So those of you who know me know that, in addition to beer, I’m a fan of all things Japanese. Two years living there, a decade or so of studying the language, and a moderate appreciation of their beers.

Although I’ve never had anything from Japan that isn’t a better-tasting version of roughly any American lager.

Kirin, Sapporo, Ebisu – rice-based lager beers, light-bodied, sweet, inoffensive and ultimately forgettable. Aside from the occasional black beer (Kirin Namakuro, not teribly bad), Japan, when I lived there, was basically the kind of country where Guinness represents the pinnacle of the bubbly goodness.

Koshihikari Echigo Japanese beerSo I was surprised to find a… different… beer from Japan in my local Whole Foods. Koshihikari Echigo. Brewed by the Uehara Shuzou Co., and having read a couple of brief articles on Japan’s burgeoning craft beer industry, I thought it was time to taste for myself.

Well. That was a long-winded intro. On to the beer.

Initial smell is a touch bit skunky – enough to give it some life, not enough to give me any concerns.

The taste is OK. Very Rolling Rock-y, if that is an adjective. It has that hint of green-bottle-lager, just a little… tart… and slightly skunky. Very slightly.

I’m not sure if this is intentional. I’ve had enough Heinekens and Rolling Rocks and Grolschs that it just seems to be a purposeful part of some beers. And here, it’s not bad. It gives at least a touch of flavor to what would otherwise be an even more unremarkable light lager.

Basically, it’s just not that good. It could be a Budweiser. You want a generic rice-based lager that’s harmless to the palette but looks fancy? Don’t want to have a big new taste, but you want to look worldly? Well, go ahead and grab a Koshihikari Echigo.

But if you want good beer, something light and sweet and interesting, perhaps you should look elsewhere. Maybe a Harpoon UFO White. Or a Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat.

Beer Name: Koshihikari Echigo
Brewed By: Uehara Shuzou Co. / Echigo Beer Pub, Niigata, Japan
Subsidiary Of: Independent
Alcohol By Volume: 5%
Beer Type: Japanese Rice Lager
Cap Type: Pry-off
Dan’s Score: 4/10

Tell me in the comments if you have any good Japanese craft beer recommendations. Do want to try something better than this.

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Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPAYes, I still have a blog, and I still enjoy beer. Thoroughly. For today’s post, I’m drinking my last Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPA, a fairly bold, quite bitter IPA from the coast I’m not living on (that’s the west one).

I am a hop-head by nature, attracted to the bitter, and because of that I rather enjoy the Upheaval IPA. But it seems to be a little… straightforward (ye gods I feel like a hipster in a Budweiser commercial just for writing that). It’s bitter, but little else. There’s not much of the hops aroma, or any citrusy notes, or really much besides the bitter.

And that’s fine. Really. It is. I like bitter, like I said. I just wish this beer had a bit more character and some contrasting flavors.

Compared to my current go-to (Long Trail’s Limbo IPA), Upheaval falls short. It’s certainly not a bad beer – quite the opposite, it’s pretty good – but my snobbery has gotten… snobberier… of late, and a “good” IPA is a little bit disappointing.

In the end, I’d recommend it, because it’s a good beer for the bitter palette. And because, generally, I don’t get motivated to write (once a quarter) about beers I don’t like.

Beer Name: Upheaval IPA
Brewed By: Widmer Brothers, Portland OR
Subsidiary Of: Independent
Alcohol By Volume: 7%
Beer Type: India Pale Ale
Cap Type: Pry-off
Dan’s Score: 7/10

Next time, I’ll either write up my first experience with a sour beer (once I find another one to refresh my memory, thanks to Cambridge’s Meadhall for the amazing selection of draft beers), or the Best Beer Night Ever™, in which I drink my first Heady Topper, my first Pliny the Elder, and my first Fiddlehead Mastermind all at the same party.

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OK digital marketers, here’s a little script you can use to easily append UTM codes for tracking to your URLs. You’ll note that this is in the form of a very simple webpage – you can copy-paste into your favorite HTML editor and get a page like this one I use.

UPDATE: I’ve gone ahead and grabbed a domain for it. You can now use utm-builder.com. Email me with suggestions for evolutions.

Here’s how it works:

– You enter whatever URL you need to share in the box
– You push a button for generic social media links
– The simple Javascript function snags the URL you’ve entered as a variable, and appends your pre-defined UTM codes to it as new variables
– Each completed link with UTM codes outputs into the spaces in the form

Alternatively, you can pick a specific UTM medium from the “Pick a lead source” dropdown. Those are predefined rather than free text because I use these as Lead Source in my Salesforce implementation, and there’s only a few things I want as possible lead sources. You can then write whatever you want in the Lead Source Detail box below, which will append as UTM source.

Notes: this syncs up with my Salesforce. UTM medium = Lead Source, and UTM source = Lead Source Detail. So if I’m kicking off an AdWords campaign, when I go to add the landing page, I’ll use this little tool to append ?utm_medim=paidsearch&utm_source=adwords to the end of it, allowing for better tracking both anonymously in Google Analytics and as Lead Source/Lead Source Detail in SFDC.

Here’s the code:


<html>
<script>
var t = "?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter";
var f = "?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook";
var l = "?utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin";
var g = "?utm_medium=social&utm_source=googleplus";

function combobreak() {
	var inputhere = document.getElementById('inputhere').value;
	if(! inputhere) {
		window.alert("Please enter a URL")
	}
	else {
		var twitter = inputhere.concat(t);
		var facebook = inputhere.concat(f);
		var gplus = inputhere.concat(g);
		var linkedin = inputhere.concat(l);
		document.getElementById('twitteroutput').value = twitter;
		document.getElementById('facebookoutput').value = facebook;
		document.getElementById('linkedinoutput').value = linkedin;
		document.getElementById('gplusoutput').value = gplus;
	}
}

function superpants() {
	var inputhere = document.getElementById('inputhere').value;
	if(! inputhere) {
		window.alert("Please enter a URL")
	}
	else {
		var source = document.getElementById('inputsource').value;
		var detail = document.getElementById('inputdetail').value;
		var customoutput = inputhere.concat('?utm_medium=').concat(source).concat('&utm_source=').concat(detail);
		document.getElementById('customoutput').value = customoutput;
	}
}
</script>

<h1>Druby's UTM Code Generator</h1>
<form>Enter the original URL: <input type="text" name="inputhere" id="inputhere" size="75"><br />
</form>
<h2>For social links, just hit "Get social links" below</h2>

<form>
	<div style="width: 200px;">Twitter Link: </div><input type="text" id="twitteroutput" size="70"><br />
	<div style="width: 200px;">Facebook Link: </div><input type="text" id="facebookoutput" size="70"><br />
	<div style="width: 200px;">Linkedin Link: </div><input type="text" id="linkedinoutput" size="70"><br />
	<div style="width: 200px;">Google Plus Link: </div><input type="text" id="gplusoutput" size="70"><br />
	<input type="button" value="Get social links" onclick="combobreak();">
</form>
<h2>For a custom link, please enter Lead Source and Lead Source Detail and hit "Get custom link"</h2>

<div style="width: 200px;">Pick a lead source:</div>
<select name="inputsource" id="inputsource">
	<option value=null>None</option>
	<option value="advertising">Advertising (banner, direct)</option>
	<option value="paid-search">SEM (paid search)</option>
	<option value="social">Social (use above)</option>
	<option value="referral">Referral</option>
</select>
<form>
	<div style="width: 200px;">Pick a Lead Source Detail: </div><input type="text" name="inputdetail" id="inputdetail" size="75"><br />
		<input type="button" value="Get custom link" onclick="superpants();"><br /><br />
	<div style="width: 200px;">Custom Link: </div><input type="text" id="customoutput" size="70"><br />
</form>
</html>

It’s easy enough. Add new options to the drop-down menu to add UTM medium options – that should be nice and customizable.

Enjoy! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, and I hope you make use of this.

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Back in April I tried my hand at a beer review. The beer was Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale, the weather was crisp, and a young Ryan Braun was preparing for six months of whacking a spheroid with a club.

Three months later, the Blue Moon review has grown stale, my work ethic has been called into question, and our Mr. Braun has become the mightiest of mighty Caseys.

Now that that’s out of the way, my Second Beer Review ™! This time, it’s Summer of Lager by a local brewery, Cisco Brewers of Nantucket. No more Coors Fancy, this is a craft beer for beer-loving hippies. They use the word “groovy” in the beer’s web description and probably ride bicycles and wear bandannas as hats.

Cisco Summer of Lager beer review - it's good!

The beer is a Munich Helles Lager (thank you BeerAdvocate, as I had never heard of this particular style).

On first sip, it’s tasty – there’s more flavor than I’m used to expecting out of a lager (damn my St. Louis upbringing and Anheuser-Busch). It’s mildly hoppy, which is always up my alley – not exactly a Troeg’s HopBack, but certainly enough to make it interesting. It’s not too heavy, although if the day is particularly hot, as it has been in Boston these past two weeks, I do find myself wishing for a sweeter, lighter Hefeweizen. There’s a little hint of citrus to it.

Pork steaks in Boston - who knew

Cisco suggests you pair this beer with lobster. I paired it with an old St. Louis specialty, the pork steak. Yes, as you can see, I had them cut way too thick… but after pouring some beer in a Pyrex container, covering them and sticking them in the oven for half an hour, they turned out a-freaking-mazing. Pork steaks in Boston. Might be a first.

But I digress… the Cisco Summer of Lager tasted wonderful with the pork steaks. More importantly, the second Summer of Lager tasted as good as – if not better than – the first. As I said, they’re a little heavier than what I usually go for on really hot days, but they’re also more flavorful. I like hops. I also love lamp.

If you’re somewhere that sells them, Cisco’s Summer of Lager beers are quite good. Not my favorite by any stretch, but a worthy alternative on a hot summer’s day to a Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat (my favorite beer, incidentally) or a Harpoon UFO White (a close 3rd).

Try them yourself, and let me know in the comments what you think – I’m just a beer drinker who likes tasty beer, so please add your own expertise and experience to the mix!

Beer Name: Summer of Lager
Brewed By: Cisco Brewers – Massachusetts
Subsidiary Of: Independent
Alcohol By Volume: 5.6%
Beer Type: Munich Helles Lager
Cap Type: Pry-off
Dan’s Score: 8/10
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Throughout my career, two things have become abundantly clear to me: one, I love learning new things and getting my hands all over the nitty-gritty marketing tasks; and two, nothing is more important than working with a tremendous team. Because of this, I’m thrilled to join Stackdriver as Demand Generation Manager. Here I can roll up my sleeves, get the word out about how cloud monitoring can be intelligent, and work with some phenomenal people.

When I came to meet the Stackdriver team, I was impressed. Here I found a group of brilliant people looking for their first full-time marketing hire – people who were not only amazing at their jobs but who had tremendous belief in what they were doing. The founders, Dan and Izzy, really understand how entrepreneurs operate – they get their hands dirty, experience the various parts of the organization’s needs, and then when they’re ready to grow and fill a role, they understand exactly what they’re looking for. Because they’ve done it.

After so many years of marketing for technology startups, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. How many marketers can boast that they’ve been able to get hands-on querying Vertica databases, or writing JavaScript for a live site, or have had long, arduous debates over the merits of Coda vs. Aptana vs. Xcode?

That’s why I’m so thrilled to join Stackdriver. The people and culture are nothing short of incredible, and the opportunity to build out a demand generation marketing system with the full support of the entire team is always exciting.

I’m looking forward to making the lives of DevOps folks around the world better. Reach out anytime – I want your insights into what we and we can do better, and what we’re doing well!

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Transcript

Hi, my name is Daniel Ruby and welcome to another Localytics Whiteboard Wednesday. Today we’re going to talk about a few examples of user segments within your app, how we can identify them, and a few ideas of what we can do to take advantage of the insights into their behavior that we have.

Our first user segment is “Couponers.” These are people within a mobile commerce app that specifically buy when there’s a discount. You know them because you can look into their behavior and see that they have never made a purchase of a product that was full price, but they have made one or more purchases with a coupon or with a special offer.

What we can do with them is use in-app messaging to target them specifically with a coupon. We don’t necessarily need to create a full site-wide sale or coupon, but rather you can specifically target people who you know will react to a special offer.

Our second group is the “Second Screeners.” These are people who are engaging with an app for a TV show or broadcast network while the actual show is going on. They’re watching their favorite show and they have their tablet or phone in front of them, discussing the show, or voting on who to kick out, or maybe just looking up trivia about the show or actors.

You can determine this group by the time that they’re interacting with the app or, in the case of network apps, the time that they’re interacting with a particular piece of content.

Once you’ve determined these users, you can send them push notifications to let them know their favorite show is starting, or use in-app messages to invite them to watch the next show based on their entertainment tastes.

Our third group is more for news apps – the “News Junkie.” This is not someone who reads the news, but rather someone who lives the news. They want up-to-the-minute, breaking news delivered to them at home, on their commute, at the office, and anywhere else.

You can create this segment by looking at something as simple as frequency of engagement, or alternatively the number of different locations they engage with your app at during the day. If it’s three or more, you can be fairly certain that they’re engaging with your app at home, on the road and at the office.

These users are really in tune with your brand. They’re a great target for in-app messages prompting them to rate your app. Because they’re familiar with your brand, and because they return again and again, they’re a great user segment to leverage to increase your app store rating.

The final user group we’re going to talk about is the “Social Butterfly.” These transcend all app types. This is someone who is sharing your app, your brand or your content via social media. Not just once, but multiple times.

What’s interesting is that you can create sub-groups based on the “Social Butterfly”’s preferred social medium based on the specific events they’re acting on within your app. If, for example, you have someone who is Tweeting your content often, say three or more times per week, you can be fairly sure that they are someone who is influential or at least active on Twitter, and that it’s their preferred method of sharing what they like with their friends.

With this insight, you can create an in-app message specifically for their preferred social network. With this Twitter user, you can say “Hey, thanks for Tweeting about us,” and prompt them to follow you on Twitter for updates and news on your brand.

This is a great way to get social tastemakers and brand ambassadors into your social circles.

This has been a few different ways to determine actionable segments of your app users based on their in-app usage, along with some ideas as to how to leverage this insight into their usage. If you’re not already a Localytics user, I invite you to check out the Localytics demo to see how we can help you determine and message to these particular users.

Again my name is Daniel Ruby, and this has been another Localytics Whiteboard Wednesday. I hope it has been helpful, thank you very much and we hope to see you again next week.

Follow the Locaytics blog for more best practices, insights and education on mobile marketing.

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I love beer. It’s a wonderful invention, a social lubricant and generally something that tastes really, really good when done right. Starting today, I’m going to write reviews of beers I try or have tried.

Getting right to it, today’s beer is Blue Moon’s seasonal Agave Nectar Ale.

Blue Moon Agave Nectar - Beer Review

Generally speaking I’m a fan of Blue Moon – their standard wheat beer is always easy on the palate, good with or without a little slice of something citrus, and very refreshing on a hot day. Despite being a MillerCoors joint, it’s a solid, sweet, inoffensive beer that I’d rarely if ever say “no” to.

The Agave Nectar Ale, however, doesn’t seem to add anything to the Blue Moon offering. If anything, it seems to hurt the flavor, dulling the sweetness and replacing it with some sharpness. Not that I’m opposed to sharp flavors or undertones in beer, it just doesn’t seem to fit here.

If you concentrate and let the beer sit on your tongue you’ll be able to sense the sweet undertones of the base wheat beer coming through, which is a nice experience. However, as beer snobby as I am, if you have to exact that much patience while drinking, you’re not likely to truly enjoy your beer-drinking experience.

In the end, Blue Moon’s Agave Nectar Ale is not a bad beer. Perhaps I judge it a bit harshly because I like the base on which it’s built, but the more I try different beers, the more I realize why some additive ingredients aren’t used more often. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to review the Magic Hat Pistil Dandelion Ale, which should be held up as Evidence #1 that certain things don’t need to go into beer.

Give the Agave Nectar Ale a try, though. I’m not a fan, but I am a fan of trying tons of different beers and finding what you like. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried it what you think.

Beer Name: Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale
Brewed By: Blue Moon Brewing Company
Subsidiary Of: MillerCoors
Alcohol By Volume: 5.4%
Beer Type: Wheat beer, summer special
Cap Type: Twist-off
Dan’s Score: 5.5/10
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This is really exciting. We’ve done so well with app analytics at Localytics, and in-app messaging and marketing is the next logical step. App analytics gives you the data, app marketing lets you act on and monetize it. I’ve talked with enough people the past couple of weeks explaining it, and I’ve come up with my favorite use cases:

Games – Say you create a really amazing, difficult game. Let’s say it’s something like Super Meat Boy or I Wanna Be The Guy – you know, one of those games that is so awesome and so difficult that it makes you want to stab your eyeballs out. Well, using the Localytics app marketing platform, you can bucket new users – say, people who have launched the app less than five times. Then, if any one of them tries and fails on your first level X number of times, you can give them a little “Hey, need some help?” message with a power-up, or a level insta-gib. Let them keep playing, get into the game, and build up the skills necessary to succeed without getting frustrated right off the bat and rage quitting.

Mcommerce – This one is pretty straightforward, I think. Bucket people who have abandoned their cart and the next time they log in, give them a message of “Hey, you’ve got stuff in your cart! If you check out now, we’ll give you free shipping.” (Obviously, your verbiage will be different, probably more succinct. I don’t do succinct well.)

News – Fun stuff, say you’re a national newspaper trying to make a move into local content. Well, use Localytics app analytics to bucket people by their most common location and if they don’t visit the local content after ten sessions (or so), message them in-app to let them know it exists, and point them at their own location.

This is really cool stuff, and I’m excited to be involved in it. Analytics is powerful; in-app messaging based on analytics, though? That’s game-changing.

How would you use in-app messaging based on  your users’ activities? If you’ve got a better use case than mine, let me know. I want to hear it! Tweet it @danielruby or post it in the comments.

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