Executive Summary


Ex-Professor (Finance, Sustainable Business, Management, Leadership) in the USA, China, and South / Central America, with Universities like Virginia Tech & Warren Wilson.

Jonathan Poston has a business / start-up focused Master's degree (business administration / entrepreneurship coursework), and experience owning P&Ls, building and leading best-in-class teams (+contractors, agency partners, cross departmental resources, etc.), defining & executing digital road maps, overseeing digital strategy development, planning, and testing initiatives.

  • Performance management & analysis of metrics, kpis, and goals.
  • Establishing standard operating procedures & processes for maximum efficiency.
  • Continuous performance optimization for digital campaigns.
  • Aligning with product & marketing managers, web developers & designers, along with primary stakeholders to deliver world class digital customer touch points.
  • Managing the curation and integration of digital platforms.
  • Proven track record of delivering results.
  • Deep understanding of user story and customer journey.


Ezcater Lay offs Due To Coronavirus

Ezcater, another tech company to lay off workers


I noticed a LinkedIn post below indicating  a big lay off at ezcater, comment to confirm.
I received a call this morning telling me that I, along with several of my colleagues at ezCater have been laid off due to the Coronavirus. All I can say is thank you to everyone at ezCater for molding me into the individual I am today. I'm more than confident that you guys will bounce back stronger than ever. My journey at ezCater may have come to an end, but the memories, friendships, and experiences gained will live with me for the rest of my career. I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my career and as always - it's never goodbye but see you later!
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Thumbtack Layoffs - Coronavirus 2020

Thumbtack Layoffs Because Of Coronavirus

Another tech company to do massive layoffs during covid19 is Thumbtack, as evidenced by the LinkedIn post I saw, below:

If you were affected feel free to post a comment with your linkedin to network.

Unfortunately my time at #Thumbtack was cut short last week due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Although my time there was brief, I have nothing but good things to say about the company. I stand behind their mission to help small businesses find new customers, something that they so desperately need in today's economy. I met some incredibly talented people and learned a lot in the short time that I was there and I wish the company nothing but success in the future. With that being said I am excited to see what opportunities are out there for me, if you know of anyone hiring, I would be very grateful if you would let me know. #covid19 #jobsearching #laidoff #siliconslopes

CorePower Yoga Layoffs - Coronavirus 2020

CorePower Yoga lays off 193 staff at five studios


Another industry that has been pounded by COVID 19 is Yoga. Yes, there is Zoom Yoga, but no amount of that has stopped yoga layoffs like what we see with companies like CorePower Yoga which is reported to have laid off 193 staff that operated within five of their studios. Their LinkedIn below says they have over 3000 employees, so while 193 cuts would only be a small percentage, it is still enough of a lay off to post about - especially if you can connect with some yoga instructors and port them into your zoom work out sessions - now you have a talent pool of yoga instructors to tap!

corepower yoga layoffs


In Theater Rental Amazon Prime - No Need To Go Out To The Movies

Amazon Prime Video Cinema Brings Movies Out In Theaters To Home


I just noticed on Amazon that you can now get access to the movies in theaters through Amazon Prime's Video Cinema. Here is the screen I see on my Amazon account: 



The theater movies that are available for home viewing as of 3/31/2020 through Amazon are: 

  • Disney's Onward
  • I still believe
  • EMMA
  • Bloodshot
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • The Way Back
  • The Invisible Man
  • Birds of Prey
  • The Hunt

END

Yeah, not that many for now, but I bet with the new world of no touch and social distancing there will be more coming soon.
 

Sojern Layoffs | Coronavirus 2020

Sojern Layoffs Due To Coronavirus

The travel industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic response. An example of that is a post I saw from LinkedIn on Sojern layoffs. It is interesting to see how a language of "alumni" is used for people who have been laid off, which could be a good way of bonding with others from the company who have been affected.

Last week was an incredibly difficult week at Sojern. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the travel industry and like so many other companies, had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to a number of our beloved Sojernistas. To my network, Sojern employees are undoubtedly best-in class. They are some of the most talented, dedicated, hardworking, caring individuals I’ve had the privilege of working with. If you are in search of top-rate talent, please post a comment or DM me so that I may share with those that have been impacted! Sojern will work thru this crisis and will thrive on the other side, while we honor the Sojern Alumni who laid the foundation over the past 12 years. If you are looking to fill roles ranging from: sales, account management, marketing, tech operations, analytics, people operations please let me know and I will make a connections. hashtagsojern hashtagworldtravel hashtagtravelandtourism

Should I continue to advertise with paid media & paid search during Coronavirus?

Yes, you should keep advertising during coronavirus, here's why

The knee jerk reaction is to stop advertising when a recession or crises occurs, usually because it is so easy to turn off the paid media / paid search  and because the first thing that comes to mind is - well no one is buying so why advertising, won't it be a waste of money? 

This article  makes it clear that advertising during a recession is fully warranted in order to maintain market share. It's just like why it is important to invest in stocks during a bear market even though the urge is to cash in and run.

Good business principles dictate that what is right is usually counter-intuitive, something akin to running straight into fear in order to resolve it. Granted some industries are thriving and will always thrive during crises and right now some of the businesses that are doing well during coronavirus might be toilet paper, bidets, meal planning (note Blue Apron's stock increase streak), medical masks, dog masks, hand sanitizer, medical supplies, cooking equipment like cast iron pans and grills, home gym equipment, games and movies that are streamed and played while hunkered down and social distancing. 

Thoughts?

Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh Economy Outlook During Covid

How Coronavirus is expected to affect Chapel Hill, Durhan & Raleigh

Currently, March 23 2020, real estate sales are strong in Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham. Houses are still getting offers within 24 hours of being lists and multiple offers are coming in. 

In the question, "Which areas will likely be most resilient?" featured in an article on LinkedIn titled "Where The Recession Will Hurt Most", there is a snippet: "Agricultural towns like Madera, California, and tech-focused university cities like Provo, Utah, and Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C., according to Brookings."

In this Brookings study about what places a covid 19 recession will hit hardest, we see that "among the 100 largest metro areas, the economically safest are mostly tech-oriented university towns. Provo, Utah is the least exposed, followed by Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C., Hartford, Conn., Albany, N.Y., and San Jose, Calif."

This is in contrast to cities focused on tourism and gas like Honolulu, Las Vegas, Laredo & Midland Tx, which are expected to be hit the hardest during the covid 19 recession. It is also expected that agriculture based cities will fair well.

Any other thoughts - comments welcomed.

Voice Search Optimization For Large Coporations

Voice Search Optimization Phases, Tools & Development 


Consider the Phases Prior To Implementing a Voice Search Optimization Strategy


 The first thing to understand about what it means for large businesses to get started with voice search is that there are phases. Before all of the phases, there will be discovery where stakeholders consider the cost and benefits of innovating an existing infrastructure and updating it to be voice search friendly, just like what was done with mobile. It took some companies years to upgrade to responsive, once they realized it was an inevitably.

Once the commitment is made on an executive level, and there is a voice search budget (which should at the minimum be 100k on the content side just to move some viable research into implementation - for development, depending on what kind of voice search application, more like 500k, unless it is an Alexa skill- the cost to create an Alexa skill starts around 50k for a reputable firm to take on a project like this) to do what needs to be done.

Then there is a research phase which involves using a lot of different tools and platforms.There is a planning stage phase where the competition is assessed and considered. There is finally the implementation phase where before anything is done all approvals must be made, and phases created for each (content, voice search app dev, etc.). Then once implementation occurs,  put tracking in place so improvements or modifications can be made, and learnings can be gained in order to evolve the campaign  / products as a whole.

Research Phase


The research phase of voice search optimization includes figuring out what phrases or keywords your customers will likely to be using. Because Google is now evolved to become more of an answers engine rather than a search engine much of the research phase will involve selecting and finding keywords and phrases that are more geared towards asking questions, and providing answers. So, you will need to find a lot of keywords that match those questions and shape the answers. For example a voice optimization search research phase for a restaurant may find people are asking, where is the best chicken sandwich near me, and the corresponding answer may be, the best chicken sandwich in X City (New York City, etc.) is at X. That content may also have ratings and other supporting content in order to validate that claim.

Planning 


Once all of this is done then there is a lot of raw search data and a lot of opportunities that can be considered from this data set. This is where priorities are made based on business goals or where many of the keywords and phrases are eliminated because maybe they are too competitive or maybe they are just not relevant so there is actually a lot of planning that needs to be done to prepare a final strategy. 

Strategy Implementation


 The implementation phase is when all the planning has been done and a final strategic approach has been determined in terms of what voice keywords will be used, on what pages they will be used, on how the content will be created or modified, and how to accommodate those keywords. Usually during implementation there are number of approvals that need to be gained before making these changes. There are of course sub-phases to consider with this, which would be content planning and implementation graphic design that supports that content development.  For example consider a restaurant that wants its customers to be able to go to the website and order food right there from the website. That is a case where the web development team will need to create a order by voice application that lets visitors to that restaurant's website order by voice right there from an order page. That build will require it's own set of phases.

Other Considerations

Voice search tool sets and platforms


While there are a number of seo keyword research tools that can be used to figure out what types of keywords are being used for voice search commands and queries, such as MOZ, BrightEdge, SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc., it is important to note that there will likely be new voice search optimization tools or existing tools that are updated for voice search, so stay turned.

Partner with development

One thing to consider with voice search is that while voice search optimization can guide the process of selecting keywords and phrases that will be used in commands and queries that are made by voice A.I. assistants or different ordering applications set up to be voice oriented, many voice applications will actually need to be developed beyond simply optimizing content on a website for voice search Q&A. This may be as easy as developing a new skill developed on Alexa which is already a voice search oriented platform or as complex as creating a voice search ordering application from scratch which will be a much different, more complex mission. But either way voice search optimizers should be prepared to partner with development teams in order to get the most out of the voice search reality that is coming to our digital world in the near future.

Tombras Group Review - What It Is Like To Work There 2020

Working At The Tombras Group In 2020 - Knoxville TN Ad Agency

Here is what I wrote in a Glassdoor review, which I hope you will mark as helpful here (if you find it so)

Tombras as a company is growing at an incredible pace: 350 employees, Fortune 500 clients, and values that make people proud to work here. Before I first accepted the position, I read all of the glassdoor reviews, and there were some that made me wonder what Tombras was really like. You never know until you get a few months in. I am now over two years in, and feel like I have a deep understanding of the company and culture.

Tombras leaders have been really smart to have literally transformed the entire company in only two years. The calculated risks this family of entrepreneurs made are paying off for everyone involved. Here is my story, so far... A couple of years ago, Tombras had made a huge jump from several offices outside of town into now operating from its own modern building in downtown Knoxville, with an amazing rooftop area where creatives work under a blue sky and with a fresh breeze coming off of the Appalachians. I have spent many warm weather days up there working. Tombras has its own parking lot and the best location downtown. It is literally the best place to work in Knoxville.

Our dept has increased staff by like 500% - and the retention is nearly 100%, with most everyone getting annual promotions (though that is not a given). IMO, that is a testament of a strong business, with the empathy of one that is independent and family run. We have paternity leave, and loads of other summer days off and holidays. Go out for lunch, dinner, or evening beverages, and everyone in town will "know" you if you're from Tombras, having stories to share, or wanting the latest news about what Tombras is doing next.

The effect this creates is magical, especially for recruiting, which means some of the world's best ad agency professionals are working here, moving in from NYC, SF, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, pretty much all over. I think I saw someone just started is from South Africa. Legit pros, every single person here. People who have worked on Super Bowl ads, award-winning paid search and SEO accounts, every creative endeavor you can imagine. Inside of the building is a blend of Manhattan meets NASA Mission Control (i.e. the big screens in the wing dedicated to Analytics / Data Science displaying live metrics and kpis across hundreds of key data points).

All of this means we are working with many of the popular household brands - I can't say here anything about the Silicon Valley tech start-up we just started working with, but you would definitely know it, because you've used it. Who hasn't. It is often surreal, with film and creative crews packing up and catching flights around the world to visit clients. Often clients visit Knoxville, which has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife and outdoors, and I think some spend a few extra days in town enjoying the visit.

Tombras also has locations in Atlanta, Charlotte, New York City, Nashville, and Washington D.C.. Ultimately, if you want to be on the absolute sharpest edge in the ad world today, whether you are just starting out, or coming in as a seasoned pro, Tombras is I want to say top ten in the USA in terms of the clients we work with and press we get, but in my opinion, Tombras is a stratospheric black swan, a rising force that is taking the industry by complete surprise.

Coronavirus Layoffs | List of Companies

 List of Companies Laying Off Employees Because of Covid-19 Coronavirus - 2020


With a nearly complete economic shutdown in the USA because of the March 2020 covid-19 coronavirus, a growing list of companies are laying off workers. The New York Times printed an article March 17 titled the "layoffs are starting and the forecasts are bleak". What companies are laying off now? Here's a list. 

  1. Mariott - tens of thousands - source
  2. MGM resorts closed 150 bars and restaurants - source
  3. Caesars Entertainment - source
  4. Compass Coffee - source
  5. Dubliner - source
  6. Cirque Du Solei - source
  7.  GE  - source
  8. Scandinavia Airlines - source
  9. Air Canada - source
  10. Trump's Hotels - source
  11. Sonder- source
  12. NRA - source
  13. Mitchell Plastics - source
It is sad that companies do not have the financial resources to last for more than a few days without laying people off - but these first waves of layoffs are coming from industries most affected like, hospitality, restaurants, travel, events, etc. and will most likely continue as the virus spreads and begins to cause real damage. 

If you know of companies laying off, feel free to comment with details. 

Where Do Voice Assistants Get Local Business Information | Google, Siri, Cortana, Alexa

Sources of Content & Information That Apple's Siri, Google Voice, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana Use For Answers  - Table 


Apple Siri Google Voice Assistant  Amazon Alexa Microsoft Cortana
Apple Maps Connect Google My Business Yelp Bring Places
Yelp / Others Connect
Yext Yelp

FAQs

Where Does Siri Get Her Local Business Information? From Apple Maps & Yelp

Where Does Google Voice Assistant Get Local Business Information? From Google My Business

Where Does Amazon Alex Get Local Business Information? From Yelp & Yext

Where Does Microsoft Cortanan Get Local Business Information? From Bing Places & Yelp. 


What Devastation Did Ancient Synthetic Life Wake Up: Picard Episode 8 | Spoilers

The Ancient Synths Caught The Attention Of What? | Picard Spoilers

In Picard, episode 8, it is clear that ancient civilizations that creates synthetic life was destroyed so utterly that there is an artifact - The Admonition - left behind which drives those who receive the images insane. Now the Romulan Zhat Vash are on a mission to destroy all synths out of fear that whatever the creation of the ancient synths woke up or caught the attention of...but what was that? An all powerful demon like Dormammu or a biblical devil? This is the question viewers are left with after episode 8.

It seems clear that the synths themselves were not the threat but somehow their advancement attracted some destroying force. "Like the Zefram Cochrane warp drive," Rios says. "When you cross that line, somebody shows up." But, how would this be that synths could attract such a monster - that evil force would need to be either threatened by synths (so maybe it is another a.i. with an inferiority complex or a powerful race of beings that had its own problems with synthetic lifeforms...or it feeds on synths)...what other reason could there be?


What Was The Admonition And What Came To Destroy Organic Life?


It's pretty clear now that what came was a powerful synthetic life force and that the Admonition was not for the Vulcans but for the synths, as a way to let them know that synth destroyers will come anytime they are needed to destroy captors and oppressors. 

Here Is Jeff Bezos 's Full 4-Page Coronavirus Letter PDF to Amazon

Here Is Jeff Bezos 's Full 4-Page Coronavirus Letter to Amazon  


Jeff Bezos just wrote a four page letter to Amazon employees and posted it to Instagram. In this he is talking about a change in supply and general business at the company in response to Covid-19 where more masks, home essentials, etc. will be available.

Here is a link to a Google doc where you can view the whole four page letter Bezos wrote, or pdf it if you wish: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wTwMaWtUr-Rj3mDvmSUQ9kng9sMAFON-IPwzTyChz7c/edit?usp=sharing




Toast Layoffs | Because Of 2020 Coronavirus Covid-19

 Toast Layoffs Due To Coronavirus


One would think in the start up world of computer software like Toast, things would be okay, but since this is a saas product serving the restaurant industry, it is taking a hit due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. I saw this post below on LinkedIn as one example of the layoffs happening there: 
toast layoffs 2020
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Just 2.5 short months ago, I was so excited to start my journey at Toast, building the people analytics team. It was a rocketship- a transparent, vibrant culture with a people-first mentality- everything I could ever ask for. Very quickly, I knew Toast was special- the people were fantastic, the vision was amazing, and the customer-first, restaurant-focused mentality resonated with me. In my first two months, it was everything I had hoped for. We were starting to work on innovative projects, develop relationships, and align on vision. And then, COVID-19 took over, and sadly, today ends my short journey at Toast. The restaurant industry has been severely impacted, and Toast has suffered in result. I am so disappointed that the vision we had for people analytics will not be realized, at least not today. I hope that Toast weathers this storm and is able to rebuild soon. In the meantime, I am asking for the help of my network in finding my next role. If you know of people analytics roles in the Boston area (or remote), I'd love to chat. We will all make it through to the other side, and when we do, I intend to hug my friends and family tightly. I also am always happy to return the favor, whenever there is need. hashtagpeopleanalytics hashtaghranalytics hashtagfutureofwork hashtagworkforceanalytics