Tag Archive | "Says"

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Will Be Built on 5G, Says Verizon CEO

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg says that 5G is much more than just your typical mobile network speed improvement. 5G is a transformative technology that will power the Fourth Industrial Revolution and dramatically change society in the process. Like the three Industrial Revolution’s before this one, the innovations that are enabled by 5G are what will define this technology advancement.

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon, explains at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas how 5G is core to the next era of technology transformation:

5G Will Change Everything

Last year Verizon launched the first 5G network with 5G Home. There is so much to come from 5G this year and the years to come. 5G will change everything. The pace of technology change that we have seen in the last decade has been fast. The only thing we know for sure is that the pace of change is going to be faster in the future. We are going to see technology changes that are going to transform people, businesses, and society.

We are facing multiple challenges on this earth, our daily work life, things around us, climate change, and we are heading into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Think about all of these challenges and the Fourth Industrial Revolution together with 5G. Together with all the new technology acronyms like VR, AR, AI, and more. All of that together is really what we are talking about when it comes to the technology change that is inevitable that we are going to see in the future.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Will Be Built on 5G

For us here we are on the cloud. It’s really to see that we are using this change and shape it in a direction that is actually transforming and doing good. The next area of technology advancement is going to be built on 5G. Most importantly, this is a different industrial revolution. The first one was the steam engine. The second one was electricity and the third one was digitization. All of them have a general purpose technology as a base. Then you innovated tremendously on it.

The steam engine, of course, on steamboats connecting continents, trade resulting. Electricity changed everything. Then of course, with digitalization that brought out all the PC computers, the internet and all of that. These were enormous transformations. The general technology for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is actually the total connectivity that 5G can bring. That’s what I see as a huge opportunity for all of us and our society to use in the next era of technology transformation.

5G is a Quantum Leap Compared to 4G

So what is 5G? 5G is a promise of so much than just an increase in wireless technology. From the beginning we had the 1G, the 2G, the 3G, and then the 4G. They were sort of leaps of differences when it comes to speed and throughput. When we think about 5G we think about 10 gigabits per second for throughput. We think about 10x improvement in latency. We think about 1,000 times more data volume to the network. It’s just radically different. It’s a quantum leap compared to 4G.

We have already done some real type of examples. We had an Indianapolis 500 driver that had blacked out windows driving extremely fast with 5G. Latency was so low you could actually drive it.

Those type of things require innovation. Innovation requires a lot of different people and constituencies working with us. When I think about technology I also think a lot about how that can do good for our society. We are entering an era of more challenging things around the world and technology is one of the most important things that can transform it and make it sustainable. At Verizon, we call that human ability. We coined that word because we think about the human in the middle of technology to do right.

The Eight Currencies of 5G

When I think about 5G one of the big differences when we started developing 5G it was thought about giving a new type of solution for industry and for society. Ultimately consumers will have it. The capabilities of earlier wireless technology usually have speed and throughput assets as a different capability. We have eight capabilities in 5G. I call them the eight currencies.

The Eight Currencies of 5G

With the eight currencies of 5G you can do a service on them, you can monetize on them, you can build on them. This is very different than any previous wireless technology. There’s the Peak Data Rate and Mobile Data Volume, but it’s also the Mobility. It’s also how many Connected Devices that you can have. It’s Energy Efficiency and Service Deployment. And then, of course, it’s Reliability and Latency. There are eight currencies that 5G can give to the user. Whether it’s a device, a person, or an industry, that depends on how we are going to innovate on that.

It’s important that we have already started on a journey. Verizon started years ago to start building a network because you need a lot of fiber and you need a lot of dense networks to build these eight currencies. You need real estate to do mobile edge compute. Not only that you need spectrum. In some cases you need millimeter wave spectrum that is giving you enormous throughput and bandwidth.

Peak Rate and Thoughput

What I’m excited about is what innovation can we do on this currency? Let’s talk about the currencies that we have here. The Peak Rate and the Throughput are extremely important when it comes to doing things with speed. The first thing that comes to mind is how quickly can you download a movie on 5G. Today on 4G it takes 3 to 4 minutes with a 90-minute movie. It’s going to take you 10 seconds when you have ultra-wideband. So that’s a use case, but that’s really to limit yourself with what you can do with it.

There’s so much more that you can do when you have that type of Speed and Throughput. It’s a quantum leap compared to what we have today. It’s about rethinking how you can use the increased speed and throughput when you talk about speed at 10 gigabits per second and throughput probably 1000 times more than today. I’m excited about those two currencies, but there are other currencies.

Mobility and Connected Devices

Two other currencies are Mobility and Connected Devices. Mobility or mobile connections, that’s how it’s actually measured in speed. In a 4G network today you can basically capture a radio signal up to 350 kilometers per hour. In 5G it’s roughly 500 kilometers per hour. Why does that matter? Think about high speed trains. Think about things that are going to move extremely fast in the future that are going to bring efficient transportation. With 5G you can captures that.

When it comes to IoT and Connected Devices, one of the limitations of wireless technology today is that you can roughly connect 100,000 devices per square kilometer with 4G. With 5G you can do 1 million. Suddenly you can have massive IoT in order to transform big cities, industry, or behaviours where we need to address challenges that we have today. These two currencies are also very different and address different business cases.

Service Deployment and Energy Efficiency

Let’s talk about two other currencies or capabilities, Service Deployment and Energy Efficiency. Service Deployment is a little hard to explain, but what it’s really about if flexible service deployment where you can match your software with specific customer needs. Think about if you want to do a virtual classroom with five different cities and you want them to have the same software. Today on the 4G network that would take me weeks or even months.

The promise of 5G is that can go down to minutes where we can spin the new service based on the software demands of the customer. These are enormous changes. We just need to think how can we innovate on that?

Now there is of course Energy Efficiency. Here the world is facing the challenges of climate change and our industry needs to think about all of the equipment we are using and that everything we are using is improving how much CO2 we are doing. There are a lot of things coming out but we just need to continue and we need to do that collectively.

5G is promising to reduce up to 90 percent of the power usage that we have with 4G. This is about making the Fourth Industrial Revolution a positive change. The first and second industrial revolutions produced a lot of CO2 emissions because they were the steam engines and electricity. Here we have a chance together to actually power and uniquely address those two as well.

Latency and Reliability

The last two currencies are Latency and Reliability. On the latency side today in the mobile networks we can get to 100 milliseconds or 50 milliseconds. In 5G we will go down to 10 milliseconds. Why is that important? Everything realtime, AR, VR, needs to come down to at least 20 milliseconds in order to avoid delays. There are so many other use cases you can do as well.

Latency and Reliability are very important in the network. It comes down to how we can innovate. It’s just so dramatic how much difference with what you can do things with 5G than with the previous technology cycles.

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Autonomous Driving for Trucks Will Happen First, Says Full Truck Alliance CFO

“Our view is that the commercialization of autonomous driving for passenger vehicles will probably take a bit longer than people would think,” says Richard Zhang, CFO of Full Truck Alliance. “We think the commercialization of autonomous driving for trucks will probably take place a lot sooner than it will take place in the passenger car vehicle sector.”

Full Truck Alliance is a multi-billion dollar valued company that is becoming the Uber of trucks throughout China. The fragmentation of the trucking industry in China between independent truckers and shippers has resulted in an empty load rate of over 40 percent, about four times higher than in the United States. The Full Truck Alliance app and online platform connects shippers to truckers in real-time enabling huge reductions in empty loads.

Richard Zhang, CFO of Full Truck Alliance based in China, discussed the company’s future in an interview on CNBC International TV this morning:

Full Truck Alliance in China is the Uber for Trucks

The problem we’re trying to solve is very simple because there are high inefficiencies between matching with the truck drivers and also matching with the shippers. The empty load rate in the US is only ten percent while the empty load rate in China is 40 percent. The empty load rate is very similar to the vacancy rate in the hotel business. The reason is that the market here is highly fragmented. You have highly fragmented truck drivers and highly fragmented shippers, lots of SMEs.

Before we came into existence the matching between the truck drivers and shippers were taking place across a thousand offline marketplaces in China. What we have been trying to do is bring that offline marketplace online and use our algorithms in the back office to match automatically the truck drivers and the shippers. We are trying to reduce that empty load rate to well below 40 percent.

Monetization Via Membership and Uber-Like Fees

Our monetization strategy for Full Truck Alliance is as a product of a merger between two companies, Truck Alliance and also Yunmanman a little over a year ago. Post-merger we started monetization and the monetization takes place in two ways. Number one is we are charging a membership fee for the shippers and also very similar to Uber or DiDi we’re charging a take rate on the transactions themselves.

We were very close to achieving our 2018 profit objective. We are actually very marginally close to break-even at the current moment and we have no doubt that we’re going be making earnings in 2019.

Autonomous Driving for Trucks Will Happen First

Our view is that the commercialization of autonomous driving for passenger vehicles will probably take a bit longer than people would think. We think the commercialization of autonomous driving for trucks will probably take place a lot sooner than it will take place in the passenger car vehicle sector. Therefore we are deploying a certain amount of resources into that sector in the form of investment.

We have decided to be a strategic investor in an autonomous driving truck company for them to actually develop that technology and for us to actually use. The mandate for the partner is to actually put a fleet on the road in China to start working with our shippers in the next 12 to 24 months. That’s our mandate and so it depends on how successful they’re going to be at executing our strategy.

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BrainQ Developed Unique AI-Powered Brain-Computer Medical Device, Says CEO

Working with the Google Developers Launchpad, BrainQ has developed a unique AI-powered brain-computer medical device, says their CEO, Yotam Drechsler. “It takes patients’ brainwaves as an input with a set of metadata and runs machine learning algorithms in the cloud and translates them into a tailored electromagnetic treatment aimed at facilitating their central nerve system recovery process,” says Drechsler.

Yotam Drechsler, CEO of BrainQ, discussed the companies unique AI-powered technology in a video for Google Developers Launchpad:

AI-Based Medical Device to Treat Neural Disorders

BrainQ is developing an AI-based medical device aimed at getting powerless people following neural disorders, like stroke or spinal cord injury, back on their feet. Every single year, hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer from neural disorders. Stroke alone accounts for 15 million people every single year. And the entire neural disorders cost to the US economy is $ 1.5 trillion every single year.

My grandfather had a stroke several years ago. From being the center of the family, all of a sudden, he became paralyzed in half of his body. That means he can longer do simple things like grabbing a glass of water or dressing alone. That’s the reality for many people out there.

Using AI to Model Physical Therapy

The common treatment is what’s called physical therapy. It’s essentially exercising the hand or the leg back and forth. What BrainQ essentially does is modeling physical therapy and applying it directly to the brain. In a sense, we ask what happens for a patient or for a healthy person when he does a hand movement, like reaching his hand to grab a glass of water.

We are getting a lot of people to do these kinds of movements and then we learn the patterns. We take these patterns that we have learned and identified and reapply it back to him as a personalized treatment.

Developed Unique Brain-Computer Medical Device

We have developed a unique brain-computer interface-based medical device. It takes patients’ brainwaves as an input with a set of metadata and runs machine learning algorithms in the cloud and translates them into a tailored electromagnetic treatment aimed at facilitating their central nerve system recovery process.

We were very fortunate to have Google share this vision with us. We worked very closely with the GCP team on making this vision come true. We were fortunate to be on this program, and it really puts us on a fast track. And in all four fronts, we have developed the next generation of technology with precision medicine base, with the studio team, Peter Norvig, and the rest of the Googlers that were very, very keen in helping us.

We had a large funding round in the past couple of months and we have several collaborations in the pipeline. We are hoping to continue on this promising track and really bring cure to millions of people around the world. And we are fortunate to have Google with us on this journey.

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SAP Massively Going for Expansion Into Multi-Cloud World, Says CTO

“We’re massively going for the expansion into this multi-cloud world,” says Björn Goerke, SAP CTO & President of the SAP Cloud Platform. “We strongly believe that the world will remain hybrid for a number of years and we’re going in that same direction with the SAP Cloud Platform.”

Björn Goerke, SAP CTO & President SAP Cloud Platform, recently discussed the future of the SAP Cloud Platform in an interview with Ray Wang, the Founder & Chairman of Constellation Research:

Massively Going for Expansion Into Multi-Cloud World

We’re massively going for the expansion into this multi-cloud world. We strongly believe that hybrid clouds will play a major role in the coming years. If you also follow what the hyper scalars are doing, Amazon was the last one to announce an on-premises hybrid support model. We strongly believe that the world will remain hybrid for a number of years and we’re going in that same direction with the SAP Cloud Platform.

We announced partnerships with IBM and ANSYS already and there will be more coming. We’re totally committed to the multi-cloud strategy driving the kind of choice for customers that they demand. But then what we’re more and more focusing on is business services and business capabilities. It’s about micro services as well. It’s really about business functionality that customers expect from SAP. We are an enterprise solutions company.

It’s Really About No Code and Low Code Environments

With our broad spectrum of 25 industries we support all the lines of business within a corporation from core finance to HR to procurement, you name it. We are focused on a high level of functionality that we can expose via APIs and micro services on a cloud platform to allow customers to quickly reassemble and orchestrate customer specific differentiating solutions.

There is no other company out there in the market that has the opportunity to really deliver that on a broad scale worldwide to our corporate customers.

That’s where we’re heading and that’s where we’re investing. We’re working on simplifying the consumption of all of this. It’s really about no code and low code environments. You need to be able to plug and play and not always force people to really go down into the trenches and start heavy coding.

SAP Embedding Machine Learning Into Applications

Beyond that machine learning is all over and on everybody’s mind. What we’re doing is making sure that we can embed machine learning capabilities deep into the application solutions. It can’t be that every customer needs to hire dozens and even hundreds of data scientists to figure these things out.

The very unique opportunity that SAP has is to take our knowledge in business processes, take the large data sets we have with our customers, and bring machine learning right into the application for customers to consume out of the box.

RPA is a big topic as well of course. We believe that 50 percent of ERP processes you can potentially automate to the largest part within the next few years. We are heavily investing in those areas as well.

Focused on Security, Data Protection, and Privacy

Especially if you think about the level of connectivity and companies opening up their corporate environments more and more, clouds being on everybody’s mind, and the whole idea to make access to information processes available to everybody in the company and in the larger ecosystem at any point in time from anywhere, of course, that raises the bar that security has to deliver. So it’s a top of mind topic for everybody.

There are a lot of new challenges also from an architectural perspective with how these things are built and how you communicate, We have a long-standing history as an enterprise solution provider to know exactly what’s going on there. There’s security, there are data protection and privacy that companies have to comply with these days. I think we’re well positioned to serve our customers needs there.

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Denny’s Says That Google Ads Are Bringing Customers to the Table

The Google Ads Team recently provided an interesting profile on how Denny’s focused their marketing on digital in order to reach people as they were making decisions on where to eat. In 2018 Denny’s decided to move away from traditional print and TV advertising and instead focus on a more targeted digital approach.

“If you look at the history of Denny’s, it’s really been focused on the family,” noted Luis Martinez, who currently leads marketing for Denny’s. “We recognize that American families are changing. They’re becoming more multicultural and more diverse. But families still value experiences and good food.”

“Denny’s was pretty traditional in its advertising and marketing approach,” he said. “We relied very heavily on print, and very heavily on TV. The spray-and-pray approach that existed beforehand, it really was relying on the hope that you were talking to the right person with your message. Platforms like Google Ads, they remove the mystery from that.”

The guest is usually the one that’s telling you what it is they want,” says Martinez. “You look at something as simple as a search campaign. They’re looking for “pancakes near me” or “I want a burger.” For people who want those items, we want to make sure that we’re surfaced and relevant in that moment of considerationwhether it’s lunch or late night.”

Google Ads Increased Our Late Night Business

“Google Ads data let us see that our late night performance was really strong,” explained Denny’s search marketing specialists Eric and John. “So after 8:00 p.m., we adjusted our ads to call out that we were open late night, and we saw that, as a result, click-through rates really skyrocketed. Google really gives you the holistic view across all the different channels. It gives you data, it gives you insights, and it gives you a real pulse on the performance of the overall brand.”


Martinez noted how working with data has really provided new insights for Denny’s. “That’s insight that is not necessarily built into a lot of other channels. It really is our responsibility to take what we learn about our guests and apply it across the entire marketing ecosystem.”


Digital Has Changed Our Culture

“Digital has changed our culture, and it’s actually changed the way we do business,” says Daniel, Denny’s restaurant manager. “Over the last year, we have experienced an increase in sales. It’s bringing in a new crowd. “You can have confidence not only in serving that right message to the right consumer but that digital marketing translates to in-store traffic,” added Martinez.

Google Ads Are Bringing Customers to the Table

“Ultimately it brings the customer to the table,” noted Martinez. “As Denny’s has made more investments in Google Ads, we’ve been more and more successful in bringing in a more representative sample of today’s America to set our stores up for success in the future.”



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CMWorld Interview: Path to 1M Monthly Readers Has No Shortcuts, Says J.P. Medved

In her introduction to The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing, Content Marketing Institute’s Cathy McPhillips draws several commonalities between content marketing and video games: the interactivity, the trial-and-error learnings, the camradery.

But, while many marketers have their own personal “cheat codes” that help them gain an edge, there are no true hacks in content. Certain video games allow you to tap in a series of commands and gain invincibility, or jump ahead to the next level. Content marketers, however, cannot magically produce an audience or monetization out of thin air.

As the Content Director for Capterra, and also an avowed lover of gaming, J.P. Medved understands this reality. His company’s industry-specific blogs have grown to 1 million monthly readers, and it wasn’t because of any secret elixir.

Instead, Capterra’s success owes to a proven, adoptable strategy tethered to the fundamentals of organization, goals, promotion, and experimentation. Medved will explain this formula in-depth during his Content Marketing World session, Better Than Hacks and Schemes: A Proven Approach to Building Your Audience, and was also kind enough to share some insights with us ahead of the September event.    

Medved has a reputation for being sharply honest and entertaining, and those traits definitely came through during our interview with him. Keep reading to find his thoughts on silent content, scalability, documenting strategies, and content marketing lessons learned from his experience writing fiction.


What does your role as Content Marketing Director at Capterra entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

My day-to-day as a Content Director involves a lot of email and meetings, at this point. We’ve grown to a team of nine writers, six of whom I manage directly, so a lot of my time is devoted to supporting them. I join monthly topic planning meetings with all of them, as well as frequent check-ins with the editors and the marketing folks that support the content we produce. I also now spend a fair amount of time in our analytics and various content management systems just checking in and tracking things.

As we’ve grown—and I suspect this is common in most roles—I’ve transitioned away from being a content producer, to being a content manager. I no longer write content myself, and we centralized editing early last year so I no longer edit individual pieces either. Instead I spend more time coordinating long-term content plans and calendars with other teams in the business, managing content experiments or helping new projects get off the ground, and working with the folks on my team to help advance their career goals.


Why should content marketers beware of “hacks” and shortcuts when it comes to growing their audience and impact?

The content marketing world, and the digital marketing space more generally, loves the idea of the Cinderella story. That blog that hits everything just right and experiences exponential, “hockey stick” growth and also there’s a royal wedding involved somehow. But our experience, and that of the vast majority of successful content marketing operations I’m aware of, is actually a lot more boring.

Jimmy Daley of the great animalz.co blog calls it “silent content;” that company that has just been plugging away and producing and refining great content for years, and grown a consistent, large audience and strong search position.  

With Capterra’s content, we’ve grown to a million readers a month, writing in an ostensibly boring, B2B software space, and we never had a breakout “viral” hit, or flashy media coverage, or exponential traffic growth (it’s all been linear). We’ve just been working away at it since 2013, publishing consistently and getting a little bit better each month.

I think if you waste all your time and energy chasing new “hacks” and shortcuts sold to you by whatever case study is making the rounds on YouMoz that week, you never get really good at the fundamentals of content marketing; the block-and-tackle of creating and promoting really great, helpful—if unassuming—content. As a result your growth, though it may experience the occasional spike, will actually slow and it’ll take you more time to build a sustainable traffic base in the long-run.

If you waste all your time and energy chasing new “hacks” & shortcuts, you never get really good at the fundamentals of content marketing. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
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What are the most pivotal roles in developing an effective and scalable content strategy?

Scalability is still something we struggle with, having grown the team 6X in the last four years. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is actually to bring on/promote other managers earlier than you think you need it. Assuming an average writer production schedule of two, 1,500 word articles a week, a full-time manager can effectively manage and edit 3-4 writers. If they’re not editing (you bring in a centralized editing team, or use a round-robin method, or delegate to senior writers), that number goes up to 6-7.  

But you should have someone in place to help you well before you hit that number, not only to give them time to ramp-up and learn management skills, but also to allow you to plan effectively for new hires and content coverage growth.

The biggest lesson content I’ve learned is actually to bring on/promote other managers earlier than you think you need it. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
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Why is experimentation so critical in the content creation process?

Most of our content fails. Like, over 90% of it. And that’s not at all uncommon in the content marketing world. If everyone knew the exact ingredients to a “viral” content piece, that’s all anyone would produce. But we don’t know. Pieces I think will do really well, more-often-than-not sink without a trace, and pieces that seem like throwaways can take off because they’ve tapped into some pent-up need in the marketplace of ideas.

So we try to test a lot. 50% or more of our content is trying out new topics or channels or formats, and the other 50% is either updating successful past content, or scaling up a content type that our previous testing has discovered works.

I differ here from the current received-wisdom in the content marketing industry. Right now it’s hip to say content marketers need to produce fewer pieces of longer, higher quality content. But I actually argue you should produce a higher volume of content (at least early on) to discover what “hits” with your particular audience, so you can scale that later.

Brian Dean of Backlinko is often the poster-child of the “publish less, publish higher-quality” model, and I love his content and he’s obviously been very successful. But might he have been more successful publishing weekly instead of monthly? Could he have sacrificed a little bit of length to experiment with a broader range of topic ideas earlier on before scaling the ones that worked? I think it’s possible.

You should produce a higher volume of content (at least early on) to discover what “hits” with your particular audience, so you can scale that later. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
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What are the most common mistakes you see individuals and companies make when developing and launching a blog?

The biggest one is not taking content marketing seriously. That manifests itself in two major tactical mistakes: not hiring someone to do content full-time, and trying to squeeze direct revenue out of content in the first year.

If no one’s doing content full-time, then content just becomes a side project for someone at your company who may-or-may-not get to it once they finish their “real work” for the day. We tried this model for years and never got any traction with our content until someone owned it full-time and could devote themselves to thinking about it strategically and producing content consistently.

And you should not try to monetize your content in the first year. It will distort your writing, even if you think you can guard against it, and result in lower-quality, less helpful, more salesy content. Focus on creating content that is genuinely helpful for your audience first, and you will build reader trust for any kind of monetization scheme you want to implement later down the road.

If no one’s doing content full-time, then content just becomes a side project for someone at your company who may-or-may-not get to it once they finish their real work for the day. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
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Why is it important for businesses to have a documented content strategy, as opposed to an intangible framework?

I think people get intimidated when you say, “You need to have a documented content strategy” because they envision this 30-page document written in corporate buzzwords that will take a month to create. But we literally started with nothing more than a two-page Word doc with some bullet points listing our short and long-term goals/metrics, the type of content we wanted to create, and who was responsible for what aspects.

The benefits to us of even something that basic have been huge. Actually writing it down forced us to think through the specifics and showed us where the gaps in our plan were, having agreed-upon goals and timelines upfront made for easier team and executive buy-in, and it gave us something to refer back to when we had questions about whether a new content idea fit our overall goals.


What have you learned in your ‘side hustle’ as a fiction novelist that applies to your day job as a content marketer?

For writing fiction I spent a lot of time studying story structure, and plot architecture, and all the elements that make a story really “flow” and feel effortless to people reading it. What struck me is how many of the same principles apply to a content piece.

You want to start off with a strong “hook” that introduces an element of mystery and makes the reader want to know more, your “climax” needs to deliver a memorable experience or information, and the dénouement has to be satisfying. A novel that doesn’t tie up loose ends in the last few chapters is as unsatisfying as a blog post that doesn’t include a concrete next step or call to action in the last few paragraphs.


Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

I love video games, so I’m excited to hear Jane Weedon of Twitch give her talk. I’ve also always been fascinated by the science behind online behavior, so Brian Massey’s talk on Behavioral Science for Content Marketers is high on my list as well.

Find Your Path to Content Marketing Greatness

Consistency, experimentation, and getting better each month: They might not be the stuff of Cinderella stories, but in the real world these techniques work and Medved’s team serves as living proof.

He is one of many CMWorld speakers who contributed to The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing, so as we look forward to seeing them on stage in Cleveland, make sure to soak in all their awesome advice by clicking through the slides below:

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Facebook ‘Weaponized’ User Data, Says Bikini Photo-Finding App Developer

Facebook is facing accusations of gathering more user data than disclosed. According to court filings, former start-up Six4Three claimed that the social media company conducted mass surveillance on its users and their friends alike.

Based on the lawsuit documents, Facebook reportedly had access to its users’ text messages, photos, and microphones. It can even track their locations by remotely activating the Bluetooth on mobile devices without permission. All of these accusations were detailed in Six4Three’s fifth version of the complaint, initially filed in 2015.

The court document read, in part:

“Facebook continued to explore and implement ways to track users’ location, to track and read their texts, to access and record their microphones on their phones, to track and monitor their usage of competitive apps on their phones, and to track and monitor their calls.”

In response, Facebook refuted the claims by saying that these “have no merit and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.” The company clarified rumors back in March that it was monitoring calls and messages of its users. Rather, they only collected call and text message history as part of its opt-in feature under Facebook Lite and Messenger on Android.

The former start-up also contended that Facebook had access to several photos on iPhones. But the social media company pointed out that users can opt-in to the photo syncing feature of the app for easier uploading.

Allegations of breaching user privacy and data collection remain touchy subjects for Facebook,  following its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Prior to the scandal, the social media giant has removed the access of third-party developers to personal information. This policy change reportedly led to the failure of Six4Three’s controversial paid app Pikinis, where users can find their Facebook friends’ swimsuit photos.

Along with accusations of causing its financial ruin, Six4Three claimed that Facebook ‘weaponized’ its ability to access user data, sometimes without explicit consent, to earn billions of dollars. There was also a mass surveillance scheme, details of which were redacted from the latest filings per Facebook’s request. These documents, such as email correspondence among senior executives, contain confidential business matters and were sealed from public view until further notice. 

Facebook has continued to deny the purported claims, filing a motion to have the case dismissed by invoking the free speech defense under the law in California. Six4Three, on the other hand, is trying to stop the social media giant from getting the case thrown out. As the legal battle wages on, Facebook still faces continued scrutiny over its users’ paranoia on weak data privacy and protection controls.

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Google Says “Don’t Worry About Links”

Links are a topic on the mind of every webmaster, search marketer and entrepreneur, especially as it relates to ranking in Google search results. The funny thing is, Google really, really doesn’t want you to worry about links, because of course, that wouldn’t be natural.

I thought it interesting to raise up a few comments Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller made during his latest Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout, that illustrate how much Google doesn’t want us to worry about links.

One hangout participant stated that as a teacher he gets a lot of links from random places, some that might even be considered bad neighborhoods and asked; Are these kinds of links good for me or bad for me? Is Google giving me credit for them? Is Google penalizing me for them? Is Google discounting them? Should I disavow them? Should I not worry?

“I like that last option,” said Mueller. “In general, if these are normal links, organic links, that are happening that are pointing at your content, then I would just let them be. That’s the way the internet works, people link to your content.”

He added, “If your students have blogs and they think, oh, this is actually a teacher that knows what he’s talking about, then that’s a good link. That’s not something you need to disavow just because maybe it’s a sitewide link or in the blog role. I wouldn’t worry about where people are linking from. If these are organic links that are at your site, that’s perfectly fine.”

The caller stated, “So in best case scenario, I get credit for them. In worst case scenario, Google will discount them. But nothing to worry about being paralyzed or anything like that?” Mueller answered, “Exactly.”

Another person asked, “Are you ever going to create an episode just for the discount of links? Like a hangout just for that kind of subject, because I still feel like it’s discounted. If you had, let’s say, five bad links, and that link– I think there was an example there from the “New York Times.” So that “New York Times” link will also be discounted by accident, or no, it won’t? It’s just still a gray area there with this whole discounted link thing going on.”

“Yeah, but in general, that’s not really something you need to worry that much about,” answered Mueller. “That’s kind of the way our algorithms are picking up these links and trying to figure out, how should we treat these links? And that’s something that we’ve been doing in the past as well. That’s even in the basis of PageRank, in the sense that not all links are the same, and we need to figure out how to value the individual links.”

“But that’s not something that as a webmaster you really need to worry about, because you can’t really control that,” he said. “From that point of view, it’s hard to say we could do a whole Hangout just on links, because ideally in the background, there is this big, big sign saying, you shouldn’t be playing with links. And if we’re talking the whole time about how to make links look natural, then that’s essentially contradicting the other one.”

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Google Says Its “Mission Impossible” Cloud Platform is the Most Secure

Neal Mueller, Security and Networking lead for Google Cloud, recently was interviewed about security and other important aspects of using the Google Cloud Platform to host websites, online retailers and other data intensive applications.

Should I move our online applications to the cloud and is it secure?

We get that question less and less these days. There are big advantages to moving to the cloud. You get to have all of the scale that you want immediately when you want it. You don’t pay for it when you don’t use it. And you don’t have to worry about the maintenance of the underlying machines. The advantages are so big, in fact, that we seldom get the question of, should I move to the cloud? More often, the question that we get is, how can I move to the cloud safely?

Where does Google’s responsibility for security begin?

It’s simple. Google’s responsibility is to control the underlying infrastructure. Your responsibility is to secure the data on top.

Why use Google as a cloud provider?

One of the reasons that we talk about a lot is that Google is the right cloud provider for you because we’ve got over 500 security engineers. These are 500 people that are foremost in their fields. They’ve been in peer-reviewed journals, they’re experts at security.

Let me give you an example of just one team within the 500. It’s called Project Zero. These are forward-facing engineers whose job it is to discover 0-Days, that is, new vulnerabilities, never before seen or disclosed. They discovered Heartbleed, which affects anybody with a browser. It’s a TLS vulnerability. They discovered rowhammer, which affects anybody that has a computer with RAM and they discovered 15 of the last 21 KVM vulnerabilities, which is really important to Google because we use KVM as our chosen hypervisor technology. All of these vulnerabilities, as soon as we discover them, we immediately disclose them so that the world is a safer place thanks to the work of Project Zero.

Can you tell us more about this?

Let’s talk about the word provenance. It’s a word in English that means come from. It’s a fundamental tenet of how we think of secure systems. We don’t just buy hardware that’s off the shelf. We return to first principles, figure out what functionality we need from the hardware and which ones we don’t, because functionality that’s included in the hardware off the shelf might introduce vulnerabilities that we don’t want. This leads us in many cases to custom-build secure systems. So we have custom-built ASICs, custom-built servers, custom-built racks, custom-built storage arrays inside custom-built data centers. All of this leads to a much more secure data center.

Infrastructure security, doesn’t that go beyond hardware?

Sure. It extends to the people inside that data center, too. These are full-time, badged Googlers that have submitted to a background check and have an array of physical security to make their job easier. We’re talking about stuff that you’ve seen in “Mission Impossible”– biometrics, lasers, vehicle barriers, bollards. All of this is custom-built, also, to make the data center more secure.

So is this unique to just Google?

Yeah, it’s unique to Google, but not for long. Part of being Google is giving back to your community. So as part of the Open Compute Project, just last week with Facebook, we released our design for a 48-volt rack. This is a very high-density, highly efficient, highly green rack. And although Google is the only one that can build it, now that everybody has the designs, everybody can build data centers as efficient.

What other cool stuff is Google Cloud doing?

What’s next? So with 500 security engineers on staff, there’s a lot that’s up next. But let me tell you about just two things that spring to mind. The first one is BeyondCorp. Here, we have separated ourself from the traditional enterprise security model. Traditional enterprise security has a hard firewall to guard the perimeter. However, we’ve seen what happens with recent breaches– what happens when an adversary gets inside that perimeter. He has relatively unfettered access to the resources inside the internet. What Google does is device authentication which allows our applications to be accessible by the internet, but be just as secure as if they were only accessible by the intranet. We believe that this makes our public cloud more secure.

What’s the second initiative?

On Google Cloud Platform, data at rest is encrypted by default. This is a real differentiator for us. We believe it’s good practice and good business. We’ve seen what happens when adversaries get a hold of breached PII and we think that encryption by default is a good preventative measure against that.

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Facebook Has A Liberal Bias Despite What It Says

Hot on the heels of Gizmodo’s news story exposing the anti-conservative bias with Facebook’s Trending Topics, Facebook reiterated that it’s guidelines for its editors call for giving all people a voice. Per Gizmodo, some of its former editors say that in fact Facebook suppresses conservative voices and raises to the forefront liberal voices such as Black Lives Matters even though they are not actually trending.

Facebook also posted a list of its news sources which included some conservative sites such as Drudge Report, Breitbart and the Washington Times but consisted primarily of mainstream media sites which slant liberal and some very left leaning sites including Huffington Post, Salon, Daily Kos and Gawker. Facebook might want to consider adding some more popular conservative publications in order to expose their young east coast liberal editors to other points of views.

Facebook gave visitors the impression that its Trending Topics were entirely algorithmically chosen based on which stories had the most mentions, shares and likes within Facebook, when in fact the ultimate decision is human. The Guardian reported that Facebook gave customers information about the Trending Topics stating, “The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.” The Guardian uncovered documents that Facebook backed off on a pure algorithmic solution when some users complained that it wasn’t linking to enough stories about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. That’s interesting in itself in that the Left’s narrative on Ferguson is about a protest because of the shooting by a police office of an unarmed black man and the ensuing justified protests. This marked the formation of the Black Lives Matters movement which according to Gizmodo was one of the story topics that was artificially promoted to Facebook’s Trending Topics in order to further promote that movement.

What irks conservatives is the fact that this story is covered by the liberal press as a justified protest of an unjustified shooting. The facts are Michael Brown robbed a store and when confronted by a police officer Brown physically hit the officer and then tried to grab his gun. The unrest that followed is also covered up in that it wasn’t just a peaceful protest as much as it was mass looting of businesses with people carrying TV’s and liquor out of stores and then burning the stores down. The trending topics on Facebook should be about truth not politics. The problem with the Left, and Facebook is clearly run by people with liberal views, is that they have no problem censoring conservative viewpoints as if they are not valid, while blindly promoting their own viewpoints which too often leave out inconvenient truths.

This story has steam because it is part of the bigger story of the current left such as college campuses banning conservative speakers, anti-Trump protests where they try to not let his voice be heard, safe zones on college campuses where only leftist politically correct conversation is allowed , the conspiracy of state attorney generals suing those who don’t believe in human caused global warming and where Democrats and some on the FCC want to ban the Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh. The left is upset that its monopoly on media has been broken by talk radio, cable TV and the internet and it wants its power to push its radical views back. Facebook censoring conservative views is simply symptomatic.

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