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December 10, 2017

branding and marketing your professional career : 6 levels of influence

Personal Branding : The 6 levels of influence: A person is like a brand. Just have brands have product life cycles , a person too has their own professional life cycles. like brands too , your career needs proper levels of persuasion and it needs to be advertised across key distribution channels.Companies spend billions bombarding us with their ads and enticing us to buy from them .

Research data shows that an average person is bombarded with 16,000 ads and promotions every day. However most companies use two kinds of marketing to reach their target users.

Pull and Push marketing. Creating the right push and pull  impact draws others to you,empowers you to get things done and make things happen.It wins you interviews ,sales pitches ,friends partners, business associates and positive impact.

Pull marketing is when consumers are pulled towards the products , either by print ad,video ads or radio ads.Push marketing on the other hand is when companies push their products across the distribution channel in order to ensure more retail coverage and dealers. Push marketing relies on the  distributers and retail outlets to provide marketing ammunition and muscle.Pull marketing on the other hand depends upon customer outreach in a more proactive way. Pull marketing is designed for customers to ask for the product (which they might have seen or heard via ads ) Push marketing on the other hand relies upon the retailers to push their product in front go the customer. 

Similarly in your career you need to decide whether you need to pursue a push or a pull strategy. Make yourself so good, network across the right crowds and make yourself heard and seen in the right kind of ecosystem or create a brand personae where you will be referred by people who really matter. the world’s leading expert on persuasion Robert Cialdini spent more than 30 years studying the subject of influence in depth. In his seminal book Influence he details 6 powerful weapons of persuasion which were 1)Likeability 2)Reciprocation 3)Social proof 4) Authority 5) commitment and consistency 

 Broadly speaking your success in your professional branding depends on the above personality traits Likeability matters.

Likeability is one of the most ‘crucial” character traits which creates the greatest impact in your both personal and professional life. Likeability wins elections and is the heart of making an impact and standing out in a crowd. Likeability is the ability to empathise and establish an immediate connectivity. You might not be running for elections or a Mayor, but likeability, the ability to be liked across a wide spectrum of users creates an instant rapport with your audiences .So what does the  likeability index look like?. What are the character traits that makes a person likeable . Broadly speaking being authentic, being physically attractive,genuine interest in others and friendliness are the keys to being more likeable.
2)Reciprocity :This involves doing someone a favour and create a sense of obligation on their part, In other words , the moment you help someone in their need or when they are going through tough times, you have established a leverage on the person, What that means that “ they owe you “ big time , and they will be always eager to pay you back by doing a favour when you need them . Reciprocation creates a extremely powerful force on the other person. 

 3)Social Proof : we all are social creatures.Psychologist have shown that countless examples that we all have a “ role model” and tend to behave like our own icons whom we hero worship.Most often we look upto a company , a particular culture or tend to copy the “best practices” from among the best companies in our industries. This is the social proof effect. We can be more influential by using social proof as a way to influence decision on our companies, or starting a new initiative. 

 4.Authority:Most of us tend to obey authorities. we obey authorities not because we want to , we obey because they are “ considered to be powerful people who yields considerable influences “.We give credence to comments from those with credentials and qualifications. In any situation where you seek to influence an use this weapon in two ways, If you have authority yourselves which might be due to your expertise and competence or seek authority that supports your case.This is how expert witness are often used in court.Even citing authoritative sources are effective. 5) Commitment and consistency :

5.Commitment and consistency are the hallmarks of an individual who, stands by their word and action.A person of commitment is automatically respected as one playing by the rules.One of the key elements of your personal branding along with commitment should be consistency. Consistency is simply ensuring you follow up and deliver on whatever you had mutually agreed on earlier. Commitment and consistency are traits that will always be respected even by your detractors. 

December 7, 2017

chinese bike sharing unicorns Ofo and mobike sets their Indian target

Alibaba-backed Chinese bicycle sharing unicorn Ofo  to enter india

Chinese Unicorns Ofo and Mobike promises to shake things up in the Indian Bike Sharing Space

Alibaba-backed Chinese bicycle sharing unicorn Ofo , which is one of China's hottest startups, the bicycle-sharing venture Ofo that is valued at $2 billion, aims to enter the Indian market by the first half of 2018,according to economic times. Ofo spokesperson said in an emailed response that the company’s strategy was in line with the growing interest in bike sharing as part of the smart mobility initiatives in India. “We hope to bring our globally proven technology and operational excellence to help this sector grow.” Social media posts by its senior executives also suggested that Ofo’s first port of call in India will be Chennai. The company has also been laying the foundation and building teams for a full-fledged launch in several other cities, including Coimbatore, Indore, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. 

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua ,Ofo will import bikes into India and proposes to offer its services for free and waive deposits till the year-end.Ofo's app allows users to track where its bicycles are parked as well as unlock and lock the two-wheelers. Users pay $1 an hour for the bicycles."Ofo's model would need to be tweaked and localized for the Indian market. 

Ofo operates in 200 cities across 19 countries, including China, Australia, Singapore, Japan and the UK. It has a fleet of 10 million bikes, powering 32 million rides a day. The company’s entry into India is a significant development given that it is the first foreign player in the segment. In its home market of China, Ofo competes with Mobike for the pole position. Both companies are valued around $1.5 billion, and there has been speculation that the two companies were exploring a merger to bring down cash burn. Mobike is backed by Alibaba rival Tencent. In July, Alibaba Group, along with cab aggregator Didi Chuxing and DST Global, had invested $700 million in Ofo.

Meanwhile, Ofo’s entry in India coincides with Zoomcar and Ola launching their operations in different locations. Zoomcar had announced its entry into app-based bicycle sharing in mid-October and had launched its services in select locations in several cities. Meanwhile, as we mentioned in our recent post former Inmobi founders are among the latest entrant in the bike sharing platform called "Yulu, Yulu is starting off with Bangalore as its test market with regular, dockless bicycles that people can rent using their iOS or Android phone. The bikes unlock via QR codes and bill the rider for every 30 minutes of use.

However if Ofo is here.. can its Chinese rival Mobike be  far behind? With Hyderabad Metro Rail deciding to set up dedicated parking space for bicycles, Mobike dockless bike-sharing app is hoping to set up its first bicycle sharing operations in the city. The China-based start-up is trying to get the first mover advantage by being the first of the three major dockless bike sharing startups trying to enter Indian markets in recent times.

In China, dockless bike-sharing has become so popular, that there were more bike-sharing rides in China in the first quarter of 2017 than the total number of on-demand trips in India in that same period. The problem, however, that many of these bike-sharing systems have come across is its bikes stacking up and congesting sidewalks and pedestrian roadways. That’s become a central concern for local regulators in the U.S. as dockless bike-sharing companies just beginning to take off.

With the Indian government investing heavily in developing infrastructure including new Rapid mass transits systems and Metro Rails, Bike sharing can help being a  part of the " last mile " connectivity  problem.

November 29, 2017

2017 cybermonday makes bezos worth over $100billion

" amazon 's stock rally makes jezz bezoz biggest winner"

Jeff Bezos Amazon has had a ming-boggling cyber Monday going by how its stock prices have jumped during America's busiest shopping season

Following a Thanksgiving and a Black Friday and cyber Monday led stock market rally of Amazon’s stock price, the company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is now the only living $100-billion man. According to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Bezos’ net worth now exceeds $101 billion after Amazon shares closed at an all-time high of $1,195.83 on Monday. Also if this years Cyber Monday sales are any indicator, Inc. (AMZN - Get Report) could be shaping up to have one of the  happiest holiday in the last decade.
Consumers racked up $6.59 billion in purchases on Cyber Monday, marking a 16.8% increase in sales year-over-year and earning it the title of largest online sales day in history, according to data from Adobe Systems.Amazon, which is estimated to have captured between 45% to 50% of all holiday online retail sales, is expected to grab a similar share of Cyber Monday shopping. 

Amazon's vast Prime subscription network, which is estimated to be 85 million members, likely helped to create an  additional buffer or a "ring-fence" that helped it dominate in the "fiercely competitive" cyber Monday pricing environment.

According to The Street "While Walmart is emerging as Amazon's biggest sole competitor online, the customer overlap remains small today as Amazon's Prime membership growth and Amazon's 'stronghold on e-commerce' remain hard to penetrate and  this trend is  only expected to play out again the rest of this holiday season. Bezos’ fortune rose by more than $30 billion in the past year alone, as the company he helped build just keeps on growing.

Meanwhile the latest GBH Insights  also estimates Amazon accounting single-handedly accounted for 45% to 50% of U.S. Black Friday sales; given an Adobe estimate for total Black Friday online sales of $5.03 billion, that would imply revenue of up to $2.5 billion. GBH also forecasts Amazon could account for up to 50% of U.S. online retail sales in November and December, up from 38% in 2016.

 For comparison, research firm eMarketer predicted earlier this year Amazon would account for 43.5% of 2017 U.S. e-commerce gross merchandise volume (GMV), up from 38.1% in 2016. Amazon, as usual, doesn't share holiday season sales figures outside of its fourth-quarter results. The company did issue a PR touting the strong sales seen for Amazon devices, which were heavily discounted and promoted during Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday. 

Amazon’s revenue amounted to $117 billion in the first nine months of 2017, up 27 percent from the same period last year. With the online retailer accounting for nearly half of all online sales on Black Friday in the United States, indicating its unchallenged position on top of the e-commerce food chain. As our chart illustrates, Bezos now leads Bill Gates by more than $10 billion in the global billionaire rankings after having surpassed the Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist in late July this year.

kindle celebrates its 10th birthday:

" The global ebook sales per year"
The State of the Global Ebook Marketshare :

"the evolution of ebook reader:Kindle"
The evolution of Kindle
Over the years kindle has gone on from being a mysterious product to a must-have on most of our electronic shopping shelves.The very idea of digital books or ereaders was still in its infancy in November 2007 when Amazon launched Kindle.And this after Steve jobs iPhone revolution which took on " the biggest elephant in the space at that time " the Blackberry.On November 19th,2007 Amazon introduces Kindle and The New York Times goes on a rant: “You’ve got to have a lot of nerve to introduce an electronic book reader in 2007. Sure, the idea has appeal: An e-reader lets you carry hundreds of books, search or jump to any spot in the text and bump up the type size when your eyes get tired. But the counterarguments are equally persuasive. Printed books are dirt cheap, never run out of power and survive drops, spills and being run over. And their file format will still be readable 200 years from now…. Are they completely nuts.

That year during the holiday season ,the $399 price tag might have made  Kindle a bit too expensive for consumers during their  Christmas-list item  (many customers gave the device a one-star rating), But in the next few months, Kindle  sold more than a quarter million units. Holding Amazon back was the small pool of book titles that were available in digital form… only 88,000 Kindle e-books were available at launch.

Over the years the Kindle has become one of the most ubiquitous pieces of specialty electronics in the world since it launched 10 years ago today, but the device has changed so much since its debut that one can hardly believe the oldest and newest models are meant to do the same thing.

On its 10th anniverssary Techcrunch spoke to Amazon’s Chris Green, VP of Design at its Lab126 hardware arm who spoke on the design choices that have defined and redefined the device, and the reasoning behind them.

“My first day at Amazon was the day the Kindle launched — November 19, 2007. I walked into the office and everyone was going crazy. I thought that’s what it was going to be like every day,” he recalled. “Then the next morning I went in, they had sold all the Kindles in one day and everybody was panicking. So that was an interesting first 24 hours.” For the next decade, he’d work on getting the Kindle closer to what he called the “gold standard”: paper. “We can never be better than paper, but we can be as compelling,” he said. 

“We really didn’t want any bezel or bling or even page-turn buttons — everything we’ve done over 15 generations has been to reduce it to basically a piece of paper.” (With the new Oasis there have actually been a total of 16 “generations” or models.) That may come as a surprise to those who remember the first Kindle, which with its chunky angles, slab-like buttons and aggressively ergonomic keyboard, seems almost brutalist. Although he didn’t help create the first generation, Green is plenty familiar with its design language. Turns out there’s a very simple reason behind the angles.If you have one of those around, you’ll notice that the cross section is actually that of a paperback book — the pages go at that angle,” Green said. “The dimensions are even a standard paperbacks. They were trying their hardest even at that early stage to represent a paperback book.”"

As Priya Srinivasan from Dailyo puts it succinctly "The Kindle e-book reader symbolizes the corporatization of desire, of global capitalism and connectivity, a cloud of information, representing efficiency, access, and convenience – all buzzwords of the 21st century. It symbolizes the smart traveler, the multitasking housewife, the retired couple, the young child. You can store hundreds of books in your Kindle, snuggled safely in your satchel. It prevents messy encounters of the food variety, it is compact and even friendly. The Kindle allows you to make notes on margins, share passages and even enables shared communities of readers to connect on book review websites or social media platforms.

Ever since the last decade since it has launched, Amazon has sold "tens of millions" of Kindles, according to an email from an Amazon representative to CNBC Make It. Apple competitor to the Kindle, the iPad, launched in January 2010. The iPad, which has more uses than the Kindle, launched at $499. In July, August, and September of 2017 alone, Apple sold 10.3 million iPads, according to the company's most recent quarterly financial documents.

The Jobs vs Bezos war on ereaders:
 It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty per cent of the people in the US read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore. Steve Jobs on Kindle, Wired (2008) 

I believe that reading deserves a dedicated device. For people who are readers, reading is important to them. And you don’t want to read for three hours on a backlit LCD screen. It’s great for short form. This is a really important point — that we humans co-evolve with our tools. We change the tools, and the tools change us, and that cycle repeats. — Jeff Bezos to Newsweek (2009)

Though Amazon is today in the third spot behind both Apple and Samsung for a total number of tablets sold, according to the most recent annual data compiled by market research firm TrendForce and published in February, Amazon has been showing strong growth in the tablet sector. "Amazon posted a phenomenal 99.4 percent annual growth in its tablet shipments for 2016," TrendForce says in its written statement Based on data collected by the, Amazon is the biggest player of the US field. Including indie books (published without ISBN), Amazon accounts for 83% of US ebook purchases – and the rest is almost entirely shared between the Apple iBookStore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo US and the GooglePlay Books.

November 28, 2017

how niche websites can benefit by google's rankbrain

the rise of AI and deep learning in Google searches
the above image shows how " Rankbrain is using vectors to understand country and their capitals using AI, deep learning

Bloomberg News recently broke the story on a new artificial intelligence program from Google that it calls “Rank Brain”.“For the past few months, a “very large fraction” of the millions of queries a second that people type into the company’s search engine has been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain.

Putting is simply Rank Brain is an artificial intelligence (AI) program used to help process Google search queries. RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities, called vectors, that the computer can understand.If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.Presently RankBrain is mainly used as a way to interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were searched for and for searches that has different meaning across geographies. 

To cite an example, for a query "how much spoons of sugar will fill a cup, Google’s Rank Brain will show different search results based on things like what country the search was made from.This is because each country has different standards of measuring them. a normal cup in Australia will be of a different size that Austria .

RankBrain is mainly used as a way to interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were searched for. It must be understood here that RankBrain is not a new Algorithm, Rankbrain is only a part of Google’s overall search “algorithm,” along with ( hummingbird, Penguin, Panda) which is used to sort through the billions of pages it knows about and find the ones deemed most relevant for particular queries. 

In particular, we know RankBrain is part of the overall Hummingbird algorithm because the Bloomberg article makes clear that RankBrain doesn’t handle all searches, as only the overall algorithm would. Hummingbird also contains other parts with names familiar to those in the SEO space, such as Panda, Penguin, and Payday designed to fight spam, Pigeon designed to improve local results.

The basic idea of using Artificial Intelligence and assigning mathematical vectors to search queries is due to the fact the present computers and algorithms does not understand natural human language so well enough, which forces people to do a lot of the heavy lifting— when they are searching for something 'unique or keywords which Google has never searched or a phrase which it cannot understand, for example, speaking "searchese" to find information online, or slogging through lengthy forms to book a trip. Computers ideally should understand the natural language better, so people can interact with them more easily and get any kind of semantic information without having to sweat it out.

While state-of-the-art technology is still miles away from this goal, Google's Rankbrain has started making significant progress using the latest machine learning and natural language processing techniques. Deep learning has markedly improved speech recognition and image classification. For example, studies have shown that computers can learn to recognize cats (and many other objects) just by observing a large number of images, without being trained explicitly on what a cat looks like. Now we apply neural networks to understanding words by having them “read” vast quantities of text on the web. Google says that its scaling this approach to datasets thousands of times larger than what has been possible before, and they have seen a dramatic improvement in performance.

To promote research on how machine learning can apply to natural language problems, Google has published an open source toolkit called word2vec that aims to learn the meaning behind words. Word2vec uses distributed representations of text to capture similarities among concepts. 

For example, it understands that Paris and France are related the same way Berlin and Germany are (capital and country), and not the same way Madrid and Italy are. This chart shows how well it can learn the concept of capital cities, just by reading lots of news articles -- with no human intervention.

So how does Rankbrain would affect your SEO ? For starters, Its important to step back and understand why RankBrain was deployed.The problem is with the sheer scale of search volumes today. 
Google processes three billion searches per day. In 2007, Google said that 20 - 25% of those queries had never been seen before. In 2013, it brought that number down to 15 percent and by 2015 it still hovers around the same number. But 15% of three billion is still a huge number of queries never entered by any human searcher — 450 million per day.That number by any imagination is huge, among those search keywords , some of them can be complex, multi-word queries, also called “long-tail” queries. RankBrain is designed to help better interpret those queries and effectively translate them, behind the scenes in a way, to find the best and relevant pages for the searcher.-So if you run a  very niche website targetting  rare long tail keywords ,you might see increase in traffic as Rankbrain tries to serve users using them as vectors by integrating state of art Artificial intelligence and Deep learning