Posts filed under ‘General Business’

Thoughts on Identity Theft, Government IT, Facebook and Google Plus

By Mary Ludloff

Before I begin, I must admit to being in a very grumpy mood which may (ever so slightly) color the topics in the post title. As you know, Terence and I are not only “work-working” but in our copious amounts of spare time, working on our book (plug fully, absolutely intended). While the book is going well, I must say that it has affected my Zen-like ability to remain calm (I can hear Terence chortling) when others may “lose it.” This leads me (you’ll understand in a minute) to the issue of identity theft. (more…)

July 20, 2011 at 6:58 am Leave a comment

Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble

By Terence Craig

First, for the true fans of the bard out there I know the correct quote is not bubble, bubble but Double, Double.  However since this post is about whether we are in another early stage tech bubble, I decided to stick with the misquote.  Is the current technology bubble like the one that popped (with disastrous consequences) in 2001? My take is this: yes, but one with a fundamentally better foundation than the flimsiness, silliness, and near fraud that made the 1998 bubble so fragile and toxic. (more…)

June 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm 1 comment

Weekly Roundup: A Mobile App, Cyber Security, the Government, and Social Media

By Mary Ludloff

Happy Friday! It’s been another very busy week at PatternBuilders (speaking at conferences, working on the Ebook, and finalizing the beta release of our Social Media Analytics solution) and it appears to be a busy week in media-land as well. So, in case you missed them, I thought I’d post about some of the more interesting stories that came across my Twitter feed, Google alerts, and email updates. So on with the post!

A Mobile App that I “Get”

Call me a fuddy-duddy if you like, but I use my smartphone for email, texting, and talking. I do not search for stuff, access Google maps, or buy anything.
(more…)

May 27, 2011 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

Friday Roundup: Data, Analytics, Privacy, Security and a PR Imbroglio

By Mary Ludloff

Happy Friday the 13th! It’s been a very busy week in story-land so in honor of this auspicious day, I thought I’d post about some of the more interesting stories that came across my Twitter feed, Google alerts, and email updates. So without further ado, let’s get cracking!

It’s All About the Data (Plus Analytics)

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to wade through McKinsey’s study on “Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity.” Full disclosure: it comes in at 156 pages of fascinating information so it will take me a while to read and absorb, but once I’m done look for a post or two on my key takeaways. Until then, a recent New York Times article provides some of the highlights:

“It makes estimates of the potential benefits from deploying data-harvesting technologies and skills. The McKinsey research unit, for example, says the value to the health care system in the United States could be $300 billion a year, and that American retailers could increase their operating profit margins by 60 percent.”

(more…)

May 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm 1 comment

On Social Media: The Real Marketing Transformation

By Mary Ludloff

We are going to be releasing the beta version of our Social Media Analytics solution in the near future and as a result, have been steeped in what I like to call the social media monitoring versus analytics debate. As a B2B marketer I have some thoughts on this topic as do some of my B2C marketing colleagues (hah! I feel a metrics faceoff in the making) but I am going to save that discussion for our beta announcement post. That being said, the whole topic of social media got me thinking about marketing in general and how the advent of social media has had a profound effect on the way we communicate.

In the “olden” days we B2B marketers were focused on the message as in “be on message.” We spent a great deal of time on the message platform, carefully crafting messages that articulated the pain of our targeted audience and spelled out our value in words that would resonate with them. To begin the process, we’d throw a bunch of executives, our top sales performers, and one or two product marketing folks into a room and begin with this simple exercise: if our company was a car, what kind of a car would it be? Pretty silly huh? And what has this to do with messaging? (more…)

April 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

Mobile Apps: Be Really Careful Out There

By Mary Ludloff

Although Terence and I have been “knee deep” in preparing for the launch of our latest vertical analytics solution (PatternBuilders Social Media Analytics) and our Ebook (on Privacy in the Age of Big Data), I came across an article recently that sent up red flags for me and should do the same for you, if you’re a smartphone user. Yes, it’s all about data privacy and your cell phone and yes, I’ve talked about this previously but this time it’s not about what you can do to protect yourself, but what you might not be aware of regarding all the mobile applications you’re using.

What do I mean when I’m talking about mobile, or smartphone applications? Well, they’re all the “things” you use to do something on your phone: search for a restaurant, play a game, read an Ebook (like ours—shameless, shameless plug!), or get directions. Behind each of these actions is an application that makes “it” happen. Now, there are thousands of mobile applications out there and apparently, many of them are hijacking your personal information without your knowledge or consent. According to the Wall Street Journal:

“The Wall Street Journal reported in December that popular applications on the iPhone and Android mobile phones, including Pandora, transmit information about the phones, their users and their locations to outsiders, including advertising networks.

…The Journal tested 101 apps and found that 56 transmitted the phone’s unique device identifier to other companies without users’ awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone’s location in some way. Five sent a user’s age, gender and other personal details to outsiders. At the time they were tested, 45 apps didn’t provide privacy policies on their websites or inside the apps.”

(more…)

April 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm 1 comment

We love .NET

PatternBuilders sells a hosted cross platform streaming analytics platform that large companies use to do complex calculations and business process automation over very large data sets. So it was fascinating to read a recent post/troll from the CEO of a company that is writing yet another web based expense tracking system about how bad our technology and hiring choices were. Since we never like to pass up a good scrap – it seemed like a good time for a guest post from our lead server engineer Tim.

By Tim L.

Programmers with "Attitude"I don’t really understand why David Barrett wasted time writing his rant on .NET programmers. Doing a minimal amount of research on what .NET is, what you can do with it, and how people use it would have completely invalidated his original premises. He makes a lot of statements regarding how “different” .NET is from everything else, how restrictive it is, and how no programmer with “attitude” would ever use it.

Well, judging by his criteria, I think I am a programmer with attitude. I have been programming since I was 9, starting out with Basic and then moving on to C++ for about 7 years. I don’t know about knife fighting, but I do play guitar in a death metal band on the side. Hopefully those are enough “attitude” credentials for David Barrett. I have tried a whole lot of different tools, and guess what? .NET & C# are my favorite tools for almost any problem. Ironically, the only things I would write using other toolsets would be either very simple/small pieces of code, or big software for companies that force me to use something else (usually Java).
(more…)

April 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm 5 comments

Epsilon’s Data Breach: Be Careful Out There

By Mary Ludloff

On April 1 (yes, April Fools’ Day), Epsilon, one of the premier permission email marketing companies, announced the following:

“On March 30th, an incident was detected where a subset of Epsilon clients’ customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon’s email system. The information that was obtained was limited to email addresses and/or customer names only. A rigorous assessment determined that no other personal identifiable information associated with those names was at risk. A full investigation is currently underway.”

What exactly is permission email marketing? Essentially, it’s what happens when you, as a loyal customer of say a store, receive an email announcing a store deal or a special offer like buy two get one free, you get the picture. Now, you may have thought this had nothing to do with you until you received emails from some of the companies that you gave your email address to so that they could “tell you” about whatever promotions they were running. Most likely, you received a number of emails from a number of different stores and banks warning about a data breach and telling you to be careful. (more…)

April 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

The Tax Man Cometh: A Gentle Reminder About Security

By Mary Ludloff

I have to say that I find it aggravating that my favorite time of the year (spring and March Madness) is also my least favorite: tax season. Now, I will admit that it’s not as bad as it used to be because I pay someone else to prepare my taxes (a great company that I’ve used for about 10 years now) but the simple act of getting together all the forms and then filling out the pertinent information on my tax worksheets is the singular (professional and personal) most hated task of my year. I’m not kidding—worse than any dentist or doctor’s appointment, worse than any looming book deadline (I have to plug our Ebook!), worse than a visceral reaction to any article or blog post that I’ve ever read (and I have been known to go ballistic over some of them).

As I worked through my tax preparing angst this year, I was reminded of something that is second nature to me but may not be second nature to you. (If it’s not, it’s probably because you are not a card-carrying member of the big data and analytics industry or work for a company like PatternBuilders where we spend a great deal of time exploring data privacy and security issues.) Let me explain. We had just completed our contracts for our Ebook on privacy in the age of big data when our publisher, O’Reilly, sent me some tax forms electronically to fill out and return. I promptly emailed their contract administrator and told her my form would be coming via snail mail (remember the postal service?). Why? Well my social security number was one of the required pieces of information and I do not send that number electronically. Ever. (more…)

March 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm 1 comment

Connect.me: The Beginning of a Consumer-Centric Data Monetization & Privacy Model?

A way for the big data industry to share the wealth with consumers and expand control over privacy.

By Terence Craig

There was a great article posted in All Things Digital about a company called Connect.me. While the article focused on the viral nature and the security implications of their launch (which says troubling things about consumer security awareness or lack thereof), the bigger story (IMHO) is the company’s business model.  Connect.me is developing a solution that centralizes control of a user’s digital identity, creating a peer-to-peer relationship between the consumer and brands. So instead of consumers “liking” a company’s Facebook page, they could have a deeper and, potentially, more meaningful relationship. In the video embedded in the article, one of Connect.me’s founders, Drummond Reed, likens this to a CRM solution for the consumer where a trust relationship between the consumer and each vendor is established and based on this relationship, the consumer decides how much personal information is shared.

As someone who is writing a book about data privacy and is CTO of an analytics tools vendor, I have been wondering when technology would be introduced that would let consumers control their personal information and treat it as a valuable asset. (more…)

March 24, 2011 at 11:57 am 1 comment

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