Archive for Neal Leavitt

Marijuana Industry Growing Like A…Well…Weed

Posted by Neal Leavitt on April 22nd, 2015 at 12:54 pm

“Dave’s Not Here Man”
--Tommy Chong
“They’ve Outlawed the Number One Vegetable on the Planet”
--Timothy Leary

Grass. Pot. Weed. Ganja. Reefer. Wacky tobaccy.
The monikers are infinite.
And apparently, so is the growth potential of the burgeoning cannabis industry. GreenWave Advisors, a marijuana research and financial analysis firm (could anyone have remotely envisioned such a firm a decade ago?) prognosticated last year in a report that if the federal government and all 50 states legalize recreational marijuana, it could be a $35 billion annual business by 2020.
While that’s probably a Rocky Mountain High pipe dream for the near future, another cannabis industry investment and research firm, Oakland, CA-based ArcView Group, said that the U.S. market for legal cannabis almost doubled from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion last year. ArcView also predicts that by 2020, another 14 states will legalize recreational marijuana and two more states will legalize medical marijuana.
Currently four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – have legalized retail marijuana; Washington D.C. voters legalized recreational use but sales are still illegal.
Erik Devaney, writing in HubSpot, said it’s not just marijuana growers, distributors and dispensaries comprising this potentially lucrative landscape.
“It’s also fertilizer companies, and lighting system... Read more

You Can’t Hide from Your Apps – They Know Where You Are

Posted by Neal Leavitt on March 31st, 2015 at 8:30 pm

A recent study at Carnegie Mellon University shows that when people are aware that free smart phone apps may be sharing private info with third parties, they’ll often rapidly move to limit further sharing.
Carnegie Mellon News reported that the study evaluated the benefits of app permission managers (for Android 4.3, known as AppOps) that tell them how many times info like location, contact lists or phone call logs had been shared.
One example:
“Your location has been shared 5,398 times with Facebook, Groupon, GO Launcher EX and seven other apps in the last 14 days.”
“App permission managers are better than nothing, but by themselves aren’t sufficient,” said Norman Sadeh, a professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. “Privacy ‘nudges’ can play an important role in increasing awareness and in motivating people to review and adjust their privacy settings.”
All of this available location data can be a bit of a sticky wicket for marketers, who are trying to drive sales for their products/services, but at the same time, increasingly realizing they need to respect consumer privacy. Marketers, according to Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, will pay 10-20 percent more for online ads that contain... Read more

Women in Tech Industry Still Facing Career Challenges

Posted by Neal Leavitt on February 25th, 2015 at 7:39 pm

A few months ago a long-standing colleague of mine decided to leave her tech company after 14 years. The pay was good, benefits great, but she came to the realization that she couldn’t breach that proverbial ‘glass ceiling.’ Despite her stellar qualifications, she resigned.
She’s now getting her teaching credential and wants to teach computer programming to high school students. Any high school that hires her will immediately be that much better.
But her story isn’t an isolated one. Tracey Lien recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times that women are leaving the tech industry in droves. It’s becoming a significant issue for the tech economy.
“According to the industry group Code.org, computing jobs will more than double by 2020, to 1.4 million,” said Lien. “If women continue to leave the field, an already dire shortage of qualified tech workers will grow worse. Last summer, Google, Facebook, Apple and other big tech companies released figures showing that men outnumbered women 4 to 1 or more in their technical sectors.”
Vivek Wadhwa, a tech entrepreneur and fellow with Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, said that when women go to venture capitalists seeking financing for their new startups, they are sometimes treated differently... Read more

Maybe You Deserve This Match

Posted by Neal Leavitt on January 28th, 2015 at 8:27 pm

A number of years ago I was retained to provide marketing communications services for a San Diego-based dating site. Good concept, decent funding from private sources, number of stories generated across various media genres. Ultimately, however, it wasn’t enough. Competition was too fierce; site just wasn’t attracting enough eyeballs and the venture folded.
Fast forward to 2015. Buddy of mine asked if I knew of any good dating sites as he was, to quote him, ‘back in the game.’ Told him I hadn’t been following the space for awhile but was curious to see how the industry had evolved.
The dating industry has become huge - $2.2 billion in 2014 according to market research firm IBISWorld; $2.7 billion by 2019. And Pew Research says that of Americans in a committed relationship that have used an online dating site, one in three met online.
Decided to have a little fun so did a bit of research/searching for oddball, offbeat and in some cases, truly weird dating sites. All seem to be flourishing; many have attracted advertising. In short, your future significant other may just be a few clicks away, no matter your fetishes.
So here are a few:
Vampersonals... Read more

eSports Racking Up Billions of Viewer Hours – and Dollars

Posted by Neal Leavitt on December 27th, 2014 at 8:16 pm

So your 13-year old son is seemingly spending every waking moment hunched over his Xbox, PS Vita, phone, tablet or (doubtful but some pre-teens and teens still use ‘em) laptop playing one endless video game after another. You’ve morphed into an avatar from his perspective; the video games have become his real world.
What do you do?
Well, if he’s really good, let him play on. eSports has finally reached critical mass and has become a multi-billion dollar business, notes market research firm SuperData Research.
Note the following from a trends brief the company put out last April:
• More than 71 million worldwide watch competitive gaming. In fact, about 14.9 million people tuned in to the 2013 World Series; last year 32 million watched the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship – more than double the audience for our so-called ‘national pastime’!
• The average eSports viewer watches 19 times a month; average session is more than two hours;
• eSports is becoming a revenue driver and marketing vehicle for online game publishers and major brands; former like Riot Games, Wargaming and Valve; examples of latter include Coca-Cola and Intel;
• The International 2013: Dota 2 prize pool was more than $2.8 million; total prize money from... Read more