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Taylor Schreiner of Adobe: Voice Already Impacts Shopping Even If Transaction Isn’t Done With Alexa

Well, after the bomb Amazon dropped yesterday announcing an arsenal of Alexa-enabled devices – from microwaves, cars devices, wall clocks, outlet plugs, subwoofers – it’s easy to see we’re a quickly moving into a voice-first world. But the reason for all these new voice-enabled devices is because we kind of like talking to them, according to a recent study from Adobe called The State of Voice Assistants. Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, shared some of the key finding...


Jon Dick of HubSpot: Cutting Email Sent Out by 50% Increased Traffic Back to Our Website

I attended HubSpot’s INBOUND conference last week, where about 24,000 marketers descended on Boston for four days. While at the conference I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Jon Dick, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, and pick his brain on a few of the hot topics currently facing marketers today


Mike Volpe of The CMO Job is a Good Grooming Ground for CEOs

After years of being a very successful CMO, last month Mike Volpe was named CEO of – a company focused on making business travel easier for the travel manager and the traveler. I caught with Mike at Lola’s headquarters in Boston to learn more about making the transition from CMO to CEO, how being a CMO helped him prepare for being a CEO, and to get his take on how leading a startup in today’s environment compares to what is was like building HubSpot up more than a decade ago.


Dan Miller of Opus Research: We're Moving Into a Golden Age of Voice

I’ve spent part of the summer catching up with a few folks that I’ve talked with for this series in years past. And although it’s been less been less than a year and a half since I last spoke with Opus Research founder Dan Miller, in the fast-moving area of conversational interfaces like chatbots and voice assistants, that’s feels more like a lifetime. Dan, whose company is gearing up for their Conversational Commerce Conference next month, coined the phrase “conversational commerce” in...


Dennis Mortensen Of X.AI: Experience w/ Intelligent Agents May Help You Get Job Over Someone W/O it

It’s been nearly three years since I had the pleasure of speaking with Dennis Mortensen, founder and CEO of — the service behind Amy and Andrew - autonomous AI assistants who schedule meetings. Since three years in tech is like 20 years in real life, and with smart/digital assistants being at the top of many hot technology lists, I wanted to get Dennis’ perspective on how things have changed since we last spoke and how he sees the intelligent agent landscape shaping up.


Monique Dorsainvil Of Facebook - NUL Partnership Helps Us Reach Goal to Train 1 Million SMBs by 2020

Back in June of this year Facebook pledged to train 1 million US business owners by 2020 and equip more people with the digital skills they need to compete in today’s workplace. To help them meet that goal, this week the company announced a partnership with the National Urban League (NUL) to offer free training in social media strategy and digital marketing at 13 NUL locations in the following cities: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Houston, TX;...


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 is...


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 Customer...


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 get...


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 better...


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...