Tag Archives: babes

Another Coffee, West Coast

“I told him we were going to have coffee and asked him if it was a good idea.”

“What did he say?”

“He said yes it was a good idea, absolutely, but that you might write a tumblr about it.”

I blushed, but in the bright sunshine there on the bay’s edge, it was impossible to see any change in the color of my cheeks.

“I’m mortified.”

“No no! He didn’t mean anything bad by it.”

“Still, I’m mortified. Truly.”


There is something mischievous about him. I noticed it the moment he bounced off the median toward me, as I waited in front of the Ferry Plaza. If there had been a light post — not the fascist one he described sitting to the right of, but an actual light post — he’d have swung off it, Singing In The Rain-style. The bounce was charming and unexpected, and if I’d been at all nervous he’d have disarmed me then and there.

If anyone was a little nervous, my money was on him. Not terribly nervous, but I could see a touch of it around the edge of our initial conversation. It dissipated quickly. The coffee helped, but sitting and talking about love helped more.

We sat in the sun, the Bay Bridge stretching out before us. His face lit up when he talked about her. His eyes were blue with touch of green in them, hidden behind glasses, but when he spoke about her they widened a little, became bluer and greener. We talked a long time about how it had come about, the situation. About feelings and reality and what could and couldn’t happen. I listened and asked. We talked on. He never once looked at his watch.

At first he seemed to want to talk more than to listen, but as the conversation continued we went back and forth. We talked a little about me and what I was going to do, about decisions I had to make. About plans I had. About interactions I ought to see a little differently. He was right. We drank a bottle of rosé from Washington state. Midway through the bottle I saw things about me I’d never understood, looking as I did through his blue eyes. Then I laughed as he paused, eyeing me up and down, enjoying the way I ate a sweet potato french fry dipped in sauce.

He was shorter and more handsome than you might have imagined, with broader and stronger hands. He smelled wonderful.

Written by

Facebook to Marketers: Get Smarter With Your Creative

Engaging Images, but With Little Text, Now Get the Best Exposure on News Feeds


The days of brands expecting high user engagement on Facebook from posting a blurry event photo or a stock image in a wall post are quickly coming to an end. Facebook has made it clear to marketers, through numerous algorithm changes, that it wants — and its users expect — a compelling reason to engage with a brand’s ad.

This means that marketers need to jettison generic ad creative and text-heavy wall posts in favor of high-quality, engaging ad creative with smart imagery and limited text. Facebook will reward them for doing so with greater exposure in users’ News Feeds.

Here are three ways marketers can get smarter with their Facebook ad creative.

Embrace News Feed Algorithm Changes. Facebook noted in a recent blog post that it is decreasing the exposure it gives to brands’ text-based posts in favor of image-based posts. It urges marketers to use the link-share button rather than sharing an embedded link to display larger images in wall posts. So marketers need to put more research and focus into the images they use in Facebook ads because the ad size is so large on Facebook (especially in the News Feed). The relatively short lifespan of a Facebook ad means that brands must have a vast quantity of unique, constantly refreshed images at the ready to keep their ads and content near the top of users’ News Feeds. This is especially true for direct-response advertisers, who must rely on engaging, creative ads to entice a consumer into making a purchasing decision.

Here’s an example of the type of text-heavy, image-deficient wall post that Facebook wants marketers to move away from:


Here’s an example of the types of image-based wall posts that Facebook wants marketers to use and that will deliver better results for direct-response advertisers:


Learn Facebook’s Custom Audiences Service. Facebook recently expanded Custom Audiences to give marketers the ability to target specific users across any device. The service relies on splitting users into specific groups, based on how they have previously engaged with your brand. For instance, a travel website could use Custom Audiences to reach consumers who searched for flights on the website but never made a reservation with a targeted message in their Facebook News Feed: “Come back for 10 percent off your next flight reservation.” The ad creative and copy need to be specific to both the user group and its stage of the buying cycle.

Combine Custom Audience Targeting with Lookalike Audiences. Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences, a cousin of Custom Audiences, enables advertisers to target new users who are likely interested in the business because they are similar to customers on a list already cultivated. With Lookalike Audiences, marketers can get very close to ensuring that every piece of ad creative they produce with Facebook is targeted at a specific user group based on those users’ similarities to the advertisers’ existing customers.

As marketers we need a more nuanced and sophisticated approach to Facebook ad creative. A “create-an-ad-and-be-done-with-it” mentality isn’t going to work.

David Serfaty is director of social advertising at Matomy Media Group.



Never lose a file again: Docurated nabs its first major funding round

Never lose a file again: Docurated nabs its first major funding round

New York City’s Chelsea Piers, home to the Docurated office.

Nowadays, people use a bevy cloud storage services for work — Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Egnyte, and Hightail just barely scratch the surface.

Now, where the hell did you put that file?

That’s the problem New York City-based Docurated has set out to solve. The startup, which today announced $3.75 million in new funding, offers companies the capability to index and search for all their files, whether they’re on local servers or cloud-storage services.

Docurated CEO Alex Gorbansky

Docurated CEO Alex Gorbansky

“You can think of Docurated as Google for your documents,” said Alex Gorbansky, the company’s CEO and founder, in an interview with VentureBeat. “While the cost of cloud storage us decreasing, the actual cost of retrieving information from all of these different storage repositories has become exceptionally more expensive.”

The company focuses on the enterprise market, as its solution is more useful when dealing with large volumes of content. (Plus, large enterprises are more likely to have money to spend on this kind of functionality than a burgeoning startup.)

Docurated automatically preserves existing authorization and permissions structures so that people can only see content that they were previously able to access. They can also create a new document and push it back into other systems through Docurated.

“It’s the smarts and intelligence of Google with the beauty and visual intelligence of something like an Instagram or a Pinterest,” said Gorbansky.

Since the company’s early 2012 launch, it’s racked up customers like Netflix, IFC, and Cox Media. Gorbansky said 2013 revenues were 2,000 percent higher than 2012′s, and that Docurated is already seeing “significant momentum” in 2014.

Rogers Venture Partners led the $3.75 million funding round in Docurated, bringing the company’s total financing to $5.35 million. (It raised a $1.6 million seed round in summer 2012.)

Docurated currently has 24 employees. With more cash on-hand, it plans to ramp up its sales and marketing team as well as its engineering efforts.

“We haven’t done much marketing yet, but we’re going to be doing more,” said Gorbansky. “We have a singular focus of making information much more discoverable, usable, and valuable.”


Jawbone Looks To Pick Up $250M From Rizvi Traverse At $3.3B Valuation

Next Story

As the wearable tech space hits a boiling point, Jawbone is pressing onward and upward with a new $250 million investment led by Rizvi Traverse Management on the horizon, according to a report.

The maker of the Up wristband, a fitness tracker that pairs to a user’s smartphone, is looking to secure the nine-digit round at a $3.3 billion valuation.

According to Re/Code, general partner Suhail Rizvi may join the Jawbone board as a part of the deal, which would put him in good company. Jawbone’s board members include Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Ben Horowitz, and superstar designer Yves Behar.

Jawbone’s growth has exploded alongside the ever-booming wearables vertical, but that’s not the only thing the company brings to the table.

Jawbone has been successfully offering Bluetooth products to consumers for years, including adorable little Jambox speaker systems and various Bluetooth headsets.

Thus far, Jawbone has raised more than $275 million in venture capital (not including this deal, which has yet to close), along with $100 million in debt and equity financing.


Mayfield Raises Second, $108 Million Fund To Back Startups In India

Next Story

Mayfield Fund has announced that it has closed its second India-focused fund, totaling $108 million raised to invest in startups in the region.

Mayfield India II is managed by Mayfield India II Management, including the firm’s managing director Navin Chaddha, and partners Vikram Godse, and James Beck. The fund itself focuses on early-stage investments in India, and invests between $2 million and $8 million in companies targeting the infrastructure sector, tech and tech-enabled services, and the consumer middle class in the country.

“While the macro-economic climate has varied since we started investing in India in 2006, we have learned that India continues to present valuable opportunities to technology and non-technology investors,” Chaddha explained. “Two of our key takeaways are that tech-enabled infrastructure solutions can create great value, and lifestyle and entertainment products aimed at the consumer middle class can grow into universal brands.”

Mayfield’s current investments in India include Amagi Media, Centum Learning, Genesis Colors, India Property, Matrimony.com, Securens Systems, Sohanlal Commodity Management, Tejas Networks, and The Beer Café. In total, the Mayfield India team has invested in over 20 Indian companies in the past, of which seven have had IPOs and another five have been acquired. It seems that the first fund has seen success; Mayfield India I totaled $111 million, raised in 2008.

Mayfield also raised $365 million for its last main fund, XIV, in 2012 and currently has $3 billion under management.

Accel Partners also operates an India-focused fund.


Why we will all like the new app, Jelly

Jelly is a new Q&A based app founded by Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone. If Jelly can successfully filter questions, I think it will soon be prominent in the social world. Jelly is going to be used for many different types of questions and hopefully, Jelly will be good enough at sorting these questions based on our interests and knowledge so we see more of what we want to answer and less of what we don’t. A lot of people aren’t seeing the value this platform can bring and just see it as a one-dimensional “stupid question” app.

You’ll get:

“Do I look cute in this sweater?” questions.

“What the hell is this thing that I’m looking at right now?” questions.

“What color iPhone 5C should I get?” questions that are asked while waiting in line at the Verizon Wireless store.

— And of course product questions, such as “should I sign up for Netflix or Hulu Plus,” or “Is McDonald’s ever going to bring their McAwesome sandwich back?” This is where brands can become involved with Jelly… and connect with their customers on new levels.

Some people want to answer certain questions and other people may want to answer entirely different questions. The idea is that Jelly will be able to tell which questions you like and just show you those (very similar to Facebook and EdgeRank).

Ok so now on why it will work:

We value what our friends and peers think way more than we want to admit

For example, if we have our mind set on the blue iPhone 5C but eleven out of thirteen Jelly answers from our friends say “GET YELLOW!!!!,” well then we’re probably going with yellow. You may not want to admit it now but it’s true. You want your friend’s opinions and their approval.

We want quick easy answers on the spot

Why would I Google search a product comparison between Netflix and Hulu Plus when I can just Jelly it? The idea is that I ask this question, it gets pushed to people AND FRIENDS in my network who are interested in this field, or own/use the product. I will have 10-20 answers within minutes, hopefully a majority of them from people I physically know and trust. This is also cool when you’re in a store and ready to make a purchase, but don’t know which model to get. Just Jelly — “should I get Product A or Product B? HELP!!”

It’s a little addicting

When I first opened the app, I didn’t even realize I was playing around with it for over an hour. Not only did I get solid product advice in just two hours that ended up finalizing my purchase decision but I also learned new things by looking at questions and curiously browsing through answers. Once users grow on this platform, this two-hour turnaround time for product advice is going to turn into 15 minutes. If a thought or question passes through your mind but isn’t worth your time to Google it, you can just Jelly it. It’s cool, it’s easy, it’s addicting.

Written by

Snapchat Hires Googler, “Pisses Off” His Googler Friends

Next Story

This morning ephemeral messaging app Snapchat announced that it had poached a Googler, in addition to an Amazonian and a Facebooker. The company will be bringing Google App Engine director Peter Magnusson on board as VP of Engineering.

The announcement article in the WSJ, however, did not sit well with Magnusson’s former colleagues at Google App Engine, specifically this line: “Part of his new job at Snapchat will be building technology infrastructure in-house so that the company can begin to lessen its reliance on partners like Google, [Snapchat co-founder Bobby] Murphy said.”

Snapchat is a huge App Engine success story. The fact that Snapchat, an app with crazy growth and image sharing, hasn’t ever fallen over like so many startups do when they scale, is a point of pride for the developer tool suite.

Thus the suggestion that Magnusson left App Engine to help Snapchat migrate off of it is apparently causing some issues back at the Mountain View ranch.

Magnusson himself comments on the Wall Street Journal article:

For the record, the quote “Part of his new job at Snapchat will be building technology infrastructure in-house so that the company can begin to lessen its reliance on partners like Google, Murphy said.” is (a) not what Bobby said, (b) not really a focus of my job either. Thx WSJ for pissing off all my old Google friends.

A more correct statement is that we’ll continuously evaluate alternatives, and likely over time develop more infrastructure ourselves, in particular in specialized areas of our apps. Google is a great partner, and the success of Snapchat would simply not have been possible without Google Cloud, and we expect to work closely together. Period

In the comment, Magnusson softens the quoted statement from “lessen the reliance on [Google App Engine]” to “expect to work closely together” while “evaluating alternatives” and implies that Murphy was misquoted.

The “piss[ed] off” part of the comment echoes what we’ve heard is the general App Engine reaction to the tone of article; it would be like if someone from WordPress joined TechCrunch to help us migrate off of WordPress. And framed it as such.

Disclosure: My SO works at General Catalyst, which is an investor in Snapchat. I’m not particularly passionate about Google App Engine.


Healthcare.gov and CGI: WTF.

What marketers need to understand about website engagement.

No matter what side of the political aisle you may stand on, one thing is for certain; The selection of the CGI Federal to handle the healthcare.gov website demonstrates a serious lack of understanding in customer engagement and in customer relationship management. And while it burns me to know that it went out to a Canadian company, I would be fine with that selection if they had the experience to create a site with this level of engagement by the public. In other words, I don’t blame CGI in this case — I blame the people who selected them.

CGI is a technology information company and if this were a case of building a site solely around that, I’m sure they would be fine. What our government officials failed to understand is that this wasn’t a site about the healthcare industry and what it has to offer. This was a site for consumers to understand what their options are as it affects their choices, lives and budgets. Furthermore, the site should also be a portal to a customer relationship management and nurture program that would allow for continuing communications on a consistent basis about the implementation of plans and services rendered. Instead, you have a $200 million piece of crap that fails at every turn to be helpful in the ways it was intended.

The people of our nation would have been much better served if an agency like R/GA www.rga.com (that has the size and website customer experience modeling) had built it. Or even a small firm like Second Story www.secondstory.com in Portland whose interactive customer experiences are truly engaging. I could even forgo an agency I respect if it was a company that truly understands CRM like salesforce.com, which could also tie into ExactTarget for ongoing communications. Heck, amazon.com would even be a better choice. I think you get my point that there were a lot of options that would have served the public far better than a technology information company.

So here’s the lesson for you. If you find yourself needing to engage an audience through an online experience (website or otherwise), realize this: technology information distribution is a starting point and not the end game. Anyone can build and market a site to get people to go to it — that’s easy. But if the experience isn’t creatively crafted to the needs of the audience, along with a clear decision path based on its goals, it’s pointless. And then, not only have you missed a sale, you’ve missed an opportunity to build a lifelong relationship with that person as well as all the people that person has an influence on.

Written by

Thirty Days, No Television.

Television, it means different things for different people.

We’ve all done it, come home from work, grabbed dinner and slumped on the couch in front of the TV for a few hours before crawling into bed only to rinse and repeat the next day.

Well I’m going to stop, cold turkey as of Feburary 1st, 2014 for thirty days. I won’t be turning on a television to watch any show, or to play my gaming console. Instead I want to see what I get up to, what will I do without the numbing mental blanket that television seems to be for so many?

Those that know me, know I write.

I expect that for the time without television I will write more than usual. I have a belief that watching television, while entertaining, also manages to bleed the creativity out of my brain. Why would I need to seek to be creative when the creativity is being piped directly to me?

I feel this only serves to make my writing less inspired than it could be. But my writing is only one aspect I hope will improve. By avoiding television I hope to be more active, spend less time on the couch and more time doing things, whether it be around the house or out with others.

I’ll be writing posts throughout the experience, perhaps not daily but frequently enough to keep everyone up to date with how it is going and what changes I’m experiencing. I wonder if it will become a permanent change?

I’ve a few days of January left, so I’m sure to cram in a few shows before I take the leap, but I’ll be sticking out the entire thirty days without a doubt.

Wish me luck.

Follow me on Twitter.

Written by

AT&T teams with IBM, Linux Foundation to get cities onboard with Internet of Things

Imagine a city where all the buses ran on time and traffic never got backed up. AT&T and IBM (and a whole bunch of others) want to make that dream come true.

AT&T is joining forces with IBM to cash in on the hot Internet of Things megatrend, with plans to initially target cities and utility companies, the companies announced today.

AT&T brings a worldwide network. Big Blue has software for analyzing and visualizing a bunch of data coming from sensors planted all over the place. And it has hardware to process all the data.

Together, these giants have a shot at streaming in revenue from one of the hottest types of emerging technology today.

The trouble is, other big technology companies have been scrambling to capitalize on the Internet of Things. In December, Qualcomm, LG, Sharp, and other companies came together with the Linux Foundation for the new AllSeen Alliance. Now AT&T’s Digital Life business division, which focuses on home security and automation, is part of the AllSeen Alliance, too.

Meanwhile Cisco, GE, Intel, and ARM have been making a bunch of noise about the Internet of Things, through acquisitions, new business units, and other initiatives.

And in October, AT&T agreed to let GE use the AT&T network and cloud.

AT&T’s collaboration with IBM could have a few interesting implications. According to an IBM press release on the new alliance between the companies, city planners working in Internet of Things-enabled cities should get a better sense of how people travel around in vehicles and how best to dispatch emergency-response vehicles to circumvent traffic.

And city planners can get ideas about how to re-route traffic when it’s not as efficient as it could be. More real-time reports on incidents from sensors can help as well.

Because IBM has done work with cities in the past — for example, improving the accuracy of bus arrival times in Dublin, Ireland — this partnership focusing at first on smart cities, among other potential customers, could turn out to be more successful than other early go-to-market strategies from big tech companies.