NGP VAN is a privately owned American company specializing in helping progressive campaigns and organizations leverage technology to meet their goals. In 2009, the company was the largest partisan provider of campaign compliance software, used by most Democratic members of Congress. The company's services are utilized by notable clients such as the Obama 2012 presidential campaign. Wikipedia.
News Article | November 28, 2016
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." A bitter cold wind whipped the proud flag around a pole as steely gray as the New Hampshire winter sky. "He can't win," she said on condition of anonymity, "because his big data is nonexistent. Has no ground game. He has no get-out-the-vote operation." As canvassers and candidates trudged through the snow, we chatted in a cozy Manchester diner, anxiously waiting for early primary results to roll in. Republicans had learned from their previous data-driven defeats, and candidates like John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush all invested heavily in big data, explained the respected DC insider. She was confident that tech was going to win the primary, and presidency. She was wrong. And so was everyone else. During the 2016 presidential campaign—on the trail from at early primaries, to debates, the RNC and DNC, through election day—TechRepublic reported on the emerging power of technologies to win elections. Ted Cruz's campaign, powered by information tech created by UK firm Cambridge Analytica, attributed its success in Iowa to microtargeting backed by big data. The Clinton campaign benefitted from the remnants of Obama's tech infrastructure and had a robust data and social media operation powered by prominent Silicon Valley technologists. The big winner was sure to be big data. Even the Trump campaign was prepared for a loss. On Election Day Trump headquarters in Manhattan was inaccessible, barricaded by a wall of trucks and protesters. As Bloomberg's Sasha Issenberg reported, Trump had a smart social media team but spent little on data, and even less on GOTV. The Republican nominee's grassroots support and social media strength, powered largely by robots and spammers, was also dubious. The mood was jubilant and celebratory at Clinton's rally across town. During the day supporters traded smiles and hugs. Then the grim results rolled in. "How could the polls be so wrong? How could our own data be so wrong?" Standing in a discreet corner under the blue-tinted glass ceiling of New York's Javits center the Clinton staffer choked up. Superficially, it appeared that technology, the polls, and big data failed the Clinton campaign. And they weren't alone. Clinton's brutal loss hurt the polling industry, the data business, and the media. For weeks prior to the election, polls and prognosticators at respected news outlets like FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times all had Clinton ahead. After the election, pundits and the media offered several explanations: an over-confidence in data precision, inaccuracies in polling samples, and unmeasurable factors like voter sentiment. "Perhaps people told pollsters one thing, but voted differently. People change their minds over time. It's human," said political scientist and TechRepublic data partner William P. Stodden. "The tl;dr answer to why pollsters got it wrong," was, he explained, "garbage in, garbage out. We can't poll the heart." And yet, undoubtedly, the 2016 election was the most high-tech campaign in history, and future candidates are likely to invest heavily in big data, social media, artificial intelligence, and other innovations. TechRepublic's Jason Hiner reports that social media played a critical role in engaging voters on both the left and right and helped raise funds for grassroots insurgents like Trump and Bernie Sanders. In many ways, campaigns are early adopters that blaze tech trails followed by enterprise companies and SMBs. Firms like L2 Political and Cambridge Analytica provide powerful insight about consumer demographics, TargetedVictory, incubated by the GOP and Romney campaign, helps companies automate advertising and marketing, liberal-leaning NGP VAN uses mobile devices to mobilize voters and consumers, and NationBuilder helps companies and campaigns better understand social media users. So why did big data get it wrong (and right) on election night? TechRepublic asked political and technology experts to explain the failure and successes of big data. "The lesson to learn is that the data didn't fail. Perhaps polling needs to be more complex and more robust. But our data didn't fail, obviously. A lot of people are saying polling is wrong. But we used polling data to help inform our models. We had a robust polling platform that did show a difficult battle. Our polling showed him down or even in battleground states, and the path to victory looked difficult. But what happens if turnout is different than expected? One of the clear outcomes was if the rural vote turned out, and the African American does not, the race gets closer and winnable. Because we were the underdog, we adjusted our model based on those factors. We saw this two weeks to a month out. We saw early votes and absentee trends that suggested an increase in rural voters, especially in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. We advised [that the Trump campaign] allocate time and resources to those states." "It's not about the data. It's what you do with it ... did Clinton even have a real GOTV in Michigan, for example?" WATCH: Who could be Donald Trump's chief of staff and who could be in his Cabinet? (CBS News) "The election speaks to the power of brand loyalty. Once you bought into Donald Trump, you were unlikely to be moved. Maybe we didn't fully understand the sentiment of how voters felt. The race was so divided that if anyone said anything positive about either candidate they were attacked [on social media]. Those who were fully onboard with a campaign were not shy, but many went quiet and stopped participating. Data can't predict silence." "Success has many parents and by next week we're going to be hearing that the Trump data team was perfect and exactly predicted the win and that he had a huge GOTV effort that no one bothered to cover. Everyone who knows, knows neither of those are true but that's the way it goes. What pollsters missed, really, was two things: They missed the Trump vote in rural areas was as big as it is [and] they missed the Trump shift in blue collar suburbs. This is probably a sampling issue. A traditional statewide poll might have a margin of error of 10 points for the rural part of the state because urban and suburban areas take up so much of the sample. I do think there were some 'shy Trump' voters, particularly in more affluent Republican suburbs. It's probably a smaller story than the rural vote or the blue-collar suburban vote, but if you look at the high number of undecideds in late polling and then compare it to the final tallies you either had a really late break for Trump, or some number of voters who said they were undecided but picked Trump ... analytics is going to be critical for cobbling together winning coalitions at all levels."
News Article | January 24, 2016
One of the main players is NGP VAN, which manages the Democratic National Committee's database. Its name recently surfaced in connection with a data breach blamed on a technical glitch that enabled the campaign of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to access voter data belonging to rival Hillary Clinton. The incident raises questions about the reach of the database. "Everyone" is in there, Kevin Thurman, who served as Clinton's deputy Internet director during her last campaign in 2008, said with a laugh. "Every voter in America, since 2004, dead or alive." NGP VAN estimates the number at about 195 million people, far more than the 146 million currently registered as voters. Voter registration is not mandatory in the United States. The database even includes adults who don't vote but who the campaigns hope to convince to turn out ahead of the November presidential election. All Democratic candidates—be they involved in local elections or a major presidential campaign—use NGP VAN's data. The group helps candidates better target potential voters by avoiding those who will probably never cast a ballot for them, thereby reducing campaign expenses. "If you're Trump, you're not going to lose time targeting the Clinton list," explained Brandi Travis, spokeswoman for NGP VAN competitor Aristotle. The Democratic Party has been collecting information on American voters since 2004. The data—which includes a registered voter's age, address and history of election participation—is based on publicly available information. Through brokers, the party then buys information that private companies own on their clients. CVS pharmacies, for example, sell this information. The National Rifle Association, America's leading gun lobby, also shares data on its members. "They buy information from corporate databases... or newspaper subscriptions," Thurman explained. Clients may not necessarily be aware of this practice, which is legal. "They want to know what type of product you bought," said Sasha Issenberg, a journalist who has published a book, "The Victory Lab," on the issue. These groups also sell their clients' email address. With NGP VAN's information, the Democratic Party can also learn about someone's educational history and, often, his or her ethnic background. Then comes the analysis. A 30-year-old woman living in a major city and subscribed to a literary magazine, for example, has more chances of voting for Clinton than a 60-year-old man living in a southern rural area and subscribed to a magazine for weapons enthusiasts. When they go knocking on doors, volunteers can then further refine the data by asking whether the targeted voter cares more, say, about climate change or ending unemployment. Among NGP VAN's dozens of competitors, some, like Aristotle, build their own databases. NationBuilder told AFP that French political parties have sought its services ahead of next year's presidential election in France. Data collectors stress that all information is obtained legally, even if Americans are often unaware of the extent of parties' knowledge of details of their personal lives. "When you click the 'I agree' button online, you don't read the text, but you accept that your information can be sold," said Joe Curran, founder of Filpac, which works with the Republicans. "It's public, but people just don't know it." Thurman agreed—people simply don't realize what they've signed up for when they register on a website. "There is no way our information can compete with the information the private companies have on Americans," Thurman added. "Compared to them, we are weak." Explore further: Late Registrants More Likely to Vote, Finds Study of Voter Participation
News Article | February 15, 2017
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic has announced it will make the two-hour documentary GENDER REVOLUTION: A JOURNEY WITH KATIE COURIC available to stream for free, beginning Tuesday, Feb. 14, for one week. The stream will be available on National Geographic’s website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Apple TV app and TV Everywhere mobile apps. Produced by Katie Couric Media with National Geographic Studios and World of Wonder Productions, the network will also air a special encore of the documentary on Monday night, February 13 at 9/8c. Hailed as “powerful” by Ellen Degeneres, “groundbreaking” by the Huffington Post, and “compassionate, incisive, and informed” by the Daily Beast, GENDER REVOLUTION: A JOURNEY WITH KATIE COURIC explores the rapidly evolving complexities of gender — from the moment we are born through our twilight years. To better understand this complex social and scientific issue, Couric crisscrossed the U.S. to talk with scientists, researchers, activists, authors and families to learn more about the role of genetics, brain chemistry and modern culture on gender fluidity. Her wide-ranging interviews included a conversation with Gavin Grimm, the transgender Virginia teen whose lawsuit seeking equal bathroom access is headed to the Supreme Court on March 28. With discussions that range from the scientifically enlightening to the deeply personal, Couric’s unflinching search for truth sheds light on countless untold stories of struggle, understanding, ignorance, hurt and love. “I’ve always hoped this documentary would be a spark to ignite conversations in every corner of the country around the evolving landscape of gender,” said host and executive producer Katie Couric. “National Geographic is helping to push that goal forward by making it so broadly available to audiences.” In addition, National Geographic continues to partner with Picture Motion on the Gender Revolution Tour, allowing any high school, college, university or nonprofit to sign up to host a free screening and discussion. To date, more than 300 groups nationwide have signed up to participate. The tour harnesses the momentum of the gender conversations happening around the globe and offers an opportunity to have an informed dialogue on one of the most complicated and evolving issues in the current zeitgeist. Groups will also be provided with an extensive discussion guide developed for National Geographic by Journeys in Film (link). Screening requests can be made at http://bit.ly/NatGeoGenderRevolution. The documentary is also currently airing on National Geographic around the globe in 171 countries and in 45 languages. GENDER REVOLUTION: A JOURNEY WITH KATIE COURIC is produced by Katie Couric Media, World of Wonder Productions and National Geographic Studios for National Geographic. For Katie Couric Media, executive producers are Katie Couric and Mitch Semel. For World of Wonder, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Jeremy Simmons serve as executive producers. For National Geographic Studios, executive producers are Jeff Hasler and Brian Lovett. For National Geographic, Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production, and Michael J. Miller is executive producer. National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 171 countries and 45 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
News Article | February 15, 2017
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In the greatest adventure saga ever told -- the story of human civilization -- National Geographic presents ORIGINS: The Journey of Humankind - an eight-part series that traces the innovations that made the world modern. ORIGINS is a full-sensory, time-travel adventure that delves deep into history to find the pivotal ‘origin’ moments that fueled our evolutionary ascension. While we are in a fast-growing technological age fueled by smart phones, satellites and the ‘next big discovery,’ ORIGINS pauses to probe the biggest questions in the universe: How did we get here? How did Homo Sapiens evolve from apes swinging tree to tree to astronauts walking on the surface of the moon? Premiering Monday, March 6, at 9/8c, on National Geographic and in 171 countries and 43 languages later this spring, ORIGINS is a contemporary twist on the traditional historical documentary. World-class futurist and idea DJ Jason Silva (BRAIN GAMES, SHOTS OF AWE) leads us through a portal to explore these explosive events, such as the discoveries and applications of fire, that fundamentally and irrevocably created our modern lives. ORIGINS incorporates dramatic scripted storytelling, documentary sequences, expert analysis and dazzling audio-visual mashups designed by John Boswell -- also known worldwide as Melodysheep -- who is making his TV debut with original symphonies. Silva’s unique and compelling thought-jockey process organically and seamlessly shifts us across historical milestones while the world’s top minds -- experts across the fields of technology, war, communication, medicine, transportation, ecology, paleoanthropology, evolutionary biology and antiquity, to name a few -- inject cerebral heft with compelling commentary. “Everything we do today has deep roots in the past,” says Silva. “ORIGINS deconstructs moments that show how we rebelled against our fate in the animal kingdom and found a way to rise up, transcend and forge a new future in the modern world.” "Music touches us on a subconscious, instinctual level,” says Boswell. “It has a way of bringing human history to life and evoking deep-seated emotions that connect us to our past. This authentic collaboration with National Geographic allows us to reach a wide audience in telling the tale of humankind anew.” In the premiere episode, ORIGINS: Fire, we experience specific moments in history when fire allowed us to create, annihilate, expand and dominate. Nothing else throughout human history explains our existence more than fire; it’s been harnessed and applied throughout countless centuries to define who we are and will become. Silva transports viewers to 12000 BC when early man shockingly discovered the first spark, which grew to a flame and lit the world before their very eyes. Then jump to 1232 AD when the Jin Dynasty unearthed the greatest defense against the attacking Mongol hordes: a projected missile. Gunpowder produced the first chemical explosive that forever altered modern warfare. Silva takes us to 1666, when fire truly exposed itself as a double-edged sword, the Great Fire of London burnt down more than 90 churches and 13,000 houses, and more than 100,000 people were brought down to their knees with no place to call home. This devastation gave birth to the first modern city and one of the most enlightening periods in history -- the Industrial Revolution. Flashing forward a couple centuries to 1926 in the New World, American scientist Robert Goddard was the earliest pioneer of space technology, having created the first modern rocket, which was the basis of today’s spacecrafts that gave rise to satellites and modern communication. In ORIGINS, Silva is our tour guide through these hypnotic symphonies transporting viewers throughout time. Additional topics covered in the premiere season include medicine, money, war, communication, shelter, exploration and transportation. ORIGINS: The Journey of Humankind is produced by Asylum Entertainment for National Geographic. For Asylum Entertainment, Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Ryann Lauckner, Simon George, Kurt Sayenga, Mark Monroe and Ben Bitonti are executive producers. For Melodysheep, John Boswell is executive producer. For National Geographic, Tim Pastore, Michel J. Miller and Kevin Tao Mohs are executive producers. For more information, visit our press room at natgeotvpressroom.com. National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 129 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest. In its 15 years, Asylum Entertainment has produced a diverse slate of television long-form, features, documentaries and unscripted series, totaling thousands of hours of programming. The company has been honored with much critical acclaim and multiple award nominations for excellence in filmmaking. Asylum's lifeblood is its unscripted fare, and the company's robust factual exploits include critically acclaimed National Geographic Channel series Breakthrough and feature documentary Happy Valley. Additional series include Finding My Father; Codependent; Being Mike Tyson; Gangsters: America's Most Evil; scripted limited series The Kennedys (starring Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson and Barry Pepper), which won four of the 10 Emmy Awards for which it was nominated; Ring of Fire (starring Jewel as June Carter Cash), which garnered four more Emmy nods; as well as several others. Asylum is a wholly owned subsidiary of the prolific feature film studio Legendary Entertainment.
News Article | November 16, 2016
SILICON SLOPES, UT--(Marketwired - Nov 16, 2016) - Teem, a developer of cloud-based meeting tools and analytics that aid in helping companies collaborate more effectively, was presented with the prestigious "Current, powered by GE Partner Innovation Award" at GE's annual premier industrial internet event, Minds + Machines 2016. The award is a reflection of Teem's advancement in integrating with Current and GE's Predix* to provide enhanced meeting room management solutions by increasing space efficiency. Earlier this year, Teem announced a partnership with Current, powered by GE, that leverages Current's available technologies to help companies optimize workspace and improve workplace productivity. Through the integration of Current's microservices Teem utilizes Current's intelligent LED lights to scan building spaces and the Predix operating system to send real-time insights on the meeting rooms and offices being used to Teem's platform. The insights obtained provide companies with never-before-utilized analytics that help to maximize meeting room usability and keep buildings more energy efficient. "Receiving the 'Current, powered by GE, Partner Innovation Award' is a true honor, as we consider both Current and GE well-respected and valuable partners," said Shaun Ritchie, CEO of Teem. "We're very proud of the advancement we've made through our partnership and look forward to finding new ways to utilize Current's Micro-services to help companies work more efficiently and ultimately, be more productive." Key features of the award-winning Teem and Current partnership include a building intelligence platform that provides detailed information about how offices work, sensor activated analytics that scan rooms to check attendees in and solutions that utilize long-lasting, ultra-efficient LEDs to maximize energy efficiency. "Teem's innovative approach to integrating with Current has proven to be a strong advancement in the arena of meeting room solutions," said Dave Bartlett, CTO, Current, powered by GE. "This opens up significant improvements in the management of workspace and increases productivity amongst our clients and we are excited to present this award to Teem." GE Minds + Machines is an annual gathering of a global community of GE customers, developers, partners, industry luminaries, and technology thought leaders focused on unveiling new learnings, opportunities, and outcomes of digital industrial transformation -- powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). About Teem Teem is a cloud-based software and analytics platform for meeting management and analysis that helps companies maximize their workspace and enable their employees to work more efficiently. The platform provides employee-focused meeting tools and activity-driven insights, including eye-catching conference room displays, streamlined visitor management and detailed space use analytics that drive better decisions on space and facilities utilization. To date, the Salt Lake City-based startup has raised over $20 million in capital from NGP, GE, Google Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Zetta Venture Partners, Origin Ventures, Marc Benioff, Dave Elkington and Josh James, among others. The Teem display software is available on a variety of Apple iPad™ and Android tablets (requirements apply) as well as Marshmallow and Android Nougat operating systems. The platform integrates with many existing calendar systems, including Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange, and Office 365. For more information on Teem, visit www.teem.com. About GE: GE ( : GE) is the world's Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. For more information visit: www.ge.com.
News Article | February 22, 2017
"Nonsense," laughed a former senior Trumpworld technology staffer. "Look, I'm not saying they lied but for Cambridge Analytica to run victory laps and claim they won the election for Trump is a huge exaggeration. Data can do a lot of things, but there's a limit to how effective it is. Cambridge Analytica's claims went far beyond that limit." The comments echo sentiment shared by a handful of GOP operatives, former Trump campaign workers, and current White House digital staffers that big data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica exaggerated its role in the campaign. Moreover, many insiders claim the company's use of psychographic voter data was vastly overstated. "It's all well and good to [employ] engineers," said one operative, "but what was the real value proposition? By the end of the campaign they were doing very little." Tweets by White House chief digital officer Gerrit Lansing and President Trump's former Director of Digital Advertising & Fundraising and current GOP Director of Advertising Gary Coby bluntly called out the company's big data analysis a "total lie." SEE: How risk analytics can help your organization plug security holes (Tech Pro Research) During the 2016 presidential campaign in interviews with TechRepublic, Cambridge Analytica claimed to use a database of 240 North American consumer records—a mixture of voter data, social media, and surveys—to forecast voter behavior. CEO Alexander Nix claimed, "we use nearly 5 thousand different data points about you to craft and target a message." "We are fundamentally politically agnostic and an apolitical organization," Nix said. "The high volume of Republican primary candidates this cycle allowed us to enter a competitive market... Starting with politics, we'd like to replace blanket advertising with individualised targeted and engagement ads." The day after Trump's victory the company's lead data scientist David Wilkinson told TechRepublic, "our data didn't fail, obviously. A lot of people are saying polling is wrong. But we used polling data to help inform our models. We had a robust polling platform that did show a difficult battle... Because we were the underdog, we adjusted our model based on those factors. We saw this two weeks to a month out. We saw early votes and absentee trends that suggested an increase in rural voters, especially in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. We advised [that the Trump campaign] allocate time and resources to those states." After Cambridge Analytica came under fire, we asked the firm for comment. During a half-hour phone meeting a spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica declined to be identified but articulated some technical components of the company's model. Regarding allegations of exaggeration, the spokesperson stated, "we weren't offended by [the Tweets]. We employ serious data scientists, and we do serious work.The [conservative] tech and data communities are relatively small and we have a good working relationship [with other actors]. But we're somewhat new to the market. We're not insiders, and our work is sometimes misunderstood." There is a nuanced middle ground between the utility of big data and the outrage over allegations of exaggerated claims, said Zack Christenson, founder and CEO of data marketing platform Crowdskout. As a former journalist in Chicago and Washington, D.C., Christenson understands the intricacies of politics, media, and data. "I think most people are seeing the forest and missing the trees," Christenson said, regarding the big data revolution. "A lot of groups are really excited at the prospect of being able to consume 5,000 different data points on a person and create complex models using a person's favorite color or what magazines they subscribed to last month. But this over-proliferation of data is the noise." SEE: IT leader's guide to Agile development (Tech Pro Research) It's very hard to cut out the data points that really don't matter, Christenson said, and figure out the few important data points that actually have real bearing on your goals. "That's not to say that those 5,000 data points aren't valuable," he said, "but they're not the silver bullet many people think." With big data science, process is important. "[Data] is like math," Christenson said. "Each component is a building block, and it's important to show your work." To that end, Christenson explained the process at Crowdskout, his tech stack, and the future of data in politics. What did you do and how did you do it? The most important thing we did was put together an incredible team. We'd be nowhere if we didn't hire the smartest and most talented people we could find. We hired the right people, pointed everyone in the right and same direction, and we were off to the races. It's important to trust the team you've assembled and let them do their thing. We're attempting to solve really challenging problems, so allowing everyone on the team to have the freedom to explore and solve those problems creates a scenario where we're actually able to solve those problems and, I hope, creates a fulfilling work environment in which talented people want to work. What is your tech stack and how does big data inform your decision-making process? We tried to find the goldilocks tech stack—new and cutting edge enough to attract talent who wanted to work with emerging languages and tech, while also using technology with proven track records to get the job done—and also not too obscure as to not be able to find anyone who knew the right languages and stack. Our front-end is all AngularJS, our back end is mainly PHP with some Python. We run on MongoDB, MySQL, and Elasticsearch on AWS. We knew we had to support big data out of the gate, and so all of our technical decisions are made knowing we have to scale, which has prevented us from having to do any major technical swap due to load or performance issues, allowing us to focus on serving our customers and new features. What worked, and what didn't work? Coming in we benchmarked our performance off some of our competitors, but as we started to get our software in the hands of users we learned that the speed of pulling large lists was a major pain point and offered an opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves in the market. At this point we incorporated Elasticsearch into our database stack, which allowed us to do in under a second what can take other software minutes or hours. We're proud of that. Since then Elasticsearch has been a workhorse in our tech stack and we've been able to leverage its wide array of features to support some of our newer data visualization features and upcoming mapping functionality. Could a small business or startup successfully replicate your process? Of course. I think ideas are worth very little—if you can't execute on your idea then it doesn't matter. We've worked hard and we've built what we think is a pretty solid product that creates a lot of value for our customers. It certainly wasn't easy, but the thing that I think sets us apart from other companies is we work really hard at getting things right and following through on what needs to be done—so if you can do that, you can definitely do what we've done. One of the things that I think is often overlooked when building a company like this is how essential great customer service is. We built out a strong customer success team that's focused 100% on maximizing our users' experience—they're real people that our customers can have real relationships with. That's a major differentiating factor between what you get with us and some other tools out there. What does the future of big data for campaigns, grassroots organizations, and companies look like? Software aimed at the corporate and retail world is much further along than what you see in the political, non-profit and advocacy world. I think the political software industry is just getting started. Up to this point, you've seen two things—either large presidential-sized campaigns building in-house tools that get mothballed after a campaign, or data consultants doing customized work and shoehorning things into existing software built for different industries. There are a few software companies here and there building software specifically for this world—Crowdskout, NGP VAN, or NationBuilder—but I think we'll see a commoditization of this type of work as more and more software is built and offered to campaigns and grassroots groups in a SaaS model. Things will start to get easier and more and more tools will become available to smaller groups with smaller budgets—and more people will become familiar with how this work actually gets done.
News Article | October 28, 2016
HOUSTON, Oct. 28, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PennTex Midstream Partners, LP (NASDAQ:PTXP) (the “Partnership”) today reported third quarter 2016 financial and operational results. Financial and operational highlights for the quarter include: Operating revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2016 were $22.2 million and total operating expenses were $14.8 million, resulting in operating income of $7.4 million. In addition, the Partnership recorded $6.2 million of deferred revenue primarily related to undelivered minimum volume commitments. The Partnership reported net income of $5.8 million, or $0.16 per unit, and net operating cash flow of $14.9 million. For the three months ended September 30, 2016, the Partnership generated Adjusted EBITDA of $18.8 million and distributable cash flow of $17.2 million. The Partnership processed an average of 309,000 MMBtu/d during the third quarter 2016. Minimum volume commitments under the Partnership’s gathering and processing agreements with its primary customer were 460,000 MMBtu/d for the quarter. On October 25, 2016, the Partnership announced a quarterly distribution of $0.2950 per unit, or $1.18 per unit on an annualized basis, for the third quarter 2016. The distribution represents a 3.7% increase over the distribution declared for the second quarter. The distribution will be paid on November 14, 2016 to unitholders of record as of November 7, 2016. As of September 30, 2016, the Partnership had $1.1 million in cash on hand. As of September 30, 2016, the Partnership’s total indebtedness was $155.5 million, including letters of credit outstanding, and the Partnership had an additional $119.5 million available borrowing capacity under its revolving credit facility. Proposed Acquisition of the Partnership’s Parent by Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. On October 25, 2016, the Partnership announced that PennTex Midstream Partners, LLC (“PennTex Development”), entered into a Contribution Agreement (the “Contribution Agreement”) with Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (“ETP”), NGP X US Holdings, L.P. (“NGP”), and the additional contributors party thereto (together with NGP, the “Contributors”). Pursuant to, and subject to the terms and conditions of, the Contribution Agreement, ETP has agreed to acquire from the Contributors (i) 100% of the membership interests in Parent; (ii) 6,301,596 common units representing limited partner interests in PennTex Midstream Partners, LP (the “Partnership”) and 20,000,000 subordinated units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership; (iii) 100% of the membership interests in PennTex Midstream GP, LLC, the general partner of the Partnership; and (iv) 100% of the Partnership’s incentive distribution rights. The transactions contemplated by the Contribution Agreement are expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions. Upon the completion of the transactions contemplated by the Contribution Agreement, ETP will own the general partner of, and will control, the Partnership, and will own approximately 65% of the outstanding limited partner interests in the Partnership. The Partnership will not host a conference call. The Partnership’s financial statements and related footnotes will be available in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, which will be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on October 28, 2016 or shortly thereafter. PennTex Midstream Partners, LP is a growth-oriented master limited partnership focused on owning, operating, acquiring and developing midstream energy infrastructure assets in North America. PTXP provides natural gas gathering and processing and residue gas and natural gas liquids transportation services to producers in the Terryville Complex in northern Louisiana. For more information, visit www.penntex.com. For further information, please direct all inquiries to: Disclosures in this press release contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this press release that address activities, events or developments that the Partnership expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements and speak only as of the date on which such statement is made. These statements contain words such as “expect, “will” and “anticipate” and are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the Partnership. These include, but are not limited to, risks related to volatility of commodity prices; the success of producers in the area in which we operate, market demand for natural gas and natural gas liquids; competition in the midstream industry; general economic conditions; and the effects of government regulations and policies. Although we believe that the assumptions reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements are reasonable, should any of the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, or should one or more of these risks or uncertainties occur, the Partnership’s actual results and plans could differ materially from those implied or expressed by any forward-looking statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. For more information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those conveyed in the forward-looking statements, please refer to the “Risk Factors” section of the Partnership’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 26, 2016. Except as otherwise required by applicable law, the Partnership undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any such forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur, or of which the Partnership becomes aware, after the date hereof. Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow are non-GAAP financial measures. The GAAP liquidity measure most directly comparable to Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow is net cash provided by operating activities. Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow should not be considered alternatives to net income, operating income, cash flows from operations or any other measure of financial performance or liquidity presented in accordance with GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow have important limitations as analytical tools because they exclude some but not all items that affect net income and net cash provided by operating activities. Additionally, because Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow may be defined differently by other companies in our industry, our definition of Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies, thereby diminishing their utility. You should not consider Adjusted EBITDA or distributable cash flow in isolation or as substitutes for analysis of results as reported under GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss), plus interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, changes in deferred revenues, equity-based compensation expense, non-cash general and administrative expense, non-cash loss (income) related to derivative instruments and impairments on long-term assets. Distributable cash flow is defined as Adjusted EBITDA, less cash interest expense related to operating activities, net of interest income, income taxes paid and maintenance capital expenditures, and distribution equivalents paid in cash. The following table reconciles Adjusted EBITDA to the most directly comparable GAAP financial and liquidity measures for the periods presented, and further reconciles Adjusted EBITDA for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015 to distributable cash flow attributable to the Partnership: The following table provides the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA as defined above:
Ngp | Date: 2015-09-21
The present invention relates to a method, apparatus and system for measuring the content of either one or more gas analytes that may be part of a gas. The present invention applies a spectroscopic method that utilizes an extremely narrow linewidth laser beam that is absorbed when its wavelength is swept across the interval containing the absorption line of the analyte. The method, apparatus and system of the present invention is applicable to any analyte in gas phase that is part of a gas mixture, or to any analyte in a plasma phase, as well as analytes in other environments.
News Article | September 13, 2016
The hacker who claimed to be behind the breach on the Democratic National Committee, who goes by the name Guccifer 2.0, was slated to talk via livestream at a London cybersecurity conference on Tuesday. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, Guccifer 2.0, whom experts believe is just a front for Russian government hackers, was a no show. Instead, someone else read out loud a rambling statement purportedly sent by the hacker. In the long statement, Guccifer 2.0 talks about who’s really to blame for data breaches (spoiler alert: definitely not hackers like him), accuses Twitter of censoring his “twits,” and blames government contractors as the real culprits because they make buggy software. “As a result they pose a threat to the critical infrastructure elements and the national security as a whole. Total computerization along with inadequate software development may cause a lot of troubles,” Guccifer 2.0 said, according to a transcript obtained by Motherboard. “That's why it's better to use paper sometimes. We should start now to prevent electronic apocalypse and rise of the machines in the future. Or else it would be too late.” Read more: Why Did Guccifer 2.0 Evolve from Sloppy Hacktivist to Professional Leaker? Guccifer 2.0 also released around 600 megabytes of data, allegedly stolen from NGP VAN, a company that provides services to the DNC. The hacker claimed in an interview with Motherboard earlier this summer that he broke into the DNC by finding a flaw in NGP VAN. NGP VAN did not respond to a request for comment, but there's no evidence that a flaw in the company's software was the way in for the hacker. ThreatConnect, a security firm that's followed the DNC breach since the beginning, said that Guccifer 2.0's claims regarding NGP VAN don't make any sense. It’s unclear why Guccifer 2.0 didn’t connect via livestream as it was advertised. The conference organizers did not respond to a request for comment. Guccifer 2.0 also did not respond to a Twitter message. Here’s the full transcript of Guccifer 2.0’s rambling message, read out loud during the conference. Hello everyone This is Guccifer 2.0. I'm sure you know me because my name is in the conference program list. As I see it, this is the place to discuss cyber security and cyber threats. And may be to propose some solutions. Let's figure out who poses the real threat to begin with. Cyber security firms are quick to blame hackers for their activity. Yeah, they cause a lot of troubles for business and politics. But, who poses a real cyber threat? what do you think? Is it Guccifer? Or Snowden? Or Assange? Or Lazar? No. It seems obvious. It's plain as day you would say. But still my answer is no. Large IT companies pose a real cyber threat nowadays. You may perfectly know some of them or may not. But their responsibility for the future of our world is growing from day to day. And I will explain to you why. So. What's wrong with large IT companies? First. On their way to a global progress and big money they are collecting users' personal data, which is the same as spying on people, because many of us don't even realise they track us online and collect our info. Companies store these data making it vulnerable for leaks. Second. They create conditions that make people store their info in cloud services. It seems convenient but it's extremely vulnerable because it's thousand times easier to steal the data from the cloud than from a personal cell phone for instance. The next reason, and the crucial one, is software vulnerability. Tech companies hurry to finish the work and earn money. So they break development cycle very often omitting the stage of testing. As a result, clients have raw products installed on their systems and networks with a great number of bugs and holes. Fourth. It's well known that all large companies look forward to receiving governmental contracts. They develop governmental websites, communication systems, electronic voting systems, and so on and have their products installed to critical infrastructure objects on the national level. They are aggressively lobbying their interests. You can see it at the diagram that they spent millions of dollars for lobbying. That doesn't mean they will produce better software. That means they will get even more money in return. Fifth. This is censorship. For example Twitter censors unwelcome users. I can judge it by myself here. You can see how Guccifer 2 hashtag unnaturally abruptly stops trending. It seems impossible that all Twitter users just stop twitting about Guccifer 2 leaks, in a moment. That's why people started Guccifer 3, 4, 5 hashtags to avoid censorship. People also told me their twits [sic] were not shown in the Twitter live wall unlike to their account's wall. So, the cyber aggressiveness is progressing nowadays. The number of cyber attacks is steadily growing. What's the reason? What's wrong with the cyber defense? Well. they take wrong measures. They search for cyber criminals, sentence them. But two more hackers appear instead of one convicted. The real problem is inside. This is just the same as in offline world. This is not enough to prosecute criminals. It requires preventive measures, to fight criminality by elimination of the possibility of crime. So, what's the right question we should ask about cyber crime? Who hacked a system? Wrong. The right question is: who made it possible that a system was hacked? In this regard, what question should you ask me? How I hacked the DNC??? Now you know this is a wrong question. Who made it possible, that I hacked into the DNC. This is the question. And I suppose, you already know the answer. This is NGP VAN Company that operates the DNC network. And this is its CEO Stu Trevelyan who is really responsible for the breach. Their software is full of holes. And you knew about it even before I came on stage. You may remember Josh Uretsky, the national data director for Sander's presidential campaign. He was fired in December, 2015 after improperly accessing proprietary data in the DNC system. As it was agreed, he was intentionally searching for voter information belonging to other campaigns. However, he is not to blame. The real reason voter information became available for non-authorized users was NGP VAN's raw software which had holes and errors in the code. And this is the same reason I managed to get access to the DNC network. Vulnerabilities in the NGP VAN software installed on its server which they have plenty of. Shit! Yeah? This scheme shows how NGP VAN is incorporated in the DNC infrastructure. It's for detailed examination, if you are interested. And here are a couple of NGP VAN's documents from their network. If you r [sic] interested in their internal documents. You can have them via the link on the screen. The password is usual. It's also on the screen. You may also ask the conference producers for them later. So, as you see there's no need to breach into separate users accounts or separate systems. You just need to hack their tech company. This is the feature. Big IT companies lead us to a disaster. In their pursuit for money they release raw software, so their clients are highly vulnerable. It became usual to blame everything on hackers while IT companies just pretend they are working hard to patch bugs and to plug holes. And they even ask for more and more money to correct their own mistakes. As a result they pose a threat to the critical infrastructure elements and the national security as a whole. Total computerization along with inadequate software development may cause a lot of troubles. That's why it's better to use paper sometimes. We should start now to prevent electronic apocalypse and rise of the machines in the future. Or else it would be too late. As the financial corporations are ruling the world now so the IT companies will rule it in the near future. What should we do? You would tell me I could report a bug to the company as it's commonly done. What do you think they would answer me? Thanks? Or this is not crucial? Or maybe they would even give me some money. Yeah But what could it change? Nothing. Yeah. Really. Nothing at all. We need to shake the situation, to make our voices sound. Yeah, I know if they find me I'm doomed to live like Assange, Snowden, Manning or Lazar. In exile or in prison. But it's worth it for they are the heroes, heroes of new era. Thanks for ur attention. See you online! 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News Article | August 22, 2016
A subsidiary of EnLink Midstream Partners LP and EnLink Midstream LLC and an affiliate of NGP Natural Resources XI LP have formed a strategic joint venture to operate and expand midstream assets for natural gas, NGLs, and crude oil in the liquids-rich Delaware basin.