Category Archives: Education

SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

 SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

#SamuraiRides #DriveMazda

After a short hiatus for the heart of the winter season, Samurai Rides is getting ready to welcome in warmer days. Before we hit the official start of Spring those good folks at Mazda sent me a little gift. Seeking to make my travel a bit more comfortable, the Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring was dropped off for me to enjoy my birthday week in style. Sitting at the top of the subcompact division you know the quality that Mazda delivers. When I saw the Dynamic Blue of this ride, my favorite color, I was in heaven, but enough chatter let’s dive into another edition of Samurai Rides.

20170308_094152

First off I can imagine what you are thinking? How on earth is he really reviewing a sub compact vehicle? Isn’t he tall? Yes, it’s well documented that I’m rather over sized but that is beauty of the CX -3. Even for someone of my height Mazda’s latest CX Compact car didn’t restrict my movement, comfort or enjoyment what so ever. I’ll admit I had to lean that driver’s seat back so heaven help who ever attempts to sit behind me. Outside of that it was all good. This is the 2nd year for the CX-3 after its’ initial introduction into the Mazda line up last year. It’s essentially a replacement for the Mazda 2 which is no longer available in the U.S.

20170301_142321
Max & Mazda. Matching Blue as we hit the road.

Truthfully, after a solid debut Mazda is just tweaking a few things for 2017. They have made a few features available in lower trims besides the Grand Touring edition. You can enjoy the redesigned 18 inch wheels at the mid level trim now as well as the  i-Activsense package which offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automated emergency braking, and more. Mazda shaved off nearly $800 to bring that add-on option pack just under $1200.

Another thing I will say is that the CX-3 Is not the ride to get if you’re planning on lugging around a lot of stuff. There’s modest trunk space here. You should be ok with your weekly personal groceries but massive shopping trips will have you putting bags in the rear seating space.

A post shared by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

Design wise Mazda remains the master of giving the look of cars costing more than they do. Surprisingly luxurious would be a great way to describe the sleek appearance of the CX-3.

This ride looks like a mini SUV but it handles like a car smoothly navigating the road. You’re getting 146 horses out of the 2 liter 4 cylinder engine. That’s getting you from 0 – 60 in 8 secs. Not bad at all. It definitely did the trick as I celebrated my birthday around New York City. In this case the smaller ride made parking that much easier.

Overall, my streak of good times with Mazda cars continues. From the seamless on road handling, to safety features, to the always simple entertainment media interface, Mazda’s consistent delivery of quality shines through with their 2nd run of the CX-3. In all honesty I really only see competition coming from within their own brand. What I mean is that the price of the Grand Touring starts around $27K at which point you may be tempted to hop up to the CX 5 for a solid increase in power and size. So, aside from some possible in-fighting, Mazda is looking pretty strong to close out the first quarter of the new year. Take a look below at a few images and swing by Mazda USA for even more CX-3 info.

Stay Tuned Samurai Rides has something special on deck to usher in the Spring.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

 

Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

huluworld

Phones, Tablets, Lap Tops and Desk tops are no longer just number crunching devices. They pack all the entertainment value of your cable TV at a much less cost. You can select the same program at your own leisure and often bypass commercials. How the average person consumes their entertainment has changed radically as our world now come with us in our pockets. While streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix may be the biggest brands on the block, Fast Company just released an interesting look back at just how Hulu got the ball rolling for the streaming giants of today. Take a look below. At the end you can link to FC’s ongoing Innovation series that this piece came from.

Remember when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail service? And its chief rival was the brick-and-mortar outlet Blockbuster? Feels like an eternity ago. Now Netflix looks over its shoulder at HBO on one side and Amazon on the other. But it was the breakthroughs generated by the less-praised and underappreciated Hulu that pointed the way to all of their success.

Fast Company put Hulu on the cover of our second World’s Most Innovative Companies issue in 2009. That decision was not a dig at Netflix or a mark of suspicion about its business. (Reed Hastings of Netflix had been a cover subject three years earlier.) Rather, it was a reflection of game-changing steps that Hulu was taking. At that time, Hulu was run by former Amazon executive Jason Kilar, who had to manage an assortment of owners—including both Fox and NBC—that had yet to embrace the idea of streaming their content. While Kilar had access to a rich trove of TV shows, he faced an ownership structure that was internally divided. For several of his many-headed bosses, the prospect of Hulu was at best a test, and at worst a threat to their core operation.

Kilar’s tactic was to play these owners off against each other just enough to keep them at bay, while he and his team furiously worked to create a new kind of viewing experience. Suddenly, streaming TV and even movies was easy, fun—and legal. At that point, the model was ad-supported in a user-friendly way that still hasn’t been replicated: Viewers could choose which ads they wanted to see, increasing the value for advertisers by constructing a qualified audience.

Eventually, Hulu’s corporate structure—not to mention the rise of streaming elsewhere, among its owners and most notably via Netflix—put the company on its heels and Kilar out of a job. But the user experience, design, and mass-market acceptance of streaming were all created or accelerated by Hulu. The most common narrative of innovation success often follows a single disruptor—Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, Mark Zuckerberg—without appreciating how much rests on the shoulders of progenitors and peers who advanced the game.

Today, of course, we expect to be able to stream everything via apps. (Back in 2008, most viewing happened on a desktop computer via the web browser.) Hulu is among a constellation of providers continuing to advance a revolution whose ultimate outcome is still unclear. Hulu hasn’t reaped the lion’s share of the rewards from its early innovations, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a powerful impact. And it continues to play a role in pressing Netflix, HBO, and others to keep advancing.

Via Fast Company

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

laptopslaptops

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile…..that’s the future wave. Smartphones are the growing platform of choice for everything digital and while the world is engaged in the screens carried in their back pockets, what has become of the desktop? Well, if you let the many digital experts tell it, stationary computers have one foot in the grave already and are preparing for a swan dive. Fortunately for me and many others like me the demise of the desktop has been greatly exaggerated.

Let’s look at just what the real current status of the desktop computer is in the social media area.

Time-of-Day-Device-1-800x500

According to FlurryMobile, 90 percent of mobile user time is spent in apps. Consumers are often using their phones with entertainment and communication intent — calling, texting, checking email, engaging on social media, watching videos, listening to music, getting directions, checking store hours and playing games such as Pokémon Go. The chart above supports this view the personal time is more suited for mobile device usage vs the general office/work hours of the day. But what about the actions that are taking place o these devices?

Where the device decisions get a little more complex is during the process of detailed transactions. Depending on what you’re doing and how major a transaction it is, desktop usage offers a several advantages in efficiency over smartphones. See the following excerpt from Search Engine Land.

Most consumer journeys involve cross-device usage; however, the device used for the final transaction is often determined by the type of transaction and the amount of data needed to complete the transaction.

An example of this type of deeply considered journey can seen in the financial services sector, when a consumer opens a retirement account and makes initial investments. It’s a complex decision with a high cost of failure, and the average consumer will research the process across multiple devices; however, the final transaction of creating the account requires entering a significant amount of data. For that reason, this step is more convenient to complete on a desktop or tablet then on a smartphone.

On the other hand, when the purchase is simple and straightforward without a high cost of failure, like booking a hotel room due to a flight cancellation, I’m more likely to book my hotel stay on my smartphone as I’m exiting the terminal instead of opening my laptop to complete the transaction. And in e-commerce scenarios, the ease of completing the transaction through a one-click purchase option can help increase mobile conversions.

EMARKETER-eCommerceSales-ByCategory-523x600

Once again we see that while usage and time spent is trending towards mobile access, there is a large portion of online active that is taking place almost exclusively on desktops.

[M]arketers always overestimate the appeal of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.
Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

In the end it would appear that the desktop is not going anywhere. Desktop functionality has become much more direct and focused. Folks are browsing, entertaining and communicating as they move about. Yet they are still sitting down for the bigger decisions and transactions. Keep this in need with your own business. Do you fall into any of those desktop heavy industries? Remember that it will always pay off to have a balance in your professional positioning. One that includes both stationary and mobile accessibility.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

Boom or Bust – The Future of Proximity In-Store Marketing

Boom or Bust – The Future of Proximity In-Store Marketing

Proximity Marketing

Not too long ago I tested out a number of proximity based apps in a few of New York’s larger retailer stores. As consumer habit continue to move towards mobile tech integration business are looking to get as up close and personal with shoppers as possible. Tailoring your in store experience based on where you are comes with a number of potential benefits. Below is the opening excerpt of a great piece discussing In-store proximity marketing. Check it out then hop over to the full post at the end.

***

Today’s constantly connected consumers are using smartphones in-store more than ever. A recent Google survey states that a staggering 80 percent of shoppers are using smartphones to make purchasing decisions. Retailers and start-ups have taken notice, and the concepts of mobile location analytics and proximity marketing are emerging out of that.

Publications like Techcrunch and Adweek have articles of retailers launching Bluetooth beacon pilot programs almost on a daily basis. Some recent examples includeTarget, Country Market and Urban Outfitters. But when you clear away all the buzzwords, what exactly is this shift we’re seeing? It’s the world customizing itself to you. The world is reacting to your presence, specific to you as an individual.

Proximity marketing is an exciting concept, but a lot of people are worried they’ll be inundated with spam if they opt in.

That is an exciting concept. Talking about this out in the world will get you varying reactions, from concerns about privacy issues to the idea that your phone is going to spam you with Viagra ads non-stop, but if you boil down the idea, there are some really compelling concepts here.

Personalization Is A Key Benefit

Let’s take a look at a form of personalization we all know about today. A husband and his wife have individual key FOBs for their car. When the husband gets in the car, the mirrors adjust, the seat slides back, and the radio station changes to his favorite morning radio station. When his wife uses the car that evening, the car returns to her preferences. That’s an example of very useful personalization. Now, imagine if a retail store could do that for you.

We’ve seen online personalization become more and more sophisticated over the past decade with platforms such as Google AdWords and the Facebook Audience Network, and the addition of proximity marketing technologies is making it possible to expand that personalization in-store, effectively bridging the gap between digital and physical environments. There are both exciting and scary possibilities to this.

So, why can’t retailers live without it? The retailer will now be able to understand shopper behavior beyond POS data. Retailers currently have the ability to analyze traffic patterns, deliver personalized offers, measure dwell times, build on customer loyalty profiles and even A/B test physical displays. And what does the shopper get? By integrating this technology into a retailer’s app, the shopper gets an ultra-personalized experience through customer-specific offers, location-specific coupons and contextual information such as maps and menus.

toptal-blog-image-1450087075632-31958f1c7401970ff774623ec3f1d902

But the question that keeps coming up is: Will shoppers adapt to this kind of experience? If users don’t adopt the technology, hockey stick graphs will never happen for retailers. I think of a Sheryl Sandburg story I’ve heard during her presentations several times. When Caller ID first came out, users were scared by it. They thought the concept of knowing who’s calling before you picked up was creepy. Now, 20+ years later, we don’t pick up our phones without knowing who’s calling.The user’s perception of the technology completely flipped over a couple of decades.

It seems a general consensus among investors and marketers that someone will figure out and win the proximity marketing race.

***See the full Article Here via Topal.com***

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

infographic-feat

The new year is underway and as you set out to execute your business plans it’s always nice to look over your presence online and make sure your business is being represented to the best of its abilities. From the proper dimensions on your profile images to the ideal time to post content, there is a science to this digital world. Fresh from the good people at SWM. Here’s a convenient cheap sheet you can cross reference your activity with to get the most out of all the major platforms. Just hit the jump for the full sheet.

You’ll also want to check out this collection of apps and tools that will add tons of value to your social media activity. I use more than half of these tools and can vouch for them. See the link at the end of the jump.

Continue reading 2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

A Social Media Assist For Cyber Monday

A Social Media Assist For Cyber Monday

4bfebf34-ba53-4802-9018-409ab8c6a45a

It’s that time of year when the holiday shopping season officially opens up! After all the Thanksgiving food has settled and the left overs are put away you turn your attention to the mega savings in your favorite store on and offline. This is also an important time for entrepreneurs. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are made for those whose brands operate heavily via digital spaces. That is where I come in. Are you fully maximizing your online activity? How is your engagement with your followers? There are so many thing people often overlook that can make so much difference in the business they generate. Starting today, Cyber Monday and running until Christmas, I’ve cut my most popular service the Social Media Audit by 33% so for $100 I will dive into your online operations to lay out plans and real attainable goals for you and your business. You won’t be disappointed.

****

Management & Consultation

The Social Media Samurai is always ready to help you. Are you looking for guidance with your digital strategy? Perhaps you need someone to speak to your organization about navigating social media in today’s ever-changing business environment? I can provide that and more. I’ve cut my audit service down for the holidays so it’s even easier to get started on the road to more success.

Contact me via contact@thesocialmediasamurai.com

At the very least make sure you stay connected with me across these Internets.

Hit the various links below to follow me on social media.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

drineee010

It’s been a while since I last interviewed someone so its with great pleasure that I share this latest edition of Samurai Sitdown. I’ve always been about shining light on good people doing work that you may not be ever of or just good people in general. We need a lot more positive energy in these crazy times and this woman’s constant flow of hope filled, encouraging words in the midst of her steady Hip Hop representation are one of the things I look forward to while navigating these Internets. A jewel that’s been tucked away in the Dirty South, let me introduce you to Texas’s own Ms Sandrine.

A video posted by sandrine ✨ (@drineee) on

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do? 

My name is Sandrine, also known as Drine, or Drineee on all social media platforms for all intents and purposes lol.  I’d like to say I wear many hats, or at least I try to anyway. Since 2011 I’ve transitioned from hip-hop journalist, to record label marketing rep to publicist. Oh, I’m also in finance as well.

It’s a pleasure to finally chop it up with you. Thank you for you time and lets hop right into things. Proper representation of culture and self are a big issue in many spaces right now. What does culture mean to you? In terms of Hip Hop, Nationality and Region?

drineee00000

Hip Hop culture is one the most powerful forces in our society, period.  It started as a creative outlet and has turned into something way bigger than I think anyone could imagine.  When we saw politicians worrying about what 2Pac had to say, I think that’s when it really resonated that this was way deeper than rap. It’s more than music, it’s a way of life.  There are so many layers to it and I think that’s why we love it so much. 

True. That’s why we love it and why so many before us hate and fear it.

There’s a song for hustling, for your mama, for the come up, for love, for death and for everything else and the best part – it’s all genuine.  It’s easy to make a pop hit but it lasts a year, if that, and if they’re lucky, maybe some years because really, they aren’t talking about shit. When you make music with meaning it’s always going to outlast music for the moment.  

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

NMDN Conference Returns / Nomadness 5th Year Anniversary

NMDN Conference Returns / Nomadness 5th Year Anniversary

cspshjyxyaackhw

Many things come with the end of September. In those final days we see the official end of Summer, Football season hits the 1st quarter mark and the Tribe of Nomadness flocks to New York City for its annual celebration and newly launched business conference. This year The NMDN Conference enters year 2 while the overall Nomadness movements hits its 5th year of existence. Having been here from the beginning it’s an interesting time to reflect back on humble beginnings and where Nomadness presently is.

We were again blessed with perfect weather for the final weekend of September. With Nature doing her part, NMDN set up commenced that Friday with decorations, displays, accessories and more being delivered to the venue. As is generally the case I secured the adult beverages for the big night. There is no truer sign of an official Nomadness event then me navigating a city with a ride full of libations.

5 years of Tribe…… Its that time of year! #Nomadness

A photo posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

As preparations were being finalized, our Nomadness family started to make its way into the city. Wrapped around the actual events of the weekend, Tribe held meet ups, brunches and various smaller gatherings all in the name of Nomadness fellowship.

I can’t help but think of all that has taken place since the 1st 100 members. The faces that have come and gone, the events, trips and bonds made. Not to mention those broken. From a small digital collective has come global acknowledgement, media recognition and a reach that literally spans the planet. It can all be a bit humbling at times. I watch it all from a unique position. High Council, Best Friend, Guardian…..I have various titles, many roles I’ve played but all of them stand in support of the Tribe. I know I saw something in this group early on but I’d be lying to say I saw all that it has become and all it would come to mean to me and so many others.

20160924_082907

Now Nomadness functions as a global resource for current and future generations of Urban travelers. From international business inquiries, to medical info, on the ground local knowledge of cities and towns, media connections across continents, Nomadness has grown into a position of being the stand out network for our people’s traveling needs. Along the way, the Tribe has steadily been the incubator to so many other travel groups and collectives that it’s value can not be measured solely in its own accomplishments but in the over reaching growth of many others.

img_1729

NMDN in 2016 showed major signs and growth and maturity as it took on a more serious travel tone then the previous year, as much more sensitive topics were brought forward to the various panels. #BlackLivesMatter, LGBTQ Travel & 911 Travel Info were just some of the topics that stood out at the conference. Powerhouse personalities like Necole Kane & YK Hong were among our guests speakers. Helping to pull things together appearance wise, hosting/lodging giant AirBNB was one of the top sponsors which included a couple of specialty AirBNB lounges furnished by Best Home Fashion.

img_1547-1

There were a lot of moving  parts both physically and logistically but I mus say that from behind the scenes, one of the biggest things I noticed was just how seamless the day went in transitioning from panel to panel. After doing this the first time there was definitely a sense of calm as the event proceeded along. The guest panelists enjoyed their time on our stages. The attendees networked while taking in vital info. Plus they received a first look into the upcoming Nomadness mobile app. 

That smooth flowing vibe would carry over into the evening Anniversary party were even more Nomadness members from around the world came through to toast to another year of travel. As our Tribe family danced to the tunes of DJ Likwid and cheered on the recipients of the annual Nomadness awards, they were also treated to a few surprises via event sponsor GOPRO. 

Half  way into a decade and Nomadness is showing little sign of slowing down. With new initiatives, services and products lined up to add even more value to the growing international network, year 6 is shaping up to be its biggest one yet.  

I’ve witnessed what started with a small hookah lounge meet up grow into worldwide force that as I type this has taken over a full town in Hungary. There is definitely a lot to celebrate. Most importantly is the ability to connect and enjoy life with our peers from around the world.

Check a few of the party images below and stay locked in for everything Nomadness has on deck.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

YMS 2016 Conference Hits New York City

YMS 2016 Conference Hits New York City

unnamed-2

As fast as you can blink there are new apps, new sites and new platforms for communication and social interaction. No one has there fingers on that digital pulse like the 16 to 24 year old portion of our society. Millennial influence on business is what directs and shapes so many industries and last month in Brooklyn, NY, London-based Voxburner launched a 2 day event focused solely on the thoughts, ideas and business desires of that demographic. In addition to that I had the pleasure of being a part of a panel speaking  on the importance of community management in this new digital market.

14458989_10157735360435019_1733623402_n

There were dozens of companies represented at YMS and professionals across numerous fields sharing their insights on the current climate of business from mainstream media news trends to creative platforms for upcoming artists. Sprinkled about Industry City, YMS provided refreshments, lounge and work space both inside and out. Free headshots could be had while various brands showcased their latest products and services.

 

I was glad to be there representing Nomadness within the Travel industry for the first time.

14454644_10157735524355019_234714853_n

There is so much that took place. Voxburner recaps their event here. Check out the images, sponsors and downloadable presentations provided. I’ll be sharing my panel discussion very soon too.

Curious what businesses the youth are responding to? Check out YOUTH 100.
Curious what businesses the youth are responding to? Check out YOUTH 100.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare

Community Management is the Backbone of Social Media Business

Community Management is the Backbone of Social Media Business

online-community

Gaining followers, increasing visitors, engaging in others content, trouble shooting negative commentary, etc,etc…..These actions among many are just some of the duties that make up having an active digital presence. Especially if you are in a business space then you are constantly managing the people who you are attracting to your services/products. Here’s the thing you need to understand. What you once knew as customer service has forever changed and is now community management. Here’s a little breakdown of why it’s vital to understand and embrace this change.

In previous generations when you did business with people there was a bit of a divide between them and you. The business and it’s customers had limited space to really interact outside of the location for transaction. Generally letters or customer service phone lines were the only real way to voice opinion and that often ended up in a void that would perhaps get viewed by one or two people if you were lucky.

Today businesses (if they’re smart) have an active social media presence and that results in their customer base now having a place to evolve into a community. They have pages to share their quality interactions with the brand and their less than enjoyable experiences. Praise and complaints now live out in the open so you need to be equally engaged within these conversations. The good thing about this is that you don’t merely have a new frontier to field problems in, but you now have a more direct pipeline into the true needs and wants of your target market. What focus groups and surveys once did you can now accomplish in real-time via proper community management. Don’t just react to comments. Proactively ask questions. Inquire about what they would like to see change. In addition to this you can identity actual brand advocates and potential ambassadors in the most organic of ways.

Overall, shifting your thought process from customer to community is a win/win on both sides of the equation. Value will be added to your brands market relations in the form of outward service and investment beyond the basic push for profit.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Foursquare