May 19, 2020

[Video] 15 Worst Business Decisions

Shane Watson
2 min
[Video] 15 Worst Business Decisions

From corporate marketing wars to skimping on ingredients, here are 15 times well-known companies failed at Decision Making 101:

15. 20th Century Fox gave all merchandising rights for Star Wars to George Lucas—and you’ll never believe the price tag.

14. Which major network passed on producing The Cosby Show when initially approached by Bill Cosby?

Related: Reasons Why Sustainability is a Good Business Decision 

13. Reese’s Pieces tripled in sales after being featured in ET—too bad this major candy manufacturer was asked first but decided not to participate.

12. Kodak, the now bankrupt camera company, was the original creator of the digital camera but decided not to tell the world—can you guess why?

11. Schlitz Beer, a brand hardly anyone has ever heard of today, used to be the second most popular brand in the U.S. What happened?

10. Webcrawler, the internet search function created by Excite, had the chance to buy Google at a ridiculously low price—and after passing once, the now internet-giant (which grosses approximately $60 billion per year) even lowered the asking price to this.

Related: How Google has Changed the World: 10 Years Since IPO

9. The world’s first oil drilling apparatus was developed by Edwin Drake but the million-dollar tool was introduced to the market by someone else. What happened?

8. What invention did Western Union scoff at, passing on the chance to purchase the patent for the “electrical toy”?

7. Anyone remember Microsoft Bob?

6. Which video game company turned down Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak when approached with what would soon become the world’s first Personal Computer?

Related: [Video] 13 Things You Don't Already Know About Elon Musk

5. A record label’s Manager of Talent actually passed on the opportunity to sign the Beatles in 1962. His reasoning is priceless.

4. Coca-Cola tried to reinvent itself with a new name and new taste—called New Coke—and the world flipped. What was the reasoning for such a negative reaction?

3. This now bankrupt company (we’re sensing a theme here…) passed on the chance to buy Netflix for a mere $50 million. Can you guess which one?

2. When three major stars left their roles on MASH, Fox decided to sell the rights for all 168 episodes to various television stations for $20 million. You’ll never believe how much each episode grossed afterwards.

1. Walmart versus Kmart: How did the new kid on the block push out the old favorite? 

Related: Walmart Foundation Gives $2.5M to Share Our Strength 

Watch the video below for all the details. 

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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