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February 24, 2016

TRUMP TRIFECATA: Which conservative will go third-party? – RUBIO Silver State silver; Cruz tarnished -- MESSINA advises Cameron group fighting Brexit – B’DAY: Frank Luntz, Mark Salter, Kevin Lewis

By Mike Allen (@mikeallen; mallen@politico.com) and Daniel Lippman (@dlippman; dlippman@politico.com)

Good Wednesday morning. Drudge banner, with a pic of adoring fans greeting Trump: “THE NOMINEE”.@DRUDGE: “There has been little doubt for months... AND ZERO DOUBT TONIGHT!”

PLAYBOOK FACTS OF LIFE: If someone told you one month ago that a GOP candidate would finish second in Iowa and than easily win in N.H., S.C. and Nevada, you would call that person the Republican nominee-in-waiting. This explains why most donors are throwing in the towel on a dump Trump campaign. Mara Liasson said Monday on the NPR Politics podcast that if it were anyone besides Trump, “we’d call him the PROHIBITIVE frontrunner” – and that was before last night’s third victory in a row (each by 10 to 20 points!).

Cue stories on whether an establishment figure runs as third-party conservative -- a prospect now more likely than Trump bolting the GOP for an independent run, and perhaps more likely than a brokered convention. Please send Playbook your list of conservatives most likely to do this: mallen@politico.com anddlippman@politico.com.

THAT SAID ... This goes on for a long time because there are now three Republican parties: the Pissed Off (Trump), the Purists (Cruz) and the Realists (Rubio). Trump owns the angry and a slice of both other camps, which gives him his decisive edge in a three-way. But the other two would be insane to buckle before the bitter end. So expect a lot of 40-25-25 outcomes.

ARTICLE OF THE DAY -- “Trump shatters the Republican Party: How the 2016 primary will define the GOP for years to come,” by Shane Goldmacher: “The populist billionaire’s rise ... has upended what had been decades of relative GOP stability, a 40-year span in which most Republican presidential contests since 1976 neatly narrowed to an establishment-embraced front-runner and a conservative insurgent alternative. No more. Suddenly, there are three strands of the Republicanism, each entrenched and vying for supremacy.” http://politi.co/1R0H4sc

AP LATEST – GOP Nevada caucuses (100%; 75,216 total votes): 1) Trump, 34,531 (45.9%) ... 2) Rubio,17,940 (23.9%) ... 3) Cruz, 16,079 (21.4%) ... 4) Carson, 3,619 (4.8%) ... 5) Kasich, 2,709 (3.6%) ... 6) Rand Paul, 170 (0.2%) ... 7) Jeb Bush, 64 (0.1%) ... 8) Christie, 50 (0.1%) ... 9) Fiorina, 22 ... 10) Huckabee, 21 ... 11) Santorum, 11.

PLAYBOOK HIGHLIGHT REEL -- “Rubio endorsement spree may be too late: The stars are aligning for Marco just as Donald Trump seems to be steamrolling,” by Anna Palmer and Eli Stokols: “[W]ith the primary electorate in such an anti-establishment mood this year, the avalanche of endorsements from venerable politicians could actually bury Rubio, not his opponents, by making him appear as the new avatar of the Washington political class many voters so detest.” http://politi.co/1QxsesQ

--“Mega-donors shy away from fight with Trump: Fearful of counterattacks, rich conservatives and their allies are mostly holding their fire,” by Ken Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf: “As Donald Trump picks up momentum, the chances of a well-funded assault to block him from the Republican presidential nomination are dramatically dwindling.” http://politi.co/1VDFvnW

--“Bernie’s South Carolina surrender,” by Gabe Debenedetti in Columbia, S.C.: “With just a few days left until the South Carolina Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders is all but writing the state off. He hasn’t said that, of course, but his schedule reflects it.” http://bit.ly/1WIi8Kl

THINGS TRUMP SAYS – At a rally in Nevada yesterday: “I know why I get bad treatment in The New York Times. Because it’s owned by Mexico.” (Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is a minority owner.) http://nws.mx/1OtT5V7

– Trump also still loves insulting people by comparing them to dogs – yesterday @realDonaldTrump tweeted: “Ted Cruz lifts the Bible high into the air and then lies like a dog-over and over again! The Evangelicals in S.C. figured him out & said no! ... Wow was Ted Cruz disloyal to his very capable director of communication. He used him as a scape goat-fired like a dog! Ted panicked.” See HuffPost’s earlier compilation of 7 tweets in which Trump uses the phrase http://huff.to/1Wd4UVG

ROGER SIMON, “Trump is No. 1, but who’s his No. 2?”: Respected GOP operative “Tom Rath ... was willing to provide a list. ... Jeff Immelt ... [Sen.] John Thune ... Jeb Bush ... Joe Scarborough ... Charlie Baker: Republican governor of Massachusetts. ... Roger Goodell ... [Sen.] Tim Scott ... the only African-American in U.S. history ever to be elected to both the House and Senate. ... Oprah Winfrey.” With cameos by Juleanna Glover, Chris Lehane, Bill McInturff, Charlie Cook, Garry Wills http://politi.co/1S0DPWx

TOP TWEETS: @RyanLizza: “In the movie version of this campaign the final plot twist would be that Weaver and Murphy were secretly working for The Trump Organization” ... @stuartpstevens: “There are no lanes. Whoever started this should be set adrift with person who taught waiters to introduce themselves” ...@RalstonReports: “I have two words for any discussion of who finishes in second or third when it’s a 2-1 blowout: Who cares?” ...

... @jmartNYT: “Trump first major GOP prez candidate to not air Fox at election night parties since...network was created? ... Why, among other reasons, Cruz don’t wanna drop: he assumes Trump loses general and wants a leg up in ’20” ... @BresPolitico: “Can you imagine Paul Ryan & Mitch McConnell standing with Donald Trump on a stage in Cleveland? That’s less than 5 months away” ... @RichLowry: “Other candidates are probably kicking themselves for not coming up with Trump’s 2-1-1-1 strategy” ... @daveweigel: “Trump: ‘I’ve been very nice to Rubio, because he hasn’t hit me. When he does, you will see what happens.’”

THE NARRATIVE – “Home Turf: Cruz, Rubio and Kasich all face must-wins in home states,” by AP’s Will Weissert in Austin and Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisc.: “Cruz, ... Rubio and ... Kasich are all facing enormous pressure in their home state primaries, which account for about a fourth of the delegates up for grabs in the next three weeks.” http://apne.ws/1Qxx1ug

DRIP, DRIP – WashPost A1, below fold, “Email-server testimony could rattle Clinton’s bid: Judge orders Democrat’s close aides to answer questions under oath,” by Spencer Hsu and Roz Helderman (online: “Aides’ email-server testimony could throw Clinton campaign a curveball”): “Judicial Watch ... intends to seek sworn testimony from [Huma] Abedin as well as Cheryl D. Mills ... [U.S. District Judge Emmet] Sullivan said he might ... direct the State Department to subpoena Clinton, Abedin or others to return all of the emails ... from Clinton’s personal email system ... an ominous sign for Clinton that 31,000 emails she has said were purely personal and deleted could make their way into the public realm.” http://wapo.st/20UEqJX

WHAT THE WEST WING IS READING -- “Americans’ Perceptions of Obama’s World Standing Improve,” by Gallup’s Justin McCarthy: “Forty-five percent of Americans believe world leaders respect President Barack Obama, up from 37% a year ago.” http://bit.ly/1WIi8Kl

OBAMA ALUMNI – “Jim Messina to advise David Cameron’s EU referendum campaign,” by Politico’s Nicholas Vinocur: “‘Given these challenging economic times, the very last thing we should do is risk the U.K. and EU economies with this risky [Brexit] move,’ Messina [said]. ... The former White House deputy chief of staff won’t run the ‘In’ campaign day-to-day but will be ‘heavily involved’ in strategy ahead of the June 23 Brexit referendum ...

“Tara Corrigan, another Obama campaign veteran, will be working with Cameron’s team daily from London.” http://politi.co/1PYVw6n

COMING ATTRACTIONS – A defiant TED OLSON, former Solicitor General, representing Apple against the FBI, to CHARLIE ROSE, who has been big on the encryption debate: “We want the American people to debate this. Let’s have that debate where the elected representatives of the people sit in Congress, just down the street from here. ... [E]verything is at stake because if the Constitution that protects privacy and intimacy and individual rights can be violated here, then it can be violated anywhere.”

--“Apple: Congress, not courts, must decide,” by AP’s Tami Abdollah: “Apple Inc. will tell a federal judge this week in legal papers that its fight with the FBI ... should be kicked to Congress ... Josh Earnest [said:] ‘Sending complicated things to Congress is often not the surest way to get a quick answer ... In fact, even asking some of the most basic questions of Congress sometimes does not ensure a quick answer.’” http://apne.ws/1XM4lnd

SCOOP DU JOUR -- “[Rep. Bill] Shuster lounges poolside with airline lobbyists as he pursues FAA bill:It’s the latest example of the Transportation Committee chairman’s coziness with the airline industry,” by Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan http://politi.co/1p3ixwh

N.Y. TIMES QUOTATION OF THE DAY -- MITCH MCCONNELL, on his insistence that Obama not put forth a nominee to replace Scalia: “This nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the polls.” 2-col. lead of the paper, “G.O.P. SENATORS SAY OBAMA COURT PICK WILL BE SHUNNED: Republicans on Judiciary Committee Vow Confirmation Hearings Won’t Be Held,” by David Herszenhorn http://nyti.ms/1VDLGsf

--N.Y. DAILY NEWS cover, “DERELICTS OF DOODY: Senate GOP leaders sign letter vowing to defy Constitution and ignore ANY Supreme pick.” See the cover. http://nydn.us/vp5qdB

--“How McConnell ditched all caution in Supreme Court fight,” by John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett: “With the Senate in recess, Republicans scattered across the country and a GOP presidential debate scheduled for later that night, McConnell knew he had to act fast or potentially lose control of the situation.” http://politi.co/1mWQGfv

45: THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION! JOHN BRENNAN, interviewed by NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, hinted he wouldn’t mind staying on as CIA Director. http://n.pr/1T6kMf4

2016 PLAYERS – N.Y. Times A1, below fold, “The Sharp Elbows Managing Cruz’s Campaign,” by Matt Flegenheimer (online: “Behind Ted Cruz’s Campaign Manager, Scorched Earth and Election Victories”): “[H]is campaign has reflected ... its principal architect: Jeff Roe, an operative with a reputation for scorching earth, stretching truths and winning elections. ... At 45, with a lumbering swagger and drawling parables culled from the family farm, Mr. Roe ... hired [Rick] Tyler ... [B]ack home, Mr. Roe’s allies and opponents alike have seen a familiar imprint in the Cruz campaign’s recent exploits.” http://nyti.ms/1QbWryo

–“Cruz names Rick Tyler replacement,” by Katie Glueck: “[Alice] Stewart had been working as a senior communications adviser to Cruz and traveling heavily with his press corps. A veteran conservative operative, Stewart also previously worked for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2016, as well as for Rick Santorum in 2012.” http://politi.co/21pWSfw

--“Koch brothers’ D.C. guru joins Marco Rubio”: “Marc Short, the Koch brothers’ top political adviser in Washington and a trusted member of their inner circle for five years, is making a surprise move to the Marco Rubio campaign as a senior adviser ... Short — president of Freedom Partners, the Kochs’ umbrella political organization — will join the campaign in about a week and brings deep connections to the donor and grass-roots worlds. ... Any decision [by the brothers] to get involved in the nomination race would likely come only if it narrowed to Trump and one of those senators.” http://politi.co/1oAnDj0

REMEMBERING BETSY FISCHER MARTIN’s MOM – Service today at 3 p.m. ET in Metarie, La.:“Sally Ford Fischer Pomeroy passed away peacefully on Sunday ... She was in her Metairie home, surrounded by her loving family. Sally was ... the loving mother of Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Fischer Martin (Jonathan) and Julie Fischer McCarter (Aaron) and the adoring grandmother of Ella Elizabeth Fischer Raineri. ... Sally was born in Staten Island, N.Y., while her father was stationed there in the United States Coast Guard. She graduated from Florida State University College of Music, where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Louisiana was home, and she happily resided in the New Orleans area for nearly 50 years.

“Sally sang for over 40 years in the New Orleans Opera Chorus, and also taught piano and voice privately. ... Whether it was spreading the joy of music ... or extending a deep and abiding love to her family, Sally was a selfless person ... In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in her memory be made to Parkway Presbyterian Church or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. An online guestbook is available at www.leitzeaganfuneralhome.com.” Donation page, with pic of Mom, Bets and Julie http://bit.ly/1S0Dx28

SPIKE LEE’s 60-second radio ad for Bernie called “Wake Up”: “Wake up, wake up, South Carolina! This is your dude, Spike Lee. ... For too long, we’ve given our votes to corporate puppets, sold the okie-doke. ... Bernie takes no money from corporations. Nada! Which means he’s not on the take.” Listen http://bit.ly/1TFbPJi

DATA DU JOUR – “Abortion Clinics Are Closing At a Record Pace: At least 162 providers have closed since 2011,” by Bloomberg’s Esmé E. Deprez: “Since 2011, at least 162 abortion providers have shut or stopped offering the procedure, while just 21 opened.” http://buswk.co/ClinicClosures

SHOT – Quinnipiac Ohio poll (primary March 15), out at 6 a.m.: Kasich 54% to Clinton 37% ... Trump 44% to Clinton 42% ... Cruz 46% to Clinton 43% ... Rubio 47% to Clinton 42%. http://bit.ly/1oGIq5a

CHASER -- “Kasich: ‘I don’t know if my purpose is to be president,’” by Nolan McCaskill: A “supporter asked, ‘What are you gonna do to stick it to Trump, stick it to Rubio and live out your purpose?’ ‘I don’t know if my purpose is to be president,’ Kasich responded. ‘My purpose is to be out here doing what I think I need to be doing, and we’ll see where it ends up.’” http://politi.co/1Qxkffb

WHAT THE RIGHT IS READING -- “Marco Rubio Plans to Skip CPAC, Pre-Eminent Conservative Gathering, in 2016,” by Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle: “In 2016, the conference will be held right after Super Tuesday from March 2 until March 5. ... Both Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), as well as Dr. Ben Carson, have previously confirmed their attendance at CPAC this year ... Rubio did, alongside his mentor former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, appear at the 2015 CPAC.” http://bit.ly/1PYEF3v

LATE-NIGHT BEST -- “Watch Kevin Spacey, Jimmy Fallon Do House of Cards Kid Theater in an Acting Masterclass Led by Kids” – Video http://bit.ly/1TyAEVW

LIFE ONLINE – “Snapchat now gives you a special lens effect on your birthday,” by VentureBeat’s Ken Yeung: “Snapchat ... has launched a new lens called Birthday Party that makes snaps look extra festive, and the only thing you have to do to enable it is make sure your birthday is added in the app. Birthday Party works like any other ‘lens,’ as Snapchat calls its photo and video effects — tap and hold on your face to enable the feature. Then you can send the image to a friend or post it to your story. Snapchat will also let you know if one of your friends has a birthday. Just keep an eye on your buddy list, and when you see a cake emoji next to someone’s name, activate the lens and snap away.” http://bit.ly/1mWMkVH

MEDIAWATCH -- “CNN says it will no longer have Trump ally Roger Stone on air,” by Hadas Gold:“Stone had made disparaging remarks on Twitter about CNN political analyst Ana Navarro, which had recently been highlighted by Media Matters, a media watchdog group founded by Clinton ally David Brock.” http://politi.co/1Lb8S0x

--“Alex Wagner to be a guest contributor on The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth on Showtime”: “MSNBC analyst Alex Wagner will be a guest contributor to the Feb. 28 episode of THE CIRCUS airing this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Wagner will join the team on the campaign trail in South Carolina this week in the final days before the Democratic primary.”

--“New York Times Announces First Recipients of David Carr Fellowship” -- From “600 applicants ... [the] 2016 David Carr Fellows are John Herrman, co-editor of The Awl; Amanda Hess, a staff writer at Slate; and Greg Howard, a staff writer at Deadspin. In the spirit of Mr. Carr’s legacy, the fellows will spend two years in The Times’s newsroom covering the dynamic intersection of technology, media, culture and race using a mix of engaging approaches to storytelling and news reportage.” http://bit.ly/1LbbsDA

FUTURE OF NEWS -- “BuzzFeed Launches First Video App, Plans to Test Short Exclusives,” by The Wrap’s Joan E. Solsman: “[T]he company’s app users share content five times as much as a website visitor. If the video app can mimic that trend, the company could be set for another explosion in sharing. Launching the app also will let BuzzFeed experiment with exclusive windows on its video for the first time.” http://bit.ly/21pVbPd

WASHINGTON INC --“Top Cornyn Staffer [Jerr Rosenbaum] Joins HLP Advocacy” as partner:“Rosenbaum brings nearly two decades of federal legislative and political experience, recently serving as Legislative Director to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).” http://bit.ly/1QeDEG6

--“Democracy Partners Adds Two New Divisions, Announces Lupe Lopez as Partner”: The firm today will announce “the initiation of two new divisions—the Impact Philanthropy and Donor Advising Division [led by Ken Grossinger] and the Democracy Partners Institute.” http://politi.co/1p3j2q0

WHITE HOUSE DEPARTURE LOUNGE: Paul Bodnar’s jersey will soon be hanging from the rafters. Bodnar, an alum of the Clinton and Kerry State Departments, serves as the NSC Sr. Director for Energy and Climate Change, where he has been at the center of Obama’s international climate push (including the breakthrough on U.S.-China climate cooperation and the historic Paris agreement). Bodnar is now headed West – a bit further West than the West Wing – to Colorado.

OUT AND ABOUT: MPAA CEO and former Sen. Chris Dodd and Viacom EVP Dede Lea hosted an advance screening last night of the upcoming war comedy “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” based off Kim Barker’s experiences covering the Afghan war and the wacky life as a female foreign correspondent in Kabul. Dodd interviewed star Tina Fey, producer Lorne Michaels and screenwriter Robert Carlock before the screening at the U.S. Navy Memorial. The film, which had the audience laughing every minute or two, opens March 4.Pics http://bit.ly/1TFkvzp ... http://bit.ly/1oGIRfV ... Trailer http://bit.ly/1STb2UY

--SPOTTED: Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Kerry, Sens. Shaheen, Brown, Franken, Boxer and Risch, Kate Bedingfield and David Kieve, Deesha Dyer, Reps. Ted Deutch and Adam Schiff, Marie Harf, Margaret Carlson, Chad and Beth Kreikemeier, Jen Haberkorn, Matt Cooper, Rebecca Berg and Brendan Buck, Garance Franke-Ruta, Todd Flournoy, Mark Shields, Michelle Kosinski, Kelley Hudak, British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch (fresh off a trip to South Carolina to see presidential politics in action), Lois Romano, Steve Richetti, Patrick Kilcur, Chris Ortman, TJ Ducklo, Sam Newton.

BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Charles Sweeney, speechwriter extraordinaire ... former de Blasio COS and DNC COO Amanda Howe, now planning Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s cocktail reception before WH State Dinner (h/t Ellen Qualls)

BIRTHDAYS: Frank Luntz (h/t Jon, Douglas) ... Mark Salter, the pride of Davenport, Iowa ... Kevin Lewis, White House alum, now DOJ press secretary … Paula Zahn is 60 ... former Sen. Joe Lieberman is 74 ... NYT’s Sabrina Tavernise ... Kasich Rapid Response Director/Dep. Digital Director, Blake Waggoner is 3-0, celebrating tonight at The Pearl and this weekend with Kentucky bourbon (h/t Patrick Lee) ... Nilda Pedrosa ... Juliet K. Choi, USCIS Chief of Staff ... Paula Zahn ... Karen Olick, managing director at SKDKnickerbocker and Boxer alum (h/t Jon Haber and Teresa) ... Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams (paw tip: Maggie) ... former Sen. Zell Miller ... Kevin Dando, PBS’ senior director of social media strategy and digital comms. ... Kate Kelly of Interior ... Chris Chocola, former Club for Growth President ...

... Lindsay Hamilton, chief of staff at Center for American Progress (hubby tip: Phil Elwood) ... Jacqueline Hackett ... Allison Branca, assistant to the VP of comms. at Brookings … Reagan McGrath ... Emily West … Commerce deputy secretary Bruce Andrews … “Fix Jr.” Cillizza (h/t D.J.) … Abram Olmstead, senior manager of digital strategic comms. at the U.S. Chamber … Richard Cohen ... Jacqueline Hackett, drug-abuse prevention advocate and deputy director for policy at ONDCP ... Peter Lovett ... Nina Hutchison ... Fred Martin ... Sam Teller ... Sam Novey (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... actor Barry Bostwick is 71 ... Edward James Olmos is 69 ... Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray is 60 ... Sammy Kershaw is 58 ... actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”) is 25 (h/ts AP)

Predictive analytics for non-geeks: How to get what you need out of big data (webinar)


Anticipating your customers’ needs depends on essential data you can interpret without a  graduate degree in data science. Join VB analyst Jon Cifuentes and Bertram Capital’s Tom Long as they discuss the best data tools and platforms for marketers — and essential strategies to meet customers’ needs before even they know they have them.

Register here for free.

Everyone wants to anticipate the next big consumer trend — or at least where your own customers are headed — but unless you were a data scientist or analyst, you wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails out of the big data. At least, that was the mentality a few years ago.

Now, thanks to advancements in software, you no longer have to be data science grad to make sense out of predictive analytics. Given the anticipated 2018 shortage gap of data scientists — between 50 percent and 60 percent in the United States alone according to McKinsey — it’s a good thing the restrictions on big data have decreased.

More approachable big data, however, does not mean a free ride in interpreting those numbers. There’s still an overwhelming amount of analytic data to sort through, such as customer data, log data, inventory data, search data, and more. As the annual Duke CMO Survey showed, 65 percent of marketers feel pressured to prove their worth by their board or CEO, and yet 65 percent said they lack the ability to really measure marketing impact accurately.

In our VentureBeat Insight report, The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer, we surveyed over 1,000 marketing analytics professionals regarding analytic vendors and practices.

When we questioned marketers on the types of analytic roles they are responsible for at their company, nearly 40 percent sided with audience insights, while growth and conversion tracking lagged behind. When the question was narrowed down to roles they were primarily responsible for, most marketers utilizing analytics aligned with growth and conversion tracking. Cross platform marketing (attribution), customer experience, and big data were under-represented in the user interviews; demonstrating how marketers are only focusing on what they can clearly see and count and the huge opportunities they were missing because of it.

As to predictive analytics, marketers are overall comfortable on reporting on the past, without realizing the serious money they’re leaving behind in the process. 73 percent of marketing analytics reporting time is spent on evaluating the past and the present, while only 27 percent is spent on predicting and influencing the future. Meanwhile, future “industry leading marketing teams” are too busy focusing on tomorrow than contemplating yesterday.

Of course, to really get on top of all this, you need the right platforms to support you. Our report also dove into which vendors are leading the pack, and analyst Jon Cifuentes along Bertram Capital Head of growth and marketing Tom Long, will take you through the winners along with everything you need to know about analytic data to improve your marketing strategy.

The data is out there; you just need to reach out and grab it.

Don’t miss out.

Register here for free.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of analytics to marketing
  • How to integrate marketing professionals into your analytics programs
  • How to measure ROI for analytics tools
  • Cloud or on-premise: How to decide which is right for you
  • Which vendors lead the way, how, and why
  • What to look for in a vendor or analytics partner


Jon Cifuentes, Analyst, VentureBeat

Tom Long, Head of growth and marketing, Bertram Capital


Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat



Trump: 'Endorsements mean very little'

Donald Trump has no time for endorsements, "which mean very little," the candidate declared Wednesday.

The Republican frontrunner talked up his landslide victory in the Nevada caucuses on ABC's "Good Morning America," remarking that while he has "many endorsements," he does not "really go out and seek them."

"Now, and as of yesterday, people were calling, a lot of people were calling and I’ll have many endorsements soon, but it’s not something I want to work for, to be honest with you, because it’s a waste of time. Endorsements mean very little," Trump told George Stephanopoulos.

Trump noted that he has "some excellent endorsements, and some that I’m very proud of. But it’s a lot of work," he explained. Unlike Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, Trump has not picked up any endorsements from Republican governors or members of Congress, according to FiveThirtyEight's tracker.

Some of the most prominent people who have endorsed Trump are former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.

"They want me to go to a certain area, have a big news conference. I would rather be with the people, I’d rather work with the people and get the kind of numbers that we got yesterday, because those numbers were amazing," he said. "We won with every single group. Every single group. Men, women, evangelicals. We won with all sorts of education—if you talk about education to the highest level to a lower level, we won with that. We won with everything, George.”

Inside the Apple and IBM partnership to help enterprise customers build more iOS apps

IBM at Mobile World Congress 2016.

BARCELONA, Spain — When Ashi Hoseini, manager of mobile solutions for Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), began talking to IBM about creating apps that might help the airline’s crews be more efficient, she got the kind of offer many techies can only dream about:

An offer to fly to Cupertino and work directly with Apple developers at the company’s headquarters.

A few days later, she and her team left with a new app SAS crews can use on iOS devices. (The app will be rolling out soon.)

“Our vision is to make life easier for our customers, in this case our employees,” she said. “This new app has the power of simplicity married with the power of analytics. And that was thanks to the design teams of IBM and Apple.”

Hoseini made her remarks this week at a panel hosted by IBM at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. And there are so many jarring things about the event that it’s hard to know how to begin listing them.

Apple and IBM announced a partnership around enterprise solutions back in July 2014. While Apple has seen its mobile gadgets — like the iPhone and iPad — used in the workplace by individuals who’ve purchase them, there has still remained the bigger challenge of getting large enterprises to adopt them on the kind of massive scale that might turn around the slumping sales of Apple’s tablet.

IBM is deep, deep in the enterprise. So while the partnership is entirely logical, it’s also still remarkable to see the historic rivals working shoulder to shoulder. Seeing IBM executives stand in front of a sign at MWC that reads “IBM MobileFirst for iOS” takes some adjustment.

Beyond that, the ultra-secretive Apple prefers to pretty much never talk about its inner workings. And more specifically, it officially avoids such mega trade shows, even if it looms large over them.

While there were no Apple execs in attendance at the IBM press conference, the IBM execs on the stage and their customers were more than happy to offer up details about how the partnership is working on the ground. And that, in turn, shows how hard Apple is working to educate and inspire the potential enterprise customers it’s so eager to bring into its customer fold.

The case of SAS seems to be pretty typical of the approach. IBM and Apple have created dedicated teams that work from the Apple campus, helping customers like SAS develop apps that meet their specific needs. While Apple has lots of developer outreach, teaching businesses to use enterprise apps is a far more complex proposition, because such apps likely have to plug into existing infrastructure and databases to work seamlessly.

In other words, these are not just two programmers building another photo sharing app.

In an interview, Phil Buckellew, vice president of enterprise mobile at IBM, said the teams meld Apple’s historic strength in design and IBM’s depth in analytics and data. “These mix of skills is really critical,” he said.

When Hoseini arrived in Cupertino, her team included not just IT people from SAS, but some pilots and cabin crew members, as well. During her time there, she said, Apple was relentless about its design-thinking approach, which starts with the people will actually use the product. As such, Apple advises companies to bring the app’s actual users and developers to the boot camp.

The problem, from the SAS side, is that crews are under mounting pressure to turn flights around quickly after they arrive. This is putting more stress on employees, who are increasingly dealing with frustrated customers asking questions about arrivals and delays. With the app, Passenger Plus, those crews will have detailed information about airports, flights, and taxi times at their fingertips, which should help them answer questions more quickly and better manage the transition between arrival and departure.

Throughout the process, the SAS team emphasized the need for functionality and information. Hoseini said Apple’s and IBM’s teams helped find a balance between access to information and an app design that would be simple to use.

“We changed the dashboard to make it more informative,” she said. “We did that without losing the lean and clean look of the app.”

So far, this partnership has led to the creation of 100 enterprise apps. If that doesn’t sound like a huge number, remember that when these get rolled out at massive companies, they drive the need to buy large amounts of Apple gadgets and IBM data and consulting services.

IBM is clearly bullish on the partnership and is pushing it ahead with a strong embrace of Apple’s Swift programming language.

Buckellew said that Swift has become one of the world’s fastest-growing programming languages since Apple introduced it in 2014. Apple made Swift open-source in December, and he expects that to only accelerate its adoption in the coming years.

Indeed, IBM had several announcements at MWC this week about cloud-based services  for Swift.

“Swift is making it easier for developers to build great apps,” Buckellew said. “And IBM is making it even easier to use Swift.”

More information:


Rubio: Majority of GOP voters don't want Trump

Assessing the situation after Donald Trump trounced his rivals in Tuesday night's Nevada caucuses, Marco Rubio said Wednesday that "a majority of Republican voters in this country do not want Donald Trump to be" the party's nominee.

The Florida senator, who finished second in last night's contest, said voters need to quickly rally behind an alternative to Trump.

"The problem is, they’re divided up among four people. At some point, in South Carolina it was five people. Before that, it was seven people. So until there’s some kind of consolidation here, you’re not going to have a clear alternative to Donald Trump, and the argument we’ve made is, I’m as conservative as anyone in this race, but I’m a conservative that can unify the Republican Party," the Florida senator said in an interview with "Fox and Friends." "You’ve seen it in the last 72 hours with the number of people that weren’t with me initially. You know, a lot of the establishment people didn’t even want me to run. A lot of them went with Jeb or whoever, but they’re now all starting to consolidate across the spectrum in this party, with the understanding that if we don’t come together, we’re never going to be able to provide a clear alternative to the direction that Donald Trump wants to take the Republican Party and the country.”

He added, "And right now, what you have is a situation where Donald—the majority of the Republican electorate, the majority of Republican voters in this country do not want Donald Trump to be the nominee."

And in Rubio's mind, Trump actually "underperformed" with regard to past Republican performances in Nevada.

“Last time, Mitt Romney actually got over 50 percent, so Donald Trump underperformed what Mitt Romney did not once but twice in this state," Rubio said. "Look, I’ve been saying this for a long time now—this is an unusual election. Throw out everything you know about presidential politics, because this year’s very different. It’s been proven week after week."

Rubio also rejected the notion that he and Cruz would unite or cut a deal in order to stop Trump's path to the nomination.

“Yeah, well, first of all, Ted and I are running vibrant national campaigns, so the voters are going to have to provide the consolidation. It’s not going to be a deal between candidates, and that just never happens, and it isn’t going to happen now," he remarked. "And I think voters are going to have to start making a choice here about not just what kind of Republican Party but what kind of country that we’re going to have in the 21st century, because I’m as angry and as frustrated as anyone.”

Trump, Rubio suggested, needs to offer specific explanations for his proposals, because "right now, all Donald says is he tells you what the result is going to be, but he refuses to outline how we’re going to achieve these things, and voters deserve to know that."

Coons scolds Senate Republicans on Supreme Court

Sen. Chris Coons reacted to the Senate Judiciary Committee's decision on Tuesday with scorn for his Republican colleagues' "elementary-school response" to the Supreme Court vacancy.

“This is a sad development. This is a striking development. In the century since the Judiciary Committee was formed in the Senate, every single nominee has gotten a hearing, has gotten a vote on the Senate floor and in the committee," the Delaware Democrat said in a segment with MSNBC's "Morning Joe," appearing with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

Coons added that the fact that this is the eighth year of President Barack Obama's second term does not preclude him from sending a nominee to the Senate or from lawmakers considering that nominee, which Republican leadership has said it will not do.

"And for the Senate of the United States to simply go ‘nah, nah, nah, nah,'" Coons said, putting his hands over his ears, "that’s not advise and consent. That’s an elementary-school response, not a grown-up response.”

Gardner responded that the American people "should decide" who gets to nominate the next justice, pointing to the Republican Party's midterm victories in 2014 as evidence that the will of the electorate is not with the Democrats. “What about the election of the majority in 2014?” he asked.

“And you all are flummoxed as to why Donald Trump is doing so well. There’s your answer," co-host Mika Brzezinski said at the end of the segment.

Xiaomi hypes its latest flagship at ‘global launch’ event, but still no plans for a global launch

Hugo Barra and Mi5

So Xiaomi’s Mi5 launch event came and went today, and the Chinese smartphone maker unveiled some impressive specs for a device that will cost in the region of $350. However, Xiaomi won’t be making its grand entry into the global smartphone arena anytime soon.

In the buildup to today’s event at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), you would have been forgiven for considering the possibility that Xiaomi would finally go truly global and make its smartphones available outside of Asia. Indeed, Xiaomi did little to dispel such hopes when it invited the world to witness the “Mi5 global launch” live from Barcelona. But in real terms, what it meant was that the announcement was global insofar as it was on the Internet and anyone could watch it.

This echoed a similar announcement last year that touted a “global Mi phone premiere” — again this sounded like it was going to be a truly global launch of a smartphone. But it wasn’t. The Mi 4i was initially launched in India only, followed by a few other countries in the region.

While Xiaomi has grown into a major mobile phone maker since its first foray in the space back in 2011, China, India, and a handful of Asian countries have remained its only official markets (though it is, of course, still possible to buy the phones anywhere through third-party sellers).

The Beijing-based company has long since branched out into other products and services, including self-balancing scooters, fitness bands, tablets, routers, cloud storage, headphones, and power banks. And the company opened for business online in the U.S. and Europe last year — except that the store is limited to accessories.

When Hugo Barra, former Googler and current global VP for Xiaomi, took to the stage at MWC today, he waxed lyrical about the company’s new flagship and even wheeled out a Qualcomm exec to sing the praises of the amazing new Snapdragon 820 processor. But there was to be no true global launch announced.

“On 1st March it will be available in China; then we will soon bring it to our global markets, including India and other markets,” said Barra toward the end of the show. And that was it.

The fact that Barra had traveled to Europe to announce the phone but gave zero indication as to whether it would even arrive there was astonishing. And to publish pricing in Chinese renminbi (yuan), with roughly converted dollar and euro equivalents provided only verbally, was also noteworthy and indicative that Xiaomi isn’t yet ready to go truly global.

Mi5 Pricing

Above: Mi5 Pricing

It’s like dangling a golden carrot in front of a money-hungry donkey only to yank it away at the last-minute. Why would a company do this?

Xiaomi garners a lot of column inches in the world’s online media, and deservedly so — it sold 70 million smartphones last year alone, according to Barra, and has built a great company, despite ongoing criticism that it copies Apple’s products. But the company constantly flirts with the global masses.

Though Western markets would offer Xiaomi fresh opportunities, there is little question they would also bring big challenges. Nobody is suggesting for a second which markets Xiaomi should or shouldn’t sell its phones to. But the company’s marketing strategy is odd, and it’s certainly confusing.

After the event at MWC, a spokesperson reaffirmed that Xiaomi still has no plans to launch its smartphones outside of Asia. So that clears that up, then.



In ongoing search for a reason to exist, BlackBerry launches cybersecurity consulting service


While BlackBerry continues to watch what little remains of its mobile marketshare evaporate into the atmosphere, the Canadian company has decided to place a bigger bet on cybersecurity.

And why not? In a press release today, the company noted that cybersecurity consulting “is currently estimated to be a $16.5 billion annual global business that is forecast to grow to $23 billion per annum by 2019.”

In slipping the word “annum” into a press release, the company is off to a good start.

Of course, once upon a time BlackBerry was (and still is?) known as being more secure that all those other randy mobile operating systems. So BlackBerry has decided to launch Professional Cybersecurity Services.

To give PCS a boost, the company also said it was acquiring U.K.-based cybersecurity consulting firm Encription Limited. The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

“BlackBerry is the gold standard when it comes to security and we’re always evolving to maintain this high standard as the complexity of enterprise mobility and security increases,” said John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We recognize that security vulnerabilities are a top risk concern for public and private sector organizations alike. The creation of our Professional Cybersecurity Services practice and acquisition of Encription reinforces our commitment to providing customers the industry’s most secure mobility solutions and helping them to assess and mitigate risks.”

More information:


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott endorses Cruz

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will endorse Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination on Wednesday, the Texas senator's campaign confirmed.

"It is our duty as Texas conservatives to support a leader that we can trust to restore our values. That is why I am supporting Ted Cruz for president," Abbott said in a video, first reported by CNN. "Unlike far too many in Washington, the Ted Cruz we’ve seen in the Senate is the same Ted Cruz that we elected. And he’s the same Ted Cruz I served with when I was the attorney general and Ted was the solicitor general."

The governor went on to praise Cruz's work as solicitor general, calling him "principled" and "fearless" and saying that "has true conviction."

"Ted is a constitutionalist, whose judgment I trust to appoint the right judges to the United States Supreme Court," Abbott says in the 60-second video. "To my fellow Texas conservatives, I say this—we need to deliver. This is our time. Ted Cruz is our candidate. Now let’s do our part to take this country back."

Abbott is expected to officially announce his support Wednesday afternoon in Houston, marking the highest-profile endorsement of Cruz from an official in Texas, where voters will head to the primary next Tuesday. Cruz has picked up endorsements from eight of his colleagues in Congress, though not from fellow Sen. John Cornyn, who has thus far declined to endorse any candidate.

The Texas senator finished third on Tuesday night in Nevada, trailing Marco Rubio by a small margin and getting trounced by Donald Trump, who finished with 46 percent of the vote.

Virgin Pulse acquires two competitors to extend its corporate well-being program

Virgin Pulse

Virgin Pulse, a company focused on improving the lives of employees, has merged with two of its competitors —ShapeUp and Global Corporate Challenge Unite — in a move to dominate the corporate wellness market. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the company said it laid off less than 3 percent of its total workforce.

Part of the Virgin Group, Virgin Pulse specializes in designing technology to promote good lifestyle habits for employees. Its products are billed as being tailored to individuals, helping them manage nutrition, sleep, stress, focus, cognition, financial health, personal relationships, philanthropy, and more.

Virgin Pulse CEO Chris Boyce told VentureBeat that the company’s goal is to “transform the corporate wellness market by showing companies that investing in employee health and well-being is moving the needle in meaningful and measurable ways across the entire business.” He continued, saying, “Wellness programs have typically been seen as wellness done to employees, not for them. The intent has been focused on reducing healthcare costs, disease management, and on curing the already sick. We believe the focus should be on helping organizations build well-being into the DNA of their corporate cultures and engage all employees.”

ShapeUp and Global Corporate Challenge Unite specialize in similar areas of employee well-being. The former has raised $13 million in venture funding, while the latter hasn’t disclosed its investments.

In discussing Virgin Pulse’ acquisition of these two firms, Boyce laid out four main reasons behind the move. The first is a philosophy that engaging with employees about their health and well-being results in a stronger corporate culture and higher performance. The second is to do with leadership, as all three companies have CEOs with extensive years of experience, tools, resources, and a proven practice. Boyce summarized this as: “A strong cultural fit, shared mission, and mutual respect for leadership of each organization and the ability to build a successful business.”

Product synergy and global reach were the other two main reasons for the merger. Since all three have been competitors, they have developed unique product capabilities and strengths that complement each other. And as a bigger company, the new Virgin Pulse can scale its offering to deliver services to companies of all sizes around the world.

Following the merger, Boyce will remain CEO, ShapeUp founder and CEO Rajiv Kumar will become president and chief medical officer, Global Corporate Challenge CEO Tom Sermon will be president of international operations, and Global Corporate Challenge founder and president Glenn Riseley will become the director of new market development.

Virgin Pulse said that its existing investors, Insight Venture Partners and Virgin Group, along with ShapeUp’s backers Cue Ball and Excel Venture Management and Global Corporate Challenge’s shareholders have together invested “significant capital” in the combined entity to accelerate the next growth phase.


Obama's big mistake on cyber

Cyber criminals, hacktivists, and foreign adversaries conduct millions of cyberattacks against U.S. interests daily, looking to steal state secrets and valuable information and undermine critical infrastructure. Attacks on the Office of Personnel Management and big-name private sector companies have shown that no one is immune.

To defend their networks and fix breaches, companies that harbor valuable information must rapidly communicate about vulnerabilities and issue necessary patches. But in 2013, the Obama administration made that significantly harder when it agreed to join other countries in applying export controls to critical cybersecurity tools and techniques. This decision will force companies to endure the burdensome process of obtaining export licenses before sharing time-sensitive information on security vulnerabilities, causing them to sit on critical threat information while their license application is processed.

In the coming weeks, the State Department is expected to begin setting its agenda on this issue for key international meetings in December. We implore the administration to undo its previous decision and renegotiate this agreement. America’s ability to protect itself in cyberspace is at stake.

Established in the 1990s, the little-known Wassenaar Arrangement, named after the city in the Netherlands where it was negotiated, is composed of 41 countries that agree upon export controls on conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. Each country has discretion in implementing these controls under its own national laws.

In 2013, the Wassenaar member countries agreed to add fundamental cybersecurity technologies to their list of export controls. The goal was to prevent intrusion and surveillance technologies from falling into the hands of authoritarian regimes that have used these technologies to spy on their populations and identify political dissidents. But negotiators failed to consult with experts in the cybersecurity industry, and agreed to expansive and vague additions to the Wassenaar export control regime.

Last May, the Commerce Department issued a proposed rule for implementing these export controls in the United States, prompting nearly unanimous opposition from the technology and cybersecurity industries, academics and security researchers. The significant pushback prompted Commerce to rescind its proposed rule. A new proposal has not been issued, and we hope one never emerges.

Export controls are most effectively used for dual-use weapons and goods that require physical space to manufacture, store and transport. In other words, goods that can be tracked. Export controls are applied in those contexts because there are a finite amount of such goods and there are ways to identify them entering or exiting a country. But the same cannot be said of cybersecurity tools and techniques, which could simply be code written on a sheet of paper that can be photocopied or scanned and sent electronically.

Applying export controls to the digital world could force a security professional to apply for a license before sharing an email that contains the code for a critical security vulnerability with an overseas colleague, or even with a colleague who works down the hall if he or she isn’t a U.S. citizen. The license could take months to process, while the company watches its adversaries change tactics daily — or hourly. This will leave American businesses insecure while a government office works at the slow pace of bureaucracy to grind out the necessary paperwork.

As these examples make clear, attempting to regulate cybersecurity technologies through export controls is a fundamentally flawed approach that will cripple the cybersecurity industry, putting us all at risk. Even worse, it will not achieve the goal of curbing human rights violations.

Instead of protecting against cyberthreats, Wassenaar will only give our cyber enemies more opportunity to attack U.S. companies. Real-time collaboration is an indispensable component of providing cybersecurity. Threat information must be shared around the globe at breathtaking speed to keep up with adversaries who are working 24/7 to undermine our networks, systems and critical infrastructure. But adding export controls to fundamental cybersecurity technologies will take us in the opposite direction.

In addition, export controls will not hamper the ability of bad actors and oppressive regimes to obtain so-called spyware. Countries with sizable information technology sectors such as India and Brazil are not members of the Wassenaar Arrangement, nor is cyber giant China or growing cyberthreat Iran. Therefore, nothing would preclude these countries from producing and selling the very technologies the Wassenaar countries are seeking to control.

This is not a partisan issue. When the Commerce Department released its proposed rule last May, a coalition of industry, academic and civil society groups pushed back. In December, a bipartisan group of 125 members of Congress wrote a letter to the administration expressing deep concern. In January, we held a joint hearing with representatives from the private sector and the departments of State, Commerce and Homeland Security to examine Wassenaar, with respect to cybersecurity and export controls. The hearing resulted in a clear consensus among both Democrats and Republicans that the administration must reconsider its decision.

The United States must not compromise its national security in exchange for implementation of an arrangement that is negligent bargaining at best, and a blatant security compromise at worst. Given the resounding outcry by stakeholders, the administration must go back to the drawing board on this issue. A new proposed rule from the Commerce Department will not fix the fundamental flaw that cybersecurity tools and technologies should not be regulated through export controls.

We urge the administration to admit it made a mistake and return to Wassenaar to renegotiate the agreement. The protection of the private sector depends on it.

Rep. Will Hurd sits on the House Homeland Security Committee and is chairman of the IT Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. John Ratcliffe is chairman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee for the House Homeland Security Committee and also serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

Trump is No. 1, but who's his No. 2?

The media often act like we have a sacred duty to exaggerate. We believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.

Thus, in just a few short months, we have gone from saying it is impossible for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination to saying it is inevitable that Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination.

Because of this, I have decided to dispense with the remaining primaries and caucuses, stories about superdelegates, brokered conventions and the usual yada-yada and get right down to it:

Who will Trump choose as his running mate?

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, who has one of the longest titles in politics — professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California — put her finger right on it.

“The Donald’s first choice is The Donald,” she said.

But there are constitutional problems with that, and, besides, vice presidents are convenient to have around in case you need someone to attend a funeral.

So I contacted 22 people, which is 22 people more than I usually contact for a column, to ask them their predictions for Trump’s running mate.

Some did not want to play.

“Anyone who would run with Trump is too vile for me to think about,” said Garry Wills, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of more than 40 books.

Others were downright apocalyptic.

“My first job was with Jesse Helms,” said Juleanna Glover, presenting her conservative credentials. “I lived with Phyllis Schlafly. I worked for Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, Bill Kristol, Steve Forbes, Rudy Giuliani, Dick Cheney and spent half my career with John Ashcroft.”

And her views on Trump?

“He is inherently dangerous to the national interest,” she said. “Trump as the nominee is destructive, and anyone who would seriously consider being his vice president is an accomplice to that destruction.”

Tom Rath, on the other hand, was willing to provide a list. Rath is one of the most respected political operatives in the Republican Party and has served as a senior national adviser to the presidential campaigns of Howard Baker, Robert Dole, Lamar Alexander, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and John Kasich.

“Far be it from me to give Trump advice,” he said and then listed 13 suggestions “in no particular order.” I have included some, with descriptions in case not every name rings a bell:

Jeff Immelt: chairman and CEO of General Electric.

John Thune: Republican senator from South Dakota.

Jeb Bush: Oh, c’mon, you didn’t forget that fast.

Joe Scarborough with or without Mika Brzezinski: Two politically influential MSNBC superstars who could switch off every other month.

Charlie Baker: Republican governor of Massachusetts.

Roger Goodell: commissioner of the National Football League.

Tim Scott: Republican senator from South Carolina, and the only African-American in U.S. history ever to be elected to both the House and Senate.

Oprah Winfrey: Born into poverty in Mississippi, she became a talk show host, actress, producer, author and multibillionaire philanthropist. She gave me an interview when she came to Chicago to start a TV talk show in 1984. At the time, I was probably better known in Chicago than she was. That lasted about five minutes.

In June 2015, Trump himself told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he wanted Oprah as his running mate. “I think we’d win easily, actually,” he said. “I like Oprah. I mean, is that supposed to be a bad thing? I don’t think so.”

But could Oprah, a big backer of Barack Obama, be selected by the Republican National Convention? “Over the years, I have voted for as many Republicans as I have Democrats,” Oprah said in December 2007 when she endorsed Obama. “This isn’t about partisanship for me. This is very, very personal.”

When Obama spoke to the crowd, he asked: “You want Oprah as vice president?”

The crowd roared. “That would be a demotion, you understand that?” Obama said.

While it might be close, I am guessing the delegates to the Republic convention would go along with Oprah as vice president if only in the hope that she would give each of them a Pontiac.

Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster, said: “I assume Trump would double down on his positioning, not pick anyone with a career in elected politics — so, someone with significant military experience seems like one possibility.”

Democratic crisis communications expert Chris Lehane said: “He shouldn’t/wouldn’t look for balance as that would undermine the brand.

“First, military background. If Curtis LeMay were available, he would be perfect. (Inconveniently, LeMay died in 1990.)

“Second, the anti-pol. Gov. Paul LePage of Maine is a poor man’s Trump.

"Third, sports figure. Peyton Manning [quarterback of the Denver Broncos] may be retiring.”

While most analysts are careful to hedge their bets just in case they turn out to be wrong, Charlie Cook is not most analysts. “I don’t believe that Trump will ultimately be the Republican nominee,” he said.

“Trump’s chances of winning a general election are so small that even if he did, the odds of his administration being a disaster are huge. So for a young and ambitious Republican, hitching your wagon to his horse could well be a career ender.”

Cook said, “A lot of top-tier names and talent are off the table.”

”I question why any major figure or rising star in the party would want to become joined at the hip with Donald Trump,” Cook said. “That means he is likely to get a second- or third-tier person.”

Which makes my prediction perfect: She has run for the job before, she knows how to debate and give a good convention speech and she has even invented her own language.

When she endorsed Trump on Jan. 20 at Iowa State University, she said: “Trump’s candidacy, it has exposed not just that tragic the ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enabled it, OK?”

OK. And that’s right, my guess is that Trump will select Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Why? Because she makes Trump sound like a genius.

Roger Simon is Politico’s chief political columnist.

Trump shatters the Republican Party

After winning three of the first four nominating contests, Donald Trump hasn’t just hijacked the Republican Party but fractured it newly into three.

The populist billionaire’s rise to the pinnacle of Republican politics has upended what had been decades of relative GOP stability, a 40-year span in which most Republican presidential contests since 1976 neatly narrowed to an establishment-embraced front-runner and a conservative insurgent alternative.

No more.

Suddenly, there are three strands of Republicanism, each entrenched and vying for supremacy in 2016. Ted Cruz is the leader of the traditional conservative purists. Marco Rubio is emerging from the mud of a multicandidate brawl to lead the once-dominant, now diminished, mainstream lane of the GOP.

But it is Trump’s new alliance of angry populists that is ascendant — and on the precipice of dominance.

Built on the backs of working-class men and women who feel abandoned, economically and culturally, Trump’s coalition has both brought in new voters and carved out support from the other two. Trump won over evangelicals from Cruz in South Carolina, and even more resoundingly again in Nevada. He then took moderates from the mainstream in New Hampshire and Nevada en route to landslide victories in three consecutive states.

“What Trump is consolidating is the people who are unhappy being in either camp — those who don’t see themselves as conservative insurgents or as mainstream Republicans,” said Yuval Levin, an influential Republican thinker and editor of the quarterly conservative journal National Affairs. “They’re insurgents but they’re not conservatives. And they’re not happy with the system that gave us that binary choice.”

“It’s kind of Archie Bunker types,” said Glen Bolger, a veteran Republican pollster who is unaligned in 2016 but opposed to Trump.

If Nevada's thorough Trump triumph is any indication, there are many such Archie Bunkers inside Cruz's Christian coalition and Rubio's bulwark of suburban professionals. “We won with the highly educated,” as Trump said in his victory speech. “We won with the poorly educated. I love the poorly educated."

So far, none of the Republican Party’s three distinct wings has proved it holds a majority, but Trump is inching closer — topping 40 percent for the first time in Nevada. Trump, Cruz and Rubio each appears to have a following that could prevent the others from reaching the required 1,237 delegates — and so far, each seems more willing to lose than to compromise with the others.

“We’re kind of at a stalemate,” said Tony Perkins, the prominent evangelical leader who heads the Family Research Council and supports Cruz. “We could be on our way to a brokered convention.”

If so, Cruz will have to claw his way back into the race with a strong showing in the Super Tuesday states, where he’s campaigned heavily on the assumption that conservatives across the South would go for his brand of hard-line purity over Trump’s angry populism.

“This is the most important race since 1980 to determine what the future of the Republican Party is,” said Henry Olsen, author of a recent book about the GOP's internal divisions.

“The Republican Party has been the same for decades. The factions have been the same, the arguments have been the same, the size of the factions have been the same,” Olsen said, adding that whoever emerges this year is likely to break that logjam.

The Trump and Cruz coalitions, in many ways, have the same origin: the tea party movement of frustrated conservatives that grew in reaction to the profligate spending under President George W. Bush and the election of President Barack Obama. Their energy and votes swept the Republicans back into the majority in the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014.

But in 2016 the tea party has splintered into its component parts: the truly conservative (who support Cruz) and the truly angry (who support Trump). Both outgrowths of the same resentment toward the established GOP order, one is more focused on policy orthodoxy, the other on raw frustration.

Trump is winning the disaffected as Cruz tries to consolidate the hard-liners. In Iowa, Cruz carried 44 percent of self-identified “very conservative” voters — more than double Trump's take. With explicit ideological appeals, Cruz topped that hard-liner group again with 35 percent in South Carolina, even as he fell to third. But in Nevada, Trump won them over 38 percent to 34 percent.

The tea party’s rise, meanwhile, has dragged the entire Republican Party so far to the right that Rubio, who himself was an anti-establishment insurgent in 2010, is now a darling of the mainstream GOP. The remaining moderate Republicans left behind by these evolutionary forces have lined up behind John Kasich, whose self-described “prince of light and hope” campaign still gamely insists 2016 remains a “four-person race.”

At the center of this realignment is Trump, who has defied not just the pundits, but typical ideological constraints of American politics — smashing through traditional notions of electability and decorum as he blusters his way toward the nomination.

Remarkably, Trump has drawn almost equally large support across the GOP’s ideological spectrum: winning 32 percent of moderates, 36 percent of somewhat conservatives and 35 percent of people calling themselves very conservative in New Hampshire, according to exit polling. In South Carolina, the totals were 34 percent, 35 percent and 29 percent. In Nevada, the scores were a remarkable 55 percent, 50 percent and 38 percent.

“Trump has gotten voters who are so angry that they are willing to put their ideological concerns aside,” said Patrick Murray, a pollster at Monmouth University who has extensively surveyed the 2016 race. “We have never seen voters do that to this extent. They’re saying, ‘We’re so ticked off that that’s the only message that matters.’”

Trump channels their anger, retweets their curse words and shares their distrust of elites in politics and the media. Just like them, he traffics in conspiracy theories (from Obama’s birthplace to Justice Antonin Scalia’s death) and faux facts (the past killing of Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs' blood). In one of the most revealing moments of how Trump has, quite literally, elevated the angriest voices, he repeated a never-before-said vulgarity by a presidential candidate the evening before the New Hampshire primary after it was shouted by someone in the crowd.

He romped to victory 24 hours later.

While Cruz has tried to tap into frustrated voters via ideology, Rubio has been far more reluctant to amplify the angriest voices, saying repeatedly, “It is not enough to simply nominate someone who is angry.”

In South Carolina last week, when a voter shouted that Hillary Clinton was a “traitor,” Rubio interjected gently, “I wouldn’t go that far, sir.” And last month, in Iowa, when another voter worried about Islamic sharia law coming to America, Rubio rebutted, “Guys, that's not going to happen.”

While Rubio dances around the electorate’s resentments, Trump revels in them. On primary night in South Carolina, he tapped into their nationalism as he whacked at Mexico and China. “They’ve taken our jobs, they’ve taken our money, they’ve taken our everything,” he declared.

The crowd cheered wildly. “I showed anger and the people of our country are very angry!” Trump later tweeted about his South Carolina victory.

Perkins, the evangelical leader, described the Trump phenomenon’s lack of ideology this way: “You can’t be fearful and thoughtful at the same time.”

If Cruz’s coalition is the very conservative and Rubio’s is the GOP elites (he won 47 percent of those who most valued electability in South Carolina; his problem is that voters who valued that have plummeted by almost two-thirds since 2012), Trump’s common thread is socioeconomic class.

In each state so far, Trump has finished stronger among blue-collar voters than white-collar ones. And in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, exit polls show Trump’s support dropped with each additional education level a voter attained. Among non-college graduates, he topped 40 percent in the latter two states and scored a majority in Nevada.

“Whether someone has a college degree or not has become a major fault line in American politics these days,” noted Bolger.

For now, the chaos of 2016 is redounding to Trump’s benefit.

“The more the non-Trump vote is divided, the better off he does,” Bolger said.

Republican elites, sensing the hour is late as roughly two dozen states vote in the next three weeks, are pushing for consolidation. The problem is that every remaining Republican, even Kasich, believes Trump can be beat — if only they can get him one-on-one. “We'll beat him,” top Kasich strategist John Weaver told reporters recently. “But all in due time."

The pitched-battle primary has one positive for a reeling GOP: It has driven record Republican turnout — a critical sign for a party whose existing coalition has been mostly a loser at the presidential level in recent cycles. Indeed, Olsen suggested the GOP may simply be stumbling through the darkness before the dawn.

“The funny thing is,” Olsen said, "if all these factions can be combined it remakes American general-election politics."

It’s a big "if."

“I worry,” said Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, “that the coarseness of the debate, the personalness of the debate, makes it much less likely to unite around the nominee.”

Alex Isenstadt contributed to this report.

Sanders' South Carolina surrender

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With just a few days until the South Carolina Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders is all but writing the state off.

He hasn’t said that, of course, but his schedule reflects it.

Sanders was in Massachusetts Monday night and Virginia Tuesday morning. While he attended a televised town hall in South Carolina Tuesday night and followed with an early morning news conference, his itinerary Wednesday consisted of events in Kansas City, Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. After that, his schedule called for a trip to Ohio Thursday — with stops in other March-voting states likely to be added, an aide said.

A candidate’s time is a campaign’s most precious resource, so by spending so much of it somewhere other than South Carolina, the Sanders campaign is engaging in the cold calculus of primary politics — making the tough decision to send the senator to the states where he expects to be the most competitive.

It’s a reflection of the cloudy outlook in South Carolina — where Hillary Clinton currently holds a double-digit lead in every poll ahead of Saturday's primary but also of Sanders’ strategic map through mid-March. The campaign's goal is to project the message that he is running a durable national campaign, and central to that plan is a strong showing on Super Tuesday (March 1), followed by solid performances in big-state primaries like Michigan on March 8 and Ohio on March 15.

Asked whether he was writing the state off at his morning news conference — an opportunity for him to get into the local media stream before he headed off to Missouri — Sanders said "Nooo, noo, no, no, no."

"We came to South Carolina, and, if you look at the polls, we were at 7, 8, 9 percent in the polls. We were 50, 60, 70 points behind. We have waged a very vigorous campaign. We have closed the gap very significantly," he said.

Nonetheless, he conceded, "This, from Day One, was going to be a very difficult state for us. We're not writing off South Carolina, but you all know there are a dozen states voting on March 1."

Sanders and his aides bristle at the idea that they’re giving up on South Carolina, partly because they’ve invested in a large local organization for months. And because of Sanders’ widely-publicized struggles courting African-American voters, they're eager to avoid the perception that his choice to effectively stop campaigning in a state where black voters make up more than half of the Democratic primary electorate implies he's ceding the black vote to Clinton all across the country.

“Bernie invested a lot of time and money, and has a sizable operation here. They’re certainly not skipping the state,” said Brady Quirk-Garvan, chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party. “But it’s clear their focus is on Tuesday and moving forward past South Carolina."

After barely mentioning South Carolina in his speech and communications to supporters upon losing Nevada on Saturday, Sanders was forced to face that question the next day on CBS’ "Face the Nation," insisting that he was not skipping the state.

“I’m talking to you from Columbia, South Carolina, we have a major rally this evening, we’re not skipping over anything,” he told host John Dickerson Sunday, flashing some irritation at the implication. “But I think that after South Carolina, we have 11 states, we stand a good chance of winning a number of those states."

Indeed, the Sanders campaign is keeping surrogates — like actor and activist Danny Glover and former NAACP President Ben Jealous — in the state while maintaining its ads on the air and on the radio. And on Tuesday, the campaign released a spot featuring Spike Lee, as part of its effort to grow Sanders’ share of the black vote.

Sanders himself held several South Carolina events Sunday. But in a sign of his deficit with the black voters who will likely decide the Democratic primary, the senator struggled to win attention amid a crowd of roughly 800 churchgoers at the largely black Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, even as Jealous tried to invoke Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign in his introduction. At his large, energetic rally in Greenville that night, the crowd was overwhelmingly white.

Meanwhile, recognizing the political opportunity presented here, Clinton is re-doubling her efforts, plastering the state with campaign appearances and surrogate events over the rest of the week. She's hoping to run up the score and come away with a considerable delegate lead.

“Not only is she spending a lot of time here, but the number of surrogates and the number of events they’re doing. You can’t cross the street without crossing a Hillary event,” said Quirk-Garvan. “They know they’re going to win, and this is about running up the score and having a decisive victory."

The former secretary of state’s team believes her plan to stay in South Carolina for the rest of the week will help her gain a big delegate margin from the state while allowing her to jump to other southern states — like Georgia on Friday — if she wants to shore up her support there ahead of March 1.

She has the added benefit of former President Bill Clinton making the rounds for her in other key Super Tuesday states — Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas so far this week, with a Virginia stop coming Wednesday.

That's a tactic that the Sanders camp recognizes, but doesn't have the luxury of pursuing. With Super Tuesday — when 11 states will hold Democratic contests — fast approaching, Sanders is merely engaging in a bit of political triage in South Carolina.

His campaign needs to perform well in the first half of March to stay competitive against Clinton. People close to Sanders didn't expect so much of the national media coverage following Nevada to portray Clinton as having regained her stride, and they’re now looking to Super Tuesday — where in a handful of states Sanders is ahead in the polls or is running competitively — as a means of checking her momentum, which they hope also will be limited by Super Tuesday's quick arrival on the heels of South Carolina.

Since each state in the primary process allocates its delegates to the convention proportionally, the Sanders camp figures, he'll walk away from South Carolina with some delegates, no matter what. And, recognizing that the Vermont senator does better when he can spend serious time in states, aides think as long as he can claim enough delegates between March 1 and 15 from the ones he's now visiting, he can remain neck-and-neck with Clinton through the month.

If that plan works, said a senior Sanders aide, it will be because he performs well all across the country while Clinton's big wins will have largely been concentrated in the South. That would enable the underdog's camp to make the point that he's a national, not regional, candidate.

Still, with Sanders’ momentum seemingly stalled here as voting nears, one Clinton camp concern is managing expectations — despite her wide lead in the polls, press secretary Brian Fallon sought to tamp down overconfidence with a tweet suggesting the margin could be in the single digits.

But at Sanders’ 5,200-person rally in Greenville on Sunday night, the senator made a slight concession of his own: Instead of his predicting that his host state would help spur on his political revolution, or predicting victory as he often does, he subtly lowered hopes for the crowd.

As far as making history goes, Sanders told the assembled, they simply have an opportunity.

Xiaomi unveils the Mi5 smartphone with Snapdragon 820 processor, home button, front fingerprint sensor


China-based smartphone maker Xiaomi has officially unveiled its new flagship phone.

As expected, Xiaomi lifted the lid on the latest device in its Mi series at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, where Hugo Barra, former Googler and current global VP for Xiaomi, gave the first glimpse of the Mi5 phone.

Xiaomi has emerged as one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers, since the launch of its first mobile phone way back in 2011, but the devices are only available in China and a handful of Asian countries. Though Xiaomi has often been accused of copying Apple’s products, the company sold 70 million smartphones to consumers in 2015, said Barra.

The Beijing-based company has long since branched out into other consumer products and services, including self-balancing scooters, fitness bands, tablets, routers, cloud storage, power banks, air purifiers, and more — many of these through separate startups that are financially backed by Xiaomi.

Though Xiaomi opened to online business in the U.S. and Europe last year, its store has hitherto been limited to accessories such as headphones and battery packs. So could today finally herald the company’s arrival as a true global smartphone player?

Meet the Mi5

During his presentation, Barra was quick to tout the Mi5’s speed, which is backed by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GM of RAM, and 128GB of on-board flash storage.

Mi5 with Hugo Barra

Above: Mi5 with Hugo Barra

The gains to be had from the 820 processor should be significant, with faster processing and less power consumption. The move mirrors Samsung, who earlier this week confirmed Snapdragon 820 for its Galaxy S7 and S7 edge flagships. Qualcomm actually cosponsored Xiaomi’s launch event, and the keynote kicked off with 10 minutes dedicated to discussing the new processor.


Above: Mi5

Available in black, white, and gold, the premium Mi5 version has a 3D ceramic back and is the first Xiaomi device to feature a front fingerprint sensor (as opposed to a back sensor) and a physical home button, along with a USB-type C charging port, similar to the Mi 4c. It also has a 16MP rear-facing camera, NFC, quick-charge 3.0, and supports 600Mbps 4G+.

The device is 7.25 mm thick, sports a 5.15-inch screen, and weighs in at 129 grams — you’ll also see from the photo that the bezel on the left and right sides is miniscule.

There are three Mi5 models in total. The Mi5 Pro, which is mainly discussed here, will cost 2,699 RMB (Chinese yuan), or roughly $354 once you subtract the taxes that are included in China. There is an entry-level version that sports only 32GB of storage and is made from 3D glass, which comes in at 1,999 RMB, or roughly $262. There is also a mid-level incarnation with 64GB of storage.

The device will launch in China on March 1, followed by India and “other markets.” The device won’t be launching outside of Asia, despite allusions to the contrary.

The Mi5 will sport MIUI 7, Android Marshmallow, Xiaomi’s Android-based operating system. MIUI receives weekly software updates, and Barra reaffirmed that its users are usually among the first to get updates when an official Android update is rolled out.



Facebook exec suggests ads are not coming to Messenger, but ‘marketing’ is

Facebook Messenger

A Facebook executive suggested Monday that Facebook’s Messenger would be opening itself up to marketing — though he avoided using the word “ads” to describe the service — in what appeared to be a subtle correction of a report released last week that Facebook will soon “launch ads” within Messenger.

That report, published by TechCrunch, cited leaked documents that outlined how Messenger is getting ready to allow businesses to send messages to people who had previously initiated a chat thread.

Facebook VP Brad Smallwood

Above: Facebook VP Brad Smallwood

TechCrunch’s report used the word “ad” multiple times to depict the messaging provided by the coming service. The report also noted that it somewhat contradicted comments by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he said in 2014 that he didn’t think ads are the right way to monetize messaging.

But the monetization effort for Messenger and Facebook’s other messenger app, Whatsapp, won’t look like what we typically think of as advertising, said Brad Smallwood, vice president of Measurement and Insights at Facebook, although he stopped short of offering specific details. He said he does not work on the Messenger team, and did not want to comment specifically on Messenger.

Smallwood’s comments came during a small portion of a talk Monday at VentureBeat’s Marketing.Fwd event in New York, which I moderated. He and fellow panelist, Booking.com’s Pepijn Rijvers, were discussing the future of advertising in general, specifically about ways advertisers like Booking.com are looking for more creative ways to get users. The conversation then turned to how consumers in China are ahead of U.S. consumers in the way they use messaging services like WeChat.

Smallwood first responded to a question about how Facebook is planning to monetize WhatsApp — Facebook’s other big messaging property. “It is not advertising, but is marketing,” he said. “It is utility that is being created by businesses inside the chat environment. It’s not directly what we consider to be advertising.”

I followed up by asking him to comment specifically about Facebook’s other chat app, Messenger, and whether “ads” are planned there or monetization would come in the form of chat bots — that allow businesses to communicate only through messaging. Smallwood again avoided the term “ads,” saying only: “It will fit with the consumer experience, of what their expectations are.”

He continued by saying that standard ad and marketing customs have become outmoded for the messaging experience. He explained that the U.S marketing and publishing communities are used to consumers engaging with content in a certain way, but stressed that marketers need to adapt.

“We need to accept that [consumers] have moved to these new experiences and ask how do we build great marketing and how do we create great touch-points within those, as opposed to forcing what we’re used to in those new environments.”

WeChat is leading the way, in ‘light years’

Fellow panelist Pepijn Rijvers, chief marketing officer of Booking.com, provoked the conversation around messaging when he said Messenger and WhatsApp are the only answers in the West to what China’s WeChat is doing in that country.

“In China, if you look at what WeChat is doing, they are an online operating system of life through their phone,” he said. “You can buy theater tickets, you can pay grocery stores, you can literally do everything, including as a small merchant, making sure your products gets shipped from A to B and that this is connected to payment.” He continued: “China is light years of where we are here in the Western world, and definitely the only two brands that can make a dent in the messaging arena are WhatsApp and Messenger.”

Smallwood chimed in, saying consumers in U.S and other markets are eventually going to be in the same mindset as Chinese consumers when it comes to messaging and with things like ecommerce and service transactions that happen within chat. “We have to figure out how to talk to them in that environment,” he said.

WeChat limits the number of messages brands can send their users in a single day. That’s created a precedent it’s easy to imagine Facebook might follow with WhatsApp and Messenger.

There’s a ton of interest in how Facebook plans to monetize Messenger, which says it now has more than 800 million monthly unique users, and WhatsApp, which just crossed a billion users.

WhatsApp said last month it would monetize its service by testing tools that let you communicate with businesses that “you want to hear from,” including banks, where you may want to check on your existing account, or airlines, where you may want to learn about the status of an upcoming flight.

The comments by Smallwood and Rijvers came amid discussion from other top marketers about the need to move to marketing formats that can engage users based on their current emotional modes, rather than relying merely on online actions as indicators.

Notably, Rijvers said Booking.com has soft-launched its own product, called “Passion Search,” in an effort to get more users to engage with travel content that is related to their interests. Booking.com is one the largest travel companies in the world, and the largest advertiser on Google.

One VentureBeat source has speculated that Facebook may announce more of its plans at its F8 event in April. Facebook has refused to comment.

How far will Facebook go in letting businesses market to users?

For now, based on what we’ve seen said so far, it’s highly likely that Facebook will only allow a business to communicate with users if it has a preexisting relationship with those consumers — namely, if those consumers have first initiated contact with the business.

The question is just how aggressive Facebook will allow businesses to become. For example, a consumer might start a shopping transaction but then abandon it when it comes time to pay. Might Messenger let businesses nudge people who have abandoned their orders? And would Messenger set a cap for how many messages such businesses can send to their users in a given day? And how much will Messenger charge for this service? We don’t have those answers.

At its F8 conference in March 2015, Facebook already announced its Businesses on Messenger service, which lets ecommerce businesses contact customers after they exit a transaction — with updates like order confirmations and shipping status updates — and engage with customers in free-form questions about the order. It also allows business to integrate with third-party tools like Zendesk. Facebook is clearly hoping to supplant the 1-800 support numbers many businesses have for their customers, and much of the infrastructure is already in place.

You could also imagine additional actions being permitted in the future, like allowing businesses to ping an existing mobile customer if the user comes within, say, half a mile of the store.

Letting businesses re-engage with those existing customers would be a sensible addition to the current service and would also be a subtle way for Facebook to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger, both of which have huge audiences.

Messaging services — and how businesses are using them — will be one of the topics of our upcoming Mobile Summit event, April 4-5. Facebook and Kik are among those who will be speaking to executives there on the future of mobile marketing.




RevTwo lets you call for help when you’re having an app fail

RevTwo enables developers to debug apps more easily, and get real-time help to users.

If only customer support were more … human.

You can get real-time in-app support with RevTwo.

Above: You can get real-time in-app support with RevTwo.

Image Credit: RevTwo

RevTwo is coming out of stealth mode today with a new way to offer support for people while they are using an app. It works for when you are stuck in a game and need a hint or when your app just isn’t working right.

RevTwo has created an in-app community support platform for mobile users, developers, and enterprises. If it catches on, it could make getting help much easier and end a lot of customer support nightmares. We should all hope that this company lives up to its billing.

Boston-based RevTwo has a vision of providing universal, built-in support with every app on every device. It is designed to let users who need help connect with app evangelists and other users from around the world in real time.

Typically, when an app user runs into a problem they cannot solve they’re forced to leave the app, search online, and comb through message boards. They have to hope another user has encountered the same problem, and the answers always come slowly. RevTwo flips that model, connecting users inside an app with the push of a button. That lets a user share their screen with an app expert who can talk them through a solution.

“At today’s speed of app development, support is almost always an afterthought, something tacked on long after a release, or often, never included,” said Dale Calder, cofounder and CEO of RevTwo, in a statement. “At RevTwo, we’re disrupting that model and putting support and human connection at the center of development and the app experience. We founded RevTwo on the belief that fast, easy support is a universal right — and need — for end users of any technology.”

RevTwo provides universal support for every stage of the app lifecycle and provides free tools for developer support throughout testing, which helps improve quality control in app projects.

This allows developers to circumvent issues long before an app is finalized. The tools can also connect professional help desk support people with users through audio, video, and screen sharing.

Apps that don’t work are quickly abandoned. Research shows that only 16 percent of users will give a failed app more than two attempts, with 80 to 90 percent of apps deleted after one use.

“Our in-app, community-based support will completely transform the user experience,” said Jim Hansen, cofounder and chief technology officer of RevTwo, in a statement. “From a teacher in Alabama helping a student in California solve a math problem to a professional gamer in Japan providing tips and tricks to a player in Holland, for the first time ever, users can get the help they need from their peers without ever leaving their apps.”

The company was founded by the entrepreneurs who build Axeda, an Internet of Things platform. They sold that company to PTC for $170 million in 2014.

“We started RevTwo because we have seen firsthand how hard it is to replicate problems in testing, and later in production. We wanted to know what the app was doing, and what had gone wrong.” said Hansen. “Realizing that we were encountering a problem that developers face every day, we created a new tool that reveals what’s happening inside the app when an issue is encountered, regardless of where the device is.”

To see inside an app, a developer simply bundles the RevTwo library into any iOS-based app (Android support is on the way). The integration takes about ten minutes. After that, the app can be used to open support sessions, initiate and respond to voice calls, and interact with diagnostic tools like screen share, logging, database inspector, and file browser. The functionality is built using WebRTC to create fast peer-to-peer connections with devices, which helps shorten the time to resolution, the company said.






February 23, 2016

Cruz: It's me vs. Trump now

Ted Cruz was running a very close third in the Nevada caucuses on Tuesday night when he gave his concession speech, but that didn't stop him from declaring the Republican presidential primary a two-campaign race.

For Cruz, it's down to him and Donald Trump.

"History teaches us that nobody has ever won the nomination without winning one of the first three primaries, and there are only two people who have won one of the first three primaries: Donald Trump and us," he said, referencing his victory in the Iowa caucuses. "The first four states have shown, the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump, the only campaign that can beat Donald Trump, is this campaign."

On Tuesday night, however, Cruz could not beat Trump.

The business mogul outran the field in Nevada, scoring what's almost certain to be a double-digit win that follows big victories in South Carolina and New Hampshire. With 100 percent of the Nevada vote counted, Trump had 46 percent of the vote while Rubio came in second with 24 percent. Cruz trailed with a little more than 21 percent.

Still, Cruz projected a hopeful message, emphasizing the importance of the coming March 1 primaries.

"I want to say, I cannot wait to get home to the great state of Texas," the Texas senator said at his Nevada results party. "Tonight, I'll sleep in my bed for the first time in a month, and then it will be back to the campaign trail in Texas and all across Super Tuesday, energizing and building that Reagan coalition."

A slew of Southern states vote next Tuesday, including Cruz's home state of Texas, and he and his campaign have long been clear that they see the day as crucial in their path to the nomination. At his party, Cruz called Super Tuesday the "most important night of this campaign."

Swiping at both Trump and Rubio, he continued that the choice was between "two Washington dealmakers, or one proven, consistent conservative."

"If you are one of the 65 percent of Republicans across this country who doesn't think Donald is the best candidate to go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton, who believes we do better in elections when we actually nominate a conservative, then the first four states performed a vital function in narrowing this race and presenting a clear choice."

Indeed, the bulk of the Cruz campaign's post-caucus attacks were aimed at Rubio, who has yet to win a state contest -- though he did edge Cruz for second in South Carolina.

The Cruz campaign sent out a release immediately after the caucuses that said Trump's win meant Rubio had "failed."

Eliza Collins contributed to this report.

27 photos from the Nevada caucuses that will make you feel like you were there

When the dust of Nevada's Republican caucuses settled early Wednesday, Donald Trump emerged as the clear winner, stealing the show in Las Vegas and the state as a whole. Supporters of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio turned out as well, but behind the scenes Tuesday, it was clear the momentum was behind Trump.

27 photos from the Nevada caucuses that will make you feel like you were there

When the dust of Nevada's Republican caucuses settled early Wednesday, Donald Trump emerged as the clear winner, stealing the show in Las Vegas and the state as a whole. Supporters of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio turned out as well, but behind the scenes Tuesday, it was clear the momentum was behind Trump.

Trump taunts rivals and predicts quick end to GOP race

LAS VEGAS — An ebullient Donald Trump greeted his blowout win in the Nevada caucuses by mocking the idea that the Republican nomination could be anything but his.

Gone was the Trump who predicted he would "do very well" in New Hampshire and the Trump who would have been happy with a one-vote win in South Carolina. In the shadow of his namesake hotel, in a ballroom owned by a longtime friend, and propelled by an angry electorate hungry for an outsider to shake things up, Trump could even claim, at last, the victory he had long predicted among Nevada's Hispanics.

He concluded his victory over the rest of the Republican Party was only a matter of time -- and not much time at that.

“It’s going to be an amazing two months,” said Trump, flanked by his two adult sons, his campaign manager, his press secretary and his Nevada state director. “We might not even need the two months, folks, to be honest.”

Visualizing his conquest in detail, Trump name-checked the home states of his three remaining serious rivals as he hailed polling in primaries set for March 1 and the two big winner-take-all contests set for March 15.

“And we’ve had some great numbers coming out of Texas. And amazing numbers coming out of Tennessee and Georgia and Arkansas and then in a couple of weeks later, Florida. We love Florida. We're going to do very well in Ohio. We’re beating the governor,” Trump said, referring to John Kasich.

Inside the second-floor ballroom at Treasure Island on the Las Vegas strip, Trump also named-checked the building's owner, his friend and business partner, Phil Ruffin, as well as casino magnate Steve Wynn, whose properties lie directly across the street. Both men were on hand with their spouses to ring in the victory.

Surrounded by allies and riding his highest vote-share yet, the idea that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz or Kasich could catch him sounded -- to Trump -- more desperate and ridiculous than ever.

“Tonight we had 45, 46 percent and tomorrow you’ll be hearing, ‘You know if they could just take the other candidates and add them up, and if you could add them up, because you know the other candidates amount to 55 percent, so if they could just add,'" said Trump, imitating pundits and political analysts. "They keep forgetting that when people drop out we’re going to get a lot of votes.’”

The businessman was already thinking long past tomorrow, past the primary, and past the general election. “You're going to be proud of your president," he said. "And you’re going to be even prouder of your country.”

For Trump, the realization of his vision for the country had drawn closer than ever before. “Make America Great Again," he said. "We’re going to do it, and it’s going to happen fast.”

IndoorAtlas teams up with Yahoo to deliver interior navigation across Japan

Indoor Atlas enables you to find your way inside malls and other sprawling places.

IndoorAtlas, which helps you navigate inside enclosed buildings such as shopping malls, has teamed up with Yahoo Japan to deliver indoor positioning services across Japan.

IndoorAtlas' IPS app can find a mall bathroom.

Palo Alto, California-based IndoorAtlas has been conducting beta tests in places such as San Francisco for its “indoor positioning system,” or IPS, which lets you navigate to find specific stores, brands, products, promotions, and even people. The navigation is a big deal because retailers say they lose 15 percent of sales because consumers cannot find the store or the product they’re looking for.

IndoorAtlas said it was chosen because of its scalability, accuracy, ease of deployment, and the developer program that lets others build apps on top of its location service.

The partnership will lay the foundation for enriching Japan’s smartphone maps. And it will boost usage of IndoorAtlas, as Yahoo Japan generates 63 billion page views per month.

IndoorAtlas could reach as many as 38 million people in the greater Tokyo area alone.

“We are thrilled to be selected by Yahoo Japan for this major deployment of our indoor positioning platform in such an important market for us,” said Janne Haverinen, CEO of IndoorAtlas, in a statement. “The agreement extends IndoorAtlas’ global leadership in indoor positioning and reflects the demand we are seeing for location-based services.”

“With IndoorAtlas, we were excited to discover an infrastructure-free solution that does not rely heavily on beacons,” said Gen Miyazawa, president of Media Company at Yahoo Japan, in a statement. “By leveraging IndoorAtlas’ platform, we can build a range of location-based services with ease and its cloud-based platform will enable us to scale cost effectively unlike other technologies available on the market today.”

IndoorAtlas said its positioning is accurate to within one or two meters. That seems right to me, as I tested it last year in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, a multistory shopping mall.

Using the standalone IPS app, shoppers will be able to find the exact locations of specific products at multiple locations and then be guided to the last meter to find them. When I tried it, I searched on items such as men’s watches and was directed to different stores that offered them in the mall. We also found a restroom, which is the most frequently requested location at a mall. The directions were accurate, showing me a path around various obstacles among the Bloomingdale’s displays.

The service works only indoors and is a complement to global positioning systems. GPS uses a network of satellites for fixing locations. By contrast, IndoorAtlas built a system based on the way that sea creatures such as lobsters and turtles navigate the oceans.

IndoorAtlas can find a chocolate shop at the mall.

“We believe the IPS app will change the way people get around indoors, just like GPS did for outdoors,” said Haverinen. “Our patented technology accurately determines positions within a wide range of indoor use cases like shopping malls, airports, museums, hospitals, hotels and more. … that leverage proximity awareness to deliver a superior experience to the visitor.”

IPS uses the core IndoorAtlas magnetic positioning technology and a smartphone compass to detect anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic fields. The company said the magnetic positioning works in every building with steel girders, to an accuracy of one to two meters. That makes it possible to do accurate indoor navigation, location-aware mobile search, location-based advertising, and online-to-offline commerce. This magnetic solution eliminates the need for cumbersome, expensive, hard-to-maintain external infrastructures such as beacons, routers, or radio access points via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

The app can’t yet identify which floor you are on in a multistory building, however. You have to tell it which floor you are on.

Founded in 2012, IndoorAtlas already serves about 270 million users globally, thanks to a commercial rollout it did with Baidu in China. The company has 20 patents and more than 40 employees. It also signed a partnership with SK Planet in Seoul last week to enhance the O2O service, Syrup.

IndoorAtlas spun out of Oulu University in Finland. It has raised $14.5 million to date, including $10 million from Baidu. The IPS app is available on Android and iOS in a private beta in the U.S.


Carson's day of reckoning

Ben Carson is under pressure to drop his presidential bid after a string of back-of-the-pack primary finishes, but he’s insisting to allies that he plans to hold on through Super Tuesday.

But that stand is likely to be his last, according to people close to the Carson camp who say more disappointing results in the conservative, mostly Southern states voting on March 1 would be the decisive blow to force the candidate out.

“I think Super Tuesday, March 1, is going to be a moment of truth,” said Armstrong Williams, a Carson friend and confidant, describing the day when a dozen, mostly Southern states cast their ballots.

“You cannot ignore the fact that our predictions of what would happen and what could turn this around have not come to fruition yet,” Williams said. “Unless that happens, it is obvious what the outcome will be.”

Carson finished a distant fourth in the Nevada caucuses Tuesday, earning 4.8 percent of the vote, a showing that follows last-place finishes in South Carolina and New Hampshire and a distant fourth-place result in Iowa.

Carson’s campaign says Williams doesn’t speak for the candidate, though he’s had a heavy hand in significant campaign strategy and personnel decisions. And on Tuesday night, Carson was defiant, saying he thought the tide would soon turn in his favor. “I believe that things are starting to happen here,” Carson told supporters after the caucuses closed.

But Williams isn’t alone in labeling March 1 as a potential endpoint for a campaign that has grown increasingly quixotic.

“I think his position will be very clear by Super Tuesday,” said Timothy McDaniel, a longtime family friend of Carson and his wife, Candy Carson. “Ben and Candy are under a lot of pressure.”

McDaniel added, however, that some of the pressure on Carson is in the opposite direction. “They have a large number of supporters encouraging them to continue,” he said.

“I’m convinced he’ll stay in through Super Tuesday,” said Mike Shirkey, a Michigan state senator who chairs Carson’s campaign there. Shirkey said he’s laying the groundwork for Carson to continue past March 1 and join him in Michigan, one of four states that vote on March 8 — but only because he hasn’t heard otherwise.

“I know that there’s a full commitment through Super Tuesday,” he said. “Right now, because it takes time to plan events and so forth, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be here. We’re making plans right now for him to attend a number of different events the weekend before the Michigan primary.”

Bill Millis, a prominent GOP fundraiser who left his official role in Carson’s campaign in November amid strategic differences, said he planned to confer with Carson and his current campaign chairman, Robert Dees, on Wednesday. “I have my opinion of what Dr. Carson should do, and will share with him, but hope to determine exactly what his plans are,” Millis said. “I prefer not to state my position at this point.”

Carson himself isn’t showing signs of wavering. He’s insisted he constantly reevaluates his decision to continue in the race but says he has always landed on the side of giving his supporters — the thousands of small donors who continue to fuel his campaign even after his poll numbers cratered in the fall — a chance to vote for him.

“If you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare,” he said Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends.” “If you give up on the tortoise too early, you’re only going to have the hare who is exhausted and not very effective.”

Carson has been all-but-ignored by his rivals since collapsing in polls in November. Once a threat to win Iowa and carry conservative momentum across the South, his campaign unraveled amid questions about his foreign policy awareness that emerged shortly after the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris. In addition, Carson’s campaign has been beset by profligate spending. It has shoveled millions to high-priced consultants who left the campaign struggling to stay afloat during the most crucial stretch of primary season. Carson laid off dozens of staffers after his disappointing finish in Iowa.

Carson’s ex-advisers, many of whom left in a New Year’s Eve shakeup, split on whether he should continue an uphill campaign at a time when GOP leaders hope to shrink the field to the three candidates who have shown the most success so far: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

“Should he stay in to mollify supporters? Well, the inevitable result will not change, nor is the objective worthy enough to continue in certain futility,” said Doug Watts, who quit as Carson’s communications chief in December. Watts suggested Carson retool his campaign to focus on a single issue — the national debt — and use that to sway the debate among the top three contenders.

But Barry Bennett, Carson’s former campaign manager — now an informal adviser to Trump — said Carson has no reason to quit as long as money is flowing in. And recent Federal Election Commission reports show he brought in $3.8 million in January, enough to keep him afloat for a while.

A former Carson aide who spoke on condition of anonymity suggested Carson’s departure could affect the race depending on whether he endorses a rival, steering his base of evangelical support in that direction.

Still, while Carson’s campaign may lack any evident course to even reach relevance at the ballot box, the candidate’s personal history — from impoverished youth to star neurosurgeon — suggests a willingness to fight uphill battles.

“In the end, you suspend your campaign for one of two reasons: You have to because of resources [or] you give up the fight because the odds are long,” the former aide said. “Ben has the resources to shoestring this. Find one time in his life where he gave up because the odds were long.”

Williams, like others in Carson’s inner circle, treads lightly around the question of whether he should drop out, insisting that Carson must make the decision on his own.

“Dr. Carson will decide sooner or later whether or not he will continue forward, and only he will make that decision — not the RNC, not the establishment, not the donors,” he said. “If the time ever comes for him to move forward and exit the stage, he’ll do it with grace, with laughter and with no regrets.”

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