Localization and translation: The biggest mistakes you’re probably making (webinar)

the world

Join us for this live webinar on Tuesday, September 29 at 9 a.m. Pacific, 12 p.m. Eastern. Register here for free. 

International marketing fails are legendary — and show that even mega brands can blunder big time when they try and take campaigns beyond familiar borders.

When Pepsi tried to introduce the slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” into China, the translated message apparently was read in Chinese as “”Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.”

“Got milk?” — the famously successful tagline for the California Milk Processing Board — didn’t go over so well in Mexico. The Spanish version was interpreted as “Are you lactating?”

The need to get localization and translation right is more urgent than ever as digital and mobile brands can cross geographies at lightening speed compared to companies producing packaged goods. With a digital commodity that’s gaining traction, breaking down geographic doors is the next logical step. But it’s not just about translation (although you certainly want to get that right).

It’s far more about understanding the cultural differences that are going to help you break into that next lucrative market. How you onboard customers may vary differently from one region to the next. Monetizing tactics may vary considerably as different markets can respond distinctly. And the user experience may need to be adapted accordingly.

This webinar will help you understand how you can truly “think global and act local”. VB Insight’s Director of Marketing Technology Stuart Rogers and a stellar panel will share essential best practices and tips on how to approach the vagaries of international marketing in a tech-driven age.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

Re-think campaign creation at the regional level — and the global one
Effectively use in-market experts to drive better impact
Make your branding as world-ready as possible.
Use metrics to show the truest picture of your campaign’s effectiveness
Enhance the customer experience through added local flavor


Stuart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VB Insight

Dave Fish, SVP, Expert Services, MaritzCX

This webinar is sponsored by Lionbridge.


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EyeEm debuts new web upload tool that suggests tags to help monetize your photos

EyeEm 'EyeVision' screenshot

Photography service EyeEm has unveiled a new web upload feature which it says will help make images more searchable. Called “EyeVision,” it analyzes any photo in order to craft a set of suggested tags and categories to maximize exposure.

This announcement comes as EyeEm marks 15 million users — an increase of 2 million since March.

Beyond letting you simply snap and upload photos, EyeEm wants to help monetize your work. It’s building on the launch, earlier this year, of a marketplace that should help it further distinguish itself from the likes of Instagram, Hipstamatic, and Flickr. But if you want to get paid for your work —well, that’s going to require having the right tags, which can be difficult to determine because what tags are people really looking for?

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So what does EyeVision do exactly? It takes any image and analyzes it with its smart algorithm. It currently recognizes 20,000 objects (hat, shirt, man, sun), abstract elements (the rule of thirds, vanishing point, symmetry, negative space), and tonal elements (surrealism, sadness, alone, care-free, exciting), and is continuing to learn more. After processing the photo, the tool will produce a series of suggested tags that you can use to label your photograph within its social network and/or marketplace.

VentureBeat tested EyeVision by uploading a photo of Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella from this year’s Dreamforce conference. The end result was an aesthetic rank of “good” and tags that included “indoors,” “sitting,” “young adult,” “selective focus,” “real people,” “casual clothing,” “sofa,” and others. These tags obviously didn’t include the names of the people in the photo — it probably couldn’t because there wasn’t anything within the metadata or elsewhere in the image. But many of the tags it provided probably wouldn’t have been associated with the photo otherwise, and someone looking for these types of photos may be interested.

Example of EyeEm's 'EyeVision' tool

The tool only supports photos — don’t bother uploading videos to EyeVision, as the system can’t handle it.

With more than 60 million “authentic photos” listed in its Market, EyeEm says this tool is “adding ease to the entire photography process from shoot to sell. Image buyers find the photos they need faster and easier, and photographers save hours of time keywording countless images.”

EyeEm web upload feature screenshot

As mentioned earlier, EyeVision is a part of a new upload feature that you can use right from your web browser, and the interface looks pretty straightforward. After logging into EyeEm, you will find an upload button at the top right-hand section of the screen. The next screen is a drag-and-drop feature that will scan each photo and begin the editing process. You’ll be able to see each photo’s discovery rating, and will be presented with suggested tags.

Taking the same photo we have of Nadella, EyeEm’s upload feature pulled in results from EyeVision. Further down the screen, you have the option of adding the photo(s) to the Market. Unfortunately you won’t be able to do any edits to your work (such as applying filters or making any other corrections) —this is a big difference from the mobile app version.

Example of EyeEm web upload feature

Both of these tools will likely please the photography community, where many are still snapping creative and amazing photos using DSLR cameras instead of mobile devices. And some will prefer to use desktop photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Aperture to touch up their work before sharing it with the world.

The current workflow of getting an image on EyeEm has been pretty convoluted: Take an image, upload it to Dropbox or a cloud service, download it to your mobile device, and then upload it to EyeEm — now it’s a much simpler process. Like EyeVision, this upload feature will let photographers get right down to what they want to do — sell their photos — instead of spending needless hours tagging everything manually in an effort to maximize exposure.

With improved tagging, EyeEm’s recently refreshed Discover feed could benefit as well, showing people images that they have never seen before.

The EyeVision-powered web upload experience is available through an invite-only program. You can request access if you are eager to get started, but  EyeEm says general availability is expected later next month. Preference is being given to Market users “to help their photos get discovered.” It’s also only available on the Web, though there are plans to extend it to the company’s mobile apps.

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With 100M users, Pinterest’s ‘promoted pins’ just became a lot more attractive to advertisers


Everybody and their dog is talking about Facebook and Instagram ads, but with Pinterest finally sharing its monthly active user numbers Wednesday — the service claims 100 million — I expect that advertising eyeballs will suddenly be looking a lot closer at “promoted pins.”

Pinterest is the hugely popular social curation platform that allows users to share and categories images, or “pins,” online, and it actually lends itself incredibly well to advertising.

Why? Because, as the company itself argues, users are oftentimes saving and collecting pins that they eventually want to buy.

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And while Pinterest has only started to get serious about its advertising push in the past 12 months, there is clearly a huge opportunity for brands to be a part of that as it matures.

Now that advertisers have the transparent 100 million user number to work with, it’s likely that they’ll be taking a second look at promoted pins — assuming they’re not allocating marketing dollars there already.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 19.39.32

Pinterest this week teamed up with fashion retailer Topshop to create a color palette tool based on saved pins, and in May it announced a new platform for developers to help them build apps that would “bring pins to life.”

As we reported at that time, “Pinterest could further enhance its advertising efforts with promoted pins and its ads API by using user data derived from these third-party sites.”

The idea behind ads on Pinterest is that they blend in seamlessly with the rest of the content in the same way that native ads do on services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and elsewhere.

In other words, promoted pins are designed to be non-intrusive, and that’s very attractive to marketers that want to be active across all streams of social media.

With a fresh round of funding in March pushing Pinterest’s valuation north of $11 billion, and some describing its loyal user base as “addicts” — not to mention speculation as to a possible IPO — it seems that the platforms best days are ahead of it.

That’s sadly something that can’t be said about all so-called tech unicorns today.

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Snapchat teams up with Burberry to unveil new collection ahead of London Fashion Week


Britain’s luxury fashion house Burberry announced Thursday that it will unveil its new spring-summer collection on Snapchat next week.

The tie up with the hit mobile messaging app, which is especially popular among young people, comes just days after the fashion giant said it has become the first global brand to launch a dedicated channel on Apple Music.

Unsurprisingly, many are interpreting both moves as evidence of Burberry’s push to be at the forefront of mobile and digital innovation in its space — it’s keenly aware of the power and reach of social media in 2015.

The timing of the announcement is no accident — it has been carefully arranged to coincide perfectly with next week’s London Fashion Week. Burberry’s collection will appear on its Snapchat channel at 7pm Sunday, and, in typical Snapchat style, disappear after 24 hours, according to Bloomberg.

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Snapchat will also curate a live show of Burberry with crowdsourced footage, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The mobile app has not been sitting on its laurels, either. In May, it said it has hit 100 million active daily users, 65 percent of whom upload photos. Its fundraising efforts, too, are slowly but surely edging closer to $1 billion.

Whiskey ads are now also showing up in Snapchat — if you’re old enough — and on Tuesday it announced a new monetisation strategy: allowing users to replay snaps for 99 cents.

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Servy Raises $800K To Let Restaurants Offer Discounts In Exchange For Feedback

ServySplashWithBackground Servy, an app that lets restaurants offer a partial discount in exchange for private feedback, has just closed $800K in seed funding. Investors include RiverPark Ventures, Beacon Fund, Food-X, DreamIt Ventures, and Nick Kenner, CEO and Founder of Just Salad. Most online restaurant reviews are either written because of a fantastic or awful experience. Either way, these reviews live online… Read More

Yahoo Mail app arrives on Windows 10

Yahoo Wilson Lam Flickr

Yahoo today announced the availability of the Yahoo Mail app for Windows 10. It’s available now in the Windows Store.

“The app brings you brand-new ways to effortlessly access mail and get notified of new messages,” Yahoo director of product management Josh Jacobson wrote today. “In addition, the wide breadth of features already available on the web are all available in a familiar interface.”

The app shows how many unread emails you have on the lock screen. The latest emails show up in a Live Tile in the Start menu. Desktop notifications appear when you’re logged in and receive new emails. And you can personalize the app with themes courtesy of Flickr.

It’s just the latest native app to arrive on Windows 10. Other apps updated for Windows 10 include Duolingo and Fitbit.

But developers have only been able to submit Windows 10 apps to the Windows Store since July 29, so plenty more should be on the way.

Yahoo Mail had 225 million monthly active users as of May.

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With 4M deliveries under its belt, Postmates expands to 10 new cities


On-demand delivery/courier service Postmates has just undergone a major expansion. Today it announced that it’s in 10 new cities, bringing the total number of markets to 40. Cities that are now on-line include Baltimore, Palm Springs, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Kanasa City, Columbus, and Jersey City.

As a treat to its new users (or simply to entice them to download the app), Postmates will deliver Chipotle free to its customers in the new markets now through September 30.

This rapid growth comes on the heels of its expanding partnerships with major brands, such as Chipotle. Earlier this week it announced its relationship with Walgreens. So besides getting local goods delivered, now customers can get items from drugstores, coffee, and even burritos delivered right to their door in under an hour.

We’re told that to date, the company has a fleet of nearly 15,000 riders and drivers and has completed more than 4 million delivered from 65,000 merchants across the country. In 2015 alone, Postmates has expanded to 25 cities throughout the U.S.

What’s interesting about this growth is that Postmates appears to be targeting cities with at least a thriving tech ecosystem, such as Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis, and others. However, tackling 10 new cities at once is certainly a monstrous task, but a Postmates spokesperson tells VentureBeat: “We’ve already proven Postmates at scale and we have the ability to launch new markets and get them up and running quickly and efficiently. With 30 successful launches complete, our launch team is incredibly agile.”

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BBC reveals plans to launch a new video-subscription service in the U.S. in 2016

BBC iPlayer

With the BBC facing increasing criticism over its publicly-funded model in its native U.K., the broadcasting giant today revealed plans to boost the coffers of its commercial “BBC Worldwide” arm by launching a new video-streaming service in the U.S.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention in England today, BBC Director-General Tony Hall said that a new over-the-top (OTT) subscription service would arrive for American viewers in 2016. While details are still scant, Hall says it will offer “BBC fans programmes they wouldn’t otherwise get – showcasing British actors, our programme-makers – and celebrating our culture.”

BBC abroad

The BBC offers licence-fee payers in the U.K. an online linear and catch-up TV service called iPlayer, which is hugely popular across the country. The broadcaster has introduced international versions of the service in the past with varying degrees of success, but has yet to formally launch a streaming service in the U.S.

However, last year US network AMC revealed it taking a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America in a $200 million deal. BBC America is available in 80 million American homes through satellite and cable. It’s not clear yet whether the new OTT service will come with the iPlayer brand, but the BBC does say it won’t impact current programming at all — it will be used exclusively for BBC content that doesn’t already have a distribution channel in the U.S.

Elsewhere, the BBC recently launched a new UK premium drama channel called “BBC First” in Australia, and it has signed a deal to launch a BBC Earth channel in India. By looking to International markets, the BBC says it hopes to increase commercial returns from BBC Worldwide to $1.9 billion over the next five years, equating to a rise of 15 per cent than the previous five years.

While the commercial-free BBC remains a widely respected media brand both domestically and abroad, it has faced mounting pressure in the U.K. in an age where consumers have a myriad of alternative entertainment options, from Netflix and YouTube to cable and satellite. Indeed, anyone in the U.K. that watches linear “live” television is required to pay an annual $225 fee — irrespective of whether they ever watch the BBC.

“In today’s financial climate, everyone is being asked to deliver more for less, so we need to have a commercial strategy where BBC Worldwide delivers as much as possible back into public service programmes,” said Hall.

And that is the crux of the problem the BBC is looking to fix. By boosting its commercial income from international viewers, it hopes to help supplement the domestic licence fee and ensure the current cost of it doesn’t rise even further.

IPO or exit ready? Reducing tax risk for international expansion (webinar)

different currency

Join us for this live webinar on Wednesday, September 30 at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. Register here for free.

Let’s say you’ve navigated early stage growth, the company’s looking bullet-proof inside and out, and your sites are set on going public. Well, you better start thinking like a public company now in terms of tax-planning or risk a mess of trouble when you’re ready to pull the trigger.

The same applies if you’re hoping for a valuable exit. The last thing you need is potential buyers stumbling across something some not disclosed previously, or compliance not adhered to. It may result in a reduced offer, or the acquisition going south altogether.

The complexity of tax issues — particularly on the international stage — is hardly anything a tech CEO wants to think about when their main objective is getting product fit right and building a substantial user-base. But the devil’s in the details. Tax implication issues may affect the corporation, its shareholders, and investors — and during IPO planning, it all takes place in the context of an open market valuation of the stock.

With an exit, the amount of jurisdictions involved and the rules applying to each can makes things far more complex.

It’s why up-front tax planning for your company is so critical: it will identify all options, those that will open up opportunities and those that may take you down a rabbit hole, with a significant impact on after-tax proceeds in the end.

Our five-star panel of Silicon Valley tax experts will help you understand the kinds of important considerations your team needs to be on right now in order to navigate the next phase of growth. There are likely things you haven’t even thought of yet, so this is the perfect opportunity to take a few minutes out of your day and have an open consult — where you can freely ask questions and figure out next steps.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Gain greater visibility to common sales tax loopholes that often snag hot tech startups and entrepreneurs
  • Determine whether sales tax is even an issue for your organization — you might be surprised.
  • Learn ways that international tax in growth stage companies can be the make or break point for that next IPO
  • Get a high level overview of other tax considerations like net operating losses, impact of stock compensation, and the states that are currently taxing cloud computing services.


Malcolm Ellerbe, Tax Partner, Armanino
David Sordello, CPA, Corporate Tax, Armanino
Jon Davis, Tax Partner, International Tax, Armanino

This webinar is sponsored by Avalara.

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Osmo Numbers teaches kids to be more creative with math

Osmo Math helps kids become more creative at math.

Math isn’t fun. Ask any kid. But Osmo, the company that creates cool iPad apps that interact with physical objects, hopes to change that with Osmo Numbers.

The title is the latest in a serious of iPad educational games that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup has created in an effort to reinvent how children learn. Osmo’s past titles — which teach kids how to read, draw, or manipulate shapes — are already being used in more than 4,000 schools around the country and 100,000 homes around the world because they make learning fun, said Pramod Sharma, the chief executive of Osmo, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“We want to take games into an area where they have a very positive impact,” said Sharma. “It’s an area that can help you become more creative. The whole idea came because, when I talk with my daughter, she never says she really wants to do math. Math has not changed for a very long time. The bar for falling in love with math is very high.”

I’ve seen a demo of the game, and once again, Osmo has built something wonderfully creative and interactive. Back in March, the Silicon Valley startup came up with Osmo Masterpiece, an app that enables kids and adults to become digital artists and regain confidence in their ability to draw. One big endorsement: Osmo is announcing today that educational company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is going to be Osmo’s first educational partner. This partnership will bring HMH’s learning content — such as block numbers that are already being used in classrooms — so that it works with the Osmo platform.

The Osmo Numbers team, with CEO Pramod Sharma on the far left. Others are Henry, Rachel, Tony and Vivardhan.

Above: The Osmo Numbers team, with CEO Pramod Sharma on the far left.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Osmo Numbers works much like the previous apps. You attach Osmo’s reflective mirror to the iPad and activate an app that taps into Osmo’s artificial intelligence technology. The app uses computer vision to analyze the scene and see the blocks that you place in front of it.

The app has a colorful aquatic theme. A bunch of bubbles float down from the top with numbers inside them. Your kid has to look at the number and toss out a series of numbers that can be used to add up to the sum that is in the bubble. Your goal is to pop the bubbles so the fish captured inside them can fall back into the ocean.

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You can solve that problem multiple ways. If you place two numbers down separately, the app automatically recognizes their values and adds them together. Then it offers a response about whether your answer is correct or not. You can place additional numbers, or you can put two numbers side by side, touching each other, if you want to multiply them together. The app recognizes the multiplication in real-time. If you make a mistake, you can quickly correct it and the app adjusts the results. This encourages freestyle thinking, Sharma said.

This isn’t at all like a boring work sheet, which is the app’s primary competition at schools.

“Numbers are inherently very playful,” Sharma said. “How do you multiply numbers together multiple times and get at a very large number? We really thought we could bring out the playfulness of numbers. It’s not like a work sheet. We explore the process by which you build muscle memory. My math muscles are strong and I can do things faster because I have a deeper understanding. If I am looking at a number like 37, I can say it comes from 10 + 10 + 10 + 7.”

Osmo Numbers aims to get kids excited about math.

Above: Osmo Numbers aims to get kids excited about math.

Image Credit: Osmo

The game targets kids in elementary school, or roughly preschool through sixth grade.

“It’s very intuitive, but it doesn’t feel like you are doing math,” Sharma said. “You don’t have to think about it.”

While the game looks simple, Sharma said the team has agonized over making math fun for a while. Osmo Numbers is actually the eighth version of a math game that the company has prototyped. One of those was a battle game where two armies attacked each other. You won if your numbers were bigger than the enemy’s.

“We found that game was better played with a touchscreen, rather than using our camera system and the Osmo platform,” Sharma said. “It wasn’t like it was absolutely fun.”

The team isn’t your typical crew of game developers. Sharma came from Google, and others come from education or tech companies. And they’re working on a problem that is really important.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 26 percent of U.S. high-school students are proficient in math, which is well behind other nations. Math is a fundamental skill and an important building block for the future of kids development.

Osmo Numbers

Above: Osmo Numbers

Image Credit: Osmo

“Pramod and I both have daughters and we tried everything to find an engaging fun math experience for them – from worksheets to apps to puzzles, but they always lost interest or were discouraged – so we sought to create a new approach,” said Jerome Scholler, cofounder of Osmo, in a statement. “We quickly realized that the flaw was ingrained in the system, instead of trying to gamify a math worksheet, we had to – in a sense – mathify a game. Finally, even our own daughters can admit to loving math, or at least loving Osmo Numbers.”

The Osmo Numbers core features include Math Sense, which promotes a trial-and-error approach that helps kids grasp math concepts through fast experimentation rather than rote memorization; Collaboration, or working together with friends or classmates to problems; Confidence, or taking away intimidating math problems and letting players progress as they meet challenges; and Progression, or moving on from counting dots to multiplication.

Osmo Numbers will be compatible with HMH’s leading math programs Go Math! and Math Expressions through its specialized HMH manipulatives kits. Osmo Numbers is available for online orders today. Osmo has also created the Genius Kit — the complete Osmo system which includes Words, Tangrams, Newton, Masterpiece, and now Numbers — for $100.



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