Our most recent take on James was last summer, after the Heat won their second consecutive NBA championship. We looked at the odds of James catching up to Michael Jordan’s six championship wins, the most in the salary-cap era (since 1984-85). We put the odds of the Heat winning the 2014 championship at about 33 percent, with the chances getting lower each subsequent year. So given this year’s loss, James might be making a smart move with his current opt-out. But given James’s win shares, we put his odds at winning a championship — regardless of the team — at about 20 or 25 percent. We were partially right — Wade and Bosh did show solidarity in a move to Miami. But we were wrong in predicting James’s decision. In a follow-up piece, we further evaluated the merits of James joining the Heat. There was a major hit to his popularity because of the way he announced the decision and because of Miami’s relatively small fan base. We argued this could have reduced his earning potential by $150 million. We conceded that “James may able to redeem himself through athletic success,” which turned out to be the case: He made $42 million from endorsements in 2013, which dwarfs the $28 million he made in 2009 when he was with Cleveland. The world is abuzz with the news that LeBron James is opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat. There’s plenty of speculation about what this means and where he might decide to go, if anywhere, but we thought it might be interesting to take a look at our own history of guessing James’s future. Here’s a roundup of predictions that we’ve made, and how accurate they turned out to be:The last time James opted out of his contract was in 2010, when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed with the Miami Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh there. Before he announced that decision, we analyzed his value as a player, as well as the different options available to him, and tried to determine the best route for him to take with regard to his personal brand. We decided he’d be best off trying to both win a championship and do so in a way that would be perceived as overcoming a challenge. We doubted that “forming a ‘dream team’ with Wade and Bosh in Miami would do that much for him,” so it was most likely that he would stay with Cleveland or join the Knicks, while Wade and Bosh would stick together in either Chicago or Miami.
Jeremy Lin, the point guard who slept on his brother’s couch as he crafted one of the most dynamic 35-game stretches in NBA history, was allowed to walk from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets Tuesday night.The team that gave Lin the opportunity to emerge from a nobody on the bench into an international somebody – even gracing the cover of Time magazine — elected to not match a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet he signed with the Rockets. So in essence, the player that charged “Linsanity” and the millions of off-the-court marketing and sponsorship dollars walked from the Knicks without the team receiving any compensation.Knicks sources and coach Mike Woodson said for a week that the team would match any offer to retain Lin. And considering Knicks owner James Dolan had doled out enormous money to the likes of Eddy Curry, Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas, it seemed reasonable to assume he would do so to keep Lin, a worldwide phenomenon. But, in the end, Dolan considered Lin is too expensive.Lin took to Twitter when it became official. “Much love and thankfulness to the Knicks and New York for your support this past year…easily the best year of my life#ForeverGrateful.”“Extremely excited and honored to be a Houston Rocket again!!#RedNation,” Lin added in another tweet.A team source told ESPNNewYork.com earlier this week that the third year of the Rockets’ offer — worth $14.8 million — caused the Knicks to consider letting Lin go. If the Knicks had matched the offer, they would have been subject to a luxury tax in the third year, potentially bringing their total out-of-pocket cost for the team’s salary to about $43 million in 2014-15.The Rockets’ offer to Lin would pay him $5 million in the first year, $5.225 million in the second and $14.8 million in the third, according to sources.The Knicks, realizing a $30-million penalty in Year 3 of the contract that would come with matching the offer, made a sign-and-trade deal to acquire another point guard, Raymond Felton. Felton played one season with the Knicks, but it was nowhere near as exciting as Lin’s New York stay.Lin, 23, was a revelation, performing brilliantly for a stretch that included 38 points in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on national television and hitting the game-winning shot at Toronto. In between, he was mostly steady, although he did have a turnover problem. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 35 games with 25 starts before his season was cut short because of surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee.An undrafted guard out of Harvard, Lin was cut twice in the preseason, once by Houston, and played in the D-League, before leading the Knicks to seven consecutive wins that electrified the city and the Asian community. His rise earned him a significant raise, from $788,000 last season to $5 million this season.His departure has sparked much debate among media and fans in New York, a debate that will rage for quite some time.
(Wikimedia Commons)Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has heard about the Cleveland Cavaliers star Tristan Thompson cheating on Khloé Kardashian. He’s also heard people say that Kardashian should have seen it coming due to his athlete status and he wants folks to know that’s the wrong way to think.The retired NBA star explains the issue with boxing athletes as cheaters in a Monday, April 16 essay for Cosmopolitan, saying it’s still bad even if it doesn’t compare to making a sexist joke or buying into racist stereotypes.“This is a pervasive opinion people have of pro athletes — and not even the worst one,” he wrote of unfaithful pro-players. “But that doesn’t make it true or acceptable. Imagine how different the response would be if the comment were, ‘He’s Black.’ But athletes are expected to accept the insulting stereotypes, shut up, and dribble.“This offensive characterization is in no way on par with the much worse stereotyping of women, people of color, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community,” he continued. “But when we allow any prejudice to pass unchallenged, we endorse all prejudice. That smarmy joke about dumb blondes that a colleague tells at lunch demeans all women. That ‘observation’ about smart Asian students or gay flair or rapist immigrants endorses an environment of lazy thinking that carries over into other decision-making that is ultimately detrimental to society. When we hear casual stereotyping and say nothing, we collude in the detriment.”After acknowledging the role confirmation bias plays into pushing forward the notion that athletes are all cheaters, Abdul-Jabbar also admitted that sports stars from all kinds of games have had their share of indiscretions.“What makes the Khloé Kardashian situation more poignant — and more ripe for tabloid fodder — is that this is not the first time she’s been publicly cheated on, not even the first pro athlete to cheat on her,” he said, possibly referring to Rashad McCants, who claimed the cheating story was made up for TV.“Certainly, wealth, power, and fame give athletes, politicians, musicians, actors, and filmmakers more opportunities to be unfaithful to their spouses,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “But availability is no excuse for availing. Nor is it okay to use the bad behavior of some to characterize all. I’m not here to defend or condemn Tristan Thompson’s actions. If people feel the need to judge him, let them do so based on his behavior, not his profession or gender.”Meanwhile, folks on Twitter have been giving their take on the 71-year-old baller’s essay.“Right, so it’s our fault this stereotype persists, we make them cheat by our micro-aggressions,” someone said. “Got it. It’s a form of stereotyping, therefore a form of #racsim and so on, blah, blah, blah.”“Well they need to stop cheating so they aren’t stereotyped… if the shoe fits, buy a matching shirt,” someone else said.“Lol, but why isn’t this stereotype pushed on actors, musicians and politicians too?” someone else wondered. “They cheat just as often? Why not criticize the home wreckers, groupie, and gossip sites that take advantage of often false rumors to defame celebrities?”
An “argument” between a commander and his co-pilot of Air India’s Jaipur-Delhi flight on Sunday gave some anxious moments to its passengers, as it came in the wake of the recent Germanwings plane crash, which is attributed to its co-pilot’s mental illness.While an Air India spokesman said it was just “an argument between the two and nothing more,” other sources contradicted it, saying the co-pilot actually “abused and beat up” the commander. The passengers on board flight 611 said that the co-pilot objected to something that the commander asked him to do and turned violent, just before takeoff from Jaipur airport.”The commander told his co-pilot to take down critical take off figures for the flight. This involves writing critical facts like number of passengers on board, take off weight and fuel uptake on a small paper card (trim sheet) that is displayed in front of the pilots for the entire duration of the flight. The co-pilot took offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain,” The Times of India quoted a source as saying.Yet, the commander went ahead and flew to Delhi, though the normal procedure called for reporting the incident to the concerned authorities in Jaipur, which would have led to the cancellation of the flight. The commander reportedly kept the “larger interest of the airline”. The Air India dismissed the whole incident and said: “The two had an argument. They have settled the issue.”Incidentally, the co-pilot is said to have a record of similar tiffs in the past, according to senior Air India pilots.”Three years back, he asked the commander of a flight to come out of the cockpit, remove the stars on his shirt collar (appulates) and then fought with him. A year later, another commander complained about his ‘rude and unbecoming’ behavior in the cockpit and questioned his state of mind,” a senior commander said.But the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that they will not be starting a probe into the incident as the plane was parked, IBNLive reported. If the commanders’ allegations against him are true, then DGCA’s decision to not order probe may affect aviation safety.
Kolkata: The ongoing cease work of the lawyers in the state for over a month was lifted on Friday, with the state Bar Council appealing to the lawyers to postpone their movement and commence their work. Normal work will resume from Saturday. “We have decided to postpone the strike till September 2, keeping in mind the harassment of the people. All steps have been taken and a resolution that was taken at the Council’s meeting today (Friday) has also been put up in the form of a notification. The lawyers are joining work from Saturday,” said Baiswanor Chatterjee, member of the working committee of the Bar Council. A notification urging the lawyers to join work has also been published. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe common people seeking justice had to face a lot of problems because of the cease work and people coming to Calcutta High Court and the lower courts from far-flung districts seeking justice have been returning home disappointed. There were indications earlier that the cease work will be withdrawn soon after the election process. A major clash took place between the lawyers and staff of Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) over vehicle parking at Howrah Court area on April 24. Some lawyers were injured in the clash after the police intervened, following which the lawyers called for cease work alleging police excess. The lawyers in the other courts also extended solidarity to the movement and it spread to all courts across the state. “We are still sticking to our demand that those responsible for the attack on the lawyers should be punished. However, the strike has been postponed considering the problems faced by the common people,” a member of West Bengal Bar Association said.
5 min read When the topic is B2B software, easy-to-use and intuitive aren’t words that usually come to mind. More often, descriptions like clunky or confusing are more appropriate. Here’s another: crappy.Related: Be Sure to Balance SEO and User Experience in Your Web Page DesignWhat is it about software built for businesses, that we expect it to be pretty much unusable? I’m not going to name names, but you know who they are. They’re “powering” the HR, finance, sales and reporting functions of the world’s enterprises and SMBs alike.Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find a few reasons why B2B software has traditionally gotten a pass, despite torturing users with a clunky experience. Notably, the people who green-light the software haven’t been the same ones using the software. And that’s been a problem..In addition, the people actually using the software have seemed tolerant of their crappy user experience (UX) because that’s just part of their job — or so they think. As a software developer myself, I find that sad.Poor UX is also expensive: When you have many, many users, bad UX costs you money, in terms of extra support. In B2B, companies compensate by hiring more humans. But while that gives users the guided tutorials and support they need — creating a negative co-dependency — the companies with the bad UX don’t solve the customers’ problems.But, wait, there’s hope — what I like to call Great UXpectations. Read on.We’ve been guilty of substandard UX ourselves.It’s been almost a decade that HubSpot has been around, and we too have been guilty of delivering a substandard (read: crappy) user experience at times. But we’ve reacted to our customer feedback, and I’m proud to say that our customers now tend to love where HubSpot has gone. It’s been no small investment to get us there.The listening function alone — added to the response — has resulted in significant costs. When you have many, many users (as with B2C), you can amortize the investment in user experience across a broader base. When you have only hundreds of users, it doesn’t matter as much.The hope on the horizon that I alluded to is coming from our collective expectations for a great user experience. That’s true, whether we’re talking about users sharing photos with friends, finding a date or quickly analyzing sales trends from the past quarter. As B2C software has become woven tightly into the fabric of our daily lives, we’ve become far less inclined to differentiate between software that’s for business or pleasure. Because, quite often, those parts of our lives are intertwined.Related: Can ‘User-Experience’ Experts Become ‘Customer-Experience’ Experts?When we look to technology to power our personal lives, the new expectation is that your 85-year-old grandmother should be able to use it. That’s what I mean by “Great UXpectations.” So, what companies are delivering on these Great UXpectations?Shopify, for one, is bringing ecommerce to the masses — bringing stores online in droves. Entrepreneurs are finding Shopify’s user-friendly interface a saving grace for bringing their goods to the global market. Uber is another example of software that provides a seamless solution for getting from point A to point B, regardless of who is paying for it: you or your company.Is Uber easy to use? You bet. Does the company listen to its riders and drivers (actual users) to provide updates to the platform? Yup.Uber also is a good example of the disruptive factor of the next generation of user-friendly (and often free or freemium-model) B2B software. It got its foothold in companies through employees using the app. Those employees then demanded that their own employers get on board and adopt.Others such as Box, Dropbox and Slack (all terrific UX) have penetrated the business through usership among their employee ranks. Notably, that didn’t happen because the afore-mentioned companies knocked down the doors of purchasing or IT departments and CIOs.At HubSpot, we’ve seen great initial results from a few of our most recent products for businesses, including our browser plugin Sidekick, as well as HubSpot CRM. Already, more than 60,000 companies are using our sales platform. We see that as a sign that, like our peers at Dropbox and Slack, users are finding these products really useful.A happy user is a chatty user. He or she tells a colleague — be it a fellow sales team member, a business development associate or, just maybe, the CIO — and the love grows from there.So, if I were to pull out my crystal ball — or maybe just play Captain Obvious for a moment — I’d say that those B2B software companies that aren’t doubling down on UX right now should expect to see their growth stall. There’s just too much opportunity for upstarts to disrupt the technology in businesses one user at a time until adoption becomes inevitable.The consumer is in control now. And the expectations are great.Related: User Experience is Integral to Winning App Design Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals August 27, 2015 Register Now »
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hree Premier League matches on the TV today.The busy Festive programme continues….Spurs v Man U (BT) Southampton v Chelsea (SKY) Newcastle v Everton (SKY)The bet probably looks to be goals in the Southampton v Chelsea game. It’s certainly a match that usually generates plenty of goal action.Southampton v ChelseaPremier League2.05pm LIVE ON SKYHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)Jan 2014 Premier Southampton 0-3 ChelseaDec 2013 Premier Chelsea 3-1 SouthamptonMar 2013 Premier Southampton 2-1 ChelseaJan 2013 Premier Chelsea 2-2 SouthamptonJan 2013 FA Cup Southampton 1-5 ChelseaApr 2005 Premiership Southampton 1-3 ChelseaAug 2004 Premiership Chelsea 2-1 SouthamptonMay 2004 Premiership Chelsea 4-0 SouthamptonNov 2003 Premiership Southampton 0-1 ChelseaDec 2003 Premiership Chelsea 0-0 SouthamptonSouthampton’s season is looking increasingly like a ‘season of two halves’.After a stunning start they are now looking vulnerable after four defeats in a row.However, the Christmas campaign is going well for them with six points from six against Everton and Crystal Palace and if the ship is steadied then a Champions League place is by no means a pipe dream.This is clearly going to be a tough test for Southampton against a Chelsea side who have bounced back well from a surprise defeat against Newcastle and have now won all five of their matches across all competitions since that setback.The home side will be boosted by the return of captain Jose Fonte after serving a one-game ban on Boxing Day.Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has no new injury concerns.Over 2.5 goals at 11/10 looks generous enough. I was firmly expecting the price to be odds-on. It must the sale season in reverse.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK OVER 2.5 GOALS for 10 points at around 11/10 with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 49.38 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321