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‘Den Of Thieves’ Gets A Sequel!

They are thick as thieves and coming together for yet another heist: Gerard Butler, Tucker Tooley, Mark Canton, Alan Siegel, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and director Christian Gudegast with O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (who is in negotiations) have pacted to return for a sequel to the heist thriller Den of Thieves. The project, which will be distributed by STX worldwide and financed by Diamond Film Productions, is being written by Gudegast from an original idea.

Den of Thieves 2, which will also be directed again by Gudegast, will find Big Nick (Butler) on the hunt in the streets of Europe closing in on Donnie (Jackson Jr.) who is embroiled in the dangerous world of diamond thieves and the infamous Panther mafia, as they plot a massive heist of the world’s biggest diamond exchange.

Canton and Tooley will produce the sequel with Butler and Siegel’s production company G-BASE. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson will produce through his production company G-Unit Film & Television, Inc.

The original Den of Thieves over-performed at the box office when it was released last month. The film, which took Tooley and Canton about 15 years to bring to the screen, has yet to finish out its international run (it has about 35 markets yet to go). Worldwide, the film has grossed $ 57M so far.

The original cost around $ 30M before P&A with an $ 25M+ P&A backstopped by Diamond Films which also provided gap financing. Roughly 60% of the budget was covered by pre-sales and a tax incentive brought it to roughly 70%.

There is plenty of audience growth which was made evident by the release of the first film and the exit polling which showed equal interest from all male audience quads.

For STX, the first film  set a new milestone for STX in the U.K. market last weekend when it became the first of the company’s films to open bigger than £1M.

Gudegast is repped by WME, Management 360, and Patrick Knapp; Tooley is repped by WME and Patrick Knapp. Diamond Film Productions is repped by Glenn D. Feig of Reder & Feig LLP. Butler is repped by CAA and Alan Siegel Entertainment and Jackson Jr. is by WME. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson & G-Unit Film & Television Inc. are repped by APA and attorneys Stephen J. Savva and Eric Feig.

Source: Deadline

On This Day In Comedy… In 1988 ‘School Daze’ Was Released By Columbia Pictures!

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The Humor Mill

Dog Wants The Hugs Turkey Gets

0 Dog Wants The Hugs Turkey Gets

Turkey snaps at dog who wants a hug too.

Dog Gets Jealous Over Turkey Hugging Man

March 29, 2017

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Salesforce Gets Granular

If you need an example of digital disruption, you can’t do better than the retail banking industry. A byzantine collection of rules and regulations plus the overhang of many legacy systems have conspired to prevent banks from becoming more involved with their customers.

Even innovations like the ATM, which entered the scene several decades ago, only serve to distance banks from their customers. This leaves plenty of opportunity for upstart technology vendors to disrupt the applecart.

Combine this with a generation of potential customers who were raised on digital products and services, and the result is that an important demographic is now up for grabs, setting the stage for disruption.

Making It Easy

Not long ago, Salesforce recognized those dynamics in play and moved to develop vertical applications for selected industries — including banking, where large institutions need to address the requirements of large customer bases. It came up with the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, announced last week.

Some of what Salesforce delivers in its Financial Services Cloud will seem revolutionary to many bankers: things like a rich assortment of applications for all phases of banking, from loan origination to customer management.

However, a good chunk of the benefit comes directly from being a cloud solution with easy onboarding and updates scheduled three times per year.

Partnering Up

Where the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud differs from many banking products is in the way it brings together banking products resident in its AppExchange to deliver concerted solutions.

For example, nCino tells a powerful story of reducing loan origination time by orders of magnitude — not by building a closed system but by integrating other platform products.

Another example is Vlocity, also a partner with strong banking apps based on the cloud platform. It provides intelligent agent and omnichannel services for financial services and insurance.

In these and other relationships, you can see the Salesforce go-to-market approach solidifying. Partners bring expertise, which can be as big as loan origination or as specific as document signature capture. All of it goes into a solution that customers can craft for their specific industry needs.

Adding Specificity

As I’ve noted many times before, when companies get to the multibillion-dollar revenue level, they can’t expect to sell the same products in the same ways they did when their businesses were much smaller.

To show growth, a business needs help — and that means acquiring other complementary businesses and selling in concert with partners that can add specificity to the core product.

Salesforce has done both, and I look forward to hearing more about vertical strategies at Dreamforce.
end enn Salesforce Gets Granular


Denis%20Pombriant Salesforce Gets GranularDenis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry researcher, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. He can be reached at
denis.pombriant@beagleresearch.com.

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Trump clueless about Finland, because Russia gets along with blonde women …SAD!

 Trump clueless about Finland, because Russia gets along with blonde women ...SAD!

Trump’s Press Conference With Finland President Niinistö …Trump is bragging about his “massive” Arizona rally during his press conference with Finland’s president.
DIWMOVLVoAELSLr Trump clueless about Finland, because Russia gets along with blonde women ...SAD!

Idiot Trump can’t even take the time to look up whether Russia invaded Finland in 1939, perhaps because everyone was busy selling out Poland.

Like Jerry Ford’s debate mistake on the Eastern Bloc subordination of Poland, Trump is clueless on Finland’s relationship to Russia. Trump sees Russia as his buddy, so of course Finland and Russia must be friends, because Trump never has enemies to the WH. And there were Finnish reporters … blondes.

Jerry Ford in his debate with Jimmy Carter, mistakenly described Eastern Europe as not being dominated by the Soviet Union.

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Trump might not be able to walk and chew gum, which explains the G7 golf cart.

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Nothing worse than Trump repeating ad libs from other pressers…

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DH 9iOlXcAA EU  Trump clueless about Finland, because Russia gets along with blonde women ...SAD!

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Puffer Fish Gets Unhooked

 Puffer Fish Gets Unhooked

Poor thing finally found a helping hand to free it from an embedded hook in the mouth..

“Diver Saves Puffer Fish From Hook.”
Image courtesy of http://imgur.com/gallery/gBPx1v9.

E-Commerce Gets the Einstein Treatment

E-commerce brings together several themes that relate to our current fascination with artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), bots, mobile technology and the like. It’s actually more than that, because it represents an underserved part of CRM.

Until fairly recently, there were few tools that retailers could use to reach online customers for marketing and sales. Certainly there were development tools for building websites, but that’s not the same.

The standing conception of e-commerce is that it’s technology we access to make online purchases. The paragon and exemplar of e-commerce is Amazon, which went public 20 years ago and continues to define the possible, along with Apple and Alibaba.

Any vendor will want what Amazon and the others have — such as the ability to know past purchases, suggest new offers, and provide a streamlined process for purchase, order management, check out and delivery — and that’s where Salesforce, Oracle and other vendors come in.

Delight Me

The customer experience was awful when things like AI and machine learning weren’t in place, as I note in my book, Solve for the Customer.

Early, crude self-assist systems for service and commerce were not much more than behind-the-firewall apps meant for employees to use — but with a nice veneer slapped on. When customers went off script, as we all are wont to do, there was precious little assistance available. Customers often found themselves unceremoniously dumped on the street.

Those were the bad old days. However, the industry has moved light years in a positive direction. Salesforce this week is unveiling the latest iteration of its e-commerce solution set, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, at XChange, a conference in Las Vegas that demonstrates many important commerce capabilities for retail.

This is the year that Salesforce is inserting its Einstein AI functionality into all of its products. Salesforce Commerce Cloud Einstein now has its share of technology innovations that enable retailers to provide shoppers with personalized, AI-powered experiences that span Web, mobile, social, in-store and more.

There’s a hierarchy of needs that applies to retail commerce customers, noted Dwight Moore, senior director for retail at GTM. They can be summed up as, “know me, remember me, make it easy for me, surprise and delight me, and make my life better.”

That sounds an awful lot like “engage and delight me, and you can make a friend for a long time” — a sure recipe for loyalty and repeat business.

Good Timing

There’s a big role for AI and ML in all this. Personalizing interactions means capturing customer data, supplementing it with additional information — and using it not to browbeat customers into buying things, but to be there with relevant offers.

Using order history and Web behavior, the Commerce Cloud generates a predictive model for each shopper. To do that, in addition to adding Einstein, Salesforce has brought to market a suite of capabilities that include a mobile site reference architecture, a prototype mobile app, and a data model that retailers can modify, rather than starting from scratch when building a commerce site.

Also in the kit are features to help manage orders through a retailer’s ERP system and Google Android Pay, complements to Apple Pay, which already was available.

The timing is very good, as 86 percent of retailers plan to implement a unified commerce platform in the next 10 years, according to the National Retail Federation.

While this is believable, it makes you wonder what shape the tardy retailers will be in if they wait that long.

Fifty-five percent of product searches now start on Amazon, Moore pointed out, and a very high percentage of them end up as sales. So the challenge retailers face today is to figure out how to make it as easy as possible for customers to search and transact at their sites before leaving for Amazon, never to be heard from again.

Commerce Cloud is in a good spot, with more than 2,000 commerce sites in 53 countries having used the product to serve 400 million shoppers last year. Another fun fact: Salesforce Commerce Cloud generated a staggering 15 billion emails on last year’s Black Friday alone.

Combining e-commerce with AI/ML is powerful. It lowers the barriers for AI acquisition, and in the process democratizes retail for all.
end enn E Commerce Gets the Einstein Treatment


Denis%20Pombriant E Commerce Gets the Einstein TreatmentDenis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry researcher, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. He can be reached at
denis.pombriant@beagleresearch.com.

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Examining the Credit Cycle: Is This as Good as it Gets?

More than 70 straight months of US job growth, the official unemployment rate down below 5%, and average hourly earnings growing at a seven-year high of 2.9%. Signs of approaching full employment finally allowed the Fed to see enough stability to inch up rates without being seemingly blown off course by events elsewhere. There will be more rate hikes to come if the economy stays on this course, and in the event the deficits grow, it will pretty much guarantee what we already expect on the interest rate front.

With all this in mind, it’s a good time to ask: Has the US credit cycle reached the bottom? Is it as good as it gets?

Of course, we never know that for sure. This is all opinion (some would say speculation), especially on the economic policy front. But you have to feel that if it isn’t the bottom we are not far off.

Take a look at delinquency stats.

Credit Cycle Delinquency Rates Chart Examining the Credit Cycle: Is This as Good as it Gets?

All of these figures are based on a two-year outcome. Thus, the scoring date for the October 2016 figures would be October 2014.

The most interesting observation is the uptick in origination delinquencies, which we see across the board relative to 2013. Compare that to the broader population, where we see the generally benign to improving economic environment continues to push down rates. (Originations here are trades opened within six months of the scoring date.)

Of course, these figures don’t allow us to separate deterioration from laxer credit standards. It’s fair to say that the latter almost certainly is a key contributor.

In the major product categories, the picture is mixed. At least at the top level, the lid still seems to be on the mortgage market, where delinquency rates remain low. In the card and auto worlds, rates are still a long way below the dark days of 2008 but are up among younger borrowers.

Do YOU think today’s credit cycle is as good as it gets? I invite you to make your case in our comments section.

The truth is that we will only know when we look back and say “I told you so!” For now, the signs suggest we are near that point, and we should keep our eye firmly on the horizon to understand which way this is headed.

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Tech Industry Gets Political

In the last decade or so, the tech industry has become increasingly political, which is different from being politicized. If I had to guess, I’d say that for the most part everyone is on the same page.

However, many of the largest technology concerns have come to the realization that to protect their outlook, they need representation in Washington in the form of lobbyists. In addition, many successful entrepreneurs have been contributing to parties.

That intensified political awareness became obvious over the weekend with the response to the new administration’s ham-handed approach to immigration policy.

H-1B Jitters

The reporting has been robust on the subject. Numerous Valley headliners have taken stands, according to a Monday story in The New York Times. Notably, “Netflix’s chief executive, Reed Hastings, wrote on Facebook that Mr. Trump’s actions ‘are so un-American it pains us all’ and that ‘it is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.'”

Further, “Sergey Brin, a Google founder who immigrated from the Soviet Union when he was 6 … [attended] an impromptu protest on Saturday evening at San Francisco International Airport,” the Times reported. “‘I’m here because I’m a refugee,’ Mr. Brin said, according to a Twitter post by the Forbes writer Ryan Mac … .”

Of course Mr. Social Media also made a point.

“‘Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump,’ Mr. Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook on Friday,” the article notes.

Cautionary sentiments also came from less expected sources.

“Even some of those working closely with the Trump administration were critical. Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, who sits on two of Mr. Trump’s advisory committees, wrote on Twitter that the ban was ‘not the best way to address the country’s challenges,'” according to the NYT report.

All of that might only be preamble if a Bloomberg report gains steam: The “administration has drafted an executive order aimed at overhauling the work-visa programs technology companies depend on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.”

“Work visa” is another name for the H-1B visa. There are 85,000 H-1B visas awarded each year, and there’s always a scramble for them because they enable companies to import talent that they simply can’t find domestically.

It doesn’t mean Americans are stupid or lazy, but if you want the expert in a small field to work for you, the field is rather sparsely populated and you hire where you can.

Legal Challenge Fundraising

Tech executives got creative in responding to the perceived threat, soliciting donations to the ACLU.

“Early Twitter investor Chris Sacca, for example, was an early one to start the trend and offered to match donations to those who would direct message or respond with receipts,” TechCrunch reported.

About a dozen tech executives and venture capitalists followed the lead.

“Google has created a $ 2 million ‘crisis fund’ that can be matched by up to $ 2 million in donations from employees,” the publication also reported.

All of this might seem like a small disruption to some people, especially if they believe in the need for the clampdown. However, even though the immigration ban appears to be a temporary disruption, we don’t really know what form any H-1B reform might take.

Disruptions drive uncertainty, and that drives other decisions. If you put enough disruption-driven decisions together, you can have a movement or a trend. That’s what the tech world is all about, and it’s what we innately understand.

So, the events of last weekend are at least troubling. They certainly must be troubling to get billionaire Brin to SFO on a Sunday to take selfies with arriving passengers.

It’s hard to say what forms the next actions and counteractions will take. Certainly, there are options, and one of the easiest and best would be for the sides to begin listening to each other. It takes two sides to have a conversation, though, and so far each has been speaking mainly with itself. end enn Tech Industry Gets Political


Denis%20Pombriant Tech Industry Gets PoliticalDenis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry researcher, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. He can be reached at denis.pombriant@beagleresearch.com.

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SAP Hybris CRM gets a jolt from SAP HANA Cloud

As the cloud continues to gather steam as the go-to model for many companies, platform-as-a-service offerings are…

also gaining credence. PaaS allows companies greater flexibility once they are in the cloud.

Platform as a service (PaaS) enables customers to develop new applications and services on their existing portfolios of technology to enable new capabilities. With PaaS, companies can develop new mobile applications quickly, automate processes or streamline operations. For companies like SAP, PaaS can unlock new doorways of modernization as well.

While historically SAP hasn’t been first to the cloud, it is trying to reposition its major offerings for cloud-first and PaaS-ready capabilities. SAP recognizes the strategic importance of offering a robust PaaS to existing customers and partners to enable new customer experiences on the SAP platform, such as the development of new mobile applications. It is also banking on the idea that its new capabilities will attract other organizations that will help it broaden its base, especially in the rapidly growing cloud marketplace.

At the SAP TechEd conference in Barcelona, SAP repositioned some core products to reflect its PaaS-oriented strategy. For example, one of its flagship offerings, SAP HANA, its big data platform, has been repositioned from an initial focus on in-memory analytics to a wider array of software development capabilities among its front- and back-office applications.

At TechEd, the company announced HANA 2.0, which recasts the original analytics engine into a more full-featured application development environment that includes data and database management capabilities, along with added business intelligence (BI) functionality. SAP also placed great emphasis on its new HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) which offers a microservices marketplace on a subscription basis via the SAP hybris as a service (“YaaS”), which is a platform to develop and extend applications.

SAP has a long way to go to achieve its objectives to unify the front and back office.

The premise behind SAP’s new platform play is that enterprise customers — both large-scale and medium-sized organizations — want better ways to bridge the gap between front- and back-end systems. HANA 2.0 promises to exploit SAP’s common data management architecture across its portfolio of enterprise solutions — both on-premises and in the cloud. So, the company says HANA 2.0 will support SAP’s existing ERP and other back-office applications, as well as the various cloud-based applications it has acquired via Concur, Fieldglass, SuccessFactors and SAP Hybris CRM.

The new platform will enable SAP customers and partners to extend the functional capabilities of their existing applications, build new applications, and more easily integrate the applications together.

The company also extended Fiori, its platform to develop mobile application, with a new focus on enhancing the user experience for customers and partners. And the YaaS marketplace provides a one-stop shop to develop, integrate and manage microservices that enhance SAP Hybris applications.

The new PaaS capabilities are built and delivered on Cloud Foundry, an increasingly popular open source platform. This makes SAP hybris as a service an open and extensible platform that allows developers to create microservices independent of SAP applications. They can also connect them through standardized application programming interfaces (APIs).

Putting all these benefits together, SAP hopes HANA 2.0 — and HCP in particular — will make its existing applications more responsive to rapidly changing customer and partner requirements and foster greater innovation within its developer ecosystem.

The timing of SAP’s announcement is no accident. Zion Market Research recently published a study that estimated the global PaaS market equaled $ 2.11 billion in 2015 and will jump to $ 9.12 billion by the end of 2021.

SAP isn’t alone in pursuing a PaaS path. Instead, it’s playing catch-up to its primary CRM competitors: Salesforce.com and Microsoft. But SAP hopes it can leapfrog the competition by offering a development platform that not only enhances its SAP Hybris CRM capabilities, but also ties customer-facing apps more closely with its ERP and other back-office technologies. Bridging this gap would give SAP a competitive advantage in the enterprise marketplace by reducing the need for SAP shops to integrate systems or migrate to other platforms that better integrate customer-facing and back-office apps.

SAP has a long way to go to achieve its objectives to unify the front and back office. It not only has to convince its customers and partners that its new capabilities are real, but also package and price the new development platform in a compelling fashion to make it worthwhile for them to adopt it.

However, the HANA 2.0 and HCP capabilities received an enthusiastic response from the SAP customers and partners who attended TechEd in Barcelona, which should give it positive momentum in the market in the coming year.

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Movin’ On Up: Apache Kafka Gets a Promotion to the Enterprise

Stream processing and real-time analytics are the driving trends behind the fast acceptance and general popularity of Kafka.

Another big data product for the Hadoop ecosystem, born at LinkedIn and nurtured to adolescence by the open source community at Apache, Kafka works much like the organization’s “central nervous system,” as it was described in Computerworld Magazine. It collects large quantities of data in real time as it streams in via user interactions, logs, application metrics, IoT devices, stock tickers, etc., and delivers it as a real-time data stream ready for use.

blog kafka feather Movin’ On Up: Apache Kafka Gets a Promotion to the Enterprise

LinkedIn has made something of a habit of birthing uber-good big data processing and streaming data products and then letting the Apache open-source community adopt and raise them. Kafka is one of these adopted kids.

Kafka Joins the Hadoop Ecosystem by Way of LinkedIn

Kafka isn’t the first Hadoop-related, open-source brainchild to spring forth from the innovators at LinkedIn. These are also the ones responsible for conceiving other projects that became Apache Incubator graduates, including Samza, Helix, and Voldemort (no, not him).

According to Stephen O’Grady, cofounder and analyst for RedMonk, Kafka is sometimes likened to ActiveMQ and RabbitMQ when it comes to what it does for on-premises data infrastructures, or perhaps with AWS Kinesis in the cloud.

Kafka is Becoming Mainstream within the Data Streaming/Real Time Community

Kafka is no longer relegated to the back closets of big data and the Hadoop ecosystem, either. It’s gone big time. According to a recent poll conducted by Kafka’s unofficial godparents at Confluent, Inc. in Palo Alto, Kafka is already working hard in the enterprise, primarily serving in use cases including:

  • Application monitor – 60% of users
  • Data warehouse – 51% of users
  • Asynchronous application – 47% of users
  • System monitor – 39% of users
  • Recommendation engine – 35% of users
  • Security monitor and/or fraud detector – 26% of users
  • IoT applications – 20% of users
  • Dynamic pricing – 12% of users

Another survey of Kafka community users indicates that 68 percent are getting ready to take on even more stream processing within the next year, and about 65 percent of their users are preparing to hire workers with Kafka skills within the next year.

According to Brian Hopkins, VP and analyst with Forrester Research, if you aren’t getting down with Kafka, you’re already getting behind the 8 ball. “Up to 2014 it was all about Hadoop, then it was Spark,” Hopkins told Computerworld. “Now, it’s Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka. These are three equal peers in the data-ingestion pipeline in this modern analytic architecture.”

blog hogwarts Movin’ On Up: Apache Kafka Gets a Promotion to the Enterprise

Voldemort is database; a distributed key-value storage system. Not a Harry Potter villain. Gotta hand it to Apache, though, it’s another example of their extraordinarily cool product naming system.

Getting Kafka Plugged into Your Enterprise Data Infrastructure

Of course, like most of the Hadoop ecosystem, Kafka doesn’t just waltz in and start singing and dancing with your existing infrastructure. It takes some plugging in and tuning first.

That’s where Syncsort comes in. The latest release of Syncsort DMX-h combines Kafka streaming with the rest of your enterprise batch data sources to greatly simplify integration of data streaming in Hadoop, Spark and Kafka.

For more information, check out the webcast, “Simplifying Big Data Integration with Syncsort DMX and DMX-h

 Movin’ On Up: Apache Kafka Gets a Promotion to the Enterprise

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