Sep 15

NCTA Submits Open Internet Rules Reply Comments

conv13-nctaToday, NCTA submitted its reply comments to the FCC regarding the proposed new Open Internet Rules. As we’ve said before, cable broadband providers are unequivocally committed to building and maintaining an open Internet experience. That means we support the original principles of Net Neutrality – that all legitimate Internet traffic should be treated equally when traveling over local networks, that ISPs should not pick favorites, and that consumers should have unfettered access to legal content of their choosing. That’s why we support the FCC’s efforts to ensure consumers have basic protections. But we strongly feel that the best path towards enforceable rules that don’t risk future innovation and growth is to dismiss Title II reclassification and instead focus on Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act. Section 706 empowers the Internet industry to continue to innovate without putting handcuffs on its most pioneering companies. And it offers strong consumer protections that guarantee enforceable open Internet rules and promotes competitive marketplaces.

You can see our full comments here

Sep 04

National Puerto Rican Chamber Launches First Ever Training Program for Hispanic Veteran Entrepreneurs.

nprchamberThe National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce (NPRChamber) today launched the nation’s first and only training program specifically for Hispanic Veteran Entrepreneurs.  A moving video tribute expressing the need for such services can be found at

In conjunction with the International Council on Small Business (ICSB) and The George Washington University (GWU), the NPRChamber will host approximately 30 Hispanic veterans who have entrepreneurial aspirations, or are in the beginning stages of running a small business, to participate in a three day training program surrounding Veteran’s Day.  The program will provide an introduction to the entrepreneurial process, as well as opportunities to meet with successful national entrepreneurs, legislators, investors, and federal agencies that assist in starting new ventures.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand how these veterans sacrifice their lives, as well as employment opportunities or the chance to start a new business, to serve our country.  They deserve an opportunity to learn the skills they need to put their expertise to good use,” said Justin Vélez-Hagan, executive director of NPRChamber and combat veteran of Afghanistan.  “The results will be a benefit to our economy and our overall society.”

Veterans from recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have higher unemployment rates than the general population, while Hispanic veterans, especially those from Puerto Rico, have the highest unemployment rates among all veterans, reaching as high as 30 percent.

Oftentimes, veterans have managed to save enough money to start their own business, but lack the real-world knowledge to do so.  With skills, training, and discipline not always found among other aspiring entrepreneurs, these ambitions can easily be converted and refined into independent and successful businesses, which in turn will contribute to others within their communities.

Applications for veterans interested in the program will be accepted until the end of October.  Those interested in helping to support our program can make a donation via Fundly here.

About The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce

The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce (NPRChamber) is a non-profit organization created to promote entrepreneurship and economic development amongst Hispanics and Puerto Ricans throughout the U.S.  Feel free to contact the NPRChamber at 866-572-5222, ext. 4 or via email:

About the International Council for Small Business

Founded in 1955, the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) was the first international membership organization to promote the growth and development of small businesses worldwide. The organization brings together educators, researchers, policy makers and practitioners from around the world to share knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.  ICSB’s international headquarters are located within the business school at The George Washington University and can be reached at 202-994-0704.

Aug 29

Google VP Lisa Gevelber Agrees…Your Next Big Opportunity: The US Hispanic Market

LisaGevelber3U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption. But despite the facts, these consumers are vastly underserved, and the opportunities to reach them through digital remain largely untapped. But what, exactly, should marketers be doing? To see what’s working (and what’s not), our Vice President of Americas Marketing, Lisa Gevelber, looked at the strategies of leading brands and forward-thinking marketers. Here are the top lessons she learned.

You’ve likely heard the numbers: a 163% increase in population between 2010 and 2050, making up 30% of the population by July 1, 2050. One trillion dollars inbuying power in 2010, rising to $1.5 trillion next year (an increase of 50% in just five years). I’m talking about U.S. Hispanics, of course—a consumer segment that’s on the radar of every Fortune 500 CMO.

At Google, we’ve taken notice of this audience too, but for a different reason: technology. U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption. “Many marketers may think they trail the so-called general market in adoption of new tech, when in fact they are far ahead and should be among the first prospects for marketers seeking to grow their consumer base,” says Marla Skiko, senior vice president and director of digital innovation at SMG Multicultural. Despite the facts, U.S. Hispanics are a vastly underserved market, and the opportunities to reach them through digital remain largely untapped.

Recently, we surveyed a select panel of senior-level marketers to see if the U.S. Hispanic audience was on their roadmaps. They clearly recognized the opportunity: Most saw 11–25% of their company’s growth coming from this demographic in the next three to five years. Still, most brands didn’t have a marketing strategy for this audience, and most agencies were advising clients to invest in reaching them either “somewhat” or “not at all.”

It’s clear that brands need to go from taking notice to taking action and that digital is a huge opportunity. But what, exactly, should we be doing? To see what’s working (and what’s not), we looked at the strategies of leading brands and forward-thinking marketers. Here are the top lessons we learned.

“U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption.”

1. Be where they are—video and mobile

“The digital space is one of my favorite areas to market to this audience,” says Fabian Castro, senior vice president, multicultural marketing for Universal Pictures, which promotes close to 80% of its releases annually to the U.S. Hispanic audience. Online video is a big bet for Universal, and it’s clear why: The average Hispanic spends more than eight hours watching online video each month—over 90 minutes longer than the U.S. average, according to a Nielsen report. Universal has a dedicated Latino channel on YouTube where it distributes custom spots, featurettes, clips and content. The channel has been home to videos such as the “Spanglish” trailer for Fast Five, which has nearly 6 million views.

Our data shows that across YouTube views of top U.S. Hispanic channels are up 1.25x year over year. Just look at the bilingual multi-channel network MiTú. In the two years since its launch, the network has grown a loyal audience of more than 36 million subscribers. That’s already one-third the number of subscribers to HBO, a network that’s been around for over 40 years. Brands are tapping into this growth through endorsements and sponsorships. Seventeen-year-oldBecky G, a Mexican-American singer/dancer, has a huge following on YouTube among U.S. Hispanics. CoverGirl took notice and signed her to an endorsement deal. During the World Cup, Dish Networks tapped into this audience by promoting its Juego Bonito campaign heavily on YouTube. The video spot, created for Hispanic markets, was the first-ever Spanish-language ad to show on YouTube’s masthead in the U.S. In just two days, the ad garnered 100 million impressions.

A lot of that video watching happens on mobile, as smartphones are becoming the “first screen.” A Nielsen report states that 10 million Hispanics watch mobile video for an average of more than six hours per month. Among smartphone owners, Hispanics are 17% more likely than non-Hispanics to access the web more through their phone than through a computer. They’re also more likely toupgrade or replace their mobile headsets and buy tablets. “Having the best in technology first is important social currency for this audience,” says Skiko.

With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that they’re heavy consumers of mobile apps too. According to a Google Consumer Survey conducted in July, Hispanics are 1.5x more likely to buy mobile apps and digital media than non-Hispanics. This means that everything you’ve been hearing about mobile applies even more to this audience—figure out your mobile-centric use cases, create mobile-first destinations, drive ROI and branding in mobile-specific ways, and integrate it prominently into multi-screen campaigns.

2. Give them choices—más opciones

Too often, marketers think they’re reaching U.S. Hispanics by simply translating ads and websites into Spanish. The truth is, this audience is diverse and often bilingual, an eye-opening insight for Jared Fix, U.S. vice president and general manager for Mixables at Beam Suntory. “I had always assumed that ‘Hispanic marketing’ meant Spanish, but a vast majority of our Hispanic target is what we call ‘acculturated’—they speak English, perhaps Spanish at home, and they consume media in both,” he says.

Through digital, marketers don’t need to take a one-language-fits-all approach—and they shouldn’t, because there is a big opportunity to reach these consumers in both languages. For example, a recent Google Consumer Survey showed that the majority of U.S. Hispanic mobile users typically search in English or a mix of English and Spanish. At the same time, we’ve seen the number of Google searches that include common Spanish-language question words nearly double over the past three years (see below).

Searches for Common Spanish-Language Question Words  
Source: Google Data, 2011–2014, Indexed Search Query Data, United States

Skiko suggests letting users pick which language they prefer. “It’s about ‘and’ not ‘or,’” she says. “Through digital, you can give people a choice, and that doesn’t happen enough.” Mattel is adopting this approach, creating bilingual versions of its campaigns. Last year, it launched a cross-brand Hispanic-targeted holiday campaign, ‘Toy Feliz, which included a bilingual website. Its Fisher-Price brand has a Spanish-language version of its Thought of That campaign called Pensamos en Todo. And this month, it kicked off a First Birthday program with an overlay for the Hispanic market called Mis Primeras Mañanitas, says Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, vice president of strategic marketing and communications at Mattel.

The targeting capabilities of digital can also help marketers reach the right audience with the right messaging. “Behavioral targeting, language targeting, geo targeting and so on are incredible,” says Castro. “The digital space gives us an opportunity to reach even hard-to-get Latinos across all levels of acculturation.”

3. Speak their culture

Language isn’t enough, though. To really speak to this audience—to anyaudience—you need to be culturally relevant. As Castro puts it, “Culture is the new language.” Whether promoting in Spanish or English, Universal goes beyond translation to find cultural nuances. “Our product is in English, so the crux of our creative is in English,” he explains, “but when promoting on Spanish media, we find ways to extract storylines, show relevant talent, use music and use Spanish when appropriate—all ways to help make the film attractive and culturally relevant to this audience.”

Universal successfully combined cultural relevance with language preferences, targeting and online video in its campaign for Despicable Me 2. The marketing team developed brand-new ads specifically for the Hispanic audience—parts were in Spanish, but the movie dialogue stayed in English. The videos, which were posted to YouTube, delved deeper into the film’s Mexican villain, El Macho. It gave Universal the opportunity to create the family-friendly messaging “Superdad vs. Supervillain”—a theme that played nicely into family-centric Hispanic sensibilities. Knowing that music is a passion point for this audience, the team also licensed and integrated Pitbull’s bilingual hit song “Don’t Stop the Party” (featured in the film) into spots. Select videos were promoted with TrueView, which allowed the team to “efficiently target Hispanic audience members in the place where they are already consuming a great number of culturally relevant videos,” says Castro. This resulted in “an increase in important video views for our content”—nearly 3 million views and counting.

A constantly connected community

The U.S. Hispanic audience will only gain cultural and economic prominence in the coming years. This isn’t just sheer numbers; it’s technology. Constantly connected consumers are influential ones—spreading ideas, culture and content—and this audience is very connected. This works both ways, of course. Brands can make great use of digital to connect with this audience. The key is to go where these consumers are, offering unique, choice-based and culturally relevant ways to engage.

  • Lisa GevelberLisa Gevelber

    Vice President of Americas Marketing, Google

Aug 29

Sprint’s New Latino CEO Revamps Company With Eye On Hispanics

MarceloClaureBoliviano+de+éxitoIn just the first couple of weeks of being Sprint CEO, 43-year-old Marcelo Claure has cut prices, unveiled new data plans — and he is doing so with a keen eye on Latino mobile users.

Claure, the son of a Bolivian diplomat who moved to the U.S. in the 1990s, is now boldly attempting to steer the third largest U.S. wireless company, behind Verizon and AT&T, out of troubled waters.

He says he is honored to be one of the few Latino CEO’s of a major public company in the U.S.

“It is definitely an honor. Now, being a Hispanic CEO I think it should be appealing to the millions of Hispanics attending college and have high aspirations into continuing to grow the Latino presence in the Fortune 500 environment,” he said in an interview with Fox News Latino.

Claure got into the cellphone business selling phones in the back of his car and opening up his first mobile shop in Boston in 1995. He eventually founded Brightstar, a major global distributor for cellphones, particularly in Latin America, and led the company over two decades.

To View the Interview and More Details…. Click Here

“I took a lot of pride when I made Brightstar the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States, that was a very important moment in my career,” said Claure.

Sprint has been losing customers every quarter for more than two years — 245,000 subscribers left in the first quarter of 2014, mainly due to disrupted cellphone service as the company continues to build its new LTE network, according to analysts.

Sprint shares are down 50 percent so far this year, highlighted by a failed merger with T-Mobile Inc., the fourth largest wireless company.

Enter Claure. Last week, Sprint announced a new family plan which includes up to 10 lines, 20 GB of shared data, unlimited talk and text for $100 a month. That’s about double the data the other competitors offer and about $60 less per month, according to Sprint’s promotional material. And last week the company unveiled a $60 unlimited talk, text and data plan for individual subscribers — $20 less than T-Mobile, while Verizon and AT&T don’t offer unlimited plans.

Claure told FNL the last few days have been “hectic” as the company tries to “get back to the basics.”

“In the short term, we have to make sure we are bringing value back to the American consumer,” Claure said. “Our long-term place, while other carriers are basically limiting the amount of data you have and are cutting or eliminating unlimited plans, we want customers to come because we have a product which is unlimited and we were able to offer it and provide good service,” Claure explained while emphasizing the company’s new 4GLTE network is almost finished.

The young and charismatic CEO says the company’s new pricing plans are particularly aimed at reaching Latinos, who according to research are significantly more likely to own a mobile phone and are significantly more likely to use mobile devices for text messaging, social networking and the Internet.

“Therefore,” Claure said, “if you can offer an unlimited offering it’s definitely appealing to the Latino community.”

He went on to explain, “Our plans, they are right at the Latino community. We believe that we know the Hispanic community and we are going to market to them the way that we do with a differentiated offering.”

As to whether he is going to help propel Latinos up the corporate ladder, Claure said while he’s not going to choose one person over the other simply for being Latino, he believes the Latino community is offering more and more college educated talent every day.

“All you can see is in the numbers, they are by far the highest population entering the workplace and I look forward to helping build that.”

 Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas

Aug 26

Ten Steps to Using Twitter in the College Classroom by Jason Llorenz

Jason_LlorenzLike all college and university faculty, August means finalizing fall syllabi and lesson plans, and pre-reading articles for fall courses. For many professors, this process includes thinking (or rethinking) on how to leverage social media to engage students in the semester’s learning.

At Rutgers, my fall Understanding and Designing Social Media Course is designed as a hybrid — the best of a well-structured, MOOC-style online learning environment with a robust schedule and structured activaties from Tuesday-Thursday of each week, and a weekly, in-person meeting on Wednesdays.

Having experimented with social media for learning — especially Twitter — across my courses, I am convinced that social media offers powerful opportunities to connect with students, by providing new ways for them to own the learning. But doing it well takes a good deal of planning and structure, especially if social will be part of your graded class activities.

Below are 10 strategies and tactics for integrating Twitter into your college course.

1) Assign a course #hashtag. The hashtag is the most basic of Twitter formalities. Assign your course hashtag early, include it on all of your materials, and reference your hashtag consistently to drive the culture of Twitter across your course learning. The tag should be short, catchy and relatable (bad example: #introcommunication101CFU). My fall course at Rutgers will tweet under #rusocial14.

2) Provide Twitter training(s). One misnomer of the millennial generation is that they come to higher education with high-level social media skills. By and large, they don’t. The digital natives, the Instagram generation, the selfie generation — whatever label we assign — is born texting, tweeting and socializing on digital. But, like all communication skills, strategic use of social media is a learned skill. IF you expect students to live-tweet Ted Talks, learn to follow and engage with issues via Twitter, or even create critical mass around course discussions, trainings must be offered as part of your course. Mid-career students returning to learning, or continuing their education also, are unlikely to have used social media — especially Twitter — in a strategic context. These are important skills to learn in the context of a modern higher education.

One set of progressive exercise I start my in-person classes off with is the following:

Step 1: Have all students open the Twitter app on their phones or laptops while projecting Twitter in front of the room, monitoring the class hash tag. 
Step 2: Have everyone tweet one thing they would like to learn this semester, and remember to include the class hashtag. This allows everyone to see the hashtag string unfold in front of them. 
Step 3: Now, Pose a question to the class, via Twitter (again, using the hashtag) — like, “what is important about #Twitter?” Remind everyone to respond by including your twitter handle, and the class hashtag. 
Step 4: Have students find a response they like, and retweet it, first by clicking the retweet button, and then by quote tweet, spelling out, for example: RT: @llorenzesq “Twitter connects ideas” #rusocial14

3) Demystify Twitter language. Once your students have done some hands-on experimenting, make sure everyone has the language and insight needed to grow their use of the platform. Taking a snapshot of a tweet, highlight the main components in front of your classroom, highlighting the handle(s), hashtags, links (shortened), and how and why each are used. I call this “the anatomy of a tweet.”

4) Provide a glossary. RT, MT, PT, H/T, and some of the most often-used hash tags, like #ff, #icymi and others, can make a great one-slide glossary of terms to help demystify the platform.

5) Determine Influencers. The key to the Twitterverse is figuring out how to find and pay attention to what’s important, and minimize distraction from the lunches, daily gripes, and assorted fluff that can flood your Twitter feed. Ask your students to do a web search (off of Twitter) for Twitter influencers + (insert subject of interest). Many bloggers have written about this, or preassembled lists of influencers. Students should return to class with a short list of twitter influencers in any field, and articulate why they are influential on, and off Twitter, and why.

6) Integrate Twitter in Grading. In my fall hybrid course, students will earn points for participation in Twitter conversations on each unit of assigned reading. Initial tweets, and two replies are due at set times during the week, and students receive points based on quality of engagement. Remember to offer a rubric for your grades, so that everyone is clear on how excellent Twitter engagement is defined for the purposes of your class. Number of tweets alone is not enough. Rather, the engagement should be measured by several factors: tweeting out to others is the minimum expectation; replying to classmates, engaging with ideas, and connecting external resources is higher level engagement, worthy of full credit. Storifying ( students tweets from a unit, and reviewing those together, in class, is a great way of bringing their ideas and communication skills into the classroom.

7) Engage Your Guest Speakers on Twitter. Having a guest speaker via Skype, or in person? Provide his or her Twitter handle to your students a day or two before they address the class, and encourage your class to engage with the speaker before their talk, and to live-tweet during the conversation as well.

8) Live tweet Lectures. I have found even the least talkative students more likely to engage course lectures and ideas on Twitter. Asking students to live-tweet your lectures under the class hashtag — either pulling out important ideas throughout the lecture, or simply tweeting a few of the main ideas after — provides a powerful tool for engagement. You might ask a question during your lecture, or end the lecture by asking students to tweet the one or two of the most important ideas, crowd-sourcing the answer live in front of your audience.

9) Release course materials and resources on Twitter. The Hootsuite tweet-scheduling feature can allow you to schedule tweets at specific times during your class — so that an essay question, or an activity prompt is tweeted during your class.

10) Ask what is trending. Whether running a course on K-12 education, modern history, civic engagement and community change, applied science, engineering or, in my case, social media, there is a conversation evolving on Twitter. Asking your students to begin some classes by answering the question, “what is trending?” gives students an opportunity to answer the question with examples, and an evaluation of why that issue or conversation is moving online.

Higher education teaching must evolve, and we must meet students where they are, and where the future of the economy demands. While the classroom, lecture and podium will have an important role in higher education for the foreseeable future, even the most traditional of courses can benefit from smart integration of Twitter, and other digital tools. Whether integrating one, or all of these ideas, students will benefit from more opportunities to learn, and more opportunities to engage in what is increasingly the medium of choice.

One caveat on all of this: When teaching millennials, a conversation about expectations for Twitter-worthy conversations, versus what should be kept to email is important. Your younger students, who live on this technology, may not hesitate in asking about grades and other issues in Twitter’s public space. This is all part of the learning.

Future posts will explore additional aspects of social media and learning.

Jason Llorenz, JD is a scholar at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, where he teaches courses in technology and social media. His research focuses on universal digital inclusion in the digital economy. 

Aug 15

Tech Startup Tips, from a Microsoft Behavioral Scientist Matt Wallaert

matt waleartStarting a new technology company? It might be useful to get a behavioral psychologist on board. Or, at least, get a chance to talk with Microsoft’s Matt Wallaert.

Wallaert is in town for the next few days, meeting with game changers at Drexel University’s ExCITe Center and more, as well as giving a chat at incubation spaceVenturef0rth Monday evening.

Wallaert’s shtick is helping companies understand a model of behavior change called competing pressures. Psychologists use this to help think about situations. The theory? Human behavior is a product of promoting pressures (reasons to do something) and inhibiting pressures (reasons not to do something), Wallaert explained.

Both pressures are important for new companies to think about.

Take on-demand car service Uber, which uses a mobile application for convenience, for instance.

When Uber was first being created, others in the transportation space were addressing promoting pressures: It’s going to be a cleaner cab, it’s going to be a cooler cab, it will be a hybrid for efficiency, etc.

Uber did none of that, Wallaert said. Besides, maybe, requiring bottled water to be available in the back of cars, he added.

“Everything they did was about inhibiting pressures,” Wallaert said. “So while their entire industry was concentrating on how to make riding in a cab more attractive … they just said, ‘How do we make it easier?’”

Structured, diverse thoughts about consumers’ behaviors will help make a startup tech company succeed, although, Wallaert said, “sometimes people luck into it, some people do this quite naturally.”

Wallaert is an expert on the topic, as he’s taken this thought process to Microsoft, where he’s helped create K-12 digital literacy program Bing in the Classroom. It basically turns Microsoft’s search engine Bing into a way to give more tech exposure to underserved students, teach them the skills they need to use a computer or tablet and help them do it in a safe environment (without undesirable advertisements, for instance).

Wallaert, also a founder of two startups (Thrive and Churnless), is a country guy (peep his cowboy boots next time you see him) from Oregon. Although he now lives and works in Seattle, he does consider Philadelphia one of his homes. He went to Swarthmore College for his undergraduate degree and taught a food science lab at Drexel.

Lauren Hertzler covers technology, education and venture capital.

Aug 06

LISTA Congratulates Sprint for Replacing CEO Hesse with Brightstar’s Marcelo Claure.

Cluere_JAMSprint and its parent company SoftBank have decided not to pursue an acquisition of T-Mobile US according to multiple reports. And the country’s third largest operator is reportedly ready to replace CEO Dan Hesse with Marcelo Claure, the head of mobile phone distributor Brightstar, possibly as early as tomorrow.

According to multiple reports, which cited people familiar with the matter, Sprint decided that an acquisition of T-Mobile would face too much regulatory opposition. Indeed, officials from the FCC and Department of Justice have made no secret of their desire to retain four nationwide wireless carriers.

In addition, reports from the Wall Street Journal, Re/code and others said that Brightstar’s Claure (Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association CEO of the Year 2007 – LISTA) would replace Hesse as CEO of Sprint. SoftBank acquired control of Brightstar in January and put Claure on Sprint’s board–he will now be tasked with reviving Sprint’s customer acquisition strategy, likely through lowered prices.

Sprint is expected to make an announcement about the news early tomorrow.

The news wires have been working overtime to keep up with Sprint and T-Mobile’s various juxtapositions in the past 24 hours. The news of Sprint’s abandonment of the T-Mobile deal comes just hours after numerous reports said that T-Mobile US and parent Deutsche Telekom were poised to reject Iliad’s $15 billion bid for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile because it was too low. Interestingly, a separate Reuters report said Iliad is working with Dish Network, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and others to improve its offer for the “uncarrier.”

Sprint has reportedly been eyeing T-Mobile for a number of months. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was reportedly working on an offer of about $40 a share for T-Mobile, which would have valued the deal at about $32 billion.

Meanwhile the replacement of CEO Dan Hesse is surprising, considering last September the company extended Hesse’s contract through at least July 31, 2018. Hesse is credited with ushering the company through several tough transitions. He took over the leadership of Sprint in 2007 as the company was spiraling into gloom, burdened with its disastrous acquisition of Nextel, with subscribers leaving in droves and customer satisfaction at all-time lows.

Hesse since has managed to negotiate SoftBank’s acquisition of Sprint while also shutting down Nextel’s iDEN network, overseeing Sprint’s launch of LTE network technology, and guiding its acquisition of Clearwire.

But Hesse has also been criticized for his extremely lucrative compensation package of $49 million in 2013, making him the highest-paid executive in the wireless industry last year. Hesse has also overseen a network upgrade program called Network Vision that has resulted in customers leaving the carrier due to poor service. That program though is nearing conclusion, which means Brightstar’s Claure will gain control of a carrier with a refreshed 3G CDMA network and a growing LTE network.

Aug 02


LISTA-Logo-200Latinos in Information Science and Technology Association (LISTA) applaud the Federal Commission Communications, the agency responsible for oversight of the nation’s communications system, for its timely and promising circulation of a proposed rule making on the Designated Entity (DE) program, created to identify and preserve small businesses for FCC’s spectrum auctions.  LISTA, the nation’s leading organization of technology professionals, views today’s effort as a positive affirmation from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to foster competition and diversity in next year’s spectrum incentive auction. 

 “We have been waiting for the FCC and others to recognize the importance of Congress’ Designated Entity program to cultivating new and small incumbent players in commercial wireless auctions,” stated Jose Marquez, president and chief executive officer for LISTA. The Chairman’s goal is simple to have common sense rules in place before the Incentive Auction, LISTA hopes that we should all work together to empower small businesses and entrepreneurs so they too can be part of the spectrum economy. 

“Our hats off to the Commission for circulating this item, as well as moving forward on the relief sought around the Attributable Material Relationship (AMR) Rule for Grain Management and other similar companies.  #DEscan’twait!”

Jul 23


martin-chavezStarting out as a real volunteer with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in California during my college days, spending 17 years in elected office, working countless initiatives to better our communities and now serving on the Board of Directors of MALDEF, I was at first saddened when Alex Nogales, head of the National Hispanic Media Coalition said that Latinos and Latino organizations like the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute who disagreed with him on whether the FCC should apply Title II (otherwise known as “heavy” government regulation) to the Internet or utilize a “light “regulatory touch via Section 706 were “. . . at best misinformed and at worst intentionally distorting facts.” Caramba!

From my perspective, we’ve always been at our best as a community when we stick together and that when we disagree, we do it respectfully and without questioning personal integrity.  As Latinos, we know we have differences of opinion, but we also know that there is much more that unites us than divides us.

We saw the exact same phenomenon from a group aligned with Mr. Nogales calling themselves  Like Alex Nogales, they support treating the Internet as a utility and want it regulated under Title II.  Congresspersons Loretta Sanchez, Henry Cuellar and Albio Sires had the audacity to say that they prefer the “light” regulatory touch of Section 706 to the 1960’s types of regulations.  What did do?  They directly attacked their personal integrity saying:  “Big corporations like AT&T and Comcast are poised to rob the Internet of its incredible potential” and that “The truth is that it would only disadvantage our communities while lining the pockets of the telecommunication giants that have donated tens of thousands of dollars to these representatives’ campaign funds.”  Caramba otra vez! can’t get their story straight.  On the one hand, they credit the free Internet (never before regulated by Title II) with having helped advance causes important to Latinos but then complain that Congresswoman Sanchez and her colleagues, by opposing Title II “make it sound like their position is meant to protect Latinos”.  Simply, what the Congresswoman, most Latino organizations and most experts are saying is don’t apply a decades old rotary phone regulatory regime to the Internet.  If the Internet, through “light” regulation helped advance causes essential to Latinos without Title II, why is Title II so necessary now?  Latinos no longer use rotary phones.  In fact, we use smart phones in greater percentages than any other group of Americans, regardless of ethnicity.

And, more importantly, why must Latinos who disagree with Alex Nogales and be subjected to attacks on their personal integrity?

So while I was initially saddened by my friend Alex Nogales’ attacks against the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute and others for committing the egregious crime of disagreeing with him, I also know that Alex was properly raised by his parents to treat others with respect.  And I believe that upon reflection he’ll recognize that his angry outburst and lapse of judgment should not define who he is.  We all make mistakes.  And though we disagree on this particular issue, our disagreement should remain respectful.  Who knows, Alex and might even change their position and join with the overwhelming majority of Latinos who demand an Open and Unfettered Internet as one of our great opportunities forward!

Latinos and all Americans win when our debates are vigorous, merit-based and respectful.  Only Latinos lose when Latinos attack Latinos.


Jul 22

The Growing Importance Of Hispanics In The Digital Space

Immigrants Become Naturalized US Citizens At Ceremony In New JerseyNew Census Bureau data estimate that the U.S. Hispanic population reached 54 million as of July 1, 2013, and it is no surprise that there is much talk about the power of the Hispanic voters and their impact on the upcoming midterm elections. From the Obama campaign’s “Digital First” strategy to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 2012 re-election campaign tactics, much has been written on how to win over the corazónes of the Hispanic voters. Yet, despite the growing importance of Hispanics in the digital space, some political campaigns are still relying heavily on mail, billboards or boots on the ground to get their message out, rather than a multifaceted approach to connect with Hispanic voters through culturally relevant content online and offline. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, there will be 42 million Hispanics online by 2015, which will represent 73% of the Hispanic population and 16 percent of the total online users in the United States. A survey published by Pew Research Center in 2013 also showed that 86% of U.S. Hispanics own a mobile phone and 76% of them use a mobile device to go online. Adult Hispanic mobile users are twice as likely as non-Hispanic users to be interested in receiving ads on their phone, and 58% of them have engaged in mobile commerce. That speaks volume about the need for campaigns to use digital media to reach Hispanic voters.

Another study from Pew Research Center revealed that 80% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. use social media. Six out of ten internet users ages 50-64 are social media users, as are 43% of those ages 65 and older. Additionally, according to Facebook’s Internal Data published in September 2013, 23 million Hispanics are active on Facebook every month and they outpace the overall U.S. subscriber base on mobile usage, frequency and overall engagement.

Campaigns can use social sentiment and predictive analytics to give campaign staff more information on what the Hispanic voters care about, how they will vote, and how to effectively message the campaign’s mission to them. The 2014 special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, which Republican David Jolly emerged as the winner against former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, is a good example for the application of social analytics. PsyID conducted a social analysis of voters from the district over several months leading up to the election, and their data consistently showed that Republican David Jolly was leading the social sentiment. Among the registered voters in the district, 39.25% of them shared positive sentiment for Alex Sink, while David Jolly led with a 46.2% positive sentiment. The social data showed what the district’s voters were talking about on social media and provided accurate predictive analytics. With a keen understanding of digital targeting and a data-centric approach, campaigns can improve their targeting efforts and increase their chances of winning the hearts of the Hispanic electorate.

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