Tuesday, August 14, 2018

New INC Magazine Blog by Kaplan Institute Executive Director Howard Tullman

It's a Whole New Ball Game
In the fight to grab customers' time, attention and dollars, professional sports teams are changing the rules and even neglecting tradition. That's a lesson for all kinds of businesses.

Executive director, Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, Illinois Institute of Technology @tullman

 When our parents told us time and again to pay attention, we mostly thought it was a matter of courtesy and not of consequence. But, as it turns out today, attention has become a currency of its own, which we are each free to spend or squander. If you want me to pay attention to your message, you've got to find me at the right time and place and give me a compelling reason to listen. Show me quickly how you're going to make my life better (save or spare me something--time, money, work, bad decisions, etc.) or I'll quickly show you the virtual door and be long gone.

Billions of dollars are being spent every day by millions of marketers trying desperately and increasingly unsuccessfully -- amidst the growing noise and clutter -- to attract, engage and direct our attention to their clients' wares and wonders. And, if it wasn't challenging enough in its organic form, the task is made ever so much more difficult in the digital world by the abundance of hucksters, scammers, bots, viral shysters and every other manner of market manipulator selling phony video views, valueless virality, illegitimate likes, two-bit tweets and useless users.

Outbound and conquest marketing is just going to continue to get harder and harder and even less cost-effective, which is why more and more effort is being directed toward improving and deepening the connection and the experience of the customers that companies already have.  These folks are the lowest hanging fruit, the easiest to reach, and the most inclined to pay attention as long as you're meeting their progressively rising expectations and especially their increasingly shorter attention span.

The game today isn't being played in weeks or days or even hours. It's a double-overtime, all-the-time, battle over seconds and -- as far as I can see -- no one is giving this more thought than the sports guys. Watching the changes we're seeing in sports broadcasting and the way sports are being presented to, and shared with, the fans offers a number of important lessons for the rest of us.

With the data now available and the mass of real-time metrics that mobile users supply, everyone has a far more accurate window on what works in every single second of these games. The smartest sports executives are using all this information to better manage user experiences and--at the same time -- to remake the games themselves to better suit both the core fans and to attract new populations to the pool.

MLB, the NBA, and the NFL continue to have a unique edge, being live, over so much other media that can be readily and easily time-shifted.  But this hasn't blinded them to the growing need to get ahead of fidgety fans always looking for alternatives. Their small steps and the experiments have been fairly modest because, while the club owners are good businessmen, they're also very conservative people (apart from my friend Mark Cuban) and baseball, basketball and football are highly entrenched and sacrosanct parts of the culture and traditions of this country.

Still, the concerns they're starting to address are very relevant to the ways that every business will need to evaluate how they are interacting with consumers and prospects, and how the overall experiences they are creating and delivering to their customers can be improved. All the dimensions are in play -- how, when, where, what and to whom you are delivering your products and/or services.

Here are a few of the most important things to be looking out for:

(1) How Available Is It? (Access)
Everything is going global. Games will need to be played in the afternoon for European viewers and on weekend mornings for Asian audiences. Streaming games on Facebook (not contractually permitted in the U.S.) is already happening in India. How equipped is your business to sell to, service and support customers around the world? It's relatively easy to have your app downloaded in 100 countries. It's much harder to provide 24/7 customer support worldwide.

(2) How Long Is It? (Time)
Everything in business is now a function of time. No one wants to wait for anything. Games are being shortened with fewer time-outs and briefer halftimes, reducing coaches' trips to the mound, quicker pitching sequences, etc. because the average fan is only watching about half of any game. How quickly can you respond to your customers' inquiries, ship their goods, or dispatch service personnel to their sites when needed? The best businesses today respond to inbound customer calls in less than a minute.

(3) How Painless Is It? (Friction)
Sports customers want a quick, easy and friction-free solution. In this era of mass customization, the individual wants to create and share his or her personal experience on the fly. The teams continue to work aggressively to add increased functionality to the in-home and mobile experiences, including multiple selectable camera views, multi-lingual commentary choices, player, coach and referee microphones, fan cameras, etc. The goal is to supply everything you'd get in the stadium except the spilled beers and the screaming slob sitting next to you. In our own companies, the test is similar. How easy is it to do business with your business? How long does it take to reach the right person or department? How many layers and gatekeepers do I need to deal with to get my problem resolved? How readily is help available if I get stuck on the website? These are all quantifiable and relatively simple questions to answer. But the process starts when you start paying attention because, if you don't care about these critical outcomes, no one else in your company will either.

(4) How Do I Find Out What's Going On? (Awareness and Discovery)
We're all connected, and nothing is more immediate or interruptive than a text. FOMO is rampant, and teams are starting to use your phones and mobile messaging to let you know what's happening (or about to happen) and what you're gonna miss. Everyone wants to be in the room when it happens. This digital outreach has been especially effective in pulling in incidental and occasional fans and even newbies who don't want to miss the moment. How are you getting your messages out to the right audience at the right time and place so that they reach and resonant with both your current customers and new prospects as well?

(5) How Much of Me Do You Get? (Share of Attention/Stomach)
These days no one does anything important alone. Given everyone's limited time and the difficulties of reaching the most desirable targets, new distribution and channel partnerships are being developed in sports and the teams are willing to "share" access to critical audiences and mindshare as well with their advertisers and sponsors in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Split screens continue to display on-court or on-field action right alongside ads to avoid bathroom breaks and snack streaks during which the audience disappears entirely. In the same fashion, most new and smaller businesses today are absolutely going to have to ride on others' platforms and rails or have no chance of reaching sufficient numbers of end users. 

None of this is simple except for the guy who doesn't have to make it all happen himself. But it's worth paying attention to, trying to get a little bit better all the time, and understanding that standing still is never an option. And, in the end, it all comes down to Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon's rule: "Try not to suck."

Sunday, August 12, 2018

New eSports Space at IT


The Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS) is raising its annual event to an entirely new level – beginning with a new name.
What used to be known as the Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase is now ICPAS SUMMIT18. The two-day program, featuring presentations from key thought leaders, innovative learning sessions and top-tier exhibitors, will be held on August 28 - 29 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
“The future is happening now, with advanced technologies and other disruptors quickly changing the way work gets done. ICPAS SUMMIT18 is all about preparing professionals to stay ahead of the curve and be the disruptors,” said Todd Shapiro, President and CEO of the Illinois CPA Society. “In thinking about the future of our profession, we’ve re-designed our signature event to encompass everything people loved about our previous showcases while adding new sessions to help attendees master tomorrow’s technologies today.”
New this year is the Xero Theater, where visitors can take part in hands-on adventures in new technology during five interactive sessions on artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.
Professional education sessions will cover key topic areas such as tax reform, accounting & auditing, not-for-profit, corporate strategy and government. Plus, new topics have been added focusing on blockchain, data analytics, virtual reality and more.
Influential Keynote Speakers
The ever-popular keynote addresses will feature leading experts covering the latest developments in the accounting profession – with a look toward the future. The opening keynote session, “The Future of the CPA Profession is Now,” will feature Shapiro and Illinois CPA Society Board Chairperson, Rose Cammarata, CPA, CGMA.
Other keynote speakers include:
  • Howard Tullman, former CEO of Chicago tech start-up incubator, 1871, and current Executive Director of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology, will discuss the topic of “Future Proofing your Business: Critical Trends and Technologies.”
  • “The 2018 U.S. Economic Outlook” session will feature Lindsey Piegza, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Managing Director at Stifel Investment Services with Ilyce R. Glink, CEO of Best Money Moves and Think Glink Media.
  • Well-known accounting technology futurist, Dana R. “Rick” Richardson, CPA, CITP, CGMA will present his “2018 Technology Forecast.” 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

With startups, BMO puts its money where its mouth is

With startups, BMO puts its money where its mouth is

After partnering with 1871, the bank becomes a client of two women-led startups

Heather Holmes of Genivity
One of the most popular ideas for bringing innovation to big companies and giving young businesses a valuable boost they can’t get from investment alone is to pair them up. But aside from Demo Days, a sort of speed-dating event, results have been elusive.
That’s why it’s worth paying attention to a partnership between BMO Harris and 1871. It began a year ago with a mentorship program and ended with the bank becoming a customer of two women-led Chicago tech companies out of six that participated in the program.
Genivity, a 4-year-old company, makes software that assesses how long someone might expect to live based on lifestyle, medical history and other factors in an effort to make sure people don’t outlive their retirement savings. It also identifies potential financial risks related to health. The software is being rolled out to BMO Harris financial advisers in a pilot.
“It’s different than other models I’ve seen,” said Heather Holmes, CEO of Genivity, which has six employees. “It’s the difference between having a Demo Day and rolling up your sleeves and wanting to bring innovation into your company. Our mentors at BMO recruited other mentors. It was the opportunity to get direct feedback from a large enterprise customer. BMO had people assigned to us who wanted to make sure we got the support we needed.”
BMO also is using SpringFour, which makes software to help consumers at risk of missing loan payments or otherwise falling behind financially to improve their cash flow and avoid default or other problems.
“We had a chance to have a dialogue with senior members of the management team who could help us figure out how to work with different units within the bank,” said CEO Rochelle Nawrocki Gorey. SpringFour, an eight-person company founded in 2005, has other customers, but the BMO partnership “is another validation point.”
Both Genivity and SpringFour participated in 1871’s WiSTEM program for women entrepreneurs.
The right formula for collaboration is still evolving; getting a foot in the door is just a start. 
“Once the C-level guys say, 'Do something,' it still doesn’t happen unless they identify a business unit within their companies and some line—not staff—people who will work to actually implement something that helps both sides,” says Howard Tullman, a former CEO of 1871 and an investor in Genivity. “Small wins to start but with real P&L consequences and benefits. If you don’t get someone inside as your champion, who actually has some skin in the game and a career interest in seeing the project succeed, then you won’t be going anywhere.” 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

WDIS show - Howard and Tom Trading Options

WATCH THE SHOW HERE: https://www.tastytrade.com/tt/shows/wdis-top-dogs/episodes/timing-trades-after-movement-08-03-2018?utm_campaign=archive&utm_medium=link&utm_source=social-share

Howard and Tom aim to diversify some of his underlyings today by adding a few commodities and different sector exposure.
Tom explains how to set up a Jade Lizard strategy, which is a neutral to bullish strategy in ATVI and then walks through the breakevens and probability of profit.
They get neutral in FB and then focus on TSLA with a bearish, defined-risk Iron Condor.
With Gold bouncing back a little from its lows today, they decide to hold off until Monday to see if it pulls back for better trade location.
Finally, they wrap things up with a look at Howard's portfolio greeks and add to his theta by scaling up a position in Docusign, DOCU.

Kaplan Institute Exec Director Howard Tullman Speaks to Bronzeville Smart Group

IIT Welcomes BACP and Mayor Emanuel for Visit

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