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Datameer announces $40M investment as it pivots away from Hadoop roots

October 29, 2019 No Comments

Datameer, the company that was born as a data prep startup on top of the open source Hadoop project, announced a $ 40 million investment and a big pivot away from Hadoop, while staying true to its big data roots.

The investment was led by existing investor ST Telemedia . Other existing investors including Redpoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Nextworld Capital, Citi Ventures and Top Tier Capital Partners also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to almost $ 140 million, according to Crunchbase data.

Company CEO Christian Rodatus says the company’s original mission was about making Hadoop easier to use for data scientists, business analysts and engineers. In the last year, the three biggest commercial Hadoop vendors — Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR — fell on hard times. Cloudera and Hortonworks merged and MapR was sold to HPE in a fire sale.

Starting almost two years ago, Datameer recognized that against this backdrop, it was time for a change. It began developing a couple of new products. It didn’t want to abandon its existing customer base entirely of course, so it began rebuilding its Hadoop product and is now calling it Datameer X. It is a modern cloud-native product built to run on Kubernetes, the popular open source container orchestration tool. Instead of Hadoop, it will be based on Spark. He reports they are about two-thirds done with this pivot, but the product has been in the hands of customers.

The company also announced Neebo, an entirely new SaaS tool to give data scientists the ability to process data in whatever form it takes. Rodatus sees a world coming where data will take many forms from traditional data to Python code from data analysts or data scientists to SaaS vendor dashboards. He sees Neebo bringing all of this together in a managed service with the hope that it will free data scientists to concentrate on getting insight from the data. It will work with data visualization tools like Tableau and Looker, and should be generally available in the coming weeks.

The money should help them get through this pivot, hire more engineers to continue the process and build a go-to-market team for the new products. It’s never easy pivoting like this, but the investors are likely hoping that the company can build on its existing customer base, while taking advantage of the market need for data science processing tools. Time will tell if it works.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Snap CEO isn’t expecting much from Facebook antitrust investigations

October 5, 2019 No Comments

Facebook’s relentless feature copy of Snapchat has been seen as one of the chief examples of the company’s competitive overreach, but Snap CEO Evan Spiegel isn’t sure whether antitrust activity from the government is going to change the company’s near-term prospects of competing with Instagram.

“I mean the history of antitrust would basically say that these investigations last like seven to 10 years or something like that and that basically nothing happens,” Spiegel said onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. “I think a lot can change in the seven to 10 years that this process will take.”

Though Spiegel didn’t seem to have the most faith in the process giving Snap a more level playing field to take on Facebook, he did say there were clear public concerns with how Facebook was responding to competition in the market.

“The thing that everyone’s concerned about is that they’ve seen that competition has been what has motivated Facebook to make those changes over time,” Spiegel said onstage. “So, if you look at Snapchat, the inventions that we create around ephemerality, around privacy, those have really motivated Facebook to dramatically change their product offering in order to compete.”

Whether Facebook was specifically suppressing Snapchat content, Spiegel said, “It’s hard to say and I you know I’d probably be stupid to talk about it here.

“I think what everyone is concerned about is what they would characterize as anti-competitive practices, so, for example, you know, people upload snaps they create on Snapchat to Instagram, all the time, and then Instagram suppresses you know the Snapchat hashtag or they suppress people’s ability to post snap codes as their profile picture or suppress their ability to link to Snapchat on their profile. And that’s an example of anti-competitive behavior.”

Spiegel also confirmed that the company had put together a list of some of Facebook’s competitive moments called Project Voldemort, noting that the list had been started several years ago. The initiative’s existence was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“I didn’t make it, our legal team put it together,” Spiegel said. “I think just because they kept hearing from our partners all of these things that Facebook was doing and it was actually so many that people couldn’t actually remember them all so they started writing them down.”


Social – TechCrunch


From SEO to CMO: Self driving technology and the path to C-Suite

September 30, 2019 No Comments

There is an incredibly exciting trend happening in the SEO community where more and more marketers are taking on more responsibility across multiple facets of digital marketing.

As digital marketing develops more nuanced and targeted execution, marketers see ways to diversify their skillsets and impacts on their organizations.

For search marketers, there has never been a better time to take advantage. According to BrightEdge data from CEO Jim Yu, more SEOs are taking on broader roles and having a bigger impact  – with 51 percent of customers expanding the role of SEO across all digital marketing and 23% become CMOs in recent years.

Last week at Share19, hundreds of digital marketers, SEOs, and content strategists gathered to collaborate towards a common goal – to driving growth and revenue to their businesses and progress their SEO and digital marketing careers. Attendees learned new and advanced techniques for keyword research, learned about the career journeys of chief marketing officers at Fortune 500 brands and were the first to hear the big news that BrightEdge is releasing technology that literally puts SEO on autopilot.

Self-driving SEO: Impossible or possible?

As marketers, we all get frustrated with lack of resources — not having enough time and people to have the impact we want. No doubt, right now you are competing for resources and fighting with barriers to communication with your web dev team, your IT team, and your paid search team. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get mundane – especially for those with a bias towards the creative.

Last year alone Google did 3,234 launches, 595,429 search quality tests, 44,155 side-by-side experiments, and 15,096 live traffic experiments. Simply, keeping up to date with change is a task unto itself. Add to that day-to-day content issues, broken links, algorithmic changes, and mobile issues, and you can see why sometimes progress is elusive.

What if it were possible for some parts of your SEO to run on autopilot? Just imagine if all those repetitive yet necessary tasks that are integral to SEO could be running in the background, freeing you up to focus on higher-impact initiatives?

With an average of  53.5% of website traffic coming from organic search, it is clear that there is a huge opportunity for marketers to automate and optimize their most important marketing channels with speed, precision, and scale.

Last week BrightEdge Autopilot was announced to tackle just that and automate SEO tasks so that they don’t require a human touch. Made possible through a series of technology investments and the recent acquisition of mobile technology developed by Trilibis, marketers can now auto-optimize mobile and fully automate the most critical and time-consuming of SEO tasks.

Within six months of deployment, over 1,000 brands are now using BrightEdge Autopilot to power Self-driving SEO.

Intelligent automation: Performance and scale

So, automation takes our jobs away right? This is a comment and objection we hear not just in this space but across the industry. Sure, if you are happy doing the same things day in and day out and have no desire to get the best results for you and your customer then fine, automation may not be for you.

For those who see the opportunity to spend more time on higher-level work, automation is here to help marketers do more with less and execute more quickly. Routine SEO and content tasks can be implemented with little effort, allowing you to focus on high-impact activities and accomplish more personal and professional objectives. In order to progress in a predominantly technically oriented space, you have to embrace technology.

Automated grammar and spelling checks may have eliminated a few proofreading jobs, but it improved the accuracy and quality of documents and allowed writers to invest more time in the research and articulation of their ideas. Assisted driving automation helps keep you safer on the roads and likewise, automated SEO keeps your site and content safer for Google and makes it more easily discoverable by your audience.

According to Yu, BrightEdge Autopilot technology is already delivering on automation performance promises with:

  • 60% increase in page views per visits​
  • 21% more keywords on page one rankings​
  • 2x increase in conversions​
  • PPC channel impact – 28% improvement in the “Ad Quality Score”​

Campbell’s Global SEO Manager, Amanda Ciktor was able to share the impact of automation with BrightEdge Autopilot showcasing a 204% traffic lift year-over-year.

With one day of implementation work Amanda and her team were able to compress 75,000 images and within a few weeks saw:

  • Move 4,000 keywords to page one
  • Improve faster mobile page load speed for 35% of pages
  • Improve overall load time by five seconds

In fact, brands across numerous industry verticals have seen dramatic performance improvement with up to 65%.

SEO and the CMO

According to Gartner’s CMO survey, SEO is one of the four digital workhorses that account for 25% of marketing investments. And, by 2023 autonomous marketing systems will issue 55% of multichannel marketing messages based on marketer criteria and real-time consumer behavior, resulting in a predicted 25% increase in response rates.

SEO, Automation, and the CMO were three themes that stood out at the launch of BrightEdge Autopilot at Share19 last week. The finale of the event was a roundtable discussion featuring marketing luminaries, including Kelly Hopping, Chief Marketing Officer for Gartner Digital Markets, Lauren Fyrefield, Chief Marketing Officer for WorldStrides and Armin Molavi, Vice President of Global Media Strategy of Hilton Brands.

As the CMO role becomes more results-focused and data-driven, we have seen a change in the skillset and perspective from one that is more brand and positioning-oriented to one that is more technical and technology stack-oriented. This draws on the natural skills SEOs use in generating profitable organic traffic. The problem for SEOs is that they can get buried in tactical execution. Automation allows them to free up time for planning, strategy, and relationship building that will help elevate their visibility and consideration for advancement.

From listening to everyone on the panel it was clear that was a linear progression path to the CMO position developing. A commitment to

1. Embracing technology innovation

2. Drives growth and revenue

3. Fuels digital career growth

As one CMO panelist put it “we are constantly looking at ways to get smarter, automate and scale. We manage everything in-house so if we are not automating, getting smarter then we can’t scale.”

Automation is definitely helping marketers, and especially those who want to unleash more creativity and, who knows, become the next CMO or CDO.

The underlying theme is to pursue opportunities and leverage technology to help you do that.

Andy Betts is a chief marketer, consultant, and digital hybrid with more than 20 years of experience in digital, technology and marketing working across London, Europe, New York, and San Francisco. He can be found on twitter @andybetts1.

The post From SEO to CMO: Self driving technology and the path to C-Suite appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


10 Takeaways from the state of SEO survey

September 25, 2019 No Comments

Here at Zazzle Media, we love surveys – we run them every year to help us better understand the challenges facing both SEO Managers and Agencies alike. Each year we look to prune the questions down and build others out as trends and future opportunities dictate (for example in 2018 we asked more questions around mobile-first preparation).

This year we looked to gain insight into more recent smaller topics such as the impact of Medic or the ease of protecting branded search terms.

In this article we explore the top 10 takeaways from the survey data – think of it as a TLDR version of data collection from hundreds and hundreds of interested parties. See some topline stats or explore the full survey results by clicking here and downloading them.

On-page content creation remains the most effective activity

Any digital marketing professional with a few years of experience in the game has likely dabbled in the disciplines below. While certain practices take far more technical expertise (think, IA and CTR Optimisation) it’s reassuring to know that the marketers still find content creation to be the best approach in acquiring traffic and hitting KPIs.

 

SEO survey 2019 - Stats on competitor research

Likewise, it’s easy to focus on moving forward, many content strategies do just that, and that alone. However, auditing existing content and making tweaks or tests where needed is almost as important, that’s why it shows up as the second most voted for discipline.

A few years ago I would have expected the “creation of new content” and “link building” to have utterly dominated this chart. It’s fantastic to see professionals finding more and more value in other avenues with “Brand mentions” and “CTR optimization” gaining a not insignificant seat at the marketing table.

I’ve long advocated a need for SEO professionals to blur at the edges, merging with other teams and marketing/web-development disciplines. This wider and more holistic view of digital marketing is fast-becoming the rule instead of the exception. A big part of this is how news and knowledge sharing sites have diversified and so helped inform both agencies and managers alike.

Link-building may be losing its appeal

…and I for one, couldn’t be happier with that! Link building by quantity has always been a bugbear of mine. The demand for the service has created sites that sell links by DA as casually as if they were sweets. These companies are still inexplicably in business despite the wider community knowing full well that many of the sites used have been “blacklisted” by Google. Oh yeah, they do that…

Imagine spending hundreds, maybe even thousands of such links without ever really knowing if they’ve made any kind of impact. It’s no wonder that marketers are more unsure about the value in link building over anything else in an SEO agency’s arsenal.

As happy as I might be with the headline the lack of confidence in Non-branded PPC vs Technical SEO is somewhat worrying. I’ve dabbled in paid (largely on social) and found that it provided me with exact costs for cost per acquisition, cost per conversion – all the stats I could digest. It’s also concerning that UX is still so much of a mystery, in the next few years I hope my CRO/UX brethren can educate marketers to close this gap. Platforms and CMS’ have never been easier to split test, and while I appreciate truly putting the user’s experience first is something of a rarity in sites, the benefits of doing so are well documented.

Sites still waiting for the move to mobile-first

It seems like years ago that we were talking about the mobile-first index… probably because it was (https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html). Despite all the time to prepare, it seems Google hasn’t completed the full rollout quite yet, or perhaps have yet to inform webmasters, I’m not sure which would be worse come to think of it.

Whether you have a notification or not, there are a slim non-zero number of sites that can afford to ignore mobile users entirely – possibly sites still optimizing for IE6? It’s great to see over 43% have been positively impacted by the shift to mobile-first. For the slim two percent that has been hit hard by the changes, I imagine they’re seeing their market share eaten into, or have dropped due to a legacy CMS that could do with a shakeup. In any case, there are hundreds of articles around that help you optimize for mobile – not least of all, Google themselves (https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly).

Fixing technical issues within the blink of an eye

Each year we run our surveys we find that the implementation of technical fixes gets faster and faster. Whether this is due to development teams taking sprint-led approaches, businesses feeling under pressure to squeeze as much value from their sites as possible or just a growing understanding for the need to have a site that is “technically fit for purpose” we don’t much care – 75% of marketers are getting technical fixes implemented within a month. Get in.

If you’re still having to put together business cases for changing H1s or adding alt text to images – I feel for you son, I’ve got 99 problems but a technical glitch ain’t one. You may want to read this great article from Rory Truesdale on building a business case your boss can’t say no to.

Users still clamoring for best practice advice from Google

We make a lot of demands from Google, if you’re like me then more often than not is the adherence to its own policies and not rewarding bad practice… or longer battery life on my phone. However, I’ll keep those grudges inside for now.

Interestingly, aside from the standard request that rolls out on these questions (that of more keyword-specific user/click data), there are a significant number of marketers who aren’t clear on all of Google’s guidelines.

I feel much of these are perhaps just managers and executives just not having the resource or time to give Google’s webmasters forum and help center a good readthrough. You can find the basic guidelines here, the article has links to more information content, quality, and snippets too.

It’s clear that the overhaul of the search console is relatively positive (if a little segmented) and I’m sure we all welcome new innovation and insights within WMT/GSC. Something I expect will come soon is the visibility around voice searches – data suggests nearly 50% of searches will be made by voice in the next few years, but right now strategies to capitalize on this are focusing almost exclusively on featured snippets as they are the only thing we can really measure with a modicum of accuracy.

Many professionals still without access to rich media

Here’s the catch, Google and users reward content that is unique or content that utilizes the most appropriate format for the message/information. Trouble is, the production of certain formats are costly, the main reason for all the “no” responses was just that – the cost, the second was people finding a reliable artist/animator/SFX professional.

There are a number of sites around where you can find appropriately priced artists that can provide such services but it’s perhaps easier to ask any agencies you work with for their recommendations. After all, we cross paths with a huge number of digital professionals that might suit your needs. For something more affordable and entry-level you can often find amateur or startups willing to work for realistic rates within Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

It’s important to be realistic with your desire for rich media, it takes far longer than you might expect to become truly proficient with many of the tools and software platforms required for a quality result. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot. But make sure you aren’t producing video or podcasts just for the sake of it, if you miss the mark with a blog post you lose a few hours, do that with a video and it’s far harder to explain it away in your next appraisal.

Markets are at saturation point, few innovators blazing trails

In a recent training session, I ran on Content Strategy at BrightonSEO, this was one of the biggest problems felt by both in-house and agency professionals. The skyscraper approach works best when you are “one-upping” the competition. However, many markets are just seeing content duplication over and over – backed up by basic link building to gain the edge.

My advice to those of you looking for an answer will be the same as those at the training session.

Be magnetic

Aside from the habitual checking of Facebook and Instagram stories, what sites are you drawn back to? Can you figure out why they have such an attractive appeal to their content? Is it the tone? Is it imagery? Can you work out what would make your audience feel the same way about your site?

You don’t need a funky brand or hip product to be magnetic, you just need to service the most critical needs of your audience better than your competitors. Do everything right, from UX in the checkout process to follow-up emails and nurture campaigns. It might sound like a big ask and if you’re struggling with the scale of it all, try to do less, but do it better.

50% of marketers still don’t understand their competition

This for me is unforgivable. A sailor is nothing if they don’t keep one eye on the waves around them.

It’s critical to innovate and try to lead the way but the chances of you always being at the front of your market are zero. Instead, you need to be mindful of what the competition is doing and utilize third-party tools to monitor them effectively.

If you’re reading this with a sinking feeling of guilt, it’s not too late. Competitor research is a well-documented discipline in both organic and paid search. The vital point is to learn from both the victories and the mistakes made by the competition. If you spot a campaign that flopped but clearly had significant investment, it’s important you tear it apart and work out how you could have done it better.

If you’re working with an agency and feel that your level of competitor insight isn’t great then consider it as a research project that you can undertake collaboratively in the next quarter. Remember, that you have lots of different types of competition:

  • Our perceived brand competitors
  • Your actual organic competitors
  • Your actual paid competitors
  • Competitors for audience attention
  • Competitors for audience income
  • Similar product competitors

These groups aren’t mutually exclusive and you might find two contrasting competitors that crossover due to your position in a market (an averaged priced womenswear brand would crossover with both Primark and ZARA, despite the two having minimal product/price overlap).

Brand terms are becoming a battleground

There was a time when brands felt confident that with an “about us” page they were relatively well protected in the SERPs, perhaps a few subdomains thrown in for good measure. However, it’s clear that there is no honor among marketers anymore. Bidding on other brand terms has never been more popular. Organically we’ve responded to the clear user demand for “brand vs brand” terms, creating fresh content to target both competitor brand traffic and users in the consideration stage of a purchase journey.

SEO survey 2019 stats on brand term searches

 

Let’s be honest though, this is just good business sense in most cases. I recommended the production and optimization of a comparison page for RAC to target AA terms and the results generated both traffic and revenue despite the clear user intent for “aa breakdown cover”. The RAC site still ranks in third position for the head term with 600+ other keyword rankings and estimated the traffic of over 10k accordingly to Ahrefs.

Example of Google serp for aa breakdown

 

Of course, that’s an extreme case, in an industry where there are only 2 ½significant players (sorry GreenFlag) with substantial branded traffic and searches. If you want to find out more about how to protect your brand from this sort of activity, you can check out a tool I created here, to help organize your branded traffic results and make sure they are tip top shape.

People are spending less than ever on SEO

Always end on a negative? Our survey suggested that more and more marketers are spending their budget elsewhere, the results felt a little too open-ended so we followed up the question to dig into why they’re spending five percent less on SEO than last year.

Interestingly, 60% of marketers state that resources and a shortage of budget are the main reasons they don’t spend more on organic. However, just over 30% still find proving the value of SEO to be a critical factor in securing funds or resources, further pushing the need for agencies, freelancers and in-house professionals to be aware of attribution models, brand value and purpose when it comes to spending more on SEO.

SEO survey 2019 stats on SEO spends

 

As an industry, we’ve needed to educate, educate, educate – at almost every level of client infrastructure. That challenge still remains, in fact, it probably changes monthly. But now with more noise than ever (think CRO, Social, and EDM).

It doesn’t make you a poor search professional if you’ve struggled to educate your manager, in my experience they can be quite resilient to tutelage.

Summary

These are just 10 of what I felt were the most interesting results from a survey containing over 40 digital marketed questions asked hundreds of digital marketing professionals. If you’d like to end your day with a little more insight, the results are all available to download.

Stuart Shaw is Head of Search & Strategy here at Zazzle Media.

The post 10 Takeaways from the state of SEO survey appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


We want to hear from you!

September 5, 2019 No Comments

Our thought-leaders are in the trenches daily, innovating and applying the newest trends in paid media to in-house or client accounts all over the world. If leading the charge in paid advertising speaks to you, we want you to speak for us.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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At-home blood testing startup Baze rakes in $6 million from Nature’s Way

August 31, 2019 No Comments

By now, the venture world is wary of blood testing startups offering health data from just a few drops of blood. However, Baze, a Swiss-based personal nutrition startup providing blood tests you can do in the convenience of your own home, collects just a smidgen of your sanguine fluid through an MIT manufactured device, which, according to the company, is in accordance with FDA regulations.

The idea is to find out (via your blood sample) which vitamins you’re missing out on and are keeping you from living your best life. That seems to resonate with folks who don’t want to go into the doctor’s office and separately head to their nearest lab for testing.

Most health professionals would agree it’s important to know if you are getting the right amount of nutrition — Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide epidemic affecting calcium absorption, hormone regulation, energy levels and muscle weakness. An estimated 74% of the U.S. population does not get the required daily levels of Vitamin D.

“There are definitely widespread deficiencies across the population,” Baze CEO and founder Philipp Schulte tells TechCrunch. “[With the blood test] we see that we can actually close those gaps for the first time ever in the supplement industry.”

While we don’t know exactly how many people have tried out Baze just yet, Schulte says the company has seen 40% month-over-month new subscriber growth.

That has garnered the attention of supplement company Nature’s Way, which has partnered with the company and just added $ 6 million to the coffers to help Baze ramp up marketing efforts in the U.S.

Screen Shot 2019 08 30 at 2.27.12 PMI had the opportunity to try out the test myself. It’s pretty simple to do. You just open up a little pear-shaped device, pop it on your arm and then press it to engage and get it to start collecting your blood. After it’s done, plop it in the provided medical packaging and ship it off to a Baze-contracted lab.

I will say it is certainly more convenient to just pop on a little device myself — although it might be tricky if you’re at all squeamish, as you’ll see a little bubble where the blood is being sucked from your arm. For anyone who hesitates, it might be easier to just head to a lab and have another human do this for you.

The price is also nice, compared to going to a Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp, which can vary depending on which vitamins you need to test for individually. With Baze it’s just $ 100 a pop, plus any additional supplements you might want to buy via monthly subscription after you get your results. The first month of supplements is free with your kit.

Baze’s website will show your results within about 12 days (though Schulte tells TechCrunch the company is working on getting your results faster). It does so with a score and then displays a range of various vitamins tested.

I was told that, overall, I was getting the nutrients I require with a score of 74 out of 100. But I’m already pretty good at taking high-quality vitamins. The only thing that really stuck out was my zinc levels, which I was told was way off the charts high after running the test through twice. Though I suspect, as I am not displaying any symptoms of zinc poisoning, this was likely the result of not wiping off my zinc-based sunscreen well enough before the test began.

For those interested in conducting their own at-home test and not afraid to prick themselves in the arm with something that looks like you might have it on hand in the kitchen, you can do so by heading over to Baze and signing up.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Is Knotel poised to turn WeWork from a Unicorn into an Icarus?

August 24, 2019 No Comments

The day of reckoning for the “flexible office space as a startup” is coming, and it’s coming up fast. WeWork’s IPO filing has fired the starting gun on the race to become the game-changer both in the future of property and real estate but also the future of how we live and work. As Churchill once said, “we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”

Until recently, WeWork was the ruler by which other flexible-space startups were measured, but questions are now being asked if it deserves its valuation. The profitable IWG plc, formerly Regus, has been a business providing serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and the rest, for years, and yet WeWork is valued by 10 times more.

That’s not to mention how it exposes landlords to $ 40 billion in rent commitments, something which a few of them are starting to feel rather nervous about.

Some analysts even say WeWork’s IPO is a “masterpiece of obfuscation.”


Startups – TechCrunch


Twitter picks up team from narrative app Lightwell in its latest effort to improve conversations

August 22, 2019 No Comments

Twitter’s ongoing, long-term efforts to make conversations easier to follow and engage with on its platform is getting a boost with the company’s latest acquihire. The company has picked up the team behind Lightwell, a startup that had built a set of developer tools to build interactive, narrative apps, for an undisclosed sum. Lightwell’s founder and CEO, Suzanne Xie, is becoming a director of product leading Twitter’s Conversations initiative, with the rest of her small four-person team joining her on the conversations project.

(Sidenote: Sara Haider, who had been leading the charge on rethinking the design of Conversations on Twitter, most recently through the release of twttr, Twitter’s newish prototyping app, announced that she would be moving on to a new project at the company after a short break. I understand twttr will continue to be used to openly test conversation tweaks and other potential changes to how the app works. )

The Lightwell/Twitter news was announced late yesterday both by Lightwell itself and Twitter’s VP of product Keith Coleman. A Twitter spokesperson also confirmed the deal to TechCrunch in a short statement today: “We are excited to welcome Suzanne and her team to Twitter to help drive forward the important work we are doing to serve the public conversation,” he said. Interestingly, Twitter is on a product hiring push it seems. Other recent hires Coleman noted were Other recent product hires include Angela Wise and Tom Hauburger. Coincidentally, both joined from autonomous companies, respectively Waymo and Voyage.

To be clear, this is more acqui-hire than hire: only the Lightwell team (of what looks like three people) is joining Twitter. The Lightwell product will no longer be developed, but it is not going away, either. Xie noted in a separate Medium post that apps that have already been built (or plan to be built) on the platform will continue to work. It will also now be free to use.

Lightwell originally started life in 2012 as Hullabalu, as one of the many companies producing original-content interactive children’s stories for smartphones and tablets. In a sea of children-focused storybook apps, Hullabalu’s stories stood out not just because of the distinctive cast of characters that the startup had created, but for how the narratives were presented: part book, part interactive game, the stories engaged children and moved narratives along by getting the users to touch and drag elements across the screen.

hullabalu lightwell

After some years, Hullabalu saw an opportunity to package its technology and make it available as a platform for all developers, to be used not just by other creators of children’s content, but advertisers and more. It seems the company shifted at that time to make Lightwell its main focus.

The Hullabalu apps remained live on the App Store, even when the company moved on to focus on Lightwell. However, they hadn’t been updated in two years’ time. Xie says they will remain as is.

In its startup life, the company went through YCombinator, TechStars, and picked up some $ 6.5 million in funding (per Crunchbase), from investors that included Joanne Wilson, SV Angel, Vayner, Spark Labs, Great Oak, Scout Ventures and more.

If turning Hullabalu into Lightwell was a pivot, then the exit to Twitter can be considered yet another interesting shift in how talent and expertise optimized for one end can be repurposed to meet another.

One of Twitter’s biggest challenges over the years has been trying to create a way to make conversations (also narratives of a kind) easy to follow — both for those who are power users, and for those who are not and might otherwise easily be put off from using the product.

The crux of the problem has been that Twitter’s DNA is about real-time rivers of chatter that flow in one single feed, while conversations by their nature linger around a specific topic and become hard to follow when there are too many people talking. Trying to build a way to fit the two concepts together has foxed the company for a long time now.

At its best, bringing in a new team from the outside will potentially give Twitter a fresh perspective on how to approach conversations on the platform, and the fact that Lightwell has been thinking about creative ways to present narratives gives them some cred as a group that might come up completely new concepts for presenting conversations.

At a time when it seems that the conversation around Conversations had somewhat stagnated, it’s good to see a new chapter opening up.


Social – TechCrunch


The 11 best startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 1

August 20, 2019 No Comments

Y Combinator, the genesis for many of the companies that have shaped Silicon Valley including Airbnb, PagerDuty and Stripe, has minted another 200 some graduates. Half of those companies made their pitch to investors today during Day 1 of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 Demo Day event and we’re here to tell you which startups are on the fast-track to the unicorn club.

Eighty-four startups presented (read the full run-through of every company plus some early analysis here) and after chatting with investors, batch founders and of course, debating amongst ourselves, we’ve nailed down the 11 most promising startups to present during Day 1. We’ll be back Tuesday with our second round of top picks.



Startups – TechCrunch


How to Filter out Bots and Spiders from Google Analytics

August 13, 2019 No Comments

A common misconception is that Google Analytics or any other JavaScript based Web Analytics solution filters out Spiders and Bots automatically.  This was true till few years ago because most of the spiders and bots were not capable of executing JavaScript and hence were never captured by JavaScript based Web Analytics solutions. As shown in 4 reasons why your bounce rate might be wrong, these days bots and spiders can execute JavaScript and hence are showing up in your Web Analytics reports.

Google Analytics has released a new feature that will let you filter out known spiders and bots.  Here are few things to keep in mind

  1. The data will only filter spiders and bots from the day you enable this setting. It won’t be allied to the data already processed.
  2. Since this will filter out bots, you might notice a drop in your visits, page views etc.

 

Here are the steps to filter out Spiders and Bots

  1. Go to the Admin section of your Google Analytics report
  2. Click  “View” section and choose the right report view
  3. Click  on “ View Settings” (see image 1 below)
  4. Check the box under “Bot Filtering” which says “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” (see image 2 below)
  5. Click “Save” button at bottom and you are done.

 

filter-spider-bots-google-analytics-1Image 1

filter-spider-bots-google-analytics-2Image 2


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