1) Zirtual Pauses Operations Overnight, Leaving Clients In The Lurch. Just 18-months or so after Zirtual first opened the doors on its virtual assistant service, it’s now closing them, at least temporarily. Confirmed in an email sent to Zirtual’s clients, the team paused operations as of August 10. The company says that the decision was forced by a conflux of unfavorable “market circumstances” and financial constraints, which resulted in the need for a restructure. The hurried announcement left consumer and business users of the service somewhat in the lurch, given the total lack of notice in communicating the decision to users. It wasn’t just the users who were left in the lurch either, as the company's staff weren’t told beforehand. Update: Shortly after the “pause”, the company was purchased by Startups.co.
2) The A to Z of New Google Alphabet. Google recently announced that its corporate arm will be known as Alphabet going forward. Though seemingly superficial, brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance believes it could have major financial implications. Google is rated as the world's third most valuable brand with almost $77 billion, trailing just Apple and Samsung. Brand Finance claims that in the short term Google's brand value will drop a little as revenues from some of its smaller businesses are rebranded to Alphabet, or, as is more likely, given new identities. The more interesting question is what the repercussions might have on Google's image in the long run.
Google Fiber and Google X suggest to consumers the internet giant is where it's at in terms of new technologies, its relevancy and the boasts that it's more than just a search engine. But remove Google's branding and it reduces their halo effect. Apple's single brand approach has served it well, creating better recognition of services and interlinking marketing messages. Google seems to have decided that something closer to a 'house of brands' approach might be a better fit. For instance, YouTube and Android are major parts of the behemoth not bearing the Google name. Alphabet's arrival suggests the strategy will be extended.
The rationale is based on managerial and legal concerns, rather than branding. Brand Finance believes the latest move is a step in the right direction for corporate management, allowing the various Google brands to work towards individual goals. From a legal point of view, Google is attracting some negative attention, either due to a lack of transparency, invasion of privacy or anti-trust concerns. However, under Alphabet, there's greater chance that details on Google's revenue streams will be made public, which should help in keeping shareholders happy and appease regulators. The move to Alphabet paves the way for more subdivision within the group to allay anti-trust fears. It also means other legal issues can be contained within particular parts of the business rather than tarnishing the entire set-up. Branding is affected too. If one part of Alphabet is dragged through the mud, the risk of contagion is less if it operates under a different brand name.
3) President Obama Says Underrepresentation Of Women And Minorities Among Entrepreneurs Hurts Business. President Barack Obama says underrepresentation of women and minorities among the nation's startups is hurting business. Obama says the next big idea could come from anyone and that the next Steve Jobs could be named Stephanie or Esteban. Jobs is the late co-founder of Apple. Obama commented as the White House showcased the work of more than 30 startup teams of women, minorities and young people. Their exhibits ranged from early-stage technology to consumer products. The White House says about 3 percent of U.S. startups backed by venture capital are led by women. About 1 percent are headed by African-Americans. http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2015/08/04/obama-says-underrepresentation-women-minorities-among-entrepreneurs-hurts/