USC Trojan Football officially ends NCAA probation today

The end of probation is finally here for the USC football program. Effective today, June 10, USC is officially off probation.

Probation was put in effect following a 2006 NCAA investigation into alleged unauthorized benefits handed out to former USC running back Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo.

As a result of the investigation, the University of Southern California Trojans were slapped with a “lack of institutional control” label in June 2010, and unceremoniously stripped of its BCS national championship.  Bush’s Heisman Trophy was vacated as punishment.

The football program was forced to lose 30 scholarships over a three-year period and handed a two-year postseason ban.  The USC Class of 2015 will be the first full football recruiting class for the Trojans in four years.



Square, Inc., the folks that offer the credit card swiper for smart phones, launched Square Capital this week, a program that promises to help businesses “grow by giving them quick access to funds in a way that’s easy to understand.”

According to Square, independent businesses have historically faced high hurdles when trying to get capital, often forced to spend months filling out massive amounts of paperwork and navigating complicated application processes. With Square Capital there is no application process, and businesses get their money as soon as the next business day. Businesses automatically pay Square as a set percentage of daily card sales, so they pay more when sales are strong and less if things slow down. Square creates unique offers for businesses with the expectation that sellers will complete their advance in approximately 10 months, although there is no set time frame. The cost to the seller never changes, regardless of how long it takes to pay Square.

During the pilot program, thousands of sellers used Square Capital to buy equipment and inventory, hire more employees, and add new stores. Many neighborhood businesses with access to alternative funding sources chose Square Capital for the simple and fast process.

“We’re really grateful for Square Capital, which helped us add a sixth coffee shop location and expand our Roastery,” said New York–based Cafe Grumpy owner Caroline Bell. “We got our money quickly and the ease of automatic payments allowed us to focus our time and energy on serving great coffee to our customers. Square Capital helps keep independent businesses like ours running and growing.”

In a recent survey commissioned by Square of over 1,000 Square Capital businesses, 85 percent said they are “extremely likely” to recommend the product to a friend.

Square’s Capital pilot advanced tens of millions of dollars in capital to thousands of Square businesses.

Sellers actively running their business with Square may be able to participate in Square Capital, based on their processing volume and history with Square. The first step to becoming eligible for Square Capital is to download Square Register for either iOS or Android and start running a business with Square today.

Square can offer capital to a wide array of young companies with high-growth potential — something that many financial institutions do not do. Square’s data enables a holistic and real-time understanding of a business’ sales history, growth, cash flow, and financial needs. With Square Capital, businesses will sell a specific amount of their future card sales to Square and in return the seller will receive a lump sum payment.

The media release from Square highlighted that “sellers are increasingly turning to Square as the engine to run their business Square recently added inventory management and offline mode to Square Register, and also launched Square Feedback and pickup, which allows customers to order items prior to arriving at a store.”

Quote of the Day, “Marketing is the ‘wild wild West'”

“Marketing is the ‘wild wild West'” says OneSpot CMO Adam Weinrot in an interview with Rebekah Iliff, chief strategy officer, AirPR in today’s DM News.

In our Quote of the Day, Weinrot tells us, “It’s about keeping up on everything from content marketing, programmatic advertising, and social media enhancements all the way down to specific mobile apps that are coming out every 32 seconds. There is no CMO handbook that tells you how to utilize all of these things, or how they’ll make your business more successful; and it all changes every seven months. So it’s never a matter of being ahead, it’s more about asking, ‘How do I keep up?’”

Interesting stuff, indeed.  Read more:

Quote of the Day: “There’s a $25 trillion opportunity.”

American Express’ CEO Ken Chenault told Jessie Hempil, a writer at CNN/Fortune, “Outside of credit cards and charge cards, there’s $25 trillion out there. That’s a tremendous opportunity.”

amex bluebird prepaid card

amex bluebird prepaid card

Chenault believes there will be five platforms that matter to the future of payments, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Alibaba. He promises American Express will be embedded in each.

Read more:

Groupon launches Gnome, tablet-based POS platform

Groupon ( ) today announced Gnome, a new tablet-based platform that will provide sophisticated tools to local merchants to run their businesses more effectively and understand their customers better. The tablet will let merchants instantly recognize their Groupon customers as they enter their business, seamlessly redeem Groupons and save time and money with a simple point of-sale system and credit card payment processing service. Gnome will soon integrate with popular accounting software programs such as QuickBooks and Xero and offer a suite of customer relationship management tools, including the ability to customize marketing campaigns based on purchase history, share customer feedback via social media and respond to customer inquiries or comments.

“Gnome is an amazing piece of technology that plugs our merchants into the Web and helps them form relationships with every customer that walks in their front door,” said Eric Lefkofsky, CEO. “When it’s complete, Gnome will serve as an operating system for merchants to run their entire operation and enable them to create real-time promotions that bring customers into their business when they need them the most.”

“Gnome is an important step towards our long-term mission of creating a world where merchants are constantly connected to the Groupon local commerce platform,” Lefkofsky added.

Gnome is already in market, and will roll out to tens of thousands of merchants in the coming months.

Highlights of Gnome will include:

  • 24/7 live support and a payments service with competitive rates on credit card processing fees––backed by a low-price guarantee to save merchants money.
  • Enable merchants to connect even further with its vast mobile and online user base and suite of merchant solutions.

For more information about Gnome, please visit .

Source: Groupon

“Groupon” is a registered trademarks of Groupon, Inc. “Groupon” is a registered trademarks of Groupon, Inc. All other names used may be trademarks of their respective holders.

Merchants in the U.S. spent $71.7 billion on Card Processing Fees in 2013

The New York Times reports this morning that, “Every time a customer pays with a credit or debit card, the retailer pays a fee to have the payment processed.  According to the Nilson Report, a payment card trade publication, merchants in the United States spent $71.7 billion on these fees last year.”



Introducing Moto E and Moto G with 4G LTE: Smart phones priced for all

Motorola was the first company to bring consumers the cellular phone, the flip phone and a really, really thin feature phone.

Now they are pushing the boundaries of the value equation even further with Moto E, a new class of smartphone that’s fully loaded and fairly priced — a perfect combination for savvy shoppers and first-time smartphone buyers. Because smartphones haven’t always come at smart prices and we believe that people shouldn’t have to compromise on quality, style or experience. And the best part — it’s priced starting at just $129 on with no contract.

The fact is, about 70% of mobile phone users in the world are still using feature phones that can’t unlock the full wonder of the mobile Internet, in many cases because they don’t think it’s worth the $337 for a smartphone (the average selling price globally in 2013).

Moto E: Low price/feature rich:

Here are some of the key features of the new smart phone from Motorola:

  • Moto E has a high-resolution 4.3” display with 256ppi, the sharpest in its class. Everything from photos to videos to web pages comes to life in brilliant detail. Plus, Corning® Gorilla® Glass and a water-resistant splash guard help protect it for lasting durability.
  • With a long-lasting 1980 mAh battery you can go all day without plugging in.1 So you can think about everything you want to do, not how much time you have to do it.
  • Moto E runs Android™ 4.4.2, KitKat®, the latest version of the world’s most popular mobile platform. And with a guaranteed upgrade,2 you’ll know you’re always up to date with the best Android experience.
  • Moto E features colorful interchangeable backs — called Motorola Shells — providing more than 20 color and design combinations to let you personalize the look of your phone.3

Additional features:

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 200 processor with up to 1.4GHz dual-core CPUs for high performance power, superior mobile graphics and exceptional battery life.
  • 5MP rear-facing camera with Motorola’s streamlined camera interface; touch anywhere on the screen to take a shot, capture panoramic pictures or record video.
  • microSD slot for up to 32GB of expandable memory to save photos, videos, music, movies and apps.
  • Built-in FM radio — just tune in to listen to your favorite stations or pick up a new signal.

Moto E will be available in more than 40 countries through more than 80 carrier partners around the world over the next few weeks.

Motorola is also offering an upgraded version of our popular Moto G, featuring 4G LTE. Same great features now on the fastest networks where available, for just $219. The original Moto G continues to be available for $179 on without a contract and through local carriers in more than 40 countries worldwide.

Source: Motorola media release

And the Beats go on…

Apple is close to acquiring headphone maker and music streaming company Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion, which will be one of the largest ever acquisitions by the company behind iTunes.

The two musical powerhouses behind Beats, record producer Jimmy Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre (aka Andre Young), gave the University of Southern California $70 million last year to create a new undergraduate program called the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

The new academy’s curriculum is centered on “arts and entrepreneurship; technology, design and marketability; concept and business platforms; and creating a prototype,” according to USC’s website. The new program’s mission will be to provide inspiration and leadership for “a new generation of inspired innovators.”

Walmart C-store launches mobile ordering app

Walmart’s new “Walmart to Go” convenience store prototype in Bentonville is launching a new mobile ordering app called “Fast to Go”  developed by Movista that empowers shoppers to order meals using their smartphones. The app features a full breakfast, lunch and dinner deli menu, includes daily specials and enables customers to pre-order and customize meals for a scheduled pick-up time.

Download the Android version at: