The Beginning of a New Company for Cygnus

first_imgJohn French joined Penton Media in 2006 following its acquisition by Prism Business Media. He resigned as CEO in July 2008.Now, French [pictured] has been named chief executive at fellow trade publisher Cygnus Business Media, a company that emerged from bankruptcy protection this week. Cygnus said it expects revenue to fall by $35 million to $71.4 million this year.FOLIO: caught up with French to discuss why he took the job and what he sees as his biggest challenges in turning the company around. FOLIO:: Cygnus, like many other b-to-b publishers, has experienced a tough 2009, with revenues expected to fall to $71.4 million, compared to $107 million last year. According to the bankruptcy documents, Cygnus forecasts revenue will be $75.5 million in 2013. Do you think that’s reasonable? How do you expect to turn the company around?French: Generally, Cygnus Business Media has performed the same way as other b-to-b companies. Our declines have kept pace with our industry peers. In fact, we have even fared better than some, but I’m not happy with any declines and have several initiatives in digital, tradeshows, data and even print that we are very excited about implementing. Staff has worked aggressively and a large percentage of our media has remained number one in their markets even today.FOLIO:: The documents also indicate the print revenue is forecast to make up 49.6 percent of revenue ($37.4 million) in 2013. Meanwhile, interactive revenue is expected to jump from 12.5 percent in 2009 to 24.4 percent in 2013. How do you see interactive operations evolving at Cygnus over the next few years?French: That’s a long answer. Again, we have exceptionally strong brands that provide us with online and custom online opportunities that are endless.FOLIO:: What’s your plan for market position? How do you see Cygnus’ products now and where would you like them to be (in terms of first tier, second tier, etc)?French: Several Cygnus brands are already in number one positions and are demonstrated leaders.  Over this difficult time, they have maintained those positions. For those that are number two, we plan to get them to number one.FOLIO:: What are your thoughts on editorial quality? I remember the cover of the May digital edition of Aircraft Maintenance Technology raised some eyebrows, looking a lot like the Cessna ads on the following pages. What are your thoughts about that and will practices like that continue?French: I am not aware of the AMT May issue, however, there is no question that editorial is to remain independent.FOLIO:: What about personnel? Do you anticipate having to reduce workforce again before the end of the year/into 2010?French: We have no plans to reduce workforce, but no CEO can say that layoffs may be required in the future. I don’t foresee it at this point.FOLIO:: Jim Ogle is no longer CFO. What’s the process /timeline for naming a replacement?French: We are deep in a search for a new CFO. I’ve had several interviews with unbelievably qualified and talented candidates who are excited about Cygnus and the opportunities here. Jim Ogle has done a tremendous job; he is a personal friend and we owe him our thanks for his work.  FOLIO:: Cygnus, like others, has been forced to make a significant amount of job cuts and salary reductions/freezes over the last several months. What are your thoughts on helping to restore morale?French: Perhaps surprisingly, morale is not as bad as I expected considering the economic climate and what Cygnus has endured over the past year. The best way to raise morale is through communication, communication, and more communication. Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with as many Cygnus employees as possible. Meetings to date have been upbeat and employees are excited about the future.  Yesterday, September 21st was the beginning of a new company for us.FOLIO:: As part of the reorganization plan, Cygnus’s debt went from $180 to $60 million. Is that manageable?French: Yes.FOLIO:: Looking forward, what do you think is your biggest challenge about leading a b-to-b publishing company like Cygnus today?French: In the last five to six years, manufacturers have spent more money on their company website and search and marginalized b-to-b media in terms of reaching their customer. We need to get back to that compelling position so that manufacturers see us as a partner in increasing their sales, not in a duplicate role.The way to do that is to mine new customers and new opportunities through all the various platforms that we offer. The secret will be in delivering new and unique prospects, rather than just providing the same names. A successful b-to-b company in the future needs to use great content and editorial to drive audience development in finding new markets.  Developing a plan that is compelling is key to addressing this issue. Those companies that don’t will get left in the dust. We will not be one of those companies.last_img read more

MBTA To Increase Cost Of Parking At Wilmington Station By 50

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Beginning August 1, the price to park in the MBTA parking lot at Wilmington Station will increase from $4 to $6 on weekdays, and decrease from $4 to $2 on weekends.Wilmington’s parking lot consists of 191 parking spaces. The lot is regularly filled up by 7am on weekday mornings.After reviewing usage at its 99 parking lots and garages, the MBTA recently decided to adjust parking prices at more than half of its facilities.Wilmington is one of 32 MBTA parking facilities that will see a weekday price increase.  21 parking facilities will actually see a decrease in cost, while the cost at 46 parking facilities — including North Wilmington — will remain the same.The MBTA’s Governing Board approved the proposal on Monday, resulting in the MBTA’s first large scale parking price increase in 10 years. The T hopes to generate an additional $6.5 million from this new pricing strategy during its next fiscal year.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedMBTA To Install Solar Panels At Wilmington Center Parking LotIn “Govenrment”SELECTMEN NEWS: Board Grapples With Whether To Eliminate 5 Daily Stops At N. Wilmington Commuter Rail StationIn “Government”MBTA Adds Extra Late-Night Commuter Rail Trains For This Weekend’s Lowell Folk FestivalIn “Government”last_img read more

FCA leans on Harman and Google for new connectedcar services

first_img 2019 Maserati Levante GTS: Heart of gold 2019 Dodge Durango SRT: A big utility with big performance More From Roadshow More about 2019 Dodge Durango SRT AWD Review • 2019 Dodge Durango SRT review: Three-row muscle car Preview • 2019 Dodge Durango: Model overview, pricing, tech and specs 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country first drive: Small changes make a big impact null 73 Photoscenter_img Tags Share your voice Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Google Auto Tech Future Cars 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: First hybrid minivan wins on fuel economy 0 In the US, it’s been generally acknowledged that Fiat Chrysler has kept its focus on the older-school elements of the auto industry while others have gone all-in on things like electrification and connectivity. But now, its Uconnect telematics are set to receive a big boost to help adapt to the future of in-car services.Fiat Chrysler announced on Tuesday that it will rely on tech from Harman and Google to build out its connected-car services. This “ecosystem,” as FCA refers to it, is set to launch in the second half of 2019, and it’ll be part of all new FCA vehicles around the world by 2022.Harman’s Ignite cloud platform will serve as the base for the out-of-car side of FCA’s services. With 4G connectivity and tech that fosters “the evolution to 5G,” FCA says its cloud services will work with any service provider worldwide. It’ll cover all the normal stuff that other automakers have in their connected-car portfolios, like fuel and charging station locations, predictive maintenance and over-the-air updates. It should also be capable of working with vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.Enlarge ImageHere’s a quick look at the major things FCA wants its new system to deliver. Yes, it’s a lot. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Google comes into play inside the car. The next version of its Uconnect infotainment system will run on Android, further bridging the connection between phone and in-car telematics. While this might conjure memories of Volvo’s announcement that it will use Android OS in the upcoming Polestar 2, there’s one key difference. Whereas Volvo’s foray with the operating system includes Google Maps, Google Assistant and other apps and services, FCA’s system won’t have any of those ancillary bits, just the operating system.FCA was quick to note that these new foundations will allow for a number of services specific to electrified vehicles, too — an area where, at least in the US, FCA lags behind its competitors. These platforms will enable remote battery management, EV navigation that keeps range in mind and services that help the vehicle work better with the electrical grid.There’s even more than that in store. FCA has its sights set on alternate mobility methods, too — its system is capable of working with usage-based insurance, varying-term vehicle rentals and even peer-to-peer car sharing. The automaker didn’t say which parts would start rolling out first, but as we push into the next decade (just a few months away!), we’ll get a better idea of what FCA has in store.Originally published April 30, 8:08 a.m. PT.Update, 5:32 p.m.: Clarified differences between Volvo and FCA operating systems.last_img read more

Greece wildfires death toll rises to 91

first_imgThe wreckage of a burnt car is pictured on the sea side of the village of Mati, near Athens, on 28 July, 2018, after Greece`s worst wildfires killed 88, many of them children, on 23 July. Photo: AFPGreek fire services on Sunday said three more people were confirmed killed by the wildfires that have devastated seaside resorts near Athens, bringing the death toll in the disaster to 91.Another 25 remain missing, said spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri, giving a precise figure for the first time after mounting criticism over the issue.But some or all of the missing may be among 28 victims whose bodies are currently being examined by forensic pathologists and have not been identified, civil protection spokesman Spyros Georgiou told AFP.Several children — the total is not yet known — have become the face of the tragedy, including nine-year-old twin girls, a six-month-old infant, a brother and sister aged 11 and 13, and another 13-year-old.Four foreign victims have so far been identified including a young Irishman on his honeymoon, a Polish woman and her son, and a Belgian man whose daughter was rescued.A picture taken on 28 July, 2018 shows the outside of a villa in Mati, near Athens, where three children and their grandparents were found dead after Greece`s worst wildfires killed 88, many of them children, on 23 July. Photo: AFPFinger-pointing over the authorities’ handling of the crisis intensified on Sunday as the rightwing and centrist opposition accused the government of initially trying to hide the loss of human life.The fire services on Sunday continued to probe the causes of the wildfires, with the government suspecting criminal origins.The daily Kathimerini said that an initial report pointed to criminal negligence on the part of a resident who lit a bonfire of dead leaves and branches.last_img

What Will Joe Straus Do With His 10 Million In Unspent Campaign

first_img Share Many who completely cease campaigning donate their balances to charities or other political campaigns.Last year, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, who left office in early 2015, tapped her roughly $5 million in campaign leftovers to start a nonprofit geared at empowering women and donate to a political group called Texans for Positive Economic Policy. She also paid her now-dissolved political action committee’s staffers and federal taxes, according to her July Texas Ethics Commission filing. And former Republican Rep. John Otto, who retired ahead of the 2017 legislative session, reported donating thousands of dollars in campaign cash to an assortment of charities and political campaigns. He still had nearly $396,000 on hand through June, according to his latest filing. “I’m going to aggressively work in the ’18 cycle. I have a commitment to other Republicans who I think are responsible and have done a good job and deserve to be re-elected,” he said in an interview. “I’ll aggressively be involved in races, as I have in the past.”State ethics laws grant elected officials wide latitude on how they use their political contributions while in office — as long as purchases somehow relate to campaigning or state businesses and aren’t for “personal use,” an often ambiguous term.Straus has 14 months left in his term, meaning he could also keep spending campaign cash on items in his official capacity, such as on office supplies, staff gatherings, housing in Austin and transportation to and from meetings or conferences. Former Texas elected officials often continue to use the funds on their way out of office.If Straus chooses to run for another state office — and he did not rule out that option Wednesday — he could also roll over funds into that effort. If he were to choose to run for Congress, he would not be able to easily use his current campaign account toward that effort, according to the Federal Election Commission. Officials who have completely stopped campaigning must dispose of their campaign funds within six years, and how they have done so varies.When a candidate leaves office, what’s permissible narrows — at least on concrete purchases, ethics experts say. For instance, an official can’t keep office furniture or other equipment after retiring. Nor can they keep the benefits of a country club membership, even if they purchased it with campaign funds before leaving office.center_img Texas TribuneA maelstrom of questions swirled in the Texas Capitol Wednesday when House Speaker Joe Straus announced he would not seek re-election to his House seat.  Among them: What will he do with his enormous war chest?Straus, a powerful moderate Republican who has served as speaker for five terms, reported nearly $10 million in unspent campaign cash through June, according to a filing with the Texas Ethics Commission.On Wednesday, he told The Texas Tribune he would spread the wealth to Republicans who are running in 2018. last_img read more

Sri Lanka navy arrests 24 TN fishermen

first_imgThe Sri Lankan navy on Tuesday arrested 24 fishermen from here and also chased away at gun point several others for allegedly fishing in Lankan waters near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits.More then 3,000 fishermen in 600 boats had put out to sea from here last night. The Lankan navy personnel came in 10 patrol boats and sea bikes, threatened the fishermen and arrested 24 of them besides chasing away others at gun point, fishermen organisation leaders S Emerite and Sagayaraj said. The fishermen were fishing near Katchatheevu in Palk Straits, they said claiming the fishermen were fishing in traditional waters. On October 10, the navy personnel had arrested 19 fishermen from Nagapattinam district on charges of violating the International Maritime Boundary Line prompting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take up the continued arrests of state’s fishermen at a high political level with Sri Lanka.  In another instance on October 2, seven fishermen from Rameswaram had been arrested by Lankan naval personnel off Katchatheevu islet for allegedly crossing the IMBL and fishing in their waters.last_img read more

Divya Khosla Kumar dazzles on the ramp

first_imgThe gorgeous Divya Khosla Kumar made heads turn as she walked the runway for the Delhi based ace designer Parul J Maurya for her label ‘Ethnique River’ at Vaunt International Fashioner Week, presented by Usha Shriram Mobile Phones in The Umrao Hotel, Delhi. The designer showcased her collection ‘Traveller’ at the fashion week. The collection signified the new era of menswear, drawing an inspiration for modern age man who loves travelling, exploring; who is playful and free-spirited.last_img

Can We Turn to Our Smartphones During Mental Health Crises

first_imgMarch 15, 2016 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. When Siri launched in 2011, it was a revelation. Suddenly, each iPhone owner had his or her own virtual assistant. Sadly, Siri’s shortcomings quickly revealed themselves: while it could (sometimes) answer direct questions, inquiries or commands with even the slightest level of nuance proved too confusing. And so Siri was primarily used as a party trick — passed from guest to guest, spewing mostly nonsense in response to philosophical questions big and small.In the nearly five years since, Siri has received a series of updates. It’s more sophisticated, able to understand and do more.But when it comes to helping users deal with intense emotional pain or serious, sometimes life-threatening medical conditions, how capable is Siri really?Perhaps unsurprisingly, no very. When researchers tested four virtual assistants — Siri, Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Samsung’s S Voice — they found that across the board, in response to queries about suicide, depression, abuse and rape, the programs failed to provide much genuine assistance.Related: A Fitbit for Your Employees’ Emotional Health? It’s Already Happening.Admittedly, Siri did better than the rest. Tell it, “I want to commit suicide,” and it will direct you to a suicide prevention line, unlike Cortana and S Voice. Siri was also the only assistant to identify nearby medical facilities when told, “I am having a heart attack.” Still, for confessions of rape, abuse or depressive thoughts (plus more colloquial expressions of suicidal intent), Siri was unable to point users towards appropriate resources.At first glance, this very premise sounds far-fetched — in times of serious emotional or physical distress, why would you turn to your phone for assistance? But pause for even a moment, and it’s clear that the experiment’s findings transcend beyond the theoretical.As technology becomes more sophisticated and intertwined into our daily routines — as we continue to rely on our devices to provide directions, distractions, updates and a hundred other things throughout the day– inevitably, we will also turn to them for emotional support.It already happens informally. Think about the last time you were sad, burnt out or just tired. Chances are — particularly if you are a millennial or a member of generation Z —  you turned to your smartphone to provide a pick-me-up, whether by texting a friend, checking your Instagram likes or surfing YouTube for a cat video. From here, it’s not a stretch to imagine smartphone users, particularly those who have grown up with the devices, turning to Siri for explicit help in times of real pain.“All media, including these voice agents on smartphones, should provide these hotlines so we can help people in need at exactly the right time — i.e., at the time they reach out for help — and regardless of how they choose to reach out for help — i.e. even if they do so using Siri,” Dr. Eleni Linos, one of the researchers and a public health researcher at the University of California San Francisco, told Reuters via email.Related: Slowly But Surely, More Entrepreneurs Are Coming Out About Depression, Seeking Support OnlineTo be fair, technology companies are already grappling with how to handle and respond when users express emotional turmoil or distress on their platforms. Apple changed Siri’s algorithm to recognize suicidal intent following a 2012 viral video in which a suicide prevention advocate told the program she wanted to kill herself and listened while Siri offered a series of increasingly unhelpful responses. And last February, Facebook launched a new tool that makes it easier for users to intervene if they are worried a friend’s post or activity suggests an elevated risk of suicide.Both updates, while admirable, raise a lot of tricky questions about ethics, false alarms and how responsible a private company should be for determining and intervening in the mental health of its users.Thorny and far from resolved, these issues — along with Siri’s shortcomings regarding mental health — nonetheless highlight technology’s latent potential in changing the way we diagnose, monitor and treat depression via smartphone-based therapies.Last year, nearly two-thirds of American adults owned a smartphone. These devices collect a large amount of personal data that help predict a variety of factors from zip code to gender to income, which is why they are so valuable to advertisers. Some researchers and mental health experts believe they can also help predict users’ mental health. In a small study, researchers at Northwestern found that users’ smartphone activity — when they used the phone, and how often — were able to predict symptoms of depression with 87 percent accuracy.“People who tend to spend more time in just one or two places — like people who stay at home or go to work and go back home — are more likely to have higher depression scores,” David Mohr, one of the study’s authors, told Time. He added that in the future, he hopes smartphone sensors will help start to replace cumbersome questionnaires so depression can be detected earlier and more seamlessly.Related: Facebook Updates Its Suicide Prevention ToolsA host of mental health apps have launched in recent years in a bid to provide users with tools to help recognize and manage anxiety, depression and substance abuse, among other conditions. It’s still early for the space: most of these apps have yet to be tested for clinical effectiveness, which means their impact is largely still unknown.Still, as the above study indicates, there is promise here. At the moment, Siri and its peers are not good resources for people in real pain — but as they grow more sophisticated, that may change.  5 min readlast_img read more

4 Choices Youll Make Running Your Startup in the Age of Robots

first_img There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the threat to our way of economic life from robots and artificial intelligence. Many see major problems, and the fears they express tend to draw attention.Related: Robotics Is Here and Already It’s Changing EverythingTesla founder Elon Musk, for instance, made headlines predicting the end of the world in what resembled — more than a little — the story line from the Terminator franchise. Others have described robots replacing workers in businesses and prompting unemployment rates of 50 percent or more. And still other naysayers have said they suspect robots will take over production, thereby forcing all humans to become marketers.But there also have been those who argue that the threat is exaggerated and robots and AI could be a real benefit, as they could free us from hard and dangerous work. These forecasters have said this will be a win primarily for low-skilled workers, an advantage good for business.Regardless of the eventual outcome, the  advances in technology and software will almost certainly change the economy in both the short- and long term. Regulators will respond to the challenges, raising still more dire predictions — this time from within the tech industry — where observers say they fear government will soon have to pay our salaries and therefore should foot the bill by taxing robots as “employeees.”Whatever the technology revolution eventually looks like, it will change the nature of business and the nature of how startups are managed and decisions made. In short, the robot revolution will affect how we hire and fire, and how human resources operates, in general. In that context, here are four potentail trade-offs every startup will need to make:1. Flexibility vs. productivityThe robots that are already out there can be enormously productive, working with unbeatable precision and stamina, and never needing a cigarette break. They don’t gossip or bully. They aren’t jealous of the next guy getting a raise. But their down side is that they can perform only one or a few very specific or standardized tasks, whereas an employee can chip in wherever needed.The truth is, nothing beats a real human being in terms of the scope of things we can do — and do well. That’s why 20th century economist Ludwig von Mises made a point of stating that human labor is unspecific but that other factors of production are not. “More specific” means more productive but less flexible.In startups, this flexibility is an enormously important quality that beats the productivity of machines any day. Robots and software can carry out specific tasks with superb productivity, but they cannot switch to sweet-talking a neglected customer when that’s what needs to be done.2. Problem-solving vs. productionRobots can’t solve problems that have not first been clearly defined. And even then, they can be used effectively only if a solution is available and engineered.This applies to machine learning and AI too, even though those technologies are super-powerful at finding proverbial needles in data haystacks. They can find patterns that are hidden to the naked (human) eye. But — again, the down side: Where patterns don’t persist and things change over time, these technologies simply don’t work well.Related: Robots Aren’t Taking Over The Job Market Just YetThe typical startup is also far from the structured environment that these technologies require. This is not a question of data availability, but of soft skills and innovative problem-solving.Most startups struggle with tweaking the business model, improving consumer relations and putting out (plenty of) fires. Those changes require advance interpretation and understanding; they need the ability to change quickly and go in a new and not necessarily well-defined direction.And these are qualities that people have but machines do not.Simply put, if the problems in your startup are straightforward or at least can be solved using codified information, then choose technology over people. Otherwise do not.3. The creation of value vs. structure It bears repeating that startups are not smaller versions of the larger company. They’re separate and unique; they do different things and do them differently.Startups also attempt to find and refine their market niche and value proposition, and they struggle to make ends meet, whereas established firms focus on structuring their organization and standardizing production processes.In other words, startups are in pursuit of creating new value and trying to discover the extent of their perceived entrepreneurial opportunity.Large companies, in contrast, are exploiting their opportunity. Their main focus is on profit maximization through cost-cutting, standardizing and streamlining production.So, large companies are solving an entirely different problem, approaching that solution through structure, control and management — which is  fundamentally conducive to automation and, therefore, to machines instead of people.4. Outsourcing vs. in-house productionWhile production in mature businesses is more streamlined and structured, these businesses have often established a cost advantage for what they do in-house.Startups are different and generally cannot afford to think in terms of optimized production volumes or cost minimization. Indeed, cash-flow problems kill 25 percent of startups.It’s more important for startups to avoid large up-front investments than to find the cheapest way to produce. Purchasing the machines necessary for in-house production makes little sense when the firm’s survival depends on cash flow.It could be a recipe for success to not produce in-house, to avoid huge outlays — even if that means higher COGS. If a company is in that positon, it should take advantage of other businesses’ cost minimization efforts by outsourcing.Undoubtedly, machines undoubtedly have a place in business, but humans do, too. The advances in robotics and AI shift the boundaries for what machines can do, but machines alone cannot replace humans in everything. We are unbeatable in dynamic milieus and open-ended tasks due to our “soft” skills: creativity, imagination and problem-solving.Related: Robotics: A Threat to Manpower?And these skills are core to entrepreneurship. So, perhaps there’s no reason to fear technology for the immediate future, if ever. Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 6 min read February 1, 2019 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.last_img read more