Jeff Bezos buys The Post, Human Fitness app, Microsoft buys Nokia, Fenway Festivals

Top Story: Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Buys The Washington Post


Last month billionaire Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post, one of America’s most venerable publications, for a cool $250 million in cash.


Why would a tech entrepreneur invest in an increasingly bygone media outlet in a declining industry? Boredom perhaps, but also the thrill of uncertainty. News will always be salient and being the figurehead behind revolutionizing the business of newspaper journalism is apparently money well spent.


In his first interview since the announcement of the purchase, Bezos admits he doesn’t have a concrete plan in mind but he credits the “ingenuity and inventiveness and experimentation of the team at The Post” for any success it has in generating “a new golden era”.


Reflecting on the business model of The Post, Bezos ponders:

The Post is famous for its investigative journalism. It pours energy and investment and sweat and dollars into uncovering important stories. And then a bunch of Web sites summarize that [work] in about four minutes and readers can access that news for free. One question is, how do you make a living in that kind of environment? If you can’t, it’s difficult to put the right resources behind it. . . . Even behind a paywall [digital subscription], Web sites can summarize your work and make it available for free. From a reader point of view, the reader has to ask, ‘Why should I pay you for all that journalistic effort when I can get it for free’ from another site?


While he may not have all the specifics figured out, he does seem to be asking the right questions. After all he is planning to follow the same business philosophy that guided him in building from a start-up to an e-commerce giant with $61 billion sales in just under two decades.


“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient,” he said. “If you replace ‘customer’ with ‘reader,’ that approach, that point of view, can be successful at The Post, too.”


Do you think The Post is in good hands? Is the “new golden era” of journalism upon us?


Take a look at these social media responses from The Post staffers on Jeff Bezos’s visit to the office:


Tool of the Week: Human


There is more than a fair share of fitness apps out there. From stat-heavy RunKeeper to lifestyle tracker MyFitnessPal to social motivator Fitocracy, it’s beginning to seem like there can’t possibly be any original concepts to help people get healthy. Enter newcomer Human, a mobile app that just wants you to move at least 30 minutes a day.


The “Daily 30” is a simple habit Human hopes every user will be able to form through the app.


“The basic premise of the app is very simple. Human tracks all of your activity and we put the focus on how many minutes you moved today and how many minutes you need to move,” co-founder and CEO Renato Valdés Olmos explained in an interview. “Each day of the week that you reach your Daily 30, we send out a push notifications.”


Unlike most other fitness apps, Human is one of the first to use passive location tracking. All you have to do is set it up once and it’ll do the rest – calculate your speed, location and activity. Similarly to RunKeeper, Human automatically tracks your activity without you having to remember to launch the app.


Looking forward, the startup intends to use all the personal tracking data collected from your daily activities to improve your habits. By setting the location for your home, office and/or gym, the app can begin to build a pattern of each user’s behavior.


“The goal is to send a notification that says ‘get off the subway two stops early and you’ll be on time to work,’” Valdés Olmos said. But the startup also recognizes the importance of privacy, giving users the option to export and delete all information on the app with a single tap.


Currently, the app is only available to iOS, but an Android version is in the works. Would you use Human?


Under the Radar: Microsoft buys Nokia


In a $7.2 billion move, Microsoft has made its mobile ambitions crystal clear.


Microsoft and Nokia have been partners since 2011, when Nokia committed to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone operating system. Despite the strategic partnership between the two industry heavy-hitters, iOS and Android have been dominating the market.


With the current Nokia Windows Phones holding more than 10% share in 9 markets with 78% year on year growth, Microsoft saw the chance to ride on that momentum by fusing the two companies under one. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Devices & Services division allows for one united, clarified brand through which the Windows Phone can hope to compete with mobile’s reining giants Apple and Samsung.


In a press release, Microsoft explains:

We will continue to support iPhone and Android/Galaxy phones with our services, but we cannot risk having Google or Apple foreclose app innovation, integration, distribution or economics.


The acquisition also buys Microsoft 8,500 design patents, ownership of the Lumia and Asha brands, and a ten-year license to use the Nokia brand on feature phones. Among the design patents live the possibility for elastically stretchable tech, self-charging devices, gesture-based controls and haptic or tactile feedback tech.


Do you foresee Microsoft’s success as a genuine competitor to Apple and Samsung or do you see the acquisition as just a massive waste of money?


Around the Hub: Fenway Hosts Two Weekend Festivals


Fenway park is hosting two major events this weekend – one for college students, the other for brides-to-be.


College Day


Saturday, September 7th

11a.m. – 5p.m.

Free with a college I.D., this annual event grants hundreds of local college students access into the park as well as to over 70 brands ready with all kinds of giveaways, games, contests, and special offers.  This year the event is sponsored by youth marketing agency Campus and Army ROTC.


Discount student travel site StudentUniverse is offering early registration to the event, promising VIP status complete with a separate entry gate and special prizes. Car-for-hire mobile app Uber is offering new users a free ride to or from the event (up to $20) with the promo code “boscollegeday.”


Other brands in attendance with notable freebies include:

–          KIND Healthy Snacks with samples of their nut and fruit granola bars

–          The PGA Tour and College Golf Pass with free golfing lessons

–          Rider Sandals with a foosball tournament for cash prizes

–          L.L. Bean  with the chance to win a $500 prize back


Bridal Festivalscoreboard_600x450Sunday, September 8th

10a.m. – 2p.m.

Celebrating its 5th year at Fenway, this annual bridal showcase is giving five lucky couples a wedding of a lifetime – a ceremony at Fenway Park. Beyond the Fenway wedding raffle, this year’s festival features special guest Randy Fenoli, wedding dress expert and star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. Price of admission is $15.


Will you attend either?

The Much-Anticipated iPhone 5 is Right Around the Corner

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new iPhone 5 at 1pm EST today. Speculations have been developing over the past few months about this new iPhone, and many were right on target. The biggest news is that the new device will run on LTE. This single chip is an amazing technology that has the ability to switch between networks. It also provides ultrafast wireless service. This technology also allows us to use FaceTime via cellular service, though many are curious how cellular providers will charge for use of this technology. iPhone 5 will also be equipped with the brand new Apple A6 chip, which means twice the speed in CPU and graphics.


Although the design has not changed dramatically, the new iPhone 5 will be slightly taller than the current iPhone 4S, allowing for a 5th row of icons on the display. It is also significantly thinner and 20% lighter than the current model. The touch centers for the new device are integrated into the display, rather than the layer on top that is in the current models. This allows for a more sensitive touch screen for more accurate clicking. iPhone 5 has done away with the 30-pin connector and has replaced it with what they call the “Lightening” connector. This connector is 80% smaller, more durable, and reversible – so no more flipping the charger over six time in the dark just to plug in your phone!


iPhone 5 will be equipped with an updated camera which captures 40% faster, has a better retina display, and even has a new “panorama” feature that will stitch your pictures together to create a massive panorama shot. Photos can be automatically shared with family and friends using iSight as well.


The new battery gives iPhone 5 up to 8 hours of battery life on LTE, and up to 10 hours on WiFi. Finally – we can get through a whole work day without our charger! It also has enhanced microphones and a noise cancelling ear piece for better voice calling.


The software update, known as iOS6, gives our favorite apps a much needed update. Siri will now be able to direct you to good movies, post your Facebook status, and tell you who won the big football game. Turn-by-turn directions powered by Tom Tom enhances Maps, and a new “3D mode” allows you to view areas via satellite.


iPhone 5 will begin preorders this Friday – September 14th, and will begin shipping on the 21st. iOS6 will be available to iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S users on September 19th. No surprise with the prices, which start at $199 for a 16GB iPhone 5.

451 Heat 3 451 Marketing

Seeing Through Consumers’ Eyes: Online Advertising and Eye Tracking

In today’s marketing landscape, the window of opportunity for an advertisement is extremely brief. Many consumers actively tune out ads as soon as they recognize them. This holds true for television, print, and the Internet. According to several studies, the average consumer is inundated with up to 5,000 advertisements per day. It is unmanageable for any person to give their full attention to all these ads. Therefore, the eye of the consumer holds a wealth of valuable information.


In the past decade, the Internet has overtaken traditional media and has become an unavoidable outlet for advertisers. It is crucial to understand how and when consumers will devote their attention to online commercial stimuli and what underlies their attention strategies. Measuring visual attention in regards to online advertising has been explored with eye tracking technology.


Eye trackers use a small camera that bounces infrared light off a user’s eyes and follows the reflections in order to pinpoint where their eyes are looking. Eye trackers make it simple to collect specific visual data on user behavior. They also can tell whether users are reading or scanning, learn the relative intensity of a user’s attention to various parts of a web page, and are able to determine whether a user is searching for a specific item.


 Eye tracking heat map, image source


In addition, eye trackers can compare user scan patterns, allowing for a more complete analysis. Eye tracking devices create “heat maps” that show how much users looked at different parts of the web page. Areas wher users looked most often are colored red, yellow areas indicate minor fixations, and blue areas are the least-viewed. Gray areas did not attract any attention.


For the online marketer, using eye tracking to analyze a campaign has countless benefits. Eye tracking can be used to measure the effectiveness of banner advertising, email campaigns, electronic newsletters, and even in-game advertising. By showing whether an ad is seen or not, it provides a completely new measurement of online branding.


 Left: gaze plot, right: heat map, image source


The gaze plot and heat map visualizations above reveal that website visitors avoid looking at special offers that appear in a banner-like format. This phenomenon is known as “banner blindness.” Results from eye tracking show that optimizing the format, layout, and placement of online messages can greatly increase brand impact.


Mobile phones and other mobile devices are increasingly being used for web surfing and online shopping. As a result, mobile advertising is growing rapidly and is considered to have an edge over other forms of traditional marketing because the mobile phone is a targeted, individual device.


Heat map on mobile phone, image source


Eye tracking can also reveal the effectiveness of email campaigns, ad banners, landing pages, and game advertising on mobile devices. Moreover, it can help companies to optimize mobile advertising to limited screen sizes, touch screens, and users’ general behavior.


Efficient and accurate eye tracking solutions that allow for natural interaction with mobile devices are made possible by using standalone eye trackers. Users can hold the device, rotate it between landscape and portrait modes, and interact with it comfortably. This type of fixed setup is ideal for quantitative studies.


For larger devices (such as tablets) and qualitative studies, mobile eye trackers can be used that allow for completely free eye movement. Mobile interfaces can be projected onscreen using an emulator. This works by navigating a virtual mobile phone on a computer screen.


Knowing what consumers focus on is a vital first step to ensuring marketing effectiveness. Eye tracking offers a unique method to objectively measure consumers’ attention and spontaneous responses to online advertising. Instead of asking people to describe their engagement or recall their reactions, eye tracking lets you see it in real time. It minimizes recall errors and reveals information that conventional research methods normally miss. Every online marketer should consider utilizing this groundbreaking technology.


Here are some companies that offer eye tracking systems and services: Tobii, EyeTracking, Inc., and SensoMotoric Instruments.