Argentina To Win Brazil World Cup 2014

That’s what the ladybug I found inside an apricots box, bought the other day, thinks. And why not? If Paul the octopus, Shaheen the camel, Nelly the elephant or your favorite animal can predict the world cup results, then why not that shy ladybug? I will not say how the insect indicated its choice, in case this prediction actually influences the results, but will update this blog after the cup season is over.Brazil2014

I am not a true football fan and I won’t be upset if my ladybug prediction turns wrong. In fact, I do not have a specific team to support. My interest is not in camels extending their necks to indicate a winning team or who bets on which team, but in scientific predictions based on data mining and analytics (if any), data transfer and storage as well as mobile viewing. How do we determine the likelihood of a certain team winning a match? And beyond getting a flat screen TV and channel subscription, or going to the nearby cafe’ for collective viewing, how to be updated through your mobile phone or tablet?

Several entities created their own models to predict the result of each match leading to the cup winner. Some of these models are based on historical statistics and others are more sophisticated incorporating specific players, positions, ranks, wages, crowds and so on. Among them are Goldman Sachs, FiveThirtyEight, Bloomberg and many others – including this interactive graphic. Sporting Intelligence uses different indicators including an aggregation to find a winner in the tournament and ends up with a few candidates. There is little intelligence and too much stats in all these models, and they are as good as our  psychic animals.

Big data, cloud computing, content delivery, goal sensors, networking and carriers will be distinguished guests (actually hosts) in the game. Massive data in the form of video, audio, scores, events, images, comments and other interactions need to be recorded, transferred and secured in real time. The game is supposed to be the first truly digital world cup.

Since many will use their mobile phones and other smart devices to keep up with the games, several apps are available. You can find a few selected lists for both Android and iOs at Digital Trends or UK Telegraph (most of which are free) with the FIFA official app as top candidate. Make sure you do not download infected apps from un-trusted sources.

Brazilians are already protesting the $11 billion cup cost as too high, which may be true, but this investment should have good immediate returns and is likely to continue to do so later on. The hidden losing investment will be in the form of lost work hours or low productivity all around the world by football fans.

Football, or soccer to be more accurate, is a great game for both players and crowds. You can enjoy being in the field or around it (physically or virtually), but you should not cross those boundaries or violate the non-written rules and turn it into religion or national identity. It’s just a game and should not be seen as battles in a new world war.

Ladybug update (July 14, 2014): so that was pretty close! I have to admit though that Mrs. ladybug had nothing to do with football predictions. She happened to be the first creature I saw before I wrote the above article. I just wanted to say that you can’t use models or psychos to predict world cup results – it’s all, simply, gambling. Till next cup!

Posted in Brazil 2014 world cup, FIFA | Comments Off

If I Were 22: Look Back And Look Ahead!

It must be a special feeling to be half a century old and in deed it is. Being 22 suggests you are about to graduate from college, which is generally true, but this is not meant to be a commencement speech. If you are sweating inside a mine, an assembly line, a fast food outlet or joined the unemployed at an earlier stage, you are equally entitled to be part of my e-audience. In fact, this is also meant to be for those over fifty – they are the policy and decision makers who control our lives from early childhood to late retirement.

I have good news for you. It’s not too late and there is hope. This is not the time to shed tears, bite or point fingers. You may be happy and want more and you may be at a turning point uncertain what’s ahead. I may not have the perfect recipe and I do not claim a monopoly to the truth. What I can do is wish you all the best first and offer some ingredients next. You do not have to be 22, live in a certain country or speak English to read on!

  • Seek the truth: for the truth shall set you free. We spend most of our life marketing – not only goods and services, but ideas, beliefs, feelings and interests. Do not fall victim to sales pitches or packaging. Shop around, ask questions and make informed decisions
  • Question authority: this is not a call to arms to topple regimes, and authority is not limited to political and administrative structures. Authority may refer to the established norms, status quo or modes of thinking. Do not accept canned facts or boxed ways of thinking. Be original and innovative even if you end up swimming against the current and tweeting outside the flock. Commend the great and criticize the bad. Be an active agent for change and reform.
  • Balance your rights and responsibilities: If everyone does their responsibilities very well, everyone’s rights would have already been delivered. After all, your rights are someone’s responsibilities. It is a very simplistic philosophy but it works.
  • Take care of yourself: Your well being is very important and you should take care of your body, mind and heart. Stay healthy and never ignore your soul when you feed your stomach! Exercise, stay away from harmful substances and any wrongdoing.
  • Do not be selfish: Be cooperative and help others. Two heads are better than one, so do give advice, and people do better when they work together, so give a helping hand. If you can’t do it physically, do not belittle a little prayer. Extend your citizenship to the far corners of the globe.
  • Keep learning: life long learning is the essence of success. Never stop learning and educate yourself in different disciplines. Learn fast and embrace TVET (technical vocational education and training) besides academic knowledge. Make sure you erase or unlearn bad things as you go along.
  • Embrace universal values and ethics: core ethical values like trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship are valued locally and globally. They will help shape your character and influence those around you.
  • Be yourself: do not offer your brain for hire or live other peoples’ life. Discover the inner you and establish your own identity. Be a significant figure in society and stay original.
  • Be social: I don’t mean using social media here – you may be on your way to become anti-social if you live all your life inside the social media jungle. Go out and meet real people. Feel their pain and share their happiness. Use social media as a tool and not an end. Be a real being!
  • Work locally and think globally: you need to earn a living and should try to find the right fit. In the mean time, like what you do until you manage to do what you like. Be an entrepreneur and never confine your interests to your local region or country. The world is full of great problems waiting for great solutions. Your opportunity may be around the corner or a few thousand miles away.
  • Never ignore your past but look toward the future as well and when you do, make sure you complete a circle – your opportunity may be on the other side of the route. You can’t rewind the past or travel back in time, so collect your experience and move forward with determination and hope.
  • Volunteer: there is an inner satisfaction in setting aside part of your time or other resources for the general benefit of society or for a great cause. Not only it is worthy to do, but you will learn and network.
  • Have fun: break the routine of life and entertain yourself. Practice your hobbies and travel around. This will remove boredom and add knowledge and wisdom.
  • Add your own: this is not a comprehensive list. Readers are encouraged to add their own in the comments section.

#IfIWere22 I wish I knew then what I know now! Good luck to you all!

Posted in Career Advice and Self Development | Comments Off

Future Online Ads Will Have Feelings

Very soon, online advertising will shift tactics from passively jumping in front of your face on different sized displays to more engaged and aggressive interactions all over space. Ads will smell, pinch and sting. They will twist your arm and force you to pay or threat you to deal with consequences if you go for the competition.

Wearable technology and advances in technical interfaces, simulations and virtual reality may look cool to geeky consumers, but they are also perfect tools for marketing agencies waiting, patiently, to prey on those fully excited, technically addicted poor victims. Not only your smart mobile, wrist band or watch and your Google glasses, but your car, TV, refrigerator and any other appliance you may think of will be equally qualified to mount a ruthless marketing attack at your very weak defenses. Worse still, would be internal collaboration secured by earlier rounds of information gathering and psychological preparations.

Production technology and infrastructure for the new generation of advertising and marketing in general are almost ready, even outside research labs. There is probably still some juice left to squeeze out of traditional online marketing and advertising tools and channels. Despite their widely proven failure, they are used for lack of other creative ways as well as ignorance and widespread lies – politely referred to as statistics – about positive ROI from online ads.

After examining a year of Google AdSense performance, I can say with confidence that the organic click through rate (CTR) is between 4 and 5% which is close to the widely reported average. There is no way to find out how many of these are serious or did so on purpose and with full awareness (ads are usually concealed and placed to flow well with content). Ad networks, of course, charge for impressions as well, so if your ads are not clicked, you are charged for views (this applies to social media outlets as well). Add to this the ad fraud (bots generating hits and even submitting forms, competition burning your ads budget and ad clicking farms) and you can easily see how flawed the current online advertising scheme is.

Online advertising is also dumb. Why would you see a Facebook ad if you are already logged in? How many times you should see the same ad over a certain period of time? How can you predict what a user is up to and serve them relevant ads? Are ads relevant to current content (if served correctly) the right ones? What about ads based on demographics and how do you verify the data? How do you deal with ad blocking tools? Why would you pay for auto-reloads? Only a better thought out strategy and approach will solve this issue. For now, changes in tactics and channels are the only available options.

Large corporations have been eying future adverts and laying infrastructure and manufacturing devices to support their plans. From gizmos to smart devices and apps with massive collection of all kinds of data and remote control options (spelled features) like switching your cam or mic, the ground is now ready. Future ads may not even be channeled through your browser or your apps (those will collect data), but the operating system running your device may step in. Do not be surprised if the next Windows will be free as long as it runs Bing and serves ads – at least for the end user, not the typical company. What about Internet access? You guessed it! Basic services will run on ads infrastructure, the rest will be other features and it is just around the corner! Are you ready for the party? What will be your sacrifice?

Posted in Advertising, Facebook, Facebook Advertising, Marketing, Social Media | Comments Off