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Steven Carse of King of Pops: Supporting Local Community is Good for Growing a Business

At last week’s Xerocon event I had the pleasure of meeting Steven Carse, who cofounded King of Pops with his brother. And what start as a natural ingredients popsicle company with a single cart in 2010 has turned into a company employing upwards of 250 people spread across eight cities in five states. Steven shared with me how being laid off from his corporate job led to him discovering his business opportunity, the importance of being involved in the community is key to understanding...


Keri Gohman of Xero: Automation and AI Help Accountants Provide Advisory Services SMBs Desire

I caught up with Keri Gohman, President of Xero Americas, after her keynote at Xerocon 2018 yesterday right here in Atlanta. One of the themes of her presentation centered on how automation will free accountants from the time-consuming but important tasks of collecting and processing data, allowing them to focus more of their time on more valuable advisory services – services small businesses want them to provide. And artificial intelligence, coupled with automation, is providing...


Alexa’s Secret Recording Gives Google An Opening in the Battle for the Smart Home

Usually my co-host for doing the Watching Amazon video podcast is my buddy John “ColderIce” Lawson, but with him out of the country, I was lucky to have my friend Jeff Brathwaite – web guru and Google Home/Assistant expert – join me. And it was perfect timing, as last week it was reported that Google outsold Amazon smart speaker device category for the first time ever in the first quarter of 2018…something I did not think would happen anytime soon let alone last quarter. We talk about how...


Anand Thaker: Adobe - Margento Deal Reinforces Importance of MarTech to Digital Transformation

We caught up with Anand Thaker, who led the data research for this year’s landscape through his company IntelliPhi Anand shares with us some of his takeaways from this year’s landscape, including certain categories went away, and why some were added. And with the big news of the week being Adobe’s acquisition of ecommerce platform Magento, we had to ask him what that means for the whole marketing technology category. And does this mean that HubSpot should go after Shopify.


Sarika Ameerichetty of Oracle: Interest in Integrating Business Apps with Like Alexa Is Growing

Earlier this week I attended Oracle Media Day, an event the company puts on for press and independent analysts to give them a glimpse at what the company is focused on currently. And as part of the day, live demos with hot technologies like augmented reality, drones and blockchain showcased new customer experiences that are right around the corner. But the one that caught my attention the most was a demo showing how an employee can use an Amazon Echo device integrated with Oracle’s HR...


Carmelita Jeter: Winning Isn’t Always About Coming in First, Sometimes It’s About Finishing

I caught up to the 2012 Olympic gold winner in the Women’s 100 meter Carmelita Jeter at BPM’Online’s user conference, Accelerate, in Boston. And her being the fastest woman alive having run the second fastest 100 meters ever in women’s history, that’s the only way I would’ve ever caught up to her… After her conference keynote, I had the great pleasure of asking her a few questions about some of the obstacles she overcame in becoming the fastest woman alive, how the lessons of teamwork she...


Watching Amazon: Is Technology Making Us Lazy Or Is It Unleashing Our Inherent Laziness?

From time to time I include my Watching Amazon conversations with ecommerce expert John Lawson here when we touch on something that may hit home with the Small Business Trends community. And in the midst of Amazon’s recent killer quarter – being driven in part by its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division and the Echo device line with Alexa inside – people are adopting modern technology in more aspects of their personal and professional lives. But is this technology driving us to be lazy, or...


CRM Playaz with Jeremy Epstein, The Blockchain Gangsta

The interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is growing rapidly. And Amazon’s announcement earlier this week of a new patent that may allow them to sell the identities of cryptocurrency users added even more fuel to the fire of interest. And this high level of interest was obvious at last week’s CRM Evolution conference, as Never Stop Marketing founder and blockchain expert Jeremy Epstein’s session - 'Blockchain and the CMO: The Next Era of Marketing' – was a real crowd...


Hype About Ginger Conlon: Digital Transformation Shouldn’t Make You Feel Late to the Party

Before founding MKTG Insight, Ginger was editor-in-chief at publications like CRM and Direct Marketing News. And with her wealth of knowledge and experience, I wanted to get a preview of what she’ll be discussing at the conference. And I asked my co-chair, Paul Greenberg, to help me ask Ginger about one of the myths surrounding digital transformation, and also an example of a company doing digital transformation the right way, from a marketing perspective.


Molly Q. Ford of Salesforce: We Do Equality Because It Feels Good, and There's a Business Value

While I was there as an industry analyst to hear more about how the Salesforce platform is progressing and how they’re providing tools to make it easier for coders and non-coders to leverage the toolset, it was great to see a diverse group of people demonstrating and teaching the ten thousand registered attendees how to build all different kinds of apps. And even the inspirational stories were diverse, with my favorite being a fireside chat between Salesforce’s Chief Equality Officer Tony...


David Parmenter of Adobe: AI Should Solve Real World Problems, Add Efficiency

A great deal of conversations about artificial intelligence (AI) focus on exciting, eye-catching aspects of the technology. But some of the most important and prevalent uses of it are the more mundane examples that are overlooked but helping millions of people everyday do routine tasks more effectively and efficiently. David Parmenter, Director of Data and Engineering for Adobe Document Cloud, shares with me how AI’s more practical applications provide a number of helpful examples of its...


Lawrence Cole of Google on how Machine Learning is Democratizing SEO

Last year at Nextiva’s NextCon event, one of the featured presentation was from Lawrence Cole, the Head of Mid-Market, U.S. West for Google. It was such a good session that I’ve been wanting to have him join me for a conversation for this series ever since. And this week I was able to talk with him and get his take on a number themes around search, seo, conversation rate optimization and how machine learning is democratizing the availability of insights in all these areas.


Brian Solis of Altimeter Group: The Irony of Needing Machines to Be More Human at Scale

I have the honor of co-chairing CRM Magazine’s annual event, CRM Evolution, alongside friend and leading independent CRM analyst Paul Greenberg. The conference takes place next month in Washington, DC, and features a host of influencers and thought leaders in areas like customer engagement, artificial intelligence, blockchain, conversational interfaces, and other key technologies and strategies. One of the keynoters of the conference is Brian Solis, whose talk is entitled Designing...


Jon Lee of ProsperWorks: Automating CRM Data Entry Improves Impact of AI and Provides Better Insight

When many think about artificial intelligence (AI) today it’s usually centered around headline grabbing examples of it addressing the futuristic type issues and challenges. And because the media lens focuses on those “eye-catching” use cases, many small businesses don’t feel like AI is really something that they would benefit from. But, according to Jon Lee, founder and CEO of CRM platform ProsperWorks, AI can help businesses of all sizes make better, more timely decisions that can help...


Stefan Pretty of Subbly: Machine Learning is Becoming More Critical in Subscription Businesses

Subscription business models have been gaining traction over the last five years, particularly with small business startups. But what impact are technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning having on subscription business models? Stefan Pretty, CEO and founder of Subbly, an all-in-one subscription eCommerce solution, shares how he sees AI/machine learning shaping subscriptions, as well as how the combination of subscriptions and ecommerce are helping more entrepreneurs...


Smart Hustle Report -- Michael Trabold of Paychex Talks Tax Cuts

Michael Trabold joins Ramon Ray for his latest Smart Hustle Report.


More than 33% of US Adults Experience Issues Getting Connected Devices Working

iQor, a global provider of customer care and interactions, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) solutions, released the results of their “Customer and Product Experience 360” survey focusing on early adopters of connected devices like smart refrigerators, thermostats and speakers. Autumn Braswell, iQor’s Chief Operating Officer, shares a few of the key findings of the survey, and how growing expectations for using connected devices are forcing companies to up their game and provide...


Smart Hustle Report -- Michelle Weinstein

Ramon Ray chats with Michelle Weinstein, The Pitch Queen for his latest Smart Hustle Report.


Joe Galvin Of Vistage - Leadership is the Art of Execution

Vistage, a business advisory and executive coaching organization designed exclusively for CEOs, business owners and key executives, boasts having a membership of more than 21,000 expert leaders. And each month they partner with The Wall Street Journal on a small business confidence index that covers a lot of ground on what’s on the minds of small and midsize businesses. Joe Galvin, Vistage’s Chief Research Officer, shares some of the key takeaways from the latest survey, including why theirs...


Smart Hustle Report -- Uli Nasibova

Small Business Trends Uli Nasibova chats with Ramon Ray for the latest Smart Hustle Report.