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Our first upset happened Thursday:
#21 Texas A & M 52, #9 South Carolina 28!
Security forces in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighborhood, as the death toll from the epidemic in West Africa hit 1,350.
If you’re not familiar with Twitch, it is a video game playing business that attracts 55 million unique viewers a month. That’s enough viewers to put it among the 15 most heavily trafficked websites in the world.
So what exactly is Twitch and why did Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) shell out close to $1 billion to buy this company? Here is my take, young men’s eyeballs. Young men are some of the hardest demographics to track for advertisers. The combination of Amazon and Twitch could be a killer combination for Amazon to sell products to this particular demographic.
So how does Twitch make money? The company shares its advertising revenue with people who broadcast over its service. While the audiences for some broadcasters are so small they make little money, on the other side of the coin, some broadcasters are said to earn over six figures a year.
After making the deal with Twitch, Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, said in a statement, “Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon, and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.”
For many people over 40, watching gameplay or playing video games on a consul or computer is not in their genes. However, in the hard-to-reach demographics of young males, this could be a fantastic deal for Amazon. At peak viewing times, Twitch rivals many leading cable networks including MTV, Comedy Central and MSNBC.
Amazon’s business model is ever-expanding, taking in all kinds of different platforms to change and to market products. The move into video gaming/entertainment is new and could help sell more products, but I think the bigger picture for Amazon is in entertainment and advertising.
In my opinion, this is an excellent move for Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), who beat out Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) for this video gaming/watching/playing company. That leads me to another question, is Google losing its mojo and on the decline?
Technically, while the trend is still positive for Google, at the moment it looks like it has run out of steam. Amazon on the other hand has actually increased its acceleration on the upside, especially with today’s announced purchase of Twitch.
Amazon has huge ambitions for the Twitch platform and while they say they won’t change the platform dramatically, you can bet they will tweak it here and there.
Maybe Amazon’s new tagline should be “Game On”.
Whether you are a homeowner or a business owner, there is always a battle to have enough space. When you don’t have the storage capacity you need on site, port containers can provide you with an ideal alternative to suit your needs. Choose from steel containers offered in a variety of sizes in order to accommodate your storage requirements. It’s a simple way to take care of a temporary situation, keeping valuables protected and secure for as long as necessary. Regardless of how long you need additional storage, your container can be used on a short-term or long-term basis.
Making Storage Space Available
When you need additional storage, opt for containers. It’s quick and easy, providing you access to a container that can withstand the elements and has an adequate capacity. Whether you choose to rent a container for a short term or prefer to buy for a permanent solution, you can tailor your storage solution. Your container is the perfect alternative when you are dealing with nonperishables. From clothing to furniture, an estate, or office equipment, you can rest assured that there is a place for everything.
Bring the Storage Solution to You
When you turn to a company that focuses on providing containers in various sizes, you can count on delivery when you need it. Specify the location and your container can come to you. Choose the length of time as well for your rental or make a purchase when you seek a permanent solution. When you opt to buy, you can choose from new and used containers in order to suit your budget.
Keep Your Valuables Secure
When you need to store your belongings, whether they are personal items or inventory for a business, you want to rest assured that they are protected. Turning to a storage facility does not allow you to keep an eye on your valuables. Opt for a container and you take control of your items. You can add security locks as an added level of protection. Make sure your containers are of the best quality and you won’t need to worry about damage from the environment. Container storage allows you to take control of your storage needs. Stack your containers or transport them when necessary. Keep them on site for the duration or use them for a brief time until there’s no longer a need. Your storage is up to you and containers make your life easier.
Bob Sargent had worked for Computer Tech for ten years. The company has flourished and its stock soared. Billions were raked-in and employees were experiencing outside-gains in their 401Ks stuffed with Computer Tech stock. But Bob was feeling confined to their corporate daily duties.
No matter how many times management had praised him, “Bob, there will always be a place for you at Computer Tech.”, Bob knew that he would not be fulfilled by his mundane duties. He had aspirations and dreams for his own product he has been developing with several other coworkers.They enjoyed the stability and security of a corporate job but it lacked the creativity and self-fulfillment.
That’s why Bob and a group of fellow Computer Tech friends built a prototype piece of hardware that would change the world as he knew it. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it was a nifty piece of hardware. The group had prepared a business plan and maxed out their funding sources to get to this point. They each had established relationships with banks, but quickly found out the banks would not let go of their money. Each bank was fearful of the economy and just couldn’t take a chance on a startup. Besides there were all those maxed credit cards.
They had romanced Venture Capitalists (VCs) and were due to hear today if they were going to get the money they desperately needed.
“Hey, Bob, phone call on line 2.”
“Bob, its George Went here. Bob, I’m calling to tell you our investors made a decision. We are not going to be funding your company.”
“What is the stumbling block George?”
“Bob, it’s the same problem we’ve talked about. The board doesn’t believe you can build the product that cheaply. If you do, they think your customers will think it shoddy. If you build it more expensively, we don’t think you can meet minimum margins needed by our investors. I’m sorry, Bob.”
At the annual block party, the residents on 32nd Avenue gathered once again around Joe’s pool, and sipped their favorite beverages on this 90 degree day. Bob Sargent was sitting on the bottom, feeling like his dreams of pursuing his own company have been drowned by VCs. Bob was breathing and thinking, “What are we going to do now? I know we can make the product and still make a great margin. All our families are depending on us. We are tapped out and I can’t touch my 401k. What are we going to do? I wish there was a way.”
After a while Bob came up to the surface to join the party. As he emerged from the pool, and grabbed a beer, young 19 year old Beatty, leaned in close. “I saw you in the pool and heard the VCs turned you down. You are probably feeling hopeless right now. I have just one word of advice for you.” Beatty leaned in even closer and in a conspiratorial voice whispered “Crowdfunding!”
Spreading the Opportunity
Crowdfunding is the collection of capital from “the crowd,” traditionally a large group of people who pool their money to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Reward Crowdfunding is available today, while equity crowdfunding is still pending while the SEC releases the final rules.
Project creators typically create “…a profile containing a short video, an introduction to their project, the amount of money sought, a list of rewards per donation, and some images to elaborate.” The hope is the video goes viral. Once the project receives 25% to 40% of the goal, the project often crosses a threshold and non-related or “professional” investors step up. The percentage of the funding achieved is a good indicator to these non-related “professional” investors if the idea has achieved proof of concept.
Crowdfunding, historically, is huge. The Statue of Liberty is a great example that small amounts of funding were contributed for the cost of the base of the lady. Also compare this new way of venture capital investing to the printing of the Guttenberg Bible which was the first major book printed in the West using movable type. It marked the start of the “Gutenberg Revolution” and the age of the printed book in the West.
Prior to the printing of the Bible in 1450, there were only a few Bibles, they were laborious to produce, but owned only by the churches and interpreted by the elites of the church. After the Guttenberg Bible was printed, in theory everyone could have their own Bible and interpret the words for themselves.
With crowdfunding, suddenly everyone can be a venture capitalist. Just as everyone can have a Bible, everyone who has internet access now can fund or seek funding from everyone. Crowdfunding and the use of funding platforms will expand the distribution of new ideas and investment opportunities to support those companies. The gatekeepers of capital like the Banks and Venture Capitalists no longer have the keys to what company gets funding. It’s the great democratization.
Crowdfunding Distribution and Accessibility
Already, there are numerous reward crowdfunding platforms where companies can safely ask for or donate money such as, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and RocketHub. Even YouTube is facilitating donation crowdfunding capabilities. A Crowdfundingplanning.com YouTube video informs us that $2.8 billion was raised by reward crowdfunding in 2012 and they expect to see $16.6 billion raised in 2014. They compare crowdfunding’s growth from 2009 to 2014 to the growth of the internet and see the same phenomenal, growth rate. Reward Crowdfunding is not investing since there is own financial return incentive in the transaction. Today accredited investors can actually invest in Reg D Private Placements offered by FINRA Member Broker Dealers and receive a financial return. Certain Broker Dealers have developed funding platforms that offer Reg D 506(c) Private Placements to verified accredited investors.
Just as different countries have their own stock trading markets Crowdfunding is not just taking place in the U.S., but around the world. A 2013 World Bank report, featured in Forbes, predicts that crowdfunding in China, where there are 560 million web users, could reach $50 billion by 2025.
“Demohour, is China’s first—and now largest—platform only launched in 2011, but it’s already funded over 400 projects.”
Emerging economies like Brazil have Ideame. It is another platform that serves Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay. Forbes wrote the platform “…is off to a slower start, but still has raised US$150,000 across 86 of their most successful campaigns.”
Comparing Crowdfunding Characteristics to Today’s Investing in the Available Markets.
In some ways raising capital today is a revolution and in other ways the same. Comparing the traditional stock market model to private placements and equity crowdfunding, we find in both cases that:
TRUST, INFRINGEMENT, TRANSPARENCY
That means that there are some obstacles and risks to equity crowdfunding that a potential investor must understand. One of the biggest is TRUST. Is the project legitimate or a scam? China has weak intellectual property laws. How can a project owner protect against INFRINGEMENT?
SeedAsia co-founder Tom Russell noted that the TRANSPARENCY that’s become the hallmark of successful Western crowdfunding projects often presents challenges for many Chinese entrepreneurs. “There is no easy way for investors to find and screen interesting companies.”
Another obstacle, for example, is Brazil’s “custo Brasil” or the Brazil Cost, the hurdles by bureaucrats restricting international business. In the U.S the projects come under the scrutiny of the SEC restricting equity ownership to people who are able financially to take risks; accredited investors. The Wall Street Journal wrote, “A hallmark of the 2012 (JOBS Act) law, the equity crowdfunding provision isn’t expected to become effective until later this year or early next year because the SEC is still hashing out final rules allowing companies to sell equity stakes in businesses to everyday investors through social media and the Internet.”
One change in the JOBS Act would unleash the power of the individual “The Crowd”; that of allowing small investors to secure a financial return in a company. The JOBS Act now allows you to advertise your private offering, but only accredited investors can participate. Until equity crowdfunding is legal, others, with less financial resources, can only participate in reward crowdfunding contributing in exchange for rewards, such as coffee mugs and T-shirts.
What if the governments of the world just got out of the way of entrepreneurs? Wouldn’t we see a flowering of new business that might give every individuals a rush to leave behind their stable job to pursue riskier endeavors but contain self-fulfillment?
Contributed by Mike Landfair
As West African nations grappled with the worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the death toll had exceeded 1,200 and announced increased efforts to forestall severe food shortages in areas isolated by quarantines.
The health industry has become a major focus of attention in recent years as innovative practices and procedures have debuted, and the public focus has increasingly moved to patient care and improving the general efficiency of the healthcare system. New technology, including mobile computing systems, online patient portals, and creative and interactive marketing practices are enabling the health industry and health-oriented businesses to move forward and reach people more effectively.
The internet, digital communications, and mobile technology are all making their way into the health industry, helping both patients and medical professionals as well as allowing health-oriented businesses to more effectively market themselves, and their products or treatments, to prospective customers. Moving online on so many levels has enabled the health industry to streamline practices, ensuring improved quality and delivery of care.
How technology is helping the health industry
For patients, the health industry entering the online world has been beneficial in many practical ways. Patients can easily access and pay their medical bills online or from their smartphone, while getting prescriptions filled via the internet or text messaging has become commonplace.
Healthcare professionals have taken advantage of the many programs and practical applications currently available to improve the quality of their patient care. Online databases have made it possible for doctors and other healthcare providers to upload patient notes directly into their medical files, allowing doctors and other healthcare professionals to instantly access information dating back years and even decades. This type of access also makes handling an emergency easier; a patient’s medical history may be quickly searched before a procedure is performed or medication given, decreasing the risk of hospital and other healthcare related accidents substantially.
Healthcare professionals are also benefiting from the availability of continuing education courses, webinars, and online conferences. Doctors and other healthcare professionals can increase their skills from the comfort of their office computer or mobile device, and it is even possible – courtesy of webcams and other real-time technology – for doctors and surgeons to consult on cases and even perform surgeries remotely, seeing patients and guiding others through complicated procedures anywhere in the world. An exciting innovation in technology that is being utilized by surgeons is Google Glass, a wearable computer in the form of eyeglasses that give surgeons hands-free access to real-time patient information including vital signs. It also utilizes voice-activation, so surgeons can use it to call up further data without the need to look away from the patient.
One segment of the health industry that has moved online in a big way in recent years is pharmacies. Many online-based pharmacies offer features that standard pharmacies simple cannot, including 24/7/365 on-call pharmacists and bulk discounts. This has become especially attractive to customers looking to buy low-cost, generic medications at discount prices.
In the same vein, online consultations are being offered by a growing number of healthcare services, allowing patients to consult one-on-one with a doctor any time of the day or night.
Health industry marketing online
When it comes to marketing in the health industry, finding new ways to reach patients and prospective customers – and present accurate information in an appealing way – is always a priority. For private health-related businesses especially, reaching out to patients in a direct way via online marketing is the best way to success. More people are using the internet than ever before, and not simply for work-related tasks, gaming, or social networking. An increasing number of people are using websites, reviews, and online articles to inform them when choosing a doctor or other health industry professional or service. Having a website with good content, a social media presence, positive reviews, and good SEO placement can have a profound effect on the visibility and success of a health-related business.
Health and wellness practices including dental clinics, acupuncture practices, and chiropractic offices especially benefit from the use of online marketing. Many of the best online marketing tools are quite affordable, so even smaller businesses on a tight budget can make use of them. Email marketing is one of the best ways for a health-related business to keep in touch with customers, as is social media. Social media is also a great way to interact with customers directly while building the practice’s brand and presence online. Many health and wellness businesses maintain a blog or newsletter – filling it with informative posts and articles related to their specific business as well as healthcare in general – which helps to boost their ranking in search engines. The use of SEO (search engine optimization) will also boost the ranking of webpages, making the business more readily visible to prospective customers searching for their services.
As computer technology and the internet continue to advance, and innovations in marketing develop, the methods for reaching customers will continue to improve. In the years to come, it will be vital that the healthcare industry continues to explore and embrace these new technologies in order to improve their relationship with customers and offer the best services possible.
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