Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Blockchain

What is a blockchain?

It is crucial we understand what this emerging technology is and why people seem to think it can solve almost any problem.



Blockchain, invented by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008, has started to become popular in the mainstream when Bitcoin made a splash recently with its seemingly never-ending upwards value trajectory and people began to take notice.

The primary rationale between blockchain’s functionality is the decentralized consensus. What this means is that people using the blockchain can interact without having to depend on a single, central point of authority and this is great regarding security because, by design, a single prominent target of attack does not exist. Any transaction carried out on the blockchain is recorded on a list of records called “blocks” which give blockchain its name and changes cannot be made on already existing blocks unless attackers expend much money and effort which makes this system more transparent than centralized systems. However, due to the decentralized nature of blockchain, it also ends up being less efficient than traditional, centralized systems as it requires much more in the way of computational resources to validate each user’s transactions.

Fakes or Alternatives

Due to blockchain's growth in popularity, other products have rissen to take advantage of this, and label themselves as blockchains, yet they are not. Some claim to be more computationally efficient than “traditional” blockchain and that they eliminate unnecessary players to reduce times between transactions. In an excerpt from the economist, Garrick Hileman talks about central banks and blockchain technology: “Central banks, as our data shows, are actively testing blockchain technology for a variety of different use cases, everything from new central bank digital currencies, new payment systems, to records management…” (Moore, 2018).

Central banks would then serve as the single point of authority that blockchain aims to eliminate. Another flaw in this argument is the fact that central banks already provide digital currency in the form of whatever is in your bank account. Banks rarely have the equivalent paper value in stock for all of their customers’ bank balances. We can, therefore, conclude that blockchain is not a replacement for transactions processing and any product that touts itself as such is inaccurate in its understanding of the technology.


The blockchain decides-unless we say so


A major overlooked feature of blockchain is the fact that it is not immutable and change is possible though at great effort. Blockchain can be changed when an overwhelming majority of participants agree on the change, and this is illustrated by what happened when significant thefts of funds were effected due to bugs in the underlying code. One such situation was when a critical bug in one of the first Ethereum applications (DAO) allowed funds to be looted and members in Ethereum agreed to perform a change that would radically undo the transactions that led to the theft in the first place. To summarize, blockchains are merely contracts that depend on the people who’ve signed up to enforce them.

Decentralization is everything

The foundations of blockchain are also what makes it so innovative. Decentralization, no need for trust or resistance to censorship. The idea that participants need only agree to the baseline protocols to have a functioning network is what differentiates blockchain from other technologies.

At the moment, blockchain is still in the experimental phase, and it is also relatively more expensive but the potential it shows for revolutionizing the way we approach issues is immense.


References

Moore, F. (2018, January 9). Central banks are experimenting with blockchain technology — here's why.
Retrieved from Business Insider UK: http://uk.businessinsider.com/why-central-banks-using-blockchain-technology-could-be-beneficial-2018-1?IR=T

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Marketing 2018

Marketing is necessary to the success of your business. It helps people out there know that your business exists and convince them your products are the solution to their problems. Through marketing, a company can boost its sales and increase its profits.

These are some of the marketing trends we find are worth applying in 2018.

Interactive Content

Generating and filtering out leads has never been easier. The strategy relies on lead magnets which can be anything from blog content, PDF content (white papers and guides) lately even free video courses or full books. These freebies give the lead or potential client a feeling of gratefulness. Generating qualified leads, since they have gone through all the free content and kept asking for more the chance of the lead making a purchase or subscribe to a service are much higher.

Pinterest

Though Pinterest is usually seen as a niche social media platform, nowadays it is often being used as a tool for affiliate marketing and brand growth. Using Pinterest Lens and its functionality to engage with customers and put your products, services, and style in front of consumers will definitely be of great use in 2018.

User-Generated Content

The success of most tech companies nowadays heavily relies on user-generated content. A recent survey by Forbes shows that 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they support, and 60% say user-generated content (UGC) is the most authentic form of content. It seems a good bet would be to listen to the content being put out by users and be honest about how you can interact with their needs. Creating an honest conversation with your client base has shown to be a great strategy moving forward.

Honesty


Everything is recorded for better or worse. The days when a brand could bury their mistakes and move on to their next idea are long gone. Brutal honesty is a current trend is something the public has come to expect in 2018. This is actually a good thing for brands. Most of the time people react very positively to admissions of guilt as long as the brand responds quickly and states what they intend to do to fix the issue it can even increase customer loyalty.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Paying Off Debt

Most of us start out in life with considerable debt thanks to the way our educational system has morphed into a business-centric model rather than academic. Alas, these are the cards we have been dealt, no use complaining about it.

The question is how long you are willing to stay in debt instead of doing something about it?

1. Get organized

You can use mobile or online finance apps like Mint.com, or make your own Excel spreadsheet. Without having a budget or at least a system in place which tells you how much you are earning and how much you are spending, well then you are just driving blind through a very curvy road.

2. What to pay first

In the process of organizing and figuring out your exact financial status, rank your debts and credit cards from high to low. Prioritize your higher-ranking debts first. You should pay off the balance with the highest interest first, increase your payment on the credit card with the highest ranking and make the minimum payments on the rest of your credit cards. Rinse and repeat until they are paid off and cancel the ones with the least benefits.

3. Use your credit card in a way that benefits you not the bank

I won't ask that you stop using credit cards because there are many advantages such as miles cash back and they help build credit. Just because you have a credit card it does not mean you have to live on credit. Live within your means and pay your full balance every month. This may sound obvious, but most of us don't do this and keep on accumulating more debt by just spending more than we are earning every month.

4. Extra income

If you receive a bonus a birthday gift, inheritance any income that you were not counting on, please do not spend it, allocate that money toward your debt payoff plan. You will be able to buy the things you want once you learn to manage your money better.

5. Sell unnecessary belongings

Unless you are really struggling to get out of debt this step may seem a bit harsh. Honestly, most of us have things we don't use or need and every day they go unused they lose value. Why not go a bit more Zen in your life and use the extra cash towards getting debt free?

6. Enjoy the process

Debt is part of life. No need to make this a severe torture. Think about it as just another goal to reach in life and set some milestones along the way. Every time you clean a credit card or shave off say $5,000 from a loan give yourself a treat. Just don't go into more debt to do it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Rise of Travel Apps


We all know how important mobile phones have become when it comes to connecting us to the rest of the world and making our jobs much more manageable. In the present, mobile industry does not just cater to a small group of people but is a driving force for ordinary tasks as well as the ones which require sophisticated skills.

Travel technology companies have a considerable stake in the mobile industry. When it comes to targeting and marketing strategies.

According to research by Travolution, Travel Technology Europe-

* Mobile accounts have increased 72% of expenditure in the mobile sector.

* 42% on mobile apps for travel technology.

This whopping increase, has led many to wonder why the rise in mobile spending and how can they benefit from it?


Increase in Travel-Friendly Gadgets.

One of the most important reasons why travel technology firms are aiming at mobile as their prime focus is the increase in the use of mobile technology for assisting the vacation plans of people. More and more people are making use of their smartphones to make bookings and make their trips more comfortable by having everything in place beforehand and being able to access it on your smartphone. Travel mobile applications have offered to the tourists instant access to all the information they need for completing a travel experience, which has led to an increase in travelers. Not just mobile phones, but tablets, e-readers, translators and other new gadgets are regularly introduced to the market which has made the tourists all around the world more tech-savvy and has helped them streamline their adventures with the help of travel technology apps available. This is a massive opportunity for the travel technology companies to increase their customer base.

New Generation of Young Business Travelers.

Another excellent reason for the spurt in mobile expenditure is the increased number of young business globetrotters. Entrepreneurs within the age of 18 to 30 love visiting new places and are more frequent in taking business trips in comparison to their older counterparts. They not only take a trip for business purposes but are also inclined towards making their business trip into a vacation.

This has again led a number of travel technology companies to introduce travel apps which cater to their needs such as bookings, information about food, destinations, hotels etc. Also, the young explorers have an array of gadgets which they love, that help the travel technology companies target the right customers.

High Competition among Travel Companies.

The rise in expenditure in the mobile sector is due to the increase in competition among the travel technology companies. With a higher number people vacationing, the options of apps and booking engines have largely increased and if the customers are not satisfied with one website or app, they aren't afraid of changing their options or voicing their criticism. This has led to severe competition among the different travel apps, and each is focusing on a better interface and more useful features.

The dependence on mobile technology has increased, and with the rise of young travelers, it is only set to rise further. In such a scenario where the travel technology companies have ample opportunities to increase their customer base, there is little doubt that their spending on mobile apps will only increase ultimately benefiting their customers.https://www.marcprimopulisci.com/marc-primo-pulisci-businessblog/marc-primo-pulisci-the-rise-of-travel-apps

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Facebook has gotten too big for Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is not comfortable with the enormous influence he has over the world.


During his apology tour this week for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Zuckerberg lent support to the idea of regulating Facebook and admitted he'd rather not be the person making content policy decisions for the world.


But he pushed back on one thing: Facebook's immense power.

When CNN's Laurie Segall asked if Facebook (FB) had become "too powerful," Zuckerberg responded: "I don't think so."

"The reason why we've succeeded as a company is that we serve people and give people power," Zuckerberg said. "The day that we stop doing that, we'll stop being a relevant company."

Zuckerberg argued that history shows any list of "the biggest [companies] in any given industry" will inevitably change "ten years later, or ten years after that."

And yet, at this moment, Facebook isn't just on the list, but nearly unrivaled in its dominance.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

THE FOUR by Scott Galloway

A Review By Marc Primo Pulisci, PART I

THE FOUR is a New York Times' bestseller by Scott Galloway that takes an insightful look into four of the 21st Century's largest tech companies.  Galloway looks at the hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, and seeks to demystify four of the most influential businesses of our time. Each of which is a serious contender to become the first trillion dollar company. If you're interested in discovering the psychological strategies that these companies used to achieve unprecedented success, it's well worth reading THE FOUR.

From 2013 to 2017, the combined market capitalization of these four companies amounted to $1.4 trillion equaling Russia’s GDP. This illustrates the socio-economic power of the four horses.

Galloway provides an analysis of the four-horse race between Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple to become the first trillion dollar firm. He first praises how each of these corporations has used technology, iconic leadership, speedy execution, flagrant plagiarism and bold innovations to huge effect. In his usual style he then nonchalantly and incisively reveals how these companies did not attain the successes they enjoy now all by themselves.  Driven by capital and innovation the four horses have prospered within a de-regulated capitalist culture that embraces hyper-consumerism.  A profit-hungry market, a waning middle class, weary institutions and attention-seeking media have also augmented the growth and market capitalization of the four horses. In The Four, Galloway explains the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook using three core ideas. 

1) Circumventing Friction

Friction, in this case, refers to every impediment that stops us from satisfying our desires. These obstacles may range from guidelines issued by government and tax authorities, synaptic connections in our brains that impact our decision making and supply chains. To avoid friction, the four horses have used strategy and technology to appeal and cognize our basic needs. Galloway’s proposition suggests that each of the four firms appeal to a particular human organ. Facebook focuses on our hearts and the need for humans to develop expressive and compassionate relationships. On the other hand, Google is trained on our brains and our thirst for knowledge. Amazon centers on our guts and the human disposition to consume embedded from our hunter-gatherer origins. Apple emphasizes our sensuality and in the process produces sleek and sensual products.

2) Remaking New Economic Rules

Galloway states that the four horses have specialized in the art of reforming economic rules to serve their interests. For instance, Amazon only started making profits in 2002, and yet it has gathered more capital than any other company in history. Galloway reasons persuasively that through consistent storytelling and simplicity, Jeff Bezos has restructured investor expectations and in the process provided Amazon with vast capital reserves that come at the expense of other industry players. Google and Facebook have created their media duopoly rewriting previous economic structures. Network effects have reinforced their targeting systems and reduced their costs for advertising their products and services. Expectedly both of these firms currently constitute 103% increase in digital marketing profits. All this is taking place when the rest of the industry is in a slump.

3) Involvement in Public Services

The four are not contented with their position as leading brands and are therefore doing their best to cement their influence by providing public infrastructure hoping to become permanent fixtures in our lives. Amazon is at the head of the pack with its massive logistics network which is the envy of some small states. Amazon is involved in Trans-Pacific shipping, has a fleet of Boeings and drones and thousands of trailers. Google is not far behind with server farms; it is also launching aircrafts into the stratosphere that will send broadband to earth. Facebook has announced plans to lay cables across the Atlantic.

THE FOUR expertly blends informative insights into business psychology with entertaining, witty dialogue. Galloway himself describes the behavior of "the big four" as a cross between the behavior of Darth Vader and Ayn Rand.


PART I of Some Thoughts By Marc Primo Pulisci on THE FOUR by Scott Galloway

Friday, November 24, 2017

Observations by Marc Primo Pulisci about TED Talk by Chris J. Anderson


An effective speech can change our world. TED brings us together with inspirational talks from scientists, inventors, opinion leaders, artists, and authors. How are these speeches prepared and why are they being watched?

Anderson’s guide has garnered endorsements from an impressive list of intellectuals, including Steven Pinker, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Adam Grant.

“The TED Talk has reinvented the art of rhetoric for the 21st century. Goodbye to windy academese, scientific gobbledygook, pompous moralizing, powerpoint chloroform – we now know that “ideas worth spreading” can indeed be spread far and wide, and with clarity and panache. Behind this revolution lies Chris Anderson, who had a vision that powerful ideas can improve the world and has developed a coherent philosophy and a set of guidelines for compelling communication. This book may restore rhetoric to its time-honored place as one of the essential skills of an educated citizen.”

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of HOW THE
MIND WORKS and THE SENSE OF STYLE

“Nobody in the world better understands the art and science of public speaking than Chris Anderson. He has nurtured, coaxed, and encouraged so many speakers over the years (myself included) — helping us to bring forth our very best performances onstage, even when we were at our most nervous and overwhelmed. He is the absolutely perfect person to have written this book, and it will be a gift to many.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of BIG MAGIC and THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS

“This is not just the most insightful book ever written on public speaking—it’s also a brilliant, profound look at how to communicate. If you ever plan to utter a sound, this is a must-read. It gives me hope that words can actually change the world.” -Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of GIVE AND TAKE and ORIGINALS


Chris J. Anderson took over TED in 2002 and created a worldwide phenomenon. Anderson, pondering the details of making good speeches for years, has brought together the secrets of the most-watched TED speakers in this guide. TED Talk is a book for anyone who wants to make an impact with their ideas through public speaking.

-Observations by Marc Primo Pulisci

Blockchain

What is a blockchain? It is crucial we understand what this emerging technology is and why people seem to think it can solve almost any pr...