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We’ve seen OtterBox frequent the headlines lately, most recently for announcing at CTIA that it acquired its competitor LifeProof, and we’ve served up several hands-on reviews of their products.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss OtterBox and its vision for the future with President and CEO Brian Thomas, who is a former high school teacher turned company leader.

OtterBox, for me, is the defacto hyper-protective case maker and king of their market, but Apple and Jony Ive have increasingly thrilled us with beautiful hardware design of iPhone after iPhone. I wondered if there is room for an OtterBox product in every user’s life, especially those who most admire Apple’s design aesthetic.

Of course we all want to protect our devices and nearly anyone can think of a use-case for when an OtterBox would make the difference between securely bringing the iPhone along or leaving it behind and being disconnected from your iSight camera and iTunes music collection.

Perhaps that’s what makes OtterBox the “#1 selling case for smartphones in the US,” as noted by the NPD Group. OtterBox believes diversifying its product catalogue and embracing the design cues of companies like Apple and the like will push the company to global recognition going forward.

Its recent marriage to LifeProof is just a step toward the company’s grand vision of further innovation in the mobile space.

9to5Mac: OtterBox recently acquired LifeProof. What first got your attention about the company and led to that deal?

Brian: When you look at the stories of OtterBox and LifeProof, there are a lot of similarities. Much like OtterBox, LifeProof was a rapidly growing U.S.-based company with a strong global brand, product lineup, intellectual property and thriving culture. Their vision for industry-leading products and business practices aligns perfectly with the OtterBox brand. Adding LifeProof’s award-winning products to our lineup brings our customers the best variety of options for any lifestyle.

9to5Mac: OtterBox is effectively synonymous with hardware protection these days much like Kleenex is synonymous for tissue (wouldn’t you agree?). I’m certain that’s a huge point of pride for the company and considered a sign of success for the brand. That being said, what is it OtterBox would like to be known for? What do you want the average consumer to think of when someone mentions OtterBox?

I think a full global presence is important to reach the next level, so we’ve opened international offices in Cork, Ireland and Hong Kong over the past few years to build our international brand. There are a lot of opportunities in those regions that are important as we continue to grow and build toward that level of worldwide recognition.

As a long-term goal, I envision OtterBox as a leader not only in the protection space, but also as an innovator of new technologies. In our industry, OEMs are already looking to consolidate what partners they work with and being a trusted partner that they can rely on to help solve their own business initiatives is becoming increasingly important. Integrating technology into our products is a key step in the evolution of OtterBox and how we want our customers and consumers to think of the brand.

9to5Mac: While OtterBox is the go-to case maker for people who want peace of mind and protection, some people, often myself included, prefer to use their device without a case of any sort. What opportunities do you see with people who are not OtterBox customers yet? What appeal would you say OtterBox has with these customers?

Brian: As we’ve grown as a company, we’ve worked hard to diversify our portfolio to include products that speak to different audiences. People often associate OtterBox with the rugged styling of the Defender Series, but we also offer unique, slim cases such as the Reflex Series that accent the clean design of devices like the iPhone 5. To take it a step further, we recently started offering premium screen protectors for a variety of devices in our Clearly Protected line. These screen protectors maintain the look and feel of the device as the manufacturer intended it but provide a line of defense from the bumps and scrapes of daily use. As people become more familiar with these lines, the widespread appeal will continue to grow.

9to5Mac: Lastly, what would you say is OtterBox’s biggest opportunity or goal going forward?

Brian: There are a lot of opportunities in today’s rapidly changing mobile landscape, but incorporating technology into OtterBox products to bring added value to our customers and consumers is the biggest opportunity today. We’re already seeing the need for new things like power management, app integration and more. We’ve begun this shift with the Defender Series with iON Intelligence to address both power management and app integration. It’s the only battery case available that uses an app to manage not only your case battery life, but also the battery life of the phone. The application and technology learn how the phone is used and over time, it gets better at customizing the energy profile to the user’s individual needs. There are a lot of really exciting things our teams are exploring and these opportunities will help to define the next chapter for OtterBox.

You can read more about OtterBox on its blog and follow the company on Twitter.

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#Socialchat Discusses Seo For Community Managers

On Monday Feb. 26th, Travis Wright (@teedubya) took a spin in the hot seat to discuss SEO for community managers.  Mr. Wright specializes in local search, SEO, mobile, social and other digital marketing strategies.  He is currently the Global Social Media Manger for Symantec Corporation.  In his words, he’s a “Digital Disrupter and Interactive Awesomeizer.”

Check out what he had to say when it comes to Business Relationship Optimization, or BRO.

Q1 @teedubya Search & Social are “Bros.” Mind explaining the idea behind Business Relationship Optimization?

Travis: I had an epiphany one night while working… Relationships are the root of all revenues for businesses.  I’ve worked on SEO since the mid 90s, but things are not just about the code and bots anymore,  now everything is content driven. I thought… hmmm, SEO is really about business relationships.  It’s about where and how you optimize your content.  Then it hit me BRO! Business Relationship Optimization. And it was magical. The skies parted, sun shined & birds sang.

Q2 @teedubya How do social signals affect search rankings?

Travis: Social Signals are becoming a big part of the Google algorithm and continue to gain strength.  How many like your brand on FB?  How many FB shares?  How many Twitter followers?  Retweets? Etc.  All weigh on rankings.  The more visibility that your content gets from social sharing and the more influential the sharers, the greater the value.  Definitely keep in mind that Google+ social signals carry weight.  A little home cooking, but definitely important.

Q3 @teedubya What kind of search opportunities will we find on Twitter, YouTube, Others?

Travis:  TWITTER – You can monitor Twitter for news and trends that might play well into your brand’s message and “piggy back” on that news.  I’ve done this a lot.  In fact, if you can gain some key Retweets from friends at key times, you can become the top tweet on any trend.  I’ve effectively newsjacked the top tweet on terms like #cybermonday & #blackfriday by having influential BROs.

YOUTUBE – Keep in mind that YouTube is the number 2 search engine, so you definitely want to optimize videos for keyword terms.  It’s not just about social signals.  It’s about search, as well.

BLOGGING: By building great relationships, you can get guest posts. You build relationships, then gain author accounts on top blogs where you can post your own content.  SEO+Social = BRO  Brands are becoming media companies.  Content opportunities are literally everywhere right now.  Build those relationships. Business Relationships open doors… Read the book, Brandscaping.  It’s a similar message about partnering with other brands.

Q4 @teedubya How does Facebook Graph Search figure into the game?

Travis: Facebook Graph Search is huge… and kinda creepy.  I can search for all my single friends in CA who like Star Wars.  So it’s great to find interesting people that you and your friends know.  It’s also going to be good for local business.  With FB Graph, if I want a nearby Mexican Restaurant, I can search for which of my BROs have checked in or reviewed the place.  Plumbers Nearby… you can find them.  So, if you are a business and you don’t have a FB page yet, you will suffer.

Q5 @teedubya How can brands optimize for social sharing? Q6 @teedubya Your tips for re-purposing content?

Travis: Well, if you fully embrace BRO, you will obtain a few author accounts on OTHER influential blog sites.  Don’t put ALL of your content on YOUR site.  Put a few choice items on partner sites, as well.  You get SEO backlinks and Social signals that way.  For example, you can take a successful piece of content that you’ve written and turn it into a slideshare.  At @NortonOnline, we recommended converting one of @marianmerritt’s blogs into a Power Point presentation. Boom! 130k views.  Take a successful article, turn it into a video.  Maybe make some graphic visuals for Pinterest or Instagram.   Building strong business relationships allows the content that you create to receive greater visibility and amplification.

This Monday at 9PM Eastern #SocialChat will be discussing Creating Killer Content that Gets Shared

If you want to learn more from the hosts of #SocialChat, Alan K’necht and Michelle Stinson Ross, they will be presenting on several panel sessions at SMX Toronto on March 20 & 21st.

Roadmap To Leadership: Empowering High

blog / Workforce Development Roadmap to Leadership: Empowering High-Performing Managers for the Future

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The greatest strength of an organization is its people and their skills. But hiring the best is not enough, it is equally important to retain and nurture talent through leadership development programs, to ensure long-term success.

McKinsey’s The State of Organizations 2023 report talks about organizational shifts that businesses are dealing with today, and the gaps that they face. According to the report, “Only 5% of organizations say their companies already have the capabilities that they need.”

Additionally, “In many organizations, between 20% and 30% of critical roles aren’t filled by the most appropriate people.” So business leaders need to focus on matching top talent to the highest-value roles.

This is where developing leadership skills in high-performing managers and employees, through  customized, rigorous leadership development programs, will prove useful for long-term growth.

Create a Culture of Leadership

To tap into high-performing talent, organizations must first create an environment where talent can showcase their true potential. Empower managers to make decisions, prioritize a growth mindset, encourage empathetic and collaborative behaviors, and above all, value new–age leadership skills.

“The outdated view of leadership, prioritizing authority and expertise, puts only those who seem to have all the answers to lead large teams and portfolios. But expectations from leaders are changing, and we now also look for qualities, such as communication skills, empathy, and the ability to motivate and inspire others, in our leaders,” says Sonal Bhimani, Sr. Director – Global Talent and Transformation, Cognizant. 

Adetoun Popoola, General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency adds to this. “Organizations must nurture and encourage a culture of failing forward. Employees must be trained to lead whenever circumstances require them to do so. For this, employees must be exposed and empowered to take ownership of their work.”

Bespoke for the Best: Customizing Leadership Development Programs

Most organizations have some training frameworks in place focused on skill-building. But, for the challenge-seeking high-performing individuals, it is important to create and offer personalized leadership development programs and paths aligned to their long-term career goals, recognizing their unique strengths and weaknesses and giving robust feedback on performance. 

These training paths must challenge them, push the boundaries of their potential, and instill rigor in their work. This will help in seeing who has the drive quotient required for the long run. One way is to create multi-disciplinary rotation programs for employees, allowing them to participate in various business functions and geographies to help them in their leadership journey.

Learning: A Key Component of Developing Leadership Development Skills

“Leadership for me is a lifelong journey of learning about the self, others, and the context. The focus of leadership development should be on how this tripod interacts and how to optimize the interaction for better outcomes,” says Adediran Adebanjo, Head of Direct-to-Consumer Marketing, British American Tobacco (BAT) in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

High-octane performers thrive in a culture of learning, and this also helps identify top talent better. This is the happy opposite of a vicious circle, and HR leaders must put individual, team, departmental, and organizational learning at the forefront.   

Giving access to self-paced, flexible learning modules, making learning a metric of work performance, facilitating group learning, and building libraries of resources for both soft skills and technical skills development, are among the few initiatives that organizations can include in their leadership development programs with relative ease. 

Making it Count: Mentorship 

Training programs and learning can take you only so far; it is the hands-on experience and exposure that high-performing individuals truly value and benefit from as they prepare for leadership roles, and that leadership development programs should focus on providing these experiences.  

Matching these performers with the right mentors is an incredibly important part of the development process. Mentors can guide through lived experiences, give a more nuanced understanding of the organizational and behavioral skills needed, and the nature and scale of responsibilities that come with leadership roles. Seeing a leader at work is the ultimate inspiration for leaders of tomorrow. 

Create New Avenues With Networking

Communication skills are at the heart of new–age leadership. Thus, enabling high-performance employees to network with organization and industry-wide peers, juniors, and seniors is essential to leadership. They must get a chance to attend seminars, corporate talks, and other such gatherings.

To network and build relationships, any individual must observe, analyze, and learn from peers, from the competition, and from the industry at large. It takes years of practice to navigate the world; by weaving networking into a leadership development program, high-performance employees have time to learn and master this art. 

Leading With Emeritus

Organizations will have to harness AI, and help close gaps by building complimentary skills, such as analytical thinking, will help retain employees and fill gaps that will be created by the changing organizational orders. 

Well-planned leadership and management development, through leadership development programs like those offered by Emeritus Enterprise, will play a key role. They empower high performing talent at all levels, prepare them for greater responsibility, teach them skills like negotiation, and build a robust leadership pipeline for the organization that will be ready for whatever comes their way.

Is your company seeking an enterprise learning solution provider that offers customizable learning pathways and a track record of success across all types of organizations? Emeritus partners with leading global universities to deliver employee training programs designed to maximize engagement.

By Prakruti Maniar

Ibm Mdm Solutions: Product Overview And Insight

See the full list of top MDM vendors

Enterprises that use other IBM software products and services, particularly its InfoSphere line of data management solutions, should investigate its portfolio of master data management (MDM) tools. The integration should be seamless.

In addition to the flagship version for large enterprises, the company also has an express version for SMBs and other tools designed for product information or reference data. The products are particularly well-suited for hybrid cloud environments.

Additionally, since IBM offers a full suite of different MDM products, this core choice can be enhanced with additional products that should integrate seamlessly.

Headquartered in Armonk, New York, has been in business for 107 years. It sells cloud computing, enterprise software, data center infrastructure, consulting services and other technology-related products and services.

Traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IBM, the company is a component of both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. In 2023, it reported revenue of $79.139 billion. It was number 34 on the most recent Fortune 500 list.

IBM offers several different master data management products. The flagship is InfoSphere Master Data Management, which is a complete, end-to-end MDM solution that provides a single, trusted view of all enterprise data on premises or in the cloud.

Other tools include InfoSphere Master Data Management Collaborative Edition, which focuses on product information management (PIM), Master Data Management Express, which promises faster deployment and integrated machine learning capabilities; Master Data Management on Cloud, which can run on IBM Cloud or a hybrid cloud; and InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub, which extends the capabilities of the regular version of InfoSphere Master Data Management with hub and stewardship capabilities.

360-degree view of data

Cloud support

Multi-domain capabilities

Supports registry or virtual MDM implementations

Policy management


FlexPoint licensing

InfoSphere Master Data Management

InfoSphere Master Data Management Collaborative Edition

Master Data Management Express

Master Data Management on Cloud

InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub

Integrates with Hadoop and other IBM products.

Machine learning is incorporated into IBM Master Data Management Express.

Cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises.

Role-based authentication, TrustedClientMode

MDM Express is for SMBs. Other products are designed for large enterprises.

MDM customers include Zions Bancorporation, London Borough of Camden and the Government of Odisha.

Pricing for most products available on request. MDM Express starts at $1,000 per month. MDM on Cloud starts at $31,000 per month. Free trials are available for some of the MDM products. Financing is available.

IBM MDM Solutions

Editions Available • InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub

Key Features • FlexPoint licensing

Integrations Integrates with Hadoop and other IBM products

Delivery Cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises

Target Market MDM Express is for SMBs. Other products are designed for large enterprises

Price MDM Express starts at $1,000 per month. MDM on Cloud starts at $31,000 per month. Pricing for other products available on request.

IBM MDM Solutions

Editions Available • InfoSphere Master Data Management Reference Data Management Hub

Key Features • FlexPoint licensing

Integrations Integrates with Hadoop and other IBM products

Delivery Cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises

Target Market MDM Express is for SMBs. Other products are designed for large enterprises

Price MDM Express starts at $1,000 per month. MDM on Cloud starts at $31,000 per month. Pricing for other products available on request.

Creating Diversity In Your It Staff

Can your IT operations be at their peak without diversity?

Compared to other industries, IT’s record with race-bias lawsuits might

not be the worst, but if CIOs aren’t tracking diversity, their IT

All things being equal in terms of skills and abilities, IT staffs that

are racially, nationally, and gender diverse build better software and

attract more customers than non-diverse organizations.

So why don’t more CIOs make diversity planning a higher priority for

their technology organizations?

It could be the belief that IT organizations don’t discriminate much on

the basis of racial lines. Data from a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity

Commission (EEOC) investigation released in 2002 found that IT

organizations don’t suffer much from racial bias. Only 2 percent of

race-based complaints to the EEOC were from technology companies.

However, it also could be the belief that IT workers spend more time

communing with their computer screens than they do with their colleagues,

making talent the fundamental basis for staffing and salary decisions.

Whatever the reasoning, say experts, CIOs shouldn’t pay attention to

diversity simply out of fear of a racial-bias lawsuit — such as the $5

billion case brought against Microsoft in 2001 by some of its

African-American workers. CIOs, obviously should never discriminate, but

they also should pay attention to diversity because it makes them more


”It’s really hard to find a non-diverse environment that survives,”

says Hamid Alipour, vice president of Technology and Systems at New

York-based ESPN Mobile, which brings ESPN’s content to mobile devices.

That’s because a diverse IT group draws from more cultural perspectives

in creating software to serve an increasingly diverse marketplace.

”It’s definitely very critical… Just imagine if you are all white male

Americans and you were to [focus on] a one-dimensional kind of IT,

serving perhaps that very category or class of society that we have

recruited from,” adds Alipour.

In ESPN’s case, having such a homogenous workplace could turn off

millions of customers. The company has viewers from different races and

nationalities in more than 60 countries with 90 million viewers in the

U.S. alone. Many of ESPN’s viewers (and mobile device users) are

Hispanic and African American, says Alipour. So Alipour wants a diverse

IT group in order to design better user interfaces, for instance, that

will appeal to a demographically diverse audience.

Recognizing the importance of a multi-cultural workplace goes beyond just

corporate America.

Technology membership organizations such as Black Data Processing

Associates (BDPA) and the IEEE-USA are working for diversity because, in

a general sense, many IT shops don’t have the data to support that

they’re doing anything at all about diversity.

”Every company has given good lip service to the idea that diversity is

important,” says Wayne Hicks, BDPA national president, and president and

CEO of Cincinnati Business Incubator. ”What (the BDPA) is hoping is that

companies will recognize that we don’t think your company can be

successful moving into the 21st century if you don’t have this as part of

your culture.”

In IEEE’s case the Washington, D.C.-based organization wants to foster

diversity in corporate America and among its membership.

”Representation of blacks in the IEEE membership is in the single

digits, and in most engineering societies, it’s pretty low,” says Pender

M. McCarter, director of communications and public relations at IEEE-USA.

McCarter works on career and technology enhancement policy for the IEEE,

the world’s largest technology association, and also sits on the

diversity committee of the American Association of Engineering Societies.

What can CIOs do to improve diversity?

”[CIOs] don’t need permission from anyone to [take charge of diversity].

They are in control of their IT operations, including their IT

workforce,” says Hicks. Take leadership and make the managers within the

IT department accountable for creating a diverse workforce.

Create metrics that track diversity. The top five best practices that

encourage diversity, according to a National Urban League Study called

Diversity Practices that Work, conducted by Global Lead Management

Consulting of Baltimore, are:

Market to diverse customers and consumers;

Retain diverse talent;

Recruit diverse talent;

Make sure leadership is committed and involved, and

Java Program For Minimum Product Subset Of An Array

Array is a linear data structure that is used to store a group of elements with similar datatypes. It stores data in a sequential manner. Once we create an array we can’t change its size i.e. it is of fixed length.

The problem statement states that for a given array we have to find the minimum product of its subset. In this article, we will try to find the solution to the given problem.

Program for minimum product of subsets Example 1

Let’s try to understand the problem and possible solution through an example.

For the above array a few possible subsets could be −

Now, we will compute their products and return the minimum of them. Here, 5 is the minimum.

Syntax for Array Data_Type[] nameOfarray; Or, Data_Type nameOfarray[]; Or, Data_Type nameOfarray[] = new Data_Type[ sizeofarray ]; Data_Type nameOfarray[] = { values separated with comma };

We can use any of the above syntaxes in our program.


Step 1 − We begin by importing the ‘java.lang.Math’ package so that we can use method ‘min()’ of the class ‘Math’ to check the minimum value among two given arguments.

Step 2 − Now, create a class ‘Subset’ and inside it defines a method named ‘minProduct()’ along with an array as a parameter.

Step 3 − Inside the method ‘minProduct()’, declare and initialize an integer variable named ‘res’ to store the sum of product of subsets. Moving further, take a for loop that will run till the length of the array.

Step 4 − We will declare and initialize another integer variable named ‘prod’ to store the product of subsets during each iteration.

Step 5 −Now, define another for loop inside the first one that will run from ‘i + 1’ to length of array. During each iteration, it will check the minimum among sum of product and product of subsets.

Step 6 − At the end, in the main() method, we will declare and initialize two arrays of type integer to find their minimum product of subsets. Moving ahead create an object named ‘obj’ of class ‘Subset’ and use this object to call the method ‘minProduct()’ with argument.

Example import java.lang.Math; class Subset { void minProduct(int aray[]) { int res = aray[0]; for (int i = 0; i < aray.length; i++) { int prod = aray[i]; for (int j = i + 1; j < aray.length; j++) { res = Math.min(res, prod); prod = prod * aray[j]; } res = Math.min(res, prod); } System.out.println("Minimum product of Sub array is: " + res); } } public class Minsub { public static void main(String[] args) { int aray1[] = { 4, -6, 3, 6}; int aray2[] = { 3, 5, 9, 7, 12, 30 }; Subset obj = new Subset(); obj.minProduct(aray1); obj.minProduct(aray2); } } Output Minimum product of Sub array is: -432 Minimum product of Sub array is: 3 Conclusion

We have discussed the solution for how we can find the minimum product of subsets of a given array. Also, we discovered the syntax to declare and initialize an array. We have used a static method ‘min()’ that checks minimum of two specified values. Remember one thing about static methods they can be called without creating any object, we just use the class name with the dot operator (.).

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