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?

US Reacts to Death of Osama bin Laden Both Online and Off

We’ve witnessed the power of social media to communicate breaking news and gather the masses many times this year.  Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya have all had major revolutionary gatherings organized through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools.  On Sunday night, I witnessed the power of social media to quickly convert online news to an offline event when the death of Osama bin Laden was announced by President Obama. I will immediately preface this post by saying that I in no way mean to compare this event to the magnitude of the revolutionary events that have taken place over the past few months, but rather to communicate how excited and impressed I was to witness what was essentially a flash mob of thousands in the streets of Boston.

As a news event, the entire episode can be traced on a complete social media timely through Twitter.  In fact, a man in Pakistan unknowingly live-tweeted the raid carried out by US Forces hours before any announcement was made.

The news of bin Laden’s death spread like wildfire on Twitter – according to a Mashable survey conducted on Monday, 31% of respondents found out about the announcement via Twitter. At 10:24 p.m., Donald Rumsfeld’s Chief of Staff tweeted:

Seven minutes later, a speech announcement went out via the President’s Twitter account:

The official tweet from The White House went out at 11:35 p.m., shortly after the President’s speech began:

The event sparked the highest rate of Twitter activity in history over one event – a record 12.4 million tweets per hour.  That’s over 4,000 tweets per second! With so much coverage and excitement around the announcement, what happened next should come as no surprise.

Living near Kenmore square, I was witness to the beginning of a huge gathering of local students who descended on Boston Common to celebrate the announcement.  Similar gatherings had already begun in New York and Washington, DC and were being covered by national news. As soon as the speech ended, I started to hear loud chanting outside and, looking out on Commonwealth Avenue, saw droves of students en masse walking and even running towards Boston Common. There were loud cheers and American flags everywhere.  Within minutes, the Boston Police had blocked off a few of the surrounding streets and schools sent in shuttle buses in anticipation of the need to return students later.
The crowd arrived at Boston Common 5,000 strong and continued on chanting and singing – at one point, the entire group sang “The Star Spangled Banner”.


The crowd stayed for a few hours in the Boston Common area, and Tweets continued well into the morning.

What did you think about the online and offline reaction to this event – does it surprise you? Did you get your information from Twitter as it happened? Please share your comments in the section below!

-Halley Sheffield, 451 Marketing Manager

Twitter Announces Geo-relevance: What it Means to Marketers

-By 451 Heat Guest Blogger Matt Krautstrunk

Twitter’s President of Revenue recently announced some major changes to our favorite micro-blogging site. The New York Ad Age Conference was the home of the announcement that Twitter will now include a dashboard with more detailed analytics and geo-relevant ads. Twitter’s platform is moving towards being a more viable option for advertisers large and small. These tools will allow marketers to define their scope more specifically, tuning their tweets reach and allowing them to see who is paying attention to them.

Geo relevance can be a very lucrative tool for local businesses that are already leveraging social media to engage with people. Adam Bain, President of Revenue for Twitter says, “Geo-relevance for promoted tweets and accounts allows marketers to reach the audience in the right geographic areas. A regional chain that is only available in a certain part of the country can now promote their account or tweets in the right metro areas.” Say for instance if a business wants to advertise for the term “basketball shoes” in Boston you can do this. In Bain’s presentation he stressed the utility of this advertising solution.

Twitter implemented an algorithm to determine where a user falls within their network city based on each user’s tweeting behavior. If a user’s location is New York, and they tweet from Boston, they are pooled in to the Boston location, and eligible for targeted messages.

What it Means To You
Twitter advertising is organic and relevant to its users, with promoted accounts finding deep brand engagement. Bain claims, in the year since they have promoted tweets, engagement has hovered around 3 to 5 percent. In comparison to many advertising channels this is a great feedback rate. Having 3 to 5% of people seeing your promoted tweet and retweeting, replying or favoriting it, is really promising for marketing engagement. 

Currently, if you are in one of the 210 cities, where geo-targeted Twitter is available, this means you will be able to narrow your scope, and ultimately save money. If you already have an active following on social networks, you should be able to achieve a response rate of higher than 5% from geo-targeted promoted tweets. Applications for geo-targeted tweets range from local retail sales promotions to targeted marketing campaigns.

For small businesses, the price of a promoted tweet can be expensive and relatively unknown as it is based on keyword bids and cost per engagements. It is known however that the price of a promoted trend is around $120,000 per day. Twitter is clearly making a push for small and medium sized local businesses with this announcement. They may have to lower their pricing structure to allow smaller businesses in the ad space.

The key to being successful with geo-targeting is quite simply interacting with your following and creating engaging copy. Produce relationships with your Twitter-ers instead of treating them like they are being marketed too. Bain believes that Twitter is an ad product that rewards marketers for being “good,” not just for being loud. It remains to be seen if Twitter can balance the difficulties in keeping users happy while increasing its revenue streams. This seems like a step in the right direction, and if you think your business can benefit from geo-targeted promoted tweets, you may need to budget your promotion around a product sale or product launch. Like all of your marketing efforts you should strategically plan your efforts, otherwise you are better off with geo targeting on Facebook and Google.

An entrepreneur and writer on all things fresh, Matt Krautstrunk focuses on topics ranging from social media marketing to phone systems for Resource Nation; a service that provides expert advice on everything from SEO to telephone systems purchase decisions.