Seeing Is Believing, or v.v.

first_imgWhat you see is not what is out there in the world – not exactly, at least.  Scientists have shown that your brain is tweaking the light coming in from your eyes and making predictions about what you expect to see.    The “blind spot” experiment is well known to students.  That’s where it can be shown that your brain “fills in” the blind spot of each eyeball (where the optic nerve leaves the retina, with no photoreceptors) with imagery from the surrounding field.  A brick wall pattern, for instance, continues seamlessly into the blind spot even though your eye actually receives no light from that part of the retina.    Researchers at the University of Glasgow performed four experiments on participants, and monitored brain activity with functional MRI, to see what parts of the visual field were doing when shielded from visual input.  Their findings were published in PNAS.1  It appears that the context influences what we “see.”  The primary visual cortex (V1) uses context and memory to prepare the image presented to the mind.We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and pattern-classification methods to show that the cortical representation of a nonstimulated quarter-field carries information that can discriminate the surrounding visual context.  We show further that the activity patterns in these regions are significantly related to those observed with feed-forward stimulation and that these effects are driven primarily by V1.The way PhysOrg put it, “What our eyes can’t see, the brain fills in.”  And it fills it in from prior experience: “The results show that our brains do not rely solely on what is shown to the eyes in order to ‘see’.  Instead the brain constructs a complex prediction” of what it expects to see.”    One neuroscientist called this “predictive coding.”  Dr. Lars Muckli from U of Glasgow explained how this is helpful: “If you are driving a car and a pedestrian is suddenly obscured – say by a pillar box or your rear view mirror – your brain still knows where they are and where they will reappear in your line of vision.  Without that ability, we would be lost in everyday life.”    For more on image processing done by the eye and brain, see 05/22/2003, 12/30/2003, 05/12/2005, 07/27/2006 and 03/31/2008.1.  Smith and Muckli, “Nonstimulated early visual areas carry information about surrounding context,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print November 1, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1000233107 (open access).  Note: the paper was published Nov 1, 2010, but PhysOrg reported on it April 4, 2011.Unfortunately, Dr. Muckli tossed in this Darwin stinkincense bomb: “The brain’s main function is to minimise surprise – that is what it has evolved to do.”  Were you surprised?  That not only violates logic, it violates Darwin’s own principle of Stuff Happens.  Things don’t evolve to do anything in Darwinland; they just evolve.  Implying a purpose for anything invokes teleology – something Darwin and his disciples wanted to eliminate.  Enough of that distraction.    Findings like these bear on important philosophical questions about the relationship of our senses to external reality.  Philosophers have long wondered to what extent we can trust our senses.  There is a long chain of causal phenomena interceding between the photons emitted by an object and our perception of that object by the mind.  Here we see that our brains are manipulating reality for us in ways that can be tricked by experience or novelty.    Those who say they only believe what they can see should realize they cannot see the whole electromagnetic spectrum, for one thing, and the narrow range of visible light they can see is being transformed by their brains.  The only worldview that provides grounds for trusting our senses comes from the Bible.  Our eyes and brains were created by a Creator who loves honesty and truth, and has equipped his creatures with sufficient equipment to have reasonable, though not exhaustive, access to external reality.  Otherwise we would be “lost in everyday life” and unable to respond to him by perceiving his works.  Even so, we need to train our equipment to discern the truth, and not deceive ourselves.(Visited 42 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Planning Your Online Video Strategy for 2009 – B2B Marketing

first_img Originally published Jan 22, 2009 9:20:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Webinar: Marketing in a Recession Don’t forget to share this post! I had a chance to join a MITX panel on “Planning Your Online Video Strategy for 2009”.  It was a pretty good panel wit folks from the media, agencies, analysts and companies.  Of course, I represented the B2B marketing point of view where using video is a component of a healthy inbound marketing program.  As you probably know, at HubSpot we use a lot of video: viral videos, a live video podcast, an iTunes channel, product demo videos, interviews on our blog, and some pretty popular marketing webinars.Here was the full panel lineup:Will Richmond, Editor/Publisher, VideoNuzeMatt Kaplan, Chief Strategy Officer, PermissionTVMichael Manning, Director of Product Development, Boston.comJames L. McQuivey, Ph.D., Vice President and Principal Analyst, ForresterAndrea Millett, Vice President and Account Director, Media Contacts… and me!  (Mike Volpe, VP of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot)The video is courtesy of Permission TV, who also sponsored the panel. Want to learn effective ways for generating leads and marketing in a economic downturn?Download the free webinar for tips and tricks to drive more visitors and leads to your website! Video Marketing Topics:last_img read more

SXSW: Learning Inbound Marketing the Hard Way, and Sharing So You Don’t Have To

first_img Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Download our inbound marketing kit . Right before HubSpot’s co-founder Dharmesh Shah took the stage to share wisdom from the book Inbound Marketing , Brandon Eley , the author of Online Marketing Inside Out shared his personal experiences in starting an online business.  In different words than we use at HubSpot, he basically told us that the fundamentals of inbound marketing are the best solution to drive a thriving business today.  Brandon learn ed some inbound marketing lessons the hard way, but as an early adopter who was growing his business from about 1999 through 2003, it was sort of to be expected. 2BigFeet.com was started as an online business in LaGrange, Georgia in late 1999 by two regular guys who knew how hard it was to find large shoes.  In the early days of online retailing, the 2BigFeet team wanted to get found online and turn those eyeballs into dollars.  They stumbled along the way, costing the business money and in many cases revenue.  Brandon wants others to learn the easy way … by his example. Brandon’s key takeaways from his talk today: 1. Don’t Believe the “SEO Guys”Right after taking their site live, 2BigFeet hired an SEO consultant who ‘guaranteed’ them they’d be on the first page of Google.  Sure.  Right.  At the time, he didn’t know better, but today we all should.  There is no such thing as a guarantee to get on the first page!  There are a lot of tactics that you can employ to improve your rankings , but hiring someone else to do what it takes, which is creating high quality content with relevant keywords, is not the answer.  Brandon and the team were a few thousand dollars shorter and had lost about 3 months of time before they fired the SEO guy and worked on it themselves, improving results along the way.  SEO is hard work because it is all about fresh and relevant content, so don’t believe any hype.2. Don’t Succumb to the Lure of the “PR Lady”A few years later, 2BigFeet felt they’d hit a plateau, and someone put them in touch with a PR lady who promised to get them coverage in pubs, local news, magazines and more.  After a few more months, several thousand dollars and zero ‘free’ coverage, the team decided to cut the PR cord as well.  Inbound marketing espouses the belief that journalists are out there looking for great stories — by reading blogs and following tweets — rather than waiting around to be spammed by a PR pitch.  I believe there is a healthy balance that can be reached, but ultimately, great content that is findable delivers better ROI than a pure PR play .  I think Brandon might agree.3. Don’t Forget to Do Usability TestingFinally, in a turn that some might think isn’t really about marketing, Brandon talked about usability testing.  Turns out, there is a lot of testing in marketing, and in this case some usability feedback spurred the team to do what is effectively an A/B test on a call-to-action .  They originally had a promotion code for flat rate shipping, but very few people took advantage of it and were frustrated and confused about how to use it.  By moving from a promo code to a more automated flat rate shipping option, they found that conversion improved dramatically.  Now, testing is a core part of their culture, and I think it should be for any marketer.By the end of his talk, part of me wished that the concept of inbound marketing had been around in 1999 so Brandon wouldn’t have had to figure it all out himself. The other part of me was thrilled that he shared his story so that small businesses the world over can dive in and be successful with Internet and inbound marketing, the easy way. Looking for more content from SXSW? Check out our HubSpot at SXSW content feed at http://blog.hubspot.com/sxsw ! Today, on the Day Stage at SXSW, there were a slew of speakers on Internet and social media marketing — just check out the schedule.  Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Inbound Marketing Originally published Mar 13, 2010 4:47:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Public Relations Inbound Marketing Kit last_img read more

3 Secrets to Addictive Digital Platforms

first_imgTechCrunch Disrupt , CEO, DailyBooth , a conference that gathers web innovators in social media, mobile devices, and smart applications, hosted a compelling panel about the shift from traditional print to online media. and learn how to manage your company brand effectively using social media. Video: How to Use Social Media to Manage Your Company Brand Online Here are 3 key secrets revealed about addictive digital platforms: GE has always been known as one of the traditional marketing giants that garners the use of customary marketing techniques. However, Judy Hu, GE’s Global Executive Director for Advertising and Branding, explains that using social media can help “extend the brand and make it iconic. [GE] wants to build their brand and get their key message across to everyone.” Digital platforms can help small and large businesses alike expand their company to different demographics and distinguish their corporate image. Download the free video , CEO, Chatroulette , Global Executive Director, GE 3. Digital platforms cultivate brand building. GE’s crowd-sourcing effort 1. Users define content creation 2. Visual content is universal. The grounds of the discussion revolved around the transformation from conventional methods of reaching consumers to modern platforms that actually interact with users. Gone are the days where static media effectively delivered messages to consumers. Social media sites have dominated the playing field, where consumers choose what they want to view and who they want to engage with. Digital platforms such as YouTube and DailyBooth make it super-easy to upload videos and pictures and share them with friends. These can soon become addictive and viral as people consume content and pass it along further. Businesses can take advantage of this by opening up content creation to users, such as Brian Pokorny . , Founder, 4chan Brian Pokorny Christopher Poole content consumption. explains that “…you can talk in different ways through just visual imagery. Text is less of the focus now with both videos and photos, which can transcend languages, borders, and cultures.” Three of the panelists founded sites where visual imagery was dominant, and demonstrated the effectiveness of such sites in reducing boundaries in today’s global marketplace. Learn how to use social media to manage your company brand. Andrey Ternovskiy and Judy Hu Originally published May 25, 2010 7:33:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Why is My Website Traffic Down?

first_img What are my top five referring sites, and are they same as the ones that I had last year? Why or why not? can help you understand this if you’re a HubSpot customer, by showing you your traffic over time by domain and which pages on that site referred that traffic. How much traffic do I get from search engines, and what does it look like over time? HubSpot’s Referrals chart For your referrers, take a look at who has stopped sending you traffic, and where your traffic used to come from on their site. What was the referring URL from them? Find out what happened to that page on their website. Is that page gone, or otherwise not really accessible? That means that it is time to build new links from that source, or from them and new sources so that you can reclaim your missing traffic and value from that relationship. Chances are, it was an innocent mistake or aging of a link or you’d already know about it, so keep up your efforts. At this point, you should have a pretty clear picture of what traffic is arriving at your website via organic search and referring sites, and what words or locations specifically refer that traffic through to you. In my next post, I will examine ways to react and develop a coherent plan to recover and grow your traffic from organic search and referring sites. HubSpot’s Sources application Nicholas_T If a site that used to be a top referrer has dropped off, what happened? Look at the pages or links on their websites that used to be helping keep your site full of vital traffic, and see what they changed there. can make this very easy, and it’s still possible to do in Google Analytics or other tools with a bit of work. Digging Deeper Usually when traffic is dropping off like this, it’s because some keywords are rising and others are falling, and some sites are rising or falling, but the falling numbers outweigh the rising ones. It’s important to take note of which are which though – it will help you focus your efforts on your “trouble spots” more closely. Which particular keywords are rising or falling for me over the last year? Photo Credit: Topics: Measuring SEO For each of your keywords where traffic has dropped off, think about why this happened. Did you remove a page from your website that used to rank well in search? Did you change the optimization of the page? Think about which page of your website is or was optimized for that keyword, and what happened to that page.  You shouldn’t necessarily just revert that page back to the old version – But think about what other pages might be a good fit on your website, or if you need to add a brand new page to represent that missed keyword, and re-optimize around it. The first step to understanding why your traffic decreased is to examine the various sources that send traffic to your website. Tools like Originally published Jan 31, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Questions to Ask Yourself Now:   Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Confessions of a Closet Slug

first_imgThis is a guest post written by Jill Konrath, bestselling author of I like telling people I’m crazy-busy. It makes me sound important. Necessary. In demand. SNAP Selling What are trigger events? They’re happenings either in a company, industry or general business climate that create opportunities for someone to use your products or services. Selling to Big Companies Because efficiency is not my strength, I developed other strategies to be successful. You see, being productive isn’t just about being a disciplined taskmaster. It also is about being highly effective. But it all comes down to this. For maximum impact, we need to be both efficient and effective.And, most of all, to lead the kind of life you really want to live – meaning having time for all the things you want to do – it’s important to gain control of how you spend your time. That’s what I working on right now. Join me on Thursday at the th That’s what’s going through my mind right now. I’ve been at my desk since 7:30 this morning. I ate lunch in my office because there was no time to go out. I was on the computer or on conference calls for hours. Yet, at the end of the day, I’ve barely made a dent in my To Do list. Is it any wonder that I’m feeling overwhelmed? But here’s the truth. on March 24 amongst her many other responsibilities. And, even worse. I use my time poorly. I make bad choices all day long that contribute to this predicament I’m in. Just this morning, a hyperlink in newsletter article resulted in me squandering a half hour on interesting but low priority work.I let this happen too often. I know better. On days when I identify my key priorities upfront, barricade myself from interruptions and don’t check email all the time, I get a tremendous amount done. Plus, I have lots of time left over to do fun things. But in reality, I default far too often to this slothful behavior. I know I’m not alone in this area. That’s why I’m putting on the Using these “alert services” is the best way I know to get good business – quickly. Sales Productivity Summit . (If you haven’t signed up yet, don’t miss the March 24 How I Learned to Compensate for Being a Slug and popular speaker at annual sales meetings. Hardly considered a “slug”, she’s also hosting the  Free Online Sales Productivity Summit st 1. Precision Prospecting Working with companies that have urgent and compelling needs leads to shorter sales cycles and less competition. When I stumbled across the concept of “trigger events” over 20 years ago, I was ecstatic. When I first started using this strategy, I leveraged the local business press to identify those opportunities. It’s still a good resource. But today you can Google Alerts as well as services offered by technology companies. Here are two strategies I leveraged to achieve sales success. To me, every contact with a prospective customer is invaluable. I’m talking about every email, voicemail, phone call, online meeting or presentation. I know the key concerns of my primary decision makers. I invest time doing research on the company or industry.I spend time planning, to ensure that ruthless relevance in my messages. I try to quickly demonstrate my knowledge so they know I’m a credible resource. I write down the questions I want to ask. And, I know what the logical next step that I’ll suggest at the end of a conversation. What is the impact? Fewer phone calls or emails. Fewer prospects. But more sales and bigger sales. to get more ideas on how to do that! Slug Parts, Swirrl quarter earnings, a new strategic direction, new legislation, increased gas prices or multiple visits to your website. 2. Quality Connections How will I get it all done? There’s more here to do than is humanly possible. All this email is killing me. & session. It’s worth it.) Sales Productivity Summit Inbound Sales Image credit: Topics: Examples might be a new VP of Sales, stagnant 1 The Big Challenge Originally published Mar 23, 2011 3:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 Sales Productivity Summit Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more