The Building Blocks of Blockchain

Whether you’re in tech or not, you have definitely heard of the term “blockchain”. Blockchain Technology has got to be the biggest game changer of this decade. In less than 10 years, it has already changed the way multiple sectors around the world store their data and conduct their business. It could also eliminate the need for banks. A long shot, but a considerable outcome of the cryptocurrency boom.

In our previous blog, we discussed Web 3.0 – the next generation of the internet.

We spoke about the need for a decentralised version of the internet. And if you remember, we also spoke of blockchain being the backbone of Web 3.0. So let’s understand how a blockchain functions and what makes it revolutionary.

Where it all started

Introduction to blockchain technology

Blockchain technology might have become mainstream recently, but its research had actually begun in the 1990’s, however it wasn’t until 2009 – when Bitcoin was created – that the technology was actually implemented. 

Bitcoin, as we all know, is the world’s first cryptocurrency. And initially blockchain only served as the backbone of cryptocurrency. Eventually, it was discovered that the blockchain technology can actually be separated from Bitcoin and be used in other ways as well.

Block by Block what makes blockchain

In the simplest terms – blockchain is made of multiple small blocks of information that are linked together. These blocks of information are called ledgers. Visualise a storekeeper making an inventory. A record of all the goods coming in and going out of his store. Now to make this record he has to note down all the relevant information like, the date a particular item came in. The expiry date, the name of the suppliers, so on and so forth. Then as and when each unit is sold he will have to note when it was sold, who it was sold to and how many units the buyer bought. 

So that is exactly what blockchain does. It stores relevant information that is transparent and visible to everyone in that network. So in the example with the store, the inventory is visible to everyone working in that store. And every individual page in the inventory book is equivalent to one single block. 

Now talking about a single block, as mentioned earlier, there are small amounts of relevant information stored in this block. In the case of Bitcoin since it is a currency, transaction details are stored.

Storytime ft. Bitcoin

Understanding Bitcoin

To better understand this, let’s say there are 4 people in a group – Tom, Jerry, Mike and Bruno. One day they all decide to go for a movie and Tom pays for the tickets. The rest of them – Jerry Mike and Bruno – have to pay Tom back. 

Now instead of using regular bank transfers where transactions fail everyday, they decide to use cryptocurrency instead. And they all decide to send Tom 1 Bitcoin each. So the first person to pay up is Jerry. 

When Jerry sends Tom a bitcoin a block is created, where the transaction is permanently inscribed. Along with the number of Bitcoins Jerry sent Tom, the details of the entire group’s individual balance is displayed as well. 

But these aren’t the only details that are stored in the block. Each block contains a unique hash number. A hash number is like a unique fingerprint that is generated according to the information stored in that block. 

But how do these blocks form a chain?

How does this Block form a chain

They form a chain because, along with the hash of the current block, the hash of the previous block is also displayed. So as and when a new block is created, the block would contain 1 new hash, as well as the hash of the previous block. Let’s go back to our example.

Say Jerry’s block has ABC as its hash. A day later Bruno sends across his share to Tom. In doing so a new block transcribing this transaction is created. This following block now has the updated account balances of the entire group and its own unique hash number – XYZ. Along with this it also has Jerry’s block’s hash number – ABC inscribed. 

This is how using Hash numbers you can track the history of the entire chain. And this blockchain, called a ledger, is public. That means that anyone part of this chain can view the complete transaction history of that ledger. 

It's all about security!

Now you might be wondering what makes Blockchain so secure? 

One can simply go change their transaction details right? 

Well not exactly…

Remember that the Hash is unique to the Data inscribed in a particular block and not the block itself. So the minute you change the data inscribed in a particular block, the hash number will change as well. But the hash will only change in this block. The succeeding block will still contain the original – non amended Hash number, making the whole chain invalid because the data does not match. 

One could argue that one can change the hash in all the blocks present in a chain. But this is where you should consider that it takes 10 minutes to change the data in 1 block. And some chains have upto a million boxes in them. So it’s not a viable option.

Further, there is still an additional layer of security present. Like we mentioned earlier, the blockchain or ledger is publicly distributed. So everyone on that network has a copy of this ledger. Therefore, in order to make a change, you will have to share that block with the group and they will vote whether or not that change is valid. If the majority votes “NO” then that block will get rejected and you won’t be able to make any changes. This is called the Consensus Rule.

The Bottom Line

Blockchain may have recently seen a boom in popularity but it has been around for a while now, and that should offer proof that it is going to be around for longer. We have already seen a few large and medium sectors adopt this technology to better facilitate their businesses, it will be quite fascinating to see how blockchain will be used by the rest of the world in the coming decades. 

What are your thoughts on blockchain? Let us know in the comments below.

Breaking Brand: Identity, Ingredients & Importance

Hey future digital marketers! You might have noticed that the world of marketing has changed a lot in the last 5 years, and along with it, so has the notion of a brand.  

But what name comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘brand’? In a quick survey we did, the answers we heard included Nike, Audi, Apple, Zomato, McDonalds, among others. So what has made these names stand the test of time? What makes each one of them ‘a brand’?

The answer, in a nutshell, is brand identity.

First principles: Brand Identity

Before we delve deeper into the world of brand identity, here’s a quiz for you:

Quiz 1) Name the brand associated with each image.

Name the brand associated with each image.

From the quiz above, it’s clear that a brand need not be identified by one aspect alone. A brand can be recognized by its logo (#1) or by its tagline (#2), its outward packaging (also #2) or even the product it sells (#3). Sometimes, all it takes is a quirky message on an outdoor hoarding to evoke recognition among its consumers (#4).

Contrary to what many marketing freshers believe, brand identity is a lot more than the visual system developed by a team of designers in the marketing team. It is not restricted merely to colours, typography, imagery or icons. It is the sum of many parts – including tone of voice, personality type, content and customer experiences it generates.

From the iconic Ta-dum sound that Netflix makes on its opening screen to Apple’s Genius Bar of customer service representatives, a lot goes into a brand’s identity. 

Point to Ponder :
In a recent survey, people on the street were asked to tell what they thought of when they heard the word ‘Bose’, and unanimously, everyone responded ‘headphones’. So in this case, which element of the Bose brand became the identifier? The logo or the product itself?

To put it simply, any element that establishes recall among the consumers forms a part of the brand identity.

Branding vs Brand Identity

To understand the importance of brand identity, we must first understand the importance of branding. And as per customer psychology, people buy from their gut.

Surely there are many consumers who spend hours researching the best buy. But at the time of the final purchase, they react from their emotional side. And between two virtually indistinguishable products, emotions are the tipping point.

Branding vs Brand Identity

Marketing guru Seth Godin believes that for a brand to evoke any emotion from its consumer, it must at least attempt to stand out. There are too many businesses in the marketplace selling the same thing with little to no distinction. Hence, it falls upon branding to separate a product or service from the crowd. Become remarkable. Become the purple cow in the herd. 

While the objective of branding is to establish uniqueness and remarkableness, the objective of brand identity is to establish recall or “brand memorability”. Good branding creates a strong first impression. Brand identity retains and reinforces that impression, again and again in every interaction with the consumer.

In a nutshell, the only way to build a successful brand identity is to be consistent across all customer touchpoints.

The Cola Wars: A short case study

Consider the classic Cola Wars between Pepsi and Coke. Every consumer prefers one over the other. This has a lot to do with the demographic they belong to, and branding plays a key role in it. Coca Cola has always positioned itself as the “Family brand” – from the Santa Claus colours of red and white to international campaigns like Share A Coke.

Pepsi, on the other hand, focuses on a younger crowd that loves rebelling. By capitalising on India’s Cricket Fever and selecting youth icons like Virat Kohli, it strengthened its position amongst the youngsters. 

Both the beverages have enjoyed success and carved their own niche through branding. But these distinct brand identities didn’t come from one single campaign. It came from coordinated campaigns across various mediums, so that:

o   Contour bottle or red and white colours = Coca Cola

o   Team Blue = Pepsi

Quiz 2) To build a brand identity, we need to create a strong first impression on the consumer.
True | False | Too Vague

(Scroll to the end for answers)

Elements of Brand Identity

While there are many models to define brand identity, the most holistic one is Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism or The Brand Identity Prism. Developed in 1996 by Jean-Noel Kapferer, the relevance of this model holds true to date.

The Brand Identity Prism divides the brand identity into six key elements. Let us analyse each of these elements with the example of Coca Cola.

1) Physique:  Physique refers to the physical characteristics of the brand which the consumers visually experience. This includes logo, style guide, packaging, website, etc. In Coca Cola’s case, the signature red and white colours with the stripe and the bottle’s contour define the brand’s physique.

2) Personality: Personality traits are those inherent features that permeate through various facets. For e.g., colours of red and white are associated with festivity, emphasised further by Coca Cola’s tagline “Open Happiness.”

3) Culture: Culture of a brand includes the values that the brand upholds, and can play a strong role in the brand’s campaign. This can include the brand’s mission statement, its commitment to the employees and the world outside. It is also rooted geographically, and hence, Coca Cola’s peppy, positive ethos found its way in the Indian campaign of Ummeed Vaali Dhoop.

4) Relationship: This refers to a direct connection with the consumer – be it in a customer service call or a social media campaign, and maintaining a positive relationship with them. Coca Cola, even before the rise of social media, practised this through on-ground campaigns like The Happiness Machine.

5) Reflection: This element talks about a brand’s ideal consumer. It is about how a brand mirrors its consumer and tailors the communication accordingly. For instance, Coca Cola’s brand ambassadors have always been family favourites, like Amir Khan and Aishwarya Rai, underscoring the theme of “Family Time”.

6) Self-image: Different from Reflection, Self-image refers to how the audience visualises themselves in relation to the brand. And every one of Coca Cola’s campaigns and ads has the element of happiness. The image in the consumer’s mind is simple. Make your moment happy with Coke.

Quiz 3)Which of these is NOT a part of the brand identity?
a)Tagline b)Hashtag c)Employee handbook d)All are a part of brand identity

(Scroll to the end for answers)

Impact on Consumer Behaviour 

Recognition begets more recognition – especially in today’s hyper-connected world. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, above other forms of advertising. Think about it this way – don’t you end up following a page on Instagram that comes highly recommended by your friend? Brand recommendations work the same way.

This is why a strong brand identity is crucial to its success. By focussing on all the components of brand identity, a brand can:

  • Attract a larger audience.
    All of Coca Cola’s campaigns have led to it being recognized by 94% of the world’s population and a global brand value of over 71 billion U.S. dollars.
  • Build trust with their consumers.
    Despite being significantly pricier than its competitors, Apple has a large following, because of the trust people have in the brand.
  • Make a cultural impact.
    Cadbury’s premium luxury gift boxes have re-defined the tradition of Diwali sweets.
  • Affect purchasing norms.
    With awareness rising in social media, many consumers are shifting to brands that emphasise the values of sustainability and animal cruelty-free practices.

With these examples, it’s clear that a strong, recognisable and relatable brand identity can turn a business into a brand and can successfully convert its customers into ambassadors.

Now that you know all about brand identity, let’s take a look at the answers to the quiz:

Quiz 1) Netflix 2. Chai Point 3. Playstation 4. Hotstar
Quiz 2) False. Many brands today fail to create a first strong impression. But through several interactions and consistent messaging a brand can establish its identity.
Quiz 3) d) 

If you faced any issues in solving the quiz or are interested in diving deeper into the world of branding and marketing, sign up for our Digital Marketing course today.

Proof that Cyber Security concerns Everyone.

Cyber crime to most people feels too trivial a problem to take seriously. They probably think that a few stolen numbers and passwords won’t affect them, believing that they have no important data that needs protection as such. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who constantly fret over weak cyber security and will probably go out of their way to cover their laptop camera with tape, taking no chances when it comes to their data.

So which one are you? Someone who doesn’t really care what happens to their data or are you a Cyber Security aspirant – waiting to rid the world of cyber crime?

Well, whatever the case might be, we are here to give all you naysayers some incentive to take Cyber Security more seriously and for all you Cyber Security optimists, proof that you have been right to take Cyber crime seriously all along!

In this blog, we’re going to cover 2 prominent cases of serious cyber breaches that had unfathomable consequences for the people and companies involved.

the RAT at Marriot Hotels

One of the leading brands in the hospitality industry, Marriott faced a lot of challenges back in 2018 when they found out that one of their reservation systems had been compromised – the reservation system at their Starwood properties to be exact. 

A hack of a story ft. Marriot

A brief history of the Marriott – Starwood Merger

Starwood properties weren’t always a part of Marriott. Once an independent chain hosting a multitude of brands like St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin and W hotels, it was acquired by Marriott in 2016. But the issue predates this acquisition. 

Marriott revealed that the reservation system had actually been compromised sometime in 2014. Unbeknownst to either brand back then, the compromised reservation system was used even after the acquisition, since much of the IT infrastructure remained the same and had not been integrated into Marriott’s private reservation system (MARSHA).

So how was the breach detected?

Sometime in 2018, a security tool flagged an unusual database query and Accenture brought it to light. Accenture had been running IT and infosecurity for Starwood properties and continued to do so once Starwood became a part of Marriott hotels.

The query was made by a user with administrator privileges, but Accenture quickly realised that the query hadn’t actually come from that account and that the account had been hacked. After digging around for more information they found a RAT in the system (and no, we don’t mean an actual rat). They discovered a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) and Mimikatz, a dangerous malware that discovers passwords and user information. Paired together, it is theorised that these two malware tools could’ve given the hackers control of that account. 

The cyber threat effect affects us all inevitably.

The damage? The personal information of more than 500 million guests was potentially stolen, which included some really sensitive information like their credit card information and passport numbers, much to the dismay of their customers

 The only silver lining to the breach of data was that none of the data ever made it to the dark web, nor was it sold anywhere else. However, this news didn’t curb the panic that ensued, as millions of people started cancelling their cards and transferring their money to more secure accounts to ensure that they weren’t defrauded in the future. Which is why, even though the data wasn’t leaked anywhere, people were still affected by the news. This rings true for all cyber crime attacks, once your data has been made vulnerable, you will have to change all your details to safeguard yourself once more.

Yahoo! and its Cyber saga

Considering its large user base, Yahoo has fought multiple long and arduous battles against cyber-criminals over the last decade. 

 The timeline of these attacks would look something like this:

Critical Attacks Yahoo Has Encountered
  • 2012 

The first notable attack was a decade ago in 2012 when Yahoo Voices, formerly known as Associated Content, was hacked and 400,000 user accounts were compromised in the attack. 

So what made this hack possible? The problem occurred due to the weak security in the systems Yahoo acquired during the acquisition of Associated Content. As in the case of Marriott, these systems weren’t checked nor were they updated.

  • 2013

Less than a year after announcing the unfortunate hacking of Yahoo Voices, Yahoo Mail was targeted. Many customers came out with complaints, stating that their accounts had been hacked. The source? Phishing mails. Yahoo users were sent phishing emails that, once clicked on, gave the hackers complete access to their mail and subsequently, access to their calendar as well.

  • 2014

There was no rest for the wicked this year either. Yahoo made an announcement in the latter half of January that there was an attempted hack, where customer data – passwords and user ids – were made vulnerable. The hackers had allegedly tried to breach email accounts after getting a list of email addresses and passwords from a third-party server. Yahoo changed the passwords swiftly to put a stop to the attacks.

  • 2016

In the late September of 2016, Yahoo, once again, made a public announcement, stating that 500 Million accounts were hacked. This time around, encrypted and unencrypted, including passwords, answers to security questions, mail addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth were hacked. Yahoo pointed fingers at alleged state-sponsored hackers and hailed them as the main culprits behind this hack. This claim was obviously disputed. Yahoo also claimed that the hack was carried out using forged cookies, which eliminated the need for passwords, to gain user access.

  • 2016 (Again)

Come December of 2016, a mere 3 months later, Yahoo made history by announcing the biggest data breach up till date. The hack occurred sometime in 2013 and was brought to light after an investigation by law enforcement that took place after a tip-off. 

What makes this hack historical? More than a billion accounts were reported to be hacked. Much like its precursor in September, the passwords, email addresses, encrypted and unencrypted data including security questions and their answers were hacked. The hack was also carried out using forged cookies to gain user access.

After this flood of cyber attacks over the last decade, Yahoo’s reputation has suffered irredeemably, not only because security wasn’t prioritised multiple times, but also because they failed to disclose these hacks earlier, making it look like a cover-up, which didn’t sit well with their loyal patrons. 

The Aftermath

The aftermath for both these cases was devastating to the companies involved. Marriott Hotels was fined more than 120 Million USD for violating the privacy of British citizens under the GDPR. Further, Marriott had to cover additional costs of the breach itself. Likewise, Yahoo had to pay over 50 Million in fines.

But it’s not just about monetary loss that they inevitably incurred. It’s more about their brand image that was damaged through the whole ordeal.

So assume this to be your sign to take Cyber threats more seriously. If this blog has inspired you to consider Cyber Security as a career, upGrad Campus has courses tailored specifically for you. Do check out the Certificate course in upGrad Campus and get to saving our data from these malicious attacks today!

How Netflix uses Machine Learning to keep you up till 3 AM.

You might not judge a book by its cover, but you definitely watch movies based on your recommendation list. In today’s blog, we’re going to unravel the secret to Netflix’s “bingeability” and why you end up staying awake till 3 in the morning to binge-watch a show you would otherwise never be interested in.

The science behind Netflix “Recommendations”

It’s no secret that Netflix uses Machine Learning and complex algorithms to deliver the best recommendations amongst its competitors. 

For those of you still new to the tech scene –  an algorithm is a set of database instructions that tell the software or application what to do. Imagine the computer is Dora the Explorer. She needs a map to go about doing new things and adventures. The algorithm serves as a Maps app, the one responsible for charting out the best possible route for Dora to achieve her goals. 

In order for Machine Learning to actually be facilitated, the machine needs to obviously learn something. What is that “something”? It’s the data collected from our views, searches and clicks. Every time we watch a movie, search for a title or even click on a movie but not necessarily watch it, our action informs the machine about our possible interests and preferences. The algorithm being extremely sensitive, picks this data and rewrites and adjusts itself, every time we watch Netflix and give it an insight into our tastes. 

So what all Data does the algorithm use to remain so accurate?

According to Todd Yellin, VP Product at Netflix, the engine takes into account information such as, what people watch, what was it that they watched before and what did they watch after, what they watched a year ago, what all they watched recently and what time of the day did they watch these things. 

Netflix can’t just recommend the bestselling movies or the most cinematically advanced films to its viewers. Netflix suggestions have to be based on a viewer’s personality. Instead of just dumping their entire catalogue on a viewer’s home page, they curate lists using different algorithms present in their rankings, search bar, ratings, similarity and more. 

An amalgamation of all this information is the driving force behind Netflix’s successful recommendations. It is programmed to accustom itself to the most minor changes you bring  to the table. And have you ever noticed how perceptive the suggestions are? You can may have watched one episode of a whole new genre – let’s say an anime or k-drama – but the next thing you know your entire feed slowly starts to change, with suggestions such as “Other K-drama’s you may like”, “Because you watched xyz anime” “The best of East-asia”. And obviously fueled by our own binge-watching beast, we end up watching an entire genre over the course of a month. 

The Human-Machine-Human-sandwich

We’ve spoken a lot about the above mentioned algorithm and how presently it tracks our viewing history. However this algorithm wasn’t born ready. And the groups you got grouped into didn’t appear out of thin air. This is the work of actual human beings, brought in to label and group movies into hyper-specific genres like “Visually striking witty comedies” “Classic feel good opposites attract romcoms” or our personal favourite, “Cynical Comedies Featuring a Strong Female Lead”. 

Each of these categories is what you get grouped into by the algorithm. And it’s never just one category. Every one of us gets grouped into multiple categories, which then dictate our taste and decide what will appear on our individual home screens. 

So without these hyper-specific categories made ready, the algorithm will not be able to complete its main job-  analysing data and grouping people into categories. 

But that’s not all what Netflix does to rope us into the binge watching cycle. 

Fast and Furious (with the judgement)

Netflix figured out that on an average, they had a golden time of 90 seconds. Only 90 seconds. In this one-and-a-half minute, their viewer would make a judgement as to whether or not they were going to watch the movie that caught their attention. 

In order for their viewers to evaluate and better understand the content of a film under 90 seconds, Netflix decided to use engaging Movie posters. Neuroscientists have proven that an image can be processed and judged by a human in under 13 milliseconds. Compared to text, which takes a lot longer, an image does speak a thousand words.

The movie posters they put out originally were given to them by the studios at the time, and they were the generic movie posters that would be displayed in cinemas and on billboards. Now while these posters worked for their respective print mediums, Netflix caught on to the fact that it dampened the attractiveness of the movie on their platform for their viewers. Knowing that they had only 90 seconds to appeal to their audience they came up with a series of experiments in order to boost engagement.

They performed a series of A/B tests and explore-exploit tests, through which they tested whether the movie poster shown to the viewer would have an effect on their judgement of the movie itself. 

They designed a test that displayed multiple sets of images for each title, where the original movie poster provided by the studio acts as the control in this test. Their results, overall, unanimously proved that the audience/ test subjects reacted more strongly when faced with a complex set of emotions on the posters.

A good example of this test would be Strangers Things, the hit netflix drama series. Notice how many different ways the poster is shown to all the different accounts.

AI and ML

In order to decide which user will be shown which poster, Netflix tracks what the user has been watching again and groups that user into certain categories (again). So consider a movie like “The Intern”. If User X  happens to watch more of Anne Hathaway movies as compared to Robert De Niro, they are more likely to click on a movie poster with her face.

The same goes for genres as well. If User Y watches a lot of horror movies, they will react more strongly to a poster that depicts the horror elements of that movie.

The Morning after...

So there you have it – the reason behind all your late night binge watching sessions. It’s a combination of machine learning, human intervention and personalised artwork that have resulted in Netflix’s 1 billion dollar algorithm for recommendations. This award winning strategy, however, is just the beginning to Netflix’s ploy to boost engagement. Don’t get too curious though, since that probably means we’ll just have to pull through more all nighters. 

Why Google Can Afford To Be Free.

What does your mind jump to when I mention the word Google?

It is an indisputable fact that the word ‘Google’ is synonymous with the word ‘search’ or ‘research’. It has become part of the norm to use these words interchangeably. In fact you would be surprised to know that ‘Google’ is officially classified as a verb!  

But enough with this lesson on millennial slang. The bit that interests us all is how, despite providing most of their products at no charge, does Google still manage to not only dominate the tech world, but also mint profits in the long run?

Today we’ll sift through the multiple avenues that Google, or rather Alphabet Inc, used and continues to use, to build its commendable stature as a tech giant. But first tell me, do you really believe Google is free?


We just click.

Advertising is Google’s primary source of income and about 80% of its total revenue – is brought in by Google Ads and AdSense.

It is impossible that you’ve not come across a Google ad at this point, since Google dominates the Search engine space by a margin of roughly 92%. Google ads are often displayed with the word “Ads” near the result shown on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Google earns a commission from the advertiser every time these ads are clicked on by users. The results are either displayed at the top of the page or on the sidebar in YouTube or on the SERP itself.

So what’s AdSense you ask?

Google Ads get displayed on the SERP whereas, in the case of Google AdSense, a webmaster can integrate these ads onto a site. Google’s crawler analyses the content on these sites and chooses sites with specific keywords that match with the webmasters site. The type and locations of the ads are customisable according to the webmaster. Every time the ads get clicked the site earns a part of the commission that Google makes.


Hop on to cloud Google.

The Google Cloud service is actually free for a limited amount of data (15GB), beyond which, users are charged a fee. Google Cloud pulled a whopping $19 Billion in 2021, roughly 7.5% of the total revenue. Their prices ultimately vary, according to the amount of space you take up on cloud.


Beyond 1s and 0s

Hardware is another important avenue for Google to increase their overall revenue, from Google Pixel, smartphones, laptops, tablets, Google Nest smart home products to gaming controllers to fitbits. Google has created an extensive catalogue of products, and with the launch of Pixel 6.0 and Pixel 6 pro, Google’s hardware alone was estimated to bring in 19.6 Billion dollars in 2021.


YouTube. 'Nough said.

This one is a no brainer really. Now once again a majority of YouTube content is free to watch for all, but the free version displays Ads, at the start of videos and on the side bar. So using Ads, once more, Google and the channel owner displaying the Ad earn a commission. 

YouTube Premium on the other hand, offers an Ad-free experience, eliminating the commission earned through Ads, but replacing it with the subscription fee that users have to pay on a monthly or yearly basis.This is a win-win for all parties involved since it keeps  the revenue flowing and improves customer experience simultaneously. 

YouTube has more under its belt though. YouTube TV, a fairly new venture, is another source via which Google or Alphabet inc. brings in revenue. YouTube TV, hosts live streaming services, on-demand videos and cloud-based DVR connected with more than 85 networks such as Fox, Big three broadcast networks, etc. It is however available only in the US for now.


Watch how this Plays out.

Google Play Store is an application distribution service, much like AppStore for Apple, which contains games as well as other service based apps. You can  buy a Play pass for $ 4.99 on a monthly basis or $29.99 for a year. This pass provides apps and games without Ads that oftentimes hinder customer experience. So the same as in the case of YouTube premium, they, better customer experience, while yielding an alternative source of profit simultaneously. Additionally, for developers, a fee of $25 dollars is charged, upon the launch of their first app.


What the future holds.

So far, Alphabet Inc. has expanded far beyond the realm of search engines, we can only predict this trend going forward too. With the talks of Google gaining foot in the automobile industry and already experimenting widely with AI, the future is definitely going to hold much more value for this Tech giant.

Lumosity – A Lesson in Effective Project Management

First rule of product management – understand what your product truly aims to accomplish. This may seem simplistic but as your product becomes more complex, it’s a hard rule to follow. In wanting to boost the popularity of their product, product managers often forget this rule and end up compromising on the very factor that made their product helpful. 

It is important to understand that every tried and tested product management method is not going to help your product specifically. Let’s take a look at a company that turned the tide and actually used unconventional means to boost meaningful product engagement.

Lumosity has always been about exercising the grey cells

Lumosity has always been about exercising the grey cells

If you were ever interested in “strengthening your brain”, you must’ve definitely come across Lumosity. Lumosity is an app that contains several games that are meant to test and improve your cognitive skills and abilities. They firmly believe that these games can improve cognitive functions such as Memory, Attention, Processing time/ speed and Problem solving.

Now the concept of using interactive games on a mobile app to improve one’s mind was quite a revolutionary concept at the time Lumosity was launched. However we’re not here to discuss or dissect the app or its concept. We’re here to talk about the sign up process that was not traditional, but actually helped them retain long term consumers.

Simpler the sign-up process, more the users, right? Not always.

Simpler the sign-up process, more the users, right? Not always.

Product management has always been about making the user journey easy, and it starts with sign-up. The rule has always been that simpler the sign-up process, the more users they’ll eventually get. 

Lumosity, in the start, believed this to be a good rule to follow. After all, their games, while fun,  are already complicated. Further, they also need to be played on a daily basis in order for the customer to actually reap their benefits. Therefore, they kept the sign-up sheet simple, so as to not drive away more customers. 

But that’s not what they ended up following eventually. Once they started complicating the sign-up process by adding survey questions along with questions about the person’s demographic, they learnt that the people that signed up actually wanted to be there, and would most likely stick to the programme and be regular at their daily tasks. 

Embracing complexity yielded results.

Embracing complexity yielded results.

This admission process wasn’t conducted in vain. With the information Lumosity obtained, they could make the games more personalised and further boost engagement with their consumers.

Their surveys were extremely extensive, detailed oriented and a whopping 5 pages long!

They collected information about the industry the user worked in, what they wanted to improve upon, or what they expected out of the app. 

Now their original concept of getting more people to sign up with a simpler admission process did test to be true. But the second process proved to be more useful, since it gave them a chance to explain their brand’s philosophy and science behind training one’s mind. The survey method also saw an increase in subscription rate – i.e the people willing to pay for their services.

Lumosity continues to experiment with their sign-up process, whether it is the flow of their questions or the amount of difficulty they provide in their sign up-sheet. But the core belief of adding friction and complexity to their brand remains undisputed. 

And it’s the reason they are still perceived as a product that makes people brainier by the day.

Data Analytics versus Big Data versus Data Science

Information is only useful when it’s understood.

This quote has become an emotion in this new era of business, where technology acted as a game-changer. In this day and age where anything can be considered as data and one man’s trash is another man’s gold, how do you navigate your company to higher prospects?

To make data usable it has to first be sifted through and made relevant.

That task is taken up by a talented Analyst. 

What is Data Analytics?

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics is an umbrella term that encompasses many different types of analysis. Data can be subjected to various kinds of analytic techniques and tools to refine it and make it useful information. Think of data as crude oil. It’s valuable only because of what it can be converted into. Data analysis is the refinery that separates information from crude data. And just like refineries don’t run themselves, you need specialised people – called data analysts- who are responsible for gaining key insights from the refined information given to them.

Data Analytics can be useful to any industry, it all depends on what the company is looking to improve. Several sectors that have a high turnover, like medical, hospitality, travel, etc, use customer data such as personal information, reviews, complaints, compliments, guest preferences, review forms, etc, to fix or make improvements to existing protocols. Data Analytics in retails helps keep track of the latest trends, bestselling products, and the average spending power of customers, which helps retailers stay afloat in a vastly competitive field. In healthcare, copious amounts of structured and unstructured data, which include past patient records, are refined to make informed and quick decisions.

The goal of Data Analytics in any sector is to make enlightened decisions based on past records, behaviours, patterns, trends, preferences, and any kind of relevant information from the data pool.

So how is Data Analytics any different from Data Science or Big Data? 

All three of these terms share certain similarities. They all use the data available around us to improve decision-making and provide key insights for the company.

But the difference emerges in how they derive these insights and what they use to derive them.

To better comprehend how these 3 are different let’s review Big Data and Data science once.

Big Data Analytics: A revolution in data management.

Big Data Analytics: A revolution in data management.

Big Data, just like the name symbolises, deals with data in colossal quantities. Where traditional data sets are mostly in gigabytes or terabytes at most, big data comes in petabytes, zettabytes, or exabytes.

To put this into perspective, if one byte is equal to one metre, then 1GB of data is 1Million kilometres. That is the value traditional datasets work with. 1 petabyte is 1 billion Gigabytes. That is 1000,000,000,000,000,000 metres or bytes. Traditional storage systems are ill-equipped to handle a data set of this size. Big Data is most often stored on the cloud or needs a specialised storage solution depending on where the data is currently residing.

Big Data is differentiated based on these three components:

Volume, as discussed above, means the size of each data set.

Velocity is the speed at which data is derived. The reason Big Data is as big as it is, is because data is constantly generated.

Variety refers to the various sources from which data is collected. Big Data considers data present in texts, comments, likes, etc.

Due to the large volume and various sources of data, Big Data is mostly unstructured in nature and needs a different set of tools to be analysed.

Data Science - A step further from analytics.

Data Science – A step further from analytics. 

Now that we’ve taken cognisance of Big Data and Data Analytics, let’s delve into Data Science. Data science is a multifaceted field, involving extracting information from:

  • Scientific methods,
  • Maths and statistics
  • Programming 
  • Advanced analytics
  • Machine Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • and Deep Learning

Since the scope of Data Science far exceeds its purpose, i.e, to gain meaningful insights, Data Science deals with analysing complex data, creating new analytics algorithms, tools to further distil the data and even building dynamic visualisations.

Ultimately, there is definitely a degree of truth to the saying data is the new oil.

We have yet to determine the true potential of using data and as we continue our discovery of the subject, the value of data is only going to grow exponentially. This in turn implies that the sectors that discern data are going to become integral to the growth of businesses across continents.