Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted “horrible” when Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted in NFL history, and it has cost him an undisclosed amount fine and suspension from the team until he “completes educational training” for his actions, according to the club.Sam, the former Missouri linebacker was selected by the St. Louis Rams, with the next-to-last pick in the draft. His reaction—including tears and a kiss from his male friend—was captured on television, prompting Jones to post on Twitter: “OMG. Horrible.”In the NFL, which is seeking to create a culture of sensitivity, Jones’ reaction was not welcomed, even if it represented many others’ views, too.“I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media,” Jones said in a statement released by the team. “I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment. I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team, and I wish him all the best in his NFL career. I sincerely apologize to Mr. Ross, my teammates, coaches, staff and fans for these tweets. I am committed to represent the values of the Miami Dolphins organization and appreciate the opportunity I have been given to do so going forward.”“We met with Don today about respect, discrimination and judgment, coach Joe Philbin said. “These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program. We will continue to emphasize and educate our players that these statements will not be tolerated.”Rams head coach Jeff Fisher told NFL Network soon after Sam was picked that he didn’t anticipate issues about his sexuality.“I don’t have any concern whatsoever. We drafted a good football player,” Fisher said. “I’m excited to get him on the practice field and get him going so yeah, there’s gonna be a little extra tension for a couple days, but Michael was the SEC co-defensive player of the year.”Sam had 11 1/2 sacks last season for Missouri. Many believe he would have been selected higher had he stayed essentially in the closet. NFL scouts, of course, likely would have learned he was gay after they began evaluating prospects after the season, since Sam was out to his college teammates — and there was a strong chance of him being outed against his will.
Kolkata: Traffic movement in the city was more or less normal with the Kolkata Police making arrangements in advance to restore normalcy in traffic, keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Brigade Parade Ground. “The movement of goods vehicles in the city from 12 noon to 8 pm, along with some restrictions in parking in and around the meeting venue augured well for us and traffic flow was more or less normal,” a senior police officer of the Traffic department of Kolkata Police said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe police did not allow any sort of parking in and around Victoria Memorial, Kidderpore Road, Hospital Road, Queens way, Cathedral Road, Casuarina Avenue and Lovers Lane. Senior officials of Kolkata Police were on the road and made necessary diversions as and when required. Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma had instructed the traffic wing to make all necessary arrangements to ensure that common people are not inconvenienced by any means.
Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory took a photo of the sun every 12 seconds on July 6th, and the results aren’t quite what you’d expect. A time-lapse video of the images makes it look like the sun is doing a somersault, because the SDO was spinning 360-degrees on one axis when it captured them. The observatory performs the seven-hour maneuver once a year to take an accurate measurement of the star’s edge. See, the solar surface is pretty chaotic, and the spacecraft has tough time finding its outermost layer while it’s stationary. SDO’s images were taken in extreme ultraviolet wavelength, but NASA colorized the sun in the video below, so we can see it tumbling in space. This story originally appeared on Engadget 1 min read Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global July 18, 2016
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Conversions and growth. Growth and conversions. They make the business world go round.So how much do you love (and by love, I mean hate) pop-over ads?The paradox is that they’re incredibly effective at converting, but people loathe them.The good: Pop-ups (which open a new browser window) and pop-overs (float above the content but do not open a new window) have a click-through rate near two percent, which is higher than other most other methods. Entrepreneur got 86 percent more subscribers when trying out a pop-over opt-in form. Popup Domination users boasted conversion increases between 150 percent (wow) and 1100 percent (WOW) when it first debuted.Marketing firm Fresh Relevance added a popover form on every page after a 30-second delay, resulting in 11 times as many sign-ups as they got from the old form in the footer while doubling the numbers of sign-ups from the old form, too!The bad: People — your users and customers — despise them. A lot. Beth Hayden at Copyblogger actually received hate mail when she tried them on her own site. Most studies have found 90 to 95 percent of people claim to hate them with a fiery intensity.Tools like AdBlock Plus — downloaded over 500 million times — make pop-ups very easy to control and eliminate.They’re the second most detested type of ad after telemarketers. 64 percent of respondents in a recent survey said they use blockers because pop-ups are annoying and intrusive.Annoying. Intrusive. Not exactly the feelings you want to inspire in your visitors.You have two choices: don’t use them at all, or make them less irritating. Here are a few alternative suggestions:Option A: Use a traditional inline formYes, pop-over adds are effective, but they’re not the only game in town. For example, you can use a traditional inline (directly on the page) form in either the header, footer, or sidebar. It may not convert as much, but it’s much less annoying and impossible to block.Create and share fantastic content on a consistent basis. Provide a wonderful product or service. If your product is great, people will convert without the pop-over.Include an inline opt-in after blog posts and articles. If what you’re providing is valuable, they’ll sign up.Personalize your messaging and segment your audience.A/B test. Then A/B test again. Improve your CTA with stronger copy.Upgrade your sign-up form with personality and social proof.Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great LeaderOption B: Use an app or online toolHere are some of the tools I’d reccomend:Scroll Box is a slide form that appears from any corner after reading X percent of a page. It’s smaller than a traditional pop-over, doesn’t obscure (as much of) the page, and converts at 0.94 percent. Also try the Scroll Triggered Box. Hubspot found a 192 percent higher CTR and 27 percent more submissions using a slide-in form when compared to a static CTA.Smart Bar can either sit at the top of a page (static), appear only when scrolling up after scrolling down (smart), or stay with reader as they move down (sticky). Businesses use it as a less invasive opt-in or simple reminder. It converts at only 0.25 percent, though. Also try the Hello Bar.Welcome Mat is a full-screen CTA that launches immediately as a visitor lands on a page (so although it’s similar, it’s not a true pop-over. It doesn’t interrupt their experience). It can even be used as a landing page. It has a 1.76 percent conversion rate according to SumoMe. Also try: OptinMonster’s Fullscreen.Related: 11 Ways to Make Money While You SleepOption C: Use the pop-over strategicallyI’ll be the first to admit that the allure of the pop-over is hard to resist. Many websites report sales increases of up to 40 percent after implementing them. The trick is to compare the upswing in sales and conversions with any resulting reduction in subscriptions, higher bounce rates or angry hate mail. Is it really worth it?If you absolutely must use a pop-over, though, use them in as unintrusive and innocuous a way as possible, be prepared for possible customer blowback and remember these helpful hints:Use a cookie or session tag to make sure people only see it once.No means no. Respect someone’s decision to close it. Don’t have another pop-over asking whether they’re sure. They’re sure.A/B test everything: copy, layout, image, color.Match the style and theme of your site.Make the close button easy to see and use.Avoid condescending options like “No thanks, I already know everything”.Keep the copy short, action-oriented and positive.The ideal formula? Headline, 2-3 benefits, an image, and a strong CTA.Acknowledge and thank those who opt in.Related: How to Start a Business With (Almost) No MoneyOption D: Use a delayed pop-overGive your users a little bit of time. Delay your pop-over to coincide with:X number of page views. If someone has read two or three pages already, they’re interested in you.End of a post. The pop-over is triggered as they hit the bottom of the page.X number of seconds or minutes spent on page. For example, you could use a pop-over containing a valuable coupon within seconds of opening the site. It’s quick and viewed as helpful to potential shoppers.Exit intent. Pop-overs can be triggered when someone goes to exit or close the page.Just be aware that many users consider exit pop-overs a little pathetic. They see websites that use them as less confident, less polished, and less professional. It’s considered a needy design pattern, and no one likes the needy friend, right?Pop-overs are definitely a catch-22. Some of the highest conversion rates out there, but terrible street cred. 70 percent of people say they have a lower opinion of businesses who use them.Tread lightly. 6 min read April 10, 2017 Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. How Success Happens Listen Now
7 min read April 27, 2018 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There is something uniquely unsettling about watching footage of Atlas, the robot developed by Boston Dynamics. Its human-like movements suggest a sense of body-awareness and intuition inherent in human beings, but it is distinctly not human.The technologies behind AI and robotics will continue advancing. As they become ever more sophisticated, we must ask ourselves, how human-like should AI be? Where should we allow the boundaries to continue to blur, and where do we need to draw a clear line in the sand? It’s a challenging conundrum made only more complicated by headlines about robot citizenship and speculation about an impending apocalypse.When we evaluate AI’s evolving role in customer experience, we can begin to answer this question. The early implementation of chatbots serves as a small window into the world of human and bot interactions, and a case study for how the technology should be shaped moving forward.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your BusinessWhen mirroring human behavior makes sense.Early hype around chatbots was met with a lot of disappointing groans by the many consumers prematurely introduced to bots. Initial bots were rightfully criticized for being ineffective and often incapable of performing the basic tasks they were designed to do. What was probably most frustrating for customers dealing with said bots, however, was their lack of empathy. If a customer is taking the time to contact a brand for help with something, they really want to feel understood. The irony here is that machines are not particularly well versed in feelings (in their defense, I know plenty of humans who are not very well versed in understanding feelings).As technology develops, AI will need to become more emotionally aware to truly understand human requests. Empathy is a must as companies increasingly seek to communicate with consumers through automated solutions. Chatbots have come a long way from the early days. An estimated 16 percent of Americans (that’s 39 million people) now own a smart speaker. But even in these more advanced solutions, there is a fairly chronic issue of tone-deafness. The human-bot relationship is the new normal, so we must think critically about the possible long term impact of tone deaf AI.Consider that when you make a request of Alexa, she will not say “you’re welcome” if you thank her. On the one hand it is encouraging to know she is no longer “listening” after a command, but on the other, many are concerned that we are setting a precedent of rudeness and callousness for a future generation. A more nefarious example is found in the lack of consequence for being rude to bots, and more specifically, in the way bots respond to things like sexual harassment. In the case of Alexa, she will now “disengage” if asked to do something inappropriate, but as the Quartz writer Leah Fessler points out, her North Star is to please. That’s problematic when we consider that more complex bots like Sophia will be among us soon.To avoid bots that perpetuate a tone-deaf society, we need to train AI on empathy. This is not a simple task, but it is possible. Empathy is a “soft skill,” but it is a skill nonetheless. So training AI on empathy can be approached in the same way we train AI on anything — with a digestible data set. This would include training itself to “hear” data points such as tone of voice (both written and verbalized), words that express sentiments and emotions, and even how a human responds temporally, or over time, to interactions. Is the human transitioning from agitated to happy, or the inverse? A bot needs to know the difference so it can temper its response to avoid agitating a calm human — or calm down an agitated human. Understanding emotions and feelings is a critical part of understanding humans and how they act, what they want and how to appropriately respond. If a machine can’t learn empathy, it can’t understand how empathy affects human requests and actions, and it can’t create optimum outcomes.Training AI on empathy means teaching machines to extract subjective emotions, feelings and sentiments from conversations with humans. AI models can learn, just as humans learn, how those qualitative feelings impact needs, responses, actions and results. An angry human, using anger trigger words (including obscenities), a loud voice, changes in speaking cadence or choice of words, can demonstrate a need to be heard, have their feelings validated, perhaps have issues escalated. They want a quick and effective response. A happy human who wants to talk is more comfortable taking time, chit-chatting, maybe even having a friendly conversation with a bot about the marginally relevant topics like the weather, or a sports team. Until AI can recognize emotion and empathy it can’t learn how emotion affects human behavior, needs and desired responses.Related: The Next Addition to Your Marketing Department Should Be a ChatbotWhen bots should just be bots.The counter-narrative to a future where the line between bot and human is indistinguishable is that humans are flawed. And why would we want to recreate AI in our exact likeness, when the promise of AI is helping us go beyond our limitations? The hard line in the sand we should draw between bots and humans is that of biased decision making.One of the greatest strengths bots possess is their lack of shame or ego. So often these human emotions are at the heart of being incapable of recognizing our own biases, in whatever shape they take: racist opinions (whether overt or unconscious), sexist assumptions, or whatever -ism we have all been guilty of at some point or another. Taking advantage of starting as a “fresh slate,” we need to ensure bots do not simply learn to respond differently to prejudicial attributes such as male vs female voices or language of origin. There are many attributes that AI may determine affect human responses and needs, but humans have an obligation not to let bots overly generalize based on gender, language, or nation of origin, just as we ask our human employees not to discriminate.Related: How Chatbots Save Time and Change How Business Gets DoneIn the last two years, we have watched Sophia the robot evolve from agreeing to destroy the human race, to telling a joke, learning to walk, and most recently joining Will Smith on a “date.” Being such a public symbol of AI, it’s clear the technology is improving in leaps and bounds, but still has quite a way to go. Most of us will not be interfacing with the likes of Sophia, but many of us will continue to interact with Siri, Alexa and the other branded chatbots of the world. This ever-expanding proliferation requires that we continue to push for more empathy in AI and less bias. In this way we will hopefully arrive in a place where AI can seamlessly interact with humans without falling victim to human error. Finding that balance will be tricky, but the resulting harmony will have a hugely positive impact on consumers and companies alike. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.