Why Blocking Torrentz hurts Mankind?

Torrentz bids an emotional Good Bye

After few popular torrent sites (Kickass Torrents) lost the legal battle it was time for the ultimate suite to come under the axe. Torrentz, the most popular torrent meta-search engine finally shut down. Founded in 2003, Torrentz was among the oldest and popular platform to look out for torrent files. The torrent hosting site later expanded to become a meta-search engine. Torrentz also provided an option to allow people with copyright to certain content to file a cease and desist complain.

An entire bunch on the planet is under the state of shock as big as loosing some near and dear one. And why not…

Torrentz brought parity across the globe

Keeping legalities aside, Torrentz brought parity across the globe. It saw all individuals as one and believed that everyone and anyone has the right to access information. It never took, it always gave. It made sure that the thirst of all inquisitive brains on the planet is quenched and with the right information and with information of global standards. In this process, Torrentz evolved generations in different parts of the world esp. developing nations. Though legally incorrect, but considering the broader picture it pushed generations ahead of their times.

Torrentz made content available in its purest form

Consider a creative piece of art (say, movie, documentary etc), might have taken years or generation to reach under developed or developing nations, legally. Quite possible that it took a lifetime of an individual to get exposed to it. Additionally, it would run through multiple stakeholders. And in its highest possibility, it doesn’t reach the country in it purest form. Censors, Broadcast Rights and what not tamper the originality of the content before it can make it to developing markets thereby leading to loss of creativity in the masterpiece originally created. Torrentz helped a generation to experience everything on the internet in its purest form and inspire learning to further create state of the art content.

Torrentz was always ahead of its times and shutting it down will be a major blow on the less privileged. One community which will be in deep shock is The Student Community for whom Torrentz would probably have been the only source of entertainment. Entertainment (movies, games and music) could have easily been topping Torrentz charts and now all these students stand clueless on where to go about searching for the next season of Game of Thrones. Probably they will read about it before they see it (might take extra few months before its aired in their country) killing the entire enthusiasm and appeal of the much talked about HBO series. Torrentz was for the impatient and for the unconventionals. Its absence will ultimately make people restless or even more terrifying, slowly and gradually we may find less and less number people who are impatient or unconventionals. And the world knows, it’s this bunch of people who have refined things on the planet.

Torrentz broke all barriers – geographical, chronological, language and of course legal. It undoubtedly faced legal consequences every now and then but held its ground for more than 12 years.

A major chunk of the population on earth is hoping for a comeback and so do we.

Can AR games like Pokemon Go be the next big thing for marketers ?

The recent rage the augmented reality game Pokemon Go has generated has broken many records. On a daily basis the app is being used twice as more as Facebook. I am sure Facebook didnt see it coming, actually no body did. The insanely popular app from Niantic Labs has the most first-week downloads since Apple launched its iOS app store eight years ago.

During its first week, Pokemon GO users spent 75 minutes per day playing, compared to only 35 minutes on the Facebook’s Android app (Source: Forbes.com citing report from 7Park Data).
During the same time period, Youtube saw a drop in usage by 9% and Snapchat by 18%. Not only US, gradually the game has really caught up the nerves around the globe.

Staggering numbers and popularity of the game has got marketers all ears over if this could be the next big thing for them to ride upon.

Industry Take
Marketers are already looking for opputunities to integrate with Pokemon Go suspecting that the game may increase footfall in their retail outlets. Indian retailers, especially the global quick-service restaurants and cafe chains, are watching the space closely. Ravi Jaipuria, chairman of Gurgaon-headquartered RJ Corp (whose group company, Devyani International, is a franchisee of brands such as Pizza Hut, KFC and Costa Coffee), says interest among Indian retailers is high. “The game hasn’t been officially launched in India, so many are in wait-and-watch mode. But, if it can help drive footfalls, retailers will come on board.”

Possible Marketing Integrations
Possible Integrations could be, exclusive Pokemons for the QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) which can make people come hunting for them. Its a no branier that the QSRs would couple this with exclusive ‘Pokemon’ offerings in case you found out one. Similar integrations will hold good for all retail formats and will be readily adopted provided AR games contunue to have such level of engagement.
The next level of integration can bring ‘’branded’ Pokemons on the streets and their reach could be unmatched to any BTL activity the brand might be doing.

Though engagement level of such games could be high on the first go, but will it sustain, is a question. We have seen a lot of such fads come and go and betting big early can take a toll on the brand and the organizations expenditure.
Health hazards leading to the game have already started to pop up with Pokemon Go. If goverment jumps in, as in many countries already, it may kill the fun and we would then hardly see any takes for these games.

No matter all marketers are currently waiting and watching but this has certainly raised eye brows of all of them around the world and I wont be surprised if some of them are wandering on the roads trying to catch their Pokemon.

Google’s strategy with Motorola and how they used it to fight Samsung

Samsung is giant. It employs 427,000 staff, has an annual turnover in excess of $270bn and assets of $600bn spread across over 80 business units. And Google just floored it twice using Motorola as a baseball bat.

Why ?

On the surface having 81 per cent of Android marketshare would seem to make Google and Samsung best buddies. Samsung has been the driving force behind Android’s meteoric growth and put Google mobile devices in pole position.

The problem is Samsung wanted too much credit. It wasn’t enough for Samsung to make the most popular Android phones and tablets, it had to hide Android – and consequently Google’s role in its achievement. It did this using ‘TouchWiz’, the company’s proprietary skin which painted over all aspects of Android leaving it unrecognizable. To the casual consumer they were buying ‘a Samsung’, Google’s role was largely unrecognized.

Then things got worse. Samsung began degrading Android performance by switching out vast parts of the software – phone dialer, calendar, email client, contacts, notification center, music and video player, voice control and much more – for its own apps. Reviews were largely negative with TouchWiz and its bloatware slowing down Android, wasting storage space and the replacement apps were seen as inferior or, worse still, needless gimmicks.

Samsung then exploited this further. It put TouchWiz on its smart TVs, another market it dominates, and began building its own Android rival – Tizen – which, thanks to its TouchWiz interface, looks identical to the casual observer. The long term strategy was clear: switch over to Tizen and take the majority of the handset market with it. Google had to act.

How ?

The ‘how’ was Motorola. On 15 August 2011 Google announced it had bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn in cash. With it Google acquired more than 20,000 mobile patents and publicly declared- ‘the purchase of the phone maker would not in any way compromise relationships with its handset partners… honestly, really, pinky swear.’

Of course Google didn’t expect handset partners to fully believe this and platitudes issued from them in reaction to the deal confirmed it. Should Google use Motorola to ramp up its own major handset business the market would be theirs. The phones would have stock Android and no-one, not even Samsung, could afford to subsidise their cost as Google can leveraging its mammoth advertising revenue.

The bait was set: obliteration by Google stock Android handsets unless Samsung stopped messing with Android. Google quietly showed it could walk the walk as well as it ramped up Nexus production and introduced the well-received Motorola X and Motorola G which stripped away almost all customisation from stock Android.

Samsung bit. On 27 January 2014 Google and Samsung signed a wide-ranging global patent deal which will last a decade. Buried within it was an agreement that Samsung would tone down TouchWiz, refocus on core Android apps over its own customisations and cancel more radical customisations such as its ‘Magazine UX’ interface. Two days later Google announced the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo showing both agreements had been working in parallel.

The consequences

The smack down for Samsung is twofold.

Firstly, despite its size and dominance of the Android market, Samsung has been brought back into line. No longer will Samsung run roughshod over Android’s design, kick out its apps in favour of Samsung alternatives and hide Google’s hard work underneath. Indications of a low key Galaxy S5 launch suggest it will stand by its word.

Secondly, the jump off point for Samsung from Android to Tizen is no longer straightforward. With Android shining through more strongly in future Samsung handsets it won’t be a seamless switch from one to the other. If Samsung wants Tizen to succeed it will now have to be earned rather than snuck in under the radar.

All of which should be good news for Android users who will find it easier to move between handset makers when they upgrade while a stock Android experience (particularly with Android 4.4 KitKat’s optimisations) will make for faster, more responsive budget devices. Whether it gives smaller handset makers a greater chance to compete with the all-conquering Samsung, however, remains to be seen.

And what of Google’s supposed $10bn loss? It’s a misreported myth calculated by subtracting Motorola’s $2.91bn sale price from its $12.5bn purchase. What it misses are the $3.2bn Motorola had in cash, $2.4bn saved in deferred tax assets and two separate Motorola unit sales totalling $2.5bn in 2013. Factor in Lenovo’s purchase and Google has paid $1bn for what it retained: $5.5bn worth of Motorola patents and the company’s cutting edge research lab.

Source : Forbes US

15 Must Know Facts about Twitter

Twitter, which on Thursday revealed its plans to go public, came to life on March 21, 2006 when co-founder Jack Dorsey’s account (@jack) automatically sent out the first tweet, which read: “just setting up my twttr.”

Dorsey followed it up with the first “human-generated” tweet: “inviting coworkers.” More than 170 billion tweets have since gone out worldwide. Twitter said on Thursday that it had 218 million active users, as of June.

Some facts about a global phenomenon:

1. Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) has the most followers with 45,366,914 as of 2200 GMT Thursday, followed by Katy Perry (@katyperry) with 44,122,303 and Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) with 40,229,059.

2. US President Barack Obama (@barackobama) is fourth with 37,501,850 followers; the announcement of his re-election victory in November 2012 was re-tweeted more than 800,000 times.

3. The average Twitter user has 208 followers and spends 170 minutes on the site every month.

4. There are more than 200 million active Twitter users. Eighty percent of all users access Twitter on mobile devices.

5. About 20 million Twitter accounts are believed to be fake.

6. The hashtag (#) feature on Twitter which groups tweets by subject debuted in August 2007, having been proposed by a user.

7. In October 2009, Google and Microsoft began integrating tweets into their search products.

8. In January 2013, Twitter introduced Vine, which enabled users to make and tweet six-second looping videos. Some 12 million Vine videos are uploaded every day.

9. Twitter is based in San Francisco, with additional employees in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington. Its total payroll exceeds 900.

10. Prior to Thursday’s IPO announcement, many analysts valued Twitter at around $10 billion. By comparison, Facebook went public valued at $16 billion.

11. Twitter was incorporated in April 2007, the month after it stole the show at the influential South by Southwest technology and indie music festival in Austin, Texas.

12. It was co-founded by Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey — @biz, @ev and @jack.

13. Asked by AFP in March 2011 why Twitter is such a hit, Stone replied: “A big part is that it is just very simple and connects people to other people they would not otherwise be connected to.”

14. The initial Twitter logo was created by Stone, a former graphic designer.

15. Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo is a former improvisational comedian.

Who is Steve Ballmer??

Biographical information on Steve Ballmer

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next year. Ballmer has worked at the company for the past 33 years, and has held the top job since 2000. Here are some biographic details on Ballmer:

Name: Steven Ballmer

Age: 57

Born: March 24, 1956. Ballmer grew up near Detroit. His father was a manager at Ford Motor Co.

Occupation: Chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., which is headquartered in Redmond, Washington.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Harvard University. He attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business but dropped out to start working at Microsoft.

Career: Before joining the company, Ballmer worked two years at consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager. He started working at Microsoft in 1980. Before becoming CEO, Ballmer’s roles at Microsoft included senior vice president of sales and support, senior vice president of systems software and vice president of marketing. He was named CEO in 2000, taking over the job from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Quote: “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said in a press release announcing his retirement.

Friend and Foil of Bill Gates :

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s outgoing chief executive, was a close friend of company founder Bill Gates, but in many ways his opposite.

Ballmer, known for his competitive nature and outspoken, bombastic style, contrasted with the famously nerdy Gates.

The two were close friends at Harvard University, but Ballmer managed to graduate, while Gates became one of the venerable school’s most famous drop-outs.

Ballmer, the best man at Gates’s wedding in 1994, joined Microsoft in 1980 as operations manager, after a stint with consumer products group Procter & Gamble.

A native of Michigan, Ballmer grew up in the Detroit area, where his father was a Ford executive.

Ballmer, now 57, earned his Harvard degree in applied math and economics, and later attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

While Gates was the quiet, skinny computer nerd, Ballmer was a beefy, brash jock who liked playing basketball and once had to have surgery on his vocal cords after screaming out “Windows! Windows!” at a 1991 meeting in Japan.

Before becoming CEO in 2000, Ballmer was senior vice president of sales and support, senior vice president of systems software and vice president of marketing.

Independent tech analyst Jack Gold described Ballmer as a “masterful salesman” who “promoted Microsoft incessantly, and was hugely successful in his first decade.”

He drew criticism more recently, however, as Microsoft slipped behind longtime rival Apple and other tech giants.

“Lately (Ballmer) has lost touch with his marketplace and customer base. The infighting and turnover of execs has been dramatic. The seeming lack of vision he exhibited was destructive,” Gold said.

Ballmer nonetheless oversaw growth at Microsoft: revenues went from $23 billion in the fiscal year 2000 to more than $73 billion in the most recent year.

But the company’s market value slid from some $600 billion in 2000 to less than $300 billion today, and it has been overtaken by rivals Apple and Google.

In a memo to employees, Ballmer pointed out Microsoft’s progress since its early days.

“We have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way.

“We have more than one billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders.”

Despite more than 13 years at the helm, Ballmer has remained in the shadow of his former Harvard classmate Gates, who turned over the CEO job in 2000 and left the operations side in 2008 to focus on his philanthropic foundation.

While Ballmer has amassed a fortune of $15 billion, earning him the rank of 51st richest individual in the Forbes magazine ranking, that remains well behind Gates, who is number two worldwide and number one in the United States with $67 billion.

Yahoo’s New Boring Logo Design: Classic Result of Micromanaging

Yahoo’s announcement of a new brand logo may be the biggest non-news story of the recent past. After teasing the marketing community for months, the technology giant’s new logo unveiling reminds me of Geraldo Rivera’s live, prime-time unearthing of Al Capone’s buried safe. There’s nothing there.

Let me be more direct. The new Yahoo logo looks almost exactly like the old Yahoo logo.

We all know why: It’s thanks to Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer.

Micromanager nightmare-bosses piss people off.

According to published reports, the new logo wasn’t designed by a top corporate identification firm. Instead, a company spokesman says, the work was handled by “an in-house brand design group and product designers.” Uh-oh. That tells me one thing: Mayer herself was micromanaging every font, shape, and size, as well as the new logo’s ever-so-slightly darker shade of purple.

That sort of absurd attention to minutiae is exactly what Mayer did when Yahoo changed the color of Yahoo Mail.

According to excerpts of a soon-to-be-published book, an in-house Yahoo team had worked for months before deciding the new color scheme would be blue and gray. Then, at the eleventh hour, Mayer called a meeting, and told the group she wanted purple and yellow instead. That last-second re-direct meant round-the-clock work by the entire team. The collateral damage was significant: The lead Yahoo Mail designer quit and took up with Google and the Yahoo Mail product manager fled for Disney.

It’s a pattern.

Mayer’s been positively obsessed with micromanaging for decades. She apparently reviewed every single pixel of every user interface upgrade when she worked at Google. As was the case with Yahoo Mail, several key executives left Google as a result and, says the book’s author, Mayer was demoted.

The controversial CEO’s engineering-based obsession extends far beyond products and Yahoo Mail and logo redesigns. She reportedly also insisted upon personally reviewing each, and every, reporter’s name on Yahoo’s media list. She also told the chief marketing officer which Yahoo executives could, and couldn’t, speak on behalf of the company. That’s Mayer’s right, of course, but I’ve never encountered any Inc. 500 chief executive getting that far down into the weeds.

Why did Marissa Mayer bother in the first place?

That degree of obsession also explains why the Yahoo logo is a non-story. It’s a bore. It looks just like its predecessor. Why? Because it was created by product designers and engineers.

That’s akin to asking a heart surgeon to review a legal brief (or, a lawyer to insert a stent in the carotid artery). It just doesn’t make sense. An engineer like Mayer might notice a new typeface and a slightly darker shade of purple (and take great delight in such subtleties). But the new logo doesn’t communicate any sort of new vision, purpose, or meaning to the brand. So: Why bother in the first place?

One other observation: A logo re-design shouldn’t be introduced in a one-off fashion. It should be a key component in a professionally planned and executed marketing campaign that also includes a new vision and mission statement, a new corporate positioning, a customer value proposition, and a corporate nomenclature and architecture, etc.

Interestingly, the logo came in the wake of:

  • Ms. Mayer’s high-profile feature in Vogue
  • Ms. Mayer’s highly controversial decision to end telecommuting
  • Ms. Mayer’s decision to buy several, smaller technology companies that have yet to turn a profit.

So, to paraphrase an old tagline from Wendy’s: Where’s the strategy?

Marissa Mayer needs to let go, and to let the right people do the right jobs. In this case, creative design specialists–preferably a corporate identification firm such as Landor Associates–not engineers.