Link: The Math Wizards Who Rule Murky World of Programmatic Buying | Digital – Advertising Age

The future of advertising — one where terms like “automation” and “big data” are more than jargon sprinkled into PowerPoints — may be in the hands of 20-somethings like Mr. Banilevi. Just 23 years old, the Northwestern economics graduate uses eight software programs to buy millions of digital ads each week, plucking them from a pool of trillions without ever speaking to an actual person. If harnessed effectively, that kind of power can deliver smarter, more efficient media buys. If not, it can lead to million-dollar screwups.

Imagine the efficiencies to be gained if the ‘targets’ of those ads (individuals) were active participants in this marketplace.

Source: The Math Wizards Who Rule Murky World of Programmatic Buying | Digital – Advertising Age

H/T: Found in my tweet stream, but I can’t remember who tweeted it.

Why email sucks 

We may despise our inboxes (and 99% of what’s in them), but we’re neurochemically compelled to make sure that there isn’t something potentially important or pleasurable lurking in there this time. And then five minutes from now. And then again. And again. “The internal stimulus is the one that gets you,” Rosen says. “On balance, [email is] maybe 10% pleasure and 90% fear of missing out.”

Source: How email became the most reviled communication experience ever via Engadget

The internet remembers too much…

Excellent talk (transcript) by Maciej Ceglowski. This is just a brief extract:

I’ve come to believe that a lot of what’s wrong with the Internet has to do with memory. The Internet somehow contrives to remember too much and too little at the same time, and it maps poorly on our concepts of how memory should work.

via The Internet With A Human Face – Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference Talk.

Read the whole thing.

♦ CRM’s evolution toward customer engagement

Over the last two years, mergers and acquisitions have driven many of the headlines in the CRM world [footnote] Disclosure: I’m back at Oracle via their acquisition of RightNow Technologies, a CRM/CX cloud vendor. [/footnote].  We’ve watched the broadest consolidation that CRM has seen in nearly a decade. At the same time, Gartner predicts the CRM market, on license revenue alone, will cross $23bn this year [footnote] Gartner [/footnote], and pegs it to hit $37bn by 2017 [footnote] Forbes: Gartner predicts CRM will be a $37bn market by 2017 [/footnote].  Generally speaking, consolidating market segments don’t grow that rapidly.  So, what’s going on?  While Gartner’s definition of the CRM market may be evolving, a fundamental change has been underway for some time.  We started to see this change about five years ago as vendors, like RightNow, began to redefine CRM toward Customer Experience (CX).  The movement toward CX largely came about as social technologies were infused into CRM platforms, enabling the last quarter-mile of CRM [footnote] The analogy refers to landline communications. The most expensive part of communications networks tend to be the ‘last quarter-mile’ to a residence.  Without that last quarter mile being in place, the network can’t fully function, but making those connections is extremely costly. [/footnote].  This repositioning of CRM toward CX has now become a full-blown stampede, with nearly every major vendor claiming their technology is designed to put the customer’s experience first [footnote] Few actually deliver true CX applications, but nearly all know how to hype it [/footnote].

A half decade of CX momentum is now moving the market toward technologies that drive beyond ‘experiences’ and begin to focus on ‘engagement’.  Paul Greenberg, the resident Dean of the CRM community, recently posted some random thoughts on this shift:

The customer engagement market is far larger in potential than CRM and in fact is the replacement market for CRM. CRM as a market is going to be a sub-market – the operational requirements for customer engagement and the companies serving that need – will be a substantial chunk of the customer engagement market, but by no means the only segment of it.  Social CRM, which morphed CRM into what it is today, was the forerunner and the signal for this. Social channels are now inclusive in CRM systems and thinking – incorporated with the more traditional operational aspects of CRM systems and thinking. It’s the operational hub with pipes that are driven into the other areas around customer engagement. [footnote] Random thoughts on CRM – Paul Greenberg [/footnote]


Paul goes on to list seventeen areas that are either converging to, or sprouting from, traditional CRM markets.  The growth that Gartner predicts, can be seen on this list.  The CRM market is morphing from systems that focused on capturing transactional data, to technologies that drive greater context, decisioning, and involvement of customers.  These new areas are still disconnected, as Paul notes in his post, but I think the shift toward customer engagement [CEM] is going to happen faster than CRM’s move to CX.  This will happen faster, I think, because many of the CEM vendors which enable Paul’s seventeen areas are very small, agile, and don’t carry the legacy ‘baggage’ of traditional CRM.  CX was a ‘build-out’ of CRM, whereas the move to CEM is coming from outside the CRM world, in.  As CEM pulls the industry to closer toward a customer engagement approach, the next eighteen months or so will be an interesting time for the legacy CRM industry.

Target’s massive security breach exposes security process failures

…And although there are companies that blatantly violate the standards, security is a constantly changing condition, not a static one. Every time a company installs new programs, changes servers or alters its architecture, new vulnerabilities can be introduced. A company that is certified compliant one month can quickly become non-compliant the next month if administrators install and configure a new firewall incorrectly or if systems that were once carefully segregated become connected because an employee didn’t adhere to access restrictions. Companies that conduct audits also have to rely on their clients to be honest about disclosing what they have on their network — such as stored data.

To answer the question posed by the title of the post – No.  Therein lies the problem. [footnote] The nature of audits, in most professions, is that their usefulness is a function of the competency of those conducting them [/footnote]
Wired link: Will Target’s Lawsuit Finally Expose the Failings of Security Audits?

Matt Mullenweg: The Four Freedoms

I believe that software, and in fact entire companies, should be run in a way that assumes that the sum of the talent of people outside your walls is greater than the sum of the few you have inside. None of us are as smart as all of us. Given the right environment — one that leverages the marginal cost of distributing software and ideas — independent actors can work toward something that benefits them, while also increasing the capability of the entire community.

This is where open source gets really interesting: it’s not just about the legal wonkery around software licensing, but what effect open sourced software has on people using it. In the proprietary world, those people are typically called “users,” a strange term that connotes dependence and addiction. In the open source world, they’re more rightly called a community.

The Four Freedoms | Matt Mullenweg

Matt posted this a few weeks ago.  This blog is hosted on, and prior to that on deployments across several hosting providers.  Matt’s post is worth mentioning here, not because of that WordPress connection, rather, the post is probably the best rationale I’ve seen for the value of open source software.  Read the post via the link.

Thousands of industrial internet devices found to be vulnerable

Moore’s census involved regularly sending simple, automated messages to each one of the 3.7 billion IP addresses assigned to devices connected to the Internet around the world (Google, in contrast, collects information offered publicly by websites). Many of the two terabytes (2,000 gigabytes) worth of replies Moore received from 310 million IPs indicated that they came from devices vulnerable to well-known flaws, or configured in a way that could to let anyone take control of them.

On Tuesday, Moore published results on a particularly troubling segment of those vulnerable devices: ones that appear to be used for business and industrial systems. Over 114,000 of those control connections were logged as being on the Internet with known security flaws. Many could be accessed using default passwords and 13,000 offered direct access through a command prompt without a password at all.

via Pinging the Whole Internet Reveals Unsecured Backdoors That Could Tempt Hackers and Cyber Criminals | MIT Technology Review.

Read the whole thing.

Real progress in artifical intelligence


Finally, however, in the last decade ­Hinton and other researchers made some fundamental conceptual breakthroughs. In 2006, Hinton developed a more efficient way to teach individual layers of neurons. The first layer learns primitive features, like an edge in an image or the tiniest unit of speech sound. It does this by finding combinations of digitized pixels or sound waves that occur more often than they should by chance. Once that layer accurately recognizes those features, they’re fed to the next layer, which trains itself to recognize more complex features, like a corner or a combination of speech sounds. The process is repeated in successive layers until the system can reliably recognize phonemes or objects.

via New Techniques from Google and Ray Kurzweil Are Taking Artificial Intelligence to Another Level | MIT Technology Review.