CEO Ben Silbermann on Why Pinterest Has a Responsibility to Make the Internet a Better Place

The internet is a messy place where not everyone has the best intentions. What role tech companies have in responding to that reality has become one of the central questions in business. For Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, the role his company–and other online brands–ought to play is quite clear.

“I think the lesson that everyone’s learned over the last few years is that if you want positive things to come out of internet technology, they have to be deliberately engineered that way,” Silbermann said Tuesday on stage at this year’s National Retail Federation’s annual conference and expo in New York City.

While Silbermann didn’t explain who he meant by “everyone,” anyone paying attention likely was thinking about Facebook and other big tech companies that have taken a more hands-off approach to dealing with bad actors. As a site where most users are there to pin pretty pictures and do the internet-equivalent of window shopping, Pinterest has not been at the center of conversations about the tech industry’s role in handling misinformation in politics. Still, the company has faced its own dilemmas around how much to control what users see on its platform–and more often than not, Silbermann said, Pinterest intervenes.

He explained that in Pinterest’s early days, he and his team hand-picked people to join the service. Back then, Pinterest tried to influence the behavior of the small group of users by sending them an email explaining the rules and etiquette of the service and hoping people led by example. Things have grown much more complicated since then. Now Silbermann and his team are faced with how to encourage that same good behavior among 320 million global users.

“If you care about the well being of the people who use your service, you have to care about the content and the things they do on that service,” Silbermann said.

As an example, he said that a few years ago, his team noticed a growing number of users searching Pinterest for information on vaccines and other medical issues. Silbermann said that’s when the company made the decision that, as a starting point, Pinterest would not surface vaccine content when people looked for it because the company couldn’t verify that the information on its platform was credible.

Over the last year, Silbermann said the company has decided to take a proactive role in surfacing content only from top public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when people search for pins on vaccines.

Screenshot via Anna Meyer

Similarly, Silbermann cited Pinterest’s approach to handling users’ searches for content around anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health topics. Last year, the company decided to surface pins featuring wellness activities, such as breathing exercises and meditation, in response to those searches by U.S. users (international users will start to see similar results this year). Before, users might have surfaced only generic quotes about happiness and perseverance when searching something like “work stress.” Pinterest also has disabled searches around certain terms it has deemed harmful, such as “self harm,” “bulimia,” and “thinspiration,” according to a Wired report last year.

With hundreds of millions of users, staying on top of disturbing trends in searches–and coming up with the best response to them–is no easy task. Pinterest says that it works with organizations that specialize in relevant fields to come up with approved, trustworthy content on hot-button issues. Still, it’s a huge responsibility to be in the position of deciding what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

For his part, Silbermann acknowledged the enormity of the task–and suggested he wouldn’t do it any other way.

“We think that content actually has an impact on people’s lives. And so if you don’t take some responsibility for what people see, you’re at some level responsible for the downstream consequences,” Silbermann told the audience Tuesday.

By Anna MeyerWeb producer,

Source: CEO Ben Silbermann on Why Pinterest Has a Responsibility to Make the Internet a Better Place


8 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing May Fail

8 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing May Fail

Today, nearly every business is attempting to become a content marketer. The results aren’t pretty. The noise is deafening and while there’s plenty of great content, every industry is being bombarded with junk-cheap imitations of the idea of content marketing-create original, compelling, helpful content. You can trace the problem to a long list of problems.

Customers care about themselves, not you. Content marketing is not advertising. If it doesn’t deliver value, it has no value to your marketing.

In addition to content marketing, don’t forget online marketing sites. You can visit which is a fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services such as promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. They also offer crowdfunding promotion and promote crowdfunders and their campaigns/projects.

Avoid Following 8 Mistakes:

1. Playing it safe

If you’re afraid to take chances with your content, you’ll travel down the middle of the road and become roadkill in the noisy media.

2. Perfection paralysis

You publish too infrequently for fear that everything has to be perfect.

3. Low standards

Too many marketers just contribute to the clutter and noise with their content. Aim high and aspire to be the premier voice of authority in your industry.

4. Talent shortage

Your content planning and creation team should comprise experienced strategists, writers, designers and producers. If you don’t have them, hire them.

5. Disconnected

Content marketing efforts backfire when they take place in silos, that is different departments and entities within your company fail to integrate efforts. You need to tell a consistent story.
Your content should provide clear direction regarding what you want the reader/viewer to do. Use a call to action that maps to your marketing objectives-every time.

6. Fire. Ready. Aim.

Enormous problem: marketers think channel before strategy. Think about the problem you are solving for your customer. Establish where your customer is, what they’re doing there and create your content accordingly.

7. Unbelievers

If your C-suite, fellow marketers, or peers don’t faithfully join the party, you’re doomed.

8. Too broad

Content marketing is niche marketing. You’ll fail trying to be the expert in everything or an overly broad subject. Focus.


40Billion is the social network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders – a social platform for connecting business owners and promoting the things they create. Use 40Billion to find professional contacts and projects, get affordable digital marketing and social media promotion, and show off your creations to the world. Awarded Best Small Business Marketing Platform by US Business News!


Why Startup Entrepreneurs Need To Be More Like Reporters

Why Startup Entrepreneurs Need To Be More Like Reporters

Why Startup Entrepreneurs Need To Be More Like Reporters

The new marketing concept of brand journalism is the practice of covering your business and industry like a reporter. In other words, you’re transforming your marketing efforts into publishing efforts.

The big guys in your industry are likely already fully established. In fact, some are practicing this new style of content marketing so effectively you probably haven’t even noticed that their content is marketing driven.

Here are four tips on how you can get started:

1. Lose yourself.

We’ve been bombarded with “me” messaging for decades: My service, my product, my company. So people today innately tune “me” out. It is imperative you evolve from the “me” business that is common in public relations efforts. Try storytelling to attract, engage, entertain and inform your audience

2. Listen, learn and lead the conversation.

Now that you’ve decided to act like a reporter, do as they do: Listen. Learn the concerns and questions of your target audience. Then, instead of following the conversation and commenting on it, try leading it. You’ll be the one sparking engagement and identifying trends. After all, you know your business. Who better to comment on it than you? The idea is to focus less on “push” communications – such as e-mail marketing, direct mail and advertising – and move toward “pull.” You’ll find that it’s a better long-term strategy.

3. Drop the campaign speak, start talking.

Campaign-style content, where you proclaim the marvelousness of your products or services, won’t cut it any longer. Create a story that looks and feels like a real news story. And you never know, that story could turn into a real news article if it catches the attention of a real journalist. Also by getting in the thick of your industry, you’ll generate plenty of goodwill.

4. Invite others to participate.

Ultimately, your end-goal should be to get people talking and sharing your content with others. In addition to engaging with readers through social media sites, you’ll want to invite others to contribute to your brand journalism efforts. Accepting contributors to your blog, website and social media outlets will grow that audience exponentially. The more you share with others and the more often you invite others to participate and converse with you, the more likely your content will be shared.


40Billion is the social network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders – a social platform for connecting business owners and promoting the things they create. Use 40Billion to find professional contacts and projects, get affordable digital marketing and social media promotion, and show off your creations to the world. Awarded Best Small Business Marketing Platform by US Business News!

Source: Jan 25: Why Startup Entrepreneurs Need To Be More Like Reporters

China Virus Spread Is Accelerating, Xi Warns

A paramilitary police officer stands guard at the exit of the Forbidden City in Beijing

The spread of a deadly new virus is accelerating, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned, after holding a special government meeting on the Lunar New Year public holiday.

The country is facing a “grave situation” Mr Xi told senior officials.

The coronavirus has killed at least 56 people and infected almost 2,000 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan.

The US has announced that staff at the Wuhan consulate will be evacuated on a special flight on Tuesday.

The State Department said that private Americans most at risk will also be able to board the flight to San Francisco.

Meanwhile, UK-based researchers have warned of a real possibility that China will not be able to contain the virus.

Travel restrictions have come in place in several affected cities. From Sunday, private vehicles will be banned from central districts of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak.

A second emergency hospital is to be built there within weeks to handle 1,300 new patients, and will be finished in half a month, state newspaper the People’s Daily said. It is the second such rapid construction project: work on another 1,000-bed hospital has already begun.

Specialist military medical teams have also been flown into Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

The urgency reflects concern both within China and elsewhere about the virus which first appeared in December.

Lunar New Year celebrations for the year of the rat, which began on Saturday, have been cancelled in many Chinese cities.

Across mainland China, travellers are having their temperatures checked for signs of fever, and train stations have been shut in several cities.

In Hong Kong, the highest level of emergency has been declared and school holidays extended.

Several other nations are each dealing with a handful of cases, with patients being treated in isolation.

What is the coronavirus, and what does it do?

A coronavirus is a family of viruses which include the common cold.

But this virus has never been seen before, so it’s been called 2019-nCov, for “novel coronavirus”.

New viruses can become common in humans after jumping across the species barrier from animals.

The Sars [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] outbreak of 2003 started in bats and transferred to the civet cat which passed it on to humans.

Wuhan Red Cross hospital during the new coronavirus outbreak, 25 January 2020

This new virus also causes severe acute respiratory infection.

Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.

There is no specific cure or vaccine.

Coronavirus: How worried should we be?

Based on early information, it is believed that only a quarter of infected cases are “severe”, and the dead are mostly – though not exclusively – older people, some of whom have pre-existing conditions.

The Chinese authorities suspect a seafood market that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals” was the source of the outbreak.

Why is there concern about containing the virus?

Scientists at the respected MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis in the UK have warned that it may not be possible to contain the virus to China.

They say self-sustaining human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus is the “only plausible explanation” for the scale of the epidemic.

Their calculations estimate each infected person is passing it onto, on average, 2.5 other people.

The centre praised the efforts of the Chinese authorities, but said transmission of the virus needed to be cut by 60% in order to get on top of the outbreak.

This is a massive challenge, the scientists suggest, which will require finding and isolating even patients with only mild symptoms that could easily be confused with other diseases.

Elsewhere, a team at Lancaster University have published their estimates of the number of cases suggesting 11,000 have been infected this year. If true, that would be more than Sars.

Where has it spread?

There are now 1,372 confirmed cases across China, though most are concentrated in those provinces closest to Hubei.

But it has also spread abroad – in isolated cases affecting small numbers of patients.

On Saturday, Australia confirmed its first four cases – first in Melbourne, and then three more in Sydney. has also spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France. Tests in the UK on 31 people have come back negative, the government has said. Officials are trying to trace around 2,000 people who have recently flown to the UK from Hubei province.

The cases largely involve people who had recently travelled from the affected region in China.

China’s neighbours in the Asia region are on high alert, however, with cases reported in Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea and Nepal.

There are also two cases in the United States, including a woman in her 60s who had returned home to Chicago from Wuhan on 13 January.

Canada has a “presumptive case” of the virus, but the condition of the person suffering from it is deemed stable, according to a government statement.

What’s happening at the source?

The city of Wuhan is effectively on lockdown, with heavy restrictions on travel in and out, and public transport options from buses to planes cancelled.

It is a major population centre with up to 11 million inhabitants – comparable in size to London.

Pharmacies in the city have begun to run out of supplies and hospitals have been filled with nervous members of the public.

Officials have urged people to avoid crowds and gatherings.

“The whole transport system has been shut down,” Kathleen Bell, who is is originally from the UK and works in Wuhan, told the BBC. “From midnight tonight private cars are not allowed on the road. And taxis aren’t running.”

Major Western brands such as McDonald’s and Starbucks have closed in the city and in others nearby.

The US, France and Russia are among several countries trying to evacuate their nationals from Wuhan, reports say.

China is also suspending from Monday all foreign trips by Chinese holiday tour groups, state media reported.

The outbreak has severely restricted Lunar New Year celebrations in China, when millions of people normally travel home. Major public events have been cancelled and tourist sites shut.

Source: China virus spread is accelerating, Xi warns

He Got $221,000 Of Student Loan Forgiveness, But Then This Happened


This veteran thought he got $221,000 of student loan forgiveness, but then this happened. Here’s what you need to know.

Student Loans: Bankruptcy

A Navy veteran was granted $221,000 of of student loan forgiveness, which is also known as student loan discharge. U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York, Cecilia G. Morris, ruled that Kevin J. Rosenberg will not have to repay his student loan debt because it will impose an undue financial hardship.

However, in a relatively rare move in bankruptcy cases, his student loan servicer, Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), is now appealing the ruling.

“Instead of pursuing those opportunities available to him, and paying back his taxpayer-backed federal student loans, Plaintiff, for the past 10 years, has held various positions in the outdoor adventure industry, including starting up and running his own tour guide business,” ECMC wrote in filings.

ECMC claims that Rosenberg, who has a law degree from Cordozo Law School at Yeshiva University, could have earned more income working as an attorney. Rosenberg borrowed $116,500 of student loans between 1993 and 2004. He filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2018 and asked the court last June to discharge his student loan debt, which had grown to $221,400, including interest. At the time of filing, Rosenberg’s annual salary was $37,600, and after living and debt expenses, his monthly net loss was $1,500.

Traditionally, unlike mortgages or credit card debt, student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. There are exceptions, however, namely if certain conditions regarding financial hardship are met.

The Brunner Test: Financial Hardship

Those conditions are reflected in the Brunner test, which is the legal test in all circuit courts, except the 8th circuit and 1st circuit. The 8th circuit uses a totality of circumstances, which is similar to Brunner, while the 1st circuit has yet to declare a standard.

In plain English, the Brunner standard says:

  1. the borrower has extenuating circumstances creating a hardship;
  2. those circumstances are likely to continue for a term of the loan; and
  3. the borrower has made good faith attempts to repay the loan. (The borrower does not actually have to make payments, but merely attempt to make payments – such as try to find a workable payment plan.)

“Inability to pay one’s debts by itself cannot be sufficient to establish an undue hardship; otherwise all bankruptcy litigants would have an undue hardship,” ECMC argued.

What Else Can You Do If You’re Struggling To Make Student Loan Payments?

Here are some potential action steps:

1. Income-Driven Repayment: For federal student loans, consider an income-driven repayment plan such as IBR, PAYE or REPAYE. Your payment is based on your discretionary income, family size and other factors, and you can receive federal student loan forgiveness on the remaining balance after 20 or 25 years of payments. However, you will owe income taxes on the amount of student loans forgiven.

2. Pay Off Other Debt: Pay off credit card debt first. Credit card debt typically has a higher interest rate than student loans. You may qualify for a personal loan at a lower interest rate, which can be used to pay off credit card debt, save you money in interest costs and potentially improve your credit score.

3. Contact your lender: If you’re facing financial struggle, don’t keep it a secret from your lender. Contact your lender to discuss alternative payment options.

4. Refinance student loans: Student loan refinancing rates are incredibly cheap right now and start at 1.99%. Student loan refinancing is the fastest way to pay off student loan debt. To qualify, you’ll need a credit score of at least 650 and enough monthly income for living expenses and debt repayment. If you meet those requirements, you may be a good candidate for student loan refinancing. If you don’t, you can also apply with a cosigner to help you get approved and get a lower interest rate.

This student loan refinancing calculator shows how much you can save with student loan refinancing.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life: How To Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything. Apple named The Lemonade Life one of “Fall’s Biggest Audiobooks” and a “Must-Listen.” Zack is the Founder & CEO of Make Lemonade, a leading online personal finance company that empowers you to live a better financial life. He is an in-demand speaker and has inspired millions through his powerful insights. Previously, he was chief financial officer of an international energy company, a hedge fund investor, and worked at Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, and the White House. Zack holds degrees from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.

Source: He Got $221,000 Of Student Loan Forgiveness, But Then This Happened

Google Maps Just Introduced a Controversial New Feature That Drivers Will Probably Love but Police Will Utterly Hate

On long drives, I often find myself running two real-time mapping programs on my phone at once: Google Maps and Waze.

The reason is that Google Maps seems to be a better, faster-loading map program that shows alternate routes on long trips more quickly.

But Waze, which is actually owned by Google, has one feature I greatly appreciate: It lets other drivers warn of the locations of road hazards and police speed traps.

I’m not an especially lead-footed driver, but I’d still rather know where the cops are. It’s been a very small first-world problem for me that Google didn’t just combine both apps.

This week, however, Google announced the next best thing: Starting immediately, drivers will be able to report hazards, slowdowns, and speed traps right on Google Maps.

Apparently this has been rolled out in some cases to Android phones, but it will now be available across the board — on Android and iOS. I’m excited, and I think other drivers will be, too.

But one group that will likely not be happy is the police. In recent years, police have asked — or even demanded — that Waze drop the police-locating feature.

In February, the NYPD wrote to Google:

The NYPD has become aware that the Waze Mobile application … currently permits the public to report DWI checkpoints … Accordingly, we demand that Google LLC, upon receipt of this letter, immediately remove this function from the Waze application.

The Waze feature — and presumably the new version on Google Maps — makes no distinction between police who are running speed traps, manning DWI checkpoints, or simply sitting by the side of the road.

Previously, the LAPD and the National Sheriffs’ Association (.pdf link) also insisted that Waze drop the feature.

“There is no moral, ethical, or legal reason to have the police locator button on the app,” the sheriffs’ association wrote in 2015. “We are concerned that terrorists, organized crime groups, and gangs will find this a valuable tool to further their illegal activities.”

Google has always responded by saying that drivers slow down and strictly obey the law when they know that law enforcement is nearby.

That’s certainly my experience driving up and down the highways of New England and the New York area. Of course, if drivers know to watch their speed when they’re around speed traps, they’ll get fewer speeding tickets.

There’s a temptation here to suggest that “follow the money” is one reason law enforcement might object to drivers notifying one another to where police speed traps are located.

Most departments would dispute that there’s any link to revenue, or to the idea of police having informal quotas for the number of tickets they have to write or arrests they have to make.


But there could be one other reason to “follow the money,” on the other side.

Earlier this month, Apple announced a major update to its own Maps application. This was a big milestone for Apple, since years ago it admitted its own app was really bad — and actually encouraged people to use Google Maps instead.

Now, Apple is back in the maps game, as my colleague Jason Aten reported. And mere weeks later, Google introduces a popular interactive feature that some users have wanted for a long time.

Sounds like a potential win for both Google and its users — and a potential loss for police who oppose it.

Source: Google Maps Just Introduced a Controversial New Feature That Drivers Will Probably Love but Police Will Utterly Hate

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Facebook Used to Be an Essential Marketing Tool. These CEOs Are Doing Just Fine Without It

In 2013, AHS Consulting founder Amna Shah started boosting her business’s presence on Facebook. She and her employees worked to build out a page with information about the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based company, and posted new content multiple times a week. To attract potential customers, staffers crafted ads and paid to boost exposure of posts.

Shah knew consumer-facing brands may be better suited for Facebook’s advertising and paid marketing, but assumed hers, too, could find an audience. Some existing customers interacted with the brand, and likes piled up. But Shah says no one new from Chattanooga or the nearby Atlanta region seemed to be finding her consulting firm through the platform–only some individuals from India and China.“Over time, we started to think these were fake profiles,” she says. “We got no new business out of Facebook, ever.” Halfway through 2018, the company stopped putting effort into Facebook marketing.  Shah is far from alone. In a November survey, Inc. asked CEOs and other high-ranking executives from fast-growing companies what they think about Facebook from a business perspective. Thirty-two percent said they are now getting less for their marketing dollars with Facebook than they used to, while 27 percent said they mistrust Facebook’s use of their business data. In follow-up interviews, several of the survey takers said they have slowed their use of Facebook marketing and advertising. A few, meanwhile, have pulled the plug altogether.

  • Shannon Hulbert, the CEO of Opus Interactive, a cloud-services provider in Hillsboro, Oregon, had been spending hundreds of dollars a month on Facebook advertising, but said her company cut back dramatically in 2018. The following year Opus removed Facebook from its marketing budget entirely. The social network had stopped driving business, Hulbert says, as Opus had itself grown to cater to much larger businesses.
  • Moira Vetter, the founder and CEO of Modo Modo Agency in Atlanta, says a decade ago it felt like every business needed to be on Facebook and Twitter. Recently though, her creative agency–an Inc. 5000 honoree the past three years–has shifted its focus to producing content and promoting its work on Instagram and LinkedIn. “I feel that Facebook has run its course,” she says. “It’s not somewhere people in our industry are spending time. In fact, it’s become less and less of something I even think or talk about.”
  • Bubba Grimsley says he’d just cut off his Fairhope, Alabama-based company Liberty Rent’s Facebook presence in November, due to concerns about data privacy within his industry, which works with real-estate rentals and financing. “I don’t even know why we were doing it,” he says of the company’s Facebook efforts, which included paying to boost exposure of its content. “I don’t think I was finding any customers.”

For years Facebook has poured energy into targeting and educating small businesses, growing a team of publicists and outreach employees. As of 2018, more than 140 million businesses globally used Facebook, at least 90 million of which were small and midsize businesses, according to the company. Veronica Twombly, the head of communications for Facebook Small Business, says SMBs are a “top priority” for the platform.

“We are trying to elevate our free and paid solutions to make sure these small- and medium-size businesses know all of the tools at their disposal to help grow their customers,” Twombly tells Inc. The company offers digital training for businesses, and held more than 100 in-person training sessions in the United States in 2019.

Facebook in the past has acknowledged the growing cost of its advertising for business, even as user growth has slowed. Finance chief David Wehner said in an investor conference call that in the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, the average price per ad climbed 43 percent, while the number of ad impressions served increased just 4 percent. Still, Twombly says the company is continuing to see growth in monthly active advertisers.

Several of the executives who told Inc. they have stopped advertising on Facebook over the past year were from business-to-business companies, which often can find customers more reliably on LinkedIn or through other marketing channels. But others outside of the B2B realm have followed suit. One example is Jack Wight, the founder of an electronics reseller that advertised aggressively to individuals on Facebook in 2018 but pulled the plug on the effort the following year.

“We weren’t making any money on those people by the time we paid for the advertising,” says Wight, the chief executive of Buyback Boss, which is based in Tempe, Arizona. “The marketing cost was just higher than other channels.”

Wight estimates his company spent about $20,000 on Facebook ads over the course of a year, before giving up on Facebook about seven months ago. For 2020, his company is using a strategy of SEO and Adwords to find people who type in, for example, “sell my iPhone 10” on Google.

A Buyback Boss employee who had been handling the company’s Facebook presence and advertising now focuses on search marketing. Wight says he’s open to resuming ad spending on Facebook–but only after he’s scaled the other marketing channels he’s found more effective.

“We put some money into it, we risked some money to experiment,” he says, “and it just didn’t work.”

By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin Senior writer, Inc. @Lagorio


Source: Facebook Used to Be an Essential Marketing Tool. These CEOs Are Doing Just Fine Without It

Phishing Is Getting More Sophisticated. Here’s What to Look Out For

Many CEOs live in fear that their companies will suffer a data breach. That’s for good reason: In 2019 the average breach of U.S. companies cost $73,000. And the cost of the attendant reputational damage with vendors and customers can be far greater.

It’s probably no surprise, then, that in a recent Inc. survey, senior executives said their two greatest worries on a wide-ranging list of technology-related developments were having sensitive data stolen and being the victim of a ransomware attack. Some respondents know the pain firsthand–8 percent said their company has experienced a breach within the past two years, while 12 percent say they’ve experienced one in the past five years. With that in mind, Inc. spoke with cybersecurity experts to find out the latest when it comes to company breaches.

The first thing they made clear is that the 12 percent figure is probably low, since there are likely an increasing number of breaches that companies aren’t aware of and don’t report. Something that might play into that: hackers’ new methods of choice.

More than half of all breaches last year were not performed using malware, according to a January report fromcybersecurity firm Crowdstrike. That’s important because malware often is easily detectable. Increasingly, hackers are finding ways to access your company’s network using its existing systems, like logging on with an employees’ stolen credentials, says Shawn Henry, Crowdstrike chief security officer.

“More time undetected means more success for them,” Henry says, noting that the average adversary spent 95 days in an organization’s network before being detected, up from 85 days a year ago. “It’s similar to why you go for a colonoscopy, or you go to the dermatologist to be checked for unusual marks. It’s preventive maintenance. If something is there for months or years undetected, you’re in trouble.”

Gone phishing

Hackers can find their way into your system in a number of ways, with phishing scams being one of the most prevalent. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated, according to Joseph Steinberg, author of Cybersecurity for Dummies and a former Inc. columnist.

In some cases, a hacker might spoof the email address of an executive, send a note telling employees they’ve been laid off, and instruct them to log onto the network as soon as possible to fill out a form to receive their severance. The employees then click a link to their company’s network and, not realizing it’s actually a fake, enter their usernames and passwords. Suddenly, the hackers have a working set of login credentials–or many of them.

What’s more, now hackers are more often studying a company’s personnel and learning their manner of speaking by email before spoofing them, Steinberg says. They’ll glean personal information through the social media accounts of executives or their family members to find out, say, that they’re about to head off on vacation.

“Then they send a message to the CFO that sounds real and say, ‘I’m getting on my flight to Disneyland, so don’t bother calling me. Just take action.’ ” Suddenly, an employee is sending sensitive information–or even a wire payment–to a bad actor.

“Phishing 10 or 15 years ago was a shotgun,” Steinberg says. “I’m going to fire out hundreds of shells and hopefully some of them hit the target, whereas this is much more like a rifle. I’m trying to get this one person, but I’m hitting with a much more accurate and stronger attack.”

Shifting your mindset

Though it’s detectable once it’s in your system, malware is infiltrating more discreetly than ever before. Last year saw a trend away from the use of malware in email attachments–which many employees have learned to recognize as a red flag–and toward links instead, according to cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. “The increasing prevalence of cloud applications and storage means that we are all conditioned to click through links to view, share, and interact with a variety of content,” the company wrote in a December report.

Adversaries increasingly are using URL shorteners to make links in emails appear legitimate, the firm says. Hackers sometimes use URLs that are just one character different than the real thing, like a letter with a line under it, which is tough to spot in hyperlinked text, according to Steinberg.

The best ways to combat hackers

So how to prevent against all this? While companies need to make sure they invest in cybersecurity measures, of course, the experts offer additional tips.

1. Make sure all employees are properly trained and educated.
Have procedures in place for everything, Steinberg says. “And those procedures don’t go away just because the CEO is getting on a flight to Miami,” he says.

2. Get help from your rivals.
Share information about attacks to competitors in your industry with the hopes that they’ll do the same, Henry advises. “It’s understanding that if they targeted my transportation company this week, they’re going to target your transportation company next week,” he says. “Let’s share this intelligence with you so that you can better protect yourselves.”

3. Never think you’re immune.
Perhaps most important is understanding that your company can become a target, no matter how small or how secure, Steinberg says. “When that mindset changes from, ‘Nobody would be interested in hacking me’ to ‘I’m skeptical about everything that comes to me because I know there are criminals targeting me,’ it changes the way you react,” he says. “It changes the way you do lots of things, so that these types of attacks become a lot less likely to succeed.”


By Kevin J. Ryan Staff writer, Inc.@wheresKR


Source: Phishing Is Getting More Sophisticated. Here’s What to Look Out For

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London At Risk Of Becoming A ‘Ghetto Of Wealth’

England, London, Piccadilly, Rough Sleeper

London has been labelled an “epicentre of the elites” and a “ghetto of wealth” as social mobility in the U.K. capital plummets to new lows.

“London is essentially off-limits to ambitious people from poorer backgrounds who grow up outside the capital,” says Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, which released research on Wednesday showing how people who move to London from elsewhere in the U.K. are less likely to thrive.

Just one in eight of those born between 1975 and 1981 have “experienced long-range mobility,” a report from the Trust shows. This ratio has steadily worsened since the 1950s according to data analyzed by the London School of Economics (LSE).

The Sutton Trust defines “mobility” as “moving into a higher professional or managerial job from a working-class background.” The aspiring mobile are statistically better off staying where they grew up, rather than moving to the U.K.’s capital, the research shows.

London is often celebrated as the capital of wealth, not just in the U.K. but the world. Last year it was named by global real estate consultancy Knight Frank as the world’s leading wealth center. A month later, the European Banking Authority found the U.K. to be home to Europe’s best-paid bankers and fund managers, with most of them living in London.

Another report earlier this month said London was the seventh most expensive city globally, and the priciest in Europe.

All of this means that people moving to London from other parts of the country struggle to get ahead in their careers. More expensive house prices, living costs and tougher job competition compared to the rest of the U.K. have made mobility especially difficult for millennials aged between between 30 and 36.

“The ‘Dick Whittington’ concept of moving to the capital to move up in the world has dwindled,” says Lampl. Instead, children who are either bought up in the capital or are “economically privileged” have a higher chance to excel.

This keeps wealth within a closed loop as the highest paying jobs go to people who are already settled in the capital, or have the means to attain those jobs through other means, like unpaid internships.

Meanwhile, the top earners themselves are “surrounded by numerous other people like themselves,” says the report, meaning this loop can be reinforced through simple ignorance.

A Wealth Ghetto In The Making

Valerie Edmond, an actor who has featured in the second season of HBO’s Succession, a series about extreme wealth, recalls moving to London from Glasgow in 1998: “It became apparent early on that the algorithm of life in London worked out at double the cost of living for half the quality of life compared to Glasgow, but we were young and daft and talented so we took the odds.”

The London she has seen since making the move has changed rapidly, she says, as other creatives talents have started to stay away. “And that’s a real worry because what you’re left with is a ghetto of financial wealth builders instead of a celebration of culture and art and artists.

“My worry in London is that there will one day very soon only be a version of the truth left. A version created exclusively by wealth.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I write about the vast fortunes of Europe’s wealthy amidst the continent’s political ups and downs. I cover where their money ends up: The charities and philanthropic endeavours of the rich; the music and arts they support; the sports clubs and hobbies they accumulate. Having previously advised governments, companies and charities on the behaviours of the wealthy, I bring a unique perspective of this hidden and curious world. You can follow me on twitter @ollieawilliams or email me at ow [at]

Source: London At Risk Of Becoming A ‘Ghetto Of Wealth’

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This Marantz Stereo Receiver Could Be The Only Music Player You Need

Silver-gold Marantz NR1200

It’s not often that I get the opportunity to review traditional hi-fi gear because the audio market is changing rapidly. Increasingly, consumers want all-in-one devices that can deliver a full range of audio sources in one easy-to-use package. You only have to look at the soaring popularity of products like Naim’s Uniti range or some of the mini streaming systems from Denon or NAD to see where the market is heading. Smaller homes and a newer approach to technology mean audio systems are becoming more compact and flexible.

For many audiophiles, there’s nothing quite like the allure of a high-quality amplifier and a pair of great loudspeakers. Music enthusiasts still demand a great phono input, a traditional radio tuner, plus a streamer that can play music from the likes of TIDAL, Qobuz, and Spotify. Thankfully, Marantz has recognized that there’s still a demand for these premium audio centerpieces with the ability to connect to other sources like TVs, CD players, or NAS music servers. Marantz has addressed this need with the new NR1200, an incredibly capable stereo receiver that’s designed for audiophiles on a budget while offering almost every conceivable input and output in one premium audio box.

There’s nothing budget about the look of this beast of a device that is available in silver-gold or black finishes. The NR1200 features the classic curvy faceplate that Marantz is famous for and two oversized knobs for selecting inputs and adjusting volume levels. In the center of the faceplate, there’s a single-line FL (fluoro luminescent) display that scrolls basic text such as input source, volume level, and track titles, etc. Beneath the display is a row of knobs for a few basic functions like tone controls, speaker selectors and music control.


The NR1200 has been designed from the ground up as a high-performance, two-channel stereo receiver for people who want a great stereo with the option to play TV audio, but who don’t want a full 5.1 surround sound system. There’s a good reason for this as anyone who’s ever used an AV Receiver as a hi-fi component will testify. Surround sound AVRs just don’t have the same finesse when handling stereo music sources because there’s a lot of sonic processing going on.

Marantz engineers have developed the NR1200 in Europe and Japan using audiophile-grade components such as capacitors, power transistors and custom power supplies. At its heart, the NR1200 has a high-current amplifier delivering 75 W per channel into 8Ω. There are outputs for two pairs of loudspeakers and the output can be split between two zones labeled A and B. You can install two pairs of speakers and they can either play the same music in different rooms, or you can have one source playing in Zone A and another music source or TV routed to Zone B. For example, NR1200 could be located in a living room, playing the TV sound through stereo loudspeakers, while radio or Spotify can be played through a pair of speakers in another room at the same time.

The NR1200 has symmetrical left and right power amplifier circuits that are entirely separate from each other powered by a shared power supply with independent windings for each of the NR1200’s critical functions. To reduce the possibility of interference, the NR1200’s power supply is wired independently from the amplifier, preamplifier, wireless module, and front display circuits. Additionally, there are two separate DACs (digital-to-analog converters) for each channel to increase the dynamic range of the audio signal as well as delivering a lower signal-to-noise ratio. This dual-channel design improves channel separation, lowers crosstalk and produces a better soundstage. The stereo imaging of the NR1200 is superb – almost spine-tingling – but more about that later.


When it comes to inputs, the NR1200 can handle just about any source you could ever want to play. Let’s take a quick tour around the back to see exactly what’s on offer. First off, there are no fewer than five HDMI inputs plus an HDMI eARC output that carries sound to and from a TV. All five of the HDMI inputs support the latest HDMI standards, including HDCP 2.3, 4K Ultra HD 60Hz video, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling, HLG, High Dynamic Range (HDR10), 21:9 video, 3D and BT.2020 pass-through. The inclusion of eARC means the NR1200’s volume level can also be controlled using a TV remote control.

Additionally, there are optical and coaxial inputs for hooking up a CD transport or any other digital device that has an SPDIF output. For connecting analog devices there are three line-level RCA stereo inputs. Vinyl enthusiasts will be happy to know there is a high-quality phono input featuring a proprietary HDAM phono stage that Marantz claims can outperform cheaper op-amp phono stages. Finally, an F-connector is provided for an external FM or DAB+ antenna to feed the built-in tuner. For those who store their digital music on a USB drive, there’s a regular USB port on the front of the player as well as built-in support for network music servers.

Now let’s turn to the NR1200’s outputs. First off, there are pre-amp outputs for both Zone A and Zone B so the NR1200 can drive a more powerful amplifier if required. Two subwoofer outputs are provided for each speaker pair as well as two pairs of speaker binding posts that can accept bare wires or banana plugs. The speakers are switchable so pair A and B can work separately or play at the same time. Finally, there are two wireless antennas for receiving dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. An Ethernet port is also provided for those who prefer to have a hard-wired network. Incidentally, the NR1200 can also transmit music wirelessly to a pair of Bluetooth headphones or loudspeakers. That’s a nice little feature that I wish more audio manufacturers would include.

As well as support for streaming via Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2, the NR1200 also supports HEOS, the multi-room audio protocol used by Denon and Marantz. HEOS support means the NR1200 can stream to any HEOS-enabled device such as Denon’s range of wireless speakers, or any other components that support the HEOS standard. Baked into the NR1200’s firmware is embedded support for streaming from Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster, Pandora, and SiriusXM. Embedded streaming is vital because it enables streaming without the need to tether a smartphone. With embedded streaming you can select the music you want to stream using a smartphone and the NR1200 will then fetch the data itself so you can move out of network range and the music will still carry on playing. Embedded streaming can handle audio at much higher resolutions than either Bluetooth or AirPlay can, which is ideal for subscribers to TIDAL’s Hi-Fi or the Qobuz top tier subscription.

And now to the slightly odd thing about this clever device; it has one of the strangest and most idiosyncratic interfaces I’ve ever used. With just a single FL display to navigate around menus and options, it’s not the most intuitive system and can be a bit cumbersome when entering things like a Wi-Fi password or HEOS account details. Fortunately, there’s a way around this shortcoming by plugging the NR1200 into a TV via an HDMI cable and an interface will appear on the screen to make setting up the NR1200 a bit easier. The TV can also display the album artwork for whatever music you happen to be streaming. The on-screen interface isn’t the prettiest or most intuitive I’ve ever used, but it’s better than nothing. The TV interface also makes setting up or logging into a HEOS account much easier. A HEOS account is essential if you want the NR1200 to access your streaming subscriptions and it works as an aggregator of your music sources whether that be a streaming service or music files stored on a local server.

Ordinarily, the NR1200 can be controlled using the free Marantz AV Remote app. However, to access HEOS for streaming services, it’s necessary to use the free HEOS app. It’s not easy or intuitive juggling two apps to play music on one device, but fortunately there is a link to launch the HEOS app from within the Marantz app. Please stay awake at the back! There’s also a physical remote control that has direct access to all input sources which can be used to control music, adjust volume and access menu options. The remote control also has four “Smart Select” buttons that provide one-press access to favorite music sources and input settings. For example, one Smart Select button might be programmed to recall a favorite FM radio station, while another could switch to a vinyl setup. A third Smart Select button could be used for streaming Spotify, while the fourth could store an Internet radio station on Tune-In. These four buttons make using the NR1200 a lot less hassle once they’ve been programmed.

As I’ve hinted already, the sound of the Marantz NR1200 is as good as anything I’ve ever heard before at this price point. The inclusion of premium-grade electronic components – such as capacitors and power transistors – really make themselves heard. The sound is beautifully clean, clear and neutral, with a flat response that doesn’t color or muddy the music. There are tone controls for treble and bass if you want them, but the direct sound is spot on for my tastes. With a combined 150 W of power into 8Ω, the NR1200 has a muscular bass that underpins the music beautifully. The midrange has a splendid clarity while the top end is silky smooth and always controlled. Most of all, the stereo channel separation is incredibly precise, creating a fabulously focussed soundstage that locates instruments accurately. You can partner the NR1200 with almost any loudspeakers because there’s enough power to drive even a demanding pair of floorstanders or a subwoofer, if you want one.

The NR1200 has a choice of three sound modes: Stereo, Direct, and Pure Direct. The Stereo mode routes the audio via the NR1200’s tone controls and will apply M-DAX if it’s been selected. M-DAX is a kind of sound processing that can boost the bass and treble of lower-quality MP3 files or other audio of dubious heritage. M-DAX is probably best ignored most of the time and the Direct Mode cuts out the sonic influence of M-DAX and the tone controls. Finally, Pure Direct does much the same as Direct Mode but additionally disables the FL display and a few other bits of circuitry that may create electrical noise that might affect the sound. Most listeners will be quite happy using the default Stereo Mode but purists will definitely opt for the Pure Direct Mode.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Marantz NR1200 is how much it can be customized to suit a user’s needs. Inputs can be renamed and have their volume adjusted to give uniform sound levels across all inputs. So many settings can be tweaked and stored that nerds like me will be in their element just leafing through the 200-page user’s manual and tinkering to create the perfect sound system.

Verdict: I loved the Marantz NR1200 stereo receiver because it has just about every input and output you could ever want from a home audio system. The sound is beautifully clean and perfectly balanced with plenty of power to drive even the most demanding loudspeakers. The detail and musicality of the NR1200 is captivating. With some great loudspeakers, the NR1200 makes for a solid and affordable centerpiece for any home audio system. All you need to add is a vinyl turntable and a CD player and you have all your music bases covered. Using the five HDMI inputs, it’s possible to link up a DVD player, TV Box, PlayStation, or any other video device. Perhaps my only criticism is the rather convoluted interface and lack of a color LCD display for album artwork. If you want an all-in-one stereo receiver that offers incredible value for money and superb performance, the Marantz NR1200 is really hard to beat.

Pricing and availability: £599 / $599 / €599

More info:


  • Two-channel discrete power amplifier with separate L/R power amp circuit and power transformer with 75W per channel.
  • Streaming support via Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Internet Radio, Spotify Free and Premium, Amazon Music, Tidal, Network Audio Streaming.
  • HEOS wireless multi-room audio, voice control, digital music streaming via App
  • Hi-Res Audio support for ALAC, FLAC and WAV lossless files up to 24-bit/192-kHz, as well as DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz tracks. Listen to music via the front panel USB port or over network sources.
  • Integrated phono input for vinyl turntables.
  • Five HDMI inputs with full HDCP 2.3 support plus one HDMI out with ARC.
  • Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM): Ensures Xbox One users have a more responsive and immersive gaming experience when connected with select TV models that also support ALLM.
  • HDMI CEC Functionality for controlling the NR1200 with a Smart TV remote via the HDMI CEC functionality associated with Smart TVs.
  • Included Setup Assistant offers clear, graphical on-screen direction, and the Quick Start Guide ensures optimal setup for any configuration.
  • Four Smart Select function buttons on the included remote control store preferred setup. With the push of a button, the NR1200 configures for any source, from Blu-ray to TV set-top box, to users’ favorite Internet radio station and more.
  • Bluetooth Headphone out: Listen to music or TV programs via wireless headphones, either simultaneously with the speakers on, or individually. A regular socket is also included for wired headphone listening.
  • Dual Subwoofer Outputs: Supports dual subwoofers for even, lower-frequency bass response.

Follow me on LinkedIn.

I’ve been a tech journalist for more than 35 years and I’ve written for both Mac and PC computing titles as well as spending many years writing about audio, imaging and digital cameras for a raft of tech publications. I enjoy all aspects of technology, especially using gadgets that make life more enjoyable, creative and productive. A large part of my time is spent hunting down and testing some of the best and most innovative technology on the market today.

Source: This Marantz Stereo Receiver Could Be The Only Music Player You Need result for amazon electronic and home audio banners

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