YouTube turns eightyears old today, reminding each of us in some odd way how young or old we really are. Remember, the company launched back in 2005, the same year that Michael Jackson was found not guilty of child molestation, and Lance Armstrong was winning his seventh Tours De France, and Arrested Development was still on the air.
A lot has changed since then, but YouTube’s growth remains strong as ever. YouTube announced that its community now uploads more than 100 hours of video to the platform every minute. Minute. That’s the equivalent of four days worth of video every sixty seconds.
But of course, the supply makes sense when you consider the demand. YouTubeclaims that more than one billion people across the world come to YouTube for content each month, which comes out to nearly one in every two people who have access to the internet.
Here’s a little perspective on growth: Two years ago, YouTube revealed that users were uploading 48 hours of video each minute, and last year it had grown to 72 hours. Eight years in, YouTube is still a growing platform, while Facebook may be slipping amongst younger and fresher social niche applications.
Meanwhile, YouTube opens up new possibilities for startups who want to leverage its massive, active user base and content library. Telecast, in particular, comes to mind, as the betaworks company helps makes all those billions of videos discoverable and curated on mobile devices.
Here’s what YouTube had to say about it, in the official blog post:
And so, on our eighth birthday, we’d like to thank you for makingYouTube the special place that it is. For showing us how video can create connections, transcend borders and make a difference. For clicking these links even if you aren’t sure what they’ll be, but you trust us. In short, thanks for making us better in big ways and small ones, too. We can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
When you need lemon juice for a recipe, nothingbeatsfresh-squeezed, but it’s always a struggle to coax a lot of juice out of the fruit. As it turns out, the secret is to cut the lemon lengthwise. More »
Despite its name, the performance marketing industry — i.e., search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click marketing (PPC) and affiliate marketing — is ripe for bad behavior. In fact, a few years ago, I started to notice that potential clients of mine were having the same kind of problems over and over again with their performance marketing programs and vendors. The clients did not really understand enough about the work being done, and the success metrics used to claim success by vendors were very misleading.
While online marketing is very measurable (thanks to its data-driven focus), the data itself can be fairly easily manipulated to make almost any program look successful. As a result, prospective clients were being told their programs were growing and bringing in substantial new revenue, when in reality, they were costing a lot of money and not creating much value at all.
It quickly became clear to me that educating potential clients with a detailed “under the hood” look at their online marketing programs could demonstrate the problems undermining their existing programs and, at the same time, prove the value of our own approach. (Education like this also provides my team with a significant amount of information on how our competitor’s position, sell, and service offerings.) Today, our transparency sets our sales process apart from other firms in our industry, and is often a top reason why we’re awarded new business.
But transparency is a best practice almost any sales-oriented organization can adopt. Here are a few key ways in which you can set yourself apart from the competition — and ultimately sign more clients:
1. Be willing to educate the prospect on your own dime.
Prospects often aren’t completely clear on the details required to create and manage, say, a successful customer acquisition program. We audit programs for every viable prospect, then walk them through the areas that are performing, and those that are not, to discuss ways the program might be altered to achieve more success.
While complimentary audits take time and resources but do not generate revenue, they show prospects how we operate as a team, how we approach their program, and our level of service. No matter what industry you’re in, this is a great way to nurture leads.
2. Go way under the hood when researching competitors and their businesses.
Understanding the competition is a really important part of the selling process. But relying solely on website content and social media activity is a mistake. It’s imperative to understand every step of the competition’s process, from marketing and sales to delivery and staffing, reporting and service, and even employee and client retention. The goal is to show clients that you are selling something that’s really differentiated and that you’re willing – and able – to fully understand industry dynamics.
3. Listen to a prospect’s past frustrations.
Entrepreneurs are always told to listen to the client, and certainly that is true in servicing them, but it is also an excellent way to learn about competitors before the next sales meeting. We listen very closely to our competition’s ex-clients when they discuss their frustrations, and we dissect their key selling points from the client’s point of view. We study their staffing models, research their team members on LinkedIn, and take notice when key customers drop off their websites. We also look for information from quotes, press releases and speaking events.
Whenever we win a new client or take over for another vendor, we try and learn as much as we can about what we were up against by getting copies of their proposals and client reports and looking at the makeup of the team that serviced them (e.g., were they very junior?). Most of our clients come to us after a bad relationship, and we want to know why it was bad and where they were misled.
4. Neutralize your competition’s strengths.
Recently, we won a major account where we were up against 1-2 larger competitors. In our proposal, we neutralized our competitors’ strengths by educating the client on the industry and the common tactics used to mislead prospects about performance. We also carefully outlined the differences in our staffing model, client/staff ratios, reporting metrics, etc., and specifically debunked many of the selling points that we know our competitors emphasize. In many ways, we turned their perceived strengths into weaknesses.
We learned early on in our business that we have a very different approach from our competitors — one that is more about creating sustainable long-term value than fast results that aren’t real and won’t last. When we talk to a prospect about what our competition will promise, and why the results will not be what they seem, they often return to us impressed. In short, our transparency is a major selling point.
But perhaps the most unexpected upshot is this: No matter the industry, an educated buyer always makes a better long-term partner.
Robert Glazer is a serial entrepreneur and customer acquisition specialist with an exceptional track record of growing revenue and profits for early to mid-stage consumer businesses. His firm, Acceleration Partners, is a go-to advisor for affiliate and performance marketing to many of the industry’s top brands, including adidas, Bonobos, ModCloth, One Kings Lane, Reebok, and Tiny Prints.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneursstart and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
It might have given you invincibility or unlimited ammo on the countless games that acknowledged it, but sadly the Konami code won’t buy you a single second of extrasleep on this custom Xronos alarm clock. But the large scoreboard-like LED display and use of authentic console buttons will have you wondering if you fell asleep at the arcade again. More »
Google+, the social layer that Googleintroduced almost two years ago, has evolved quite a bit since its launch. Today, the company announced a complete redesign, taking cues from the mobile experience that has drawn positive feedback from those who don’t even use the service. In total, Google has launched 41 new features for Google+, including a completely revamped Photo product, Hangouts app and the stream that people interact with on a daily basis.
There are currently 390M monthly active users over the web and 190M directly on the stream.
The stream changes will be familiar to Google+ users on iOS and Android, but have a few new wrinkles. The first noticeable item is the stream, which has been given the three-column treatment that the iPad version of the service presents so well. This is a huge departure from the Twitter and Facebook feed approach, which presents everything in one column. The multi-column design lets you scan items quicker, rather than scrolling endlessly for something to interact with.
I sat down with Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, and he walked me through some of the new features. He was quick to point out that Google’s new approach to “feeds” will bring more attention to content:
We’re fixing a longstanding problem with these feeds, they’re flat. Other sites let you scroll through posts that have been shared with you. You can’t go through and read on more topics. You can’t go deeper on an interest on topic.
Just in case you haven’t used Google+ at all, or want to see the quick contrast between the two designs, here’s what the stream looked like before today, complete with that awkward white space on the right:
The toolbar has been simplified, looking like the toolbar you see on search and every other property. The days of static left-hand navigation is gone, and good riddance. It only comes up when you need it by hovering over the “Home” button.
You’ll also notice that pieces of content in the stream stand out much more, and that’s because they’re interactive “Cards” a la Google Now. One of the new features of Google+ is that whenever you post a new piece of content, it will automatically get a hashtag. You can remove it if you like, but Google’s massive processing power goes to work to try and categorize all of the content being shared:
When you click the hashtag, the “card” will flip around to help you discover similar content. In the example of the Giants post, Gundotra showed me that Google automatically figured out that the post was about Buster Posey, since the company has deployed its photo-recognition technology on posted items. The image shared with the Giants post is of Buster Posey, naturally. By not taking you to a new stream of content when clicking around, Gundotra says that the context of what you’re interested in learning more about is preserved.
Another example of this automatic categorization is this picture of the Eiffel Tower. Gundotra explained that even though there was no text within the post that stated the origin of the photo, Google was able to figure out what it was, thus giving it the hashtag #EiffelTower. Greyed out hashtags are the ones automatically assigned by Google, and blue ones are the ones added by the sharer themselves:
For content like photos and videos, they will get the same treatment that they do on mobile, which is spread across multiple columns:
There are other interactive animations, like a bounce when you share someone’s post. Again, these are things that the Google+ mobile apps do well, and it’s meant to get you more engaged within the stream. I’m not sure if an animation will do that for me, but it’s fun the first few times that you see it.
From what I can gather, Google wants you spend more time consuming information and less time navigating a site. This new look, includingGoogle’s favorite new font, Robot, fits in with the design of most of Google’s other products. This familiarity will encourage people to pay more attention to the content, but not necessarily share more.
Some of what Gundotra said about this new approach to a stream makes sense. When you use Facebook’s newly redesigned News Feed, you’re still shown a single column of items, allowing you to switch between content types. While that might work on a smartphone, it might not be the best use of real estate for the desktop. At least, that’s what Google is betting on with this overhaul.
Time for a back-up plan for your Twitterback-up plan. Backupify — the cloud-based backup, search and restore provider for online services — is shutting down its TweetBackupservice for Twitter users. The company has posted a note about the closure on its site, as well as — yes — on its Twitter account, noting that new signups are stopping as of today, and that existing users will have 30 days, until June 28, to keep logging into their accounts and back up their data.
After 45 days, it notes, “we will begin purging the data from our Amazon servers.”
On one of the two FAQ pages that Backupify has created to answer some questions about the service, it suggests a couple of alternatives to TweetBackup’s subscribers: for business users, they can opt for Backupify’s own-branded service; for consumers, it suggests going somewhere else altogether, Ditto from Norton Labs, owned by one of Backupify’s strategic investors, Symantec.
We are reaching out to the company to find out more, but it looks like this is indeed part of a larger strategy at the company to reposition itself more closely on its enterprise services and away from lower cost/free consumer offerings.
In fact, this may not be too new of an idea:
“We always intended to have Tweetbackup users join Backupify’s base twitter service,” Backupify’s Jason Ellis notes. And in July 2012, when it announced the $ 9 million round in which Symantec invested, it noted that the free services (TweetBackup was one) were there mainly for lead-generation for paidapps.
Backupify offers standalone products for Google Apps, Salesforce, and what it collectively refers to as “personal apps,” which include Facebook and Twitter. These it will backup free for a limited amount of data and then charge for more features and more storage space. (Prices for paid services range from $ 3/month/user for the most basic Google Apps backup through to $ 50/month for 10 licenses of 1GB each for Salesforce.)
Given that Twitter has now made its own archiving service more widely available now, perhaps the writing was on the wall for whether Backupify would ever be able to translate this into a more profitable service without more investment. Meanwhile, other services like SocialSafe is now offering a free, six-month licenses to TweetBackup refugees.
Google took the lid off of its new version of Maps at I/O 2013 today, which is a dramatic redesign of the long-standing navigation and place-finding software across all platforms. We got a chance to go hands-on with the new Maps, which is still a beta product, with access only given out to a few select users so far. In the video above, you check it out in action as a Google rep gives us a walkthrough.
The new GoogleMaps takes a bunch of stuff that Google has been working on from KnowledgeGraph to make, as it put it during the keynote, billions of apps for billions of people. That means you get a lot more personalization pulled into the experience, surfacing local landamrks that are likely important to you, as well as one-click directions from storedlocations like your home address. Places frequented by your friends and acquaintances will also be pulled in to complete the picture.
The whole experience on a Chromebook Pixel was fast, responsive and remarkably intuitive. All the new touch controls seem perfectly designed for use with the Pixel’s touchscreen display, and reduce dramatically the number of steps required to do things like call up directions. The in-building panoramas and 360-degree images are very impressive, and truly do give you a sense of both the inside and outside of a location, but don’t expect the images to be all that comprehensive for most locations at launch.
Overall this looks like an awesome improvement to the Maps experience, and it’s hard to see any spots where the progress isn’t a good thing. But it’s very different, so expect some pushback when Google does eventually push this live to a wider audience.
Are you ready to take more risks in business? If so, here are ten articles to inspire, catalyze and prepare you for the success that awaits you.
“Freedom lies in being bold.” ― Robert Frost
1. Study: There’s Never Been a Better Time for Entrepreneurship
As an experienced entrepreneur, I believe there has never been a better time to get in the game and start your own business, and if you’ve already done so, no better time to invest in powerful resources. Now is the time to be bold! Read more
2. Risky Business: You’re Not an Entrepreneur If You Don’t Take Risks
Are you truly an entrepreneur if you don’t take risks? My simple answer… “No.” It’s a bold fact — not a theory or opinion. In application, observation and retrospect – I’ve learned that you can’t truly consider yourself to be an entrepreneur if you have not, do not and will not ever take a risk. Read more
3. The Fearless Entrepreneur: Say Goodbye to Good Intentions
Good intentions will put your life on hold. The best intentions will not equip you for success. Personal fulfillment is looking at your life and seeing results. If you don’t see results, is it possible that you stopped making decisions? The main reasons entrepreneurs delay decisions is fear of the unknown or a perceived deficiency in some area or another. Read more
4. 5 Ways to Increase Risk Tolerance and Become a More Successful Entrepreneur
Young entrepreneurs are self-motivated and confident, but still lack some of the real world risk tolerance seasoned entrepreneurs have. The Entrepreneurship Alliance (EA) at the University of Missouri is an initiative to foster a culture of innovation and pushes to close the gap between young and veteran entrepreneurs. Read more
5. Business Risks: Why You’re (Potentially) Running a Little Shop of Horrors
We’ve all heard startup urban legends, or mind-bending stories of companies that suffered legal, operational or internal nightmares. And it’s easy to assume that potential problems are out of sight and conveniently out of mind. But unintentionally, your blissful business could be harvesting potentially devastating horrors … small missteps or blind spots that could cause unnecessary frustration down the road. Read more