How To Protect Your Business From The Inevitable Decline

Originally posted on June Gil Marketing:

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There is a problem I keep encountering with a lot of businesses that come to me for advice: they have very little money to spend on marketing so they want to focus on marketing techniques that are free and they want instant results.

Now, I know very well how difficult it is to start a business from scratch, and how little money you might have available during those initial moments. However, this is not the problem in 8 out of 10 cases. The problem is that they opened shop a while ago, enjoyed some mild success, and then things petered out leaving them wondering where the heck their customers went and what do about it. This is when they frantically try to find any free channel they can use to try and get back to where they were. What they don’t realise is that they might be fighting a losing…

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The Rise Of The Euro Mega-Round

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Slowly, quietly, but increasingly more noisily, startups originally hailing from Europe but going global have been raising larger and larger funding rounds. The linch-pin in the ecosystem has been financing from London (handily, that’s we’re holding out Disrupt conference there in October). You can be a startup from the most obscure village in Europe, your developers happily hacking away in some austerity-stricken part of town, but raising financing from VCs who like the combination of the UK’s legal jurisdiction, the English language, and the fact that US investors barely need to tick a box to invest when the startup’s founders come calling. The other city attracting VC attention is Berlin. According to Dow Jones VentureSource in the second quarter last year Germany received $375.8m in new VC for 67 deals, mainly in Berlin, while the UK won $290m for 77 deals.

But London is fighting back. Three funding rounds that…

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Testbirds gets $2.9M as its Birdflight ‘crowdtesting’ product takes off

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

A new startup is harnessing the power of the crowd to help entrepreneurs and tech companies do their jobs better.

Testbirds, a German crowdtesting company, just raised €2.1 million ($2.9 million) as its first institutional funding, with French venture capital firm Senventure Partners leading this round. It’s also releasing a new product, BirdFlight, which enables customers to distribute and test their apps with their own testers.

Testbirds takes a customer’s mobile app or website and puts it in the hands of the customer’s target market, then collects and analyzes various criteria as predetermined by the customer. The company offers its services for testing on mobile (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry) and browser and desktop platforms such as Windows, Mac, Chrome, and Opera.

The new portfolio product, BirdFlight, will enable customers to upload and distribute iOS and Android apps still in beta to their own testers and do this free…

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Artificial intelligence startup Vicarious collects $40 million from tech elites

Dan 'Great Marketing Works' Sodergren:

Worrying or amazing – hmmm all I will say is skynet

Originally posted on Gigaom:

It has been a big year for artificial intelligence. Google bought DeepMind in January for $400 million and, now, a group of tech elites and venture capital firms have awarded $40 million to Vicarious .

Venture capital firm Formation 8 led the round, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. It was joined by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and actor Ashton Kutcher. Re/code reports that Box CEO Aaron Levie, incoming Y Combinator president Sam Altman, Braintree founder Bryan Johnson, Khosla Ventures, Good Ventures Foundation, Felicis Ventures, Initialized Capital, Open Field Capital, Zarco Investment Group, Metaplanet Holdings and Founders Fund were also involved. Vicarious received $15 million in a first round in 2012.

Last year, Vicarious announced that it had developed software that could crack CAPTCHAs with at least 90 percent accuracy. But that is only the beginning of what the startup plans to do with its AI, which is based on…

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Data is the customer’s voice, so you need to pay attention to it in as many ways as possible

Originally posted on Gigaom:

The fact that data is important to the running of most businesses, particularly technological ones, is now taken for granted, but how do you integrate the collection and understanding of that data into your company so that it makes a difference? Three fast-growing web companies — Uber, Airbnb and LinkedIn(s LNKD) — talked about the different ways they do this at Gigaom’s Structure Data conference in New York on Thursday.

Riley Newman, the head of the data science group at Airbnb (which is rumored to be raising a new round of financing that could value the company at $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal) said that from his perspective “data is the lifeblood of our business — we think of it as the customer’s voice. It’s them telling us what works and what doesn’t work, so we always start with the data.”

Newman said that Airbnb approaches…

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Layar brings augmented reality and a QR code scanner to Google Glass

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Google(s goog) Glass got an unofficial augmented reality app on Thursday as Layar introduced its immersive platform to the wearable device . The beta software has to be downloaded directly from Layar’s website and installed manually to Glass. Once that’s done, however, you can simply say “OK Glass, scan this” to see information from print magazines, local real estate or even movie trailers.

layar on glass

I’ve already installed the software on Glass and it works as advertised if you can find supported content. The app ties into Layar’s augmented reality platform, which is currently used for interactive ads and geo-layers when out and about. Since I’m in the home office, I tried scanning some ads from my latest issue of Runner’s World but it appears that magazine doesn’t have a partnership with Layar.

I did have success by looking at a movie poster for The Hobbit on my laptop’s display: Layar correctly…

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Algorithms will do more and more of the thinking in the world

Originally posted on Gigaom:

At the New York Stock Exchange, machines make decisions in as short as 740 nanoseconds — faster than any human can think.

“This is a world where the speed of light has to be factored into the equations for buying and selling,” Quid founder and CTO Sean Gourley said at the Structure Data conference Thursday.

Like trading, which Gourley noted is mostly done by machines, bots now make up most of our web traffic. Within the time it takes to load a page, algorithms determine where a user is located, what they like and what types of ads to serve. More and more, algorithms are ruling our world. And as they continue to get smarter, our relationship with them will evolve.

Gourley said that there are two types of relationships we are already used to, where we are the product or the owner. We are the product on sites like Facebook(s fb)…

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Google developing SDK to make Android the standard for wearables

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

Google wants to make it easier for lots of wearables to run on the Android operating system.

In about two weeks, the tech giant will release an Android software-development kit (SDK) for wearable devices, Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome, and apps, said today at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

“We’ll lay out a vision for developers as to how we’ll see this market working,” Pichai said, according to a report from The Verge.

Sure, Google has turned out the Glass wearable device, but lots of other companies, like OnBeep or Vuzix, have been working on wearables, too. They might be running different operating systems. So developers writing apps on those operating systems are essentially working in isolation, not inside a common ecosystem.

A common SDK could lighten the burden on wearable makers to do everything on their own.

“We want to develop a set of…

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