Category Archives: Sports

10 Ways Marissa Mayer Is Reinventing Yahoo

Yup, we have talked about her before.

For nearly three years, CEO Marissa Mayer has tried to reinvent Yahoo, the Web search and services company that reigned supreme in the early days of the Internet. But the incredible growth of Google’s search engine and Web advertising business drained away revenue that once would have been Yahoo’s. Mayer, a former senior Google executive, was recruited to put Yahoo back on track to growth. Reviews are mixed on Mayer’s performance so far. Some have said that Mayer has done little to fix Yahoo’s fundamental issues, pointing to the company’s poor financials and falling search ad revenue. Still others note that it took turnaround experts, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, several years before they could truly make a difference in their ailing companies. Despite the criticism, Mayer is persevering with a strategy she believes will lead to future success. This slide show looks not only at Mayer’s strategy for future growth, but also how Yahoo is slowly but surely changing. Whether her plans will actually work remains to be seen. But Mayer should be given credit for keeping Yahoo on an even keel in the face of intense competition from Google and many other Internet services companies.

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Redesigned Microsoft Pact Is CrucialThe joint announcement between Microsoft and Yahoo could be a major victory for the online company. For one thing, it doesn’t change the revenue-sharing agreement, which means a large portion of Yahoo’s revenue—31 percent in 2013, alone—will still be generated from Microsoft’s ad services. In addition, it forces Microsoft to start selling its own ads, which reduces Yahoo’s costs. It’s a win-win.

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It’s All About the Acquisitions

If anything can be said about Marissa Mayer, it’s that she sees value in acquiring other companies. In the last couple of years, Mayer has acquired a host of companies across a wide range of markets. Chief among them is the Tumblr microblogging service, acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion. Tumblr is central to Yahoo’s efforts to build a bigger, more loyal user base.
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Yahoo Trying to Catch Up on Mobile Services

Mayer has said that her company has not done enough to focus on mobile. At one point, the company had just 100 engineers working on all its mobile efforts. Last year, Mayer made several public statements saying that mobile would be a driving force in Yahoo’s resurgence and she has made good on that promise with heavy investments in mobile applications development. Whether it’s too late, however, remains to be seen.
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Improving Relations With Corporate Advertisers

Research firm eMarketer said Yahoo’s search ad revenue declined over the past several years and predicted the company’s digital ad revenue will continue to slip. Part of the issue is Yahoo’s difficulty attracting corporate advertisers that have the budgets (and desire) to go to its network of sites and services. Yahoo needs to change its strategy in that space to improve relations with corporate advertisers and attract more spending dollars for digital ads if the company is going to get back on track for sustainable growth.
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Spend Serious Cash on People, Product Development

Yahoo was a minority owner of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company. Yahoo reaped billions of dollars following Alibaba’s initial public offering in September 2014. Yahoo can use those billions to acquire other companies or try out new ideas. But Mayer has said that she believes the company’s ample cash should be used to invest in high-quality employees and develop products internally that will appeal to a larger segment of the population. It’s a smart move.
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Use the New Deal to Take More Control Over Search

One of the core components in the new pact with Microsoft is that Yahoo will have the right to enhance the search experience across for users of desktop and mobile devices. That’s a good thing for Yahoo. The company’s search is still popular internationally, but is facing increased pressure from Google and Baidu. Having more control over Web search development means Yahoo can more readily adapt to the changing times in search.
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Yahoo Is Building Out Its Content Business

One of the more surprising moves Yahoo’s Mayer has made over the last few years has been to invest in well-known media celebrities to build out her company’s content business. Chief among those hires was Katie Couric, who Mayer tapped as the company’s global news anchor. Yahoo has also brought on several other major personalities, including the former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, to improve its content offerings. The idea? Drive more advertising revenue through content that’s exclusive to Yahoo.
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More Effectively Target International Markets

Yahoo is a global company, but its presence in several key markets, like China, is troubling. Yahoo needs to work hard at building out its operations in Asia and Europe and be a bigger player in those markets. Once upon a time, Yahoo was the dominant force in search worldwide, but now Google and local competitors are far ahead. Yahoo needs to address that sooner rather than later.
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Don’t Forget the Analytics Business

Yahoo has made a series of rather interesting acquisitions in the analytics business with the purchase of such companies as Flurry, Lexity, Ztelic and others. Analytics plays a major role, not only in building out an advertising business, but it can also help Yahoo gauge where user interest and activity is going. Yahoo can then respond with services of its own that appeal to user demands. Don’t underestimate the importance of analytics in the Yahoo product portfolio.
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Remember the Value of Core Businesses

All this talk of Yahoo going into new markets and investing in other firms ignores one important factor: The company still has several important platforms, like Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Finance, News and others, that need to be cared for and built out. Yahoo has a core business in those services that can keep the company churning, but it can’t allow companies like Google to steal its users away. Focusing on the time-tested, old favorites at Yahoo isn’t such a bad idea.

Utica Comets 3 – Chicago Wolves 4 (Series Tied 2-2)

With a power-play goal 2:19 into overtime, the Chicago Wolves defeated the Utica Comets 4-3 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday night. The Wolves’ win knotted the series at 2 games a piece, and sets up Game 5 on Saturday night.

Sven Baertschi (0-3-3) and Cal O’Reilly (0-2-2) aided their teammates all night long by tallying a combined total of five assists. Cory Conacher (1-0-1), Adam Clendening (1-0-1) and Bobby Sanguinetti (1-0-1) all scored goals for the Comets.

Just two nights ago the Comets couldn’t solve Jordan Binnington until mid-way through the third period in Game 3. Tonight was a bit of a different story as a power-play opportunity helped the Comets net their first of the night just past the six-minute mark of the first period. A tic-tac-toe play from Baertschi, to O’Reilly and then finally to Conacher in the slot, opened the game’s scoring.

It wasn’t long after until the Wolves matched the Comets effort with the equalizer off a nasty looking rebound wildly bounced out to the left of the slot. Adam Cracknell was in the right place at the right time as Jacob Markstrom flew across the crease to attempt the near impossible save. Cracknell’s shot ended up spitting into the back of the mesh at 10:59 to tie the game up at one.

Jim Furyk Wins In Playoff At Hilton Head In RBC Heritage

Jim Furyk celebrates after defeating Kevin Kisner on the second playoff hole at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Through more than four years and a lot of heartaches, Jim Furyk said he never gave up hope of winning again on the PGA TOUR.

Turns out, all he needed was a return to a golf course – Harbour Town Golf Links – that perfectly fit his short-but-precise game, and the return of a putting touch that was hot and cold during the four days of the RBC Heritage but all but perfect when it mattered most.

Furyk chalked up his 17th career PGA TOUR victory on Sunday, shooting a day’s-best 8-under par 63 and then holding off South Carolina native Kevin Kisner in a two-hole playoff with a combination of deadly accurate approach shots and clutch birdie putts.

Final from @RBC_Heritage:
1. Furyk, -18
2. Kisner, -18
3. Merritt, -16
4. Todd, -15

Jim Furyk putts

KISNER BATTLES TO THE END: Kevin Kisner came as close on Sunday as any South Carolina native ever has in 47 years to winning the RBC Heritage, his home state’s annual PGA TOUR event.

At the end of a two-hole playoff, though, that wasn’t close enough. Going up against past RBC Heritage champion Jim Furyk, in sudden death, Kisner sort of knew that might be the case.

“I knew the scores (Sunday) were going to be low, and … I managed to shoot low,” he said of his closing 7-under par 64. “But every time I looked up on the back nine, Jim was making another birdie.”

Still, Kisner, who came as close to a win on the PGA TOUR as he ever has in 90 starts, made Furyk work for his second RBC Heritage tartan blazer.

 

 

Already, it’s a Masters unlike any other for Tiger Woods.

  • AUGUSTA, Ga.

    Already, it’s a Masters unlike any other for Tiger Woods.

    On Wednesday his playing partners ranged in age from 6 to 63. On the practice range the day before, he listened to hip-hop music on headphones to find his rhythm.

    And in what may have been the biggest surprise of the week so far, he actually smiled and tried to be engaging at his press conference, something he normally tolerates with a guarded terseness.

    Woods is playing in the Masters for the 20th time, almost unthinkable for those who remember his breakout win in 1997. Even more unthinkable after all these years is no one has an idea what to expect when he tees off Thursday afternoon in an almost desperate quest to find his game and win a fifth green jacket.

    Not the fans, who still cheer his every move. Not his fellow players, who have watched the roller coaster of the past five years close up.

    Not even Woods himself.

    “Whether I have blinders on or not, I don’t feel any different,” Woods insisted, “I feel like I’m preparing to try and win the Masters.”

    The people who take money on those kind of things don’t anticipate that will happen, making Woods a 25-1 pick to win his first Masters title in a decade. The odds would be even higher – they started at 50-1 – but for a lot of people plunking $20 bills down on Woods in Las Vegas sports books because they remember what he used to be able to do on a golf course.

    If some of those memories are fading, Woods has to accept some of the blame. He has been MIA so long that it’s hard to remember he was once supposed to win more green jackets than Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus combined.

    A new generation of players is no longer intimidated by the sight of Woods in red on Sunday, something Woods acknowledged when he talked about how he used to drive the ball past everyone other than John Daly but is happy these days just to be in the same area code. He’s 39 now, ancient in the game of golf anywhere but at a Masters that still includes Ben Crenshaw in the field.

    “I won the Masters when Jordan (Spieth) was still in diapers,” Woods said, though a quick check of the calendar showed Spieth was approaching his fourth birthday by then.

    The young players who hit it past him, though, aren’t his real worry. The troubles for Woods are within, and he’s been dealing with different varieties of them ever since his infamous wreck over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009.

    His personal life now seems stable, or at least it did Wednesday when his children, 6-year-old Charlie and 7-year-old Sam, joined him and girlfriend Lindsey Vonn for the par-3 contest he hadn’t played in 11 years. His swing seems better, too, at least better than two months ago when he fled Torrey Pines mid-round, mumbling something about his glutes not being properly activated.

Alex Biega is Utica Comets Man of the Year Winner

The Utica Comets are proud to announce that Alex Biega has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Team City community during the 2014-15 season.

Biega has gone above and beyond in his work with the Utica community this season. He attended a number of team appearances at schools, hospitals and businesses but also organized functions on his own time. Like many of his teammates, he has also spoken to students on a multitude of topics including anti-bullying, leadership and has even taught French to high school students.

After a visit to Kernan Elementary School in Utica to speak to grades 3-6, Alex maintained his relationship with the sixth grade teacher and closely mentored four students throughout the season. As a Harvard graduate, Biega is a strong voice for speaking to children on the importance of an education, even for professional athletes. Along with his wife, Diana, Alex has spearheaded a number of efforts with his teammates in order to help raise money for various causes and has worked closely with the Save of the Day Foundation and many of their events.

UticaCometsAlexBiega3

Alex Biega is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2014-15 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League later this month.

Utica Comets Defeat Texas Stars 5 to 2

The Comets kicked off their season-high five-game homestand by defeating the Texas Stars 5-2 Wednesday night at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The Comets (30-14-5-1) scored two power-play goals for the eighth en route to their 30th win this season. The power-play goals were the first power-play goals allowed by the Texas Stars in the past 15 road games for the Stars.

The Stars (23-17-10-1) were unable to add to their three-game winning streak and were stumped five times by the Comets’ penalty kill, which entered the game ranked as the third best in the entire league.

Brandon DeFazio (2-1-3) (pictured above) who scored two goals and his first empty-net goal this year was credited as the first star of the game. Bobby Sanguinetti   (1-2-3), Dustin Jeffrey (1-0-1) and Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) all found the back of net as well to help push the Comets’ points total to 66.

Bobby Sanguinetti
Bobby Sanguinetti

Sanguinetti got it all started for the Comets after he scored his 13th goal of the season just 37 seconds into the game. The play developed as Will Acton took a shot on the blocker side of Stars goaltender Jussi Rynnas as he battled with defenseman Cameron Gaunce. After a quick tussle, Acton beat Gaunce to the rebound and swung around to the backside of the net as he looked for the next course of action. Once Acton saw a passing lane to Sanguinetti, he dished it to the center hashmarks where Sanguinetti banged it home to give the Comets the 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the opening stanza. DeFazio was credited with the secondary assist.

After some back and forth play, the Stars found the equalizer towards the tail end of the period at 13:36. Travis Morin initiated the play by making a pass along the blue line to Scott Glennie, who then ripped a shot off on net from the right point. Vision was an issue for Jacob Markstrom as Jesse Root was screening in front. Once the puck reached the crease, Root tipped the puck into the mesh past the Comets netminder. The play was reviewed as Markstrom argued goaltender inference; however, the goal stood and the Stars were credited with the 1-1 equalizer.

With a little more than a minute left in the opening period, the Comets took back their one-goal lead on the power play following a slashing call on Matej Stransky. Confusion ensued in front of the net after Sanguinetti lifted one towards the goal. Alex Friesen got his stick on the puck but Jeffrey followed through with the play as he snuck it past Rynnas for the power-play goal and the 2-1 lead.

Just as they did at the beginning of the first, the Comets did it again at the start of the second. Just 17 seconds after the puck was dropped, Darren Archibald streaked in towards the net and brought Rynnas to the far left side of the net as he shot the puck. Little did Rynnas know that the puck would make its way around the backside of the net and on to DeFazio’s stick before the Finnish netminder could slide to the other post. DeFazio popped it in on the open side to give the Comets a two-goal lead.

A hooking call on Julius Honka dug an even deeper hole for the Stars as the Comets capitalized on their second power play chance of the night. Gaunce found his eighth goal of the season after receiving the puck from Hunter Shinkaruk. Gaunce slipped a wrist shot through the legs of Rynnas for the power-play goal and the commanding 4-1 lead. Travis Ehrhardt also received an assist on the play.

The third period didn’t see as much action as the first two periods, but it was enough to keep the Comets on top for the rest of the game.

Following a 30 second time-out, the Stars pulled Rynnas with just over four minutes left in the game for the extra-man advantage. At 16:56, DeFazio pretty much sealed it all up with an empty-netter and his second goal of the game.

The Stars got the last word in with less than a minute left in the third period. Derek Meech squeaked it over Markstrom as he sprawled to the left of the net to make the final score 5-2.

The Comets have scored five goals in back-to-back games after Wednesday night’s victory over the Stars.

The Comets will play their second game of their five-game homestand at The AUD this Friday against the Toronto Marlies at 7 p.m. Through their six meetings with Toronto, the Comets have a record of 3-2-1-0.

What Wastes More Employee Time: Fantasy Football or Microsoft Upgrades?

Last April we reported that Microsoft was going to discontinue support of their popular XP software. No, the sky did not fall in and lots of us realized it was a sneaky way for them to “make their numbers” by selling upgrades.

Guess their numbers are still falling (but not the sky) because Microsoft is discontinuing support of their older versions of Internet Explorer.

Nobody but me talks about how much employee time is wasted in “applying” these upgrades, but just saw an article on how much Fantasy Football will cost employers in the upcoming season.

One Fantasy Football estimate was $13 billion. Not sure if this included the obligatory “water cooler conversations” or not. Think of it! Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for his dream team LA Clippers. My apologies to previously accusing Steve of “retired and sitting on a rocking chair on his front stoop”. In a recent release: Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has said he is stepping down from the board with immediate effect. In a public letter, Mr Ballmer said he had become “very busy” since he quit the top job and that it would be “impractical to continue”. His decision to leave follows his recent purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. “I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of my time,” he wrote. He said his departure would be immediate due to a “hectic” autumn including both the start of the NBA basketball season and his teaching of a new class. Mr Ballmer left the chief executive role in February after more than 14 years at the helm, and has been involved in the company for more than three decades. He still holds more Microsoft shares than any other individual, and on Tuesday he pledged to hold onto them for the “foreseeable future”.

Now back to Microsoft. Don’t see too many unbiased opinions on their upgrades (have to go to page 3 of Google search to find any……and everybody knows nobody EVER goes beyond page 1…….maybe Microsoft bought all the key words so this would happen). So the things that get IMPORTANT (sic) upgrades are:

  1. Silverlight: nobody (outside of Microsoft) can agree why you even want it.

  2. Outlook: Was a BAD product to start with. Used to have HOTMAIL…got merged into Outlook. Probably resulted in the fantastic rise in use of Gmail.

  3. Internet Explorer: Where have you been? The world is moving to FireFox, Chrome or MyPerfectiNTER.Net

  4. SECURITY: I thought by now everybody had AVAST and those kinds of things

The bottom line is:

  1. Keep your XP software

  2. Change to FireFox, Chrome or MyPerfectiNTER.Net and dump IE

  3. Your employees can now enjoy a great Fantasy Football season

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