How RadiumOne Did the Right Thing in Firing Its CEO

How RadiumOne Did the Right Thing in Firing Its CEO

Gurbaksh Chahal

Score one for good governance.

Ad company RadiumOne’s board of directorsdisplayed a rare act of bravery for corporate boards, firing chief executive (and major shareholder) Gurbaksh Chahal after Chahal pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges involving a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend.

Chahal had been facing 45 felony counts related to charges he assaulted his girlfriend 117 times in a 30-minute period. In the end, the guilty pleas were for misdemeanors for battery and domestic-violence battery. He was sentenced to three years probation, a year’s attendance in a domestic-violence program and 25 hours of community service.

Chahal’s firing seems like a no-brainer, but it actually isn’t. There were some questions as to whether the board could fire its lead shareholder, and corporate boards — particularly for private companies — are notoriously hesitant to shake up management when business is doing well. Yes, Chahal was known to be tempermental, and some would even suggest hostile, but he was by all accounts a skilled leader who got results. And, as horrible as the charges were, they ended in just two misdemeanors, which don’t automatically disqualify anyone from running a company.

Yet, the board acted, replacing Chahal with current chief operating officer Bill Lonergan.

Some disclosure: Chahal was a contributor to until he was charged with assault. We terminated our dealings with him because of the charges. Needless to say, Chahal wasn’t happy, calling the incident a “baseless controversy,” saying our decision was “completely unprofessional” and noting that other media outlets were not distancing themselves from him.

And, he ended our correspondence with this gem: “Please remember, the entrepreneur community is small. Hopefully, this serves as a learning lesson for you all to not disrespect someone again.” For the record, that was not a lesson we learned.

Personal dealings aside, RadiumOne’s board serves as a great lesson to directors who want to be true to their fiduciary duty in managing a company. To this day, many board members at private companies are hand-picked by founders and chief executives, and sprinkled in with representatives from the venture-capital firms that finance the organizations. At some startups, boards can be hands-on, but many evolving companies take a more relaxed approach, particularly when they have an entrepreneur running the enterprise who has a strong track record. As a result, they often ignore bad behavior on the part of executives, notably when those executives control a lion’s share of the stock.

Private companies aren’t alone. Public-company boards often are criticized for rubber-stamping the moves of executives. Many times, the chairman of the board is also the chief executive — a dual role that makes providing good governance more difficult.

That’s what makes RadiumOne’s move so meaningful. The board had reasons to keep Chahal. Despite valid criticism, the directors could have punted. For instance, the company could have made contributions to domestic-violence charities. What’s more, the board could have forced Chahal to perform a mea culpa tour of sorts, begging the world — and potential investors — for forgiveness.

But, in the end, the board knew that wasn’t possible. It is tough to have a company run by a man who admits he performed acts of violence against a woman. It is harder when that man is Chahal, who found a way to try to explain himself in a blog post that not only criticized law enforcement, but blamed the media and called his accuser — you know, the one he admitted to assaulting — a prostitute.

Chahal will no doubt resurface, and his track record suggests he may have more innovation ahead of him. But RadiumOne was right to separate itself from him. One hopes the gravity of his actions will help him to emerge a better man. Perhaps that is a learning lesson he needs himself.


See which of Indonesia’s airlines are losing or winning at social media (INFOGRAPHIC)

Airlines need to be good at social media. If someone gets bad service from an airline, people are likely to mention it on social media; and if a flight is delayed, grounded fliers have a lot of spare time to gripe about it. So, how are Indonesia’s airlines handling this challenge?

A new infographic (below) looks at seven airlines operating in Indonesia to see which are flying high on social media – and to gauge which are the best at engaging with followers and responding to queries or complaints from their social channels. The seven airlines covered are Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, AirAsia, Citilink Indonesia, Merpati, and TigerAir Mandala. The infographic maker, Brand24, then dissects how well these airlines are doing on seven social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, Instagram, and Pinterest. The data was analyzed from January 1 2013 to March 31 2014.

As a strong regional player, AirAsia tops five out of the seven social media platforms in Indonesia. Yet the national airline Garuda Indonesia has the greatest number of engaged fans in total.

This infographic is the continuation of last year’s airline infographic created by the same group of people: creative agency Joy Intermedia, social media monitoring startup Brand24, and So Trender. Compared to last year’s data, Garuda Indonesia is the biggest gainer, growing its Facebook fan-base by 700 percent while its Twitter followers increased three-fold. 


-Courtesy: Techinasia

10 Fascinating Facts About the World Wide Web on Its 25th Birthday

10 Fascinating Facts About the World Wide Web on Its 25th Birthday
“Go figure out what that World Wide Web thing is.” Ironically, that was my first newspaper assignment. I’m still trying to untangle the infinite tunneling intricacies of the Web all these years later, even today on its 25th birthday. It’s what I do for a job, which an old-school print journalist like me might not even have if not for the web.  

The idea for what would become the World Wide Web was proposed 25 years ago today on a NeXT computer, on March 12, 1989. This threadbare, imageless cluster of text is what the first web landing page looked like. It was nothing more than a white background with black words and a smattering of blue “hypermedia” links to click on. No Google. No Twitter. No Facebook. They were still years away.

There were, however, all of 17 “subjects” to peruse, along with the web’s five-question inaugural FAQ, written by none other than physicist Tim Berners-Lee, the man who conceptualized the revolutionary information linking and sharing tool in a CERN office in Switzerland. (CERN is short for the European Organization for Nuclear Research.)

The newborn web wasn’t exactly riveting, but it was a start. The birth of a fascinating intangible cultural force that matured into a churning virtual mass of some 4.1 billion pages, with countless more coming online right now as you read this.

It’s an understatement to say that the web has forever changed the way we live, work, play and communicate, for better and for worse. I lean toward better.

So grab a slice of cake, send a #web25 hashtagged social media birthday card and check out these 10 cool historical facts about the web on its 25th anniversary:

1. The Father of the web wants you to fight for its freedom. Berners-Lee, 58, is celebrating the landmark anniversary of his pioneering collaborative communication protocol today by imploring its users to “defend its core principles” of freedom, non-censorship, and net neutrality.

The vocal Edward Snowden supporter is calling for people to back a universal “Internet Users Bill of Rights.” The “Web We Want” initiative sets out to establish personal user protections, including many now routinely trampled upon by the NSA. The project also aims to expand the web to the two-thirds of the world that still doesn’t have access to it.

2. The Internet’s first website went online on Aug. 6, 1991. Berners-Lee and his fellow CERN team members launched with a landing page that only contained 153 words. It defined the World Wide Web (“W3”) as “a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents” and contained 25 links to basic additional information about the pioneering initiative.

3. Let freedom ring. On April 30, 1993, CERN announced that its World Wide Web technology would be available to all for free. The public statement declared that the main components of the web’s structure were to remain in the public domain, giving anyone in the world freedom to use them. “CERN relinquishes all intellectual property rights to this code, both source and binary and permission is given to anyone to use, duplicate, modify and distribute it,” the historic statement read.

4. You are now free to roam freely about the Internet. Archie, which is widely considered to be the first-ever primitive search engine, went live in 1990. But a slew of others followed suit over the following decade, including web crawling giants who still chug on strong today like Yahoo, MSN, and, yes, the almighty Google.

5. Librarians surf, too. We have a New York librarian who calls herself Net-mom® to thank for the term “Surf the Internet.” Jean Armour Polly penned an article called “Surfing the INTERNET” that was published in a University of Minnesota library bulletin in 1992. Some credit Mark McCahill, the programmer behind an early web alternative called the Gopher protocol, for dreaming up the phrase.

6. An all-girl band stars in the first ever picture posted online. Berners-Lee also boasts the bragging rights to another awesome first: uploading the first photo to the web in 1992. It was a picture snapped backstage of an all-girl physics-themed rock band called Les Horribles Cernettes, which was founded in 1990 by a graphic designer at CERN. Berners-Lee scanned the photo, uploaded it to a Mac and FTPd it to the now famous The web Berners-Lee invented lives on, but the Cernettes broke up in 2012. Bummer.

7. Primitive browsers helped the web reach critical mass. NCSA Mosaic, the web’s first widely used graphical browser is often credited with bringing the internet out of geeky obscurity. Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina developed the iconic black, gray and blue browser at the University of Illinois National Center for Supercomputing Applications in 1993. Before Mosaic, web users had to slog through arduous, complicated character-based interfaces, like Lynx.

Netscape Navigator, which landed on the internet a year later on Dec. 15, 1994, also played a momentous role in making the web accessible to the general public. (Remember that first newspaper assignment I scored? I tackled my article research by drifting in a bottomless, frustratingly slow-loading Netscape vortex for three weird hours. Good times.)

Mosaic may take the title for the first popular web browser, but the honor of the inaugural graphical web browser belongs to ViolaWWW. The complex “hypermedia browser,” which only worked on the X Windows System and Unix workstations, launched on March 9, 1992.

8. The internet is not the web and the web is not the internet. Don’t get them twisted like most people do, especially not if you’re in Silicon Valley. The internet was a thing long before the web and the web wouldn’t exist without the internet. The internet, the roots of which can be traced as far back to the invention of the modem in 1958, is a massive infrastructure that bridges millions of computers throughout the globe. The World Wide Web is a vast system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed on the internet.

9. Billions of people surf the web. Of the world’s 7.1 billion people, an estimated 2.4 billion people go online today. That’s 37.7 percent of the world’s total population. About six out of seven people across the globe have internet access. Approximately 70 percent of internet users surf the web every day.

10. Americans rock the web the most. Users in the U.S. account for 78.6 percent of global web usage, trailed by Australia (67.6 percent), Europe (63.2 percent), Latin America/Caribbean (42.9 percent), Middle East (40.2 percent), Asia (25.7 percent) and Africa (15.6).  Surprisingly, some 24 nations remain completely offline.


15 People Shaping Boston’s Tech Scene

Techies know that Boston packs a punch.
Even among heavyweights like New York and Silicon Valley, few cities can match what Boston brings to the ring. Anchored by top-tier research universities, littered with thousands of the nation’s most promising undergraduate and graduate students and checkered with world-class hospitals and labs, Boston has long been a cherished destination for young entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas.

Of the people who know Boston best — the Harvard and MIT lecturers, the fiercely loyal venture capitalists and the incubator stalwarts — many say that even among its bountiful advantages, the city has one unmatchable, largely unspoken asset: Its propensity at all levels — from wildly successful founders to wide-eyed MIT students — to help others succeed in the city’s startup ecosystem.

Mashable found 15 behind-the-scenes influencers and asked them about what makes the city a nerve center for tech startups — and what their favorite spots in Boston are, in case you happen to visit soon.

1. Jeffrey Bussgang, General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners


Jeffrey Bussgang

Jeffrey Bussgang, Flybridge Capital Partners


Boston as a growing center of technological innovation and entrepreneurship:

“The brainpower and the community in Boston is extraordinary.

“The brainpower and the community in Boston is extraordinary. The core institutions of Harvard and M.I.T. and the core hospitals give Boston the highest density of super-smart people you can possibly find,” says Bussgang, who is also a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. “This is the most prideful startup culture you’ll find. In Los Angeles, Hollywood dominates the culture, and in New York, the media and Wall Street dominate; but in Boston, the innovation community is the dominant culture.Favorite Boston athlete: Dustin Pedroia, [second baseman of the Boston Red Sox]. He’s 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds soaking wet, but he’s incredibly hard-working and intense.

2. John Harthorne, Founder and CEO atMassChallenge

Boston’s edge: The main advantage of Boston is the talent inside of it and the value of that talent. Through the university substructure, Boston produces thousands of talented and reasonably affordable graduates who focus on revolutionary ideas — big, game-changing, global ideas that aren’t iterative improvements on existing technologies.

Favorite Boston landmark: I totally love Fenway [Park]. I had my first beer there.

3. Christina Chase, Entrepreneur-in-Residence atMassachusetts Institute of Technology


Christina Chase

Christina Chase, MIT


The beauty of Boston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: Boston has individuals who compete to have an impact and facilitate acceleration in their areas, but they also want to help others who are trying to make an impact. It’s a very inclusive community where entrepreneurs make themselves accessible to younger teams so they can share knowledge and help them overcome problems.

Favorite restaurant in Boston: Craigie On Main [in Cambridge, Mass.]. They have a killer burger.

4. C.A. Webb, Executive Director at New England Venture Capital Association

Why entrepreneurs love Boston: There’s a culture shift, and a lot of the New England chill has thawed out. The permeability amazes me. There’s a spirit that if you’re new to town, ‘Let me send emails and introduce you to these five people.’ I see this happening again and again. You can land in Boston coming from a university here, coming from another part of the country or shifting from a large company, and you’re met with a welcome reception.

Favorite local attraction: Voltage Coffee & Art [in Cambridge, Mass.]. There are seven VCs and startup founders in there who I want to see and can get up to speed with. The place is coursing with energy and great people at all hours of the day.

5. Katie Rae, Managing Director at TechStars Boston



Katie Rae, TechStars Boston


Breaking the stereotype: I hear all the time that we ‘don’t do consumer’ and instead we do B2Bcompanies. If you truly look at what’s happening, we have an incredibly diverse ecosystem of startups that deal with hardware and software, front-end tech and ecommerce — all the way to deep algorithm companies, biotech and consumer healthcare. There are very few business models that early stage companies in Boston haven’t tried. The lines are blurring.

Favorite Boston delicacy: Steamers. They’re salty, New England goodness.

6. Tim Rowe, Founder and CEO at Cambridge Innovation Center

A home for early stage companies: Massachusetts is an intense place when it comes to new ventures and investment. It has more venture capital investment and research and development spending per capita than anywhere else in the world. Boston is also walkable, which is unique. You live in a city where the key resources you need — ideas, money and talent — are all around you.

Favorite Boston movie:“Next Stop Wonderland”

7. Andy Palmer, Founder of Koa Labs


Andy Palmer

Andy Palmer, Koa Labs


Boston as a startup hub: The recent focus on Cambridge and downtown Boston instead of Route 128 has been transformational — a fait accompli. A renaissance has happened in Cambridge. The amount of tech talent on the Red Line is overwhelming. Increasingly, entrepreneurs find that if they stay in Boston, they get more time and attention within the community. There’s less noise here and the loyalty of the tech talent is much better than anywhere else. If your city has an orientation where the talent sticks around, then you get a better product and better companies.

Favorite local bar:: Tory Row [in Cambridge, Mass.]. The food is terrific and the atmosphere is modern but not cliche. The staff are great people you love to hang out with.

8. Amir Nashat, Managing Partner at Polaris Partners

At the forefront of medical breakthroughs: The link in Boston between patients, unmet needs in tech, the innovations of the city’s universities and medical centers and investment is coming together really nicely. Big pharma is moving research into Cambridge and Boston because they want to be where the action is, and local companies are doing well and launching drugs. IPOs are starting to come, too. More so than at any other time I’ve been investing in Boston, biotech is at the top of its game.

Favorite local restaurant:: Black Sheep Restaurant [at the Kendall Hotel in Cambridge, Mass.]. I’ve always had pleasurable conversations there and their big cups of chili will stick to your ribs.

9. Gordon Jones, Managing Director at Harvard Innovation Lab


Gordon Jones

Gordon Jones, Harvard Innovation Lab


Fostering innovation: I think of the universities as ways for first-time entrepreneurs to get experience in a way that they’re resourced more deliberately and carefully than they’d be in a non-academic setting. They can be in a community with other first time entrepreneurs and ask questions and get answers from that community or other more formal programs — it’s like an estuary: a birthplace where first-time entrepreneurs can get started and grow.

Favorite Boston athlete: Bobby Orr, [former Boston Bruins defenseman]. I love the creativity of hockey and how Orr was groundbreaking. He brought an unscripted style [to the game] that married offense and his defensive position, and he fought his way to legitimize this approach to his position.

10. Jules Pieri, Cofounder and CEO of The Grommet

The Boston tech ecosystem: There’s an inherent strength in the size of the Boston startup community. It’s like Goldilocks: Not too big, and not too small. It means you can — without ridiculous amounts of work — become known and know people. There’s nobody here — not even leading investors or CEOs — who feel like they’re above reaching behind themselves and pulling someone up. It’s understood that we do that in Boston.

Favorite local getaway? Taking a ferry to one of the Boston Harbor Islands. Within seconds of hitting the water, your blood pressure goes down and the pace slows. You remember, “Yeah, Boston is kickass.”

11. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs


Emily Reichert

Emily Reichert, Greentown Labs


Transforming into a green tech hub: Green tech tends to get overshadowed in Boston because it’s is such a hub for biotech, IT and robotics, but I don’t think there’s another place where the community of energy and clean tech professionals is so strong and giving of its time and resources. Some might say our VC scene isn’t as big as Silicon Valley’s, but you only have to look at organizations like Greentown Labs, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and theNew England Clean Energy Council to see that there’s a ton of green energy activity in Boston.

Favorite museum in Boston: The MIT Museum. It’s fascinating to walk through and the exhibits draw you in.

12. Abby Fichtner, Hacker-in-Residence at Harvard Innovation Lab and Founder of Hack Boston

Taking care of its own: We have a huge culture of ‘pay it forward’ — how can we help someone else? If you’re a student in Boston, you can reach out to any entrepreneur in Boston and say, “I’m interested in this; can you help me?” And people will go out of their way to help you. I’m not a fan of pay-to-pitch events or when people take advantage of our entrepreneurs, so a few of us got together and created Unpitch Boston — a totally free way for people to get into our tight-knit community.

Favorite local getaway: Artisan’s Asylum [in Somerville, Mass.]. It’s a humongous maker space where they have everything from classes on Raspberry Pi to woodworking classes; it’s a space where people come together to make great stuff.

13. Dave Balter, Global Head of Investments atdunnhumby and CEO at Smarterer


Dave Balter

Dave Balter, Dunnhumby LTD


Success begets success: There are people and true businesses here that have shareholder value written all over them. Rue La La did well, Wayfair is killing it, Care just went public andHubSpot, Acquia and DataXu are getting close. A company that succeeds gives its young to the community. The next great talent pool is now out in the market feeding new businesses.

Favorite off-the-beaten-path local joint: Mul’s Diner [in South Boston, Mass.]. It’s breakfast straight out of a Scorsese movie. You can only pay in cash and they talk to you like it’s your last meal. You’d feel totally unsafe if there weren’t 11 cops eating at the table next to you.

14. Ken Zolot, Senior Lecturer at MIT School of Engineering

Boston as a major disruptor: I’m now working on a partnership with the Berklee College of Music that allows students to learn about entrepreneurship so they can succeed in the disrupted music industry. If you add this into the mosaic, it makes a richer fabric to support young entrepreneurs. Boston has the original yankee ingenuity; its founders built a new land from scratch in the 1620s, so shouldn’t we be doing it again?

It’s in Boston’s DNA to be a disruptor.

It’s in Boston’s DNA to be a disruptor.Favorite local museum: The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Great museum architecture and diversity of art and performances.

15. Jeff Fagnan, Partner at Atlas Venture


Jeff Fagnan

Jeff Fagnan, Atlas Venture


A comeback decade: New England kind of disappeared following the telecom bubble burst around 2005. Now, though, groups are willing to write checks for really early stage teams who only have a prototype. For the first time in decades, we have a cohesive community. A nucleus is starting to come back into Boston and as you start to have a nucleus, more and more people come to it — we have companies coming from Israel, Canada, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Florida. It’s becoming like Ellis Island — a melting pot.


New gadget from MapMyIndia puts your in-car navigation on the rear-view mirror

MapmyIndia’s Smart Mirror

This is how we think it’ll look.

Here’s a fun gadget with which to start the week. MapMyIndia, maker of GPS gadgets and mobile apps that are strong rivals to Google Maps, has put its in-car navigation in an unusual place to come up with the brand-new Smart Mirror.

Costing INR 15,590 (US$253), it’s not really a ‘smart’ mirror in some sci-fi sense of the phrase – it’s just a fairly conventional in-car navigation gizmo with a 5-inch screen combined with an adjoining car mirror. The whole unit is designed to fit over your car’s standard rear-view mirror. MapmyIndia says this is part of an “assisted driving experience” that cuts down on distractions.

New gadget from MapMyIndia puts your in-car navigation on the rear-view mirrorWith a bit of fiddling, the screen section of MapmyIndia’s Smart Mirror doubles up as a camera screen for when you’re reversing. But you’ll need to plug in a separate reversing camera for that. In addition, the device has 2GB of storage (and an SD card slot for an extra 4GB) so you can load up songs and movies. But surely playing movies on the screen is the very opposite of ‘distraction-free driving’.

MapmyIndia says that all of its apps and products now cover 10.54 million points of interest, two million kilometers of roads across India, 6,028 cities at street level, and 600,000 villages.

Wherever you stick your GPS, best to keep your eyes on the road.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Facebook In Talks To Acquire Drone Maker Titan Aerospace

Facebook, one of the primary backers of the initiative, which aims to bring affordable Internet access to the 5 billion people in the world who still lack connectivity, is in talks with a company that could help further that agenda. TechCrunch is hearing that Facebook is buying Titan Aerospace, makers of near-orbital, solar-powered drones which can fly for five years without needing to land. According to a source with access to information about the deal, the price for this acquisition is $60 million*.

From our understanding, Facebook is interested in using these high-flying drones to blanket parts of the world without Internet access, beginning with Africa. The company would start by building 11,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically the “Solara 60″ model.

You can see an example of these UAVs, first introduced last year, here on YouTube. As the video explains, these drones are “atmospheric satellites” that can conduct most of the operations of an orbital satellite, but are cheaper and more versatile. The drones could potentially have many uses, including weather monitoring, disaster recovery, Earth imaging, or communications, the company has said, but clearly Facebook would be interested in that latter part.

The Solara 50 and 60 models can be launched at night using power from internal battery packs, then when the sun rises, they can store enough energy to ascend to 20KM above sea level where they can remain for five years without needing to land or refuel. Such capabilities make them ideal for regional Internet systems, like those that would be focused on. (For those interested, Ars Technica took a more in-depth look at the technology and history behind Titan’s aircraft last August).

Titan Aerospace is a privately held venture with R&D facilities in New Mexico. The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding through seed and Series A and A-1 rounds, and had announced in October 2013 it would open a B round soon.

Titan is currently led by CEO Vern Raburn, previously founder and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. The company was founded in 2012 by Max Yaney (CTO), in order to produce what it refers to as “atmosats,” new types of UAVs that do the work of near-Earth satellites at a fraction of the cost.

The designation of “satellites” is important here, as the idea has been to position these aircraft above the airspace that the FAA regulates in the U.S. Class A airspace ends at 60,000 feet stateside, and above that the U.S. doesn’t regulate, Fortune had pointed out last summer. That means the only issue in launching these in the U.S. would be the initial climb. In other parts of the world, the laws will, of course, vary. But in the developing markets is focused on, it’s likely they’re not as far along in regulating such new technology.

Following the acquisition, all of Titan Aerospace’s production would be for the project only, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Facebook’s Own “Project Loon,” Worth Less Than WhatsApp?

The project competes with Google’s own R&D effort called “Project Loon,” which would involve balloons, not aircraft. TechCrunch had previously heard that Facebook has its own counterpart to “Project Loon” in the works, and this could be a part of that agenda.

In any event, if you’re keeping score at home, that’s $60 million to bring Internet to the world, and $19 billion for WhatsApp. That may seem odd, but this acquisition and WhatsApp would share the same broader goal of making the Internet more accessible, from Facebook’s point of view.

If Facebook could project weak but free Internet to developing nations via Titan Aerospace drones, it could then make a basic version of WhatsApp available to those users. They may not be able to send or view photos, but they likely could send messages and view status updates, even if they only had a weak, slow connection.

Facebook’s acquisition of Onavo could lend a hand, too. We hear the team is hard at work on data compression technologies that would allow the same functions to require less transmitted data to complete. Onavo-optimized WhatsApp or Facebook apps could run on a weaker Internet signal, such as from drones, because they don’t need to send or receive as much data.

Many ask why Facebook would even care about getting these parts of the world on the Internet if they currently have such little buying power that it’s hard to make money off of ads shown to them. There’s the altruistic side of, but when it comes to business, Facebook is playing the long game. It hopes that with time, everyone in the world will gain affordable access to the Internet and smartphones, which could help them join the knowledge economy and gain more buying power.

If Facebook can use Titan’s drones to be someone’s first experience on the Internet, they’re likely to get deeply hooked into the social network’s service and eventually become a lucrative lifetime user.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch


China has a new state-run search engine that nobody will ever use

China has a new state-run search engine that nobody will ever use

China has a new search engine today, though most web users won’t notice or ever visit it. The brand-newChinaSo is a state-run search site that Sina Tech believes is run by the vice president of the Xinhua news agency, Zhou Xisheng. Mr. Zhou once told a seminar, “Our country’s Internet situation is unique. Compared to all kinds of restrictions in foreign countries, China has the most open Internet in the world.”

ChinaSo – ‘so’ in this context means search – is not the first such venture in the country. Indeed, ChinaSo is created from a merger of two of those government-backed search engines. The few people who visit Jike or Panguso today will notice that they now redirect to ChinaSo. Rumors about the merger were first heard last August.

Doomed to less than 0.2 percent market share?

Jike was created by Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily back in 2010, while Panguso is a joint-venture between Xinhua and China Mobile that came online in 2011. Neither of those search engines ever gained enough market share to appear in CNZZ figures – which means neither of those two earlier state-run search sites managed to crack 0.2 percent market share, leaving them lumped in the ‘others’ category. There’s no reason to believe ChinaSo will fare any better.

Baidu is China’s top search service with 63 percent market share of page-views at the end of 2013.

All search engines that operate out of mainland China must adhere to strict media policies that include censoring a huge array of search terms. In such a restrictive environment where authorities have successfully implemented full control over what can be displayed by search engines (and any media outlet), it’s not clear why ChinaSo is even needed. Google’s Hong Kong-based search engine doesn’t censor results, but it has paid a heavy price for doing so. Apart from being awfully slow in mainland China – as are most overseas websites – it is sometimes subject to a ‘connection reset’ as if it’s being partially blocked. To Google’s ever-decreasing China user-base, that makes the Google site look like it’s slow or broken. That’s why Google has plummeted from 11.25 percent market share in China in December 2010, down to a mere 1.62 percent in December 2013.

The new ChinaSo site – with its very Google-y multi-color logo – comes with portals covering newspapers, finance, videos, maps (using Autonavi), and all the national news that’s fit to print.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

14 Tools Every Entrepreneur Needs for Managing Social Media

14 Tools Every Entrepreneur Needs for Managing Social Media

Smart businesses know that social media is a power to be reckoned with, as it creates a direct line of communication between your company and consumers and allows anyone with an internet connection instant access to the latest buzz around your products or services. Not to mention, it can help you to generate revenue, while building your brand presence.

Let that marinate for a second. This potential for a triple treat is no task to walk into empty handed or unprepared. Unless you want to turn your social media endeavors into a triple threat, you should develop a strategy (one based on as much knowledge as possible about your audience and their behavior).

The 14 tools below will help you and your social media manager take on the complexity of the job.

1. Visually’s Google analytics report

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

While Google analytics can provide a plethora of information, the data can often be daunting and complicated. So to jazz up data, try Visually’s Google analytics report, which is an app that creates a custom infographic of your website’s activity and performance. This free report tells your website’s story for the week loud and clear. It highlights where your wins came from, which gives you that push to make next week even better. You can opt to have these reports delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Pricing: Free

2. TweetDeck

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

This free, easy-to-use Twitter-management tool allows you to oversee all aspects of your Twitter account(s) in one interface. TweetDeck gives users the freedom to customize their display by showing or hiding various columns. Considering TweetDeck is specifically tailored for Twitter, it may not be the best tool for those looking to simultaneously manage various social networks in one place. Nevertheless, it gives a great deal of control over the intricacies of your Twitter profile without the hassle of navigating across profiles.

Pricing: Free

3. HootSuite

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

HootSuite takes it a step further and allows you to manage multiple social streams like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare, among others. The platform makes it possible for you and your team to delegate between responses to fans and followers, eliminating the stress of coordinating responses and potentially overlooking valued fans. While HootSuite remains one of the most used social-media management tools, it does lack a basic function: The ability to have images appear as image previews in the Twitter feed as opposed to collapsed links.

Related: 10 Advanced Facebook Tips and Tricks

Free – Up to 5 social profiles, up to 2 RSS
$8.99/month – Up to 100 social profiles, up to 9 team members, advanced message scheduling and more
Enterprise (custom pricing) – Unlimited

4. Sprout Social

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Like Hootsuite, Sprout Social is a social-media dashboard that monitors and manages multiple social networks. It has a clean interface and user-friendly dashboard built around six tabs: Home, Messages, Feeds, Publishing, Discovery and Reports. Connecting your Facebook, Google+ (Pages only), LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, Sprout Social suggests new people to follow or unfollow and offers many ways to schedule updates in advance. Although Sprout Social still has much to improve on (like offering a wider range of social networks), it is paving the way towards fruitful social-media managing.


$39 per user/month – Manage up to 10 profiles, real-time brand monitoring, comprehensive reporting tools, and more
$59 per user/month – Manage up to 20 profiles, Helpdesk and Google Analytics integration, deluxe reporting and more
$99 per user/month – Manage up to 50 profiles, ViralPost time optimization, custom interface, and more

5. Crowdbooster

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

If your main focus is Twitter and Facebook, then this is the tool for you. Crowdbooster helps streamline your social-media activity, so you pay attention to what matters. Aside from scheduling posts for both Twitter and Facebook, it allows you to easily keep track of new fans and followers by reminding you of followers you have not yet responded to and listing recently acquired influential followers. Although there seems to be a lag time between the syncing of Crowdbooster with Facebook and Twitter’s API data, it presents a dynamic tool that helps direct growth and engagement metrics.

$9/month – 1 Facebook page, 1 Twitter, 1 User and more
$49/month – 10 social media accounts, 8 users and more
$119/month – 30 social media accounts, 30 users and more

6. Twitter Showdown

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

The Twitter Showdown app allows users to compares any two Twitter accounts head-to-head. While the app is meant to be a light-hearted, fun way to see who rules the Twittersphere, it can also produce some insightful information on different Twitter accounts in your industry or when comparing yourself to your competitors. Twitter Showdown gives you insight on follower-to-following ratio, level of tweet engagement, mentions per tweet, tweet timing and, overall, how two accounts compare.

Pricing: Free

7. Edgerank Checker

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Although Facebook pages comes equipped with insights and provides significant data on likes, reach and people talking about this, among other metrics, sorting through the data and making sense of it can be a hassle. Edgerank Checker helps admins understand how their followers interact with each post by assigning it an Edgerank score and makes recommendations to assist with future posts. With this tool, admins can even monitor each post in real time.

Free – EdgeRank score, EdgeRank score over time graph
$15 per page/month – Real-time analysis, post grades, recommendations, negative feedback analyzer

8. Buffer

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Buffer is a simple and effective tool for sharing content through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. It’s particularly useful for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to update their social media channels regularly but would still like to maintain a social presence. With Buffer, you can schedule bulk posts ahead of time in a queue. It also offers a number of extensions through Chrome, Firefox and Safari, which makes sharing what you find on the web that much easier. On the downside, Buffer falls short when it comes to monitoring discussions.

Free service – allows for 2 profiles and 10 updates in the queue for each profile
$10/month – unlimited updates and up to 12 profiles

9. SocialBro

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Specific to Twitter, SocialBro provides insights to your analytics, suggestions for targeting and engagement. It also helps keep tabs on your key influencers and competitors. It works best when coupled with a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite, because it is geared less towards publishing content and more towards offering reports for marketers. With SocialBro’s integration of both Buffer and Hootsuite, you can import the optimized schedule to sync with your queue and use the results to adjust your engagement.

Free 15-day trial
$13.95/month – Up to 20,000 social contacts across 5 Twitter accounts and more
$39/month – Up to 50,000 social contacts across 15 Twitter accounts and more
$149/month – Up to 200,000 social contacts across 40 Twitter accounts and more
Enterprise – On demand

10. Postling

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Postling is perfect for businesses looking to expand their reach across social networks. Keeping track of responses, brands and people, this tool sends a daily digest of your recent activity across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, Yelp, YouTube and Flickr. One cool feature is tracking news every time your business or brand is mentioned on the web. With a click, you’ll be able to share that tweet or review.


$1 first 30 days – unlimited usage
$10/month after 30 days – manage up to 5 social media accounts/ additional accounts cost $3/month each

11. Tailwind

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Previously known as Pinreach, Tailwind tracks activity across Pinterest including information about your company, products and competitors. In addition to the general reporting of growth and engagement, you can connect Google Analytics to track conversions and see which activity is most profitable.

Free – Limited profile and domain trends
$29/month – 90-day history archive, track 2 competitors, invite 2 collaborators, basic audience IQ and more
$99/month – 1-year history archive, track 5 competitors, invite 5 collaborators, advanced audience IQ and more
Enterprise (custom pricing) – Unlimited history archive, track unlimited competitors and more

12. Social Mention

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Social Mention is a real-time social-media search and analysis tool that scrapes user generated content across the internet for any given company, product or search term. In a single stream, this tool will give you the most recent relevant results, metrics on unique authors, reach, frequency of mentions, sentiment and top keywords. This tool should be on every social media manager’s shortlist.

Pricing: Free

13. Shoutlet

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Shoutlet is an enterprise-level social-marketing software that aims to help companies understand their market, grow their social database and drive their business by creating a seamless platform that guides targeted campaigns through analytics. In addition to publishing and scheduling content, the streamlined community-management platform makes it easy to create custom workflows to ensure the needs of all customers and fans are being addressed.

Pricing: Request a demo

14. Argyle Social

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Similar to Shoutlet, Argyle Social focuses on building stronger relationships with your social following. It helps you establish your most valuable content, ensuring your efforts add value to your marketing strategy. Argyle Social places emphasis on B2B social marketing by monitoring prospects and tracking conversions. Underscoring their focus on B2B engagement, Argyle Social has integrated with Marketo, Pardot and Silver Pop, by directly linking social media actions to the impact on marketing and sales.

$200/month – Ideal for small marketing organizations
$600/month – Powerful features for seasoned marketers
$1100/month – Complete solution for advanced users and larger marketing teams


New Gmail Feature Makes it a Cinch to Unsubscribe

New Gmail Feature Makes it a Cinch to Unsubscribe
In a move sure to delight custodians of cluttered inboxes — but which may present new obstacles for marketers eager to reach untold masses — Google has introduced a new unsubscribe feature to its popular mail platform.

Whereas Gmail users previously had to hunt for an unsubscribe link typically found at the bottom of promotional messages, a new button will now appear alongside the subject line of these messages — meaning that users won’t have to leave Gmail (or even open the message) in order to unsubscribe.

While the repercussions for businesses may be grim, Gmail’s head of anti-abuse efforts, Vijay Eranti, told IT World that the initiative aims to make outreach more transparent, as well as to make it easier for consumers to differentiate between targeted promotions and indiscriminate spam.

“We want our users to not have spam, and we also want you to reach the user,” said Google’s head of anti-abuse research, Elie Bursztein, at a conference in San Francisco held by M3AAWG — an anti-abuse messaging group — where the new feature was announced last Thursday. 

The button won’t appear beside spam, noted The Verge, because responding to those messages would only result in a greater onslaught.

The unsubscribe tool is Google’s latest of several “quick action buttons” launched in recent months, notes IT World. Other shortcuts include buttons that can change restaurant reservations, launch Google Docs and respond to evites.

Also in an attempt to streamline inboxes last year, Gmail introduced a new classification system whereby messages are automatically filed into various categories including “promotions,” “social,” “updates” and more.


Technology Unlocks “Economies Of Unscale” For Small Businesses

It’s been an exhilarating time for small business owners. Twenty years ago, they lacked the tools to expand outside of their niche markets. Today, the Internet opens a flourishing global market of consumers ready and willing to engage with businesses of any size. As Patrick Collison, co-founder of Stripe, once told me, the company’s largest customers may not even exist today. Anyone can turn a living room idea into the next Fortune 500 company.

Yet for all of the Internet’s opportunity, small business owners have never felt more overwhelmed. The demands placed on them are mammoth, from effective search engine marketing to online payments, logistics, customer support, and operations. Even today, much of their daily work is done with paper and pencil, even while the world transitions to mobile-first.  It’s little wonder that our nation’s small businesses face such tough odds.

That’s why I’m excited about the development of next-generation business platforms that provide small business owners with simple and beautiful tools to compete. We’re finally moving beyond byzantine processes and complicated workflows to mobile-enabled software centered on clarity and accessibility. As a consequence, we are slowly witnessing the genesis of a “new economies of unscale,” in which small businesses aided by these platforms can suddenly defeat even the largest of corporations – and become household names.

We’ve seen this dynamic already in payments with Stripe and Square as well as in the back office with Xero and Expensify. I believe payroll is next for disruption, which is why I invested in ZenPayroll this past week. All of these startups are taking advantage of this new world, offering us a case study on how to leverage economies of unscale to give small businesses a decided marketplace advantage.

For those looking into the small to medium business space, there are three key lessons to focus on. The most prominent is that businesses are rapidly shifting to mobile. Small business owners are used to running their personal lives on Gmail and iCloud, yet when they arrive at work, they are forced to regress 20 years back to clunky desktop software (or worse). They expect the next wave of platforms to scale with their usage of mobile devices, and they are ready to adapt to new workflows.

Square has vigorously taken advantage of this shift, offering a product that not only replaces the legacy of cash registers, but also offers whole new options for small businesses. As anyone walking by the Ferry Building in San Francisco can attest, artists and photographers can now accept credit cards right at their tables. This not only increases convenience for customers, but it also allows these artists to track their sales and easily analyze their profits. In this mobile world, we suddenly have access to a point of sale anywhere, at anytime. And with Expensify mobile, web workers, freelancers and road warriors can now easily create expense reports by snapping pictures of receipts and submitting them on the go.

However, next-generation business platforms shouldn’t just clone ancient systems onto mobile devices. Instead, they must consider seizing the opportunity to expand the dialogue between technology and owners. For instance, we’ve learned a lot over the past few decades about what makes great companies work. The best startup founders understand that owners don’t have the time to consume all of that research, but instead bake those insights directly into the design of their products.

The second lesson then is that these new platforms are focused on the person, and surfacing the human relationships which underlie how we work. ZenPayroll was designed to place employees and employers as equals in the compensation discussion, inculcating a culture of trust within a company. Furthermore, it enables employees to dedicate part of their paycheck to a nonprofit organization. That not only makes contributing to charity easy, but it also encourages a culture of giving, which can have positive ramifications for company performance.

The final lesson is that new business platforms have to be open in order to be most effective.  Small and medium businesses hate walled-off data stores and complicated workflows. Given the diversity of small businesses, no service can possibly hope to serve everyone with their own product. Instead, developing platforms for others to build upon is crucial. Take the small business accounting service Xero, which offers dozens of “add-ons” on its platform in categories as diverse as inventory management, time tracking, point of sale, and eCommerce. Xero gets to leverage the efforts of these other developers, while simultaneously building up its core value to business owners.

Any one of the 28 million firms in America today could become a leading company using the economies of unscale created by these next-generation business platforms. Our work, though, is only partly finished. We need better platforms to handle worker training, recruiting, sales management, product development, intellectual property, customer service, and the list goes on. With more open platforms to grow upon, new companies can better grow quickly and sustainably, and that’s not just good for entrepreneurs, but for our nation.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch