I chat with my old colleague Keith Newman whom I have know for decades on his podcast The Look Back. We chatted about our overlapping times at CMP and Ziff-Davis and a few other places as well.
Business collaboration is finally fulfilling its promise — but less because of new technology than people finding better ways to use it.
The technology has gotten a boost, thanks to post-COVID distributed work teams that have embraced video conferencing and instant messaging. But figuring out the collaboration workflows isn’t just choosing between Microsoft Teams and Zoom. but becoming more adept about when and how to work with others. In other words, having the right people with the right mindsets and operating under the right corporate culture are more important than having the right technical infrastructure.
My take on the evolution of collaboration tools for SiliconANGLE can be found here.
Next week, tune in for this webinar that I am doing for Vonage that will cover this ground in more detail.
I am once again a guest on Shaun St. Hill’s Tech&Main podcast, today talking about the ways an IT manager can better understand and defend their networks from chatbots. Yes, there has been a lot written about them but not necessarily from this perspective, and not necessarily very proscriptive and practical.
I had an opportunity to be interviewed by Tony Bryant, of CyberUP, a cybersecurity non-profit training center, about the rise of ChatGPT and its relevance to cyber threats. This complemented a blog that I wrote earlier in the year on the topic, and certainly things are moving quickly with LLM-based AIs. The news this week is that IBM is replacing 7,800 staffers with various AI tools, making new ways of thinking about the future of upskilling GPT-related jobs more important. At the RSAC show last week, there was lots of booths that were focused on the topic, and more than 20 different conference sessions that ranged from danger ahead to how we can learn to love ChatGPT for various mundane security tasks, such as pen testing and vulnerability assessment. And of course news about how ChatGPT writes lots of insecure code, according to French infosec researchers, along with a new malware infostealer is out with a file named ChatGPT For Windows Setup 1.0.0.exe. Don’t download that one!
There are still important questions you need to ask if you are thinking about deploying any chatbot app across your network, including how is your vendor using AI, which algorithms and training data are part of the model, how to build in any resilience or SDLC processes into the code, and what problem are you really trying to solve.
One of my first outings for SiliconANGLE is doing this pod with co-founder Dave Vellente this week. We cover a wide range of topics, including examining a new report from Unit42, the “double supply chain” attack on 3CX’s network (and how inadequate their response will be, at least according to their own admissions), where passwordless is for enterprise IT, and other infosec matters. You can read my best bits on the transcript link, or watch the entire pod!
We are back after a hiatus and speaking to Anna Griffin, who recently joined cloud storage provider Commvault as Chief Market Officer. Anna has held marketing leadership positions at Smartsheet, Intercom, Nortel, CA and Juniper Networks, among others. That longevity has helped her gain perspective in how to operate in good times and not-so-good times, and our interview explores what she has learned from these experiences.
Anna told us about how marketers have to be careful not to let their organization appear to be a cost center. Rather, they should believe and demonstrate that they are a necessary and valuable asset to the company. Take advantage of a downturn by leaning in and focusing on customers so that the company can craft a message that’s more relevant to their needs. She suggested that marketers should fight for their budgets and focus on high-value activities that will help the company grow. “Someone has to grow, even in lean times,” she said.
Anna spoke about how she has embraced many of the tenets of B2C marketing, even though she has spent more of her career in the B2B world. “I believe that is true since the beginning of time; we are selling human-to-human after all.” Maybe we should start using the term H2H?
“We should remove any frictions in the purchasing process by understanding that community is the new B2B playbook and that customers want things now,” she said. The sales organization needs to be part of the marketing effort, and marketers should be sure playbooks are coordinated.
Being a market leader isn’t just about touting your company’s presence on some “magic quadrant” because customers don’t buy MQs, Anna said. “We have to show more specifics about how we can solve the actual customers’ problems. This means we have to be more targeted in how we can add value for them on day one.”
I talk about passkeys: what they are, how they work, and how they can be used to protect your identity and your logins. This is with Shaun St. Hill’s Tech and Main podcast. And I also get to tell a story about erector sets too.
Paul and I spoke to Chris Matty, the co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Versium, Inc. His company is developing better B2B ad tracking technologies that will ultimately be used when the third-party web cookie finally bites the dust next year.
As with so many online technologies, replacing cookies might require a lot of work from advertisers and web publishers. This is because Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon all have a vested interest in keeping customers within their “walled gardens” and not necessarily sharing their tracking data with others. The great cookie demise will bring about a series of consequences, some intended and some unintended.
For example, there will be an initial rush for advertisers to make use of first-party data (meaning data that they have collected over the years themselves) until they realize that this data is outdated or inaccurate and can’t really provide the sufficient quality or insights or a path towards eventual purchases that the old cookies had. There will also be an adjustment as advertisers realize that reaching B2B customers is a lot more difficult than reaching consumers because many business customers don’t necessarily identify themselves as such — think of all the LinkedIn accounts that carry Gmail addresses as an example.
The work-from-home movement has increased the complexity of the tracking business customers now have different IP addresses or are hidden behind VPNs, so all that geofencing and IP tracking data is out the window! Versium is attempting to resolve these issues by aggregating anonymous data from a variety of sources to profile website visitors without compromising their privacy. Resolving identity means collecting and matching deterministic data that allows a marketer to reach or contact a specific person, such as email, phone numbers, addresses and device IDs. For example, think of trying to ensure you have identified the same person when sometimes they call themselves Bob Smith, sometimes Robert Smith, and in other cases they show up as @rsmith. Versium believes that’s possible in many cases using independent, opt-in sources.
The company is working with a variety of independent publishers and advertisers to consolidate data assets to allow independent publishers and site owners to better compete with the internet giants. The goal is to achieve personalization with privacy protection.
Chris has written extensively on this topic here. “Companies that deploy identity resolution solutions to optimize and leverage data can take back the control they had once ceded to third-party cookies,” he asserts.
You can listen to our 16 min. interview with Chris here.
Paul and I have been on Twitter for 15 years. While we were some of the first business tech journalists to use it, we have also spent a considerable amount of time investing in the care and cultivation of our accounts, and Paul has written several books about social media marketing. Even before the circus called Elon came to the Twittersphere, we had planned to devote a podcast to discussing whether Twitter can thrive in the era of constant outrage or whether it is destined to be another Myspace.
A couple of interesting sources informed this discussion, including Jon Faverau’s interview with Twitter Co- founder Ev Williams, in which Williams recounts some of the early decisions that drove Twitter’s architecture and news orientation. There was also this piece by Jonathan Haidt in the Atlantic on how the past decade of our lives have been influenced by social media and especially how the retweet function has driven misinformation and disinformation. Haidt believes social media has weakened the intrinsic trust that we place in each other.
While Elon’s dreams of a truly open source and “inclusive arena for free speech” might be taking Twitter down the wrong path, there are still many reasons for B2B marketers to use the network as long as they are authentic, can stick to their knitting and promote longer forms of content such as blogs and, yes, podcasts and videos. Just remember to stay in your swim lane.
You can listen to our 17-minute podcast here:
Over the years I have received numerous emails from people trying to sell me how I can transform my website to become #1 on Google searches. The promises always have a hollow ring, because while they might work at a particular moment in time (if at all), they miss the longer-term implications of how search engine rankings work. Usually, they are just scammers designed to separate you from your cash.
The field of search engine optimization or SEO is fraught with these charlatans, and I have been reluctant to write about this because I am not really an expert. Over the years I have adopted a very simple SEO strategy: just provide the best possible content, try to keep the links on my website as fresh as possible, and fix broken or outdated links whenever I can. I realize this is a far cry from “real” SEO, I know.
I remember when I first put up my website back in the early 1990s when I thought, I won’t have any broken links. Well, that wasn’t a sustainable strategy and I think it wasn’t long before I couldn’t keep up. I was reminded of them when I spent the better part of a few hours last week trying to fix the various broken links that Techtarget created for my content when I was searching for an article that I wrote back in 2006. I have written a ton of things for their various websites (such as SearchSecurity.com) and there is a lot of repair work on broken links, tracing down outdated content and finding that many of my original work has been updated by someone else.
Anyway, my point is that SEO can be more of one of the dark arts of magic than science. I was delighted to come across Influence&Co., a content marketing firm here in St. Louis that understands these issues and has tried to help their clients with their SEO strategies. For our latest FIR B2B podcast, Paul Gillin and I interviewed Tony Patrick, who directs digital marketing for the firm.
One of Tony’s colleagues wrote this piece in Sales & Marketing.com on SEO tactics. The piece mentions several tips, including
- Doing keyword research and then implementing them in your content and metadata,
- Why inbound links matter and how to go about placing them effectively,
- Placing content in external publications and then doing back links on your site, and also
- Posting both textual pieces with video and podcasts to exploit different learning styles of site visitors.
We explore some of the suggestions mentioned in that piece to help B2B marketers become better SEO practitioners. The basics behind the SEO industry haven’t changed much in the past decade, but it helps to hire someone like Influence&Co. that specializes in this area to make sure your website gets traction and well, influence. We also discus how to vet potential content marketing partners to deliver the best and most useful content, and avoid those “make money fast” scammers with their “guarantees.” Tony also gives his suggestions on the best tools to use to track your search results, including Semrush, Hubspot, Ahrefs, and Moz.com.
You can listen to the 19 minute podcast here:
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