Monthly Archives: September 2015

AI Is About To Go Mainstream And Reshape The Workplace | TechCrunch

Much like the evolution of systems design, IT-enabled process change ebbs and flows over time. We see this in history as each technology revolution brings with it a refactoring of business operations.

With the rise of client/server computing in the 1980s, and the introduction of database servers and visual development tools like PowerBuilder, “business process re-engineering” became all the craze during the 1990s.

By 1993, 60 percent of the Fortune 500 developed IT systems to automate mundane tasks like insurance claims processing or AP invoice/purchase order reconciliation, channeling the mandate of technology-led business transformation in Michael Hammer’s infamous 1990 HBR article, “Don’t Automate, Obliterate.”

Twenty-odd years later, we’re about to see another “flow” of transformation thanks to resurgent interest in artificial intelligence and the emergence of the AI-powered business application. What’s different this time around is the transformation will be driven bottom up by rank-and-file employees, making it potentially more disruptive than any “flow” of process change that came before. What are AI-powered apps, and what do they have to do with business process re-engineering?

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The Fake Traffic Schemes That Are Rotting the Internet | Bloomberg Business

Ron Amram has been in the brand marketing business for about 20 years. In the 2000s he was media director for Sprint’s prepaid cellular group, mainly figuring out where the carrier should spend its ad dollars—print, outdoor, digital, or broadcast. TV was always at the top of the pyramid. A TV campaign was like “the Air Force,” Amram says. “You wanted to get your message out, you did carpet bombing.” But TV wasn’t cheap, nor did it solve “that age-old question: Half of my marketing is working, half of it is not, and I don’t know which half.”

About 10 years ago, not long after Google went public and Yahoo! was still worth upward of $50 billion, attitudes shifted. Digital search and display ads had the potential to reach TV-size audiences at a fraction of the price. “People thought it was going to change everything,” Amram says.

The euphoria escalated again around 2010 with the arrival of programmatic advertising, a typically banal industry term for what is, essentially, automation. The ideal programmatic transaction works like this: A user clicks on a website and suddenly her Internet address and browsing history are packaged and whisked off to an auction site, where software, on behalf of advertisers, scrutinizes her profile (or an anonymized version of it) and determines whether to bid to place an ad next to that article. Ford Motor could pay to put its ads on websites for car buffs, or, with the help of cookies, track car buffs wherever they may be online. Ford might want to target males age 25-40 for pickup-truck ads, or, better yet, anybody in that age group who’s even read about pickups in the past six months.

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Could Microsoft Edge Be Your New Web Browser? | Small Biz Trends

edge-browser-660x370To date, one of the biggest standouts in Windows 10 is the new Microsoft Edge browser.

For many, it’s just a relief to say goodbye to Internet Explorer once and for all. (You won’t have Internet Explorer to kick around anymore.)

After 20 years, many innovations and a long period of stagnation, it took a lot to overhaul this browser.

Jacob Rossi, a senior engineer on Microsoft’s Web platform team, says:

“We’ve fixed over 3,000 interoperability issues (some dating back to code written in the 90s) on top of the over 40 new Web standards we’re working on. For example, longstanding inner HTML issues are now fixed.”

So, is the new Microsoft Edge browser really all that much different than its predecessor? Let’s take a look at some of the early returns on the new Edge browser.

Of course, one of the best places to look for instant reactions is on Twitter. And there, — surprisingly — you’ll find a lot of praise for one of the more hyped additions to the new Windows 10 operating system.

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Meet 3 angry Volkswagen owners | CNN Money

Volkswagen’s costly lie has left the giant automaker in crisis. It has also left its customers feeling confused, cheated and steaming mad.

The emissions scandal affects nearly 500,000 diesel Volkswagen and Audi cars in the U.S. alone — and millions more around the world. The scandal came to light when the EPA said Volkswagen had cheated on smog tests.

U.S. regulators have ordered the company to recall the cars at issue. But VW hasn’t done that yet, nor has it said how it will get the cars to comply with the law or how it will compensate customers.

Bottom line: Who knows what comes next? CNNMoney has heard from many Volkswagen customers in recent days. Here are some of their stories.

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Weekly Economic Update | LAEDC

v.19 n. 40 – Released September 28, 2015

This Week’s Headlines:

Bright Angel Within | Peter Mehit

imagesIt doesn’t matter the time of day; the view from Bright Angel point on the Grand Canyon’s north rim is breathtaking. From rust, to red, to pink and metallic green, the weathered rock presents history itself at the boundary of each color. Millions of years laid bare for the eye to see, for the mind to imagine, the timelessness of the earth. The insignificance and interconnectedness of a single person is instantly apparent.

I’ve had this same experience walking the streets of New York among the massive buildings and crowded streets. The insane energy of that place, always in motion, penetrates my psyche. In both places I am awake and connected. I hear everything clearly. My eyes are open and receiving. Most importantly, my mind is quiet.

That is what inspiration is. It is simultaneous connection from deep within our selves to the world that makes us awake and aware. When we are inspired, we are present and invested this moment, the only place we actually live. This connection shuts down the nearly non-stop self talk we engage in. It opens us up to messages from our environment and the thoughts of others. That is why inspiration is so important, because it gives us a way to get outside of our own boundaries, if only for an instant.

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Google launches Customer Match, Similar Audiences and Universal App Campaigns | Business Insider

On Sunday evening, Google announced two new ad products it hopes will help it gain more share of the mobile advertising market.

The new products are quite similar to a service and a format already available from Facebook. And they’re two of the advertising products marketers love most about the social network.

First up, Google has announced a new product called “Customer Match.” It works in a similar way to Facebook’s popular “Custom Audiences” product, which the social network rolled out to all advertisers back in 2013.

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Slow and Steady? 4 Smart Ways to Maintain Business Growth | Business News Daily

When entrepreneurs launch their businesses, they often think rapid growth and record-breaking sales numbers equate to success. And with so many media outlets covering startups boasting incredible spikes in their revenue and customer bases, it’s easy to understand why. Companies that don’t see fast expansion may feel discouraged, but is this type of immediate success really sustainable? Business owners who focus on growing quickly may want to take a lesson from the classic “tortoise and hare” fable, in which the slow but steady tortoise won against the hare. Though speed might put you ahead of the competition at first, you’ll likely end up burning out before the race is over.

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4 Funding Myths to Stop Believing Now | Entrepreneur

Fundraising can be a tricky business, with many factors influencing the outcome. Avoid these funding myths and make sure you have the information and strategies you need to keep your company thriving.

Myth: Funding is synonomous with success.

Reality: Not every successful company seeks funds and not every company that does becomes successful in the long term. Don’t look for outside dollars because you think it’s impressive or could get you press attention. Funds from VCs or angel investors often come with management strings and pressure to perform.  Ask yourself if you need money at all and if you’ve exhausted bootstrapping, loans from banks, friends or family, or even funding through revenue.

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5 Habits That Cause Entrepreneurs To Fail | Business Tips

Fortunately, as the former U.S. Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneur of the Year (and recovering jackass), I get asked to help grow businesses in nearly every industry. Unfortunately, and sadly as a business owner who once practiced the dark art of “Jackassery,” I can empathize with nearly every poor decision they are making because I used to make the same poor decisions as well. My friend, when banks refer me to a business to help them grow or to “turn the ship around” I often see businesses that are crashing and burning firsthand.

Because I’ve personally witnessed these implosions and explosions so many times, I’ve identified five reasons that can account for every failure I’ve witnessed. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that I haven’t had the chance to work with an entrepreneur in the clay pigeon or petting zoo industries, so I cannot speak to these industries from experience. Thus, if you are in those two industries, these five habits that cause entrepreneurs to fail, don’t apply to you. However, for everybody else, as you read these habits and false beliefs, ask yourself which one sounds most like you. What are you going to do to begin improving upon yourself and your mindset today?

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