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Congrats to Eric Lefkofsky for Groupon on the 8/30/10 Forbes Cover

Congratulations to Eric Lefkofsky: Groupon made the cover of Forbes with this headline: “Groupon is the Fastest-Growing Company…Ever: The Next Web Phenom”.

And check out this chart, copyright Forbes:

This speaks to the power of continued experimentation, trial and error. Founder Andrew Mason had an initial idea for a website that would unveil the hidden agenda behind popular stories. That morphed into a group-action site, which finally ended in the successful experiment for Groupon.

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Howard Tullman Presents on Social Media at the Ace Convention in Las Vegas

Howard Tullman is a brilliant thinker, and I knew that before we interviewed him on September 8, 2008 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago for How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America.

Recently, Howard gave a presentation on social media at the Ace Convention in Las Vegas. I’ll highlight two points he makes:

(1) We are moving from a search culture to a peer recommendation culture.

(2) People are coming to trust a friend or contact’s recommendation rather than independent third party information.

Very interesting. Does that mean that people are starting to become somewhat weary of online search engines? Even user review services such as  “yelp”? I can see how we are moving into somewhat of an information overload…even with a plethora of sites out there that provide you with peer reviews and recommendations of restaurants or beauty salons, I guess people still long for referrals from trusted friends. It just can’t be replaced, especially when there is so much out there to “weed through”. Another great point Howard makes: build a deeper experience with your current customers rather than attempting “conquest” marketing – the pursuit of new customers – or attempting to retrieve lost customers. Howard says the wasted effort on lost or new customers far surpasses gains from serving current customers.

Great presentation, Howard!

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Scott Jones and ChaCha Featured in the Washington Post

Nice to see ChaCha in the 8/13/10 Washington Post article: “ChaCha, KGB see text messages as alternative to search engines on cellphones”on 8/13/10:

The article explains how services like ChaCha view text messages as an alternative to cellphone search engines like Google.  ChaCha allows you to ask a question by text or voice message and a human provides you with an answer.  Before interviewing Scott Jones for How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America, I had already heard about ChaCha and had successfully used it. My family and I were driving on I-65 from Chicago to Louisville and I called to find out where the nearest Wallgreens was. I asked my question and hung up. A couple seconds later we got a text message confirming the question, and they got the question right. Another minute passed and another text came in, right on the money.

When I had the chance to ask Scott about ChaCha during the interview, he said the combination of human plus artificial intelligence is the key thing. And that asking questions beyond basic location queries like mine, would make things very interesting. Say you’re in a rental car, a Toyota Camry, and for the life of you you can’t find the gas tank door release. What do you do? With ChaCha you can call and ask the question, “I’m in a 2009 Toyota Camry. Where is the gas tank release switch?” And get an answer! How cool is that? Scott makes the point that the world is mostly mobile with many parts of the globe having bypassed all land-based computers, so that mobile search becomes the de facto standard.

Any other ChaCha users? What have you asked?

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Recognition for a Champion: Dane Miller, co-founder of Biomet

I really enjoyed seeing Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick – a great quick video interview with Dane Miller, co-founder of Biomet:

Dane is the real deal. And I’m glad I got to interview Dane in Warsaw for How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America – it was the only way to see the titanium scar and hear the story about Indiana’s perfect storm!

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