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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur, Atlanta VC says

Friday, April 25th, 2014
Tom Hawkins

Tom Hawkins, founder, Forte Ventures.

Why did software companies snag a bigger chunk of the venture pie than at any time since the year 2000 in the latest Pricewaterhouse Coopers, NVCA quarterly report? Because it’s now much cheaper to start a software company, says Forte Ventures Tom Hawkins.

“You get a capital efficiency with software that leverages cloud economics such as Amazon’s Web Services, and that lowers the cost of developing innovative software solutions. It’s a much better way to develop a company and that’s why there’s a big spike there,” says Hawkins.

Will be at Southeast Venture Conference in Atlanta

Hawkins, who launched Forte Ventures in Atlanta in 2012, is among hundreds of private equity investors and venture capital firm representatives on panels and evaluating the 50 presenting start-ups at the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Atlanta, May 6 and 7.

Hawkins has 24 years of venture capital, entrepreneurial and operational experience. Prior to Forté Ventures, Tom co-founded the Venture Capital line of business at Arcapita Bank in 2005 and raised a $200 million growth stage venture capital fund in 2006. Tom managed investment activity in the IT, communications, energy and industrial technology sectors.

Prior to Arcapita, Tom was an Investment Partner with the Corporate Fund of Siemens Venture Capital, the $850 million venture capital arm of Siemens AG (NYSE: SI), where he managed investment activity in IT, communications and industrial automation & control.

A red-hot investment space

He says one of the current red-hot investment spaces is marketing automation and its sub categories such as digital marketing asset management and sales enablement. “We’ve done a number of investments in that space,” he notes.

“Our strategy is to offer our network of constituents in the venture capital ecosystem a compelling reason to work with Forté Ventures,” Hawkins says.

“We do this by leveraging our strong relationships and differentiating ourselves with a “privileged access” theme.

LPs get previleged access

The company website further explains, “Our limited partners seek privileged access to venture grade financial returns through a portfolio of risk-mitigated investment opportunities on a national basis that are validated by corporate strategic partners.

We strive to provide our limited partners with a smarter approach to gaining portfolio exposure to the Venture Capital asset class and help them avoid the adverse selection problem associated with local and/or regional investment strategies.”

The company also has an office in Silicon Valley. “It’s important to keep your thumb on the pulse of the dealflow there,” Hawkins says.

Hawkins thinks we’re “largely out of the economic downturn. People made a lot of money in the stock market the last two years. I think in 2014 we’ll have good stability and reasonable growth, but it has to slow down a little bit.”

Still, he adds, it’s not like the Internet boom at the start of the century. “That was all in one sector,” he explains. “We’re in a much more diversified economic base and all the indicators, retail, housing, are looking good.”

From a venture standpoint, Hawkins says, “Venture money is certainly flowing. Valuations are going up. It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur.”

Start-ups presenting at Southeast Venture Conference hail from DC to Florida

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

sevc 2014 logoOn May 6-7th at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta the Eighth Annual Southeast Venture Conference will present national and regional venture capitalists with over 50 of the most dynamic high-growth investment opportunities in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions.The first round of presenting companies offer a dynamic picture of the Southeast’s vibrant start-up scene from DC to Miami, Florida.

In addition to market-relevant panel topics and extensive executive and investor networking, this year those who attend will also hear keynotes from Marcus Lemonis from CNBC’s The Profit, Lending Tree founder & CEO Doug Lebda and Cvent founder & CEO Reggie Aggarwal.

Several executive panels will provide additional insight for both venture capitalists and founders on topics ranging from Limited Partner viewpoints, M&A, fundraising strategies, entrepreneurial roundtables and venture investment trends among many others.

A list of venture firms committed to attending so far follows the presenting companies.

The first round of announced presenting companies include:

9Lenses | Sterling, VA
Advanced Animal Diagnostics
| Durham, NC
Aloe – Atlanta, GA
Ambition | Chattanooga, Tennessee
| Washington D.C.

Axial Exchange | Raleigh, NC
Brickstream | Norcross, GA
Campus Bubble | Atlanta, GA
ChartSpan | Greenville, SC
Checkd.In | Nashville, TN

Cinegif | Austin, TX
CircleBackLending | Boca Raton, FL
DecisionLink | Atlanta, GA
Digital Reasoning| Nashville, TN
EarlyShares| Miami, FL
Evermind | Nashville, TN
Heyo | Blacksburg, VA

INRFOOD | Durham, NC
Kanga | Atlanta, GA
Kleo | Miami, FL
LinguaSys | Boca Raton, FL
M2SYS Technology | Atlanta, GA
Monsieur | Atlanta, GA
Passport Parking | Charlotte, NC
Patientco | Atlanta, GA
PatientFocus | Nashville, TN
Paymetric | Alpharetta, GA
PhishMe | Chantilly, VA

Quad Learning | Washington D.C. 
Royalty Exchange | Raleigh, NC
Screwpulp | Memphis, TN
Solicore | Lakeland, FL

Springbot | Atlanta, GA
uKnow | Arlington, VA
Uruut | Atlanta, GA
Variable | Chattanooga, Tennessee

Voterheads |  Columbia, SC
Voxa | Atlanta, GA
Windsor Circle – Durham, NC

ZeroFOX | Baltimore, MD

Venture capital firms that will attend include:

• ABS Capital
• Advanced Technology Ventures
• Alerion Capital
• Atlanta Technology Angels
• Atlanta Ventures
• Ballast Point Ventures
• Berwind Private Equity
• Bonaventure Capital
• Bull City Venture Partners
• Catalyst Investors
• Centurion Venture Group
• CNF Investments
• Contender Capital
• Core Capital Partners
• Delta Electronics Capital
• Draper Fischer Jurvetson
• Duart Mull
• ff Venture Capital
• Fifth Street Partners
• Florida Growth Fund
• Flybridge Capital Partners
• Forte Ventures
• Frontier Capital
• Fulcrum Equity Partners
• FuturePerfect Ventures
• G20 Ventures
• Grotech Ventures
• Hamilton Lane
• Harbert Venture Partners
• HarbourVest Partners
• Horizon Technology Finance
• IDEA Fund Partners
• In-Q-Tel
• Intel Capital
• Kinetic Ventures
• Landmark Angels
• LLR Partners
• Morgan Creek Capital Management
• Mosley Ventures
• Multiplier Capital
• Noro-Moseley Partners
• North Bridge Venture Partners
• Polaris Partners
• Revolution Ventures
• River Cities Capital Funds
• Safeguard Scientifics
• SoftBank Capital
• Southern Capitol Ventures
• Spectrum Equity
• Spring Capital Partners
• SSM Partners
• Staley Capital
• Stonehenge Growth Equity
• Stonewall Capital
• SunBridge Partners
• Susquehanna Growth Equity
• TA Associates
• Tech Square Ventures
• Timberline Investment Company
• Volition Capital
• Vulcan Capital

Up to date registration and information at

Heartbleed: is it really that bad? Does this have to keep happening?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

By Allan Maurer

UPDATsecurityED!  ATLANTA – If you haven’t heard about the nasty Internet bug dubbed “Heartbleed” by now, you should immediately find out about it because you probably need to take action. So do IT administrators, likely in a time-consuming job that has to be done by hand, says , Adam Allred of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) in Atlanta.

In brief, a major security flaw in the way many web sites – including Gmail, Yahoo, Tumblr, and many others means hackers potentially had or have access to users personal information – which may include credit card numbers, log-in passwords, and more.

It also means you’ll probably have to change some passwords to be safe. Experts say change Yahoo right away, as well as gmail, although both have since patched the problem.

Amazon, Evernote, Microsoft, and others were not affected. Mashable published this “Heartbleed Hit List” of which sites were affected and which passwords you may need to change.

Reports this morning (Friday, 4/11/2014) say the bug is also in Cisco and Juniper Network routers, firewalls and networking equipment used by many businesses. The necessary fixes could be long and one source says, “A trip to the trash can and Best Buy.”

Allred says the question he’s been asked most today as a computer security expert is “How important is it really? Is it really that bad?” What makes it so important?

We’ve gotten used to these security breaches cropping up almost daily, but this one really is different, Allred tells the TechJournal. Why?

“Because,” he says, “It’s logistically difficult. People have to do more work by hand to get the problem solved, patching alone is not enough.”

Also, and probably the scary part, is that the flaw in the Open SSL security allows the theft of private keys, Allred says. They can be exposed anonymously with the user none the wiser until consequences show up. They can do this via just this one ezploit, which makes it worse, he adds.

“On many servers that used Open SSL today, if you can obtain the private key, you can use it to decrypt any information every encrypted on that server.” Yikes!

Does this have to keep going on? These terrible security breaches affecting not just millions of people but in this case, almost anyone using the Internet. There is security process that would prevent this particular sort of problem.

That’s “Perfect Forward Secrecy.” It uses a temporary set of keys for each user session. A hacker might conceivably obtain one key, but it wouldn’t work on every thing ever encrypted and would only affect one person, not everyone who came along in the past.

“It’s already found in many modern browsers. Firefox, Chrome and Explorer all have the capability. It’s relatively new in encryption and requires changes on the server side. But there are already concepts and ideas that would help. We just have to turn it on everywhere.”

In general, though, coming up with a “forever solution, and whoever is able to write that solution will be a very popular and rich person.”

Forbes had this to say on Heartbleed. “Avoiding Heartbleed Hype.”

If you want to avoid hype and hear the real deal from digital thought-leaders from brands including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Huffington Post, but also tech icons such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, check out the Digital Summit Atlanta, May 20-21.

Relevance is key to social marketing of IHG’s hotels

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
Nick Ayres

Nick Ayres

By Allan Maurer

Relevance is a key element in digital content from the International Hotel Group (IHG). So says IHG’s Director of Social Marketing, Nick Ayres.

One of the world’s leading hotel companies, with 161 million guests nights per year, 687,000 rooms in over 4,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world.

Ayres is among more than 100 thought-leaders, executives, and technology icons participating in the Digital Summit Atlanta May 20-21.

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organization with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels & Resorts.

The first consideration

In its social media marketing efforts, Ayres says, “As we focus on content creation and curation, our first consideration is guest relevance.” Sometimes, he adds, that means “Walking a fine line between what’s important to us as a brand and what our guests find interesting. We look for that sweet spot where the two overlap.”

So, they’re not prone to posting a lot of crazy cat pictures, he notes. Instead, they post items about destinations or tidbits about our brand that might not be front and center.”

In general, he says, as most marketers have found, “Visual is more engaging than text. The photos we share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram perform way better than text.”


The historic Intercontinental Willard in DC.

Not surprisingly, people love posts about beautiful beach destinations. In other cases, the company’s landmark hotels, such as the Intercontinental Willard in Washington, DC, have historical and cultural relevance that make interesting material for posts.

Don’t be company centric

He advises that social media marketers avoid being “company centric.” “Work with your partners to find interesting content.” IHG’s Crown Plaza, for instance, has a partnership with the PGA  that leads to good content.

They also look for unusual elements of their properties – several of their hotel groups are pet friendly, for instance, while some of their Holiday Express hotels have pancake makers. “We found a way to discuss the pancake maker,” Ayres says. “Little nuggets of content can add personality and flare to the brand.”

He says they also target geographically, aiming content at the demographics as well as the psychographics of their customers.”






Three tips on starting a successful loyalty program

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Loyalty program word cloudSo, you’re thinking about boosting your business through a loyalty program. How do you establish a successful one?

Randal McCoy, CEO of Atlanta’s GetOneRewards offered Yahoo Small Business these tips:

First: Consider what rewards you will offer. Instead of just giving away freebies, make shoppers work for their reward by giving up information, buying something or visiting a store.

Second: Start with a basic, the punch card. Most of us have carried punch cards from one business or another around with us (I have one from a second hand bookstore and another from a Subway shop). They have drawbacks (a customer has to have the card with them, but if the incentives are good enough, they’ll hold on to them).

Third: Make employees and customers aware of the awards you’re offering. Make sure your employees know how your program works and what they must do to make it work. Also make sure your customers know about it.

For more about GetOne Rewards, see our previous story: Atlanta’s GetOne Rewards takes loyalty programs digital

For insights and instant take-aways on digital marketing, SEO, design and much more from thought-leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs from top brands such as Google, Bing, the Huffington Post, and many others – including Apple co-founder and Mac inventor Steve Woziak, consider attending TechMedia’s Digital Summit Atlanta May 20-21. It’s the largest such gathering in the region and features more than 100 speakers.



Atlanta’s GetOne Rewards take loyalty programs digital

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

By Allan Maurer

Justin Michela

Justin Michela

How can brands and stores get more people to sign up for loyalty programs? One say, Atlanta start-up GetOne Rewards, thinks, is to make the process faster and easier.

The company, which has raised about $3 million through two rounds, sells a cloud-based digital rewards program. It’s system lets customers type their phone number into a store terminal or smartphone, then tracks their purchases, assigning points that can be redeemed for rewards.

Justin Michela, CTO and co-founder of GetOne Rewards tells us the company already has about 500 to 600 clients in Atlanta and Charlotte as well as other locations up and down the East Coast from Florida to North New York. It also has locations in Colorado and California.

Quick and easy from the beginning

“From the beginning, we went with a phone entry model,” says Michela. “You type in your number in the store in under ten seconds.” While the system “Has all the bells and whistles,” Michela adds, “We built it from the ground up not to require those things.”

Those things, which the customer can do if he or she wishes once signed up, include claiming rewards, filling out information, creating a marketing connection, and providing email to get extra points.

Loyalty programs are a big deal. A friend of ours is a travel writer and she scores some excellent perks, from the loyalty rewards programs she signs on to. The 2013 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census shows more than 25 percent growth in such programs over the last two years.

With digital technology, a company such as GetOne Rewards can help merchants capitalize on the real-time and geo-targeting capabilities of rewards programs.

Like their competitors, GetOne Rewards has visit based programs and customers get a point for each visit. But, as an alternative Michela says GetOne’s competitors don’t offer, they get one point for every $4 (or other amount) they spend.

A big selling point

That, Michela explains, lets a merchant give more rewards to the customer who comes in a couple times a day vs. someone who visits once a month. “That’s a big selling point with us,” Michela says.

But the company’s main differentiator, he says, “Is that we create a painless process for store owners.” They don’t need to understand the technology they’re using to get full value from it.

“You have to admire a lot of these store owners,” Michela says. “They’re the embodiment of the American Dream. I know this guy who quite a six-figure job to open a pizza shop. He says, ‘I don’t know how to do marketing. I just want to make pizza.’ We try to work with them to create a really good marketing program for them that makes sense.”

Michela explains, “Once it’s plugged in, it’s automated. It classifies customer automatically, knows when it’s their birthday so you can send them a gift coupon, knows when Jim hasn’t been there in a while, so you can send him an offer to entice him to come back.”

The Woz coming to Atlanta

You can meet other innovative start-ups, national and regional venture capitalists, and entrepreneurial thought-leaders at the Eighth Annual Southeast Venture Conference in Atlanta May 6-7.

Later in the moth, TechMedia presents Digital Summit Atlanta, where you can hear tech icon and creator of the Apple computer, Steve Wozniak, as well as thought-leaders from brands including Yahoo, Google, Bing, Razorfish, The Huffington Post and many others.

Words from the Woz: marketing is crucial

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Woz quote“Creative things have to sell to get acknowledged as such.” So says Steve Wozniak, creator of the Mac computer and technology icon. Wozniak, understands the power of marketing as well as that of techonology. “It’s a lot easier to think of an app and write it than it is to convince people to want it,” he said more recently.

Although Steve Jobs is always cited as Apple’s marketing guru, Wozniak fully grasps the need.

Wozinat, the lunch speaker on the second day of the upcoming Digital Summit Atlanta May 20- and 21, added, “Marketing is crucial.” You’ll get a powerful dose of marketing savvy at the Digital Summit Atlanta event, the Woz himself may supply a few take-aways.

His quotes go viral on the Internet, where they end up on uncountable Facebook pages in boxes with his picture.
We thought you might enjoy a look at some of the best.

Here they are just a few:

“If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it’s within your reach. And it’ll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build. It’ll be worth it, I promise.”

“I learned not to worry so much about the outcome, but to concentrate on the step I was on and to try to do it as perfectly as I could when I was doing it.”

“All of a sudden, we’ve lost a lot of control. We can’t turn off our internet; we can’t turn off our smartphones; we can’t turn off our computers. You used to ask a smart person a question. Now, who do you ask? It starts with g-o, and it’s not God.”

The Woz, Randi Zuckerberg, and Siri headed to Dallas Digital Summit 2013

Monday, December 2nd, 2013
The young Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

The young Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

A star-studded lineup of Internet mavens,  digital media icons, and top brands such as Google, Twitter, Bing, AOL, Advertising Age and Forrester are headed to Dallas next week (Dec. 10-11) for the 2013 Dallas Digital Summit. Headliners at the event include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, best-selling author Randi Zuckerberg, and Susan Bennett, the voice of Apple’s Siri.

The two-day event at the Irving Convention Center presents more than 75 speakers on topics such as content strategy, usability/design, mobile marketing, customer engagement, social media, ecommerce, email, search, marketing automation, video, the multi-screen experience, and a great deal more. Preconference intensive workshops provide five hours of insights into best marketing practices from roll-up-your-sleeves professionals.

Woz quoteSteve “The Woz” Wozniak, an iconic figure in the history of the digital era, designed the first Apple computers for the company he founded with the late Steve Jobs. His quotes get boxed and go viral on social media.

Randi_ZuckerbergRandi Zuckerberg has enjoyed a wave of media exposure over the last month since publication of her two new books. “Dot Complicated, Untangling our Wired Lives,” discloses that even at Facebook she had some difficulties with social media when she posted so many pictures of her new baby they asked her to stop.

She argues that we should share “authentic details” of our lives online – but nothing that we wouldn’t be comfortable seeing appear in a newspaper.

Ugly comments on social networks have driven her to tear, she admits. “Don’t be a jerk online,” she says, which is advice we wish more people would follow.

She also advises taking breaks from our overwhelming digital lives.

As an early marketing executive at Facebook, Randi created and ran the social media pioneer’s marketing programs. She led the company’s U.S. election and international politics strategy and created Facebook’s live streaming initiatives during the 2008 Presidential Inauguration. Randi was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011 for her innovative coverage of the 2010 mid-term elections that integrated online and TV coverage in unique formats.

Since starting Zuckerberg Media, Randi has produced shows and digital content for BeachMint, the Clinton Global Initiative, Cirque du Soleil, the United Nations, Bravo and Conde Nast, with many other projects in the works.

Susan Bennett is the funny and personable voice actress who the users of Apple iPhones and iPads have heard as the voice of Siri.

Susan BenettBennett appeared at an earlier TechMedia event, The Internet Summit in Raleigh in November.

The Big Bang Theory, the popular TV comedy, plans several episodes built around Siri later this season, we hear.

You’ve more than likely heard Susan’s voice on a number of commercials and productions as one of the most active voice-over artists working with such clients at Ford, Coca-Cola, Fisher Price, McDonald’s, The Home Depot, Goodyear, VISA, Macy’s, Club Med, Delta Airlines, and The Cartoon Network.

Also on this year’s agenda:

AOL’s “Digital Prophet,” David Shing. Engaging, witty and  candid, Shing provides both historical perspective and current context as he lays out his vision of the brave, new world of marketing to come – one he believes will belong to those willing to embrace change and take risks now, and that he dearly hopes will suck a great deal less than it does at the moment.


Brent Herd, director of Southeastern US sales for Twitter, began his digital career at Yahoo in 1998.

Simon Dumenco, the Editor-at-large adn “media guy” at Advertising Age, has worked at and consulted for a wide range of media companies, including Condé Nast, Hearst, IAC, Time Warner, Viacom, and Wenner Media. He was founding editorial director of New York magazine’s and founding editor-in-chief of At New York magazine, he was business/technology editor, editor of the National Magazine Award-winning media column, and advertising critic and pop-culture columnist.

Here is a full list of speakers.

We’re told a limited number of tickets remain. If you’re quick, you might grab one here.

New format adds zest to CED Venture event this month

Monday, September 9th, 2013
Mike Elliot of Noro-Moseley Partners

Mike Elliot of Noro-Moseley Partners

RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NC – The CED’s annual Tech Venture Conference has acquired new energy with a format that speeds about 50 young startup companies through lightening demo rounds, says Noro-Moseley’s Mike Elliott, a managing partner in the Atlanta venture firm.

“You spin through a number of presentations and never have a chance to get bored,” he says of the three-minute rounds. “They leave you wanting just a bit more.” For a startup, that’s a good way to initiate contact with an investor: leave them wanting more.

Set for September 17-18 at the Raleigh Convention Center, the annual event draws some of its new energy from the vibrant and growing early startup hubs in the Triangle’s three cities.

Bustling startup hubs in the RTP

“Today, especially in downtown Durham, but also all over Raleigh and Chapel Hill we’re seeing tremendous activity from early-stage startups,” says Elliott. That fact has shaped this year’s focus, as well, he adds.

“What both the startups and investors need is to take companies to the next level and we tried to theme the conference in that direction this year,” says Elliott. “You’re up and running, how do you kick it into growth,” he adds.

To bolster that theme, the event features “A number of CEOs who began life at very early stage companies and were able to find the right switches to hit and push them into high growth mode.”

Those include Mike Cote, chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based SecureWorks, which was acquired by Dell in 2011; David Morken, co-founder and CEO of Triangle-based Bandwidth; and Mark Norman, president of Zipcar.

Elliot, however, points out that the entrepreneurs and investors will also hear from top corporate development people from Red Hat, Google and other firms, to “Get a clear picture of the characteristics they’re looking for in partners or acquisitions and how you can set your company up to grow inside a company like theirs.”



“King of Social” to keynote 2013 Internet Summit in Raleigh

Monday, August 26th, 2013
Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

Get ready for action: best-selling author and e-commerce marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk returns to keynote the 2013 Internet Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center November 12-13.

Vaynerchuk, called “the king of social media,” rocks an event crowd with his powerhouse energy, sharp humor, and non-stop insights into how to market using today’s tools.

Vaynerchuk had the audience with him at IS 2012 as he explained his concept of the “Thank-You Economy,” the title of one of his best-selling books.

A massive cultural shift

Social media is part of a “massive cultural shift,” and marketers better pay attention, Vaynerchuk told the crowd that packed all three ballrooms at the Internet Summit that year.

He grabbed the audience with a funny but take-away laced talk that filled the Twittersphere with praise for his performance. He speaks primarily from actual experience with his highly successful site and his own social media marketing, not from theory. His message regarding social media is that engagment, not sell, sell, sell, is the key.

“But no one wants you to pound their commercial down their throat on their Facebook page,” he said the 2011 IS.
“Most businesses are not good at social media and they make the same mistake a 19-year-old dude makes talking to a woman the first time. They try to close in their first conversation.”

Vaynerchuk has appeared on numerous national television programs as a wine and marketing expert, including Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Today Show, The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Dr. Oz Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNN’s Your $$$$, and CNBC’s Power Lunch.

More than 100 thought-leaders headed to Raleigh

He’ll join more than 100 other speakers at this year’s event, the premiere digital marketing conference in the Research Triangle.

Other speakers confirmed for this year’s Internet Summit include:

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of reddit and author of “Without Their Permission.”

Brian Herd, Director of Southeast, Twitter. Herd, who began his career at Yahoo in 1990 won the firm’s “Super Star” award in 2001 and is currently responsible for all Southeastern revenue and business relationships for Twitter.

Simon Heseltine

Simon Heseltine

Simon Heseltine, director of Audience Development, TechCrunch/Huffington Post/AOL. Simon and his team are responsible for organic search, social and training across all AOL properties, including TechCrunch, HuffingtonPost and Heseltine spoke about “Search and SEO,” at the DallasSummit, another TechMedia event, last year.

Duane Forester, Senior Product Manager, Bing. Forester has 15 years experience in search and social and is the author of How To Make Money With Your Blog and Turn Clicks Into Customers, through McGraw-Hill.

Those are only a few of the speakers already confirmed. See the full list here.

Register early for the best event rate and reserve your seat. The event, which draws 2,000, generally sells out.

Get the inside story on Bitcoin and Aereo at Atlanta Digital Summit

Monday, May 13th, 2013
Digital Summit

The Digital Summit is the largest event of its kind in the Southeast.

Only a handful of seats remain available for the largest digital conference in the Southeast, the Digital Summit, Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, tomorrow, May 13 and Wednesday, May 14.

This year, in addition to the more than 100 leading digital thought leaders set to present the latest digital strategies and trends at the summit, you’ll get the inside story on two hot topics: the Internet currency Bitcoin and the company disrupting cable and satellite TV delivery models, Aereo.

Chet Kanojia, CEO and founder of Aereo, which grabs over-the-air TV broadcasts and offers them to consumers via Internet connected devices, will talk about his starup’s disruptive technology.

Kanojia says The consumer proposition is what’s important.



Stephen Pair, co-founder and CTO of BitPay, the leading processor for bitcoin, will provide an overview of the somewhat controversial Internet currency. He talked to the TechJournal about What will make bitcoin succeed or fail,” in advance of his appearance at the Summit.

Speakers will also share the latest best practices and strategies in topics such as social media, email marketing, search, mobile, e-commerce, usability, analytics & measurement, online video, social TV and digital advertising/branding among many others.

A capacity crowd of 1,500 digital marketers, Internet executives, web strategists, entrepreneurs and other digital professionals will connect in Atlanta for two full days of content and networking.

social televisionSpeakers represent leading brands such as Google, Twitter, reddit, Mashable, Porsche, Turner, TMZ, Coca-Cola, HootSuite, NASCAR, The Weather Channel, Aereo, Dell, Rovi, HGTV, Forrester, StumbleUpon, Salesforce and Adobe to name a few.

The Digital Summit conference features a keynote from the co-founder of reddit, Alexis Ohanian, and over 80 strategy presentations and discussions, musical acts, the Startup Showcase, preconference workshops, leading digital vendors and hours of attendee networking.

Here at the TechJournal we’ve interviewed a handful of the digital gurus who will participate. It’s only a sample:

Among those you’ll hear are:

Microsoft/Bing’s Matt Wallaert says Behavioral Science is helping build a better tech future and why people prefer Bing to Google in tests.

Mike Perla, director of conversion optimization and creative at Fathom will fill you in on how to Show your client ROI from usability testing.

Aaron Schildkrout, co-founder of the unique online dating site, How About We, talks about a data driven company

Brian DAmato

Brian DAmato

Brian DAmato, SVP of Analytics at Moxie discusses How to get ROI from digital channels.

Tim Clark, director of optimization for NASCAR, talks about how NASCAR listens to its fans to increase digital channel engagement.

Erik Muendel, CEO and creative director of Alexandria, VA-based Brightline Interactive offers three tips for grabbing attention via digital channels and keeping it.

Social media and marketing consultant Jeff Sheehan explains how Linkedin offers a billboard to 200 million users.

SEO expert Josh McCoy says you should use competitive analysis and enticing content to fire up your SEO.

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny, vice president of client services withExpion, urges you to break down walls to pop the social media bubble.

Michael Marshall, CEO of Internet Marketing Analysts tells you how to do those backlinks right.

Brian Wong

Brian Wong

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, one of the top four online ad companies according to Forbes, offers insight into the mobile ad secret sauce – capturing moments of achievement.

Jacques Panis of Shinola, talks about bringing jobs and manufacturing back to the US in Good timing, making watches in Detroit.


Aereo: the consumer proposition is what’s important

Friday, May 10th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Chaitanya 'Chet' Kanojia, CEO, founder, AERO

Chaitanya ‘Chet’ Kanojia, CEO, founder of AERO, will participate in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta.

One of the factors influencing change in the digital and media worlds over the last decade has been bandwidth. “That’s a huge factor,” says Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of the online TV platform Aereo.

The company has faced some court challenges to its platform, which allows consumers to watch live or recorded HD broadcast television on virtually any type of Internet-connected device, including smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and computers.

All the publicity surrounding Aereo “Is something of a mixed blessing,” says Kanojia. That’s because it can overshadow the company’s mission, he adds.

“The consumer proposition is the key mission here,” he says. The venture-backed company was comfortable with its legal position, so it wasn’t surprised to find that position validated by initial court decisions. “It’s nice to be validated, but wasn’t a surprise,” Kanojia says.

Previously, Kanojia was the founder and CEO of Navic Networks, the industry leader in advanced television advertising. Navic Networks was subsequently acquired by Microsoft in 2008.

Participating at the Digital Summit

The holder of more than 14 patents in fields ranging from robotics to data communications systems, Kanojia is an innovative leader known for pushing beyond the conventional and developing breakthrough solutions. He’ll join more than 100 other digital media and marketing thought-leaders at the Digital Summit in Atlanta next week (May 14-15, 2013).

Kanojia founded Aereo after selling Navic Networks when he noticed too things: broadband penetration and bandwidth had made it easier for people to consumer media on the Internet. And there is a great imbalance between what people watch on TV and what they’re paying cable and satellite companies to receive.

“Most people watch seven or eight channels,” he notes. But they’re paying for 500. “Any time you see that imbalance, you wonder how consumers may respond to a different choice.”

So far, they’ve responded very favorably, and Aereo, which has raised about $65 million so far and expects to need more as it builds out its infrastructure city by city, expects to have its service available in the first 15 of 22 cities by summer.

It will change everything

Back to his point about bandwidth, Kanojia, who will address the topic more fully at the Digital Summit, points to the way bandwidth changed the music industry as it increased to ten times what was needed to move music around digitally. “We no longer have a Tower Records,” he says.

As a similar bandwidth increase approaches, he sees it affecting the delivery of HD streaming video the way it did the music industry, especially along with the high resolution screens on devices such as iPads. But it won’t just affect the TV industry, he says.

“It will force a massive change that affects everything when everyone has high quality bandwidth at their fingertips.

For Aereo, that means it can offer consumers a great value proposition: a smart way of getting TV at about ten percent of the price from cable and satellite providers.


How about we discuss a data-driven company?

Friday, May 10th, 2013
Aaron Schildkrout

Aaron Schildkrout of dating site How About We will speak at the Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15 (2013).

By Allan Maurer

How about we have champagne with strawberries and cream at the movies on the lawn event tonight? That’s the way you go about asking for a date on the How About We site.

You post a date idea and wait for someone to take you up on it.

Brian Schechter and Aaron Schildkrout, both 32, launched HowAboutWe in April 2010 in New York. In December of that year, HowAboutWe opened up to a national audience. The goal was to create a dating site they’d actually want to use themselves. Here’s how it works

  • Say “How about we…” and fill in the blank with a date you want to go on.
  • Receive Date Proposals in your inbox from people who share your interests.
  • Find a date you like, check out their profile, message and go out.

Since then, the site has added a popular free concierge service in which it makes all the arranges for special, often deeply discounted dating experiences. “We curate amazing dates,” says Schildkrout.

Participating in the Digital Summit in Atlanta

Digital SummitSchildkrout will discuss how the site uses data to optimize its product and marketing experience and ROI at the Digital Summit in Atlanta next week (May 14-15). He’ll join more than 100 other digital thought-leaders at the event, which is near a sell-out crowd of 1,500.

“We’re an incredibly data-driven company,” Schildkrout says. “Data informs everything we do here.”

The company releases each of its new features in multiple variant test versions and analyzes the outcome based on hundreds of different metrics “To understand the impact of what we’ve done,” he says.

It also uses data in the way it approaches how it serves ads. “We have a data-driven approach to where we place them, how to optimize them, and their relationship to what users see and experience on the site.”

Mind-blowingly rapid tech change

Schildkrout says we’re in a time of “Mind-blowingly rapid technological progress. We’re living in radical times, more so than the general public tends to acknowledge and the Internet is at the very center of it.”

People are spending more than half their time on the Internet, “Living in this other space we’ve built for ourselves,” he says.

mobile devicesIn the next five years, Schildkrout sees a couple of big things headed down the digital highways. “Mobile become the single most important access point for Internet use,” he says. “At the same time, Google Glasses and other innovations mean the Internet will become even more pervasive.”

That, he says, means we’ll continue to see “Mass disruption of traditional business models.” Some analysts predict the death of in-store retail coming in the next decade, for instance.

Working much smarter

Also, he says, “We’re going to start working much smarter. And the world is going to be designed better. We’re seeing a major emphasis on design right now in every industry, based on how things actually function, what they look like, how they feel, and how humans actually use them.”

He also sees people using more quantitative self evaluation – people using the Internet for feedback loops to measure and record habits, drink water or exercise more frequently, track sleep patterns and diet.”

Overall, Schildkrout says, “People will be living more designed lives with better designed products.”

What will make Bitcoin succeed or fail?

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Stehpen Pair

Stephen Pair will provide an overview of the Internet payment system bitcoin at the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

If you have been wondering what all the buzz about the Internet currency bitcoin might mean to your business, you can get up to speed at the Digital Summit in Atlanta next week. Stephen Pair, co-founder and CTO of BitPay, the leading processor for bitcoin, will provide an overview at the event, which is nearing a sell-out.

BitPay has processed over $5.2 million in bitcoin transactions for its merchants during the month of March, with over 5,100 completed invoices during the month. BitPay has also approved over 1,300 new merchant applications during the month of March, bringing their total number of approved merchants to over 4,500.

Pair has 20 years of experience building software systems in the financial and telecommunications industries.

Before founding BitPay, Mr. Pair held various roles including entrepreneur, architect, manager, team lead and developer. He started programming at a young age and spent much of his early career focused on languages, compilers, operating systems and virtual machines.

He’ll join more than 100 other digital thought-leaders and speakers from top brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, and many others at the Digital Summit May 14-15 in Atlanta.

Newer and better

Pair says of bitcoin, “Fundamentally it is newer and better software for conducting transactions.” It doesn’t require providing any personal or financial information that’s so attractive to thieves online. “There is no other method of payment over the Internet that doesn’t involve a bank, credit card or PayPal,” Pair notes.

bitcoin-robberBitcoin has come under some scrutiny by potential regulars. Bart Chilton, one of five commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission told Reuters that he wants to make sure the bitcoin system isn’t “a house of cards.”  Concerns include worries about the currency being used for untraceable illegal transactions.

Satoshi Nakamoto – which may be a pseudonym for a group of coders – created bitcoin in January 2009. He has since disappeared. Endgadget took a look at the rise of bitcoin here.

BitPay Raised $700K

Twelve-employee BitPay was founded in 2011 and the venture-backed firm raised a $700,000 seed round. “Our customers are merchants who want to accept bitcoin as payment,” Pair explains. BitPay charges a 1 percent transaction fee, lower than merchants pay for credit card transactions, where some pay more than 3 percent.

Customers are now even able to buy mobile gift cards using bitcoins and redeem them at over 50,000 physical retail locations across the USA including GAP, Lowes, Sephora, GameStop, American Eagle, Sports Authority, Nike, Marriott, Burger King, Fandango, Brookstone, and many more household brands.

Bitcoin also allows merchants and consumers to do business online in countries where it is impossible or difficult to do so via credit card transactions.

Money is information



Pair says to understand bitcoin, we need to step back and think about money in general. “Money is information,” he says. “Like other forms, it’s possible to send that information anywhere over the Internet.”

Unlike more traditional forms of currency, however, no central bank controls the supply of bitcoin and it’s not linked to gold, debt or other forms of backing.

“Bitcoin is backed only by its utility in conducting transactions,” Pair says. “It isn’t linked to a commodity, debt or anything else.”

Pair says many people critical of bitcoin may be looking at it from the wrong perspective. “They’re looking at it as a currency, but ignoring the utility it adds. That’s what will make it succeed or fail – how useful it is for things people need to do, such as international payments.”

You can get a fuller perspective when Pair discusses bitcoin at the Digital Summit next week.



How to show your client ROI from usability testing

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Mike Perla.

Mike Perla will discuss how to show ROI from usability testing at the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta.

If you want to show a return on investment from user testing your digital marketing, you need to get your client involved and on board from the beginning. So says Mike Perla, director of conversion optimization and creative at Fathom.

Perla knows his stuff.

He joined Fathom in 2006 and has over 10 years of experience as a designer, developer and marketer. He regularly presents on the topics of CRO and UX for organization like the Conversion Conference and UXPA. He also frequently hosts webinars with an international cast of CRO experts through the Conversion Rate Optimization Professional Association (CROPA).

His testing case studies are often published by WhichTestWon (WTW), and in early 2013, he won a gold ribbon in the WTW 2013 Online Testing Awards, where his case study was inducted into the WTW Hall of Fame.

He’ll refer to some of those case studies when discussing how to show ROI from usability testing at the Digital Summit in Atlanta next week (May 14-15) where he’ll join more than 100 other digital thought-leaders from brands that include Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, the Wall Street Journal and many others.

Usability testing a difficult sell

Usability testing can be “a difficult sell,” Perla notes. “Even if your marketing budget increases, you also always see an increase in the digital channels you can spend the money on. To show ROI, you need, first, to make sure the client believes in the numbers you’re showing him.”

To do that, he suggests, do your user testing on your payment process, implement fixes based on the results, then split traffic between the original process and the new one to see which performs better.

With something like the payment process, “You can tie it right into revenue,” Perla says.

With lead generation clients, you need to develop a simple calculation to get a basic lead value, he adds.

Userlytics tool recommended

He also says that unless you have a background in user testing, you should “Start out small. No one will hand you a bunch of money to do user testing if you haven’t done it in the past.” Since user testing can be fairly expensive, he recommends trying a tool such as Userlytics. It lets you show a video of a user trying your product or process so you can see any place the consumer has trouble.

“You can jump to sections of the annotated video and say, “Hey, here’s someone frustrated with the process. They’ll see that. Once you get the main stakeholder on board by showing them the results of user testing, others will fall in line.”

“Do a test and show it to the client,” he says. “Get them involved so they feel ownership of the project and they’re more likely to participate and help you overcome any hurdles that happen. You might also want to get the IT department, designers and developers of the existing site on board.”

Even if they’re initially reluctant, once you get that, says Perla, “you’re in a much better position.”



Good timing: Shinola making watches in Detroit

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Jacques Panis

Jacques Panis

As startups go, Shinola has a story that’s right on time. The company, founded in 2011, is making watches in a 35,000 square-foot facility in Detroit. No one has manufactured watches in the U.S. in 50 years,” notes Jacques Panis, director of strategic partnerships for the firm.

Shinola also diversified and now makes bicycles (in Wisconsin) and stationary products. But in an era when many people use smartphones or other digital devices to keep track of the time, we asked Panis, why watches?

“People are starting to wear watches more and more. It’s a trend,” says Panis. “People look at watches as part of their style or persona. A watch is a fashion piece in a lot of cases. People make a statement with a watch, especially in urban environments and among fashion forward trend-setters.”

Experience spans marketing, branding and sales

Panis has over 10 years of experience spanning marketing, branding and sales. He founded Webosaurs in 2007, an online brand created to educate children globally on the history and diversity of our planet. He collaborated with animation studio Reel FX to expand the Webosaurs project while running the Reel FX interactive division. Panis joinedShinola in 2010 to oversee product development and strategic direction for the company.

He’s among more than 100 digital and marketing thought-leaders participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit next week (May 14-15). The event includes speakers from brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, the Wall Street Journal, AT&T, and many others. Fewer than 100 seats remained for the event, the largest in the Southeast, as of Wednesday (May 8). About 1,500 people are expected to attend.

We’re story-tellers

Panis, who is on an engagement panel, tells the TechJournal, “We’re story tellers at the end of the day and digital channels and social are a big part of our marketing effort.” Shinola tells its story on product specific blogs (dedicated to bikes or watches, for instance) and others. It sold a 2,500 limited edition watches online supported by traditional ads in major newspapers.

So far, however, most of the company’s marketing has been “organic,” Panis says. It does have a good story – bringing manufacturing and jobs back to the United States.

Digital Summit

The Digital Summit is the largest event of its kind in the Southeast.

People who attend TechMedia’s events such as the Digital Summit often go not only for the programming – whether as participants or audience – but also to find partners, customers, and scope the lay of the digital landscape.

“We’ll be at the show (the Digital Summit) looking for a digital marketers who can help us drive traffic to our site and help us move watches,” he says.

The company isn’t looking for just anyone, though.

“We want a Triple A kind of guy or gal,” Panis says. “We want to shake up how people shop for watches and driving people to our site is critical to how we’re going to run this business. If we can find people to help us drive traffic and refine our funnel, it will be fascinating to see how the rest of the watch industry responds.”

Panis says he’s also looking forward to hearing more about what marketers are up to and how consumers are shopping online.


Fewer than 100 seats left for Atlanta Digital Summit

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Atlanta skylineFewer than 100 seats remain for the Digital Summit in Atlanta which is only a week away. One of the largest digital marketing events in the Southeast, the Digital Summit features more than 80 presentations from marketing and technology thought-leaders.

Speakers from brands including Twitter, Google, Mashable, Porsche, Reddit, Adobe, TMZ, Bing, Nascar, Coca-Cola, Salesforce, AOL and many more will discuss the latest trends and insights into all things digital.

More than 1,500 are expected to attend.

Hours of networking

People network in groups large and small at SEVC.

People networking at a previous TechMedia event.

In addition to learning the latest digital trends and best practices with actionable takeaways from over 100 world class speakers, you’ll get hours of networking opportunities at two open bar receptions, day one’s gala reception with heavy appetizers, breakfast  & lunch on day two, cool giveaways, opportunities to check out the latest digital technologies and startups, a concert from a grammy nominated artist and a lasting experience.

Digital Summit will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.  The conference is readily accessible with a direct flight from most major US cities. The World Congress Center is a just short hop on Atlanta’s mass transit system from the airport.

Chaitanya 'Chet' Kanojia, CEO, founder, AEReO

Chaitanya ‘Chet’ Kanojia, CEO, founder of AEReO, will participate in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta.

AEREO CEO participating

Among other top speakers, the CEO and found of AEREO, which has been much in the news lately with its technology for capturing over-the-air broadcasts and delivering them to customers via Internet connected devices, will be on hand.

For more about the event and links to interviews the TechJournal has done with a number of participating speakers, see: More than 100 digital thought-leaders headed to Atlanta.

Confirmed speakers include: 

  • Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder, reddit
  • Baratunde Thurston, Technology-Loving Comedian
  • Frederick Townes, Sr Technical Advisor, Mashable
  • Matt Wallaert, Behavioral Scientist, Bing/Microsoft
  • Brent Herd, Dir Southeast, Twitter
  • Brian Wong, CEO, Kiip
  • Joshua Fruhlinger, Head of Digital, TMZ
  • Kelly Deen, Dir Consumer Marketing, Turner/Cartoon Network
  • Lizzy Nephew, Social Media & Emerging Technology Specialist, Porsche
  • Tom Daly, Group Director, Global Connections, Coca-Cola
  • Maureen Schumacher Cole, Head of Financial Services, Google
  • Steven Tedjamulia, Dir of Digital Strategy & Innovation, Dell
  • Michael Tippett, Dir of New Products, HootSuite
  • Steve Robinson, Dir of Online Analytics & Business Intel, The Home Depot
  • Michael Rodriguez, Product Manager of Digital News, The Weather Channel
  • Scott Carlis, VP Digital & Social, AEG Digital
  • Chet Kanojia, CEO & Founder, Aereo
  • Bert DuMars, VP & Principle Analyst, Forrester
  • Randall Lloyd, Dir of Social Ad Sales, Salesforce
  • Mallory Colliflower, Community Manager, HGTV
  • Tim Clark, Dir of Optimization, NASCAR
  • Mandar Shinde, Sr Dir Mobile Monetization, AOL
  • Jeff Siegel, SVP Worldwide Advertising, Rovi
  • Loni Stark, Director of Product Solution & Industry Marketing, Adobe
  • Lance Broumand, CEO, UrbanDaddy
  • Anthony Napalitano, Dir Global Partnerships, StumbleUpon
  • Brian D’Amato, SVP Analytics, Moxie
  • Matt Kaplan, VP Sales, Mail Online
  • Jason Hartley, Group Media Dir, 360i
  • Jeff Dennes, SVP – Head of Digital, SunTrust
  • Nick Ayers, Mgr, Social Marketing, Intercontinental Hotel Group
  • David Favero, Southeast Sales Dir, Shoutlet
  • Justin Carll, Digital Strategist, PureRED
  • Rory Felton, VP of Business Development, Music & Entertainment, Chirpify
  • Brian Ford, Sr Dir of NA Sales & Service, 3DSystems
  • Gretchen Fox, Social Architect, grtchnfx
  • Bob Gilbreath, CEO, Pingage
  • Laurie Hood, VP of Product Marketing, Silverpop
  • Kami Huyse, CEO, Zoetica Media
  • Simms Jenkins, CEO, BrightWave
  • Manny Ju, Dir of Product Management, Blue Hornet
  • Lawrence Kimmel, Executive Director, Hawekeye
  • Mike King, Dir of Inbound Marketing, iAcquire
  • Topher Kohan, Assc Dir of Search Strategy, Rockfish
  • Chris Korbey, Creative Director, Emma
  • Yoel Leinwand, Account Executive, YouTube
  • Rebecca Lieb, Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group
  • Michael Marshall, CEO, Internet Marketing Analysts
  • Erica McClenny, SVP Client Services, Expion
  • Josh McCoy, Lead Strategist, Vizion Interactive
  • Mark Miller, SVP/CRM Practice Lead, Digitas
  • Howard Morton, CEO & Managing Partner, Boardwalk International Advisors
  • Erik Muendel, CEO, Brightline
  • Dave Mundo, VP, Analytics Director, BKV
  • Stephen Pair, CTO & Co-Founder, BitPay
  • Jacques Panis, Dir of Strategic Partnerships, Shinola
  • Mike Pearla, Dir of Conversion Optimization, Fathom
  • Claudia Perlich, Chief Scientist, Media6Degrees
  • Steven Roe, Dir of Business Development & Marketing, Response Media
  • Lindy Roux, Principal Content Strategist, Siteworx
  • Nigel Sanctuary, VP Cloud Propositions, Kognitio
  • Joey Sargent, Principle, Brandsprout
  • Becky Scheel, Graphics/Website/Exhibit Designer, ZooAtlanta
  • Aaron Schildkrout, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, How About We
  • Jenny Schmidt, Principle, CloudSpark
  • Jeff Sheehan, CEO, Sheehan Marketing Strategies
  • Rob Sanders, Founder, RSO Consulting
  • Patrick Toland, CRO, Optimal Social
  • Stefan Tornquist, VP Research (US), Econsultancy
  • Chad White, Principle of Marketing Research, ExactTarget
  • Scott Williford, Fouder & CEO, vLink Solutions
  • Luke Barton, Technical Director, Siteworx
  • Trevor Sumner, President, LocalVox
  • Yakka Murphy, Art Director, Digital Experience, The Weather Channel
  • Cara Citino, Dir of Digital Services, R2integrated
  • Jeff Ferguson, CEO, Fang Digital Marketing
  • Victor Wong, CEO, PaperG
  • Ade Adeosun, Sr Dir Digital Business Analytic, comScore
  • Kelley Mitchell Price, Chief Experince Officer, PocketFirm
  • Annalise Kaylor, Dir of Social Media, Intrapromote
  • Trish Nettleship, Dir of Social Media & Influence, UCB
  • Danny Davis, CEO & Founder, Proving Ground
  • Thomas Cornelius, President of Adility, InComm
  • Adam Harrell, President, Nebo Agency
  • Nikhi Deshpande, Director, GeorgiaGov Interactive
  • Peter Lee, Editorial Director, GeorgiaGov Interactive
  • Alankar Tayal, Optimization, Usability, Testing & Analytic Expert

AEREO threatens cable TV model: CEO at Digital Summit

Monday, May 6th, 2013
Chaitanya 'Chet' Kanojia, CEO, founder, AEREO

Chaitanya ‘Chet’ Kanojia, CEO, founder of AEREO, will participate in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta.

AEREO has stirred up a hornet’s nest of contention in the television space, offering a cloud-based antenna and DVR technology that lets consumers watch live or recorded TV broadcasts on Internet connected devices.

News Corp COO Chase Carey has threatened to take Fox TV off the air and make it a pay channel because of AEREO’s technology.

With cable-cutting a real threat to satellite and cable TV providers, this is just one more wrinkle threatening their business models.

It’s not often you see a startup immediately threatening the major players of an industry, but AEREO has managed it. The company, which launched in February 2012, is venture-backed by IAC, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, Highland Capital Partners, High Line Venture Partenrs, Lauder Partners, and SV Angel.

Broadcasters, satellite and cable companies lost a battle in court to stop AEREO with an injunction, however. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said a U.S. District Judge was correct in refusing the injunction.

The suit was brought by Fox Television Stations Inc, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Wpix Inc., Univision Television Group Inc, the Univision Network Limited Partnership, WNET, Thirteen, and Public Broadcasting Service. They have vowed to continue the fight.

Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, has said it might emulate AEREO’s business model and grab over the air broadcasts and deliver them to customers via Internet connections.

It’s all an ongoing controversy. You can hear from AEREO CEO and founder Chaitanya “Chet” Kanojia at the TechMedia’s Digital Summit in Atlanta next week (May 14-15), where he’ll join more than 100 other digital thought-leaders participating in the event.

TechMedia events have had controversial guest before (such as the Winklevoss twins, who challenged Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s creation).

Previously, Kanojia was the founder and CEO of Navic Networks, the industry leader in advanced television advertising. Navic Networks was subsequently acquired by Microsoft in 2008. Chet holds more than 14 patents in fields ranging from robotics to data communications systems, is an innovative leader known for pushing beyond the conventional and developing breakthrough solutions.

TechJournal plans an interview with Kanojia ahead of the Summit if possible.

Here’s AEREO’s launch video:


Behavioral science helping build a better high tech future

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Matt Wallaert

Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and a serial entrepreneur, is among more than 100 speakers participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

We’re going to see much better products in the future based on how we actually use them as technology embraces human engineering and behavioral science, says Matt Wallaert.

A behavioral scientist working with Microsoft and BING and a serial entrepreneur, Wallaert says he believes the goal of technology is to “Get to that Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) future in which we’ve solved many of the world’s problems.”

After two successful tech startup exits, he joined Microsoft’s Bing to focus on adapting technologies to work naturally with existing paradigms of behavior to aid in both decision making and task completion, and to broaden how search removes obstacles and enables people to take action on their ideas, questions, and desires.

As an academic at Cornell University, Wallaert wrote a number of papers on financial behavior that drew the attention of Thrive, which invited him first to sit on its board and later made him head of product.

Built a behavioral change engine

“We built a behavioral change engine,” he says. And it worked. “We could see we were changing behavior.” People using Thrive raised their credit scores and paid down their debt. The company eventually sold to Charlotte-based Lending Tree.

Then Wallaert started a second firm, Churnless, which focused on helping startups build products people actually want and don’t leave because they find them so useful.

He co-founded several startups (OneADayForCharity, HotelDecoder, and FlexibleFlow), and has acted as an adviser and angel investor to others. One of his current side projects is,  a free service to help close the gender wage gap. It has helped thousands of women earn millions of dollars over the past two years; 70 percent of women who submit a raise request get a raise, and the average raise is around $7K.

Speaking at the Atlanta Digital Summit

Wallaert is among more than 100 digital thought-leaders and executives from top brands participating in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta. In addition to Microsoft, brands represented include Google, AOL, Twitter, Adobe, and many others.

Wallaert says that one reason he joined Microsoft is that “I want to do things that are practical, but in startups, even if you’re successful, you may not be talking to that many people. But no one on earth has a bigger audience than Microsoft.”

He admits that a company as big as Microsoft it can be difficult to institute change. “But if you can, it affects so many people,” he adds.

Star Trek

Should technology’s goal be the future where it has solved many of society’s basic problems, such as in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe?

People tend to underestimate how much Microsoft has already contributed to that Star Trek-like future in which many of the world’s problems are solved. Microsoft technology powers everything from many tools we use in our daily lives to those operating cars and hospitals.

If you get hit by a bus, he notes, the ambulance that takes you to the hospital may have been built by a factory powered by Microsoft. The hospital itself is also likely using Microsoft technology, and the doctors treating you are probably using Microsoft powered tools.

The science of social

At Bing, Wallaert and Microsoft are trying to make the search engine – Google’s only real rival – to work with natural speech.

On a panel dealing with social search at the Digital Summit, Wallaert says he’ll “Talk about some of the science of social. There is tendency to approach search with old school marketing techniques, such as pushing out a message to a bunch of influencers.”

Aston Kucher

Aston Kucher

Ashton Kutcher, for instance, has millions of followers on Twitter. “But who ever did anything because he said to?,” asks Wallaert.

Actually, though, that’s not how social recommendations work their viral magic. “Why do social recommendations work?” he asks. “Because people tend to group up in patterns with other people who are like them.”

“Imagine that if instead of Ashton, a friend sends you a personal note saying ‘Hey I’m using this thing and you might like it.’ Those are the types of messages that have a huge impact. A tweet might reach a million eyeballs, but that’s different from getting 100 people to tell 10 others they’re using something and you should try it.”

He’ll talk about the kind of social outreach that actually produce sticky results and long term product users. “Think about Game of Thrones,” he suggests. The HBO show has racked up impressive viewing numbers in its third season, largely “Because people are watching it because their friends are watching it.”

“You need to look at the raw science of why social recommendations are important, how people actually make decisions and how you can use that,” Wallaert says.



More than 100 digital thought-leaders headed to Atlanta

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Digital SummitMore than 100 leading digital thought leaders are set to present the latest digital strategies and trends at the Digital Summit, Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, May 14th – 15th, 2013.

Speakers will share the latest best practices and strategies in topics such as social media, email marketing, search, mobile, e-commerce, usability, analytics & measurement, online video, social TV and digital advertising/branding among many others.

A capacity crowd of 1,500 digital marketers, Internet executives, web strategists, entrepreneurs and other digital professionals will connect in Atlanta for two full days of content and networking.

social televisionSpeakers represent leading brands such as Google, Twitter, reddit, Mashable, Porsche, Turner, TMZ, Coca-Cola, HootSuite, NASCAR, The Weather Channel, Aereo, Dell, Rovi, HGTV, Forrester, StumbleUpon, Salesforce and Adobe to name a few.

The Digital Summit conference features a keynote from the co-founder of reddit, Alexis Ohanian, and over 80 strategy presentations and discussions, musical acts, the Startup Showcase, preconference workshops, leading digital vendors and hours of attendee networking.

Here at the TechJournal we’ve interviewed a handful of the digital gurus who will participate, with more to come.

Among those you’ll hear are:

Brian DAmato, SVP of Analytics at Moxie discusses How to get ROI from digital channels.

NASCAR_Chevrolet_ImpalaTim Clark, director of optimization for NASCAR, talks about how NASCAR listens to its fans to increase digital channel engagement.

Erik Muendel, CEO and creative director of Alexandria, VA-based Brightline Interactive offers three tips for grabbing attention via digital channels and keeping it.

Social media and marketing consultant Jeff Sheehan explains how Linkedin offers a billboard to 200 million users.

SEO expert Josh McCoy says you should use competitive analysis and enticing content to fire up your SEO.

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny, SVP, Expion, is participating in the upcoming Atlanta Digital Summit.

Erica McClenny, vice president of client services withExpion, urges you to break down walls to pop the social media bubble.

Michael Marshall, CEO of Internet Marketing Analysts tells you how to do those backlinks right.

Brian Wong

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, is participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, one of the top four online ad companies according to Forbes, offers insight into the mobile ad secret sauce – capturing moments of achievement.