SIIA Honors Industry Veterans with Lifetime Achievement Award and Ed Tech Impact Award

The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announces that it will honor Dr. Leonard Hall, co-founder of education companies SkillsBank Corporation and Impact Education, with its prestigious Education Lifetime Achievement Award. SIIA will also present its Ed Tech Impact Award to Sue Collins, principal at CollinsConsults, during the upcoming Education Industry Summit held in San Francisco May 12-14.

During a special awards ceremony, Dr. Hall will be presented with the award by his son, Adam Hall, president of Nervanix, as SIIA highlights Dr. Hall’s accomplishments and contributions to the education technology industry. When Dr. Hall joined two other colleagues to co-found SkillsBank Corporation, he did so from the foundation of an already remarkable career in Education and Health & Human Services. The SkillsBank series of basic skills software focused on “at-risk learners” and adults wanting to learn unattained skills. The series was introduced first as a beta for Timex Sinclair on cassette tape and piloted for IBM, then entering the infant stages of educational software on desktop computers. By the time it was acquired by The Learning Company in 1997, SkillsBank was among the most widely adopted educational software in the nation’s schools.

In 2000, Dr. Hall came out of retirement to co-found another business with his son, Adam, and wife, Nancy. Impact Education was a distributor of instructional software and offered an array of propriety data analytics that, to a large extent, served as prescient indicators of the big data and integrated platform features that are on the rise today. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired Impact Education in 2010.

In addition, SIIA will present the Ed Tech Impact Award to Collins for her accomplishments and contributions to the education technology industry, as well as to the Education Division of SIIA. Collins began her career 35 years ago as a teacher, and she has held positions in both the public and private sector sides of the education technology industry. She left the classroom to become a district-level administrator and soon transitioned to the state level, where she served as the education technology director for the State of Washington. During the Clinton Administration, she was appointed to the Web-based Education Commission and represented SIIA in testimony before the U.S. Congress.

Collins has held senior-level positions at Apple Computer, Compaq Computer, Jostens Learning,, and Apex Learning. In her consultancy, She provides strategic solutions to education technology businesses. Collins’ experience on both sides of the education industry has enabled her to understand and expertly navigate public policy as it relates to education and technology. As a consultant in the ed tech space, she continues to provide expert and strategic advice to a variety of companies.  Over the years, she has served on various ed tech industry boards.

Collins was a driving force behind the development of the Vision K20 initiative, from the goals to the brochure to the website to the survey instrument. She has been an active member of SIIA through the years, previously spending eight years on the SIIA Education Board, and as co-chair for part of her tenure. Collins has also been a key contributor on the Ed Board Alumni Group.

For more information or to register for the Education Industry Summit, visit or contact Lindsay Harman at


Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

UNICEF social networking project, partnered with IBM analytics to give voice to Ugandan youth

U-report, an SMS-based communications technology, is a text messaging system that provides an avenue for Ugandan youth to be active participants in governance. Developed and launched by UNICEF Uganda in spring of 2011, U-report began as a grassroots polling system where Ugandan youth who subscribe to the free service (U-reporters) answered weekly questions. UNICEF’s U-report team would then analyze, interpret and act on these responses.

As the popular service began to grow its member base, the number of unsolicited text messages communicating all kinds of problems began to flood in at a pace that the U-report team was struggling to manage. Thus was born a collaboration with IBM. As stated in an IBM news release:

“As a result of U-report’s growth, the volume of diverse data was becoming a challenge for the existing system, making it difficult to identify what emerging issues were trending and which were the most urgent messages. Since February 2013, U-report has been using text analytics and machine learning technologies from IBM Research to help deal with the flood of information by automating the classification of messages.”

With the power provided by IBM data analytics – in the form of the A-Class text classification model; U-report has evolved from a simple polling system to a platform where Ugandan MP’s receive weekly updates on issues of concern to their constituents. The UNICEF-IBM partnership demonstrates the societal benefits of employing big data analytics.

Dr. Sharad Sapra, representative of UNICEF Uganda was quoted:

“Today we’ve created a richer U-report that makes sense of streams of data in real-time. This technology helps us understand the real impact of policies and development programs, the pulse of the nation at any given time and it even provides an early warning system on disease outbreaks or where we need to focus relief work.”

In the recent backlash against big data, U-report stands out as an example of the good that emerges from the combination of innovative social projects and powerful technology. Currently boasting 260,014 members, the expansion and growth of U-report has much to do with the platform’s data driven approach to innovation. Big data in itself is not the solution to all of our problems; however, when leveraged appropriately there is much good that data analytics can accomplish.

To learn more about the societal and economic benefits of data visit SIIA’s Data-Driven Innovation page and check out our white paper on DDI.

Sabrina Eyob is the Public Policy Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the Policy team on Twitter @SIIAPolicy.

New Member Spotlight: Boundless Markets

The diversity of SIIA’s members reflects the diverse nature of the industry. As new members join, a company profile is an excellent way of of introducing and giving potential candidates more information about their company. Recently, Boundless Markets joined SIIA as a member and Brad Mehl provided us with a look into the company.

Tell me about your company and what you do?

Boundless Markets helps B2B companies with data-driven marketing and innovation.  We use research and data to develop strategies for clients and then handle hands-on execution (often guiding the implementation of our clients’ in-house teams).  Part of what we do is helping clients build well-oiled marketing and sales machines that can scale- with the right data flows, technology and tools, processes and organization.

Who does your company sell to?

Our clients are business information providers, software companies and analytics/data firms.  We also have extensive experience in helping marketing solution companies.   Typically, we work closely with CEOs and CMOs at our clients.  We’ve also been retained by private equity firms to accelerate growth at their portfolio companies.

What is unique about what you do?

We provide clients with Chief Marketing Officer level experience without the overhead normally incurred with full time seasoned in-house professionals – for project work and interim CMO engagements. In addition to consulting, we offer specific solutions that cover customer acquisition, analytics and modeling, market research, marketing/sales technology and innovation strategy.

Data is at the center of everything we do. Our approach often begins with a data audit, a structured process that identifies and fills key gaps clients have in understanding their customers, competition, new markets and especially gaps in improving sales and marketing.   Our team has helped dozens of clients with analytics, built databases for over 50 brands and overseen over 200 market research studies.

Tell me about some unique challenges you have in your business and how you go about solving them.

One challenge has been which business to take on and not take on. Though our solutions are diverse, the type of customers we serve is very specific, with similar challenges—marketing strategy and execution, innovation in the face of disruption and data-driven work. We’ve turned down some clients that we actually could have helped because it’s all about focus. For example, HVAC companies and other local businesses are generally not clients we’d take on though they need more customers and digital marketing help.

Any new or recent news you would like to announce?

Yes, we recently launched a newsletter on data-driven marketing, digital excellence and innovation. All SIIA members are invited to sign-up. We recently launched a broader suite of solutions, including data audits, marketing technology reviews and data-driven content marketing/lead generation services. Also, our team has expanded. We now have a presence in New York, Boston and Washington D.C. We are partnering with SIIA and the InfoCommerce Group to conduct a major research study on the uses of data in sales, marketing and product development in the industry. Stay tuned for details.

What do you see as the biggest trends in the industry the next 12-18 months?

We see these big trends:

Continued increase of data-driven business information services. More investments, more of them and more sophistication.
Continued disruption of print-centric publishers by digitally native early stage ventures.
Consolidation in the marketing solutions/technology space, driven by M&A.
Increased specialization of business information and software products.

Adding to this, see the recap we wrote up from SIIA’s fall conference called Industry Outlook: The New Information Order.

What do you hope to get out of your SIIA membership?

Networking, a healthy exchange of ideas and clients that can benefit from what we do.

One thing the industry doesn’t know about you or others in your company?

Sometimes when people hear data-driven marketing, analytics, research and marketing technology their eyes glaze over. There are many creative people in our industry– many who don’t come from quantitative backgrounds. I’m actually one of them….going way back I worked at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising as a strategic planner and big idea person and The Wall Street Journal as a journalist. I love the creative side of the business. Somewhere along the way – not sure exactly when – I started to become a geek (driven by the numbers)!

Twitter handle?


Company URL?

How best to contact you? or 917-373-7451

Iyana Moore is the Marketing Intern for the Content & Information Services Division at SIIA. She is a graduate student at Bowie State University, where she is pursuing a master’s in Organizational Communications.

Software, Digital Content, B2B Media & Ed Tech’s Most Innovative Companies to Present at SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference (SFIC)

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today announced the first group of 8 companies selected to present at its Strategic & Financial Investment Conference. The event will be held June 18 at the Princeton Club in New York City.

The Strategic & Financial Investment Conference serves as an exclusive opportunity for you to hear about some of the most innovative emerging companies in media and digital content, information services, education technology, and software services sectors. During this one-day event, 24 hand-picked and carefully screened businesses will present to an invitation-only audience of investors, venture capitalists, M&A firms, corporate development officers and other investment professionals.  Now in its fifth year, the conference has produced financial partnerships that have helped accelerate the growth of presenting companies.

Debuting this year is an exciting opportunity called Lightning Round, where the top three attendee-selected presenting companies will compete to win a prize.  The winner will receive an opportunity that’s invaluable to any company presenting on June 18 – direct access to key players in the investment industry who will spend time with executives from the winning company and provide input and guidance to their business.

There are still a limited number of slots available for companies to present at SIIA’s Strategic & Financial Investment Conference.  To apply, visit Information about previous presenting companies and their current status can be found here.

The SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference will feature a select group of public and private companies with revenues between $5 million and $250+ million, including the following companies, announced today:

  • Crimson Hexagon-Crimson Hexagon’s team is comprised of professionals at the vanguard of social media analysis, data processing, software development, marketing, and business. From up-and-coming professionals to seasoned leaders coming from diverse and accomplished backgrounds in academia, enterprise, Wall Street, and startup companies, the Crimson Hexagon team provides the social media analytics and insights our customers need to stay at the forefront of their industries.
  • Extole-Extole serves both B2C and B2B companies across a range of verticals, including: financial services, retail, and consumer subscription markets. We’ve delivered hundreds of referral programs that have helped acquire millions of new customers.
  • FirstRain, Inc.- Unlike general business data services, FirstRain analytics run on a sophisticated, infinitely scalable big data platform.  Its ability to find and organize only business-relevant data from the massive and ever-growing global Internet, gives each user personalized, real-time, highly relevant business insights into their  world.
  • Flat World Knowledge, Inc.- Flat World provides high-quality, affordable college textbooks and an online platform that allows instructors and institutions to personalize content in new ways to help students succeed. The company revolutionized the creation of higher education textbooks, using digital technology to more efficiently and affordably deliver quality content to more than 1 million students, 13,000 faculty, and 2,500 institutions worldwide.
  • LF Data- is a privately held technology and information company that targets service provider costs for consumer services. Lowerfees provides cost analysis and comparative shopping around many components of localized consumer services.
  • Mag+-Mag+ is based upon an InDesign plugin and made for creating tablet and smartphone apps without the need for programming skills. Perfect for consumer, corporate & enterprise apps.
  • NewBay Media, LLC-NewBay Media is positioned at the center of the world’s most dynamic industries — Music, AV/Pro Audio, Consumer Electronics/Gaming, Video & Broadcast, and Education. NewBay Media connects and informs these industries through our award-winning content, integrated media capabilities, and extraordinary events. Our unparalleled reach provides marketing partners with excited, engaged, and  targeted communities, effectively connecting them with decision makers and influencers in their  markets.
  • WhatCounts-WhatCounts provides data management, software, and services to marketing professionals seeking to deliver smart personalized digital messages to their target audiences. Each day WhatCounts team partners with over 800 customers to leverage email, social media, mobile devices, and the web to drive revenue.

The founding sponsor of the SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference is The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc (JEGI). JEGI of New York, NY is the leading independent investment bank for the media, information, marketing, and technology sectors. Since 1987, JEGI has completed more than 500 M&A transactions for global corporations, middle-market and emerging companies, entrepreneurs, and private equity and venture capital firms.

Our host sponsor is The Parthenon Group, the leading advisory firm focused on strategy consulting, with offices in Boston, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, and Shanghai. Since its inception in 1991, the firm has embraced a unique approach to strategic advisory services built on long-term client relationships, a willingness to share risk, an entrepreneurial spirit, and customized insights.

Also sponsoring the SIIA Strategic & Financial Conference is The Riverside Company. They are the global private equity firm focused on acquiring growing businesses valued at up to $250 million. Among its more than 330 lifetime transactions, Riverside has invested in more than 30 software and IT companies. Riverside’s Software and IT specialization team includes dedicated transacting and operating professionals with proven experience acquiring and growing companies in the industry.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit the conference website You can also get updates in advance of the event with the conference’s Twitter hashtag: #SIIAINVEST.



7 Lessons From a Successful Reader Uprising

I was reading The Washington Post’s new Sunday Magazine yesterday and came across this: “Second Glance returns April 27. When the readers speak, we listen and listen and listen and listen. Hundreds of you wrote to complain that we killed the photo puzzle when we revamped [the magazine]…We’re giving Second Glance a second chance. It’ll be back April 27.”

So what happened here? The editors made a decision, it was wrong, they heard from readers, and they made the right decision. Any harm done? I’d say quite the opposite. Not only are those readers stoked that their favorite feature is back—here’s an example if you haven’t seen them—but they’re also pleased and perhaps proud that the Post is hearing them.

The Post also got to brag: “Some of you call it At a Glance; others call it Closer Glance. One of you uses it to teach a class. One preacher has used it in a sermon. And one man was elected to complain on behalf of his senior citizens’ home. And all of you want Second Glance restored.”

Here are some lessons:

1. Make a decision. One thing about the times we live in—it’s easy to change things. There’s no reason to hesitate or put stuff off. Have a new product? Get it out there and see what happens. If it was wrong, you can tweak or change and still get the glory.

2. Survey when possible. The Post did this big redesign of their magazine and it appears they didn’t check with the readers. It’s funny—I got an invitation a couple weeks ago to be on their reader advisory panel. I didn’t get to it for about a week and it was closed. It probably pays to give people a deadline; we’re all on different schedules.

3. Don’t dwell too much on the name. It may not be as important as you think. If you have a good blog, column, feature, report, etc., the content will determine its fate. Cleverness has its place—probably in publicizing or getting the word out—but it won’t disguise something bad.

4. Test the waters. I’ve been deliberating with a Meetup group I run about whether to charge a membership fee, charge for each event, make it optional, make it required, etc. Three months later, I’ve polled a few people, done nothing and probably lost money. Arghhh. Had I done something I would have seen the reaction and stayed with it or adjusted. Publishers are putting in and taking away paywalls all the time. Nobody has the definitive answer. See what works for you. I like what SIPA member Modern Markets Intelligence does with their SmartGridToday.

5. Solicit reader feedback. How happy was the Post to see all those uses for Second Glance? And they never would have known about them if they didn’t pull the feature. Positive reader feedback can help you in your marketing—a preacher, a teacher and a senior home covers lots of age groups. And negative reader feedback can help as well to know what to keep and lose.

6. Brag a little. I’m impressed that hundreds of people wrote to the Post about Second Glance. It may not be my favorite feature, but I admire them for coming up with it. We all like people who are humble, but you’re a business that as a customer I’m paying money to. I want to know what other people think. Maybe I’m missing out.

7. Be quick. There was no dilly-dallying in their decision. The feature will return Sunday. How many times has an entity said they will fix something for you—a bill, a subscription, a phone—and then took their time. Quick is good in this instance. We are taking you the customer seriously.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 .

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Supreme Court Justices Appear Conflicted Over Aereo Copyright Case (Los Angeles Times)
Confronting a case that could reshape the television broadcast industry, Supreme Court justices sounded conflicted over whether upstart streaming service Aereo is violating copyright laws.

U.S. Aims to Defuse Tension Over Control of Internet (The Wall Street Journal)
World representatives are arriving in Brazil for Net Mundial, a two-day meeting about Internet governance. The meeting comes amid fallout over spying by the NSA that has renewed concerns over the U.S. government’s credibility and over longtime U.S. oversight of the Internet.

‘Notorious Market’ Blocks Privacy in its P2P Streaming Player (Torrent Freak)
A company labeled a notorious market by the USTR says it has taken dramatic steps to stamp out piracy. The China-based outfit behind the P2P-enabled QVOD file-sharing technology says it is no longer possible to stream or download unauthorized copyrighted content with their software.

Pandora Sued by Major Labels Over Pre-1972 Copyrights (Bloomberg)
Several major record labels, including Capitol Records LLC and Sony Music Entertainment, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Internet radio service Pandora for failing to pay for using music recorded before 1972.

Grams Lets You Easily Access the “Darknet” and Buy Illicit Things Online(
Grams, a new search engine and the darknet’s answer to Google, allows almost anyone to access unlisted merchant websites selling drugs, guns and other illegal items.

SIIA Announces New Intellectual Property Protection Division

SIIA is significantly expanding its enforcement efforts, and will now target a broad range of intellectual property violations, on behalf of both software and content publishers. The new program, now called the Intellectual Property Protection Division or IPP Division, will continue its anti-piracy efforts but will now investigate and resolve many more types of nefarious activities that can adversely affect a participating company’s brand, intellectual property or reputation, such as: counterfeiting, fraud, unauthorized access, fraudulent use of domain names, and more.

SIIA will also assist participating publishers with the protection of their intellectual property. These protection services will include such things as assisting publishers with registering their valuable IP with the U.S. Copyright Office and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, registering their brands with the new domain name Trademark Clearinghouse, and more. The IPP Division will also place a renewed emphasis on content piracy and offer a range of specialized services that address the varying needs of participating content publishers.

More information about the new SIIA IPP Division is available here.

Important Message About Protecting Your Brands: Late last year, ICANN began approving the first new gTLDs. Like all new domain names that are or will be approved by ICANN, these new gTLDs will not go live until after brand owners are given a brief window to register addresses using their own brands before anyone else can. For more information about this process see this SIIA alert and FAQs. SIIA has created a new domain name alert system for those companies that are interested in knowing what new domain names are approved, when they will go live and how to protect themselves. Those who sign up for the alert will receive a weekly email from SIIA notifying them what new gTLDs have been approved by ICANN, and other relevant information. If you are interested in receiving these alerts, please email me at so that we can add your name to the list of alert recipients.

Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

The All New Business Information & Media Summit Combines 3 Events!

The all new Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), to be held November 10-12, 2014 in Miami combines the content of the SIPA Marketing Conference, ABM Executive Forum and DataContent – bringing together all the best knowledge, and all the industry movers and shakers, into one super-charged event. It will be the largest gathering of information and media leaders to date, offering you the opportunity to connect with people you never would otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

The lines that once separated business models are fading away. Advertising-based media companies are becoming data companies; subscription-based businesses are entering the events business; media marketing strategies and tactics are shifting constantly; and every media company needs to understand how new advertising networks are disrupting traditional business relationships. Speed to market is critical. It only makes sense that all of the key industry players come together to collaborate, address challenges and opportunities, and to help plan the future.

BIMS Highlights:

  • BIMS features five distinct learning tracks and more than 45 sessions for you to choose from across media, sales, marketing, data content, executive/CEO-oriented sessions and much more! There are tracks and sessions planned to interest both you and everyone on your team.
  • We will explore everything from revenue models, pricing strategies, B2B retargeting, marketing automation, open data, renewal strategies, growing site licenses and acquisitions, while also featuring hands-on sessions that include multi-channel marketing, social media, promotional copy, mobile marketing and much, much more.
  • Pre-conference “Boot Camps” will help you and your team do a ‘deep dive” into Data Publishing, Social Media and Marketing Events.
  • Models of Excellence honorees will be featured, highlighting “who’s doing it right” in data.
  • You’ll enjoy a Previews competition, where 6 emerging companies will present 5 minute pitches on their growing businesses.
  • You’ll also enjoy unprecedented networking opportunities and connect with other publishers, B2B media and data companies from all over the world as well as your industry peers. If you are a senior leader, data, sales or marketing expert, we will have programs to connect you with your peers across the industry to share best practices and network.

For more information visit our complete schedule:

Learn more about BIMS: