Tag Archives: surprises

Hannibal Buress Surprises Everyone With ‘Hannibal Takes Edinburgh,’ A New Documentary On Netflix

With his participation in the Bill Cosby scandal long behind him, stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress broke new ground with his Comedy Camisado special for Netflix in February, during which he freaked viewers out with a stray hair. The Broad City actor has had quite a lot on his plate lately, so you would think he’d take a break instead of announcing the surprise release of a new documentary, Hannibal Takes Edinburgh, just two days before its available to stream on Netflix. Well, you’re wrong.

Both Netflix and Buress made the announcement on Wednesday, which described Hannibal Takes Edinburgh as having been “filmed over the course of 28 days in August 2013” when the 33-year-old was an “up-and-coming comedian.” According to the press release:

[Buress] performed nightly to packed houses at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest art and comedy festival in the world. The film blends extended moments from Buress’ pin-sharp observational stand-up with scenes of the comedian waxing philosophic on building his comedy routine, life on the road for a comedian and immersing himself in the Scottish culture.

At the time, Buress had already released two comedy albums, appeared on television programs like The Eric Andre Show, and acted in two films. In other words, he was already fast-approaching the Buress we all know and love today. Yet the prospect of seeing a slightly younger version of the native Chicagoan working the crowds in Edinburgh sounds like a delightful surprise.

Hannibal Takes Edinburgh streams Friday, April 8 on Netflix.

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Salesforce Springs Some Q4 Surprises

Salesforce shares held strong on Friday, following Thursday’s spike on the company’s release of a fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report that beat Wall Street estimates and raised revenue guidance for fiscal year 2017.

salesforce earnings Salesforce Springs Some Q4 Surprises

The stock finished up 11 percent Thursday, at $ 69.42, and held the gains on Friday, closing at $ 69.11.

Fourth-quarter revenue was $ 1.81 billion, an increase of 25 percent from a year ago and up 27 percent in constant currency, the company said in its Wednesday report.

Analysts had expected $ 1.79 billion in revenue.

For the quarter, Salesforce lost 4 cents a share on a GAAP basis and earned 19 cents a share on a non-GAAP diluted earnings basis. For fiscal 2016, it lost 7 cents a share on a GAAP basis and earned 75 cents a share on a GAAP diluted basis.

Subscription and support revenue was up 25 percent to $ 1.68 billion for the quarter, and revenue for professional services rose 28 percent from year-ago figures, the company said.

Fiscal 2016 revenue rose 24 percent from a year ago to $ 6.67 billion. Subscription and support revenue increased 24 percent to $ 6.21 billion, and professional services revenue rose 28 percent to $ 462 million from a year ago.

Salesforce raised revenue targets for the first quarter of fiscal 2017 to between $ 1.885 billion and $ 1.895 billion, an increase of 25 percent year over year. It projected diluted GAAP earnings of between 0 and 1 cent a share, while diluted non-GAAP earnings were expected to come in at 23 to 24 cents a share.

For fiscal 2017, Salesforce projected revenue of between $ 8.08 billion and $ 8.12 billion, an increase of 21 to 22 percent year over year.

The GAAP loss per share was expected to bet 2 cents a share to flat, while non-GAAP earnings were expected to range from 99 cents to $ 1.01 a share.

Pinching Themselves

The fourth-quarter performance was “way beyond our expectations,” CEO Marc Benioff said.

“It was an amazing year,” he said. “We are confident it’s going to be an amazing first quarter. And no other enterprise software company our size and scale is delivering at this level or as excited as we are, and no one else is as well positioned for this age of the customer that we are moving into in this fourth industrial revolution.”

The company drove an all-time high in the number of large transactions — more than 600 seven-figure transactions in the quarter, Salesforce said. Among the new customers it signed were Unilever, which will bring 95,000 employees onto the platform, and Charles Schwab for its entire CRM platform.

“Salesforce continues to defy the law of big numbers and deliver impressive growth as it deepens its market penetration in the CRM arena, expands its portfolio of solutions across other application areas, and extends its reach into new [locations] and industries,” Jeff Kaplan, managing director at ThinkStrategies, told CRM Buyer.

The firm recently enhanced its lineup of business apps with analytics and other advanced technologies, which has given more customers reasons to stay loyal without making additional expenditures, said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research.

“It’s putting even more emphasis on the platform,” he told CRM Buyer. “The market for platform is potentially so much bigger than for CRM, or at least demand is additive. So I expect they’re at an inflection point and this news might be their new normal.”

Rapid Adoption

Salesforce has won over new business with its Lightning platform, which allows for “faster, more democratic app development,” giving it exposure to more potential users, said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research.

“We’re also seeing significant growth in Salesforce’s Desk.com business, with SMB customers seeing three- and four-digit return on investment — expanding Salesforce’s reach into SMBs in a way its competitors cannot,” she told CRM Buyer.

However, the company will have to continue to innovate and will face pricing pressure from competitors, Wettemann warned, noting that it still has a “pretty consistent track record” of outperforming Wall Street expectations. end enn Salesforce Springs Some Q4 Surprises


David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.

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When data surprises you, have the courage to act

To marketers, social media and other forms of consumer data represent new struggles. To turn these struggles into viable strategies, marketers need fresh and innovative approaches — but they should also follow the example set over 70 years ago by a World War II-era mathematician.

In 1943, near the time World War II momentum shifted against the Axis powers, the Allies faced a particular problem: They were sending a lot of planes on bombing runs over Germany, but not many of them were coming back.

The dilemma eventually fell to Abraham Wald, an Austrian-born Jew who’d earned his PhD at the University of Vienna before emigrating to the United States as the war broke out. Once in the U.S., he joined the Statistical Research Group, a collection of mathematics luminaries tasked with helping the Allies to solve complex questions that could win the war — such as how to mitigate aircraft losses.


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Before coming to Wald, researchers from the Center for Naval Analyses had performed a study of returning planes. At first brush, the researchers’ conclusion seemed reasonable and intuitive: The Allies needed to add armor to the parts of the planes that drew the most gunfire.

Wald turned this idea on its head. He argued the Naval researchers were mistaken to analyze only the planes that returned from battle. In all likelihood, these planes survived because they absorbed gunfire in places that were already adequately protected. By not considering the planes that were shot down, the researchers lost sight of the central question they needed to solve: Which parts of their aircraft were most vulnerable to enemy fire?

Wald reasoned that surviving planes didn’t show damage in certain places because the damage would have been fatal. Instead of improving armor where Naval researchers saw lots of bullet holes, in other words, the Allies actually needed to fortify areas where the surviving planes hadn’t been hit.

As marketers who face mounting pressure to make data-driven decisions, here are three ways we can learn from Wald’s example.

1. The only thing worse than the wrong answer is the right answer to the wrong question.

The Naval researchers erred by asking the wrong question. The correct question wasn’t where surviving planes had been hit; it was where the planes that didn’t survive had been hit, and why the damage had been so devastating.

Suppose a piece of marketing content receives a large volume of likes or retweets, for example. Many marketers would assume the content must be effective. But a marketing piece’s goal generally isn’t to accrue likes; it’s to increase revenue. Revenue doesn’t correlate with retweets any more than the number of bullet holes on a 1940s bomber correlated with vulnerabilities in the plane’s design. When a marketer celebrates retweets and likes without understanding how they affect revenue, he or she is just like the Naval researchers who saw a cluster of bullet holes and assumed, “We should put more armor there.”

2. The best insights aren’t prescriptive. They combine data and human curiosity.

Wald didn’t rely solely on common sense to refute the Naval report. His reasoning can be summarized into something that sounds like simple logic, but to get there he completed a range of complicated calculations. That is, he used a combination of analytical thinking and human intuition.

The moral for marketers: Instead of expecting analytics to be prescriptive, think of them as muses for your own creative process. The goal isn’t to find an algorithm that spits out complete, neatly-packaged strategies. Rather, the goal is to find the meaningful signals in the data and to use this information as a starting point for creative strategies. If you have a hunch, validate it through data. If you’re unsure how to proceed, stories in the data can put you back on the right path.

3. It takes courage and conviction to be data-driven.

When data defies what everyone expects, marketers have to boldly stand their ground, just as Wald did.

Suppose a movie isn’t tracking well. The studio can use a variety of data science and natural language processing techniques to course-correct before opening day. By correlating financial histories with language patterns in consumers’ online statements, for example, the studio could identify what’s working and not working in its current ads and make adjustments. When the studios do this, they sometimes have to discard ideas in which they’ve already invested millions in P&A expenses. This is neither an easy nor a comfortable thing to do, but it can save millions more in the long run.

To use Wald’s example for today’s data problems, ask the following questions to evaluate data strategies:

  • Am I asking the right question? Am I measuring the factors and using the correlations that will answer this question?
  • Are my analytics complementary to my human intuition? Can I explore my data while engaging my curiosity and creativity?
  • Do I have the conviction to turn my data into a strategy? When the data points in unexpected directions, will I stand firm? Or will I revert to the status quo?

Joshua Reynolds heads marketing for Quantifind. He has been spent the last 18 years advising senior leaders at disruptive companies across multiple sectors how to accelerate market adoption by focusing on an authentic purpose. Prior to joining Quantifind, he served as CEO at Blanc & Otus. Previously, he served for five years as the Global Technology Practice Director for H+K Strategies. He began his technology career as a Gartner analyst.

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