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New Uber Leadership SVP Talks Trust, Diversity, And Building High-Performing Teams

When outspoken venture capitalist and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2011 that software is eating the world, he was only partly correct. In fact, business services based on software platforms are what’s eating the world.

Companies like Apple, which remade the mobile phone industry by offering app developers easy access to millions of iPhone owners through its iTunes App Store platform, are changing the economy. However, these world-eating companies are not just in the tech world. They are also emerging in industries that you might not expect: retailers, finance companies, transportation firms, and others outside of Silicon Valley are all at the forefront of the platform revolution.

These outsiders are taking platforms to the next level by building them around business services and data, not just apps. Companies are making business services such as logistics, 3D printing, and even roadside assistance for drivers available through a software connection that other companies can plug in to and consume or offer to their own customers.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image2 New Uber Leadership SVP Talks Trust, Diversity, And Building High Performing TeamsThere are two kinds of players in this business platform revolution: providers and participants. Providers create the platform and create incentives for developers to write apps for it. Developers, meanwhile, are participants; they can extend the reach of their apps by offering them through the platform’s virtual shelves.

Business platforms let companies outside of the technology world become powerful tech players, unleashing a torrent of innovation that they could never produce on their own. Good business platforms create millions in extra revenue for companies by enlisting external developers to innovate for them. It’s as if strangers are handing you entirely new revenue streams and business models on the street.

Powering this movement are application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs), which enable developers to easily plug their apps into a platform without having to know much about the complex software code that drives it. Developers get more time to focus on what they do best: writing great apps. Platform providers benefit because they can offer many innovative business services to end customers without having to create them themselves.

Any company can leverage APIs and SDKs to create new business models and products that might not, in fact, be its primary method of monetization. However, these platforms give companies new opportunities and let them outflank smaller, more nimble competitors.

Indeed, the platform economy can generate unbelievable revenue streams for companies. According to Platform Revolution authors Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary, travel site Expedia makes approximately 90% of its revenue by making business services available to other travel companies through its API.

In TechCrunch in May 2016, Matt Murphy and Steve Sloane wrote that “the number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality.” ProgrammableWeb.com, an API resource and directory, offers searchable access to more than 15,000 different APIs.

According to Accenture Technology Vision 2016, 82% of executives believe that platforms will be the “glue that brings organizations together in the digital economy.” The top 15 platforms (which include companies built entirely on this software architecture, such as eBay and Priceline.com) have a combined market capitalization of US$ 2.6 trillion.

It’s time for all companies to join the revolution. Whether working in alliance with partners or launching entirely in-house, companies need to think about platforms now, because they will have a disruptive impact on every major industry.

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To the Barricades

Several factors converged to make monetizing a company’s business services easier. Many of the factors come from the rise of smartphones, specifically the rise of Bluetooth and 3G (and then 4G and LTE) connections. These connections turned smartphones into consumption hubs that weren’t feasible when high-speed mobile access was spottier.

One good example of this is PayPal’s rise. In the early 2000s, it functioned primarily as a standalone web site, but as mobile purchasing became more widespread, third-party merchants clamored to integrate PayPal’s payment processing service into their own sites and apps.

In Platform Revolution, Parker, Van Alstyne, and Choudary claim that “platforms are eating pipelines,” with pipelines being the old, direct-to-consumer business methods of the past. The first stage of this takeover involved much more efficient digital pipelines (think of Amazon in the retail space and Grubhub for food delivery) challenging their offline counterparts.

What Makes Great Business Platforms Run?

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image8 New Uber Leadership SVP Talks Trust, Diversity, And Building High Performing Teams

The quality of the ecosystem that powers your platform is as important as the quality of experience you offer to customers. Here’s how to do it right.

Although the platform economy depends on them, application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) aren’t magic buttons. They’re tools that organizations can leverage to attract users and developers.

To succeed, organizations must ensure that APIs include extensive documentation and are easy for developers to add into their own products. Another part of platform success is building a general digital enterprise platform that includes both APIs and SDKs.

A good platform balances ease of use, developer support, security, data architecture (that is, will it play nice with a company’s existing systems?), edge processing (whether analytics are processed locally or in the cloud), and infrastructure (whether a platform provider operates its own data centers and cloud infrastructure or uses public cloud services). The exact formula for which elements to embrace, however, will vary according to the use case, the industry, the organization, and its customers.

In all cases, the platform should offer a value proposition that’s a cut above its competitors. That means a platform should offer a compelling business service that is difficult to duplicate.

By creating open standards and easy-to-work-with tools, organizations can greatly improve the platforms they offer. APIs and SDKs may sound complicated, but they’re just tools for talented people to do their jobs with. Enable these talented people, and your platform will take off.

In the second stage, platforms replace pipelines. Platform Revolution’s authors write: “The Internet no longer acts merely as a distribution channel (a pipeline). It also acts as a creation infrastructure and a coordination mechanism. Platforms are leveraging this new capability to create entirely new business models.” Good examples of second-stage companies include Airbnb, DoubleClick, Spotify, and Uber.

Allstate Takes Advantage of Its Hidden Jewels

Many companies taking advantage of platforms were around long before APIs, or even the internet, existed. Allstate, one of the largest insurers in the United States, has traditionally focused on insurance services. But recently, the company expanded into new markets—including the platform economy.

Allstate companies Allstate Roadside Services (ARS) and Arity, a technology company founded by Allstate in late 2016, have provided their parent company with new sources of revenue, thanks to new offerings. ARS launched Good Hands Rescue APIs, which allow third parties to leverage Allstate’s roadside assistance network in their own apps. Meanwhile, Arity offers a portfolio of APIs that let third parties leverage Allstate’s aggregate data on driver behavior and intellectual property related to risk prediction for uses spanning mobility, consumer, and insurance solutions.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image4 New Uber Leadership SVP Talks Trust, Diversity, And Building High Performing TeamsFor example, Verizon licenses an Allstate Good Hands Rescue API for its own roadside assistance app. And automakers GM and BMW also offer roadside assistance service through Allstate.

Potential customers for Arity’s API include insurance providers, shared mobility companies, automotive parts makers, telecoms, and others.

“Arity is an acknowledgement that we have to be digital first and think about the services we provide to customers and businesses,” says Chetan Phadnis, Arity’s head of product development. “Thinking about our intellectual property system and software products is a key part of our transformation. We think it will create new ways to make money in the vertical transportation ecosystem.”

One of Allstate’s major challenges is a change in auto ownership that threatens the traditional auto insurance model. No-car and one-car households are on the rise, ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft work on very different insurance models than passenger cars or traditional taxi companies, and autonomous vehicles could disrupt the traditional auto insurance model entirely.

This means that companies like Allstate are smart to look for revenue streams beyond traditional insurance offerings. The intangible assets that Allstate has accumulated over the years—a massive aggregate collection of driver data, an extensive set of risk models and predictive algorithms, and a network of garages and mechanics to help stranded motorists—can also serve as a new revenue stream for the future.

By offering two distinct API services for the platform economy, Allstate is also able to see what customers might want in the future. While the Good Hands Rescue APIs let third-party users integrate a specific service (such as roadside assistance) into their software tools, Arity instead lets third-party developers leverage huge data sets as a piece of other, less narrowly defined projects, such as auto maintenance. As Arity gains insights into how customers use and respond to those offerings, it gets a preview into potential future directions for its own products and services.

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Farmers Harvest Cash from a Platform

Another example of innovation fueling the platform economy doesn’t come from a boldfaced tech name. Instead, it comes from a relatively small startup that has nimbly built its business model around data with an interesting twist: it turns its customers into entrepreneurs.

Farmobile is a Kansas City–based agriculture tech company whose smart device, the Passive Uplink Connection (PUC), can be plugged into tractors, combines, sprayers, and other farm equipment.

Farmobile uses the PUC to enable farmers to monetize data from their fields, which is one of the savviest routes to success with platforms—making your platform so irresistible to end consumers that they foment the revolution for you.

Once installed, says CEO Jason Tatge, the PUC streams second-by-second data to farmers’ Farmobile accounts. This gives them finely detailed reports, called Electronic Field Records (EFRs), that they can use to improve their own business, share with trusted advisors, and sell to third parties.

The PUC gives farmers detailed records for tracking analytics on their crops, farms, and equipment and creates a marketplace where farmers can sell their data to third parties. Farmers benefit because they generate extra income; Farmobile benefits because it makes a commission on each purchase and builds a giant store of aggregated farming data.

This last bit is important if Farmobile is to successfully compete with traditional agricultural equipment manufacturers, which also gather data from farmers. Farmobile’s advantage (at least for now) is that the equipment makers limit their data gathering to their existing customer bases and sell it back to them in the form of services designed to improve crop yields and optimize equipment performance.

Farmobile, meanwhile, is trying to appeal to all farmers by sharing the wealth, which could help it leapfrog the giants that already have large customer bases. “The ability to bring data together easily is good for farmers, so we built API integrations to put data in one place,” says Tatge.

Farmers can resell their data on Farmobile’s Data Store to buyers such as reinsurance firm Guy Carpenter. To encourage farmers to opt in, says Tatge, “we told farmers that if they run our device over planting and harvest season, we can guarantee them $ 2 per acre for their EFRs.”

So far, Farmobile’s customers have sent the Data Store approximately 4,200 completed EFRs for both planting and harvest, which will serve as the backbone of the company’s data monetization efforts. Eventually, Farmobile hopes to expand the offerings on the Data Store to include records from at least 10 times as many different farm fields.

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Under Armour Binges on APIs

Another model for the emerging business platform world comes from Under Armour, the sports apparel giant. Alongside its very successful clothing and shoe lines, Under Armour has put its platform at the heart of its business model.

But rather than build a platform itself, Under Armour has used its growing revenues to create an industry-leading ecosystem. Over the past decade, it has purchased companies that already offer APIs, including MapMyFitness, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal, and then linked them all together into a massive platform that serves 30 million consumers.

This strategy has made Under Armour an indispensable part of the sprawling mobile fitness economy. According to the company’s 2016 annual results, its business platform ecosystem, known as the Connected Fitness division, generated $ 80 million in revenue that year—a 51% increase over 2015.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image7 New Uber Leadership SVP Talks Trust, Diversity, And Building High Performing TeamsBy combining existing APIs from its different apps with original tools built in-house, extensive developer support, and a robust SDK, third-party developers have everything they need to build their own fitness app or web site.

Depending on their needs, third-party developers can sign up for several different payment plans with varying access to Under Armour’s APIs and SDKs. Indeed, the company’s tiered developer pricing plan for Connected Fitness, which is separated into Starter, Pro, and Premium levels, makes Under Armour seem more like a tech company than a sports apparel firm.

As a result, Under Armour’s APIs and SDKs are the underpinnings of a vast platform cooperative. Under Armour’s apps seamlessly integrate with popular services like Fitbit and Garmin (even though Under Armour has a fitness tracker of its own) and are licensed by corporations ranging from Microsoft to Coca-Cola to Purina. They’re even used by fitness app competitors like AthletePath and Lose It.

A large part of Under Armour’s success is the sheer amount of data its fitness apps collect and then make available to developers. MyFitnessPal, for instance, is an industry-leading calorie and food tracker used for weight loss, and Endomondo is an extremely popular running and biking record keeper and route-sharing platform.

One way of looking at the Connected Fitness platform is as a combination of traditional consumer purchasing data with insights gleaned from Under Armour’s suite of apps, as well as from the third-party apps that Under Armour’s products use.

Indeed, Under Armour gets a bonus from the platform economy: it helps the company understand its customers better, creating a virtuous cycle. As end users use different apps fueled by Under Armour’s services and data-sharing capabilities, Under Armour can then use that data to fuel customer engagement and attract additional third-party app developers to add new services to the ecosystem.

What Successful Platforms Have in Common

The most successful business platforms have three things in common: They’re easy to work with, they fulfill a market need, and they offer data that’s useful to customers.

For instance, Farmobile’s marketplace fulfills a valuable need in the market: it lets farmers monetize data and develop a new revenue stream that otherwise would not exist. Similarly, Allstate’s Arity experiment turns large volumes of data collected by Allstate over the years into a revenue stream that drives down costs for Arity’s clients by giving them more accurate data to integrate into their apps and software tools.

Meanwhile, Under Armour’s Connected Fitness platform and API suite encourage users to sign up for more apps in the company’s ecosystem. If you track your meals in MyFitnessPal, you’ll want to track your runs in Endomondo or MapMyRun. Similarly, if you’re an app developer in the health and fitness space, Under Armour has a readily available collection of tools that will make it easy for users to switch over to your app and cheaper for you to develop your app.

As the platform economy grows, all three of these approaches—Allstate’s leveraging of its legacy business data, Farmobile’s marketplace for users to become data entrepreneurs, and Under Armour’s one-stop fitness app ecosystem—are extremely useful examples of what happens next.

In the coming months and years, the platform economy will see other big changes. In 2016 for example, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google all released APIs for their AI-powered voice assistant platforms, the most famous of which is Apple’s Siri.

The introduction of APIs confirms that the AI technology behind these bots has matured significantly and that a new wave of AI-based platform innovation is nigh. (In fact, Digitalistpredicted last year that the emergence of an API for these AIs would open them up beyond conventional uses.) New voice-operated technologies such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa offer exciting opportunities for developers to create full-featured, immersive applications on top of existing platforms.

We will also see AI- and machine learning–based APIs emerge that will allow developers to quickly leverage unstructured data (such as social media posts or texts) for new applications and services. For instance, sentiment analysis APIs can help explore and better understand customers’ interests, emotions, and preferences in social media.

As large providers offer APIs and associated services for smaller organizations to leverage AI and machine learning, these companies can in turn create their own platforms for clients to use unstructured data—everything from insights from uploaded photographs to recognizing a user’s emotion based on facial expression or tone of voice—in their own apps and products. Meanwhile, the ever-increasing power of cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure will give these computing-intensive app platforms the juice they need to become deeper and richer.

These business services will depend on easy ways to exchange and implement data for success. The good news is that finding easy ways to share data isn’t hard and the API and SDK offerings that fuel the platform economy will become increasingly robust. Thanks to the opportunities generated by these new platforms and the new opportunities offered to end users, developers, and platform businesses themselves, everyone stands to win—if they act soon. D!


About the Authors

Bernd Leukert is a member of the Executive Board, Products and Innovation, for SAP.

Björn Goerke is Chief Technology Officer and President, SAP Cloud Platform, for SAP.

Volker Hildebrand is Global Vice President for SAP Hybris solutions.

Sethu M is President, Mobile Services, for SAP.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.


Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Expert Interview (Part 2): Decideo’s Nieuwbourg Talks Trends in Big Data, IoT & Data Visualization

In Part 1 of our two-part conversation, Phillipe Nieuwbourg (@nieuwbourg) talked about the founding of Decideo, interesting developments in data, what tools and skills you need, and mistakes to avoid to get the most out of data. In today’s part 2, he addresses what businesses should be doing with data today, and down the road, and trends in Big Data, IoT and data visualization.

In general, what should businesses be doing from a technology standpoint today to prepare for the ways they’ll use data down the road?

First: collect and store data. Without fresh and accurate data in your data lake, you can’t analyze anything. It’s the first step of a data culture. Of course, privacy and regulation are key to collecting the right data you will be able to analyze.

From a technology standpoint, it means to create what we call a “data lake” – a place where data will be stored, ready to be used by analytics applications we already know or for future needs. And of course, I repeat it, to verify and protect data from their sources to the data lake, to be sure we will be able to use it to generate value.

blog TDWI Data Lake Checklist 1 Expert Interview (Part 2): Decideo’s Nieuwbourg Talks Trends in Big Data, IoT & Data Visualization

What are the most promising new IoT applications you’re observing in business today?

IoT is fantastic. Humans can generate data, but they have limits that sensors don’t have. Objects, sensors, can generate thousands of data every minute. It’s an inexhaustible data source.

Predictive maintenance, consumer behavior analytics, video recognition for security applications … there’s no industry that will avoid the IoT wave. If you don’t know yet how IoT will transform your industry, focus on it! It will, you are just late!

Related: The IoT-Big Data Convergence

Why is effective data visualization so critical to an organization’s ability to understand their data? What should organizations look for in high-quality data visualization tools?

Imagine you have analyzed terabytes of data. You found something, a behavior, a trend, a pattern… how will you bring this to your management? Will you, like a research scientist, produce a black and white text presentation with complex equations? Certainly not the best way to convince your general manager. Just one image is better than a report or a long text explanation. But how to choose the right graphical visualization? How to create the Wow effect in your boss’ eyes? That’s where data visualization software come.

Do you know that Excel can generate only two types of graphic? There’s plenty of highly understandable graphics that your management will love, but that you can’t do in Excel. Just remember how Charles Joseph Minard created in 1869 the famous Napoleon’s march to Moscow graphic. The data visualization you will choose doesn’t depend on your data, it depends on your message. And you need an advanced software to do it.

Related: Visualization for Big Data

How has the way companies are able to visualize their data evolved in recent years? What developments interest you in the world of data visualization right now?

We’ve moved from data visualization to data storytelling.

Like in Hans Rosling famous TED presentations, you must tell a story. People never remember the statistics you put in your PowerPoint, they will remember the story you told them. And to transform your boring slides into a stunning story, you will need to apply storytelling techniques to data analysis. Animated data, storytelling techniques, you have the keys – the same used in Hollywood movies, or to write the scenario of House of Cards next season. By the way, do you know that Netflix is the first data driven movie/series producer?

What trends or innovations in the field of Big Data, data visualization and IoT are you following right now? Why do they excite you?

I continue to follow the data storytelling field. Actual software is a first generation. I miss a lot of functionalities. There’s actually no real data storytelling software on the market. I hope to discover one very soon.

And I’m really interested in deep learning, specially applied to IoT video feeds and photos analysis. If we can automatically “understand” a situation, we can automatically suggest an action. It can be a recommendation, a human intervention, but if we help people to understand data more quickly, we will make a step forward to the “augmented intelligence” I was talking before.

What’s one piece of advice you find yourself repeating to organizations over and over related to Big Data? One takeaway you think every organization should hear?

It’s not a technology project! Big Data is not a technology issue, it’s all about business. Stop buying technology before having understood and measured your data value. The result of Big Data analysis can be very small. Imagine a model that every morning gives you the list of the 10 prospects you must call today because they are ready to sign. Perhaps it’s Big Data analysis, but the result is a list of 10 names … small data. Don’t focus on technology, focus on business.

And don’t tell me Big Data is expensive. It’s never too costly. Because you will always prototype, often with open source software or with tools you already have, and anticipate your ROI before investing in high level infrastructure. Big Data will never be a charge, it’s will always be a source of revenue. If you accept to move step by step and focus on business challenges. And I wish the best of luck to all our readers. Data Driven Economy is a fantastic opportunity for the actual and next generations to generate value, and do things better.

To learn how to put your legacy data to work for you, and plan and launch successful data lake projects with tips and tricks from industry experts,download Syncsort’s Building a Data Lake Checklist Report!

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Surrealpolitik as Bannon talks to liberals, but somehow not about the Trump administration… much

 Surrealpolitik as Bannon talks to liberals, but somehow not about the Trump administration... much

More puzzling is the fact that Bannon would phone a writer and editor of a progressive publication (the cover lines on whose first two issues after Trump’s election were “Resisting Trump” and “Containing Trump”) and assume that a possible convergence of views on China trade might somehow paper over the political and moral chasm on white nationalism. The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press. He’s probably the most media-savvy person in America.

Bannon recently gave an interview to a liberal publication, American Prospect, on economic nationalism, trade war, and a plea to pay no attention to the massive unrest within the WH.

Key was to not talk about anything Russian, or Mercer-related, or Cambridge Analytica, or about Bannonism itself.

Hence ‘ethno-nationalism’ became a feint much like any distraction from the Mueller investigation. distancing himself from the white supremacist ‘collection of clowns’.

His comments as few as they’ve been, have tended to discussing ‘economic nationalism’ because that distracts media and helps focus GOP loyalty since it at present is about China, leaving immigration and Islamophobia alone.

White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon condemned white nationalist “clowns” in an interview Wednesday, but continued to hit Democrats over “identity politics”, saying if they talked about race every day he could ensure Republican election victories.

“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” the former head of Breitbart told The American Prospect in an interview.

“I want them to talk about racism every day.”

“If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats,” he added.

www.vox.com/…

Economic nationalism refers to an ideology favoring policies that emphasize domestic control of the economy, labor, and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labor, goods and capital.

In the interview, Bannon struck a similar tone, promising an “economic war” against China and laying out exactly how he’d want it to go down:

“To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.”

Bannon’s plan of attack includes: a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping. “We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”

The President has significant authority under federal law to retaliate against countries he believes are trading unfairly. Section 301, for example, authorizes tariffs and quotas against a country ruled to be engaging in “unjustifiable, unreasonable, or discriminatory” trading behavior. There are a number of statutes Trump could choose from in bringing tariffs against Chinese steel and aluminum.

These would likely cause China to retaliate with tariffs of its own, launching an international trade war leaving everyone, particularly poor people in China, worse off.

One geopolitical reason not to do this is that China is by far the largest trading partner of North Korea, which gives it significant economic leverage with which to pressure the regime. The Trump administration might want to stay on China’s good side to try to push North Korea to stop missile tests and slow its nuclear program.

 Surrealpolitik as Bannon talks to liberals, but somehow not about the Trump administration... much
Reuters cited three White House officials earlier Wednesday who said that Bannon could be demoted by Trump, who they described as “nervous” about the blowback from punishing Bannon.
“The president obviously is very nervous and afraid of firing him,” a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

But Bannon suggests that for him, at least, this is not a priority:

Bannon said he might consider a deal in which China got North Korea to freeze its nuclear buildup with verifiable inspections and the United States removed its troops from the peninsula, but such a deal seemed remote. Given that China is not likely to do much more on North Korea, and that the logic of mutually assured destruction was its own source of restraint, Bannon saw no reason not to proceed with tough trade sanctions against China.

Bannon explained that his strategy is to battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right. Hence the phone call to me.

There are a couple of things that are startling about this premise. First, to the extent that most of the opponents of Bannon’s China trade strategy are other Trump administration officials, it’s not clear how reaching out to the left helps him. If anything, it gives his adversaries ammunition to characterize Bannon as unreliable or disloyal.

www.vox.com/…

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And in #TrumpRussia, an Ukrainian malware expert who hacked the DNC, is now talking to the FBI, but like many characters, it is more about the other connections. Like the late Peter W. Smith was not as important himself to the FBI as the connections he created. And some Russians are nervous, since Rohrabacher is now talking to Assange.

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PowerObjects Talks IoT with the Dynamics Podcast

PO UK Headshot Marco 1 800x600 300x225 PowerObjects Talks IoT with the Dynamics Podcast

Iot is a buzzword heard a lot in the world of technology these days. Check out this live interview that PowerObjects’ Marco gave for the Dynamics Podcast at CRMUG Summit EMEA 2017 on something cool he built that accurately predicts someone’s age just by facial recognition and then stores that information back into Dynamics 365. It’s the best of both worlds – IoT and Dynamics 365!

Want to learn more about IoT and where Dynamics 365 fits in? Join us for a webinar showcasing how to actively listen to what your IoT devices are telling you and how to take action. Register today!

Happy CRM’ing!

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Expert Interview (Part 2): Sean Anderson Talks about Spark Structured Streaming and Cloud Support

In Part 1, Cloudera’s Sean Anderson (@SeanAndersonBD), summarized what’s new in Spark 2.0. In Part 2, he talks more about new features for Spark Structured Streaming, including how unified APIs simplify support for streaming and batch workloads, and support for Spark in the Cloud.

In Spark 2.0, the ecosystem combined the functional API’s and now you have a unified API for both batch and streaming jobs. It’s pretty nice to not have to use different interfaces to achieve this. There’s still native language support, and they are still very simplified and easy to use APIs, but for both of those types of workloads.

blog Spark diagram Expert Interview (Part 2): Sean Anderson Talks about Spark Structured Streaming and Cloud Support

Roberts: Ooh! Streaming and batch together in one interface is something Syncsort has been pushing for a while! That’s great to hear. Very validating.

Anderson: Then the last improvement was around Spark Structured Streaming, which is a streaming API that runs on top of Spark SQL. That generally gives us better performance on micro-batch or streaming workloads, and really helps with things like out of order data handling.

There was this issue with Spark Streaming before where you may have outputs that resolve themselves quicker than the actual inputs or variables. So you have a lot of really messy out of order data that people had to come up with homegrown solutions to address.

And now that Spark Structured Streaming has essentially extensible table rows forever, you can really do that out of order data handling a lot better.

Related: Syncsort goes native for Hadoop and Spark mainframe data integration

Streaming and batch seems like they’ve always been two separate things, and they’re becoming more and more just two different ways to handle data. We are also seeing a lot of push towards Cloud. What else are you seeing coming up that looks exciting?

For us, really understanding how we guide our customers on deploying in the Cloud is great. There’s persistent clusters, there’s transient clusters. For ETL, what’s the best design pattern for that? For exploratory data science, what’s the best for that? For machine learning, what’s the best for cloud based scoring? So giving customers some guidance on those aspects is key.

blog banner BBDtL ExpertsSay Expert Interview (Part 2): Sean Anderson Talks about Spark Structured Streaming and Cloud Support

Recently, we announced S3 integration for Apache Spark which allows us to run Spark jobs on data that already lives in S3. The transient aspects of clusters makes it very easy to just spin up compute resources, and run a Spark job on data that lives in S3. And then you don’t have to spend all that time moving the data and going through all the manual work on the front end.

Really work on the data right where it is.

Exactly. That’s Spark in the Cloud.

Syncsort recently announced support for Spark 2.0 in our DMX-h Intelligent Execution (IX) capabilities. Be sure to check that out, and see what the experts have to say about Spark in our recent eBook.  

Also, be sure to the read the third and final part of this interview on Friday. Paige and Sean talk about two new projects that Cloudera is excited about, Apache Livy and Apache Spot.

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WATCH: Comedian And Host Michael Colyar Talks New Show Plus The Origin On The “N” Word!

Here is an interview we conducted with comedian and host Michael Colyar as he talks about his upcoming projects, plus the origin of the N Word! Check out the interview! SUBSCRIBE to our channel!

Universal’s Reboot Of ‘Scarface’ Loses Director Antoine Fuqua!

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Expert Interview Series – Part 2: Scott Gnau Talks Big Data Governance, Cyber Security, and Superhero Justice

At Hadoop Summit, Syncsort’s Paige Roberts sat down with Hortonworks Chief Technology Officer, Scott Gnau. In this interview, Scott talks about what Hadoop is, from his perspective, how it fits into the wide world of data analytics, and what’s coming down the pipeline that’s particularly exciting. In part 1, they talked about Hadoop, Spark and Hortonworks’ reseller partnership with Syncsort, In part 2, Paige and Scott talk about the state of governance in Hadoop and metadata management, what’s new in cyber security and why it’s important,

Paige Roberts: One of our customers’ big questions is about metadata management and governance. We’re seeing that Atlas is starting to gain ground. What would you say is the state of governance and metadata management in Hadoop?

Scott Gnau: I think it’s still very nascent space. It’s obviously something we at Hortonworks think is extremely important. But it’s also extremely important that we solve any of those big problems with a community approach. Sometimes getting the community to rally can be more time consuming than in a proprietary software company where you can say, “Alright, you, go build this solution.” You can direct it. You can make it start. You can make it finish. Working with a community requires a bit more finesse and I think, from a startup perspective, it can take a little time to get people’s attention. We’ve done that.

We got the community together. We got a number of customers to collaborate with. We got contributions not only from Hortonworks, but from across the community on Atlas. The thing is now starting to gain momentum. Also, I think the community approach is important because it needs to be an open API that everyone will adopt or it will fail. We saw that in the RDBMS world. No one really emerged as a leader in metadata management because every RDBMS out there had its own standard. There was this fragmentation in the market that didn’t allow it to be completely successful. Certainly there were tools and applications, but in the end, there wasn’t one uber solution to metadata management in RDBMS.

In our world, it is a much more complex problem because the data sets are much more diverse. They change more rapidly. There are more eyeballs and hands touching the data. So, it’s also a bigger problem to solve, and I think the community can do that by causing everyone to come together, and reducing that fragmentation that we saw in some of the earlier markets. That said, maybe [it isn’t happening] as quickly as we would like, but now we’re there, we’ve got momentum. We’re on the second major release of Atlas, and we’re starting to gain some ground.

Obviously, the approach you take in that governance space is the lowest common denominator. How do I create a common interface for data tagging and data tags that stay with the data all throughout its lifecycle, regardless of who touches it or what applications it’s loaded into, so that you can always trace it back from a governance perspective. Also, where we’ve integrated with Ranger, you can now apply security rules based on metadata tags. So I think it’s a very powerful framework. It’s going to continue to mature, and add feature functionality, integration, operationalization, all the things that you expect as something gets off the ground and becomes more mainstream. Obviously, we’re happy that a number of application vendors are looking at how to plug into Atlas and build a contextual kind of user interface around metadata management, taking advantage of the tags that are built in the platform.

Sorry, that wasn’t exactly a yes or no answer.

No problem. That would be boring. And a really short interview.

42

[laughing] Yes, of course, that’s always the answer, the answer to life, the universe and everything. So, tell me about something cool coming up that we don’t know about yet.

I think Apache Metron is interesting. We had a keynote speaker [at Hadoop Summit] talk about the advantages.  There are two things I like about Apache Metron that I think are exciting. The first, when I think about cyber [security] and all the threats that are out there, it’s almost like there’s a community of cyber terrorists out there that are clamoring against the free world and free information flow. Frankly, they’re making the world more of a pain in the neck than it needs to be. So, I like the idea of an open-source community kind of banding together to create technology to protect fee information flow. I think there’s something very fair about it.

It’s very comic book awesome justice.

Yeah. You’d get that. You’re wearing a Captain America shield on your shirt.

Yeah, it’s a Syncsort shirt, really, but I love it because I’m a massive comic book geek.

So you’ve got that. And then, the second thing that I think is interesting about it is that it really is an example of what we call a modern data application. It takes advantage, not only of historical data, but also of streaming data for a net benefit. So instead of analyzing logs after the fact and understanding that you were hacked, you can do that to create analytics. Then you can apply those analytics in real-time. You can say, “Hey, this bozo is actually trying to hack me now. Let me shut that port off.”

We talk about modern-day applications being able to make decisions at the right time, or in real-time using streaming data, taking advantage of the collective knowledge you have from data at rest.

Cyber security is the ultimate example of that.

Cyber security is a really great example of that. It’s completely horizontal. It impacts every business, every company that’s out there. It’s a really great use case for us to exemplify what modern-day architectures are really about.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Hortonworks is way cool.

I totally agree. Hortonworks is way cool.

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10 TED Talks to Watch to be a Better Marketer

10 TED Talks to Watch to be a Better Marketer  FI 10 TED Talks to Watch to be a Better Marketer

TED, a nonprofit founded in 1984, was created as a forum for thought leaders to give an 18-minute or less talk on the places and spaces where technology, entertainment, and design collide. TED’s overarching mission is to spread great ideas, and to encourage all to seek a better understanding of the world. From its start as a one-day conference to a viral video community, TED has brought together some of the brightest minds to share their life’s work and passions.

Marketing, in its purest form, is also dedicated to storytelling and spreading innovative ideas. And as marketers, we’re highly focused on being able to communicate clearly, exhibit leadership in our organizations, and create unique and disruptive work.

From social media to physics, these 10 TED Talks were curated by Act-On for marketers to provoke new ideas, increase efficiency and happiness in the workplace, and inspire leadership.

Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit, is a true leader when it comes to community-led social media. During this talk he explains how the real power of social media is more than just garnering Likes and Shares, it’s about the growth and change resulting from genuine community participation. Watch this talk to see how Mr. Splashy Pants used the swell of social media engagement to save whales.

Author of “Start with Why” and “Leaders Eat Last,” Simon Sinek has a heck of a lot to say about effective leadership. He’s the creator of a model called the Golden Circle, what he says is “a naturally occurring pattern, grounded in the biology of human decision making, that explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages, and organizations, over others.” As a professor of graduate-level strategic communications at Columbia University, Sinek is an expert on inspirational leadership, which he says all starts with the question “Why?” Watch this TED Talk to learn about a leadership ideology that inspires cooperation, trust, and change.

We all agree that marketing and physics go hand in hand, right? I didn’t think so either until I watched this TED Talk. Dan Cobley, a Marketing Director at Google, has always worked in the marketing field but his degree is actually in physics. Passionate about both subjects, Cobley draws a series of interesting comparisons between the two subjects using Newton’s Second Law, the fundamentals of branding, and other unlikely pairs. Tune in to this TED Talk to think about marketing in a whole new way.

We’re all trying to cut down on our stress. From yoga to meditation to herbal tea, the modern society is obsessed with ridding our lives of stress because it’s bad for our bodies and minds. Well, not according to Kelly McGonigal, who feels really bad about telling her former patients that stress would harm them. Instead, she says, a pounding heart, sweaty palms, and heavy breathing are not bad for you – as long as you believe that it isn’t. McGonigal’s research shows that stress is not actually what is physically harmful, it’s only bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Too good to be true? Watch this TED Talk to learn how your mind can actually change your body’s physical response to stress, and how it might actually be good for you.

According to Forbes, Seth Godin is “a demigod on the web, a best-selling author, highly sought-after lecturer, successful entrepreneur, respected pundit and high-profile blogger. He is uniquely respected for his understanding of the Internet.” After starting a successful company that was purchased by Yahoo!, Godin published multiple books that received critical acclaim. This talk is all about how to separate the good ideas from the ordinary ones, and why that sometimes means embracing the weird and bad ideas.

Marketers hate landing on a 404 page. We’re critical, and quick to judge whoever’s mistake it was that led us there. But not all 404 pages are created equal. In this TED Talk, Renny Gleeson, a Wieden+Kennedy interactive strategist, shows us how some organizations have found a creative way to let you know you’ve landed on the wrong page. As a self-proclaimed skeptimist (skeptical optimist), Gleeson shows us that there’s always an opportunity to be creative, even when it comes to “a page not found.”

How often do you have “lollipop moments?” In this TED Talk Drew Dudley, a Leadership Educator, talks about how leadership isn’t just for the people who sit in the corner office. It’s an untapped quality within all of us, and we’re given an opportunity to display it every day. This TED Talk is both entertaining and inspiring. Give it a watch on Monday morning before the work week madness begins, it’s guaranteed to boost your good feels for the day.

In 2012, Dawesar found herself smack dab in the middle of Sandy Hook’s destruction. Amidst power outages, flooding, and shortages of food, Abha Dawesar found herself drudging herself halfway across town for … a place to charge her cellphone. This TED Talk eloquently discusses our obsession with staying connected, and how it fits into our always-on, digital world. This video provides an interesting perspective for marketers who are dedicated to making sure our digital messages are seen – those of us who rely on modern technology for the success of our digital campaigns.

Adam Grant is hooked on finding out which factors go into success. He’s studied the dynamics of a successful and productive workspace for years, and is an expert on what what separates mediocrity from originality. Grant is charming, energetic, and endearingly awkward. The kind of person you respect immensely but aren’t intimidated by. In his TED Talk, he explores what he’s found to be the three most common habits of original thinkers. One major theme that Grant focuses on is embracing failure – even encouraging it. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones,” he says.

In this TED Talk (a personal favorite of mine) Amy Cuddy discusses how the way you hold your body might actually be dictating the course of your life. In particular, she talks about how “Power Posing” can release certain chemicals in your brain to actually make you feel stronger and more confident – and make you more successful. According to Cuddy, body language not only dictates the way people see us, but it also controls who we are and how we feel. While not specific to marketers, Cuddy helps you understand how your body language influencers others, and your own brain. This TED Talk gives you an incredibly actionable way to evaluate and change your non-verbal language, and improve your life.

With more than 2200 TED Talks available online, you have access to creative insight on almost any topic imaginable. From social media to improving leadership, TED Talks are a great resource for marketers wanting to expand their knowledge, and to rethink their current processes. This list is by no means comprehensive, in fact, we encourage you to do more searching on the TED.com website!

Which Ted Talk is your personal fav? Which one have you found most interesting, or most meaningful?

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WATCH: Deon Cole Talks New Special, How He Landed On ‘Angie Tribeca’, And ‘Black-Ish’!

Here is an interview we conducted a couple of weeks ago at The Wilbur Theater in Boston with comedian, actor and writer, Deon Cole during the Shaq Comedy All Stars Comedy Show.

As many of you already know, Cole is going to appear in the upcoming film Babrebrshop: In The Cut, and is a cast member on ABC’s Black-ish but during this interview he reveals how he landed on TBS’ Angie Tribeca, the project from Steve Carrell.

Things are starting to move really quickly for Cole and we asked him about these projects and a couple more in the interview below;

An Upcoming Episode Of ‘Black-ish’ To Take On Police Brutality!

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The Humor Mill

Obama Talks About Clinton and Sanders

There is an interesting interview in Politico with Barack Obama from a week before the Iowa caucuses, talking about the 2016 election and what he thinks about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders:

Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose. I think Hillary came in with the both privilege — and burden — of being perceived as the front-runner. … You’re always looking at the bright, shiny object that people haven’t seen before — that’s a disadvantage to her.

And what he thinks of Donald Trump and the Republican party:

You think about it: When I ran against John McCain, John McCain and I had real differences, sharp differences, but John McCain didn’t deny climate science. John McCain didn’t call for banning Muslims from the United States. … [The] Republican vision has moved not just to the right, but has moved to a place that is unrecognizable.

It’s a good article, well worth a read.

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Political Irony