Delivery startup Jokr plans huge NYC expansion

first_imgJokr founder Ralf Wenzel. (Getty)A new delivery startup believes it can rival Amazon or Instacart when it comes to cheap, fast delivery — thanks, in part, to an ambitious plan to turn as many as 100 storefront locations in New York into micro-fulfillment centers.Jokr, founded by German entrepreneur Ralf Wenzel, has a bold promise: that it can deliver goods to consumers within 15 minutes. Customers use an app to order items, which are then ferried from those storefronts. Along with groceries, Jokr intends to sells items you would typically find in convenience stores or pharmacies — things that people use all the time and sometimes need in an instant.“In an age where retail rents are falling and warehouse rents are rising, there’s a new form of retail emerging that combines the two, but with a focus on speed, efficiency and maximum consumer experience,” said Morris Sabbagh of Kassin Sabbagh Realty, who is representing the company in its search for U.S. storefronts. So far, it’s already live in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Lima, Peru; and Mexico City. It will soon launch in Bogata, Colombia, along with other cities in the U.S. and Europe.ADVERTISEMENTIn New York, Kassin Sabbagh has already completed six deals for the startup, with another 15 leases out for signature. There are 20 more leases in the works, and the company also has New Jersey in its sights. Sabbagh would not elaborate on specific areas where the storefronts — which typically range from 2,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet — will be located, but said the company is looking “everywhere, every neighborhood.”But rather than paying top dollar for prime avenue locations, Jokr is looking primarily at space on side streets. “They are not depending on foot traffic but on density,” Sabbagh said.Wenzel previously founded FoodPanda, which later merged with DeliveryHero, another online food delivery service. Jokr has funding from SoftBank Group International — where Wenzel was a managing director — along with HV Capital and Tiger Global.Jokr says it will use technology, demographics and data to get deliveries done faster, turning over goods multiple times a day by knowing who will buy what and at what time of the day.“I know what is selling in the morning and what is selling in the evening,” said Aspa Lekka, a co-founder and the startup’s COO, who is spearheading its real estate push. “We know where to put each item and how to place the aisles.”Jokr says it will work directly with local suppliers. By cutting out the middleman, Lekka expects costs to be on par with supermarket prices, and there won’t be a minimum order size. So if you’re in the middle of baking a cake, for instance, and realize you’re out of butter, you can get that missing ingredient delivered while you keep on beating the eggs — and not miss a beat.“We have the expertise, we have the funding, we have great people on board, we have the right timing and the right markets, and we are ready to make this happen,” Lekka said. Share via Shortlink Commercial Real EstateRetail Real Estate Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tagslast_img read more

Primosten plans to build an underwater panoramic tunnel

first_imgPhoto: Google Maps, Illustration: The panoramic tunnel would stretch from Nova Riva over the entire Porat bay, it would be made of Plexiglas, and at the entrance and exit the planned catering facilities would have gallery spaces. The investment is worth 1,5 million euros. Primosten Municipal Council approved a budget cost of 335 thousand kuna for the project documentation of the panoramic pedestrian submarine tunnel in the bay Porat in Primosten, writes the portal Š Thus, after the magnificent monument to Our Lady of Loreto on the hill Gaj, Primosten should get an underwater tunnel as a new tourist attraction. By the way, last year over 100 thousand tourists and pilgrims visited the monument of Our Lady in Primošten. “It is a panoramic pedestrian tunnel with transparent walls, 60 meters long and up to six meters wide, which would be located 18 meters below the sea surface at the deepest part of the seabed in Porto.” he told the portal Š, Mayor of Primosten, Stipe Petrina. When such a tourist attraction and investment in Primosten is already planned, we might consider expanding the entire project, in order to enable the realization of the first Croatian underwater restaurant. One of the most famous underwater restaurants in the world are certainly those in Dubai and the Maldives. . Cover photo: Restaurant under the sea, HURAWALHI Maldiveslast_img read more

Got That?  The Complex Story of African Mammal Evolution

first_imgThe article by Jean-Jacques Jaeger in the Dec. 4 issue of Nature1 is pretty upbeat about the evolutionary history of African mammals, but takes a bit of untangling to follow.    He begins confidently, “For some 40 million years, the Afro-Arabian landmass existed in splendid isolation.  A newly described fossil fauna from the end of that time provides a window on the evolution of the continent’s large mammals.”  (He refers to a fossil group named the Chilga biota, found in the Ethiopian highlands by Kappelman et al., described in the same issue.2)  Let’s take a look out said window and see how evolution has unfolded:During most of the Cenozoic era, from the Cretaceous�Tertiary boundary 65 million years ago until roughly 24 million years ago, Afro-Arabia was an island continent drifting steadily northwards towards Eurasia.  Fossil mammals documenting this period are scarce and belong almost exclusively to endemic forms restricted to Afro-Arabia, such as proboscideans, hyraxes and elephant-shrews.  But by around 24 million years ago, a permanent land bridge had formed between the two landmasses.  A burst of faunal interchange followed: many Eurasian mammals, such as rhinos and ruminants, dispersed into Africa, and some Afro-Arabian mammals, such as elephants, migrated in the opposite direction.  (Emphasis added in all quotations.)That forms the plot line, but there are problems.  The Chilga specimens he describes seem to fit the story, but there are puzzles among the bones:Among the proboscideans recorded are primitive forms such as Palaeomastodon and Phiomia (also known from older deposits in Egypt).  But there are also representatives of modern families, for example taxa such as Gomphotherium, the earliest proboscidean on the branch leading to extant elephants.  Another surprise is the oldest occurrence of deinotheres, peculiar proboscideans with downward-curved lower tusks, which were previously recorded only from rocks younger than 24 million years old.  The new species of deinothere displays molars that are more ‘bunodont’ in form (that is, made of several distinct cusplets arranged in transverse crests) than its descendant, whose molars display plain transverse crests.  This discovery seems to rule out the possibility that deinotheres are derived from an ancestor bearing plain, transverse-crested molars, as was formerly supposed, and provides new evidence about proboscidean evolution.Jaeger bemoans the scarcity of the fossil record for this period, but claims, “Nonetheless, considerable information has been inferred from the evidence we do have.”  He talks about how systematists have grouped the African fauna into a superorder Afrotheria based on fossil and molecular evidence.  Though “African mammalian faunas are dominated by these endemic forms,” a few other groups did get over to the big island somehow, including our alleged remote ancestors, the catarrhine primates, fathers of hominoids.  These “newcomers” went through “rapid evolution” on the landmass, he claims.    Even though the Chilga fossils are supposed to pre-date the land bridge, Jaeger says, “The Chilga mammals also yield insights into the dynamics of the faunal interchange between Afro-Arabia and Eurasia.”  How is that possible?  By seeing what pre-existed before the interchange, he feels it is possible to document that “the ensuing ecological competition ended with winners and losers.”  I.e., some animals were destined to fall in numbers, others to multiply and diversify.    The Chilga fossils do leave a few research items for paleontologists:Finally, the discoveries of Kappelman et al. highlight two other palaeobiological issues.  First, on northern continents glaciation caused a significant cooling around 33 million years ago, which resulted in numerous extinctions among mammalian communities.  From these new data, however, it seems that large Afro-Arabian herbivores were not affected, either at that time or later, implying that the climatic changes were less severe on southern continents.  Second, the fossil record of the Afro-Arabian continent is not only scanty but also largely concentrated on the northern edge.  This has led to the proposal that other groups of mammals existed in Afro-Arabia during its period of isolation, but that they were restricted to more southern latitudes.  However, the Chilga mammal community is rather like that found at Fayum in Egypt, which is some five million years older, providing hints that there was little provinciality among Afro-Arabian mammals at that time.  As yet, though, we have unveiled only a few of the secrets of mammal evolution on the Afro-Arabian continent.  Many more surprising discoveries are to be expected.Got that?1Jean-Jacques Jaeger, “Mammalian evolution: Isolationist tendencies,” Nature 426, 509 – 511 (04 December 2003); doi:10.1038/426509a.2Kappelman et al., “Oligocene mammals from Ethiopia and faunal exchange between Afro-Arabia and Eurasia,” Nature 426, 549 – 552 (04 December 2003); doi:10.1038/nature02102.Our policy before commenting on a paper is to approach it with an open mind as much as possible, and give the author the benefit of the doubt.  We give the author or authors their day in court, and begin with the premise innocent till proven guilty.  But we also want to see hard data that support any conclusions, and the conclusions must survive the Baloney Detector to be granted any credibility or respect.  Bluffing is a big turn-off.    With that in mind, not much survived in this paper.  Jaeger sounds very confident that evolutionists are very well on the way to understanding mammal evolution; it’s just a matter of time, cleaning up a few remaining puzzles.  His position is typical of evolutionists.  The story only makes sense to someone already convinced evolution is true.  The puzzles outnumber the confirmations, but since non-evolutionary alternatives are disallowed from the outset, no amount of negative data can ever falsify their claim that all animals have bacteria ancestors.    How Jaeger can keep from biting his fingernails at the sheer number of puzzles is the real puzzle.  With your critical, open-minded eye, consider his confessions of these non-evolutionary observations:The fossil record is scanty.Known fossils are restricted to isolated locales on the northern periphery of Africa.“Modern” representatives are mixed in with alleged “primitive” specimens, even though the Afrotheria were supposedly isolated from Europe and Asia for millions of years and had plenty of time and space to evolve all they wanted.The teeth of the deinotheres evolved from complex to simple, not the other way around.Some critters managed to get to Africa, while others remained isolated.  Was there some kind of discriminatory ferry system operating?After the land bridge formed, there were winners and losers, but no way to predict according to evolutionary theory who would win or lose.A long global ice age seemed to have no effect on the Afrotheria.There was little provinciality among African mammals (i.e., geographic isolation; the animals were free to roam widely), yet fossils are rare in the interior.    Anyone see evolution here?  From just a few bones, at a few locations on the northern edge of the huge continent of Africa, Jaeger proceeds to weave a magical mystery tale out of thin air (and hot, spinning air at that).  He daydreams about floating continents, selective weather, selective migrations, selective fossilizations, selective winners and losers, and land bridges that both increase and decrease the evolutionary adaptations of immigrants.  Almost every observation is counter to what was previously believed.  Nowhere does the reader see any hard evidence of transitional forms.  The only solid evidence points to are dead things; remnants of advanced, complex, large, healthy, well-adapted mammals.  The dates are part of the myth; they are made up, based on methods that depend for their validity on evolutionary assumptions and wild extrapolations into the unobservable past.    In a courtroom, the attorneys have the opportunity to give an opening statement.  These are usually overconfident claims that the facts of the case are going to prove their side.  But then, witnesses have to submit to cross-examination on matters of fact, and the attorneys are prevented from spin doctoring, asking leading questions, or going beyond the evidence.  Unfortunately, the news media often take the opening statement of the Darwinist lawyer at face value and parrot it uncritically to their readers.  Here at Creation-Evolution Headlines, we feel our readers deserve to watch a fair trial.  Jaeger is charged with five counts: doctoring evidence, manufacturing just-so stories, refusing to consider nonevolutionary alternatives, making inferences beyond what scientific caution would allow, and assuming what needs to be proved.  We have swept away the storytelling elements and stared at the evidence, and have reached our conclusion.  Guilty, your honor.    For more examples of evolutionary storytelling contrary to hard evidence, see these other recent headlines on supposed mammal evolution: 12/12/03 on marsupials, 11/17/03 on Smithsonian’s Mammal Hall, 10/30/03 on cave packrats, 10/13/03 on monkey color vision, 07/16/03 on development, 11/22/02 on dogs, 11/01/03 on placentas, 06/04/02 on tooth evolution, and especially 03/18/03, National Geographic’s embarrassing April 2003 cover story on “the rise of mammals,” and the PNAS hall of shame from 05/28/02.  For that matter, how about the next headline below? 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Tau Ceti a Star for Life to Avoid

first_imgTau Ceti, a star with a dust disk astronomers had hoped might be an example of a planetary system under construction, is more like a war zone.  A press release from the Royal Observatory calls it “Asteroid Alley – an Inhospitable Neighbor.”  Using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, the astronomers detected 10 times the quantity of asteroids and comets as around our sun.  Jane Greaves, the lead scientist, explained the implications of this finding: “We don’t yet know whether there are any planets orbiting Tau Ceti, but if there are, it is likely that they will experience constant bombardment from asteroids of the kind that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs.  It is likely that with so many large impacts life would not have the opportunity to evolve.”    The press release says, “The discovery means that scientists are going to have to rethink where they look for civilisations outside our Solar System.”  Another astronomer suggests that our solar system may have been swept clean of impactors by a passing star.  Whatever the reason for the difference, Tau Ceti is “clearly a place you would not wish to be,” concludes Ian Holliday, Chief Executive of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.Evolution: always assumed, never demonstrated.  Dinosaur extinction via impact: a media mythoid that persists despite falsifying evidence (see 12/03/2003 and 06/02/2003 headlines).    Tau Ceti was the darling of astrobiologists who assumed its dust disk was evidence of an evolving solar system similar to ours.  Now chalk up another tally for the Privileged Planet hypothesis (see 06/24/2004 headline).  Even so, these measurements are too indirect to know for sure what it’s like out there at the Whale, without Han Solo to drive us through Asteroid Alley.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Does Evolution Need a Helping Hand?

first_imgNew Scientist didn’t think about that question, because reporter Ewen Galloway he said, “If humans want to persuade microbes to produce vast quantities of fuels or pharmaceuticals, we may need to give evolution a helping hand.”    His article was about researchers at Harvard Medical School using computers to do “rapid evolution.”  How this can be called evolution is strange when they spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars on a rapid genome-sequencing technique called MAGE – “multiplex automated genome engineering.”  One would think any engineers would like to hear that their work was intelligently designed, but then if an intelligent designer oversaw their evolution, would not the NCSE complain?  Anyway, they can “create hundreds or thousands of mutations in a few days” and search through them for variations that increase the production of desirable substances.    Presumably they use the term evolution because it has something to do with mutations and selection.  But the selectors are humans who have an outcome in mind, even if they don’t know the way to get there except through a speeded-up random search.  “There might be cells out there that may have these properties, but what we’re trying to do is accelerate this process to find the specific traits we’re interested in,” a team member explained. Folks, we’re not laughing loud enough yet.  They still say these things in public.  Enough laughter should make it dawn on them that these silly statements are self-refuting nonsense.  It is not a loving thing to leave them clueless.  So show them some tough love: laugh loud and long.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa’s next Oscars entry revealed

first_img23 September 2015 The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has named the indie drama Thina Sobabili (The Two of Us) as South Africa’s entry into the 88th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. The announcement came on Monday, 21 September.The movie, from first-time filmmaker Ernest Nkosi, is set in Joburg’s northeastern township of Alexandra. Its gritty plot follows the story of two siblings, Zanele and Thulani, who try to escape tragedy and poverty, and build a life together.But things are not easy for them. Along the way, Zanele starts an affair with an older “sugar daddy” and it strains her relationship with her overprotective brother, Thulani, who is also her guardian.Watch the trailer here:The movie has an all local cast. Emmanuel Nkosinathi Gweva played Thulani and Busisiwe Mtshali took the role of Zanele.Previous accoladesThe movie has already made an impression. It won the Audience Choice awards at two film festivals: the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the 2015 Jozi Film Festival.It was also named Best Feature Film at the 2015 Rwanda Film Festival and made the cut for a screening at the 2015 Urbanworld Film Festival, taking place in New York City from 23 to 27 September.“It also enjoyed some success at the local box office, coming in at eighth position at the South African box office on the weekend of its theatrical release in July – the only independent film to make the top 10,” said the Gauteng Film Commission.The OscarsIf Thina Sobabili does get the nomination nod, it’ll join the ranks of other South African entries Yesterday, which was nominated in 2004, and the 2006 Oscar winner, Tsotsi.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will only announce the nominations for the 2016 Oscars on 14 January. The awards ceremony will take place on 28 February at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.Of course! So proud of the #ThinaSobabili team! Y’all r already winners:)— Vuyiswa Mutshekwane(@VieArem) September 22, 2015#ThinaSobabili is a really good movie. I hope they get that Oscar Nomination — Lesedi (@Lesedi_S)September 22, 2015SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Why are we hog wild over bacon?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest While growing up my brothers and I had a running joke that, when asked how much bacon we wanted, we would answer, “Yes.” The idea was that whatever amount of bacon that was available is the amount that we wanted. The Reese brothers (and our father) REALLY enjoyed bacon growing up, and still do. Apparently, we had cutting edge culinary tastes, because bacon has since become quite trendy.“Bacon is hip. It’s cool. It is kind of the Band-Aid of the kitchen. If you burn a roast, you wrap it in bacon and you’re good to go. Bacon just works. It is a super food in terms of how it can be utilized,” said Quinton Keeran, bacon fan extraordinaire. “I’m a backyard BBQ warrior kind of a guy and I have yet to make one thing that I couldn’t improve vastly by wrapping it in bacon.”Keeran has, to some degree, built a fair portion of his professional career in Ohio agriculture around bacon.“I’ve got a unique experience being a professional in social media in agricultural and I spend a good bit of my time talking with consumers and learning and connecting to build online relationships. I spent about six years at the Ohio Pork Council where we built a Facebook following of about 300,000 people based on the premise of building relationships and having conversations about food and where it comes from. Bacon was an integral part of that. We wanted to talk to people about what they really enjoy and bacon was a key,” Keeran said. “I have since moved on and work with clients in agriculture around the country with FLM+ telling the story of how food is grown and raised. Bacon has certainly been at the forefront of several initiatives and campaigns. It is all about connecting with people and talking about what they care about. People have such a nostalgic, emotional connection with bacon. We can all remember waking up and smelling bacon in the frying pan and that is how you start your day. It is going to be a good day after that because bacon is the fuel for positive energy in my opinion.”Bacon’s meteoric rise as a food juggernaut has not gone unnoticed by Nick Dekker, a.k.a. “Dr. Breakfast.” Dekker authors the popular blog “Breakfast with Nick,” primarily focuses on breakfast haunts in and around Columbus.“There are always multiple trends happening all at once. Bacon seems like it is a long-running trend but in the past five or seven years it became really trendy. Every generation looks to have fun with certain foods or dishes and bacon is something you can do all sorts of fun and crafty things with,” Dekker said. “From what I’ve seen, bacon is showing up on all sorts of menus, so clearly restaurants are seeing a demand and catering to it. You still see fun, trendy things like crumbled bacon on doughnuts. One of the best sellers at Buckeye Doughnuts in Columbus is the maple bacon. People still go nuts for that. People will whip out their cameras take a picture and buy a dozen of them.”Dekker speculates that there are several reasons behind the incredible popularity of bacon. First, there has been an increase in the popularity of dining out early in the day, which boosts bacon sales.“Breakfast, and in particular brunch, is becoming more popular and bacon is a mainstay,” Dekker said.But, it seems the popularity of bacon cannot be contained to just the a.m. hours, after all, Dr. Breakfast cannot live on just one meal day. Fortunately, he can find one of his favorite breakfast staples in dishes better suited for later in the day.“One of my personal favorites is at Katalina’s — a trendy quirky place in Columbus with really good food. One of their features is a sweet and spicy bacon, which they rub with brown sugar and something spicy, maybe Cayenne or Jalapeno. It is a sweet sticky mess, but it is great with nice thick slices of bacon,” Dekker said. “I have had a couple of bacon ice creams, some really bad. There is one that is really good, though, at a Jewish-style food truck in Columbus called Challah. They have lamb bacon that is really good and bacon ice cream that is just fantastic. It is sweet ice cream that is a little bit salty from the little pieces of crumbled bacon. You think, ‘Oh I don’t know if that works,’ but then you taste it and ‘Yep.’”Bacon also fits into a larger trend of broad protein popularity.“We’re all protein crazy right now, and that includes bacon. Kale is another one of those things that is high in protein and has a very specific flavor that you can do a lot of stuff with. You can throw it on burgers, you can add it to a salad you can blend it in smoothies,” Dekker said. “Quinoa is another one right now that is popular.”Another reason for the bacon boom is that, when compared to fellow breakfast meat sausage, bacon has some inherent advantages.“Bacon is a distinctly pork product while sausage can be a combination of meats and it can be made different ways. You could get three different kinds of sausage or you can get bacon. You never know what you’ll get with sausage but typically you know what you’re getting with bacon,” Dekker said. “No matter what they do to it, it is still going to be awesome bacon.”In addition, bacon is highly adaptable to changing consumer trends.“Consumers have really changed in the past 10 years or so. Food culture has changed. Think about how many restaurants this generation of consumers goes to compared to previous generations. Now we have the Food Network and the Travel Channel that have made food into entertainment. And we have phones that we can take out to take a picture of every meal,” Dekker said. “Bacon is fun to look at and fun to feature.”The other day, like generations of Reeses before me, I was whipping up some delicious breakfast. I asked my son how much bacon he wanted. His reply: “Do we have any sausage?”I nearly dropped my spatula. I guess the times may be changing. “Oh, well,” I thought to myself while browning some sausage links, “at least he didn’t ask for kale.”last_img read more

Interview With Copyblogger Founder, Brian Clark

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Blogging Topics: Originally published Jul 16, 2009 11:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Brian Clark is the founder of Copyblogger, a blog about using copywriting and social media for online marketing.  It now has over 60,000 subscribers and is ranked as a top blog on Advertising Age and Technorati.1. How did Copyblogger get started? What made you think a blog about copywriting would be so successful?I didn’t think a blog about copywriting would be successful, but I did think a blog about the intersection of copywriting and blogging might have a shot. Put another way, it’s the intersection of content and marketing, and I had been using online content marketing since 1999 to sell everything from professional services to software. Now the term “content marketing” has come into vogue, and that’s what Copyblogger has really always been about. 2. What are the three most important things you’ve done to help you build your blog — to build subscriptions, inbound links, and recommendations from other bloggers?1. Great content that is designed to spread.2. An understanding of how social media works and changes.3. Real relationships with those who can help get the word out. 3. How should bloggers balance the desire for a broad audience with the need to focus on a specific topic? Too specific, and your audience is limited; too broad, and you’ll have few original insights to offer.It’s true that being too specific can hurt you, but only in the extreme. A strong focused niche audience will prove more valuable than a general unfocused audience of larger size. One shouldn’t water things down as far as subject matter or personality just to attract a larger audience.4. Marketers are very concerned with the quality of the traffic on their site. What can you do as a business blogger to make sure you have quality traffic?Stay on topic. Find a way to make your content sexy AND on point rather than going off track to attract traffic that is ultimately worthless.5. Many bloggers deliberately post controversial opinions in order to gain attention. Is this a good strategy for a small business blogger?I think positioning yourself so that some will love you and others will ignore you or even dislike you is smart. If you stand for something strongly, that will naturally happen. And if you do that, you don’t have to purposefully be controversial. Often bloggers attract the wrong kind of audience when they purposefully try to be controversial in an opportunistic way. Stand for what you beleive in and don’t back down, and things will naturally happen without being ugly. 6. Business bloggers need to get value out of their blog. What’s the best way to get this value — and to measure it?Sell something and count how much money you make. 😉 7. What are your favorite business blogs? Why?Seth Godin – Always thought provoking ideas about smart marketing. Brogan – For a popular business blogger, he has an amazing “beginner’s mind” that allows for any and all possibilities. Fortin – Just a damn good copywriter who also seems to get social media. Book – Aaron Wall is an SEO ninja, but he also understands that ranking well in search engines is a function of strong marketing and an understanding of human psychology. Gray – For those who can’t deal with the noise from Tech Crunch et al, Louis tells you what’s important about Web 2.0 and new tech. 8. What do you read online regularly?See above. The rest of the time I’m reading books. And often, they have nothing to do with marketing or business. That’s where my best ideas come from.Webinar: Blogging for Business Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website?Download the free webinar to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog.last_img read more

Interview with Todd Defren, Principal at SHIFT Communications

first_imgTodd Defren is a principal at SHIFT Communications, author of the blog PR-Squared, and co-founder of the Social Media Club. He has been a major player in the PR industry’s transition into the PR 2.0 era and will be giving a live webinar tomorrow at 1PM ET as part of Inbound Marketing University. 1. As social media has evolved in the past five years, how has SHIFT adapted its PR strategy to the new applications and media outlets?  The entire industry has changed in the past five years.  Whereas the Social Media News Release felt like it was an innovation a few years ago, now it is just one of many tools and technologies.  I’d like to think we have gone further than most in trying to adapt our policies and practices.  It’s a constant challenge to stay ahead of the curve.  2. What have been the biggest challenges with PR 2.0?   While the technologies have largely been free (for the most part), the level of noise has gotten exponentially louder and the number of people that we need to potentially reach out to has gotten exponentially larger.  The amount of work has gotten much larger. You used to have a list of the top 50 mainstream reporters and analysts for the industry your client was in.  Now you have to add to that 50 Facebook group administrators and the 5,000 people on Twitter who might be appropriate for any given client.  It’s just as much about the edgework with end users as it is with those top 50 mainstream reporters.  3.  What is the best way to increase your visibility if you are a small business and do not already have an established brand on the internet? Provide relevant content to the right people in the right channels and do it everyday, as often as possible.  4.  At HubSpot, we teach readers that creating remarkable content to market their products and services will draw people into their websites.  What are ways to reach different audiences with this content once it is out there?     It’s not rocket science.  It takes not just the daily focus on content creation and promotion, but a daily focus on engagement in the right communities.  You can’t look at this as a marketer who is all about broadcasting content.  You have got to look at it as a marketer who is all about adding value.  While some of that value is going to come from your own content, it can’t exclusively come from your content or you’ll be pretty quickly sussed out as somebody who is only in this for themselves.  The in it for yourself mentality may be what you think is going to help pay the mortgage this month, but it’s not going to create long-term relationships that you can count on for longer term revenue potential. 5.  A lot of businesses struggle with the decision of charging for resources or giving them away for free.  You recently launched a new feature for Twitter, clickablenow, and decided to change from charging for it to giving it away for free. What factors influenced your decision to offer the application for free?  What did you learn from this and how has it performed since you made the change?  We had some internal debate over whether or not we should charge for clickablenow.  From the beginning, we agreed that we would listen to the community.  If we found feedback that free was the better way to go, we wouldn’t be surprised by it and we would react quickly. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea but everyone balked at the 20 bucks.  We dropped the 20 bucks and the overall usage went way up.      6. Can you describe a PR campaign in social media that has done surprisingly well in the past year?  Why and how did it become so successful? One of the things we are proud of at SHIFT was our work with H&R Block.  We worked with them for the 2009 tax season.  We were proud to help a big, established brand like H&R Block refine its approach to social media.  Whereas before they had gotten a lot of credit for experimenting across many different social media channels.  We did some hardcore research to find out which were the most appropriate and impactful social media channels.  We encouraged them to get out of SecondLife and, for the first time, to respond directly to users who are looking for free tax advice on and Yahoo! Answers.  This combination resulted in their tax-cut product becoming #1 in the market segment for tax-cut software over TurboTax for the first time, which was a big milestone for them.  It proved to us that a smart approach to social media that is relevant, responsive and diplomatic can absolutely help your business.   If you want to learn more about PR 2.0, register for Defren’s live webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, August 11 at 1 PM ET.     Free Inbound Marketing University Online Training ProgramDownload HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University online training programIMU includes 11 free webinar classes and notesheets. The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam. Originally published Aug 10, 2009 12:49:00 PM, updated October 01 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Public Relations Topics:last_img read more