Press release: ‘Pint sized’ Scottish satellites launched into orbit


first_imgExperts can use the satellite’s measurements to glean temperature, pressure and humidity information for weather forecasting and climate change monitoring.Khalil Kably, Pioneer Programme Manager for the European Space Agency said: We saw a gap in the market for what we call Space Mission Providers: companies that offer all aspects of a space mission to validate a new technology or service for the benefit of others. ESA is always looking to champion innovation in the space industry, and the idea of Pioneer is that these Space Mission Providers can help this by being a one-stop-shop for in-orbit demonstration and therefore reduce the barriers and complexity that can stifle new ideas. The two ‘first of a kind’ 5kg satellites which were designed and built by Spire Global are unique due to their function, tiny size, low cost and quick build time.This style of satellite could revolutionise work in space, which has traditionally been slow and expensive for business and science to access.Both satellites, which were developed under the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) ARTES Pioneer programme (the UK is the largest funder to ARTES), will aim to prove the value of ‘nanosats’ in weather monitoring, by using them to measure refracted radio signals passing through the Earth’s atmosphere.Graham Turnock, Chief Executive, UK Space Agency said: These incredibly clever pint-sized satellites built in Glasgow could slash the complexity and cost of access to space, presenting an exciting opportunity for the UK to thrive in the commercial space age. Through our £4m development funding in ESA’s ARTES programme, the government’s Industrial Strategy and by working closely with our international partners, we are helping Scottish businesses transform their ideas into commercial realities, resulting in jobs, growth and innovation. Spire has been focused on developing unique data sources with high frequency updates for the entire Earth and has over 60 LEMUR-2 class satellites deployed in space with a complementary global ground station network. Under Pioneer, we can offer our extensive experience in manufacturing and managing small spacecraft like these to those who cannot afford to waste money and time to do it themselves. This work with ESA helps further support the global development of commercial aerospace’s potential to make space access universal. Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire Global said: Today the satellites were launched from Sriharikota, India, but from the 2020s, these home-grown spacecraft could be launched from the proposed spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland.The UK Space Agency is also supporting a space incubation centre in Glasgow and has provided support over several years to the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, based at the University of Strathclyde and working across the whole of Scotland.The Centre’s role is to raise awareness of the potential of satellite services and data to be used in new and improved products and services in other “space enabled” markets – including, for example, offshore renewable energy and aquaculture.The UK Space Agency is driving the growth of the space sector as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy with major initiatives including the £99m National Space Test Facility at Harwell, and the UK continues to be a leading member of ESA, which is independent of the EU.last_img read more

The Revivalists Pay Tribute To Prince And David Bowie In Stellar Late Night Show [Videos/Setlist]


first_imgThe Revivalists made their way home to New Orleans last night, of course, during the most wonderful time of year. The septet hosted Vulfpeck and The Soul Rebels for an evening full of Jazz Fest’s finest fans, friends, and family. With plenty of cross collaborations, the spirit was very much alive in the The Orpheum Theatre.Catapulting off the high energy of The Soul Rebels’ set, Vulfpeck trotted on with a “Funky Duck” into “Outro” opener, welcoming The Rebels’ funk-electrifying horn section to the stage. Their arrival immediately infected everyone in the room with an upbeat, pip-in-the-step, smile-across-the-face, contagious head-bopping energy that Vulfpeck’s music just so happens to provide.When The Revivalists took the stage, the room huddled close for the home team and were immediately satisfied with a Prince cover to start the night off right. The band has been covering the Purple One since Halloween, but last night’s performance particularly struck a chord with the audience. “When Doves Cry” was an appropriate opener, as it lead straight into a heavy “All In The Family” > “Bulletproof” jam-infused rocker. Snarky Puppy’s Nate Werth took off on percussion, adding a distinctly fulfilling presence throughout the rest of the set. The room was treated to an “Amber” “Fade Away” medley, which transitioned into an ever-inspirational “Keep Going” sing-a-long. A heart-pounding, old-school “Upright” smacked the audience with another song from the new album, “Gold To Glass,” as the New Orleans natives brought the audience even higher with a “Stand Up” scorcher.In light of 2016’s most devastating passes, David Bowie, too, was honored last night with an epic “Fame” cover. The dance party continued into three of their most adored tunes, “Criminal,” “Fireflies,” and “Soulfight,” which featured Bobby Lee Rodgers on guitar. The guitar-work between Rodgers and Zack Feinberg impressively brought the set to an end, with spirits and energies at an all time high. As the band exited the stage after an incredibly powerful set, the room held tight knowing full well they’d be back with more.The Revivalists’ Guide To Surviving Jazz FestKeyboardist Michael Girardot and frontman David Shaw returned to the stage for an emotional “Men Amongst Mountains” performance. With the crowd in the palm of his hands, Shaw extended his vocals to a new world, leaving the room breathless before delivering their newest single, “Wish I Knew You.” The dance-heavy tune brought a new aura to the room, as the crowd chanted, “wish I knew you when I was young, we could’ve got so high!” in the arms of their dancing fellow loved ones.Like “two strangers in the bright lights,” Shaw asked for the stage to go completely purple before bringing one last tribute to Prince, an ever-appropriate “Purple Rain.” The crowd came in close for the last time, as the evening closed on a perfect note.The Revivalists’ Rob Ingraham Goes Hilariously In-Depth About TODAY Show ExperienceThe nods to the fallen stars deepened the intimacy of last night’s show, carrying an irreplaceable light that extended deep into the night. Thanks to dedicated fan Todd Neal, you can watch some highlights from The Revivalists performance below:“When Doves Cry” “Purple Rain”“Fame”“Amber”“Upright”“Criminal”“Men Amongst Mountains”Later in the evening, or morning, Shaw made his way over to the Blue Nile and played with fellow New Orleans band, Naughty Professor. They performed a new, unreleased song, “Stray (So What),” which Shaw wrote and produced with the band, hopefully to be included in their highly-anticipated upcoming album. Check it out:The Revivalists @ The Orpheum 4/23/16:When Doves Cry, All In The Family, Bulletproof, Amber, Fade Away, Keep Going, Upright, Gold To Glass, Stand Up, It Was A Sin, Need You, Fame, Criminal, Fireflies, SoulfightE: Men Against Mountains, Wish I Knew You, Purple Rain[Photos courtesy of Josh Timmermans]last_img read more

Radiohead To Release 20th Anniversary Issue Of ‘OK Computer’ Dubbed ‘OKNOTOK’


first_imgThere has been much buzz about the upcoming 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s OK Computer, with the mysterious “Fitter Happier”-themed and politically charged street art popping up across major metropolitan areas such as London, New York, Amsterdam, and more. While the band has not officially confirmed their participation in the street art campaign, the images also coincided with a more official announcement from the Radiohead camp. Stanley Donwood, the artist and writer behind Radiohead’s album and poster artwork since 1994, recently posted an work on Instagram post featuring the Radiohead logo front and center along with the caption “soon to be real,” thus implying to keep our eyes out for new announcement from the infamous British rock band. Such speculations were confirmed today when the band announced that it would issue an anniversary edition of their seminal album.The 20th anniversary issue of OK Computer is dubbed OKNOTOK, and will be released on June 23rd. In addition to the remastered tracks from the original album, the special edition will also include three previously unreleased tracks—“I Promise,” “Lift,” and “Man Of War”—and eight B-sides. Pre-sale for Radiohead’s OKNOTOK is currently under way here. In addition to more traditional formats such as digital download, CD, and vinyl, the group is also offering a boxed edition that includes “three heavyweight 180 gram black 12″ vinyl records,” a special hardcover book filled with unseen artwork and the full lyrics to the tracks on OKNOTOK, a notebook compiling selections Thom Yorke’s notes at the time, a small sketchbook with Donwood and Yorke’s visual plans for the album, and a cassette mix tape containing session archives and demoes from OK Computer. You can pre-order these goodies here, so that you can be the first to have your hands on them when they’re officially release on June 23rd.last_img read more

George Clinton Dubs Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar “The New Generation Of Funk Musicians”


first_imgGeorge Clinton has been one of the most well-known names in the funk world for decades, carving out a unique space in the mainstream for funk music with Parliament and Funkadelic, often referred to as the collective Parliament-Funkadelic (or P-Funk). While Clinton has been a larger-than-life figure in funk for years, he’s never been too set in his old ways, frequently allowing his approach and his repertoire to include new and innovative collaborators.In recent years, George Clinton has forged a creative relationship with experimental producer Flying Lotus and his L.A.-based Brainfeeder label, which ranks other neo-funk forerunners like Thundercat on its artist roster. During that time, he’s also collaborated with the likes of hip-hop superstar Kendrick Lamar, contributing to the Compton rappers highly lauded 2015 album, To Pimp A Butterfly, alongside other L.A. scene associates like Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, and more. He even welcomed Kendrick and Ice Cube on a remix of Funkadelic’s “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You” in 2016.George Clinton & Funkadelic ft. Kendrick Lamar, Ice Cube – “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You”[Video: GeorgeClintonVEVO]George Clinton is not the only legacy artist that’s been influenced by this jazz-funk-hip-hop new guard. Herbie Hancock is notably working on a new album that will feature Kendrick, Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Kamasi, and other contemporary artists of their ilk.In a recent Reddit AMA session, one fan asked Dr. Funkenstein what it was like working with Flying Lotus. This was his response:He reminds me so much of when Bootsy [Collins] first came around. Thundercat, Steve [Flying Lotus] and the whole crew. Kendrick Lamar, it feels so much like 1975 when Bootsy first came around and started mixing James Brown with P-Funk. The same thing is happening with Flying Lotus, and it’s putting me in touch with so many new musicians. These are the new generation of funk musicians. So, it’s educational working with him. It’s a whole new version of ourselves. George Clinton’s high praise for artists like Kendrick Lamar is nothing new. He’s been praising his abilities for years. When To Pimp A Butterfly came out in 2015, Clinton told Pigeons & Planes,I wasn’t surprised that the album came out sounding the way it did. I could tell from the song I did with him, the way he was talking and his interpretation of funk, that it was going to be something new. Kendrick told me respect was going to be paid to the funk. …He’s number one right now! It’s hard as hell to be in that position with so much attention, but he’s got a good team around him. It’s hard to deal with and still try to be creative at the same time, but he has that in check. The only other person I’ve seen do it like that before is Prince! It’s a crazy amount of pressure, but for me, I learned the value of playing crazy—people think you’re crazy, they don’t bother you as much. Kendrick’s got a mission set out for him, I don’t know if he fully realizes it yet but it’s there.These days, the funk “genre” is thriving beyond the mainstream, with bands like Lettuce, Turkuaz, Galactic, The Motet, and many more continuing to make strides and earn consistently bigger audiences in their respective spaces. Pop artists like Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson have also garnered immense commercial success with their funk-infused brand of pop, and funk pioneers like the surviving members of The Meters still doing their thing on various projects. Most people wouldn’t put artists like Kendrick and Flying Lotus in the “funk” category at all, let alone refer to them as its future.But the way George Clinton has always seen it, funk is less of a genre and more of an approach, a feel. Clinton has always been one to move beyond the comfort zone of his “genre,” and is fully aware of that aspect of music’s evolution, particularly after moving toward psychedelia and away from more traditional “funk” as his career went on. As he noted in a 2015 interview with Noisey,Any time you go pop or cross over, you already begin to lose the audience that you started out with. It just so happened that the black music became the pop music of the next generation. What’s really black for ten years becomes really pop the next ten years. With rock ‘n’ roll, a lot of black people think it’s white music totally. They don’t know about Little Richard and Chuck Berry. The only thing they know is that Jimi Hendrix played some psychedelic. So yeah, you lose your audience if you go from one audience to the next. Most of the black music you get today—hip-hop—it’s totally pop. Considering his experiences and familiarity with “funk music,” its constant evolution, and the artists he notes as representing its new guard, Clinton certainly makes a compelling point about the artists he sees as “the new generation of funk musicians.”[H/T OkayPlayer]last_img read more

Snapshots of the past


first_imgNicholas Artamonoff was a college administrator, a public works official, the son of a Russian general and military attaché, and an amateur photographer. A private man, he also became  an unlikely champion at the center of a new online exhibit created by researchers at Dumbarton Oaks.The Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection, presented by the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, in Washington, D.C., features more than 500 photos that Artamonoff took in Istanbul and at archaeological sites across western Turkey from 1935 through 1945.The photos document sites and monuments, many of which have since fallen into disrepair or have disappeared entirely, which adds to the collection’s historical value.To Günder Varinlioğlu, Byzantine assistant curator of ICFA, the body of work reveals a talented amateur who was intensely interested in photographing his surroundings. Although Artamonoff was not formally trained as an architect or art historian either, the images he captured through his lens are the work of a man who was dedicated to his craft and who had a profound understanding of historical monuments.Varinlioğlu and intern Alyssa DesRochers worked last year to organize the collection, while researching both Artamonoff and his photography. Their efforts have resulted in a new online exhibit. The collection’s photos can be browsed or searched by title, location, or key word.Photographed by Artamonoff in 1935, the Ottoman courtyard with an old cypress tree, Istanbul, Turkey.The images show 1930s Istanbul, a dynamic and romantic setting steeped in antiquity and well worth preserving for posterity. Jan Ziolkowski, director of Dumbarton Oaks, described Artamonoff as a “Casablanca figure,” and his Istanbul as a center of “multicultural, polyglot espionage types.” Even though Turkey is across the Mediterranean from Morocco, Ziolkowski said that the latter “has been in a similar position by being sometimes the edge of a tectonic plate between empires, and sometimes an imperial tectonic plate in its own right.”Invoking tectonic plates calls to mind both the constant gradual change and periodic violent change that affect historic cities such as Istanbul. The relentless sun has faded aged frescoes, and the rhythmic waves have eroded sea walls, while successive iterations of urban renewal have claimed such important sites as the Aqueduct of Valens.Varinlioğlu singled out Valens as an example of the urgency of archaeological preservation. The aqueduct, newly surrounded by a neighborhood in Artamonoff’s 1936 photograph, “represents the dynamism of a major center of population like Istanbul, as reflected by the fresh debris of recently demolished buildings. The urban fabric is like a living organism. Its transformation is inevitable, but it should not proceed in an uncontrolled manner at the expense of the cultural heritage.”In later decades, the neighborhood surrounding the aqueduct made way for a highway. The landscape is sure to change further, but the researchers at Dumbarton Oaks hope that this photo collection encourages the preservation of visual and cultural memories, as well as the thoughtful restoration of monuments.The photos document sites and monuments, many of which have since fallen into disrepair or have disappeared entirely, which adds to the collection’s historical value.In the meantime, there is more work to do. Varinlioğlu and DesRochers continue to research Artamonoff’s life to enrich the collection’s context. They have identified additional Artamonoff works in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. In addition, there are more images from the ICFA inventory that may be by Artamonoff. The exhibit organizers hope that viewers may help determine their authorship. They also hope that scholars, local residents, and others may recognize some of the many unidentified ruins and individuals in the photos.last_img read more

Fast Bikes, Slow Food


first_imgMeet the adventure farmers behind Pedal to Plate Q: How did you get into outdoor adventure sports?  Q: What got you into farming? Q: How do you manage to find the balance between prioritizing extreme outdoor recreation and owning and operating a farm?  A: I grew up on a small family farm and married a farmer. My husband, Morgan, has been farming for 11 years in Utah, Vermont, and now North Carolina for the past 8 years. A: It is a 35-mile route with an average 3,300-foot elevation gain, so it isn’t exactly easy. We also offer optional routes that are more challenging at 46 miles with a 4,400 foot elevation gain. Needless to say, everyone is pretty hungry by the time we gather to eat. While the ride is challenging, it is a very relaxed event and we’re very excited for this year!  A: We do non-spray, organic vegetables and fruit. We also have a line of low-sugar jams. We use fruits both from our farm and berries that I wild harvest in our jams. Eventually we are hoping to be just an orchard and berry farm. Q: What is the ride like? Outdoor adventure is often adrenaline-fueled and fast-paced. Sometimes, though, it is important to slow down, especially when it comes to our food. That’s what Sarah and Morgan Decker, the owners of Root Bottom Farm in Madison County, N.C., believe. Sarah and Morgan have biked over 3,000 miles together across the Southeast and can also regularly be found paddling, skiing, or hiking the Appalachian Trail when they’re not working on their farm. In being a part of the local, sustainable agriculture of Western North Carolina, the Deckers have found a balance between the thrill of adventure, and the joy of slow food. BRO talked with Sarah Decker to learn more about her family’s endeavors both on and off the farm.center_img A: It is just really important to us. We schedule our trips around my schedule as a professor and around slower times on the farm. Also living in Madison County allows us to be connected to the outdoors and the local food system. The closer we can be to our local food, the better it is for everyone. We also believe that as athletes good food is good fuel, so prioritizing healthy, local food makes us perform better as well. Q: What do you guys sell? Q: What can you tell me about your annual event, Pedal to Plate? Pedal to Plate cyclists work up an appetite while biking the backroads of rural Madison County, n.c. for 35 to 46 miles. afterward, they enjoy a farm-fresh, locally-sourced feast at root bottom farm. Pedal to Plate will be held on Sunday, September 8 this year. You can learn more about Root Bottom Farm and the Pedal to Plate event at RootBottomRarm.com/PedalToPlate. A: We were both raised in outdoor families, Morgan out West and myself in Virginia. I was the long-distance hiker and Morgan the long-distance biker. When we met we started doing bike tours together including a trip from our farm to Key West that was around 1,200 miles for our honeymoon. We also make sure to go out West every year to ski and raft locally in NC. A: Pedal to Plate is a bicycle tour through Madison County that takes cyclists to four or five small farms. They’ll receive a guided or self guided tour that shows the ins and outs of each farm. People who come out can sample products at each farm on the tour, so they’re fed all day long. The tour ends at Root Bottom with a feast that is almost 100% locally crafted by two local chefs, one of whom operates a homestead on the tour! The whole idea is to get people excited about cycling, community, and local food. This is our fourth year hosting Pedal to Plate and we’ve sold out every year. The farms also partner with local non-profits and have donated 10% of sales to the Friends of Madison County Animals and the Community Housing Coalition. We love to keep it small and with all the farmers, volunteers and riders we feed just under 100 people in front of our renovated tobacco barn.last_img read more

Rocky Point Head-on Bus Crash Kills Car Driver


first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An unidentified man was killed in a head-on crash with a tour bus in Rocky Point on Saturday night.Suffolk County police said the victim was driving a Toyota Scion eastbound on the Route 25A Bypass when he crossed into the opposite lane of traffic and hit a westbound Prevost Coach tour bus that had no passengers aboard at 7:40 p.m.The car driver was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not immediately available to be released.The bus driver, 36-year-old Richard Kiernan of Sound Beach, was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson where he was treated for minor injuries.Suffolk County Police Motor Carrier Unit officers performed a safety check on the tour bus. The Toyota Scion was impounded.Seventh Squad detectives ask anyone with information about the crash to contact them at 631-852-8752.last_img read more

Increasing Profitability: 7 Cost-Saving Strategies We Learned From Our Clients


first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Here at Morey Publishing, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many great companies and excellent entrepreneurs who’ve taught us how to increase profitability in this challenging economic climate. From them, we’ve learned many cost-saving strategies that we’d like to share. Call it our way of paying it forward!• VOIP From Adam Schwam, the chief operating officer of Sandwire Corporation, we’ve learned the cost-saving benefits of Voice Over the Internet Protocol, aka VOIP. You plug your phone into the Internet and you’re connected, that’s how easy it is.“As a matter of fact, you can plug the phone in any Internet connection, even in China,” says Schwam. “It makes no difference, and it works as it’s here on Long Island, without delay.”To change your service, you don’t need to go to the phone company and jump through hoops, he explains. For example, by just going to the website, you can easily reprogram your phone. Schwam has his office phone set up so an incoming call can be displayed on his own cell phone wherever he is, his office phone as well as his assistant’s phone, in case it’s an important call and he can’t pick it up himself. Likewise, he points out, you could program outgoing calls to use your office number in case you prefer to keep your cell phone private.“You don’t have to run telephone wires everywhere when you have this system,” Schwam says. “It goes right into any place that has the Internet. One wire. When you want to replace the telephone system, you don’t have to do any rewiring. You just plug it in.”The connectivity options can make a huge difference on the bottom line. In an instant, separate offices can be interconnected. You go to one place, plug in your phone, and it acts like an extension, as if you’d just stayed put.Another advantage to VOIP is that it enables your cell phone to function with your laptop to create a portable office, enabling assistants in the field to stay in touch as they work on an outside project, for example. All you need is Wi-Fi.Schwam says the VOIP technology was developed more than a decade ago but recent developments have made it faster and more affordable, particularly because Internet bandwidth has become so much cheaper compared to traditional telephone service. Now you can get as many lines as you need, when you need them. Plus, a handset may break, but the phone system won’t. If your office loses power in a storm, for example, you can go plug your phone in somewhere else and go back online. Or log in from anywhere and have your business calls go directly to your cell phone. What you do is up to you. That’s the message we’ve taken to heart.• EMV Making the shift to EMV credit cards—the new global standard for cards equipped with this innovative technology designed to authenticate chip-card transactions and cut down on fraud—is the right way to go. Embedded in each EMV, which literally means Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is a small, metallic square that is actually a computer chip. Unlike the traditional magnetic stripe on the credit card, this new chip creates a unique transaction every time it’s swiped, making it harder to duplicate if the card were stolen because it would be denied.EMV won’t prevent data breaches but it will make life more difficult for crooks who get their hands on these new cards. So the switch is on and increased security is the goal. The national deadline for businesses to install smart-chip readers was October 1st.[Download the free eBook “What Merchants Need To Know About The New Credit Card Processing Liability Regulations & How To Be Compliant: Post-October 1st EMV Deadline” HERE]That heightened protection is a plus for customers and retailers, alike. But, as we’ve learned from Joseph Doyle, a partner at MerchantPro Express, retailers might also want to examine their merchant processing fees because that’s a great way to save money.Visa and MasterCard take a look at “every single credit card in the market place” and come up with rates and fees for each one, explains Doyle.“If you’re a merchant and you take 100 different credit cards a month, that’s 100 different rates and fees,” he says. As a result, processors are being charged a certain amount for each account and they are charging their customers. According to Doyle, there’s a good chance you are on a certain pricing structure, and not even be aware of it.Merchant Pro Express can look at our credit card processing statement and see where we can save money based on what the financial industry calls basis points, a unit of measure defined as one hundredth of 1 percent that enables them to compare interest rates.As Doyle put it best, “It’s all about basis points.”And he should know.Too many small businesses today are still carrying legacy debt on their books that is very difficult to refinance. Thanks to our association with direct lenders like PowerUp Lending Group’s Jay Kirchner, we’ve learned how to tip the balance in our favor.“As a direct lender, we’re able to make decisions quickly and provide answers for small to medium-size businesses that have been shut out of traditional banks,” Kirchner says. “At PowerUp, we have carved out a great niche as an industry leader in the direct lending space by providing loan consolidation options for our clients.”We’ve been able to roll up our existing loans into new loans with more comfortable payback periods, and that’s enabled us to concentrate on what we do best.• Change Up Your Insurance When’s the last time you bid out your business insurance? Good question, and we can thank James Harnett, senior vice president at The Whitmore Group, Ltd., in Garden City, for posing it to us.“There are always new carriers getting in and old ones getting out,” Harnett says. “It’s good to test the marketplace.”Of course, insurance carriers like to put a premium on continuity and staying power, but he recommends doing your due diligence every two to three years by perhaps contacting two or three other carriers besides the one you’re currently with. Why? First, of all, you “keep your carrier honest,” he explains. If your present carrier likes your account, and you get a competitive bid lower than what you’re paying, you might be able to negotiate a reduced premium.But since no two insurance policies are exactly the same, Harnett points out, you have to weigh cost and quality. “Coverage counts,” says Harnett. “Balance them both.”And some coverage out there, as he notes, “is not worth the paper the policy is written on.”Here’s something else to consider, Harnett advises, how your insurance carrier handles your claim. If you’re happy, go for it.“When you see the policy working,” says Harnett, “that’s what can really sell the insured.” But as he’s taught us, there’s a lot that goes into it. “It’s not just price,” he says. And that’s something every business should learn when it comes to considering their insurance.• Barter Domenic A. Casillo, the president of TradeWorks in Kings Park, taught us the modern value of the ancient barter system, one of the oldest forms of payment.“We help our members use leverage to create buying power,” says Casillo. “How they create that leverage is based on their cost of goods.”He explains that when you’re a member of TradeWorks, you don’t have to do a direct one-on-one trade. Instead, you can accumulate trade credit and use it to obtain what you’re after. “It’s a lot harder to find two people who need each other’s services,” Casillo says. “It’s a lot easier to find somebody who needs somebody’s services and then that person needs somebody else’s services and so on and so on.” Now five years old, TradeWorks has more than 400 members on Long Island, with services ranging from plumbing to accounting and so much more it’s mind boggling. And that’s not all.“We go outside our initial system and deal with people throughout the country to give our members other opportunities,” he explains. For instance, he did a deal with a company in Pennsylvania that bought a lot of exercise equipment from one of TradeWorks’ Long Island clients. In exchange, he hooked up a member with a hotel room, a hot air balloon ride and a winery tour.Typically, TradeWorks helps facilitate the transactions, as well as making sure that everybody is getting a fair deal.“It’s a great way to use leverage to create more buying power and also to expand your market share by introducing your product to people who wouldn’t normally work with you,” he explains. “That’s the beauty of it!”And we couldn’t agree more.• Monthly Financial Reports Our accountants, DeFreitas and Minsky, CPAs, made us realize how too many small businesses see their accountants only once a year just to get their taxes done, and they lose out on the cost-saving potential of consulting with their accountants much more frequently, either monthly, quarterly, or every six months. No question it’s been a huge benefit.“We changed our business model about 25 years ago,” says Manny DeFreitas, “dedicating ourselves to meeting and communicating with our clients as much as possible. Visiting the clients at their place of business is by far the most effective. We get to see then in their comfort zone and see the operations firsthand.”He says that the clients who see them monthly have been the most successful. “We normally prepare monthly financials that we review with the client in their office,” DeFreitas explains. “When there is a question, someone is there who knows the answer or can find it.”The frequency is important, he stresses, because that means the financial information is most up to date.“If the financial information is not timely, it is futile,” DeFreitas explains. “Our outside eyes look at things differently from the business owner. This is obviously a very important and powerful tool for the client.”It’s certainly worked to our advantage.• Cloud Computing Not too long ago Gerard Hiner at Webair Internet Development, Inc. convinced us to consider the cloud instead of hosting our software and website in house. Redundancy and connection speed are two of the factors he helped us consider when we enlisted his company’s services.“Cloud computing enables companies to realize significant cost savings compared to hosting their infrastructure, software and websites in-house,” Hiner says, “mitigating the need for large capital expenditure investments, and server and system maintenance, software licensing and upgrade expenses, and power and cooling costs.”Hosting our system in a state-of-the-art facility like Webair’s NY1 datacenter also allows for increased reliability, low latency connections and personalized service that a company like ours simply cannot get with hosting providers located thousands of miles away.And in a hurricane prone region like ours, there’s another benefit, as we found out firsthand. “Webair’s NY1 datacenter is the most redundant facility on Long Island, so there is no fear of costly downtime in the event of a disaster, power or hardware failure or data corruption or loss,” says Hiner.That lesson not only saves cost, you might say it’s also invaluable.• Strategic Alliances In the new economy, Kirk Kordeleski, former CEO of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, has given us a lesson in the new math: 1 + 1 = 3. That’s right, with the right combination, the sum can be bigger than the parts. Kordeleski, now the CEO and Founder of Kordeleski Consulting, a national consultant in the credit union field, is a big proponent of the benefits of strategic alliances.“A lot of the work I’m doing with both small and mid-sized companies,” says Kordeleski, “is to look at shared services, which are basically the backroom operations: accounting, HR, legal services, marketing, things that are essential for companies to be successful.”As Kordeleski sees it, too many small to midsize firms “try to do it all themselves by hiring people who aren’t as skilled because they can’t afford them. Our strategy for these folks is to put their work together where they have like businesses and to help them find ways to consolidate those backroom operations into things that are more professional, quicker to market and more cost effective.”The goal is to produce a winning combination.In our case, we forged a strategic alliance with Bethpage Federal Credit Union to further the Best of Long Island promotion.“That is a great example of putting together two organizations that have a common interest in business on Long Island and creating a brand that works,” says Kordeleski. This partnership enabled us to use our skills and broaden the image of Bethpage as a community-oriented financial institution with a unique engagement at the local level in a wide range of enterprises.In his new consulting role, Kordeleski is helping businesses learn how to profit from those shared savings, in other words: to invest those resources rather than let them lie dormant. Whether these savings come from improved digital expertise, faster speed to market, market expansion, or just being more mobile across more channels, the idea is to reach the consumers who are the ones ultimately making the decisions about your products and services.“Use the money you save from operations that don’t add value to your company but have to be done,” advises Kordeleski, “and put them into parts of your company that can make it grow and enable it to compete in the future.”We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. But then, we’ve learned from the best.last_img read more

How credit unions can shine in dark times


first_img 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mark Weber Mark Weber is the CEO and Chairman of Strum, a 30-year nationwide leader in financial services, branding, business intelligence analytics and data-driven strategy. With offices in Seattle and Boston, Strum … Web: www.strumagency.com Details Credit unions with close relationships to their members and communities were made for a time like this.Advertising plans and marketing strategies built for 2020 could not have predicted the current state we’re in. The temptation is to jerk the wheel and cut advertising spend and marketing projects because they are viewed as a large budget expense. While rapid changes to media and marketing strategy are appropriate, stopping marketing is a knee-jerk response that could hurt your opportunities to emerge from the crisis and recession more rapidly in the future.Going silent with your brand risks losing vital awareness and positive perceptions of trust and accountability when consumers, businesses, and communities need it most. There is also the risk of losing market share to other financial brands who will step up to fill the vacuum—including the non-traditional players who have been eroding relationships one specific product offering at a time. Credit unions cannot lose sight of protecting their brands and readying for the challenge ahead of marketing strategically for growth and health.As studies from the last two recessions have shown, massive cuts in advertising might be the worst thing to do, and can hurt your future speed to recovery after the recession. As the last recession began to ebb, 2009 media spending declined overall. The organizations that sustained their spending increased their sales and market share during the recession, and especially after the market returned.In conversations with financial institutions across the country, we are helping them reevaluate and recalibrate their strategies and marketing spending in focused ways right now around media mix, greater audience targeting, product prioritization for immediate relief, and messaging content and tone. How financial institutions dial in their marketing and advertising across these dynamics will determine how fast they come out of this crisis: at full speed or battling to catch up.Shifting Media MixUnsurprisingly, TV and streaming are booming as Americans stay home. Broadcast news (especially local program viewing and listening) has increased. In addition, many of our clients who have sustained broadcast buys are receiving unprecedented value-added placements from stations who appreciate their business at a time when other advertisers are pulling back. The value of every media dollar spent here is essentially being multiplied.While TV has deep reach in building brand awareness, digital media provides faster, more dynamic ways to target audiences quickly and measure results. Streaming is on a rapid rise and social platform usage is also up dramatically. Migrating or increasing spend in these areas will help you reach a steady concentration of consumers to build your brand.But not all media is gaining in value. Many financial institutions’ media plans included event sponsorships and out-of-home advertising during spring and summer when people are normally outside and on the road. They are the largest impacted media right now for obvious reasons. Out-of-home contracts can be challenging, if not impossible, to get out of without major fee penalties. However, several outdoor companies are offering make-goods and extended flights to build back promised impressions.Messaging Content and Tone In the first wave of shock, many financial institutions offered soothing but ultimately vague messages. The phrase “we’re in this together“ was a near universal theme. But actually being there for members requires clear follow-through, relevant solutions, and practical help.As the recession mounts, value, simplicity, and online options will be increasingly prized. Price and rates, fees and payments, along with fast online and mobile solutions will all matter more than ever. You’ll want to be direct, simple, and clear, not just empathetic. Credit unions can and should be proactively leading individuals, households, and businesses through this crisis with real empathy—which means lowering hurdles in any way possible to get customers into a better financial position.How you respond—and the communications and brand voice you use—will set the tone for your reputation and image through this crisis. Brands like Hotels.com are advertising with Captain Obvious right now. Why? Brand building and visibility ahead of the curve. One day ahead, people will be starved to travel again.A 2019 national study found that 77% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that share their personal values. We’re seeing that in brands like Zoom and Ford stepping up to help America battle the crisis. We believe this values focus will only rise through this crisis. This is a time for you to lead with your own values and purpose.Preparing for the RecoveryAs the first wave of this global pandemic begins to reach its apex and we begin to think about returning to some level of normalcy, it’s time to prepare not just for this next phase, but longer-term growth—which will be undoubtedly dominated by data analytics and well-targeted member journeys and focused marketing strategies.Disruption fosters innovation, for those who capture the moment. But most credit unions, frankly, have not had to innovate significantly in the booming growth market of the last decade. Unfortunately, this crisis will expose any weakness that success has hidden. And a lack of data-led marketing strategy and analytics will cause many organizations to fall further behind in the recovery ahead.Smarter digital tools and intelligent analytics will no longer be an optional investment. This is a pivotal moment to rethink your priorities, spending, and marketing investment in these areas. Speed to implementation and results will become more critical than ever. Ultimately, this is the best investment because it will enable you to create personalized services for your members that will help them each individually find financial wellness and get ahead.Members absolutely need their credit unions in different ways now than ever before. Pivoting to be a lifeline, providing helpful solutions, flexibility to stay afloat, and online and analytics strategies to help people manage their finances is an opportunity to build your brand in powerful and needed ways.Your brand can be built up and honed in a crisis, or it can be damaged with missteps. Don’t step back from sound strategic marketing with a wait-and-see approach. Step up to lead visibly and in tangible ways—with your staff, with your members, with your communities who all need you in different ways right now. Remember, credit unions were made for a time like this.last_img read more

Life after silicon


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