Oracle's Licensing and Support Changes Will Change Java Use


EDT: 10:00 a.m. | PDT: 7:00 a.m. | BST: 15:00 Oracle recently announced significant changes to how it is released, licensed and supported. For example, public patches for Java 8 have now ended and the Java 11 license restricts production deployments. In this complimentary webinar, we cut through the confusion, hype and uncertainty around the new dynamics and offer strategies that Java adopters can leverage to maximize their Java investments moving forward.

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Assignment: Breitling Jets


Client: Gentlemans Journal
Subject: Breitling Jets

This was one of those dream assignments involving some very photogenic elements and a free flight in an L-39 Albatross jet. So I can now tick that off my bucket list. The French pilots were great to work with, super professional but up for trying things out. They were a little concerned I would be sick in the back of the plane – thankfully I held down my croissants and coffee, even whilst pulling barrel rolls at 5G.

You can see the whole story up on the website here

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Does Your MarTech Stack Up?


How To Make Sure Your Technology Works For You

Today’s marketers don’t just love technology, they worship it. For many, MarTech has become nothing short of a savior – an omnipotent, omnipresent miracle worker that allows individuals to do the work of an entire team.

But the very thing that’s so seductive about technology – the bells and whistles, the promise of power – is also what makes it problematic.

MarTech is sometimes added without proper consideration for how it will be used, and by whom, to achieve business goals. We adopt tools because they’re hot or because someone in our feed suggested it.

Too often, marketers are more interested in building a stack that’s a great topic of conversation but doesn’t necessarily work for them.

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Groupon vs. Living Social: Is Retention a Done Deal?


Pick your deal, any deal, from a Scandinavian getaway to personalized princess pillowcases. Or maybe you’re more in the market for a good dentist. All that’s available plus thousands of other offerings on experience and deal sites like Groupon and Living Social. Just one catch: What happens when a platform provides “the best a city can offer,” with a less than impressive user experience? With over a billion deals sold, we decided to put these two brands to the test and see whether their marketing strategy is right on the money.

Welcome to Brand Prix #5!

But first, a quick reminder of what Brand Prix is all about (and another reminder to look at previous ones): Adidas vs. Nike, Target vs. WalmartBanana Republic vs. J.Crew, Gap vs. Zara


In this series, PostFunnel will follow two competing brands to assess their customer marketing performance. For each case study, we’ll enact a customer journey with the respective brands, document every customer interaction sent to our testers, and share inputs and insights from our experience with the companies.

The Companies

Is an impersonalized bargain still worth the savings? Let’s introduce our brands:

Groupon is a global e-commerce marketplace offering goods, travel, services, and activities in 15 countries. Currently, the company is worth a grand total of 2.84 billion dollars. Dozens of categories and hundreds of offerings satisfy the spa frequenter and his adrenaline junkie cousin.

Living Social Founded in 2007, Living Social’s site mainly focuses on local travel and events. While Groupon purchased LivingSocial in 2016, the brand still totals 1.72M site visits and continues to operate as a business partner to for sellers by offering them the ability to analyze and control their campaigns.


This round, we gave our testers $300. They engaged with the brand for roughly six weeks on a few different platforms. The PF editorial team and marketing experts then graded the performance based on personalization, strategy, user experience, and overall engagement on all life cycle stages.

We based our analysis on metrics that speak to the data-driven marketer, moved beyond traditional tactics, and instead, approached the shopping experience from the marketer’s POV. Here are our conclusions:

Think we got it right? Or should we have picked another winner? Leave your comment and tell us what you think or join the discussion on Twitter and Facebook by using the #BrandPrix hashtag.

Contributors: Liz Berenholtz, Matan Block Temin

The post Groupon vs. Living Social: Is Retention a Done Deal? appeared first on Post Funnel.

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State Of The Web Conferencing Industry – March 2019


It feels like the time is right for another of my infrequent and unscheduled reflections on what is going on in the web conferencing industry. Everything expressed here is my personal opinion only.

In no particular order of priority, here are some of the things I have been thinking about of late:

1) The “web conferencing” umbrella term has swung back towards peer-to-peer meetings as its primary public face. Webinars and webcasts still exist and are still powerful tools for business. But media articles, press releases, and vendor awareness campaigns are currently focused on group participation more than presentation use cases.

A few vendors are bucking this trend:

ON24 is still strongly committed to promoting the presentation and marketing “web events” view of web collaboration. Their recent Webinar World conference had a strong orientation towards online events.

As I recently reported, omNovia Technologies just released FLOW, which is explicitly stated as NOT supporting peer-level web meetings.

Adobe Connect has moved to the Digital Learning Solutions portion of the Adobe website. I was told that they don’t really see themselves in the ad hoc meeting space anymore and have decided to concentrate on increasing their strong foothold in educational use cases.

PGi, Cisco, and LogMeIn are coasting along with their suites of products covering both presentation/event use cases and peer meeting use cases, but I am seeing more press emphasis on the latter at the moment.


2) Vendors are pushing the use of web conferencing as a replacement or adjunct to dedicated video room or huddle room remote meeting spaces for enterprises. Any enterprise that has already sunk money into a connected meeting room is a well-qualified prospect with both interest and budget for meeting solutions. So it makes sense to market aggressively towards that demographic. Zoom, LogMeIn, Webex Meetings, and other meeting-oriented web solutions have been ramping up the video collaboration aspects of their solutions and have introduced features designed to supplement point-to-point videoconferencing hardware solutions.

Right now, this is tied in very firmly with observation #1… The dedicated meeting room is seen as a space primarily for in-house collaboration. Someone is eventually going to recognize the value in promoting the use of that same space as a “mini broadcast studio” for presentation use cases as well. This will enable vendors to rebalance or expand how they promote their web conferencing products to get marketing, training, and outbound communication experiences back into the mix. So far, I haven’t seen any public mention of this scenario.


3) UCC and UCaaS are back with a vengeance. If you aren’t familiar with those abbreviations, just focus on “UC” as the important part. Vendors have been pushing “Unified Communications” for the past 20 years as a silver bullet that will make business more efficient and show huge ROI for adopters. It’s a gleaming vision of riches for any supplier who can make it stick… Imagine entire employee populations running your various connected applications on phone, desktop, and mobile devices while being locked into your integration of voice, data, email, calendaring, meeting, and text.

I remain cynical of anything that requires 20 years of trying to convince prospects that they have a problem that needs solving. The truth is that most employees don’t WANT to be that connected, 24-hours a day, without a break. The ability to transition their work smoothly from device to device and application to application is not as much of a draw for them as users as it is for the vendors trying to push it. But recent press releases, conferences, and media articles show a renewed marketing emphasis on positioning web conferencing products as part of an integrated UC solution strategy. This is part of the reason for observation #1… Web meetings fit the UC story while web events don’t fit into that framework.


4) Vendor concentration on universal access to web meetings will temporarily reduce solution quality, flexibility, and capability. I have written quite a bit about the transition from Flash to HTML5 that many vendors have been forced into. HTML5 simply doesn’t have the flexibility and capabilities that Flash had (which were exactly what opened it to security vulnerabilities). So some web conferencing functionality will be lost for power users. Hopefully that will be temporary as the HTML5 standard continues to develop and clever coding teams find new approaches.

A second problem is that nobody uses a hardwired internet connection anymore. Mobile devices and many laptops now don’t even have Ethernet ports. When the device does have the capability, it’s getting hard to find a cable drop in anything other than a commercial enterprise office. Everyone expects to be able to enjoy the convenience and universal access of wireless internet. But the state of that technology is not universally stable or powerful enough to handle the needs of high speed two-way voice, data, and video integration that modern web conferences want to deliver. The result is audio dropouts, video buffering and stuttering, temporary freezes, and even forced reconnects for meeting participants. Not for all of them, and not all at once. But someone out there is sure to have network congestion or speed issues that result in a bad experience.

In the short term, the only practical way for vendors to get around this issue is to buffer the communications stream, which removes the goal of real-time two-way communication and collaboration. In the long term, this is going to require fundamental changes to the transport infrastructure – such as mesh networks in big cities and general widespread adoption of 5G networks. Neither is going to be common this year.

The third problem is not going to be soluble. We are just starting to see the effects, but it may lead to the sharpest drop in power and functionality over the long term. As vendors race to support smooth UC integration and universal access from mobile devices, they have to simplify operation of their applications. Controls need to be visible on small screens and accessible with big fat finger presses instead of fine-grained mouse movements. Screen space is at a premium for content. Power users want access to multiple pieces of content at once… Slides, chat streams, participant video, Twitter feeds, and so on. Presenters and hosts want even more, with private chat windows, analytics, muting controls, etc. How do you allow for all that on a smartphone display? Users will have to choose which piece to bring up at any given time. This will necessarily result in less power and flexibility than product designs that assumed meeting participants would be chained to their office desks, looking at nice big desktop monitors.


5) Web conferencing should get a short-term public perception boost this year. This is the most tenuous of my crystal ball guesses, as it is not based on a current trend. If Zoom goes public as is generally expected in the financial press (perhaps as early as March/April?), I think it could be a high profile IPO with the potential for short term rapid growth. That would reflect well on the entire industry and could make users and potential customers feel more comfortable with increased use or adoption. It would also generate more mentions in the media outside of our usual technology channels. We’ll see if any of that actually plays out.


As always, I encourage you to contribute in the comments section with your own impressions of the marketplace, technology trends, or guesses about where things might be going. Considering different perspectives benefits all of us!


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The 411 of a Successful 404


HTTP 404, 404 Not Found, and 404 error message are different versions of a response code that indicates someone is accessing a server, but cannot find the information being sought. Though frustrating, the 404 page can be helpful to both marketers and viewers – and even provide real value on the business end.

Nicolas Straut, an SEO associate at Fundera, said that if a 404 page isn’t creative and helpful, or worse, doesn’t exist, you could be losing valuable visitors. It’s essential that you think up a few clever ways to keep visitors on site when they mistakenly stumble upon your 404 page.

“First, you should identify this page as an error with a header such as ‘The page you’re looking for is missing, but wait!’ You could then offer a search bar for your site or offer site categories so viewers can quickly redirect to the places where related content is offered,” he said. “The goal should be to keep visitors on site and to help them find an alternative resource to answer their query.”

Mike LeMoine, owner of Maverick Web Marketing, said that one of the best things to do on a 404 page is to drop a special “unlisted” offer there that people can access just by having found the 404 page.

“Make them feel special like they found a hidden deal,” he said. “Additionally, if you are not selling right on the site, the ability for someone to enter their information to get a special offer or something else of value is another way to generate leads.”

The crucial goal with a 404 page is to keep people engaged so they don’t leave the website. One of LeMoine’s clients featured online ticketing, so he created a 404 page that gave a special unlisted discount. As a result, the company sold quite a few more tickets, and customers began sharing this “underground” page – driving buzz and higher online sales.

To attract leads, dive into your analytics, find the lead magnet with the highest conversions, and display this information on your 404 page. Bob Clary, director of marketing for DeveloperAcademy, said that another way a 404 page can attract visitors and leads on a website is to turn it into a search box.

“By offering users a space to find what they’re looking for on your site on a 404 page instead of blank space, you are more likely to drive sales and leads, plus your website will look more professional,” he said.

Swapnil Bhagwat, senior manager at Orchestrate, said that instead of settling for the regular “oops” message on your 404 pages, you can also customize it to make it more attractive to the visitor.

“You can even use your lead page as a 404 page on a domain you own,” he said. “By doing so, you could not only provide some relevant links to your website visitors but also provide a basic form to capture their name and email address, as this lead can help you to convert them into a prospect. All you need is a little bit of creativity and sense of humor that could possibly get the users attracted to your site.”

cofounder, Dhaval Sarvaiya, believes chatbots integrated on a 404 error page with a proper sequence of questions and answers can reduce bounce rate, engage more customers, and convert them into new leads.

Web designers could also implement engaging videos with an easy capture form. This can help customers ease into familiarizing themselves with your brand. The video might discuss your company culture, testimonials, or promotional product information, leading the viewer to investigate your brand further.

404 Pages in Action

There are thousands of great examples of nicely designed 404 error pages that really display the personality of the brand by using specific visuals or language. But it’s also important to investigate why the visitor went to a non-existent page to begin with.

“I like to get to the heart of why people are trying to visit a page that isn’t there anymore,” Colton De Vos, marketing specialist with Resolute Technology Solutions said. “Was it renamed? Did the URL change? Is the page broken? If a large number of visitors continue to hit the 404 page, I use Google Analytics to see what path they took to get there and then either restore that page if it makes sense or provide links on the 404 page to the next most relevant content.”

MarketGoo offers a Pinterest Board with examples of some of the best 404 pages out there today. Larissa Murillo, marketing manager for the company, said that customizing your error page and including a link back to the homepage, a search function, and a live chat bubble can go a long way to reducing bounce rate on your site, which can help your SEO (and your rankings) as well as retain potential leads you would have otherwise lost.

Error page? No problem. There’s no reason a properly designed 404 error page can’t be elegantly and uniquely salvaged – potentially even building brand affinity in the process.

The post The 411 of a Successful 404 appeared first on Post Funnel.

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How Modern APIs Can Build On the Legacy Systems of Financial Institutions


Financial technology startups have made waves across the entire global financial sector. Traditional banks and capital service brands are now scrambling to implement digital platforms that offer reliable payment services, online capabilities, mobile app support, and countless other benefits. There’s just one problem: today’s banking infrastructure relies on established legacy systems, many of which aren’t designed for digital platforms. The good news is that APIs have the potential to integrate with legacy systems and lead industry innovation.

Digital payment services and e-wallets may have built their solution-oriented platforms from scratch, but legacy banking systems have valuable benefits that make them worth maintaining. Each individual process is secure, reliable, and resilient, and was refined and stress tested over a long period of time. While modern fintech innovations are more flexible and user-focused overall, legacy systems remain ideal for intensive data processing tasks. That’s exactly why banks rely on them to support their most critical functions, such as deposit accounting, payment processing, and loan servicing. Today’s banks continue to store their most valuable data — from customer information to administrative documentation — on these legacy systems.

All the same, these systems have significant drawbacks. Legacy processes are far less adaptable to new technological capabilities and policies, let alone the evolving individual needs of customers. This is especially true when it comes to modern payment services, which a growing number of consumers access via mobile apps.

On one side we have legacy systems with inherent value to financial underpinnings, but limited digital capabilities. On the other is a customer base that’s far more interested in digital payment options than ever before. That’s where APIs come in — well-designed interfaces that act as useful connective tissue by accessing data from legacy systems and formatting it for digital platforms.

As noted by MuleSoft’s Danny Healy, using APIs this way creates an agility layer where business partners can access and interact with legacy system data without relying on its underlying processes. This allows banks to integrate new applications, data sources, and even physical devices into their networks. Handled correctly, APIs can help financial sectors decentralize aspects of their networks and grant wider leverage when introducing new innovations.

Unlike many fintech platforms based entirely on the cloud, APIs can also maintain the data security of legacy systems. On a user level, customers are interacting only with the API – not the legacy system directly. Developers can also impose limited access to certain datasets and compartmentalize information based on customer or administrative permissions. In short, the agility layer within the API that makes legacy systems more flexible also acts as a buffer that prevents hackers from obtaining valuable data.

Perhaps most importantly, APIs will help companies become flexible when developing the next generation of payment services. analyzed the issue of point-to-point integration, a legacy system side effect that forces tight interconnections between systems. On the whole, these interconnections are responsible for financial networks’ rigidity – the characteristic which left them vulnerable to disruption in the first place. According to the report, three-quarters of IT decision makers believe point-to-point integration is a crucial obstacle to innovation. Removing it to focus on APIs would allow companies to reduce costs, deliver faster services, extract more value from datasets, and remain competitive.

HSBC is a prime example of how APIs can extend the capabilities of legacy systems. In 2016, the bank introduced a Digital Partner Platform portal that allowed third-party firms to access its APIs. This portal let HSBC extend its services to digital banking initiatives, such as the ability to open bank accounts across international borders. These processes are still strong today, with HSBC even integrating its systems to Iwoca’s Open Banking Connections platform.

Unfortunately, many other banks are adapting slowly to technological change, leaving API projects in a theoretical state. Nonetheless, we should soon see an influx of third-party interfaces in Europe, where PSD2 legislation is opening banking data to third-party companies. This is expected to encourage competition as businesses create new mobile-focused APIs that link bank accounts to fintech platforms, adding to legacy systems through the processes described above.

For the time being, legacy financial systems are here to stay. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be modernized in ways that promote flexibility and innovation without compromising security. Thanks to PSD2 and legislation like it, we should see a proliferation of useful APIs that increase overall market competition. And as HSBC’s experience shows, just a single step towards open banking platforms could be the one to revolutionize the way customers approach their finances.

The post How Modern APIs Can Build On the Legacy Systems of Financial Institutions appeared first on Post Funnel.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures


I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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Personal Work: Gauchos


At the beginning of 2018 I was able to take some time to visit a part of the world which I have yet to really get the grips with as much as I would like, South America. I have had assignments in Central America before (Guatemala and Mexico) but as a region it’s not somewhere I have really got to explore yet. I was lucky enough to travel on the maiden voyage of a new route for Norwegian Airlines as they flew their first direct flight London Gatwick to Beaunos Aires. The assignment that took me there was a story on the Iberá region, and I teamed up with the writer Amanda Barnes for this. Once done on that assignment, we took an extra couple of weeks to shoot a story on Gaucho culture.  We covered everything from the gauchos of the wetlands who have learnt to swim with their horses, to the horse whisperers of the La Pampa and the hardy Gauchos of Patagonian wilderness

I have since turned this into a self published book and you can purchase a copy of that here. To see more of this project as it is on the website click here.

Once again if you are interested in buying copy of the book you can find it here

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