Has The Age of George Jetson IoT Time Come? Alex Was the Star of CES

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is the software that allows owners to control compatible devices with their voice. From the various  reports it was estimated there were 700–1,100 Alexa-controllable products at CES. And the Amazon / Alexa logo was everywhere at CES.

Is the Age of George Jetson here? In a smart home, everything from the the HVAC to the TV to window shades can be controlled. However it’s not easy to really have a whole house of Artificial Intelligence (AI) controlled devices. Why? Many of the IoT-enabled devices don’t talk to other devices if they are made by different manufacturers. Opps! The IoT world awaits THE killer app, like Apple Homekit or Google Home. We are still waiting for them to provide all encompassing, unified smart “home.”

The Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker controlled with your voice. It connects to the Alexa Voice Service to provide information, news, play music, report on sports scores, deliver weather reports… The uses for AVS and Alexa are limited only by your imagination.

When something is connected to Alexa, the device instantly becomes pseudo-interoperable. Interoperable technology is not an evolutionarily stable strategy for most IoT manufacturers. Interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged to do something.

What CES showed us is that voice control seems to be the unifying app for IoT. And Alexa is the biggest name in voice control. Smart devices are generally controlled with apps. If there is an app to control the smart device, the app allows AVS to directly control the smart device. So you could say, “Alexa, tell Crestron I’d like to turn the lights on in the bedroom” (for your Crestron) or “Alexa, I would like to turn the heat on the downstairs thermostat to 70 degrees” (for your Iris Smart Home System). It’s easy to see the value of voice control in so many ordinary situations. What’s interesting about AVS is that even though Crestron and Iris have nothing to do with one another, you can control them both with your voice.

Alexa has finely tuned automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU) engines that recognize and respond to voice requests instantly. Alexa is always getting smarter with new capabilities and services through machine learning, regular API updates, feature launches, and custom skills from the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK.) The AVS API  is a programming language agnostic service that makes it easy to integrate Alexa into your devices, services, and applications. And it’s free.

And you can create meaningful user experiences for an endless variety of use cases with Alexa Voice Service (AVS); Amazon’s intelligent voice recognition and natural language understanding service. AVS includes a full range of features, including smart home control, streaming music content, news, timers… and can be added to any connected device that has a microphone and speaker.

But while Alexa has a head start, Google Home, an Echo competitor, is very likely to quickly catch up. Google Home though, works with a completely different set of protocols and has different “awake” words. These are command words that make it pay attention and carry out the request. It seems that we may need to learn to speak to different systems in different ways – perhaps we’ll need lessons in Alexa speak and Google speak as well as and Siri and Cortana speak!

So is the Age of George Jetson here yet? Sort of. What will be interesting is to see if there is a start-up that will pull all of this together so that us regular humans don’t need to become AI experts to connect and use the technology.

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications



I’m Judging the SuperNova Awards: Make Sure to Submit Your Case Study

I’m judging the 2016 Constellation SuperNova Awards! Every year the Constellation SuperNova Awards recognize individuals for their leadership in digital business. Nominate yourself or someone you know before August 8, 2016.

About the SuperNova Awards
The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. In its sixth year, the Constellation SuperNova Awards will recognize individuals who demonstrate leadership in nine categories:
•  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase, artificial intelligence)
•  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (big data, predictive analytics)
•  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing.
•  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (enterprise social networks, collaboration, digital assistants)
•  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset.  (talent management, benefits, HR core)
•  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (digital retail, supply chain, payments, ‘ubiquitous-channel’ retail)
•  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels.  (crm, customer experience)
•  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (blockchain, digital identity, authentication)
•  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)
The SuperNova Awards are seeking leaders and teams who have innovatively applied disruptive technolgies to their business models as a means of adapting to the rapidly-changing digital business environment. If you have what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards submit your application today: https://www.constellationr.com/events/supernova/2016
If you are doing something really interesting, make sure to send in your case study! It’s your time to be recognized for your hard work!
@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer Facing Applications that Drive Awesome Customer Experience

Artificial Intelligence, IOT and Design: Building a Next-Generation Services Company: Infosys Orchestrating an Ecosystem Of Start-ups |

These are significant times when IT innovation will shape not only our business but the future of our world. Start-ups and new age companies are a leading source of innovation beyond many companies own internal initiatives. In early 2015, as part of Infosys Renew-New strategy they established a $500million Infosys Innovation fund. It was mentioned that the capital will be used to invest in companies across the globe innovating in areas such as AI, Automation, Internet of Things, Collaboration and Design. Infosys said they want to amplify the reach of startup companies,  bring them to market,  help them scale, grow and bring innovation to clients. 

Infosys received the Global Corporate Venturing Rising Stars Awards 2016. The benefits that Infosys offers for the start-ups as they create an ecosystem to bring innovation to our clients are many. Their areas of focus are: 

  1. Machine Intelligence
  2. Big Data & Analytics
  3. Infrastructure & Cloud
  4. Collaboration & Design
  5. Convergence of Industries
  6. Disintermediation of Layers
  7. New Business Models

The Benefits to Start-ups: Financial Scale, Technical Scale, Market Scale, Social Impact, Incubation and Customer Validation.

What companies has Infosys invested in?

  • Airviz Speck: The indoor air quality monitor empowering you to breathe. Airviz helps to empower everyday citizens to improve the quality of the air they breathe. Speck, a pioneering air particulate sensor can detect PM2.5 particulates and provide insightful analytics on air quality. Airviz is a spinoff from the CREATE Lab at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute.
  • ANSR Consulting provides strategy and implementation services to help global companies establish Global In-House Centers (GICs) in India. Global companies are setting up GICs to harness new technologies such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud. India has emerged as a unique destination for GICs due to wide access to technical and business talent at a reasonable cost, and the growing ecosystem of successful GICs. ANSR Consulting, which has helped establish several GICs within India, creates joint ventures with companies such as those in the Fortune 500. ANSR Consulting helps the joint venture provide strategic, technology-driven solutions that drive competitive advantage and incremental revenue for the companies involved. This investment from the fund widens Infosys’ reach in the fast-growing GIC market.
  • CloudEndure, a startup that provides Cloud migration and Cloud-based Disaster Recovery (DR) software. Many leading enterprises look to Infosys for guidance and implementation services associated with large-scale infrastructure transformation projects. CloudEndure provides enterprise grade cloud migration and cloud-based Disaster Recovery (DR) software that uniquely supports migration and DR for both on-premise to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud scenarios.
  • Nova provides image generation capabilities (platform and toolset) as a service, APIs to allow customers to create film-quality 3D assets, video and static advertising imagery enabling the delivery of highly personalized and interactive videos to customers. Vertex
  • Ventures is a new, early-stage fund formed by technology veterans Jonathan Heiliger and In Sik Rhee.
  • Waterline Data Science, a leading provider of data discovery and data governance software. Waterline Data Science provides data scientists and business analysts with a self-service data catalog to help discover, understand and provision data, and an automated data inventory that enables agile data governance across metadata, data quality and data lineage
  • WHOOP, an early stage company offering a performance optimization system for elite professional sports teams. WHOOP’s system includes a device worn by athletes on their wrist that continuously measures key strain and recovery variables, and actionable analytics powered by proprietary algorithms that generate intensity and recovery scores. This enables athletes and coaches to gain visibility into the drivers of high performance, guide training and make optimal game day decisions.

Certainly the ways products are developed has really changed. Before companies would hire a bunch of developers, create a strategy and start building. It looks like the question of buy or build is becoming less and less of a question. The answer in developing new products seems to be trending towards developing starts-ups and then acquiring them, partnering with them and  building a more evolved ecosystem.  We have seen that for many years, starting with some of the social media monitoring and listening platforms, as well as customer service and marketing applications. The future looks very bright and interesting!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications That Drive Better Business Results

Salesforce.com Announces New Salesforce1 Fund from Salesforce Ventures to Fuel Mobile Innovation for the Internet of Customers

What’s new in the land of start-ups? Well Salesforce.com just announced Salesforce Ventures which has allocated $100 million to invest in companies building innovative mobile apps and connected products that extend the power of the Salesforce1 Platform. The first wave of Salesforce1 Fund investments include DocuSign, i.am+, InsideSales.com and Skuid. The idea is that with Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can leverage the expertise of the Salesforce.com Foundation to make giving back part of their business model from the beginning.

Salesforce Ventures invests in the next generation of enterprise technology to help companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Portfolio companies receive funding to accelerate their growth and gain a competitive edge through access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of salesforce.com’s innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage the expertise of the Salesforce.com Foundation to incorporate its 1-1-1 model of integrated philanthropy to make giving back part of their business model.

It makes sense since technology continues to transform the way companies connect with their customers. By 2020, according to Cisco, there will be 50 billion connected things and a trillion connected sensors on the Internet of Things—from smartphones and wearable smart devices to jet engines and cars. But what matters most is that behind every device, every app, and every product is a customer. This is really the Internet of Customers, and the opportunity for companies to revolutionize how they connect with their customers has never been greater.

More on the companies they are funding:

●      DocuSign—DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform empowers mobile Salesforce users and their customers to go 100 percent digital so that anyone can transact anything, anytime, anywhere, on any mobile device securely – all from within Salesforce1. 

●      i.am+i.am+ is a fashion and technology brand that makes aspirational garments and accessories with functionality and untethered communications.

●      InsideSales.com—InsideSales.com integrates core telephony features like Click-to-Call™ and Lead Management—powered by a predictive analytics engine—into any Salesforce1 mobile experience to make field reps more productive and accelerate sales.

●      Skuid—Skuid allows customers to quickly create powerful, gorgeous apps for any device without code.

 The Salesforce Ventures portfolio includes innovative cloud companies such as Anaplan, Box, DocuSign, Dropbox, Evernote, FinancialForce, GainSight, Kenandy, Layer, MuleSoft and StayClassy. Salesforce.com has invested in more than 100 enterprise cloud startups since 2009. Looks like Salesforce Ventures is furthering salesforce.com’s commitment to creating the world’s most innovative cloud ecosystem that extends the power of the Salesforce1 Platform to help companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways.

If you want additional information on this new venture, you can find it here:

●      Learn more about Salesforce Ventures: http://www.salesforce.com/ventures

●      Follow @salesforcevc on Twitter: http://twitter.com/salesforcevc

●      Learn more about the Salesforce.com Foundation: http://www.salesforcefoundation.org/

And if you want to start giving back, join Salesforce Ventures and The Salesforce Foundation at Disrupt SF on Tuesday, September 9 to assemble backpacks for SFUSD students.


VP and Principle Analyst, Constellation Research

See you at Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise

The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st 
Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton


How to Keep The Love Alive – @Twxyt – Hot, New, Tech Start-up for Lovers in Relationship

Wondering what the top app is for couples? @Twyxt is the hot, new start-up that provides people in relationships a way to keep the fires burning, communicate quickly and often without having to post in regular social media outlets. It’s the perfect app for couples who work a lot or travel or just want to keep their

Years ago Roman walks in on a girlfriend hunched over with a journal, her phone and a pen in hand. “What are you doing.. I am recording your SMS in my journal.. You write me such sweet messages (especially when you have been drinking) and I want to keep them”.  An idea was born.

With the proliferation of social networks and smartphones raging globally, Roman revisited the experience, this time in conversation with Bianca and Tyson.  They found themselves face to face with an opportunity worth pursuing, the opportunity of creating the company dedicated to using technology to make relationships better.

Check out this video where I interview the three founders of @TWYXT

About the name: Why Twyxt – You had me at..”betwixt”

The creative process can be magical. Working with our naming ninja Nick Angel, we presented on the concept for an hour, we talked features for another hour, when the discussion finally returned to names, Nick says “oh, right, on names.. the first thing I thought of was “betwixt”.  Old English for between… and Twyxt was born.


About Tyson / CEO / Founder: Tyson was previously RIM’s founding employee, VP and a Managing Director in Latin America.  He has a passion for building relationships, messaging and all things mobile.

Tyson is married to the lovely (Dr) Sofia.  Two careers, a lot of travel and an infant at home.. they are busy!  But they communicate a lot and have a ton of fun doing it.. self professed messaging junkies.

Working on Twyxt rolls it all together.  It is relationships, mobile, messaging and fun.  And the chance to make a difference…


About Bianca W. Loew / President / Founder:

Bianca is a serial entrepreneur passionate about interactive marketing and PR.  She founded and ran as MD the Interactive Advertising Bureau in Mexico where she was a lightening rod for online/mobile monetization in emerging markets.

For the past year she has lived a long distance relationship with her twyxtr and now husband Zeke, an Argentine pilot.  Twyxt makes 6,467 miles somehow feel less!

Besides being a workaholic, Bianca loves traveling, Mexican and veggie food, is a Yoga fan and in charge of looking after her little brother Roman…

About Roman / CIO / Founder:

Roman is the Innovation Officer.. our product guy.  Ironically he is the only single member of the team.  So now he is passionately working on making others’ relationships better.

Roman comes from an all innovation background. At his previous work he was Global Innovation Advisor for TrendONE, a trend research company in Germany, advising other companies on how to be more innovative and educating on trends within the digital and mobile industry. He is a well-known and inspiring keynote speaker.

Travel the world, exploring new stuff, his football team Eintracht Frankfurt, diving and cross-golfing are his passion.

About Kalai / VP Engineering / Founder: 

Kalai is VP of Engineering, leading our Engineering organization. Kalai has strong architectural and software engineering background cultivated from a variety of senior engineering roles at Yahoo!, PayPal and AOL/Netscape.  He is also the founder of Kuralsoft, pioneering research on natural language computing.

Kalai is married to Keneena, the wonderful love of his life. They have a 12-year-old son who enjoys playing chess in state and national level tournaments. They are roller coaster fanatics, been all around US and tamed most of the top furious roller coasters.

Apart from architecture, design and coding Kalai’s hobbies includes photography, painting and  backyard astronomy.

About Adam / Lead UX Design: 

Adam is a Multimedia Designer who has worked with clients from around the globe. For years, he spent his time observing and analyzing the way people interact with computer interfaces. Once introduced to Twyxt, Adam’s interest quickly developed into a full time obsession.

It’s not often that your professional and personal lives overlap in a way that benefits both. But Adam began to see just that when his relationship with his lovely girlfriend, Sarah, began to inform his approach to designing Twyxt.

Likewise, he and Sarah’s relationship continues to take inspiration from the research required to build such an application.
Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natalie.petouhoff

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The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg

With over one billion users, Facebook has become the world’s largest social networking site. Its story is incredible: from its foundation only nine years ago it has changed the way people communicate, connect and share information. Facebook has become part of our daily lives and routines. How has Mark Zuckerberg created such a successful company and become one of the great business leaders of our time, and what can we learn from him? I discuss the answers to this question in more detail in my book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”, but in this post I wanted to share some quick insights around the five key elements of success. This is a Guest post by Ekaterina Walter.

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Mark Zuckerberg via CrunchBase

1. Passion

“Find that thing you are super passionate about.” –Mark Zuckerberg

Successful entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and from all personality types. But one thing they all share is passion. Passion is what drives you to keep trying despite all the setbacks you encounter and to turn failure into a learning experience.

Mark Zuckerberg’s passion is using technology to bring people together; Steve Jobs’ passion was to build revolutionary products; Richard Branson’s passion is to build companies he is proud of; Oprah Winfrey’s passion is communication. Passion is essential for success, no matter what type of business you create.

2. Purpose

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Simon Sinek, Start with Why

Long-term customer loyalty comes from your company’s purpose. Having a purpose drives the choices a company makes, from the people it hires, the way it markets a product, the materials it uses, as well as the products it makes. Apple’s products are not the cheapest on the market, but they have inspired great customer loyalty because Apple’s purpose – to create stylish, intuitive products that change the way we use technology – is so clear in everything they do. Ben & Jerry’s have a similarly clear purpose: to create ethical, imaginatively-flavored ice cream, and fans eagerly await their next product idea.

Facebook’s purpose to connect people in the simplest way possible has driven their most popular design innovations and turned social networking into a daily habit for hundreds of millions of people.

3. People

The most innovative companies allow their employees the freedom to develop their interests and to take risks. Facebook have an interview process that only selects new employees who are the right fit for the company’s culture. Once they are in, they take part in intensive training that teaches them the ‘hacker way’ of fast, creative coding that Zuckerberg prizes.

Companies like Facebook, Apple and Zappos have created a culture that empowers courage of conviction, freedom of speech, and action. This comes from strong leadership that leads by example.

Herb Kelleher, the visionary behind Southwest Airlines, puts it this way: “Employees come first and if employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again, and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works and it’s not a conundrum at all.”

4. Product

Mark Zuckerberg has created a product that fulfills his passion for connecting people, one that is changing the way communities communicate. Successful entrepreneurs build their product on three principles: their passion, the purpose of the company, and the right people and partnerships. The fact that Zuckerberg walked away from lucrative offers to buy his company early on shows that he believed in his long-term vision for his product, a vision that has driven many of the changes to Facebook over the years and kept it relevant to the needs of its users. As Zuckerberg continues to say to his critics and stakeholders, “I’m here to build something for the long term. Anything else is a distraction.”

5. Partnerships

Partnerships that work are based on clear expectations, shared values, mutual trust, a fair exchange of value, complementary strengths, commitment, and mutual respect. This can be seen in the partnership of Mark Zuckerberg and his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, who has been key to Facebook’s prosperity.

Image representing Sheryl Sandberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Strong partnerships have been the foundation for many successful companies, from Ben & Jerry to the Warner Brothers, Hewlett and Packard, Sears and Roebuck, McGraw and Hill, or the team behind CollegeHumor. Partnerships could be based on two or more founders, or else finding the right suppliers, distributors, or investors.

Mark Zuckerberg has challenged the traditional blueprint for successful business leadership, and become the 29th richest person in the world with his company. As the way we use the internet around the world continues to change, Facebook will continue to be at the forefront of social technology, ensuring Zuckerberg’s success into the future.

About the author: Ekaterina Walter is a social media innovator at Intel, a speaker, and an author of the book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”. Walter was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2012. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). You can find her on Twitter: @Ekaterina and her blog www.ekaterinawalter.com.



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Start-up Perfect Audience Helps Your Facebook Ads Find Their Target

Image representing SV Angel as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Their vision is a world where every person sees the perfect ads at the perfect time and companies can easily reach their ideal customer at scale. Their simple but powerful tools give marketers everything they need to retarget their lost customers across Facebook and the web and track ROI from click to conversion.

1. You “cookie” visitors to your site with a tracking tag

Right after you sign up for a Perfect Audience, we give you our site tracking tag to add to your web site. This tracking tag is a javascript code snippet that you add just before the </body> tag on every page of your web site. Once added, the tracking tag places an anonymous cookie in the browser of every person who visits your site.

2. The platform “finds” your visitors across the web and serve your ads to them in real time

Now that your visitors have been tagged with a unique “cookie,” our platform searches for them across Facebook and web sites in our network and serves your ads to them. They do this by having partnerships with all the major ad networks on the web, like Facebook, Google Display Network, OpenX, Pubmatic and many more. When someone with your site’s cookie loads a web page anywhere on the internet that has an ad from a network working with Perfect Audience, our platform “sees” them and can then serve up your ad in that space instead of whatever other ad would have normally appeared. This happens live, in a real-time auction process (the ad industry calls this “real-time bidding”) where our platform bids against thousands of other platforms for that individual impression.


If the platform “sees” one of your visitors loading a web page with ad space from a partner ad network, it enters the auction and bids aggressively to win that impression so your user sees your ad.

The instructions we program into our platform — the “where, when, and how often” they join auctions — is a big part of the Perfect Audience special sauce. For instance: Should we bid on an ad impression below the fold? Should it bid to reach someone who already clicked one of your ads? How about on someone who already saw your ad today? These are just some of the many things they figure out for you so you get the best results possible.

3. Your visitors click, return, and convert. You get more sales.

Once the platform has seen one of your visitors and shown them your ad, the user may click on it and return to your site. Traditional online banner ads have a click through rate (CTR) of about 0.1%. This means that one out of every thousand times your ad is shown, someone clicks on it.

With retargeting campaigns, because we’re reaching people who have already shown a prior interest in your offering or product, the ads get clicked on 200-400% more often. The remarkable performance of retargeting campaigns is why anyone and everyone doing business on the web should be doing it. No matter how memorable or interesting your business, most people who visit your site are going to leave without signing up, buying, or contacting you. Retargeting keeps your brand in front of them after they leave giving you second, third, even fourth chance to bring them back to convert.

You can learn more about them: http://perfectaudience.com and follow them in social media:   http://twitter.com/perfectaudience  and http://facebook.com/perfectaudience

They’ve gotten a great start – here’s where they are at:

  • They’ve signed up 250 advertisers
  • They offer retargeting across the rest of the web, too, with partnerships that include Google, OpenX, Pubmatic, etc., across 100,000 sites
  • They are a five-person team based in Mountain View and Chicago
  • They have received $1.1m in seed round funding: perfectaudience.com/about)

What size of company does this apply to? It seems companies and brands with budgets of all sizes.

Their VCs and Angels? Paul Buchheit, Stuart Larkins, Andrew Razeghi, Lon Chow, Kevin Willer and Brian Hand Y Combinator, SV Angel, Start Fund, New World Ventures (Part of Prizter Group), WGI Group and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Nice line-up!

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts




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