Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Message From The Middle-East; Out of The Mouth of Babes

 


Below is an email forwarded to me last night by my uniquely objective and non-political 28 yr old daughter. As prefaced by my daughter, the sender is a young lady, and a member of the Israeli Army, who my daughter met and since bonded with while my daughter participated in a Birth Right Israel trip 2 years ago.


Allow me to caveat by saying: For those who may be easily disturbed and influenced by the news media’s reporting of the recent events taking place in Gaza, including the calculated exploitation of eye-grabbing photo and video images of innocent Palestinian citizens killed and injured in Gaza consequent to retaliatory attacks by Israeli military [in effort to target terrorists who are launching hundreds of missiles into Israel's main cities], the thoughts and comments expressed by my daughter’s friend provides a stark, real-world insight to the realities of what is taking place. Nobody who claims to understand the difference between moral and ethical right and wrong, and nobody who claims to be educated beyond elementary school with respect to world history should be confused by the news media’s reporting of what is really happening right now.


[Personal note] Notwithstanding what seems to be a never-ending series of global conflicts, many of which taking place in the mid-east regions and our country’s growing weariness to become involved in these events, nobody should be confused as what is taking place in the Gaza region and our individual and our country’s obligation to vigorously and proactively stand by a citizenry whose multi-generational legacy [extending back thousands of years], is based on and dedicated to the exact same principles that inspired the founding of our own nation: insuring freedom, democracy and pursuit of peace; particularly when it comes to their defending the preservation of their culture and the right to exist as a peaceful nation that seeks to improve the well-being of our global community, not just their own.


Forward or ‘post’ to your favorite social media network as you see fit..The message could make a positive difference.


Dad–This is a note from the soldier I met on Birthright who wants to become a speech pathologist too! We became good friends on the trip!


Hello you all my friends overseas,


We might have not spoken in years but in the last few days I felt like I needed to write to all of you people I met along my trips and exchanges. I live in Israel in a city called Rishon Lezion not so far from Tel-aviv and half an hour drive from Jerusalem. In the past few days I found myself having 15 seconds to run to the nearest shelter every time I hear the siren goes on. It has already caught me in my sleep at night, while taking a shower and even while driving my car when there was no near place to run to in order to hide. It looks pretty much like this (I hope you’ll be able to open it):


https://www.facebook.com/StandWithUs/photos/a.350931762688.151625.19459912688/10152230662107689/?type=1&theater


My country is being bombed by an organization you probably heard of called Hamas – a terror organization which took over the Gaza strip and uses its civilians as a human shield. This terror organization is firing rockets from schools, hospitals and mosques in Gaza towards most of the populated areas of Israel, which of course makes it harder for us, Israelis, to fight back where civilians can get hurt and for them an easy way to look good on camera showing horrifying photos of death and getting international support.  (btw: a lot of the photos are being taken from the poor situation in Syria, you can watch this BBC video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnO4gy8dQIc )


Few minutes ago the siren went on and a rocket fell in my neighbor’s back yard. I was of course hiding with my family and scared dog in the shelter and I’m safe now. The reason I’m writing to you is because I am well aware of the media taking sides in this conflict for whatever interest there is, and its influence on the people watching it.


As the only Jewish state in the world and a country which is being bombed on a regular base by Hamas we have no choice but to defend ourselves and fight this terror.Here is a short video by the CNN that can maybe explain more for those who are interested: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_FtkFqFV3o


For those who want to know more about the conflict in the Middle East you can check out this as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EDW88CBo-8&feature=youtu.be


All I wish for is for you, the people I can reach, not to be misled and to understand the situation of this war from the eyes of those who live it.


I wish for us all peace and tranquility



A Message From The Middle-East; Out of The Mouth of Babes

Friday, July 11, 2014

Corporate Crisis Management and Public Relations; Get in Front of It or Get Run Over By It

aka Corporate Branding and Crisis Management: Be In Front or Get Run Over


A crisis only becomes a crisis when corporate executives (including political leaders, government agency officials, etc) fail to confront and publicly address an incident before any one else makes mention of it.


According to Jay Berkman of brand positioning firm The JLC Group, “Those who recognize they made a big whopper of a mistake (or one that was made by someone within their organization) and take proactive steps to both correct it and inform their constituents accordingly will never have need for a crisis manager, at least not within the context of a public relations crisis manager.


In simpler terms, corporate brand marketing and crisis management should only merge into the same discussion when managers fail to  get in front of the issue. Those who don’t will inevitably get run over by it.


 



Corporate Crisis Management and Public Relations; Get in Front of It or Get Run Over By It

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A picture speaks a thousand words

Isn’t it curious that people manage to watch three movies in a day but cringe at the idea of reading through an equally interesting book in a week? It’s relatively simple. A majority of people prefer visual material for informative purposes, not just for entertainment. Studies show that the brain stores visual information more quickly as compared to written information.



It’s biological. People prefer eye candies; something that stimulate thought processes and are fun to look at. One can effortlessly comprehend patterns, shapes and colors – and therefore charts, graphs and infographics.


infographic_02


If you wish to convey your message in an attractive and impactful way, you must make use of images to turn data into an easily digestible, bite sized chunks. Great user experience is a product of creative visual illustrations. There are a number of free tools available to make this happen. Following are three ways to gain more traffic to your website, blogs or presentations by making them more visually attractive.


1. Infographics


Inforgrapics is raw data that has been converted into something people would like to see. It compresses complex ideas in a visual to form to make it quickly and easily understandable to the target audience. Inforgraphics utilized three elements to convey complicated information. Text, statistics/data and visuals.


(Here’s a cool infographic about infographics.)


Infograpics are not just visual eye candies designed to relay information, they are created in a way that appeals to user and increases the sharebility of that information on social media.


Apps to help you get started: Visme is a cool free tool for creating beautiful infographics. Prezi can also be used to create cool presentations.


2. Videos


Videos are a great way to compress information for your clients. The uses range from preparing a demo of a product, corporate communications to entertainment videos. Statistics reveal that an individual watches 186 videos per month, from all sectors of the industry ranging from educational videos to entertainment channels.


Videos deliver your message effortlessly and tend to engage the audience in ways that an image or infographic just cannot. Quite a lot of companies have failed to follow the trend in their marketing endeavors. Its imperative not to get left behind in such basics as they are building blocks that make you stand out from the competition.


Apps to help you get started: Start with free tools like Animoto and Masher.


3. Heat Maps


Heat maps are visual aids that numeric information in the forms of color patterns. The colors indicate the various levels of the data such as distance, weight or height. A fine example would be the ability to track the clicks on your website, such as which particular page or feature users click on the most. Such data helps you isolate the elements on the website that aren’t getting as much attention. This helps in taking measures to change that buy utilizing a different strategy.


Apps to help you get started: Some tools to experiment with are Crazy Egg, Click Heats, and Clicktale.


A trend has set in present information in a visual format. Online users demand web pages that appeals to them, and anything that is not interesting is not tolerated. Your competition is already doing it to get maximum eyeballs on their web presence, which leaves you with two choices go visual or get left behind.



A picture speaks a thousand words

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Twitter: A Weapon Of Brand Destruction for Companies (Like "Conn's") Who Eschew Corporate Communications (and all else) re Customer Complaints

For those who don’t religiously read the Sunday New York Times column “The Haggler”..investigative reporter David Segal’s piece in this weekend’s decision is a barn burner. For any brand marketer, today’s profile detailing The Haggler’s attempt to resolve a customer’s complaint and running into a proverbial corporate communication brick wall created by Texas-based appliance chain store “Conn’s” is a classic example of how to inspire the wrath of masses using weapons of brand mass destruction aka Twitter by tweeting and calling out wrong-doers…The story is also likely to lead to a massive problem for this particular retailer, one who has faced the wrath of state regulators in the past.


Segal, who is generally quite successful in the course of getting to the bottom of things on behalf of consumers who encounter frustrating experiences with select companies, has apparently rolled snake eyes in his efforts to communicate with senior management of this not-so-small chain of electronic gadgets and home appliances. His solution? Inspire (some would use the phrase “incite”) readers to tweet the company via @connsinc in an effort to form a community-centric campaign designed to deliver a message to the company that their customer service is less than acceptable and to appeal to whatever sense of obligation this company might have towards satisfying the people who butter their bread.


Segal, sitting in his bully pulpit as the arbiter of proper corporate behavior and customer service goes two steps further by suggesting readers to email the CEO’s executive assistant via angela.lagrone@conns.com or phone her office phone 936.230.5879 to express your support for Grace Salako-Smith, Ph.D, the Conn’s customer who has repeatedly attempted to communicate with this company in connection with a warranty that the company has apparently failed to honor. Worth noting, Conn’s has been the subject of literally thousands of consumer complaints and in 2009, agreed to pay $4.5million to settle charges of unfair business practices. Since that settlement, the company has received yet another 1000 complaints from consumers.


 



Twitter: A Weapon Of Brand Destruction for Companies (Like "Conn's") Who Eschew Corporate Communications (and all else) re Customer Complaints

Thursday, July 03, 2014

NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement): To Have Or Not To Have: That is the Question

When aspiring start-ups (or fast-growth companies) set out to secure funding and further cement their brand, many entrepreneurs believe that any conversation requires first securing a non-disclosure agreement aka NDA before sharing their pitch—whether with a prospective investor, a vendor or even a next-door neighbor.


Throughout my own 25+ years, during which I’ve been a public company CEO, as well as an advisor to venture capital and private equity firms, I’ve been asked to review proposals from dozens of companies extending across a broad spectrum of industries (notably, many were technology-centric). I’ve also sat on the other side of the table while serving as a principal stakeholder representing a variety of entrepreneurial initiatives. Inevitably, the topic of executing an NDA was the first talking point—one that I vehemently eschewed.


My view has always been “ideas are great, but the ability to innovate supersedes any argument that a non-disclosure agreement is a requisite to a productive discussion.” My position has always been that imposing an NDA before even engaging in a preliminary discussion is superfluous. If someone wants to try and steal an idea, an NDA isn’t going to stop them. In fact, what often stops (and always slows) a conversation before it starts is haggling over the terms of an agreement that is terribly difficult and terribly expensive to enforce. What will stop them is the inability to execute (aka innovate). That’s always where the rubber meets the road.


Lo and behold, Eileen Zimmerman of the NY Times profiled this exact topic in a strong article in today’s edition within the Small Business section. Here are some excerpts from Eileen’s article:


It is a common quandary, and not just in Silicon Valley. Ten years ago, it was not unusual for entrepreneurs to request and potential investors to sign nondisclosure agreements. But today the agreements are largely considered a thing of the past. In fact, some investors say they walk away from a founder who even suggests signing one.


Thom Ruhe, vice president for entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, said the declining use of N.D.A.s “is certainly not in the interests of entrepreneurs. It favors the V.C.” Although it is rare that an investor steals an idea, Mr. Ruhe said, it does happen. “But in the skewed echo chamber of the Valley, and the sycophantical networks that aspire to be just like them,” he said, “they’ve made the easier and less morally defensible position — no N.D.A.s — the coin of the realm.”


Even if a start-up manages to get an agreement signed, it can be tough to enforce, said Aaron I. Messing, a lawyer with OlenderFeldman in Summit, N.J. “It’s very hard to prove that you kept information confidential, and it was only disclosed under an N.D.A.,” said Mr. Messing, who represents both founders and investors. “And it can be expensive.”


Below are some guidelines to consider. They apply when engaging not just investors, but also manufacturers, partners and even customers.


DO NOT ASK UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO PROTECT. Chris Schultz, an entrepreneur and partner in the angel investment fund Voodoo Ventures in New Orleans, said: “Everyone thinks their idea is extremely unique, but the idea is really 1 percent of the value. The value is in the execution.”


KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Before making a pitch, research the background of your audience. “Think through who you are sharing your ideas with,” said Patrick Riley, head of Global Accelerator Network, a group of 50 start-up accelerators worldwide. Mr. Messing advised making sure an investor did not have potential conflicts or overlapping investments. Reputable investors, he said, “have much to lose by stealing your idea.”


CONSIDER FILING FOR A PROVISIONAL PATENT. C. Andrew Keisner, a lawyer with Davis & Gilbert in New York City who regularly counsels investors and start-ups, said the reluctance to sign N.D.A.s was one factor driving start-ups toward patent protection. “If you’re far enough along that you’ve developed an app or a prototype, there is a big advantage to filing a provisional application,” he said.


PROCEED GRADUALLY. When discussing a start-up, founders should walk a fine line, conveying sufficient information about what is unique and proprietary, but not disclosing information that would let someone replicate the business. For example, said Mr. Messing, the lawyer, an entrepreneur could disclose “what an algorithm can do, but not the algorithm itself.”


For the full article from the NY Times, please click here.


 


 



NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement): To Have Or Not To Have: That is the Question

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Microsoft rumored to be planning to replace 'Surface' branding with 'Lumia'

brandingThe content below is extract from the Mary Jo Foley’s blog article published at zdnet.com on June 28, 2014. She is an author of Microsoft 2.0 and she is covering various publications of tech-industry for more than 25 years.


The summary of this article illustrates, how it would help or hurt Microsoft more if the company consolidated its mobile branding using the ‘Nokia’ and ‘Lumia’ brands instead of using the current ‘Surface’ branding?


Mary states:


Branding is hard. Branding is expensive.


And changing brands mid-stream is hard, expensive and sometimes (often?) ill-advised.


But according to known leaker @evleaks, Microsoft may be doing just that. According to his unnamed sources, Microsoft may be moving toward rebranding its Surface tablets as “Lumia” devices.


@evleaks also claimed that Microsoft may be negotiating to keep the Nokia brand longer than originally planned so that it can use it for future phones and possibly other devices.


Earlier this month, @evleaks published what looked to be some kind of Microsoft “technical branding” guidance document, which indicated that Microsoft planned to phase-out Nokia branding on a very specific schedule: 18 months post close of the Microsoft acquisition of the Nokia handset business for Lumia devices; through December 31, 2015 for Nokia X Android phones; and 10 years for Asha mobile phones. (From the way that planning document is phrased, I would guess it predated the close of the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia’s handset business in April 2014.)


I don’t have any first- or even second-hand information about these branding rumors. I’ve asked Microsoft but am not expecting any kind of comment.


I will note that Microsoft has spent a lot to land the Surface brand ever since officials decided to use it to refer to Microsoft’s mobile tablet family, rather than its large-screen tabletop devices. The company is continuing to advertise the new Surface Pro 3 massively on TV during the World Cup 2014.


However, the Nokia and Lumia brands have stronger recognition outside the U.S. than they do here. And Microsoft is doing better selling Windows Phones outside the U.S. than here in the States.


Consolidating the Surface and Lumia brands would fit in with the company’s “One Microsoft” messaging and positioning. And with Windows Threshold, the next major version of Windows due in spring 2015, Microsoft is expected to launch a single Windows SKU that will work on both phones and touch tablets. Would it be easier to land that unified message if the phones and tablets were all under the Nokia/Lumia brand? Possibly…


 


Click here to read full article



Microsoft rumored to be planning to replace 'Surface' branding with 'Lumia'

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Creating Awareness Via Email NewsLetters: Works Better Than Ever

Below is courtesy of a special column from this week’s NY Times written by Media Equation’s David Carr.  His insight struck a confirming chord here at The JLC Group when considering our firm’s role providing guidance to several newsletter publishers, including our most recent client, Rareview Macro LLC and that firm’s product “Sight Beyond Sight”


Per Carr:


Email newsletters, an old-school artifact of the web that was supposed to die along with dial-up connections, are not only still around, but very much on the march.


In addition to the long-running morning must-haves like Mike Allen’s political tip sheet Playbook, other topics and approaches are gaining momentum across publishing. Quartz, Atlantic Media’s smart business site, has an increasingly popular daily newsletter. The revamped Newsweek has done well with Today in Tabs, a cheeky look at content that is so bad it’s good. And webby writers including Ann Friedman, Jason Hirschhorn, Alexis Madrigal, Robin Sloan and Maria Popova all put out much-followed newsletters.


Bloomberg, Fast Company, The New York Times, Politico and many other news organizations are finding that they can grab attention — and readers — in the inbox.


How can that be? With social media, mobile apps and dynamic websites that practically stalk the reader, how can something that sometimes gets caught in a spam filter really be taking off?


Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos. In fact, the comeback of email newsletters has been covered in Fast Company, The Atlantic and Medium, but I missed those articles because, really, who can keep up with a never-ending scroll of new developments? That’s where email newsletters, with their aggregation and summaries, come in. Some are email only, others reprise something that can be found on the web. At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.


For the full column from The New York Times, please click here.



Creating Awareness Via Email NewsLetters: Works Better Than Ever

Friday, June 20, 2014

Your Website Face-Lift; Strategic Planning and Pre-launch Check List

Strategic planning is the key to business success as it involves deep thought behind setting vision, mission statement and out-of-the-box thinking. This philosophy is particularly relevant for any business that is now planning a face-lift of existing company website so as to remain relevant and current within the framework of contemporary brand-enhancement strategies.


•    Review Previous Project Analysis


Before moving on to a new project, review of previous project analysis will generate valuable insight when calculating all of the pros and cons of the previous project. The strategic planning of a new project depends upon the review of previous project analysis. Real experts learn from previous mistakes and formulate strategies that overcome the shortcomings of prior resources used, and other weaknesses or errors in the course of moving to new project planning.


•    Brand Strategy Planning


Brand strategy planning is a planning of brand identity, company image and the value proposition that you want to convey to your target market.  Our business strategy planners think big and provide insight to your business planning and current needs from a professional view point. We aim to create bigger and better ideas for the aspiring brand names.


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•    Website Pre-Launch Check List


While elementary and obvious to many clients, this pre-launched website checklist critical to use as benchmark when working with website designers and developers.


-    Check for Favicon


-    Cross Browser Testing


-    Cross operating system compatibility


-    Removing Borders for Links and Images


-    Set up 404 page


-    Loading time (Downtime & Server Speed)


-    Setting up 301 redirects if needed


-    Set up Web Analytics


-    Set up Google Webmaster


-    Check for broken links


-    Proofread all the content – Spell Check!


-    Check all links on header footer and body


-    Functionality Check


-    HTML Validation through w3c.org (Remove all warnings and Errors)


-    Copyright statement


-    Disclaimer


-    Meta Information of all pages (Title, Keywords, and Description)


-    HTML Sitemap


-    XML Sitemap


-    Robot.txt


-    URL optimization


-    Develop Newsletter (campaign for opt-in subscribers)


-    Social icons links to your social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, etc.)


-    RSS Feed



Your Website Face-Lift; Strategic Planning and Pre-launch Check List

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

“Why Does Your Brand Exist? The 4 P’s Test for branding strategy

Thanks to Jennie Wong, for sharing this week’s interview of “Ask The Mompreneur” with Jaun Garzon, a marketing strategist. In her recent article “What is your firm’s branding strategy?” She discussed what the brand is and what is branding strategy? As explained by Mr.Jaun Garzon in an interview.


To help entrepreneurs and small businesses better understand the core of their brand and branding strategies, I use a system I developed called the 4 P’s of Branding. It boils down this hidden part of your brand into 4 aspects: your purpose, your promise, your personality and your positioning. By asking yourself these questions (in this order), you’ll be well on your way to understanding what your brand is all about.


Purpose:


Why does your company, whether you are 1 or 100 employees, exist? Why do you get up every morning and do what you do? Why did you start this business to begin with? Your purpose is about connecting your business to its “Why?” and ensuring that the branding decisions you make support because doing what you do, including putting it out for the world to see. For example, Southwest Airlines states their purpose right on their website, “To connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable and low-cost air travel.” Whatever that reason is for you, that’s the foundation of your brand.


Promise:


It is imperative to know your target market and communicate such things you guarantee always to do for them (in your promotions, social awareness, sales brochures, etc.). Such guarantee may include pace, quality, attention to detail or any high-level benefit you can constantly offer. The goal is, customers should realize that if they opt to work with your company, you will stick to certain promises and can do everything to make it achievable. This promise is ultimately responsible for brand reputation.


Personality:


Brand personality depicts the personality of users consuming it. Brand personality can be feminine or masculine. For example, to get you the meaning of different brand personalities, think about two different motorcycle brands, Honda and Harley Davidson. You would unlikely to confuse the two, even though they both are motorcycle brands. Honda bikes are mostly used by low-mid income class individuals or young small families. It reflects affordability and fuel-efficient features. While, Harley Davidson is usually own by well off individuals who are never worried about fuel-efficiency and affordable cost. What most matters for Harley user are uniqueness, prestige and competition from peers.


Harley-Davidson-Best-HD-Wallpaper-Desktop


Positioning:


Your customers are might be aware of products or services you are selling, but not necessarily aware of why particular product or service is valuable for them or how certain offering may add value in their lifestyle. Here brand positioning strategy works to divide the market into segment and sub-segments. You have to clearly define your brand through advertising and promotional efforts. For instance, Volvo and Mercedes are both higher-end cars, but Mercedes is all about prestige and quality whereas Volvo has positioned its brand as the safest cars in the world.


There are numerous strategies floating in the market to make your product a BRAND, but these 4 simple P’s of branding strategy could help you define the scope and purpose of your brand. If there is any anonymity between your brand and 4 P’s then you must to revamp your strategies.



“Why Does Your Brand Exist? The 4 P’s Test for branding strategy

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Case Study for Corporate Marketers, Bankers, Branding Gurus and PR Positers: Skybox Inc

Skybox Imaging Inc. Team Skybox Imaging Inc. Team


How to differentiate your disruptive and innovative company from the rest? Have your chief cheerleader (presumably your CEO) make an epic statement in which your entire company and your constituents can continuously hang their hats on..  The following is a classic example:


“We think we are going to fundamentally change humanity’s understanding of the economic landscape on a daily basis.” Skybox co-founder Dan Berkenstock


The above words from an entrepreneur whose offering is seemingly perceived to be something simple: satellite technology.


If you are an aspiring tech czar in the capital raising mode, a brand enhancement specialist, a venture capitalist doing due dili, or a mere investment banker who is working with an advanced-stage company whose execs are also looking to you to help ‘craft the value proposition” to investors, your target audience will always be more inspired when you perspire passion to the point where its dripping from your pores.


The context of the above quote is in connection with a very compelling piece written by WSJ reporter Christopher Mims in his aptly-titled column “KEYWORDS”


Below are select extracts from the June 16 WSJ article: The story itself is not merely about enterprise valuation techniques and not only about the next great technology innovation, the story transcends borders for those who can read in between the lines..


Silicon Valley lately has seemed like the land of wild—or at least puzzling—valuations.


Facebook bought WhatsApp, a messaging service with paltry revenue and at least a half-dozen sophisticated competitors, for $19 billion. Uber was just valued at $18.2 billion in a round of private-equity financing. Even Beats Electronics, a company with a music service in its infancy and technologically inferior headphones that could fall out of fashion at any moment, was valued at $3.2 billion to Apple.


But Google just bought a company that could have a bigger impact on its bottom line and on the world than any other recent acquisition by the search giant or its tech brethren—for just $500 million.


For 1/38th the price of WhatsApp, Google acquired Skybox Imaging, which puts satellites into orbit 185 miles above Earth on the tip of the same Russian missiles that once threatened the U.S. with nuclear destruction. And here’s what Skybox could allow Google to accomplish: Within a couple of years, when you want to know whether you left your porch light on or if your teenager borrowed the car you forbade her to drive, you might check Google Maps.


That’s because by 2016 or so, Skybox will be able to take full images of the Earth twice a day, at a resolution that until last week was illegal to sell commercially—all with just a half-dozen satellites. By the time its entire fleet of 24 satellites has launched in 2018, Skybox will be imaging the entire Earth at a resolution sufficient to capture, for example, real-time video of cars driving down the highway. And it will be doing it three times a day.


And yet, as I discovered when I visited Skybox recently at its modest, low-slung headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., satellite imagery isn’t even the business in which the company’s founders see themselves. As at Google, the business of Skybox isn’t data, but knowledge.


“We think we are going to fundamentally change humanity’s understanding of the economic landscape on a daily basis,” says co-founder Dan Berkenstock.


Here’s an example of what he’s talking about. In 2010, an analyst at UBS discovered that if he bought satellite images of parking lots of Wal-Mart stores, he could predict the company’s sales figures before they were revealed in its quarterly report, because cars in lots equal shoppers in stores.


“We’re looking at Foxconn every week,” Mr. Berkenstock says, because measuring the density of trucks outside the Taiwanese company’s manufacturing facilities tells Skybox when the next iPhone will be released.


Skybox can determine how much oil is being pumped out of the ground in Saudi Arabia by imaging oil-storage tanks from above. The company can peg the likely price of grain months in advance by measuring the health of every square yard of cropland on Earth. One city has used Skybox’s data to determine who built illegal backyard pools and might use it to identify water-restriction violators during a drought.


It’s competitive intelligence as spy craft. And it’s compelling enough that a Skybox employee once told a reporter for Wired that the company might someday simply become an unreasonably profitable hedge fund.


Yet these known uses of satellite data—which have never been available in the abundance that Skybox says it can achieve—are just the beginning. It’s the unpredictable applications that could be the biggest.


If Google can get a cut of those services by charging a licensing fee for the underlying data, it could be a new business that might move the needle on Google’s revenue mix, which, ample as it is, remains stubbornly linked to search advertising.



Case Study for Corporate Marketers, Bankers, Branding Gurus and PR Positers: Skybox Inc