One Step Closer to Quantum Computing

20 qubits have been entangled together and put into one network. Huge… computing is about to get “spooky” as Einstein would have said.

In high school physics, electrons bounce between two layers, like a car changing lanes. But in reality, electrons don’t exist in one place or one layer — they exist in many at the same time, a phenomenon known as quantum superposition. This odd quantum behavior offers a chance for devising a new computer language — one that uses infinite possibilities. Whereas classic computing uses bits, these calcium ions in superposition become quantum bits, or qubits. While past work had created such qubits before, the trick to making a computer is to get these qubits to talk to one another.


Millennials, Boomers, and Marketing

Interesting to note here as well: Millennials face a near-future of heavy automation and artificial intelligence that Boomers did not have to face as they moved into their 40’s and 50’s. Jobs, as we knew them thirty years ago, are becoming rarer. The divide between these two groups will only grow.

Perhaps that’s another reason that social institutions Boomers associate with stability and normalcy (churches and nonprofits in my experience) are seeing their numbers (and finances) decline.

Messaging and marketing in an authentic way that doesn’t rely on concepts invented and insisted on by Boomers are essential to bridge the gap.

Beset by big college loans, inheriting two wars, and facing an uncertain future of work, a majority of millennials say baby boomers have made things worse for them — and a lot of boomers agree, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Source: Millennials blame boomers for ruining their lives – Axios

Computational Explosion

Sergey Brin, President of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), on the computational explosion over the last few years and near-future possibilities of quantum computing in the annual Founders Letter:

The power and potential of computation to tackle important problems has never been greater. In the last few years, the cost of computation has continued to plummet. The Pentium IIs we used in the first year of Google performed about 100 million floating point operations per second. The GPUs we use today perform about 20 trillion such operations — a factor of about 200,000 difference — and our very own TPUs are now capable of 180 trillion (180,000,000,000,000) floating point operations per second.

Even these startling gains may look small if the promise of quantum computing comes to fruition. For a specialized class of problems, quantum computers can solve them exponentially faster. For instance, if we are successful with our 72 qubit prototype, it would take millions of conventional computers to be able to emulate it. A 333 qubit error-corrected quantum computer would live up to our name, offering a 10,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000x speedup.

TPUs refers to Google’s “Tensor Processing Units” as discussed here last year.

The common notion that computers, phones, tablets etc have peaked and now we have tech that is “good enough” and has reached a nice plateau is a false lull in the upward trajectory of computing power. We’ll see tech innovations that “trickle down” to the general global population in the next decade that will cause disruption and rapid change in all parts of our lives from medicine to education to finance to government to interacting with our daily environments (and other people there).

Bible Domains

When the society — which lists several conservative Christian “founding partners” on the website — first applied for the rights to .bible, it pledged to provide wide access to “all qualified parties” interested in Bible issues. Soon after acquiring the domain name, though, ABS barred publication of material it defined as “antithetical to New Testament principles” or promoting a secular worldview or “a non-Christian religion or set of religious beliefs.”

Source: Who owns the .bible? – Religion News ServiceReligion News Service

What is Local SEO?

Here’s a good read on the thinking behind “local SEO” and how to implement some of the strategies on your website. We do this for a number of clients when we build or revise their sites, particularly churches and nonprofits (and small businesses) who really depend on local search traffic in fundraising or awareness campaigns.

Local SEO is about how to optimize your website to rank better for a local audience. A website gives you the opportunity to target the entire (online) world. But if the target audience for your business is actually located in or near the city you have your office or shop, you’ll need to practice at least some local SEO as well. You need to optimize for your city name, optimize your address details. In short: you need to optimize so people know where you are located and are able to find you offline (if required). In this post, we will try to explain what local SEO is, so you can optimize your local site as well!

Source: What is local SEO? • SEO for beginners • Yoast

“touch instead of keyboards”

I think people who grew up with keyboards and mice will never be changed, but I think kids born within the past few years, who are growing up using touchscreen phones and tablets, will probably be the first generation to model their computing usage around touch instead of keyboards. We older folks just assume that word processing and spreadsheets are the computing model that will be here forever, but I think computing history indicates the status quo can drastically shift quickly.

I’d add Voice as a major input factor over keyboards in the next generation / decade as well, but this is a spot on comment.

via Reddit – iPad

“How can I get on the first page of a Google Result?”

SEO still matters as a part of your marketing mix. This helps, though…

Google has introduced infinite scrolling to mobile search results pages.

Where there used to be page numbers at the bottom of SERPs there is now a “more results” button. Tapping on the button will trigger more search results to load within the same page.

Source: Google Switches to Infinite Scrolling Mobile Search Results – Search Engine Journal

“Why does church marketing fail?”

From Pew Forum’s Religious Landscape Study

I recently had a question from a friend who attends a small church with a smaller budget but interested in marketing and outreach their congregation about the pitfalls of church marketing.

“Sam, why does church marketing fail?”

So with her permission, here’s my response…

The reason most church marketing and outreach efforts fail is lack of follow-through and consistency. We all want the quick dopamine release that comes with likes, hearts, and favorites based on our social media posts. But marketing (well, good marketing) isn’t about the quick and transient. Patience is part of the very intrinsic nature of the concept of marketing. Churches, particularly dealing with a budget, do a poor job of recognizing that.

Second, church marketing tends to be generic and formulaic. Perhaps because of the common practice of churches getting many of their resources like Sunday School materials (or pastors who “borrow” sermons from the internet), Vacation Bible School posters etc from a central office or approved denominational body, church marketing, church marketing also tends to be generic and not in touch with the surrounding community. But like politics, all church marketing is local. Not everyone can walk in and teach the youth Sunday School class even if they are using LifeWay materials. Not everyone can walk in and run your church’s marketing or outreach efforts even if they have a Facebook account. Nevertheless, church marketing often doesn’t live up to expectations because it is formulaic and generic rather than reflective of the local community.

Third, church marketing and outreach efforts often do a very poor job of asking “why would anyone who is not coming to our church want to come to our church?”. Salvation? Good luck marketing theology. In reality, if a church is going to embark on marketing or outreach, the church should first ask existing members “WHY?” as in “Why do you come to this church?”. Once you have answers to that first Why, ask Why four more times with the responses. The “Five Why’s” is common tool in setting up marketing and branding efforts and can really help clarify both a church’s identity and what makes it special (or not). I love doing this with our clients and it always leads to unexpected and surprising places. Don’t assume… ask why.

Church marketing is often targeted at the wrong audience. Denominational identity is rapidly becoming less of a “selling point” and something that can be used as a marketing point. I often have clients who initially want to “target (insert denomination here)s living in our town.” If you’re a Baptist church targeting Baptists in a few zip codes, you’re not going to have great success with your outreach. That time has passed as we now have more Millennials than Baby Boomers. There’s a reason we see many youth-focused churches dropping denominational labels in their name, even if they were planted and / or affiliated with a particular denomination or church.

Last, churches often target their outreach efforts to what I call the “seldom attenders”. You don’t want a congregation full of “seldom attenders” even if they write big checks once a year. A church should market to those who will attend every week and take part in activities and programs frequently. “I like the pastor’s preaching” isn’t a “selling point” anymore. People, particularly younger cohorts of people, want experiences. In this world of on-demand movies and music and dating and socializing, it’s the experience of your church that will directly help growth. Be authentic and own who you are (and the WHY’s from above). If you’re traditional with traditional hymns and everyone wears “Sunday Dress”… own it! There are people in your community who want that experience. Don’t market what you are not because you see the non-denominational warehouse church down the street bursting at the seams with involved young families. Churches, as all businesses and nonprofits, should tap into the unique experience of worship or the incredible feeling of belonging to a community of people seeking something larger than themselves.

Oh, and don’t be pretentious. If you don’t think your church is pretentious and wonder why it’s not growing, it’s probably because your church is seen as pretentious. You can’t market earnestness. But you can drop the pretentions and be an authentic congregation. That’s a whole other conversation though 🙂