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Animals Are “Overengineered” for Navigation

first_imgAnimals outshine us in many ways, but one capability that should humble us is animal navigation.  From spiders to mice, from birds to bees, the ability of animals to find their way around is truly astonishing, and James L. Gould of Princeton has raised our awareness of just how astonishing in a short article in Current Biology (March 23, 2004).1    He starts by explaining that navigation is more than just knowing which way you are pointed: “Nearly all animals move in an oriented way,” he says, “but navigation is something more: the directed movement toward a goal, as opposed to steering toward or away from, say, light or gravity.  Navigation involves the neural processing of sensory inputs to determine a direction and perhaps distance.”  As an example, he mentions how honeybees have to correct for the angle of the sun from morning to afternoon.  This involves much more than orienting at a fixed angle.  The bee has to use changing sensory information to maintain its internal map.    Gould mentions four stumbling blocks that prevented early investigators from appreciating the navigational abilities of animals.  Researchers apparently assumed natural selection was sufficient to explain it all.  He writes, “Several trends reflecting favorably on natural selection and poorly on human imagination characterized early studies of navigation.”  The stumbling blocks investigators have had to get over include:Spectral Breadth:  Early researchers assumed that animals were limited to our own human senses, but found out they can utilize a shopping list of cues invisible to us: ultraviolet light, infrared light, magnetic fields, electric fields, chemical pheromones, ultrasonic sounds and infrasonic sounds.  We were “blind to our own blindness,” he says, “and there is no reason to assume the list is complete.”Complexity: Another “crippling tendency” of early investigators was “what navigation pioneer Donald Griffin called our innate ‘simplicity filter’: the desire to believe that animals do things in the least complex way possible.”  Perhaps it was from our own pride of place, but according to Gould, we should be humbled:Experience, however, tells us that animals whose lives depend on accurate navigation are uniformly overengineered.  Not only do they frequently wring more information out of the cues that surround them than we can, or use more exotic or weaker cues than we find conceivable, they usually come equipped with alternative strategies – a series of backups between which they switch depending on which is providing the most reliable information.Recalibration:  Early studies assumed animals just needed to learn a trick once (a phenomenon called imprinting, true in some short-lived animals.)  Then they found out that some animals are able to recalibrate their instruments.Cognition:  The school of psychology known as behaviorism, which denies instinct, “puts a ceiling on the maximum level of mental activity subject to legitimate investigation,” Gould chides.  As a result of this bias, “most researchers deliberately ignored or denigrated the evidence for cognitive processing in navigating animals.”  Not all animals exhibit cognitive intervention, Gould admits.  But he then makes a very unDarwinian countercharge: “However, the obvious abilities of hunting spiders and honey bees to plan novel routes make it equally clear that phylogenetic distance to humans is no sure guide to the sophistication of a species’ orientation strategies.”    He gives an example: “One of the problems we inherited from behaviorism was the assumption that exploratory behavior must be rewarded.  However, many species examine their surroundings voluntarily and, in fact, do so in detail.”  (See example on mice below.)Let’s look at just a few of the “believe it or not” examples Gould showcases in the article:Honeybees:  Here is an example of switching inputs to get the most reliable information.  “A honey bee, for instance, may set off for a goal using its time-compensated sun compass.  When a cloud covers the sun, it may change to inferring the sun’s position from UV patterns in the sky and opt a minute later for a map-like strategy when it encounters a distinctive landmark.  Lastly, it may ignore all of these cues as it gets close enough to its goal to detect the odors or visual cues provided by the flowers.”Mice:  Here is an example of the “overengineering” Gould spoke of.  Many field animals, like mice, have a strong drive to acquire information about their home range in advance of need, whether or not (as behaviorism would expect) they get an immediate reward.  “Consider mice,” he says,which not only gallop endlessly in running wheels, but actually prefer difficulty, such as square ‘wheels’, or wheels with barriers that must be jumped.  Given a 430 meter long opaque three-dimensional maze of pipes, mice will work out the shortest path within three days, and without reward.Navigation requires determining direction:This can be achieved in two ways, and mice use both: they can use another landmark from their mental map and triangulate the direction of the goal, or they can use a landmark-independent compass like the earth’s magnetic field.–and they never joined the boy scouts.  What’s more, mice “can also navigate perfectly well, even if the habitat fails to provide useful landmarks.  They will remember the direction and length of each leg of their outward journey and integrate the result when they are ready to return and set off home,” even without a trail of bread crumbs. Pigeons:  Daytime provides celestial cues.  “…once the relationship between azimuth and time of day is memorized,” Gould says, “the animal has a highly accurate compass.”  We’ve all heard about the navigational feats of homing pigeons.  They can discern ultraviolet (UV) light, which accentuates polarization patterns of scattered sunlight, for drawing their mental map, and add to it individual data points like “the average of a night’s attempts to escape from a cage, or some other directional measure.”  The cues help them derive a mean vector, with direction pointing to the goal, and length representing scatter.  When all the cues line up, they’ve got their bearing.Migratory birds:  Birds who migrate between nesting grounds and wintering grounds can use sun cues, star cues, magnetic fields and landmarks to find their way.  Not only that, they can recalibrate the cues for seasonal changes, latitude, and longitude.  This requires recalibration:To infer the pole point through broken clouds, the animal’s map of the sky must be updated.  And as the migrants move south in the fall, new sets of stars in the southern sky appear, while northern stars slip below the horizon.  Clearly, changes in both season and latitude make relearning the stars essential.  Only fairly recently has this constant updating been demonstrated.”In fact, for unknown reasons, “nocturnal migrants calibrate their star pole to the magnetic pole.  Instead of simply taking the pole point as the true guide, the birds constantly recalibrate the magnetic pole to the geographic pole, and then the geographic pole to the magnetic pole.”Latitude: Fish, turtles, lobsters, and birds all determine their latitude by the angle of the magnetic field.  “In theory,” Gould says, “animals could obtain the same information from the sun’s noon elevation, but I know of no case in which this traditional human solution is used.”  The critters must know something we don’t.Longitude: house wrens, pigeons, sharks, salmon, sea turtles and spiny lobsters have all conquered a navigational problem that “bedeviled human navigators until very recently,” the problem of determining longitude.  How do they know distance east from west?  How can house wrens find their way back, unerringly, to the same nest box after a long flight at a different time of year from when they left?  “The apparent answer to this conundrum is provided by a map sense,” Gould answers.  The earth’s magnetic field provides both a map and a compass – just the tools you would need if released in an unfamiliar area. Pigeons again:  When homing pigeons circle around before heading home, they are reading the local map of magnetic gradients and extrapolating it from the one they learned at home.  How do pigeons detect the earth’s magnetic field?  They actually have magnetite grains in their heads, in the ethymoid sinus.  Experiments have shown that magnetic anomalies make the birds disoriented.  A sharp pulse of magnetism can severely impair their compass.  But remagnetize the organ by putting it into a magnetic field, and the bird is back to normalGould ends by pointing out two of the biggest challenges to researchers studying animal navigation: (1) the nature of the map sense, and (2) the issue of recalibration, which is still puzzling.  “The interaction of these specific learning programs,” he promises, “doubtlessly holds many magnificent secrets.” 1James L. Gould, “Magazine: Animal Navigation,” Current BiologyVol 14, R221-R224, 23 March 2004.Wow.  Thank you, Dr. Gould.  This article contains absolutely no hints about how such abilities could have evolved; in fact, it contains a couple of off-handed swipes at the notion that natural selection could explain them, or that skill correlates with “phylogenetic distance.”  This is surprising, considering that James L. Gould is a member of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton.  It could just as well have been written by Dr. Gary Parker at the Institute for Creation Research.  It’s a wonder the editors of Current Biology let this one get by without the required pinch of incense to Emperor Charlie.    Notice that these highly refined and accurate navigational skills are possessed by a wide variety of animals: mammals (e.g., mice), insects (e.g., Monarch butterflies — see 05/23/2003 and 07/09/2002 headlines), birds (e.g., Pacific golden plovers, which can navigate over open sea to the Hawaiian islands without having ever seen them), reptiles (e.g., sea turtles), crustaceans (e.g., lobsters), and fish (e.g., salmon).  Skill does not scale with presumed evolutionary advancement: for instance, the spiny lobster wins the prize for magnetic mapping (see 01/06/2003 headline).  Even bacteria and plants can orient themselves with respect to environmental cues.  Humans were given ability to build tools that can navigate a spacecraft to Saturn, but we must surely stand in awe of a God who could put technology that outperforms NASA into a bird brain.  This article goes to show that the film “Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution” could become an infinite series.  Click your way back through the “Amazing” chain links for many more examples.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Anti-Biblical Bias Shaped Geological Opinion

first_imgGeologists resisted evidence for catastrophic flooding because they wanted to distance themselves from Genesis.We’ve recounted the story of J Harlan Bretz several times over the years. His unconventional hypothesis about the origin of the Channeled Scablands in eastern Washington by catastrophic floods was resisted by the consensus of geological opinion. Now, two geologists propose that the massive canyons there and on Mars did not take as much water as previously believed. The write-ups of their findings reinforce what we’ve stated about anti-Biblical bias against catastrophism. Perron and Vinditti write in Nature,When the geologist J Harlen Bretz proposed in the 1920s that the Channeled Scablands were created by a catastrophic flood, his ideas were attacked relentlessly by geologists who subscribed to the mainstream view that erosion is slow and steady, and who wanted to distance their profession from the notion of a biblical deluge.Bretz’s triumph over his critics provides a classic case of a maverick overcoming a reigning paradigm through his personal courage and persistence, wielding incontrovertible evidence.The new consensus about the Scablands is strong, but needs modification, Perron and Vinditti say.Although the flood origin of the Channeled Scablands is no longer disputed, the sizes of the individual floods remain uncertain. It has become common practice to place an upper bound on the flow rate of the floods by assuming that they filled the present-day canyons to the brim. Estimated flood magnitudes based on this assumption range up to 60 cubic kilometres per hour — nearly 100 times the average flow rate of the Amazon River today. But these estimates might be much too large. Glaciologists have argued that it is difficult for ice sheets to store enough water to produce such enormous floods. The brimful-flood model also requires the unlikely scenario that each flood passing through the canyons was larger than the one that preceded it, because the canyon deepens as each successive flood erodes the bedrock.Now, Isaac Larsen (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Michael Lamb (Caltech) argue that about 5 to 10 times less water was required to carve the big canyons. Writing in Nature, they propose a “threshold shear stress model” to replace the brimful model. Their model has implications for other canyons on Earth, and for fluid-carved canyons on Mars as well.The threshold shear stress model implies that canyons in the Channeled Scablands were eroded by floods with depths that were a fraction of the relief of the final canyon (Fig. 4). This physics-based finding is consistent with several recent investigations of canyon carving at other sites on Earth and Mars: for example, those where bedrock incision by plucking or toppling of jointed rock occurs at depths less than brim-full, those where terrace chronology indicates multiple episodes of canyon incision, or those where lakes in breached craters contain insufficient water volumes to fill downstream channels.Our results suggest that the morphology of canyons (for example, terraces, valley shapes and slope profiles) on Earth and Mars could reveal information about both the history and discharge of flooding that warrants further investigation. The outburst floods that carved the Channeled Scablands were extraordinary under either end-member model, but predictions of discharges from the threshold shear stress model are five- to ten-fold smaller. On Mars, owing to the low permeability of aquifers, it has been challenging to reconcile the very large reconstructed brim-full discharges in outflow channels with a subsurface flood source. Given the proposed similarity in incision mechanics for outflow channels on Mars and in the Channeled Scablands, the threshold shear stress model provides a link between the physics of groundwater-sourced floods and terraces observed in orbital data, implying longer duration, lower discharge floods, or multiple floods on early Mars.NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine sums it up this way: “A new model of canyon-forming floods from UMass Amherst and CalTech researchers suggests that deep canyons can be formed in bedrock by significantly less water than previously thought.” Two consequences of this change of view seem evident. For one, it no longer seems necessary to presume that Mars had as much water as previously thought. A second implication is that floods on Earth can accomplish much more geological change with far less water. Rethinking the amount of water required “could reveal information about both the history and discharge of flooding that warrants further investigation.” This sounds like a shot in the arm for catastrophism.It’s not necessary to propose multiple floods (“tens of floods”) for the Channeled Scablands. Larsen and Lamb cite a 1985 paper by one guy for that idea. The important point is the tremendous power of water. If only 10% or 20% of the amount previously assumed could carve the Channeled Scablands, then it follows that a global flood would have correspondingly more power to alter Earth’s crust and sediments. It becomes more credible to associate a single catastrophe with the miles of sediments and deep canyons found all over the Earth, particularly on the Colorado Plateau where they are exposed so well with flat contacts speaking of a short period of time. Creation geologist Steve Austin mentioned “plucking” decades ago as a process that can accelerate bedrock erosion.Notice the anti-Biblical bias of the geologists of Bretz’s day. Perron and Vinditti say his views were “attacked relentlessly” because they seemed to support a Biblical flood account. The attacks went on for decades! Bretz stood alone against the establishment between the 1920s and the 1960s, when his views were finally accepted. (Remember that this was the period between the Scopes Trial and the Darwin Centennial.) We should not be discouraged if today’s secular materialists exhibit the same visceral reaction against intelligent design or creation geology. It’s hard to overcome an entrenched, powerful worldview. Its proponents sometimes never change. New views often gain traction one funeral at a time. Creation speakers have seen younger students be much more accepting of young-earth evidences than their hoary old dogmatic professors. We must keep the evidence out there where open minded young people can see it.Resource: Dr. Terry Mortenson’s DVD “Deep Time Evolution” from AiG has damning quotes from secular geologists from the 1790s and beyond, showing that they had made up their minds to hate Genesis before even looking at the evidence. Mortenson’s PhD specialty is the history of geology (see also his book The Great Turning Point for even more citations). He explains how evolutionists and creationists both have the same evidence, but their worldview drives their interpretation of the evidence. It takes courageous mavericks like J Harlan Bretz to stand against a crowd. Unfortunately, even Bretz did not take the implications of his finds far enough. Had he examined even larger canyons than the scablands, he might have been led to propose a world-wide flood. (Visited 96 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Amazing women celebrated

first_imgIt is a colourful event as guests stream in wearing a wide range of traditional attire in celebration of their heritage and individuality for the Owami Women’s Deep and Meaningful Conversation at Fabz Hotel in Lonehill on 24 September 2016. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)“If you are a South African and you feel that you want our country to be positive, it is your responsibility,” said Bridget Nkuna, founder of Owami Women’s Deep and Meaningful Conversation.The courtyard at Lonehill’s Fabz Hotel was awash with colour as a crowd of women, wearing the brilliant dresses and headwear that expressed their individual cultures gathered on Heritage Day to honour women who went above and beyond in playing their part to build a better South Africa.It was an opportunity to network and meet like-minded people from various cultures in the hopes of forging long-lasting and enriching relationships.Owami Women, in partnership with Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part initiative, used the day to recognise some of the amazing women in South Africa. The partners gave these women a platform to share their stories in a safe and nurturing environment.Members of the Owami Women collective put forward the names of the women they felt deserved this recognition the most. They received prizes as tokens of appreciation and acknowledgement of their willingness to go the extra mile for the sake of those who needed help.Owami Women, in partnership with Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part initiative, used the day to recognise some of the amazing women in South Africa. The partners gave these women a platform to share their stories in a safe and nurturing environment.THE AWARD WINNERS“Nothing is extraordinary about you except the things that come out of your mouth, except the things that you do with your hands, and your actions. That’s what makes you extraordinary,” said Alice Puoane, the chief financial officer of Brand South Africa.True to her words, this year’s crop of nominees was made up of extraordinary women who were, in their own way, making a positive contribution to society across the country under the pillars of education, skills development, entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment.Bongekile Radebe, a nominee, Mandela Washington Fellow and Play Your Part ambassador, was selected for her work in women’s empowerment.“What fuels me to do what I do is (that) often times we hear that we need more women leaders, and women need to take ownership of the economic space,” explained Radebe. “But (the) truth of the matter is, we’ve always had women leaders.”Cindy Ross, an attorney by trade, was nominated for her involvement in the Jala Peo Foundation through which she had affected the lives of many children by using cycling as a means to build character.“We try to teach the children that, if you can survive mountain biking you can survive in life,” Ross explained. “The discipline they put into training on the bike, they should put into life.”Busi Maluleke was nominated for her work with Progress SA. It drives rural development while emphasising education. It also gives people a chance to take part in sports as well as arts and culture.“We’re focusing on the holistic development of the environment, but our core is education,” Maluleke explained.Other nominees included Maselotsha Mphahlele of Dignity Dreams, Khulile Mtetwa of She Cares Women’s Foundation, Vanessa Kruger of the Pieter Kruger Foundation and author Victorine Mbong Shu.“Thank you very much to those (who) decided to give out my name,” said Mtetwa. “Allow me to say thank you to Brand South Africa for thinking about us and remembering that, when women are united together this world will be a better place.”GET INVOLVED“Let it not end with this event,” Puoane said, encouraging the audience to play an active role in developing South African people. “Go ahead and subscribe to Play Your Part, join Owami and influence positive change in your community.“No one will do better things for your community than yourself.”Owami Women encourages people to join its conversation. If you have a story or personal account that you would like to share, visit its contact page and get in touch.You can also have visit the Owami Women Facebook and Twitter pages to find out more about Owami and get in touch with Nkuna and partners.PLAY YOUR PARTAre you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you through business? Do you know of any business person who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.last_img read more

The Real Key Metrics (and Magic Numbers) Behind Successful B2B Sales Outreach

first_imgAI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… Related Posts Steve WoodsCTO, Nudge AI A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Steve Woods, CTO at Nudge.ai, is an experienced SaaS leader who is passionate about innovation, cloud computing, software evolution, marketing automation, and sales analytics. center_img Junior Sales Reps reaching out to Senior Prospects could expect an average response rate of 15 percent.Sales Leaders reaching out to their peers could expect an average response rate of 26 percent.Response rate per person by the level of seniority.What’s most interesting about these stats are that they hint at something far more important than volume and seniority levels but relationships. Your sales leaders likely have a broader perspective on the industry as well as a keener ability to map out a person’s challenges — and a potential pre-existing relationship — no matter how small.Ultimately, a sales leader is more likely to respond to outreach from a peer he has a relationship with (or sees value in building a relationship with) rather than a junior rep. The understanding of relationships, then, showcases the compelling reason why the conversation needs to happen right off the bat.People want more than just a generic sales pitch. They require the answers to their problems. The customer wants new insights and valuable connections. If your junior sales reps are reaching out to senior prospects, you’ll need to arm them with the correct tools. Your coaching can teach your reps the value they can bring to their prospects. Your coaching will guide your reps where to tap into a personal brand or unique industry insights. In coaching, you can uncover together where the well connected will pay off. It’s imperative for you, as a sales leader, to ensure that everyone reaching out to prospects have something valuable to offer.What This Means for You and Your TeamAs a sales leader, it’s essential to move past simply tracking raw activity and use the data you have on hand to measure results, success, and pain points. In the modern sales landscape, quality beats quantity more than ever. Understanding how you can value-add to your prospects will get you much farther than persistent outreach will. Remembering that relationships are about adding value and determining which reps are reaching out to which prospects. Think and plan beyond cold outreach to new candidates and consider building and strengthening in-deal relationships. A committee almost always does company purchases.The best thing you can do as a sales leader is coach your reps on how to build and strengthen relationships within that community. If you need a little extra push, Nudge is here to help. Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Tags:##HoldTheHustle#AI#B2B#data analysis#Magic Numbers#sales As a B2B sales professional selling to other B2B sales professionals, one of my primary goals during a sales call is figuring out the organization’s pain points. Of course, this varies based on many factors: the role and level of seniority of the person I’m talking to, the size of the company, the number of direct reports, etc.One thing every potential prospect can definitely stand to gain, though, is an objective overview of their sales funnel and more transparency on how they can improve and strengthen their relationships. There is a problem in cementing these business relationships. Every outreach effort comes at a cost: from finding and coaching the right sales reps to reaching out to the right prospects and finding them at the right time and with the right message. With so many issues coming into play, how will you gauge how well your sales team is doing compared to the rest of the industry?Old Motto: It’s All About the HustleAt some point five to ten years ago, “hustle” became the most valuable tool in a salesperson’s arsenal. Persistency was crucial and we all believed the more volume, the better. That is until we started automating our efforts. All of a sudden, buyers began to tune us out, and our efforts grew more and more stagnant.If you think about it, the idea that we should increase our volume of outreach is opposed to two main forces: psychology and technology.Sure, if you were a buyer in 2010, the chances are that an initial follow-up email actually piqued your interest — moving you to give the persistent rep 30 minutes of your time. Fast forward to 2018, and you get that email about 100 times a day. With your plate overflowing with goodies, you’re unlikely to even glance at those emails as you speed-click, “delete.”Secondly, approaching outbound sales as purely a numbers games means going head to head with technology — namely artificial intelligence (AI). Yes, AI can certainly be your friend but think about it: every email platform today is better at identifying spam than ever before. Those countless, generic “just following up” emails? They’re getting re-routed to the spam folder with blinding quickness. These forces also come into play beyond initial outreach. Just because you’ve gotten your foot in the door with a net new prospect, it doesn’t mean the work ends there. Building those relationships makes even more outreach necessary — both to strengthen the overall relationship and to move the deal along. But how do you compete with an increasingly disinterested party and ruthless spam folder?New Motto: #HoldTheHustleThe Nudge AI Manifesto: #HoldTheHustleHow do you move to the new way of doing things while effectively coaching your sales team to do better? There’s a lot of research to support the claim that successful sales coaching programs contribute directly to revenue performance. According to the Corporate Executive Board Company:“Sales reps who receive just three hours of coaching a month exceed their goals by seven percent, boosting revenue by 25 percent and increasing the average close rate by 70 percent.”Unfortunately, too many organizations aren’t dedicating the resources they should to make coaching part of company culture. When Nudge polled 100 sales leaders on their organization’s level of sales coaching maturity — more than half reported that coaching efforts were ad hoc at best. The reality is, many sales leaders are simply tracking metrics, making their team log every call, and hoping for the best. They still view sales as a numbers game and believe that persistence is vital. But what if I told you that that wasn’t true — that there is such a thing as going too far? Several magic numbers can act as a benchmark for better overall sales performance. Manage What You MeasureData is important but simply tracking it isn’t an effective use of your time — you have to manage it. Understanding which industry-standard metrics your sales reps are meeting, exceeding, or coming up short on will help you focus your coaching efforts in the right areas. You’ll want a determination of where you will focus the quality of your outreach. Will your company work toward volume, timing, or maybe titles?Striving to help users do more effective outreach at every level of the sales cycle is where you want to land. Nudge has provided a report that shares quantitative sales benchmark information that answers key sales outreach questions.First is the analyzation data from 3.1 million conversations between 1.4 million salespeople. This measurement gives enough information to achieve statistical significance across eight key roles. You’ll note two levels of seniority, and 20 different industries to find the industry standard and best-in-class sales outreach metrics. There are, of course, several metrics across every stage of the sales cycle and every one of those metrics tell a different story about how you could be approaching your relationships. Let’s focus on 4 key metrics that every sales team should be looking at:The number of emails needed to get a response.Timing between outreach efforts and response.Email response rates.Focusing on these numbers will help you do outreach more effectively. These are the number that tends to be where people mess up the most.1. Outreach VolumeIt takes several minutes to craft a well-researched, personalized email. But when reaching out to a prospect multiple times, you eventually get to the point where there is little use in sending “just another follow-up.” So, what’s the sweet spot after which you should re-focus your efforts on moving on to building relationships with a new prospect (net new or otherwise)?While the answer varies depending on a few factors (role, seniority of both parties, and industry), research has found that to get 90 percent of responses you’ll get — it takes between four to five emails.Ultimately, a high volume of activity doesn’t correlate to more deals, so hiring more Business Development Reps (BDRs) and turning up the number of outbound activities doesn’t necessarily equate to more revenue. Using your new coaching opportunities — if you only measure the number of activities without looking at the quality of those interactions — you might be missing out on opportunities to learn from high-performing reps.2. Response TimelineWhen going after a valuable prospect, trying to get their attention for days or weeks on end may feel like it’s worth it. But just as you’re only likely to get 90 percent of your responses after four emails, there’s also a time cap after which you’re unlikely to ever get an answer. So, when is it time to move on to the next?While the timeline varies based on the seniority of both the sales rep and the prospect, 90 percent of the responses you’re going to get will come within five weeks of your first outreach email.This is based on the knowledge that 90 percent of outreach sequences across roles are up to 13 weeks long, with the average sequence length being just 6.5 weeks long. It’s also interesting to note that, on average, four outbound emails are sent per sequence, with 90 percent of sequences containing seven emails or less.Why does this matter? Most sales reps continue to reach out to prospects well past the five-week period – which is when they’re the most likely to get a response. Additionally, they send up to three more emails in their outreach sequence than the recommended four.Most sales professionals waste 1.5 weeks and three emails per outreach sequence and on prospects that are most likely not going to respond.These numbers are based on communications found at all level of the sales cycle and serve to illustrate a point. Whether you’re dealing with net new prospects or you’re relationship building with current prospects, the struggles aren’t that much different. This makes a good case for quality over quantity. 3. Response RateOther than raw activity (volume), response, open, and clickthrough rates remain the most prevalent success metrics for sales reps. It’s widely accepted that these numbers tend to be quite low — especially when it comes to cold outbound emails. The success of each outreach is affected by a number of factors, ranging from the right subject line, the level of personalized content and the prospect themselves, to the number of emails sent and the length of each outreach sequence. What response rate should you be striving for in your particular role? While reps in different vital roles have response rates that range from 12% – 22% (depending on seniority) and individual email response rates vary between three percent and six percent. Prospects who eventually respond to sales outreach emails do so at an average rate of about 15.5 percent. If this number seems high, it’s likely because you’re only thinking of initial outreach. There won’t be sales reps out there hitting these numbers with cold outreach efforts.How do top sales reps get high response rates? Simple: they expand their outreach beyond the initial prospect and broaden their conversations to other contacts at the company. Rather than focus on relentless cold outreach, they build relationships with existing relationships on top of the committee of others who need to opt-in in order to make that one successful sale. This will mean the concerted efforts of everyone from sales leaders and IT, all the way up to the CEO.When digging further into response rates based on the level of seniority of both the rep and the prospect you’ll get mixed pairings as you go through the sales cycle and as you talk to more and more people.last_img read more

Quick Tips: Improving Your Product Shots and Commercials

first_imgThe key to an efficient product shoot is knowing which lights and what camera movement will deliver on your client’s expectations.The number one rule in product photography (video or photo) is making whatever you’re shooting aesthetically appealing — no matter what it is. That’s a lot of pressure. But let’s be real — it’s important to make clients happy and to keep getting gigs. So, how should you approach shooting something as mundane as a bottle, a box, a tool, etc.? Don’t Shoot Shallow FocusIn the video above, Kozu explains how shooting with a shallow depth of field can make the shoot seem lower-budget. Because you usually open up your aperture when you need more light, this “effect” makes it seem like you don’t have enough lighting for the product. It’s a simple aspect of the shoot that you might not consider. However, you must think about how your client will view the end result.Keep the Motion SimpleMake the shot about the product. Don’t try to outdo every other commercial you’ve seen. The focus should be on what you’re shooting, not how you’re shooting it. So keep it simple.Obviously, you’re not going to go out there and buy a KIRA or a MIA (or in this video’s case, a Bolt). That’s okay because those crazy, awesome, robotic camera movements aren’t necessarily something you need just yet. You can pull off all of the classic moves you need with an inexpensive slider or a jib.Double the MotionSo, in addition to some nice, simple moves, add a Lazy Susan turntable to the shot. Not only does this add more energy, it’s a cheap, totally viable way to increase production value. These simple, sleek turns will create the movement and presentation you need to really showcase a product, no matter what you’re shooting. You can pull this type of shot off using a jib or gimbal to push in or pull out from the product.If you’re interested in learning more about jibs and cranes, check out our video tutorial.Study the MaterialHere is, perhaps, the single greatest piece of advice: prepare. Preparing for the shoot can single-handedly save your entire video. With product shots, specifically, you want to know how light will react ahead of time. You want to know what lights to bring and how to use them. Knowing the product will also help you determine what types of motion and camera movements you’re going to need — one step guides the next. Recently, we covered how lighting a scene the night before can save you a lot of time and effort — the same is true here.If you’re interested in the specifics of how to light your product shoot, check out our tutorial below: Cover image via Indy Mogul.Looking for more filmmaking tips and tricks? Check out these articles.Production Tips: The Four Secrets of a Successful DocumentaryVideo Tutorial: Determining The Best Lens for Your ProjectThe Best Quotes from Directors, Editors, and Everything in BetweenTutorial: Removing Audio Pops and Recording Audio DifferentlyDirecting Challenges: How to Communicate Effectively with Actorslast_img read more

Adarsh scam: Vilasrao Deshmukh bent rules for ex-army chiefs

first_imgThe Adarsh Housing society in Mumbai.Union rural development minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has made the sensational disclosure that he had bent rules to give memberships to former army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N. C. Vij in Mumbai’s controversial Adarsh housing society.In a 15-page affidavit filed before the two-member inquiry panel headed by retired Bombay High Court judge J. A. Patil, Deshmukh said, “I approved the proposal to relax the domicile norms/conditions in case of Generals Vij and Kapoor. This decision was fully justified and fitting, considering their eminence and their distinguished service to the nation.”Bending the rules enabled the two generals to get membership of the society and qualified them for a flat in the housing complex.Deshmukh, who is a former Maharashtra chief minister, had also held the urban development portfolio in the state cabinet.He had earlier been quoted as saying that he had only played a peripheral role in the Adarsh allotments.His admission before the Justice Patil commission on favouring Gen Kapoor and Gen Vij could prove tricky for the UPA which had probably felt that the Adarsh scam would not return to haunt them after Ashok Chavan was made the fall guy and asked to resign as chief minister.The CBI too was asked to probe the housing scam as the scam erupted.The Patil commission was set up to probe irregularities in Adarsh housing society. Last year, the media reported violations of building and environment rules which were overlooked by the Congress-led government in Maharashtra to allow the construction of the high-rise Adarsh society complex in the city’s Colaba area.advertisementIn his affidavit, Deshmukh acknowledged that he did not entertain any other request for membership to get a flat in the Adarsh complex. The matter relating to Gen Kapoor and Gen Vij was “approved as a special case” and would not be treated as a precedent, the former chief minister said in the affidavit.Click here to EnlargeDeshmukh justified his decision to relax the society’s membership rules for the two generals because they had served in the state for a “considerable period of time”. While Gen Vij had served in Maharashtra for 10 years, Gen Kapoor’s stint lasted for seven years, he said.However, legal luminaries have asked whether armed forces personnel stationed in a command posting can be described as those ‘serving in a state’ for domicile purposes since they are sent to all parts of the country, depending on the unit they have joined.Deshmukh’s affidavit does not clarify this point.The Union minister’s affidavit also states that the Adarsh society land belonged to the Maharashtra government and was never reserved for defence personnel or Kargil war heroes.”The records maintained with the office of the Collector of Mumbai clearly show that the land belonged to the state government and the ownership of the land was never an issue at any stage so far as I am concerned,” he told the commission.The Adarsh society land was not reserved for housing defence personnel or Kargil war heroes either under the development plan for Greater Mumbai or under any of the policies of the state government, the union minister added. However, he claimed, the land was in the Army’s possession.Click here to EnlargeIn presenting the affidavit, Deshmukh appeared to be abdicating his supervisory responsibility by blaming the state machinery for decisions taken on the controversial Adarsh society during his tenure as Maharashtra chief minister.The affidavit begins with a long explanation on the functioning of the state government machinery and how a chief minister takes decisions.For instance, it says that the files put up before the chief minister sets out the clear views or opinion formed by the administration on a proposal.The chief minister is not required to personally scrutinise or cross verify every fact stated in the proposal.In the past chief ministers have been hauled up by the Supreme Court for their supervisory lapses on construction projects.Deshmukh also denied that the state’s revenue department was asked to put up a proposal for allotment of land to Adarsh society at the insistence of the then Shiv Sena MLC Kanaihyalal Gidwani.This was one of the several charges activist Santosh Daundkar had made in an affidavit before the inquiry Commission.”The suggestion that I ordered the allotment of land to Adarsh in an irregular and/ or improper manner to favour Gidwani is fully mischievous,” he stated, but said that he might have met Gidwani during his tenure.advertisementIt has been alleged that Deshmukh approved a proposal to grant additional floor space index (FSI) to Adarsh by taking over adjacent land reserved for BEST depot and converting it to residential type.However, the union minister defended his decision by saying that the decision to change the land use of a plot reserved for BEST to residential was just and in accordance with law. The notification was done in 2006.The due process of law was followed and it was done in public interest, he said. BEST’s interest was also protected and there was no loss to the government exchequer as Adarsh society paid Rs 6.40 crore for acquiring the rights of the plot, he said. BEST never opposed his government’s decision, Deshmukh claimed.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

Capturing the colours

first_imgSo it was, with artist Sun I-Yu when she first visited India more than 10 years ago. In her on going exhibition Colours of India, she has put together a series of oil paintings and crystal sculptures reflecting her impressions of the country.For her colour and beauty in India is not mere theory, it is a practical expression of national identity, shaped by religious devotion and a long and proud cultural heritage. In artist Sun L-Yu’s words ‘Indians are magicians when it comes to matching colours – putting orange with purple evokes celebrations and festivals, deep blue with dark green portrays serenity, yellow and fuchsia is vivid and full of vitality. Men’s turbans, too, display a distinct sense of character, reflecting the personality of the wearer and speaking of firmness of purpose’. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Besides the wealth, she saw the poverty in the country, but was particularly struck by the breathtaking colours that she witnessed all around. On that very first trip, she was captivated by the dazzling spectrum of hues of even the simplest garments. Then, after seeing them again and again over several years, she gained a firm sense of the vibrant spirit that runs through daily life in this country. Over the course of her visits to India, she has endeavoured to capture in her painting the pure, vibrant visual sensation of the country.When: 12th December, 11 am onwardsWhere: Lokayata Artists Gallery Hauz Khas Villagelast_img read more

Missing fishermen Two bodies one trawler found

first_imgDiamond Harbour: Bodies of two of the 19 missing fishermen were found in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday by rescuers, while one of the three capsized trawlers was also spotted, officials said.The Coast Guard, along with the police and a fishermen’s association, is conducting search and rescue operations to find out the fishermen who had gone missing on Monday afternoon.A Coast Guard official, who did not wish to be quoted, said efforts were on to retrieve the two bodies from the sea. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThree trawlers capsized in the rough seas around 4 pm on July 16 and 47 fishermen fell into the water, officials said adding that 28 of them were rescued by other trawlers.The trawlers had overturned in the Bay of Bengal, off Frazerganj in the Sundarban area of south Bengal.”Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft from Kolkata, a hovercraft from Frazergunj and Coast Guard Ship Sujoy inspite of inclement weather and rough seas carried out extensive search for missing fishermen off Sagar island,” a Coast Guard statement said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Today morning, one of the missing boats was sighted about 30 miles south off Dalhousie island. No survivor was found,” it said adding that search is being continued.Secretary West Bengal United Fishermen Association Bijan Maity had earlier saidsix to seven trawlers carrying men from Namkhana and Kakdwip areas of South 24 Parganas district, set sail around 10 am on Monday as there was “no MeT department warnings on radio”.The MeT office website, however, showed that West Bengal fishermen were advised against venturing into the sea on Monday.Although many trawlers returned to safety, three boats — FB Malleshwar, FB Joykishan and FB Maa Shibani — capsized in the sea.Ten fishermen of FB Joykishan and six of FB Malleshwar, and three more of some other trawlers have gone missing, Maity said.All the 17 fishermen of Maa Shibani, six of Joykishan and five of Malleshwar have been rescued, he said.last_img read more