Tag: amazon

How Twitter is Expanding its Reach in Audio

In June 2020, Twitter introduced audio tweets where you can record your voice and share that audio as a tweet to your followers. A perk? These can also be listened to while you multi-task across other day-to-day activities including checking email or working on a document — comparable to a micro podcast. There’s a lot that can go unsaid or uninterpreted via text, so the platform’s goal with the offering is to bring a more human experience to conversations.

Following this, the company announced in December its own audio-based social networking product and Clubhouse rival, Spaces, was heading into beta phase. This opened the door for users to chat in real-time using voice instead of text, as they do today. The product remains in beta while the platform works out technical issues and bugs with the feature, but also the more complex issues that arise from hosting live audio, including moderation.

Fast forward to today, Twitter announced its acquisition of community-focused podcast app, Breaker. Here’s a breakdown of the latest.

What is Breaker?

Since its inception in 2016, Breaker’s mission centered around influencing the perception of audio and disrupting the norms of podcasts as audio feeds and podcast apps as productivity tools. Instead, Breaker painted a picture of podcast apps as an experience around which a community could be established. More specifically, Breaker users have the ability to like and comment on their favorite episodes, discover new podcasts that align with their passions, following friends with similar interests and taste, and share their favorite shows to their other social media platforms to spark conversation.

Creating the future of audio

Breaker co-founder Leah Culver took to Twitter sharing her eagerneses to help create the future of audio through and build out Twitter Spaces while CEO Erik Berlin emphasized his vision to help the industry redefine and reimagine traditional podcasts.

“We’re truly passionate about audio communication and we’re inspired by the ways Twitter is facilitating public conversations for people around the world,” shared Berlin in the official announcement. In his own Medium post, he shared, “We’re now inspired to go even further in re-imagining how we communicate with each other, beyond the scope of traditional podcasts.”

In a separate thread, Twitter engineering lead Michael Montano, reiterated his excitement to leverage Berlin and Culver’s backgrounds to help “improve the health of public conversation on our service.” He added, “both Erik and Leah have founded and sold startups previously and will bring an entrepreneurial spirit to our engineering organization.”

According to TechCrunch, Berlin was previously the founder and CTO at social advertising company 140 Proof — which sold to Acuity — while Culver previously founded Pownce and Grove and co-authored web technologies OAuth and oEmbed.

“As an entrepreneur she’s been out front, testing ideas on several waves of online conversation and publishing. Pownce and Convore were exciting and in many ways ahead of their times,” said Montao of Culver’s efforts to push for more open standards over the past several years.

Podcasting: the new tech battleground

With the ebbs and flows of tech, there seems to be areas that receive targeted traction. Podcasting is that space today. Look no further than the giants Amazon, Google, Apple and Spotify.

Amazon’s $300 million acquisition of Wondery, Sirius bought Stitcher for $300 million, not to mention Spotify’s purchases of Anchor, Gimlet, Parcast, Megaphone, and The Joe Rogan experience — one of the most popular shows on the scene to date. Unakin to these deals, however, Twitter’s play is unique in that its sale doesn’t center on strictly podcasts themselves and the content, rather Breaker’s sale is made up of staff and technology with the larger objective of cementing Spaces as a viable offering for marketers and users.

Feature image credit via Breaker.

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Amazon Has Over 1,000 Full-Time, Work-From-Home Positions To Be Filled

Image via ibreakstock / Shutterstock.com

People have been driven out of their jobs and routines due to coronavirus fears, and many are left with nothing to do as they stay isolated at home.

Thankfully, there are several work-from-home positions waiting to be filled online. As discovered by KSAT.com, you can find over 1,100 full-time, remote-working jobs on Amazon.

On the design front, the tech giant is looking for a front-end engineer and an art director for IMDb TV.

Other open positions include project and product management, software development, editorial, marketing and PR, and leadership development and training roles.

On Saturday, Amazon published a letter by CEO Jeff Bezos, who expressed his empathy for customers and employees during a time of “great stress and uncertainty.”

“This isn’t business as usual,” Bezos described, adding that the company has adjusted its processes to first deliver essentials like household staples, medical supplies, sanitizers and baby formula.

“There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and I know this causes stress for everyone,” he concluded. “Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I know that we’re going to get through this, together.”

[via KSAT.com, cover image via ibreakstock / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/409166/Amazon-Has-Over-1-000-Full-Time-Work-From-Home-Positions-To-Be-Filled/

The Top 20 Business Transformations of the Last Decade

Netflix, Adobe, and Amazon top the list.
— Read on hbr.org/2019/09/the-top-20-business-transformations-of-the-last-decade


Alexa, Protect My Privacy: Data Deletion Voice Commands Arrive for Amazon Voice Devices

Amazon has insisted for months that its voice-activated Alexa and Echo devices aren’t listening to your conversations. Now, in a move likely designed to offer more peace of mind, they debuted two voice commands developed to offer some protection.

“Alexa, delete everything I said today” will wipe your voice history for the preceding 24 hours, while “Alexa, delete what I just said” (a command which will roll out in the coming weeks) will erase the last utterance delivered to the device. Further, Engadget is reporting that an Alexa Privacy Hub is being launched and maintained to help users and prospective customers learn more about the product, review the privacy policy, and help them adjust their settings as needed.

To that end, these voice commands must be enabled. Current Alexa or Echo users must go into Alexa Privacy Settings, navigate to “Review Voice History,” and then toggle on the “Enable Deletion by Voice” feature. Absent that, any voice commands to delete will not work. Any smart home devices that are connected to Alexa can also have their history deleted, but that has to be done inside the privacy hub, manually.

This simplified method to delete recordings may (and should) be viewed as a win for privacy advocates and privacy-concerned consumers. Says TechCrunch about the change, “Amazon has offered the ability to delete recordings for a while now, but this brings the functional ability to the front with a simple command.” And as mentioned, Amazon insists that the command theoretically isn’t necessary; the company line has always been that they must be roused with a wake word, and any recorded information isn’t actually heard by the company or used to influence ad targeting or algorithmic arrangement.

However, it should be acknowledged that the deletion capabilities are limited (you’ll notice that there’s no “Alexa, delete my entire voice history” command), and users must be “in the know” to learn how to use it and must be diligent in doing so daily. AdWeek puts it simply: “the ability to simply ask Amazon’s assistant to delete its recordings is certainly easier than the status quo, but it still leaves the onus on consumers to protect their own privacy.”

Theoretically, this could change. Amazon has voiced openness to suggestions for additional voice commands and options for privacy, and continues to insist Alexa and Echo products are “built to protect your privacy,” and “provide transparency and control.” These latest moves demonstrate a literal vocal commitment to those principles.

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The Case for Engaging with Emotions: Key Takeaways from MBLM’s Brand Intimacy Survey

“Brands matter. Emotions count.” are the four words MBLM used to open their 2019 Brand Intimacy Study. MBLM, an agency and lab dedicated to “build[ing] greater intimacy between people and brands that drives performance and returns,” compiled the study to demonstrate the impact that this metric can have on a brand’s prosperity. And in this report, the result of nine years of insight and the input of 6,200 consumers across three countries, shines an important light on how crucial connection can be to brand persistence and success. After reading through the study, here are a few important takeaways for any brand looking to create strong relationships with their customers or audience.

Disney, Apple, and Amazon Took Top Honors

These brands took home top honors from consumers in creating brand intimacy. Each had successfully cultivated an image and experience that consumers felt good about making part of their lives. Across six archetypes of affinity, these three brands had Fulfillment (or the ability to exceed expectations, provide outstanding quality, and efficiency) in common; Apple and Amazon were also tops in Enhancement, or the ability to make people and their lives better. For these consumers, it mattered that the product wasn’t just there to meet their status quo, but was contributing to a demonstrable improvement.

Brand intimacy can also be formed through frequency of exposure, so it’s notable to report that Apple and Amazon also scored high on the Ritual archetype, or the ability to seamlessly become part of a consumer’s daily routine. While Disney, by its very nature, doesn’t necessarily have the ability to deliver this. However, categories of goods and services that ranked highest in brand intimacy were ones that had the potential to be similarly integral: media and entertainment, automotive, tech and telecommunications, retail, consumer goods, and fast food. More infrequent contributors, like travel or hospitality and theme parks, ranked far lower.

Engage with the Smartphone Ecosystem

Is your brand easy to interact with via smartphone? If it is, it holds a significant advantage in the race to customer’s hearts. It’s no surprise that brands who have access to consumers in that medium perform better, but the degree to which they did better might be. “Brands that are a part of the smartphone ecosystem,” MBLM wrote in their report, “generally outperform those that aren’t. The average Brand Intimacy Quotient (the figure calculated and then used to rank the brands listed) for those in the ecosystem is 38.8, which is significantly higher than the overall study average (31.0).

The top brand among millennials, in addition to Apple, was YouTube. Ranked eighth overall, it is cited as a brand that 28% percent of its users can’t imagine living without. It is also the highest ranked social platform, with Pinterest coming next (and highest in terms of what we traditionally call “social media”) at #28 on the list. YouTube’s prominence toward the top likely has much to do with its rapidly improving mobile experience, a metric that for MBLM, includes “apps, access, content/info services, and devices.” Brands that can capitalize on creating an intimate and desirable experience on these now-ubiquitous devices will win—not only due to frequency of exposure, but also for an ability to get closer emotionally to the customer.

The Business Imperative of Brand Intimacy

“With advances in behavioral science and neuroscience, we now understand that humans process information and make decisions based on emotion,” MBLM shares early on in their report findings. “This suggests that to influence and affect decision-making, you have to appeal and connect to people’s emotions.” This can be a directive for marketing the right way, but MBLM also makes a strong statistically-based argument that there is a business imperative associated with working this way.

In addition to highlighting the archetypes of intimacy and highlighting the stages of brand intimacy, the report was crafted to “showcase how brands based on on emotion continue to outperform top brands in financial indices such as Fortune 500 and S&P 500, demonstrating the clear business advantage of leveraging emotional science.” How big is the difference? The average revenue growth for the top 10 companies that appeared on this index was 4% better that of the top 10 brands listed on the S&P Global Index, and 5% over that of those appearing on the Fortune 500. In terms of profit growth, the numbers are even more staggering: Brand Industry Survey’s top 10 brands performed between 25% and 40% better than those on the other two indices. Moreover, top intimate brands have twice as many customers willing to pay up tp 20% more for their products or services. The takeaway? In their words, “top intimate brands deliver superior results in relation to revenue and profit growth, suggesting the importance of emotion in driving the world’s leading brands.”

It’s not enough to have a good product anymore. That product has to stand out in the marketplace not only for its strengths, but for its ability to strengthen the life and experience of the customer. Stories that appeal to emotion and create a sense of intimacy are making a difference for the brands that choose to tell them—and MBLM’s full report shares all the details on how they’re doing it.

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This was Jeff Bezos’ pep talk to Blue Origin employees before a rocket launch

This was Jeff Bezos’ pep talk to Blue Origin employees before a rocket launch

— Read on malvaniainternational.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/this-was-jeff-bezos-pep-talk-to-blue-origin-employees-before-a-rocket-launch/


With Amazon Answers, Users Can Help Alexa With the Tough Questions

Anyone who’s ever played “Stump Alexa” already knows: while Alexa is extremely helpful, her information retrieving powers do have limits. A new information-sourcing initiative through Amazon is aiming to change that.

After an extensive test in-house that added more than 100,000 answers to the voice assistant’s database, Amazon announced this week that it’s opening up its Alexa Answers crowdsourced answer program to select users, via email invitation. “In addition to advanced technology—such as machine learning and natural language understanding—and our many trustworthy information sources, we’re involving the Alexa customer community to help us answer questions Alexa can’t quite answer yet,” they shared in their company blog this week.

Addressing this gap in utility is part and parcel of this evolving method for search. The South Florida Business Journal notes that this new challenge is grounded, in part, by how queries are framed to a voice assistant versus how they’re framed through a search engine. “Asking Alexa questions will make you realize that your voice searches usually include more than five words and start with ‘how’ or ‘what.’ It will also help you understand the growing need for pages on your website that have ‘conversational content’ that, when searched, can deliver understandable answers to voice queries.” Alexa Answers will aim to make answers available to Alexa that are framed in this easily accessible manner.

It’s worth noting that Amazon users are currently able to inform one another in a number of different ways. In their blog, Amazon reminds readers “for nearly 20 years, we’ve allowed customers to offer their input on Amazon.com products through customer reviews and community-based answers.” The fidelity of this input has been addressed through features like “Verified Purchase” reviews. For the time being, this important process is even more tightly controlled; at this point, editors are being invited via email, and the pool of Alexa users selected to inform the voice assistant is small. When these crowdsourced answers are shared, they will be prefaced by a disclaimer of sorts indicating them as having come from an Alexa user.

Although this approach has been tested heavily with sites like Quora and Wikipedia, there are still some risks to having humans provide information to AI. Recently, Google had to disable portions of its SmartCompose and SmartReply software after its challenges with gender and gender pronouns. Two years ago, Microsoft’s Tay had to be taken offline after Twitter users supplied it information that made it racist.

The email-invite nature of this project may prevent some of that, but Amazon would do well to pay close attention to the data supplied, and adjust as needed to avoid embarrassing or damaging gaffes. Nevertheless, a very real danger that exists for Alexa Answers is a danger that exists whenever data is supplied to AI tools, and The Next Web’s Vishwam Sankaran put it best in reference to the Google story: “AI is only as fair as the data it learns from.”

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What Amazon Did This Week

What Amazon Did This Week

— Read on www.forbes.com/sites/paularmstrongtech/2018/10/28/what-amazon-did-this-week-7/


Despite Poor Performance, There is a Silver Lining in Twitch’s “Always On” Channels

The deep dive revealed some surprising and some not so surprising problems with the push into linear that has led some publishers on the platform to call it quits. But, while Twitch’s experiment may not have been as lucrative as both the social video service and the publishers it partnered with had hoped, the insights it revealed about the platform’s community was a silver lining for many companies distributing content via “Always On.

[READ] on-Gaming 24/7 Channels on Twitch Struggle to “Hit”, Publishers Say “Game Over.”

“We are using [our 24/7 Twitch channel] as a lab in the sense that we can try different things,” explains GM of BUZZR Mark Deejtin, who oversees the game show network’s “Always On” channel. “We can see how people react, see how people interact with the content, and really look at what are the consumption patterns of the Twitch viewer, which, quite frankly, is different from the OTT Viewer. It’s different from the people who are watching content on Pluto TV or on Netflix.”

That difference is Twitch’s community of 15 million daily visitors, which are considered to be much more interactive than communities on other social platforms.

“The biggest thing if you’re operating any kind of OTT Service — the currency you live and die by — is engagement, and if you look at engagement numbers for people who use Twitch on a regular basis, it is really far above a lot of other online platforms,” said Erick Opeka, EVP of Cinedigm’s Digital Networks, which currently runs two channels on the platform. “Part of it is that Twitch is beyond just a place to view content it’s its own heavily engaged community. There are only a few places online that have that sort of really deep engagement.”

[READ] What Machinima Learned After Launching a 24/7 Channel on Twitch

Opeka says another benefit to being on Twitch, which also includes tapping into its global community, is the immediate feedback the company receives from viewers of its two channels: ConTV, which streams free movies and TV shows, and CombatGO, a channel dedicated to martial arts.

“[What makes Twitch one of our] most valuable places to put content is the immediate feedback you get from programming. “Usually, feedback is relatively passive or you have to do some pretty extensive consumer research to get the level of immediacy that we get being on Twitch,” he explains. We’re literally getting users telling us what they think of programming. We have users telling us ‘Hey and you get this show?’ ‘What about that show?’ ‘We really love this, can you get more of this type of programming?’”

Opeka says this type of feedback has led Cinedigm to explore content acquisitions that it would have never considered, in addition to different verticals and subs genres that the company overlooked, which have since gone on to be very successful in the company’s overall ecosystem.

[READ] Mastering the Ins & Outs of Building Linear OTT Channels: Infrastructure & Programming Mix

While Twitch currently has close to a dozen linear channels streaming 24/7 on its platform, it has still not yet proved to be a viable spot to house linear content for a list of reasons. However, for all its downfalls, the company has proved to be a valuable place to engage an audience — no matter how small — and explore the interests of the rapidly growing community living on Twitch.

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Facebook Boss Still Tech’s Most Popular CEO

He’s still got plenty of likes. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg still beats out Apple’s Tim Cook and all the other Silicon Valley CEOs in a nationwide popularity contest. According to a new poll conducted this week by Morning Consult, nearly half (48%) of the 1,935 registered voters surveyed view the Facebook chief favorably. About one…



How to use Instagram to build and market your creative business

Over the past months I have done a hell of a lot of reading on the subject of marketing. Pretty much every person will rave about social media, and say it’s how they got their first, second, all their sales, basically. Below are some tips that I’ve picked up that will help you build your […]