The Evolution of Facebook’s News Feed

Posted on November 25th, 2015 by REFUGE Categories Blog

By Vlad Vidaeff
In 2005, I happened to be one of the first batches of teenagers to try out what was at the time a strange new website: Facebook.  After graduating from high school, I was eagerly awaiting the start of college after the summer.  Going to school out of state, I didn’t know anyone else who was planning to attend the University of Michigan.  With Facebook gaining popularity among my age group, I thought it would be a fun way to get to know some of my classmates before I stepped foot on campus.  Ten years later, it’s remarkable to see how far Facebook has come.  Facebook is no longer exclusive to college students (I remember being quite ticked off when non-college students were allowed to join).  When the first version of the News Feed was introduced, I remember being upset with the added feature.  Facebook groups were created to protest the News Feed.  This blog will focus on the evolution of Facebook’s News Feed.  The technical aspect behind Facebook’s algorithm and what it means to marketers will also be analyzed.  Lastly, we will take a peak into what the future might hold. (more…)

Thanksgiving: A time for Family, Thankfulness, and Gratitude?

Posted on November 19th, 2015 by REFUGE Categories Blog

By Vlad Vidaeff
While the history behind how Thanksgiving came to be (cue the mistreatment of Native Americans) is controversial, the holiday itself has come to represent many wholesome values today.  To many Americans, Thanksgiving is a day off from work and an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family while enjoying a home-cooked feast.  For many years, Thanksgiving has also been the most important shopping weekend for the retail industry.  Black Friday is the day when many retailers have traditionally offered deep discounts on hot items.  However, things have changed with the growing impact of the Internet and the rise of ecommerce.   Online retailers, with Amazon being the most prominent, developed Cyber Monday to serve as the day when consumers can capitalize on huge savings the Monday before Thanksgiving.  As a result, many big-box retailers have had their sales drop as some consumers have shifted to making their purchases solely online.  To fight back, in recent years, many large retailers have started opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day.  Is this what we really want as a society? (more…)

Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Artificial Intelligence

Posted on November 11th, 2015 by REFUGE Categories Artificial Intelligence

By Vlad Vidaeff
As humans, we have always had a fascination with robots and the technological wonders that the future will provide.  The popular children’s television show The Jetsons had flying cars.  An artificially intelligent robot, Data, was a popular character on Star TrekBattlestar Galactica took a look at what happens when advanced robots revolt.  The Terminator franchise covers a similar theme.  Last week, on November 6, 2015, Toyota announced that it’s investing $1 billion in artificial intelligence research.  Toyota is creating a new company, Toyota Research Institute, to focus on the initiative with headquarters at Stanford and a second laboratory at MIT.  The company will begin operations in January 2016, just a few short months away. (more…)

The Insider’s Guide to Webinars

Posted on November 4th, 2015 by REFUGE Categories Blog

By Vlad Vidaeff
I have been a huge supporter of webinars for quite some time.  After graduating with my MBA, I had an advanced understanding of marketing from a theoretical perspective.  However, most of the day-to-day skills that are necessary to be a successful marketer are not taught in business school.  Instead, I gained these skills in large part through on-the-job training.  To accelerate my development, I used webinars to gain exposure in areas where I was lacking.  Case in point, SEO.  I used webinars as a source to gain exposure to SEO.  As the field of marketing continues to change, webinars are a great way to continue learning and sharpening your toolset.   Personal stories out of the way, this blog will serve as your insider’s guide to webinars.  We will give you some practical tips on starting a webinar as well as the many benefits of this medium. (more…)