Tag Archives: Massive

American Airlines Just Admitted It Has a Massive Problem. It's Either Funny Or Tragic
February 4, 2019 12:02 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

When I offer my occasionally skeptical thoughts about American Airlines, its customers cascade abuse upon my ignorance, my being and even my Twitter feed.

No, that’s a joke.

What actually happens is that I get messages from yet more American Airlines employees and customers telling me that things at the airline aren’t too perfect.

Of course, it’s often the whiners who choose to make most noise. 

For some time, though, American has made decision after decision that seems unhelpful to its customers.

The airline, though, has always insisted that its customer satisfaction scores were holding steadier than you would be doing, should you be standing in one of those bathrooms.

It’s a source, then, of considerable discomfort that the airline admitted it has a big problem. 

During its latest earnings call it admitted that customer satisfaction scores for the airline as a whole have now gone down.

Yes, passengers appear to be bothering to express a little displeasure even on the airline’s survey forms.

You might think that — as well as the tiny bathrooms — reducing legroom in First Class as well as Economy Class wouldn’t necessarily endear American to its customers.

You might even think that executives at American realize this.

However, as Skift reports, American’s president Robert Isom believes passengers are unhappy for a different reason.

He said no, no, they’re entirely happy with the actual product American offers: 

People are very pleased with what they’re getting in terms of service and in terms of the amenities and fleet and airports.

For Isom, though, passengers have just one itty-bitty issue:

They want a reliable airline. They want to be certain they get what they pay for.

You mean like with baggage fees?

Isom’s view rhymes perfectly with the opinions of the airline’s CEO, Doug Parker.

He recently insisted that by far the most important thing to customers is to get to their destination on time.

I fear he and Isom may not, for once, be correct.

But as it forced more and more of its planes into its so-called Project Oasis (seriously) cramped configuration and it flies more and more narrowbody planes stuffed with more and more seats over longer distances — yes, a narrowbody nightmare to Brazil! — passengers are going to notice.

American’s Flight Attendants regularly tell me they don’t feel the sort of motivation they’d like to, given what they see as management’s indifference to anything other than the lure of lucre.

Why, Isom himself declared last year that the airline won’t make anything better for passengers unless it can make a profit out of it.

At some point, your customers can see what you’re doing and decide they really don’t like it.

At some further point, they’re going to tell you.

It was a hauntingly pleasant experience, one that the airline is phasing out.

Is it really any wonder that its customers are now less satisfied?

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Samsung Suddenly 'Confirms' Massive Galaxy Note 9 Upgrade
July 30, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Samsung is set to cancel the Galaxy Note range, and the asking price of the Galaxy Note 9 means it is unlikely to ride to the rescue. That said, if the Galaxy Note 9 is to go out in a blaze of glory, then the good news is it will definitely sign-off by setting a record for the range’s most famous feature… 

The Galaxy Note 9 will have a massive 4,000mAh battery. For sure. 100%. How do we know? Because a filing Samsung made with Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency ‘ANATEL’ and spotted by SamMobile states it explicitly. And this has spectacular consequences.

Galaxy Note 9 concept proved too ambitiousyoutube.com/DBSDESIGNING

The big news is it confirms the details of a claimed hands-on review by popular Russian tech reporter Eldar Murtazin. At the time Murtazin claimed his leaked unit had a 4,000mAh battery and it delivered real-world battery life of up to two days and could playback 25 hours of non-stop video at maximum brightness on a single charge. That’s astonishing.

Furthermore, the ANATEL filing means Murtazin’s other intriguing Galaxy Note 9 claims must now be taken very seriously.

On the flip side, while this major battery upgrade will excite Galaxy Note fans (the Galaxy Note 8 had just a 3300mAh battery), the problem remains Samsung’s asking price. Earlier this week rock solid WinFuture tipster Roland Quandt said Galaxy Note 9 prices will start at €1050 ($ 1230) rising to €1250 ($ 1460) in Europe. And remember, European prices are not that different from the US as they include sales tax.

It is worth stressing Galaxy Note 9 buyers will get a lot more memory for their money but, given the controversial omissions, it will likely remain a tough sell for mainstream customers.

Galaxy Note 9 – the claimed potential and the realityIce Universe

All of which means Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is at least going to out in a way that’s representative of the whole range: beloved and essential to fans, but a step too far for most users.

As we know, Samsung is unlikely to weep long for the Galaxy Note range given all the surprises it has lined up in its 10th anniversary Galaxy S10. But it is the even more costly, but potentially show-stealing, $ 2,000 game-changer in early 2019 which Note fans should look out for…

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More On Forbes

Samsung Suddenly Confirms Radical Galaxy Note 9 Upgrades

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 Is Very Expensive

Massive Galaxy Note 9 Leak Details All-New Features

Samsung Filing Makes Galaxy Note 9 Official

Samsung’s Radical Galaxy Smartphone Costs $ 2,000

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Google 'Accidentally' Reveals Massive Pixel 3 Upgrade
July 29, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Google has done a great job of leaking its new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL on multiple occasions. And now the company has ‘accidentally’ done it again… 

Picked up by the eagled-eyed 9to5Google, today the Google app was updated to version 8.14 and it contains new code which goes a long way to confirming both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will add what is arguably the range’s biggest omission: wireless charging.

Pixel 3 XL ConceptConcept Creator

The giveaway in the updated Google App comes via a string of code referencing a new smart ‘Pixel Stand’. This operates like a smart speaker, gaining access to the Google Assistant by pairing with a Pixel while the phone’s display becomes a contextual, glanceable screen in response to the questions asked.

This functionality requires a Pixel owner to give explicit permission to access this data. As the new Google app code reveals:

<string name=”trusted_dock_action_text”>I Agree</string>

<string name=”trusted_dock_cancel_text”>No thanks</string>

<string name=”trusted_dock_message”>Your Assistant can use your personal info to make suggestions, answer questions, and take actions for you when your phone is locked and on your Pixel Stand</string>

<string name=”trusted_dock_title”>Get personalized help when your phone is on your Pixel Stand</string>

But what about the wireless charging part?

This comes together via a previous version of the Google App which the company launched in June. Code within that version gave away that Google is working on a wireless charging dock codenamed ‘dreamliner’. Given neither the Pixel nor Pixel 2 have wireless charging, their development suggested it must be for the Pixel 3. Now we have the ‘Pixel Stand’.

Pixel 3 XL leaked prototype was verified as realXDA Forums

Adding icing to this cake is the prior leak of a Pixel 3XL prototype which was found to have replaced the metal and glass back of the Pixel and Pixel 2 with gloss and matt glass. Apple made a similar transition from metal to glass last year with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X and it was specifically to introduce the conductivity required for wireless charging.

Will this addition be enough to compensate for concerns about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL’s controversial styling and high prices? Well, the Pixel 2XL combined super slick software with great battery life and a jaw-dropping camera to stand out as the best smartphone of 2017, so I have high hopes…

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More On Forbes

Google Logo Spot Verifies Prototype Pixel 3 XL

Google Leak Reveals Pixel 3 Display Sizes

Pixel 3 Leak Explains Three Camera Design

Google Accidentally Announces Existence Of Pixel 3

Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL Long Term Reviews: The World’s Best Smartphones

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Facebook’s Stock Just Took a Massive Hit, Wiping Off As Much As $145 Billion in Market Cap
July 26, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Facebook’s problems have reached a boiling point. After months of questions and, often reluctant, disclosures about massive information leaks and about how it handles false information on its site seen by hundreds of millions of people, disappointing user growth caused the social network’s stock to plummet in after-hours trading on Wednesday, shedding over $ 145 billion in market cap.

Investors’ alarm was likely triggered by a failure in growth in its most important markets, the combined U.S. and Canada segment and Europe. U.S. and Canadian traffic was flat from the previous quarter, while Europe shed 3 million average daily users quarter over quarter, down to 279 million.

U.S. and Canadian Facebook visitors provided an average revenue per user (ARPU) in the latest quarter of $ 25.91, the vast majority from advertising, while the ARPU of Europeans was $ 8.76, according to figures provided by Facebook. Other markets offer much less value: Asia-Pacific users rack up just $ 2.61 in revenue, and the rest of the world lumped together, a mere $ 1.91.

The drop in European visitors was potentially due to the continuous revelations highlighted there about Facebook’s breaches and weaknesses, and the implementation of the European Union and related entities’ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in late May. The GDPR requires more disclosure and opting in to many tracking and ad-related behaviors that aren’t related to the core function of a website.

While the company saw revenue up 42% year-over-year to $ 13.2 billion in its second quarter, that was short of what Wall Street expected. Net income was similarly up, to $ 5.1 billion from $ 3.9 billion the year-ago quarter, but that didn’t assuage investors and institutions. The after-hours plunge came despite Facebook also beating a consensus estimate of earnings per share of $ 1.72 by two cents.

This slowing growth in valuable markets may have provided the jitters that led investors to significant after-hours profit taking. The company had a nearly unbroken steady climb in its stock price since mid-2014, with a blip shedding 15% in a matter of days in March when revelations about alleged data misuse by Cambridge Analytica emerged. Facebook stock recovered gradually, and was up 29% in the last year and 21% in 2018 through the close of regular trading today, rising to a new high of 217.50, before the after-hours tumble. Nearly the last year’s gains have now been lost.

Facebook has no end in sight for scrutiny and oversight, with regulators, prosecutors, and other public and private parties in multiple countries examining the company’s actions, those of nation states allegedly manipulating news and advertising, and that of firms like Cambridge Analytica, which obtained massive amounts of information that many Facebook users likely considered private.

Yesterday, BuzzFeed published a memo by chief security officer Alex Stamos written to staff in March after the initial Cambridge Analytica stories broke in which he urged the company to pick sides on important issues. Stamos reportedly still plans to leave the company next month, following a reorganization that the New York Times said earlier this year took away 98% of the group he managed. Today, Facebook’s chief legal officer announced he’s departing at the end of this year for family reasons.

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10 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of NetFlix's Massive Success In The Cloud
July 12, 2018 6:46 pm|Comments (0)

Netflix standardizing on a proven cloud platform and collaborating with Amazon Web Services development teams on machine-learning security initiatives and many others is proving to be a powerful catalyst fueling the subscription services’ global growth.   Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Netflix’s exponential growth this year is attributable in part to the cloud platform decisions made years ago that enable their subscription-based business model to scale globally securely. Last year at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2017 Conference,  Greg Peters, Chief Product Officer of Netflix provided insights into how closely Netflix and AWS work together to create innovative new services based on AWS’ advances in machine learning-powered security, developer apps, and scalability. It’s an insightful session into how Netflix is relying on Amazon to do the heavy lifting of infrastructure development and can be viewed here, AWS re:Invent 2017 – Fireside Chat: Steve Schmidt, Jenny Brinkley, and Greg Peters of Netflix.

AWS and Netflix development teams are using machine learning-powered security to analyze data access patterns and look for anomalous account activity. The discussion includes many of the foundational concepts of Next-Gen Access (NGA) that is foundational to attaining Zero Trust Security (ZTS) across an enterprises’ IT infrastructure. AWS and Netflix are looking at how to capture the myriad of data points each access point to their subscription service enables daily and assess the risk of a breach in real-time, much like what Centrify is doing today. Greg Peters also defines scale as the ability to accommodate a growing, diverse base of developers with a paved path network that enables them to create and innovate quickly. Netflix has a strong DevOps culture where engineers have the freedom to spin up a new AWS instance to try out new ideas in seconds without having to wait for IT to approve them.

The following are ten charts that illustrate Netflix’s rapid growth as a cloud-based subscription business:

  • 27% of Americans prefer Netflix over any other platform, including basic cable and broadcast TV according to a recent survey by investment banking firm Cowen & Company. Netflix’ popularity is soaring with Americans in the 18 – 34 age group with 39.7% naming Netflix as their favorite TV platform. The following illustrates just how dominant Netflix has become the TV platform of choice. Scaling to this level of popularity is possible in part because of the decision to standardize on a single cloud platform and work to have Netflix-specific features including on the AWS roadmap. Source: Netflix Is Americans’ Platform of Choice for TV Content, Statista, July 5, 2018.

Source: Netflix Is Americans’ Platform of Choice for TV Content, Statista, July 5, 2018.

  • Netflix’s latest quarterly revenue of $ 3.7B is evenly distributed between domestic and international streaming, earned from 118.9M global subscribers as of March 31rst of this year. Q1 2018 revenue is evenly distributed between Domestic Streaming (49%) and International (49%). David Goldstein’s excellent graphic below provides a succinct analysis of the Netflix Income Statement for Q1, 2018 and a profile of subscriber levels over time. Source: Netflix Strong Q1 for Revenues, Profits, and Members by David Goldstein on April 19, 2018. Mekko Graphics.

Source: Netflix Strong Q1 for Revenues, Profits, and Members by David Goldstein on April 19, 2018. Mekko Graphics.

  • Netflix dominates the U.S. video-on-demand (VoD) market with 77% of all VoD services subscribers. With a 21% lead on Amazon, Netflix has market momentum in the U.S. where the strategy of creating more original content is paying off with subscriber growth and a greater variety of content density than their many competitors. Source: Statista Global Consumer Survey, 2018

Source: Statista Global Consumer Survey, 2018

  • 43% of all U.S. VoD users subscribe to both Netflix and Amazon Video. Subscribing to multiple services is common with U.S. VoD users with 83% subscribing to more than one service. Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. VoD subscribers (29%) are subscribing to five or more services. While so many subscription-based businesses struggle to gain customers and minimize churn, Netflix has devised an aggressive strategy of making their subscription, ad-free model succeed. Reed Hastings, CEO, credits the intensity of effort and focus they are putting on creating exceptional, high-value content that attracts new subscribers and makes them loyal. A video clip of a recent interview with him and other members of the senior management team is here. Source: Statista Global Consumer Survey, 2018

Source: Statista Global Consumer Survey, 2018

  • Netflix is projected to have over 114M households subscribing online by 2020. Netflix is growing its global household subscriber based at 8.96% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), increasing from 81.52M households in 2016 to over 114M in 2020. Localized Netflix-produced content globally is growing faster than senior management originally anticipated, with 3%, a Brazilian science fiction (sci-fi) series produced in Portuguese being an example of one of the original content projects doing exceptionally well in 2018. Sources: Netflix Investor Relations and Digital TV Research.

Sources: Netflix Investor Relations and Digital TV Research.

  • The Asia-Pacific subscriber base is projected to grow at an 18.47% CAGR through 2023, making it the fastest growing region globally. Western Europe is also forecast to gain subscribers, increasing by16 million between 2018 and 2023. Latin America, where Netflix is enjoying success with originally produced content that is being well-received globally, is predicted to gain 8 million subscribers in five years. Sources: Netflix Investor Relations and Digital TV Research.

Sources: Netflix Investor Relations and Digital TV Research.

  • By 2020 Netflix’s streaming business in the U.S. alone is projected to deliver over $ 7B in revenue. From 2018 to 2020, streaming revenues are projected to grow at a CAGR of 8%, jumping from $ 5.4B in 2017 to $ 7.2B in 2020. Between 2011 and 2014, Netflix more than doubled streaming revenues from U.S.-based subscribers jumping from $ 1.6B to $ 3.4B. Sources: Digital TV Research, Netflix Investor Relations, and Nakono.

Sources: Digital TV Research, Netflix Investor Relations, and Nakono.

  • While price is the most appealing feature for 56% of respondents to recent Tivo/Fiercecable survey, members having the flexibility of creating their profiles (52.9%) increases content consumption across all devices. Speaking from experience in a household where there are five separate Netflix accounts, each person having the opportunity to personalize their content preferences is a major advantage of NetFlix over other streaming services. Search is the third favorite feature and autoplay fourth with 43.4% of respondents selecting this feature. Multiple responses were allowed to this question. Source: TiVo & Fiercecable study completed December 2017

Source: TiVo & Fiercecable study completed December 2017

  • Netflix’ content strategy is paying off with strong levels of loyalty across all age groups, including the 50 – 64-year-old segment who often perceive TV as long-standing broadcast ad-based networks. Netflix’s cloud strategy has made it possible to immediately scale their original content across national and regional markets immediately, as is the case with their sci-fi series 3% which is produced in Portuguese for the Brazilian market. Netflix’ senior management has found a strong reception for 3% across other nations as well. Their cloud platform makes it possible to scale this and other series globally in real-time, outrunning competitors who have not invested so heavily into a scalable, secure cloud platform. Source: TiVo & Fiercecable study completed December 2017

Source: TiVo & Fiercecable study completed December 2017

Source: Netflix’s International Expansion Picks up Steam by Martin Armstrong, Statista. April 17, 2018.

Louis Columbus is an enterprise software strategist with expertise in analytics, cloud computing, CPQ, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), e-commerce and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

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Landing a Massive Account May Put Your Company Out of Business
April 12, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

I was in the first 24 months of my first startup, a B2B services business. My team and I had been pursuing a contract at one of the highest-profile early stage companies in the United States, and to our amazement we actually won the deal.

Our revenues tripled overnight, and it put our company on the map.  As excited as we were to win the business, had I known then what I was about to experience I would have managed things very, very differently.

Winning this deal nearly became a death sentence for my business.  Here’s why:

Servicing the account consumed all of our resources.

Winning this deal was akin to the dog catching the car: we latched on to the bumper and quickly realized that we had zero control over what would happen next.

I knew that this account would require us to marshal most of our resources – cash, time and people – to deliver on our promises. Quickly we realized just how understaffed we were in order to meet expectations, and pulled nearly everyone into the mix; we more than doubled the company’s headcount within 60 days of the program going live.

Our cash funded the headcount growth, our new hires consumed all of our management time, and our inability to do anything but service this customer prevented us from developing the systems and processes that would have made the model replicable.  Our lack of bandwidth also prevented us from winning any new business, which became problematic down the road.

This customer knew they were our biggest account by far, and they took full advantage of that dynamic. Every meeting request, every late night phone call, every weekend email barrage — we couldn’t say no.  

Customer concentration put our balance sheet under immense stress.

I didn’t have the bandwidth to service new business, and I didn’t have the cash flow to expand the sales team to add more business. In fact, the last thing I wanted at the time was another account to service. This was flawed thinking, as I came to find out soon enough.

Our customer’s business was growing exponentially, and our relationship with them grew in lockstep. It was exhilarating, but it was during this time that I learned a priceless lesson about hyper-growth: it’s a cash furnace.

Our billings with the customer doubled, we doubled our headcount, and our payroll would also double. The payroll debits hit every two weeks, but our customer’s checks came every 60 days.  Before I knew it, I was tapped out on a $ 1 million line of credit (personally guaranteed, of course) just to float our customer’s growing receivables.  They weren’t aging more than 60 days, but they were growing so rapidly that my credit line couldn’t keep up.  I nearly grew myself out of business.

Losing the business was catastrophic.

I received the call two years into the relationship at the contract renewal: this company was bringing these operations in-house. There was no hint that this result was going to happen. Over forty percent of my revenue evaporated overnight.

We hadn’t done the work to diversify the business (we were cash poor, after all) so I had nowhere to put all of these now-idled people. In one of the toughest days of my entrepreneurial career, I had to send 20 amazing individuals packing on little notice.  It was one of those soul-crushing moments that hardens you as an entrepreneur.

About those receivables: the customer’s interest in paying us in a timely fashion for services already billed dropped precipitously after the cancellation. I spent the next six months fighting off the bank while I worked to get this now former customer to pay their outstanding invoices. On more than one occasion, I tapped personal savings (including a 401(k) loan) to make payroll. It was a decidedly not-fun experience.

Looking back on this entire episode, the mistakes that I made are glaringly obvious. Seeing only massive revenue gains, I failed to anticipate the negative impact on our operations.  We didn’t add new customers, because we didn’t have the cash flow or bandwidth. I was naive about setting a customer credit policy.

Sometimes, landing the whale can be the worst thing possible for your business.  In this case, the worst thing for my last company became the best hard-knock education as an entrepreneur that I’ve ever received.

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Uber CEO says company failed to disclose massive breach in 2016
November 22, 2017 12:03 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] failed to disclose a massive breach last year that exposed the data of some 57 million users of the ride-sharing service, the company’s new chief executive officer said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick speaks to students during an interaction at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Mumbai, India, January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Discovery of the company’s handling of the incident led to the departure of two employees who led Uber’s response to the incident, said Dara Khosrowshahi, who was named CEO in August following the departure of founder Travis Kalanick.

Khosrowshahi said he had only recently learned of the matter himself.

The company’s admission that it failed to disclose the breach comes as Uber is seeking to recover from a series of crises that culminated in the Kalanick’s ouster in June.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Uber is seen on an iPad, during a news conference to announce Uber resumes ride-hailing service, in Taipei, Taiwan April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo –

According to the company’s account, two individuals downloaded data from a third-party cloud server used by Uber, which contained names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of some 57 million Uber users around the world. They also downloaded names and driver’s license numbers of some 600,000 of the company’s U.S. drivers, Khosrowshahi said in a blog post.

He said he had hired Matt Olsen, former general counsel of the U.S. National Security Agency, to help him figure out how to best guide and structure the company’s security teams and processes.

The chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc, Dara Khosrowshahi attends a meeting with Brazilian Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles (not pictured) in Brasilia, Brazil October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Khosrowshahi said in the blog post.

“While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes,” he said. “We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”

(Corrects paragraph 1 to data instead of date)

Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; Editing by Tom Brown

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Top 5 storage vendors shows massive shift to the cloud
June 28, 2016 8:30 pm|Comments (0)

There’s a changing of the guard afoot in the storage industry, and it’s getting cloudy.

Each quarter 451 Research Group surveys it members in its Voice of the Enterprise series. Late last year, the company’s research revealed a dramatic reshaping of the storage market both in terms of which vendors enterprises consider strategic storage partners and where their future storage will be housed.

+ MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: Gartner says cloud will be the “default” application deployment option by 2020 | Deutsche Bank says one-third of finance apps will be in the cloud within 3 years +

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