When The Profile Gets Ahead Of The Proof

I heard this line this past week, and it’s been like a catchy lyric playing over and over again inside my head: “Their profile is ahead of their proof.”

Written another way, when Profile > Proof.

It could apply to a company, a startup, a venture fund, and of course, an individual. And it reminded me the profile of any of these entities can be built up, pumped up, and broadcast widely for not much money or effort. The age of social media is in full-swing, as we all know too well — entirely digital brands are going direct to consumers, disrupting traditional brick and mortar stores; traditional media outlets such as newspapers and cable television are being replaced by celebrity- and influencer-driven “channels”; and “startup culture” is now defacto corporate culture, with early-stage, well-funded startups executives on the coasts commanding compensation packages at many multiples of what Continue reading "When The Profile Gets Ahead Of The Proof"

How Investment Advisors Are Tackling Leadership Challenges – SPONSOR CONTENT FROM TD AMERITRADE


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The challenges facing leaders today create a complex business landscape: Your business is more global, the pace is faster, technology is reframing your competitive world while customers, armed with more information and more choices, are changing their expectations and demands.

That picture also reflects the challenges that face the more than 6,000 registered investment advisors who work with TD Ameritrade, leaders of firms that manage a total of more than $3 trillion of assets for their clients. While they deal with the increasing complexity of the financial world, market volatility and a changing regulatory environment, these advisors also manage their own businesses and face their own leadership challenges around growth, technology, sustainability and customer relationship.

That’s why TD Ameritrade recently brought together a group of 200 top registered investment advisors (RIAs) for a leadership conference at The Broadmoor in Colorado. The three-day event

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The Death of Supply Chain Management

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The supply chain is the heart of a company’s operations. To make the best decisions, managers need access to real-time data about their supply chain, but the limitations of legacy technologies can thwart the goal of end-to-end transparency. However, those days may soon be behind us. New digital technologies that have the potential to take over supply chain management entirely are disrupting traditional ways of working. Within 5-10 years, the supply chain function may be obsolete, replaced by a smoothly running, self-regulating utility that optimally manages end-to-end work flows and requires very little human intervention.

With a digital foundation in place, companies can capture, analyze, integrate, easily access, and interpret high quality, real-time data — data that fuels process automation, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and robotics, the technologies that will soon take over supply chain management.

Leading companies are already exploring the possibilities. Many have used robotics

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Before Automating Your Company’s Processes, Find Ways to Improve Them

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One of the most recent automation technologies to emerge is robotic process automation, or RPA. RPA is a category of software tools that enable complex digital processes to be automated by performing them in the same way a human user might perform them, using the user interface and following a set of predefined rules. What sets RPA apart from other automation technologies is that its ability to imitate a human user of one or more information systems reduces development time and extends the range of functions that can be automated across a much wider range of business activities. It is frequently used to automate financial processes, such as comparing invoices with shipment notices, or transfering data from email and call center speech-to-text systems into transactional systems of record. Many organizations have adopted it for automating back- and middle-office processes, and many have achieved rapid returns on their investments.


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Using AI and Machine Learning for Agile Development and Portfolio Management – SPONSOR CONTENT FROM CA TECHNOLOGIES

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You’ve probably already heard of the rise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) across many industries and applications. But, what about the application of AI and ML to agile development, testing and even portfolio management?

We’re all striving to deliver better products faster to meet customer needs in the marketplace and stay ahead of the competition. For nearly two decades, many companies have utilized the principles within the Agile Manifesto to deliver faster time-to-market than traditional, or linear development models.

So what is sparking the need to deliver even faster now and where do AI and ML fit in?

It’s All About the Data
We are in the age of instant

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The Future of Human-Machine Partnerships in Business and Everyday Life – SPONSOR CONTENT FROM DELL TECHNOLOGIES

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Will technology cost jobs in the long run, or increase them? Who is set up best for success in the fourth industrial revolution? In this edition of Trailblazers, a podcast series brought to you by Dell Technologies, we investigate the future of robotics. Join Walter Isaacson, former CNN Chairman and CEO, as he and Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, discuss how digital disruption will improve our lives.

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Walter Isaacson, host

Let me introduce Gary Shapiro, a long-time friend of mine. Head of the Consumer Technology Association but he’s also written a lot about innovation. Give us the history of robotics and machine learning as part of the CES industries that your Consumer Electronics Industries, when did they become big and your show and what issues do you face?

Gary Shapiro, Consumer Technology Association

Well, it’s going about 20-30%. We’re seeing artificial intelligence

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Is Your Company Ready for the Rise of Smart Cities?


The movement to make cities smarter is transforming municipal governments worldwide. But that’s only one side of the story. For companies, smart cities represent major business opportunities — and not only for tech firms selling systems to government agencies.

Technology is reconfiguring traditional roles and divisions of labor. City governments don’t have to provide every type of application and service themselves. In fact, they can’t — and this realization opens the door for other entities with capital and capabilities to step in, particularly where there may be opportunities to generate revenue. Smart cities have become more intricate ecosystems over time, with the degree and mix of private-sector participation varying from city to city.

Even if they don’t become providers of systems or services, many companies will need to adapt in some way as cities become more digitally connected. Digitization has upended industry after industry —

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How to Give a Webinar Presentation

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As more and more companies cultivate a global workforce and international client base, it’s increasingly necessary to present remotely. For years, teleconferencing was the best option, but in the past five years internet speeds and web conferencing technologies have become sufficiently robust to support a shift to live video streaming. But presenting in a webinar — when you often don’t have access to visual cues about how the audience is responding — can sometimes feel disconcerting or awkward.

In the course of promoting my books, delivering client trainings, and teaching executive education programs, I’ve conducted several hundred webinars over the past few years. Here are the strategies I’ve found to be most effective in engaging executive audiences.

First, make use of the camera. It’s shocking to me how many professionals still consider it acceptable to host webinars with no video, merely providing voiceover as they click through a series of

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How Vineyard Vines Uses Analytics to Win Over Customers

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When brothers Shep and Ian Murray cut their ties with Corporate America to start a little company on Martha’s Vineyard in 1998, their motivation was clear: “We’re making neck ties so we don’t have to wear them.”

Little did they know that the business they founded, Vineyard Vines, would become a darling of the fashion industry and a household brand name around the country.

Today, the company best known for its smiling pink whale logo offers much more than their signature neckwear. They manufacturer a full line of “exclusive, yet attainable” clothing and accessories for men, women, and children. That “little” privately-held business has grown tremendously since its launch and currently has more than 90 physical retail locations and a highly successful eCommerce business.

I met the team at Vineyard Vines while doing research about data-driven marketing technologies for my book, Marketing, Interrupted, and

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Quickly Unpacking Microsoft’s Acquisition Of GitHub

Satya strikes again. After being installed in 2014 as Microsoft’s new CEO, Nadella has turned around the Seattle ocean liner on a new course after the Ballmer regime. With Microsoft’s stock price (and technology brand) soaring of late, Nadella and his team have not been shy, with blockbuster platform acquisitions like Minecraft and LinkedIn, innovative product scoops like Accompli for email and Sunrise for calendar, and rebranding its very active, SF-based venture arm as “M12” to further its future technology agenda.

And yesterday, another feather in the cap — GitHub. Not yet profitable but invaluable to developers worldwide, the decade-old company bootstrapped, differentiated from formidable competitors GitLab and Atlassian’s BitBucket, weathered leadership upheavals, and eventually ingested lots of venture capital which helped them weather the challenges they faced. Buying that time and capital paid off, as Microsoft recently announced it would purchase GitHub for $7.5B.

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Seed Deal Flow Tsunami And The Quick Kill

If you read yesterday’s post, you can see just how insane the proliferation of seed financings have been. As a result, I personally cannot keep up with all the deal flow. This a common refrain among many seed investors in private. When I started investing and no one knew me, I would just invest in folks I knew well. There wasn’t a lot of noise for me. In the last five years, we’ve seen the number of micro-funds balloon from over 100 to over 500.

When I started back in 2013, I would try to respond to all the cold and “lukewarm” intros and investor referrals I received as a matter of courtesy. There is simply no way I could do that today (kids, other funds, commuting, etc), and I do not feel bad about this. Surely, some will read this as unfair, and I understand that — so I Continue reading "Seed Deal Flow Tsunami And The Quick Kill"

The VC Twilight Zone

Talk to any Bay Area VC in the last 24 hours, and the talk of the town among investors is universal: “What do you think of the SV Angel news?” Depending on your point of view, it is the perfect trigger for a conversation about the state of the Bay Area’s investment market. Let me be perfectly clear — I do not know anything about SV Angel’s inner workings, and in all of my own interactions with Kevin, Topher, Brian, and @pm (when he was there), SV Angel was extremely helpful and friendly as many people have attested to on social media. (I have never met Ron but hope to one day.)

From afar, in today’s environment of 500+ seed funds, SV Angel is held up as one of the canonical examples for its success at getting into superstar breakout companies (from Google all the way

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163. The ‘Softbank Effect’, Financial Discipline and the Interworkings of a Top Seed Investment Firm (Joe Medved)

Joe Medved of Lerer Hippeau joins Nick to discuss The ‘Softbank Effect’, Financial Discipline and the Interworkings of a Top Seed Investment Firm. In this episode, we cover: The focus at Lerer Hippeau The adoption and integration of the Binary Capital Portfolio Why they dropped ventures from the name Joe’s...

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How Marketers Can Start Integrating AI in Their Work

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According to Constellation Research, businesses across all sectors will spend more than $100 billion per year on Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies by 2025, up from a mere $2 billion in 2015. The marketing industry will be no exception.

AI holds great promise for making marketing more intelligent, efficient, consumer-friendly, and, ultimately, more effective. Perhaps more pointedly, though, AI will soon move from being a “nice-to-have” capability to a “have-to-have.” AI is simply a requirement for making sense of the vast arrays of data — both structured and unstructured — being generated from an explosion of digital touchpoints to extract actionable insights at speeds no human could ever replicate in order to deliver the personalized service consumers now demand.

Insight Center

Interestingly, in many cases, the sophistication of AI technologies has already advanced further

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How Ford Is Thinking About the Future

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Everyone’s talking about a future in which vehicles are shared rather than owned, autonomous rather than driven, and where car companies make large shares of their profits on digital “mobility services.” But if you are the Ford Motor Company and face the prospect of investing billions in new technology while your century-old business model is overturned, you might first have a few questions. How are consumers going to react to all of this? What do they really want? How can you tell which opportunities are real and which are science fiction?

Insight Center

To help test drive the future, in 2016 Ford paid about $50 million to acquire Chariot, a startup mobility service. Incubated at Y Combinator, the venture was aimed squarely at the most important, most reliable, most consistent

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How AI Helped One Retailer Reach New Customers

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When Naomi Simson founded RedBalloon, an online gift retailer that sells personal experiences, she was pioneering the category in Australia. With a $25,000 personal investment and a small office in her home, she began aggregating sales leads and aggressively acquiring customers through very traditional marketing means — like yellow page advertisements. It was 2001, and  online advertising was at its nascent stage. Internet Explorer was the leading Internet browser and Google AdWords had only just recently launched. With a cost of customer acquisition of just 5 cents, Simson’s traditional approach to advertising was generating an impressive return on investment. RedBalloon was setting the pace for gifting experiences like outdoor adventures, wine tastings, concert tickets, and spa treatments.

By 2015, RedBalloon was delivering more than four million customers to businesses across Australia and New Zealand that offered “experiences.”  Simson wasn’t overconfident, but at this point, she felt

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Automation Will Make Lifelong Learning a Necessary Part of Work

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President Emmanuel Macron together with many Silicon Valley CEOs will kick off the VivaTech conference in Paris this week with the aim of showcasing the “good” side of technology. Our research highlights some of those benefits, especially the productivity growth and performance gains that automation and artificial intelligence can bring to the economy — and to society more broadly, if these technologies are used to tackle major issues such as fighting disease and tackling climate change. But we also note some critical challenges that need to be overcome. Foremost among them: a massive shift in the skills that we will need in the workplace in the future.

To see just how big those shifts could be, our latest research analyzed skill requirements for individual work activities in more than 800 occupations to examine the number of hours that the workforce spends on 25 core skills today. We then

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How AI Is Making Prediction Cheaper

Avi Goldfarb, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, explains the economics of machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that makes predictions. He says as prediction gets cheaper and better, machines are going to be doing more of it. That means businesses — and individual workers — need to figure out how to take advantage of the technology to stay competitive. Goldfarb is the coauthor of the book Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence.

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Technology Is Changing What a Premium Automotive Brand Looks Like

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Many mature industries are experiencing significant technological disruption. The automotive industry is being disrupted by electric vehicles and self-driving cars, just as home appliances is being disrupted by the Internet of Things and smart appliances, home entertainment by on-demand content providers, and apparel by online personal stylists such as Stitch Fix and Trunk Club.

Leaders in every industry are no doubt keeping a vigilant eye on such developments, yet one very important aspect of this disruption has been largely overlooked: technology fundamentally changes what makes your brand premium.

The traditional drivers of brand premium are being joined (and to varying degrees supplanted) by newer, tech-enabled variables: software, interactive products, digital interactions, immersive experiences, and predictive services, to name a few.



Here’s how technology is changing the game in the automotive industry:

Product: hardware vs. software. While hardware currently accounts for 90% of the perceived value of a car,

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How GDPR Will Transform Digital Marketing

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This month will see the enforcement of a sweeping new set of regulations that could change the face of digital marketing: the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. To protect consumers’ privacy and give them greater control over how their data is collected and used, GDPR requires marketers to secure explicit permission for data-use activities within the EU. With new and substantial constraints on what had been largely unregulated data-collection practices, marketers will have to find ways to target digital ads, depending less (or not at all) on hoovering up quantities of behavioral data.

Consumers have already seen a range of developments resulting from the forthcoming enforcement of GDPR. Among these are the dozens of messages from web-based companies from TaskRabbit to Twitter about privacy policy updates, as well as the recent reports about how major internet companies like Facebook and LinkedIn are moving the personal data

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