Monday, July 30, 2012

Consumer Data Brokers, the Marketer's Dream

Acxiom: if you don't know what this means, you should.  It is the world's largest commercial database on consumers, housing consumer information on 500 million consumers and up to 1,500 data points per user.  The database combines information in public records, consumer surveys, and just about any other form of data that companies collect about consumers, allowing companies to do advanced data mining and predictive analytics.  In short, it is a marketers dream.  Acxion represents a growing market of data brokers and apparently it is a lucrative business, posting a $77 million profit on $1.13 billion in revenue  from clients like Wells Fargo, HSBC, Macy's, Toyota, and Ford.  However, data broker companies are a new breed and largely unregulated, so expect the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and legislators to get involved in the not-so-distant future.

Read the article.

(submitted by Charlie)

Friday, July 13, 2012

More Trouble in RIMland

RIM, maker of the rapidly fading Blackberry, is continuing to get pummeled in the marketplace.  First, RIM manufacturer Celestica announced it will stop manufacturing hardware for RIM, probably due to RIM announcing it will not be releasing its Blackberry 10 until later in the year (read the article).  RIM also announced it is discontinuing the 16gb Playbook tablet.  Although the company claims it is still in the tablet market and that customers want the higher capacity models, speculation suggests that this is a cost-cutting measure since  the Playbook is widely considered to be a failure (read the article).  Taking into consideration RIM's plunging stock value and planned job cuts, it probably won't be long before the company folds or is acquired.

LinkedIn: Resumes and So Much More

LinkedIn recently made a very interesting acquisition with its purchase of SlideShare, a site for sharing presentations that is structured very similarly to YouTube.  This alliance makes sense for LinkedIn because they have learned (like Google with YouTube) that simply having a functional site is not enough; successful online companies need to branch out into the content business to continue to drive users to their sites.  One of the branding challenges for LinkedIn is that currently people tend to view it as an online repository for resumes and contacts, and only visit on an as-needed basis. LinkedIn hopes that incorporating more content, such as Slideshare, will drive more traffic to the core site.  Having a central place to share presentations is a natural extension of the LinkedIn profile and can help identify and validate subject matter experts by their contributions versus the data they enter in their profiles.

Read the article.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ctrl, Alt, Delete: Medical Device Software Development Needs a Reboot

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 24% of all medical device recalls are due to software failures.  This is concerning on a number of levels.  First, why is software in medical devices so buggy?  Second, will this lead to increased regulation and/or liability costs? Finally, should we be trusting our lives to software?  Since planes, cars, and just about everything else these days is software driven, maybe the best question is how do we improve the software?

Read the article.

Two Social Media Trends to Follow

There are so many reports detailing how social media is going to change the way business works that it is hard to take most of them seriously.  However, this article has particular significance.  Radian6, owned by (, reached an agreement with Twitter to get on-demand access to all of Twitter's public tweets in real-time.  Other data aggregators (like Datasift) only offer historical access to tweets.  As companies think about sentiment analysis on Big Data sets, having real-time access to Twitter is crucial, and Radian6 has positioned itself as a key player.  It will be interesting to see what Facebook's response will be.

The other key trend, although largely unnoticed, is's portfolio of recent social media related acquisitions. purchased Radian6 in March of 2011, and in May 2012 purchased Chatter messenger and screen-sharing software.  Last month (June 2012) it purchased Buddy Media, a social marketing platform.  The interesting thing about all these offerings is their particular business focus. seems to know its target market and has a good track record of integrating tools into its core product.  Also, they seem to be making very strategic purchases that will sustain them for future growth and avoid the common mistakes of buying into non-core markets just to have a presence (ahem...Oracle...ahem, ahem...Microsoft).

Read the article.

Doing Predictive Analytics on Big Data

Check out this great YouTube video of Alpine Data Labs Chief Product Officer (and data scientist) Steven Hillion explaining how to do Predictive Analytics on Big Data.  Although this is a product-centric video, it gives good background information and real world examples.

Watch the video.