Everybody Writes, So Learn From the Pros: Part 3

Our content team wrapped up Ann Handley’s critically acclaimed book, “Everybody Writes,” just before Thanksgiving. The first two sections of the book offer plenty of tips to be thankful for, from advice on how to write more effectively to a deep dive on grammar and word usage.

Handley goes on to talk about a whole host of topics in the remaining pages, including rules on publishing, writing for social media and tools that can take your writing to the next level.

Here are some of the lessons the content team found particularly helpful:

1. Cite as you write

It has never been easier to research a topic you want to write about. With just a few clicks, you can gain instant access to millions of online sources that cover almost everything under the sun. But with convenience comes the responsibility to credit others for their work. Handley recommends citing any source that helps you along the creative process.

Expert tip: Be sure to find primary, not secondary sources. Writers too often link to a secondary source instead of the original. As Handley puts it, “The credibility you gain is worth the extra click or two to track down the primary source.”

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[VIDEO] The State of Marketing Technology 2017: A Brief Overview

A year ago, Walker Sands published the first State of Marketing Technology whitepaper, indicating that the industry’s evolution and adoption of new marketing technology was taking a full speed ahead approach. This year’s report found that the momentum has remained steady, and marketers show no signs of slowing down.

Walker Sands’ MarTech team conducts an annual survey to over 300 marketers; analyzing their actions and and attitudes towards making technology purchase decisions. Each year, the findings are compiled into a white paper. This year’s study is titled Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 Closing the Gap Between Martech Innovation and Adoption. In the video our martech thought leaders discuss how marketers are eager to embrace best-of-breed solutions rather than single-vendor suites, and give predictions for the year ahead.

Watch the video to learn more about our findings in the 2017 State of Marketing Technology study.


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Friday Five: 11/28 – 12/2


Happy Friday! Check out this week’s tech news before you head out for the weekend:

AWS tries to protect its customers from DDoS attacks with new service – CIO

DDoS attacks were particularly brutal this year with a record-breaking hack on the BBC. Amazon introduced a new service called Shield at AWS re:invent to fight back and protect its customers from DDoS attacks. Starting Wednesday, Dec. 7, the free tier of Shield will be enabled on any web application that runs on AWS. The service kills two birds with one stone by increasing AWS’ cloud security and compelling customers to finally migrate their business applications to the cloud.

AMD will sneak-peek its high-end Zen CPU in December, starting a new CPU war – PCWorld

AMD CPU’s have struggled to keep up with its rival, Intel, for the past decade. Despite more affordable pricing, AMD’s performance is considered to be lackluster compared to the power and efficiency of the pricier Intel processors. Things may change once AMD’s long-awaited, high-end Zen CPU hits the market. In terms of performance, the shockingly powerful 8-core Zen impressed the CPU world by revealing it could keep up with Intel’s high-end 8-core Broadwell-E chips. Will a new powerful and cost-efficient AMD processor answer the company’s critics and regain lost market share?

JustEat is now delivering takeout with self-driving robots in the UK– TechCrunch

Drones and robots could be the future of food delivery. Following Domino’s first drone-delivered pizza, self-driving bots from Just Eat have been serving Greenwich, London residents with takeout from nearby restaurants. Provided by Starship Technologies in a partnership with Just Eat, the robots are specifically designed for delivery purposes. The self-driving bots are tamper-proof and unlock with a code sent to customers, which also means no free meals for curious passerbys.

66% of organizations won’t recover after cyberattack, study says TechRepublic

It’s no secret that cyberattacks have the potential to be devastating to an organization, but according to an IBM and Ponemon Institute study, a majority of them fail to recover. The issue lies with “cyber resiliency,” which is the capability of a company to keep its core purpose in the event of an attack. According to the study, 32 percent of IT and security leaders rated their company with high resilience compared to 35 percent in 2015, which shows that resilience could be trending downwards if no changes are made. Poor planning and preparation is said to be one of the main culprits, which will need to be addressed in the future of IT security strategies.

Facebook developing artificial intelligence to flag offensive live videos – Reuters

Facebook has seen its fair share of criticism over the past month regarding fake news and censored content. Using artificial intelligence aims to solve these problems that can be littered with human error. The social media giant’s problems stem from user reports, which it relies on to flush out offensive posts. However, the process is slow and posts have to be double checked by Facebook employees. AI provides another reliable check to filter Facebook’s content while being an objective party.

Tweet us your favorite tech stories from this week @WalkerSands!

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4 Buzzwords from Money 20/20

Vegas SignMoney 20/20 in Las Vegas was quite the lavish affair this year, as far as trade shows are concerned. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, there were more than 10,000 attendees from 75 countries at the “world’s largest payments and financial services innovation event.”

Keynote speakers included the likes of Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Square (not to mention Twitter), Pali Bhat, global head of payment products at Google, and Bill Ready, global head of product and engineering at PayPal.

Beyond the flashy names, however, was a three-day schedule of interesting and educational track sessions and panels on topics like mobile wallets and payments, next gen retail and commerce, and digital banking and personal finance. In addition, there was an impressive exhibition hall with brands ranging from cross-border payment start-ups to credit giants like Mastercard, and everything in between.

I attended Money 20/20 this year to take in the sights and sounds, expand my professional knowledge and learn more about the wider fintech industry. Here are four buzzwords that floated around The Venetian over the course of the week.

  • Ubiquity – The official definition of ubiquity is: “the state or capacity of being everywhere, especially at the same time; omnipresence.” Well, tech companies sure have some lofty goals! All kidding aside, ubiquity, as it relates to products and services, was of the utmost important to the panelists I listened to during the week. When it comes to payments, for example, there is no such thing as a ubiquitous service (and there might never be). Visa Checkout, Masterpass, PayPal, Amazon Payments, Square, Venmo… the list goes on. As I came to learn, though, the goal isn’t necessarily one ubiquitous product for all, but rather a ubiquity in experience for customers. Too often the industry is focused on payments as the end goal. Of course, it’s important. That final transaction is what pays the bills. And yet, the journey of getting there, and how payments fits into that journey, is what will bring customers back. The product must enhance the experience.
  • Jack DorseyMillennial – Did you think we were done with the golden age of hot takes and think pieces on the generation that is, depending on to whom you listen, either ruining, confusing or dominating America? Think again. Based on what I witnessed, the compulsion to figure out how millennials think, what they want and where they go is bordering on obsession. From a business standpoint, there’s a precedent: in 2015, Boston Consulting Group found that millennials wield about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power. That number has very likely only increased since. And yet, there seems to be a disconnect. Much of the conversation was centered around a younger demographic, one that you might sell to through a Snapchat story, for example. The oldest millennials are now in their early to mid-30s, with mortgages and children of their own. At the very least, more millennials are now past college than not. Personally, I’d like to see the terminology around the demographic become more nuanced and defined.

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The 7 Funding Newsletters You Should Be Reading

Funding makes the tech world go ‘round. Well… funding and innovation. As a B2B tech PR firm, many of our clients are VC- and PE-backed companies or are working with us to get onto investors’ radars.

To best serve our clients, we’re always trying to stay on top of investment news and trends – watching where money is being investing, how much and by whom. Luckily, there are tons of email newsletters that not only track specific deal announcements, but also give you a taste of what it’s like to be an investor.

Here’s a quick list of my favorite VC and PE newsletters. Which ones are must-reads for you?  

  1. Fortune’s TermSheet
    Term Sheet provides a wrapup of what companies raised, who has raised new funds and how happenings in other places of the market are impacting businesses. While Term Sheet has long been a staple in my morning reading, it’s recently moved back into my favorites. Erin Griffith recently took over this newsletter from Dan Primack and gave the newsletter a stronger focus on tech and VC developments, making it a must-read for me each morning.
  2. Crunchbase Daily
    If you’re looking to track deals without a lot of extra opinion and analysis – Crunchbase Daily is your go-to. Once a day, Crunchbase rolls up the biggest (determined by both dollar amount and notoriety) deals of the day. And it’s database is worth a look for anyone keeping tabs on tech investing.
  3. PitchBook PE & VC News
    Like Crunchbase, PitchBook pulls the data that fuels the newsletter from its extensive platform which touches VC, PE and M&A. Unlike CrunchBase though, PitchBook packs a bit information into its newsletter adding a bit of analysis and background to most deals it features. And don’t miss the recommended reads section at the bottom!  
  4. Inside Venture Capital
    Inside VC spun out of Jason Calacanis’ LAUNCH Ticker, another email newsletter I’d highly recommend for anyone who works in tech (twice a day emails, quick hit tech stories – 300 characters or less). Inside VC publishes 3 times a week and rolls up the biggest deals by category and provides some quick analysis, often with great charts and graphs.
  5. PE Hub Wire
    While the list above skews heavily toward the VC crowd, I look to PE Hub to keep me balanced. The Wire tracks deals, fundraising, personnel changes, M&A, IPOs and the best stories on PE Hub all in one place.
  6. Mark Suster’s Both Sides of the Table
    Now we’re veering away from deal news into thought leadership. An entrepreneur turned VC, Mark has great insight on what it’s like to be … both sides of the table, hence the name. The newsletters are less newsletters and more blog posts delivered via email and cover everything from startup lessons, thoughts on VC developments and entrepreneurship.
  7. Semil Shah’s Blog
    Like Mark Suster’s newsletter, this is another blog turned newsletter from Semil Shah at the early-stage investment firm Haystack. Lots of thought leadership and a clear window into what goes on in an investor’s head about deals, current events and developments in the space. My favorite posts from Semil are the ones that detail why he invested in specific companies. 

And while it’s not an email newsletter, I’d also recommend our client ParkerGale’s podcast, the PE FunCast. If you’re looking for a glimpse of life in PE, Jim and Devin talk about building technology companies and tackle other entertaining topics.

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