvious case of link-building work moving rankings in a lasting way. This has certain similarities with other such cases we’ve seen in recent years, though:

  • The site started fairly small (if nothing else, this makes the signal bigger relative to the noise)
  • It had target terms that were on the cusp of first-page rankings
  • Some search competitors had far stronger domains

The reports that “links are dead” have, apparently, been greatly exaggerated — instead, it’s just that the picture has gotten more complex.

Obviously Distilled clients are only a finite sample, however, so I’d love to hear your experiences of successful link-building, and, crucially, the kind of situations in which they moved rankings, in the comments below!

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What’s Really Broken in the ‘Content Marketing Playbook’

Sometimes it bums me out that we’ve become a culture of contrarians. Whether it’s Black Panther, 3D printing, or strawberry…

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Ryan Levesque: The Author Of ‘Choose’ And ‘Ask’ Explains What It Really Takes To Find A Profitable Niche Online

[ Download MP3 | Transcript Coming Soon | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] One of the recent superstars of internet marketing to rise in the last few years is Ryan Levesque. His ‘Ask Method’ of segmenting audiences using buckets has become hugely popular, used by many top internet marketers in their […]

The post Ryan Levesque: The Author Of ‘Choose’ And ‘Ask’ Explains What It Really Takes To Find A Profitable Niche Online appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

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SMX Overtime: What really matters for SEO success

SEO expert Lily Ray offers advice on how small websites can build credibility, why depth above breadth is a good philosophy and the reason ad transparency is important.



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Cloud is Really the New Normal for Financial Services

“Cloud is really the new normal,” says Scott Mullins, Head of Worldwide Financial Services Business Development at AWS. “If you look across enterprise companies and financial services today, the vast majority are considering cloud as a major part of their IT strategy going forward. It’s just picked up that much momentum. I think we’re just scratching the surface in cloud for the industry.”

Scott Mullins, Head of Worldwide Financial Services Business Development at Amazon Web Services recently discussed how cloud has become a major part of every financial organization’s IT strategy:

Financial Organizations Are Moving to the Cloud

I get to actually lead a team of financial services experts whose sole function is to help our customers both from the standpoint of FinTech startups, all the way up to the largest banks, broker-dealers, exchange companies, and insurers use our tools. That’s what we do on a daily basis and we’re having a lot of fun doing it. It’s really fun to watch.

I think the big stories in 2019 are going to probably be a couple things. The first thing is if we look historically back at the last several re:INVENT’s we’ve seen more financial institutions coming forward and talking about what they’re doing in the cloud. I think the reason for that is because we’re getting more muscle memory from these organizations.

2019 Will Bring an Accelerated Transformation

They’ve had experimentation, they’ve had some foundations they’ve been laying over the course of the last couple of years, and now they have confidence. They have confidence to do two things. Number one to move much more quickly to embrace these tools and to move more workloads over and to build net new things, but also to talk about it. Most financial institutions don’t want to talk about something until they know it well and they know it works for them and that they’ve really de-risked it for themselves.

We saw Goldman Sachs last year. This year we saw Guardian Life Insurance talking about how they’ve changed the 158-year-old company and how they made it nimble and agile. They’ve actually been able to close data centers. I think we are going to see more of that. What that means is we’re going to see a much more accelerated transformation of the industry itself. I think we’re going to see more and more of those organizations coming out and talking about how cloud is a major part of their IT strategy going forward.

Going to See a Much Richer Ecosystem of ISVs

The second thing I think we’re going to see is a much richer ecosystem of ISVs. Just look across what we have today and what’s been announced this week. Bloomberg came out talking about B-Pipe on AWS. Refinitiv a couple of weeks ago was talking about the fact that Elektron runs on AWS. We’re working very closely with Broadridge. We’re working closely with Finical and Temenos and a lot of different vendors in the industry and that’s going to continue to happen at a rapid pace.

Financial Industry Undergoing Massive Transformation

The reason for that is twofold. Number one, you’ve got a lot of those customers who are going through massive transformations and they’re saying to their ISPs, I love the relationship that we have but I’m moving to the cloud. If we’re going to continue to have a relationship you’ve got to move to the cloud with me and those vendors are responding very positively.

Or you’ve got some vendors like IHS Markit who several years ago said, you know what, the future of financial services is in the cloud and I need to start moving before even my customers are telling me so that I can be ahead of the game. Those are two things you’re going to see be very key themes in 2019.

Cloud is Really the New Normal

Cloud is really the new normal. If you look across enterprise companies and financial services today, the vast majority are considering cloud as a major part of their IT strategy going forward. It’s just picked up that much momentum. I think we’re just scratching the surface in cloud for the industry. There’s going to be a room for not just one cloud provider, but multiple cloud providers and opportunities for everyone.

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Cloud is Really the New Normal for Financial Services

“Cloud is really the new normal,” says Scott Mullins, Head of Worldwide Financial Services Business Development at AWS. “If you look across enterprise companies and financial services today, the vast majority are considering cloud as a major part of their IT strategy going forward. It’s just picked up that much momentum. I think we’re just scratching the surface in cloud for the industry.”

Scott Mullins, Head of Worldwide Financial Services Business Development at Amazon Web Services recently discussed how cloud has become a major part of every financial organization’s IT strategy:

Financial Organizations Are Moving to the Cloud

I get to actually lead a team of financial services experts whose sole function is to help our customers both from the standpoint of FinTech startups, all the way up to the largest banks, broker-dealers, exchange companies, and insurers use our tools. That’s what we do on a daily basis and we’re having a lot of fun doing it. It’s really fun to watch.

I think the big stories in 2019 are going to probably be a couple things. The first thing is if we look historically back at the last several re:INVENT’s we’ve seen more financial institutions coming forward and talking about what they’re doing in the cloud. I think the reason for that is because we’re getting more muscle memory from these organizations.

2019 Will Bring an Accelerated Transformation

They’ve had experimentation, they’ve had some foundations they’ve been laying over the course of the last couple of years, and now they have confidence. They have confidence to do two things. Number one to move much more quickly to embrace these tools and to move more workloads over and to build net new things, but also to talk about it. Most financial institutions don’t want to talk about something until they know it well and they know it works for them and that they’ve really de-risked it for themselves.

We saw Goldman Sachs last year. This year we saw Guardian Life Insurance talking about how they’ve changed the 158-year-old company and how they made it nimble and agile. They’ve actually been able to close data centers. I think we are going to see more of that. What that means is we’re going to see a much more accelerated transformation of the industry itself. I think we’re going to see more and more of those organizations coming out and talking about how cloud is a major part of their IT strategy going forward.

Going to See a Much Richer Ecosystem of ISVs

The second thing I think we’re going to see is a much richer ecosystem of ISVs. Just look across what we have today and what’s been announced this week. Bloomberg came out talking about B-Pipe on AWS. Refinitiv a couple of weeks ago was talking about the fact that Elektron runs on AWS. We’re working very closely with Broadridge. We’re working closely with Finical and Temenos and a lot of different vendors in the industry and that’s going to continue to happen at a rapid pace.

Financial Industry Undergoing Massive Transformation

The reason for that is twofold. Number one, you’ve got a lot of those customers who are going through massive transformations and they’re saying to their ISPs, I love the relationship that we have but I’m moving to the cloud. If we’re going to continue to have a relationship you’ve got to move to the cloud with me and those vendors are responding very positively.

Or you’ve got some vendors like IHS Markit who several years ago said, you know what, the future of financial services is in the cloud and I need to start moving before even my customers are telling me so that I can be ahead of the game. Those are two things you’re going to see be very key themes in 2019.

Cloud is Really the New Normal

Cloud is really the new normal. If you look across enterprise companies and financial services today, the vast majority are considering cloud as a major part of their IT strategy going forward. It’s just picked up that much momentum. I think we’re just scratching the surface in cloud for the industry. There’s going to be a room for not just one cloud provider, but multiple cloud providers and opportunities for everyone.

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SearchCap: Google Home is really smart, Google pronounce & Congress

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



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