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John Lawson of Watching Amazon: Amazon is not the third superpower in the Tariff War

It appears like we may have averted a tariff war with Mexico, even though it’s still a bit early to tell if that will really be the case. But there’s another tariff war that’s still in effect right now between the two biggest economies in the world – The USA and China. But are these the only two superpowers involved in this fight? Some say there’s actually a third superpower involved in this – Amazon. Now is Amazon really a superpower in the same way that these two countries are? Of course...


Michael Wu Of PROS - AI Mimics Humans But Won't Take Your Place

Michael Wu Of PROS - AI Mimics Humans But Won't Take Your Place by Small Business Trends


Joe Galvin of Vistage - Digital Transition Misses Out on Big Payoff from Transformation

Last year I caught up with my buddy Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer of Vistage, a business advisory and executive coaching organization with a membership of more than 22,000 business owners and executive leaders. Recently I was able to catch up with him again to talk about a phrase that continues to get a lot of attention – digital transformation. But, despite all the focus and discussion we see on digital transformation, it’s digital transition Joe sees that is taking place at SMBs,...


Brooks Robinson of Springbot: Selling on Amazon Not as Important as Having Own Brand for Some

While at Magento Imagine last week I had the chance to speak to Brooks Robinson, CEO of Springbot, a marketing automation application built specifically for SMB e-commerce retailers. They’ve been serving this audience for seven years, and are a long time Magento partner. So I stopped by their booth at the conference to get Brooks’ take on what Adobe acquisition of Magento means to SMB retailers, what have been the biggest changes to ecommerce over the past couple of years, what relationship...


Jason Woolsey of Adobe: Making Mobile Shopping More Seamless is a $9 Billion Opportunity

During Magento Imagine I had the opportunity to chat with Jason Woolsey, Adobe’s VP of Commerce, about the combination of commerce and content and how that is impacting online merchants – and more importantly the digital shopping experience. Jason also touches on some of the more notable announcements coming out of the conference and their potential impact on Magento merchants, including integrations with the Amazon Marketplace and Google Ads that allow merchants to manage their whole...


Colin Morris of Adobe - Voice’s Impact on the Customer Journey Is Bigger Than People Think

I had an opportunity to talk with Colin Morris, Director of Product Management for Adobe about how things like smart speakers and voice assistants are potential game changers for how companies engage customers and prospects. But now I think it’s safe to drop “potential” from that statement as its clear the game is already changing. Colin shares just how much the game has changed, because many people out there might not know the magnitude of the change – and the magnitude of what’s to come in...


Jay Duff of Chick-fil-A - We make a great sandwich and a great customer experience

Earlier this week I chaired CRM Evolution, CRM Magazine’s annual industry conference. And as usual it was a great event with industry experts, thought leaders and vendor executives participating throughout the 3 days of the event. But the most surprising person I ran into at the conference was my supervisor at my very first professional job, Jay Duff. I hadn’t seen Jay in close to 22 years and had no idea he would be there. Back in the early 1990s we helped pharmaceutical sales reps use CRM...


Brian Solis - We’re Making Life Changing Decisions Based on Digital Personas

Brian Solis’ new book Lifescale - How to Live a More Creative, Productive and Happy Life, is a departure from his previous books, including X: The Experience When Business Meets Design and What’s The Future of Business. Whereas these books were focused on the impact of modern technology on our business and professional lives, Lifescale looks at the impact that digital distraction is having on our personal lives and our ability to be who we really want to be. As with those previous books, I...


Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Mag: You Don’t Need to Be Shaquille O’Neal to be a Celebrity CEO

I caught up with Ramon Ray at a recent conference to discuss his new book Celebrity CEO, understand what he means by the term Celebrity CEO, why he feels it’s critical for today’s small business folks to become one, and what it will take to be one.


Sridhar Vembu of Zoho: Humility, Trust, Belief and Insane Ambition Is Key to Our Success

As busy as he was during Zoholics19, Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu made time for the Small Business Trends community to do an “ask me anything” session with myself and SBT publisher Anita Campbell. We covered a lot of ground with Sridhar thanks to the great questions sent in from the both the SBT and BizSugar communities


Meredith Schmidt of Salesforce: Small Biz Is a Real Business Unit For Us Not Just a Product

Meredith Schmidt, Executive Vice President & GM of Salesforce Essentials & SMB, joined me last week to share more about the change in how Salesforce Essentials is being positioned within the company, what will change, and how this will impact Salesforce’s SMB customers. She also touches on how new technologies like AI and voice interfaces are already beginning to affect small businesses.


Rob Tarkoff of Oracle: Customer Experience Today is About Data, Content, Design, and Curiosity

Paul Greenberg and I were able to capture some of these nuggets in a conversation we had with Rob Tarkoff, Oracle’s EVP and GM of the Oracle CX business. Topics Rob touched on include the leading role data is playing in developing customers experiences, the role curiosity plays in delivering customer experiences, and who Rob believes is the most curious person (out of 140,000 employees worldwide) at Oracle is today. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.


Ginger Conlon of The Drum: The Most Significant Moment in 25 Year History of Digital Marketing?

I spent some time with Ginger to discuss an intriguing question based on the upcoming 25th anniversary of the first digital display ads being run on websites – what has been the most significant moment in the 25 year history of digital marketing? Ginger and I take a shot at answering that, but as you’ll see below it’s kind of hard to narrow it down to one moment or thing.


Survey says 53% of Retailers think they provide a great CX, only 13% of customers agree

Oracle’s Netsuite division recently put out the Future of Retail report (free with registration) in partnership with Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor. The global study of 1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives across the U.S., U.K. and Australia found a huge disconnect between what retailers think shoppers want, and what shoppers actually want. Major differences are found in areas spanning the overall retail environment, social media, personalization and the use of advanced...


Zoho University Provides High School Grads Tuition-Free Skills Training and 1800 Employees

To learn more about Zoho University me and my CRM Playaz partner Paul Greenberg had a chance to sit with Zoho’s Raju Vegesna to learn more about the program, how it fits with the company’s overall culture and philosophy, and how the program has led to Zoho hiring 1800 Zoho University graduates – equating to roughly a quarter of the company’s 7000+ employee base.


Bryan Manning of Two Blind Brothers: Before it was a Business, it was a Mission

The inaugural Facebook 3.5 Degrees podcast features Bryan and Bradford Manning of Two Blind Brothers, who created their t-shirt business from the start to donate 100% of their profits to help to retinal research to try and cure blindness. This mission hits close to home for them, as they both our legally blind due to having Stargardt disease since they were very young. Bryan and Bradford shared with me how they got started with the business, the central role their mission plays in it, and...


Synthetic Speech and Voice Synthesis Threat Grows With Rise of Voice Assistants

Chris Halaschek, VP of IoT at Pindrop, a pioneering company in voice fraud prevention and authentication, invited me over to the company’s Atlanta-based headquarters to talk about where we are today with security for these kinds of devices, and what can be done to make it safer to use the popular devices to do more things.


Where Does the Fault Lie When Facebook and Amazon Privately Share Data?

Recently an article came discussed a situation where an Amazon customer was trying to post a review for the book she bought. But she kept getting notified that due to a rules violation she wouldn’t be able to do it. Well after the news about Facebook sharing information came out, it appeared that Amazon may have used the data to assume there was a “real” friendship that wouldn’t allow for an honest review of the book. John Lawson and I discuss the implications of Amazon using Facebook data...


Grant Hill and Nzinga Shaw of the Atlanta Hawks

While many of you probably know who Grant Hill is, you might not have known that he went from playing on the court to being a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks – also serving as Vice Chair of the organization. And last week I had the honor of hosting a conversation with Hill and Nzinga Shaw, the Hawks Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, during the Diversity in Tech Summit held in conjunction with Salesforce’s World Tour Stop in Atlanta. The event was organized in partnership with The Atlanta...


CRM Playaz: Being Transformational in Business Goes Beyond Using Disruptive Technology

It was obvious that SAP CEO Bill McDermott was enthusiastic about the purchase of Qualtrics and referred to it as being a transformational moment for the company. Which got my buddy and CRM thought leader Paul Greenberg (aka the Godfather of CRM) fired up to discuss for our CRM Playaz video podcast. But while we focused on whether we felt McDermott was right about the deal being transformational, we went beyond that and started thinking about what does it really mean to be transformational...